Even misled youth need protection

admin | 11/8/2011, 4:19 a.m.

More work needed in the justice system

Sixteen-year-old Wayne Treacy is scheduled to stand trial for attempted first degree murder on January 26, 2012.The charge is for severely beating 15-year-old Josey Ratley after the two exchanged words and she taunted him about the suicide death of his brother. Unfortunately for young Treacy, the state decided to file the charge and transferred the case directly into the adult criminal justice system. Therefore as a child he must now stand trial as an adult and is now subject to a harsher sentence for his child-like behavior. Since 1899, the U.S. established a juvenile justice policy that maintained a jurisdiction. l boundary between juvenile and criminal court. The primary responsibility of the juvenile system is to protect the welfare of minors and safeguard the community from youthful offenders. However, all states have the right under certain condition to transfer juvenile delinquents cases out of the juvenile system and into the adult system. In Florida, if a child is charged with a crime or a wrongdoing the decision to try them as an adult in the criminal court or a child in the juvenile justice system rests in the office of the state attorney. In recent years juvenile offenders have become much more audacious.This warrants adult court as the most appropriate setting for some cases. However, not all children who misbehave or break a law shouldmeet their fate in anadult criminal system. Research shows that trying youth as adults does not reduce crime or increase public safety. In fact, research shows that youths that are tried as adults are more likely to re-offend and commit more serious felonies than their counterparts in the juvenile justice system. The case of Treacy is one that should have remained in the juvenile system. From the very beginning prosecutors have ignored the fact that Treacy is a child that acted out like a child after he was taunted and teased about his brothers suicide. It was obvious from the start that he is also a victim and most importantly he is a child too. On October 10, 2009, months prior to the March 17, 2010 beating incident, Treacy witnessed his brothers body hanging from a tree after committing suicide. According to psychologists that evaluated Treacy he was diagnosed as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for which he was never treated. May be if children in this country had easier access to mental health, they would not have to attempt murder to get notice, if that was the intention in the first place. Every year, Florida prosecutors unnecessarily direct file thousands of children (mostly indigent, Black and Hispanic) However, the trial of Treacy is scheduled to begin in a few months, January 2012,therefore, the state still has time to reconsider its decision to charge this young victim as an adult. It is important for the prosecutors to remember they are dealing with two victims. Treacy's injuries were just as traumatic as those of his victim.The only difference his injuries were internal, therefore, much more difficult to see. Hopefully, the justice system will attempt to address all the victims in this case and dont continue to victimize the victim. By Queen Brown Community Activist Queenb2020@bellsouth.net