Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Zero Tolerance: 15 Year Old Alabama Boy Streaks Across Football Field, School’s Principal Tells News Station There Will Be Legal Consequences and Out of Fear of Being Labeled a Sex Offender the Teen Committed Suicide

This tragic case needs to be read by everyone. 

This is what zero tolerance is about, no matter the specifics of the situation there can be no exception. 
This is what sexual legislation passed without debate, discussion and opposition has created. Intent is no longer needed to claim a crime has been committed.

This is what the Sex Offender Registries have become bloated lists of anybody and everybody. 

But according to the lawmakers and the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s not punitive it’s only administrative. 

Something that’s administrative doesn’t lead a 15 year old to commit suicide. 

Mary Devoy 

The death of Christian Adamek and zero tolerance insanity

Christian Adamek, 15, hanged himself after getting in trouble for doing something that wasn't evil, wasn't a threat to anyone's safety, and wasn't a big deal to any rational person. Christian landed himself in big trouble for streaking across the field during a football game at his high school.  

Before Christian's death, the school's principal said the teen's stunt could warrant legal charges atop school discipline. "There's the legal complications," the principal told a news station. "Public lewdness and court consequences outside of school with the legal system, as well as the school consequences that the school system has set up." 

Christian's death is tragic. Was it prompted by the prospect of an overblown reaction to his schoolboy prank? We don't know for sure.  Regardless, Christian deserved detention, not to have his name slapped on a sex offender registry along with rapists. If Christian took his life over the prospect of having his life destroyed by vindictive adults who think streaking is on a continuum with rape, then we've all got blood on our hands. 

In our zeal to protect women and children from predatory men, we've enacted a multitude of laws that, among many other things, put high school streakers, guys who pee in the alley after imbibing a little too much, and guys who have sex with their slightly younger girlfriends, onto sex offender registers. The majority of states now register streakers, an indication of why the number of registered sex offenders in America has exploded. If they were all crammed into a single state, it would be more populous than Wyoming, Vermont or North Dakota. It's a cottage industry, with lobbies and powerful interests behind it, and it won't let up any time soon because not enough people give a damn about the Christian Adameks of the world. 

Zero tolerance policies excuse people from doing something we are loathe to ask people to do any more: think for themselves -- to use their discretion, to exercise common sense, to employ mercy, and to look at things with balance. It's a lot easier to hide behind a zero tolerance policy so we don't get in trouble for exercising our discretion contrary to the common consensus. The problem is, zero tolerance polices are written for a black and white world, and the world is mostly gray. Sometimes the result of zero tolerance policies is Christian Adamek. 

We are beyond saddened by Christian's tragic death. The world has gone mad.

Zusha Elinson: Prosecution of 10-Year-Old on Sex Charges Stokes Debate Over Juvenile Justice

Updated October 11, 2013:

Prosecution Is Not the Way to Save a 10-Year-Old Child, October 10, 2013

Original Post:

Juveniles are NOT adults and should never be treated as such. But prosecuting a 10 year old is beyond ridiculous!

Federal Youth Case on Trial, October 8, 2013
Prosecution of 10-Year-Old on Sex Charges Stokes Debate Over Juvenile Justice
By Zusha Elinson

Two years ago federal prosecutors won a delinquency finding against a boy accused of engaging in sex acts when he was 10 years old with other young boys on an Army base in Arizona—one of the youngest defendants ever pursued by the U.S. Justice Department.  

The case, now being reviewed by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, could open a new front in a long-running debate about how to handle juvenile sex offenders, whose cases generally have been tried in state, not federal, courts. The records are sealed because the defendant was tried as a juvenile, but the case came to light in September at an appellate hearing in San Francisco that was open to the public. 

The boy's appeal involves a thorny legal question: Should children be prosecuted for sex acts with other children under a federal law that the boy's lawyers say was designed to target adult predators? The fight also highlights a broader debate over tagging juveniles as criminal sex offenders, a label that can land them a spot on registries that track offenders and limit where they can live.  

The boy was found delinquent—guilty in juvenile-court parlance—on charges of aggravated sexual abuse against five boys between the ages of 5 and 7, under a statute that makes it illegal to engage in a sexual act with a person younger than 12 regardless of whether physical force is involved. The boy was sentenced to five years' probation, including mandatory psychological treatment, lawyers on the case said. He must also register as a sex offender in certain states, according to his lawyer.  

"I think this is really overreaching on the part of the government," Keith Hilzendeger, a federal public defender representing the boy, said in an interview. He added that he had "never heard of a federal case where a person is 10."