A psychologist found a 9-year-old murder suspect incompetent to stand trial and determined the boy's age and intelligence keep him from understanding the premeditated murder charges he faces, the boy's defense lawyer said.
The mental health expert nominated by the defense also said the boy could not be restored to competency within the time allowed by law, attorney Benjamin Brewer said this week.
When discussing this case before, here and here, I think just about everyone was in agreement that the police did not conduct themselves properly and that something was wrong with prosecutors talking about premeditated murder in a case like this. There were those, of course, who commented about the accountability that must always follow one's actions, even one as young as this.
My own observation is that in this recent report which very well may lead to dropping the charges and getting the boy the help he needs, there still seems to be some kind of stubborn reluctance on the part of arresting officers and prosecutors to recognize the ridiculousness of charging a child in this manner.
Prosecutor Brad Carlyon said he expects the case to either go to trial or end with a plea deal by March or April, unless the boy is found incompetent with a chance of rehabilitation. That could delay the case by months while efforts are made to restore him to competency.
I offer a big hat tip to the Preaching to the Choir site for her common sense views. Sarah said, "this case might soon get out of the criminal justice system and the child can get into the kinds of therapy and social support programs that might really be able to address his needs." I could not agree more.
What's your opinion? Is 10 years of age a good point at which to consider kids responsible for their actions? What do we do with the younger ones? Is it possible for a young kid to commit acts of violence and not have had violence done to him first? In other words, is there such a thing as a bad seed, a kid from a fairly normal family who just goes bad?
What do you think?