Friday, February 13, 2009

9-Year-Old Killer Set to Plead

The Arizona boy who killed his father and another man is back in court these days. ABC out of Phoenix has the latest in a fascinating case that we've discussed before, here and here. In those discussions, one of our commenters said, "I do prefer a bright line rule that any kid under 10 can't be charged criminally, even as a juvenile." That was S who said that, speaking from lawyerly experience. Nevertheless, Arizona seems determined to do just that. First it was questions about the boy's competency.
The judge did not want to discuss the motion until after a competency hearing was held.

That is the hearing that would determine if the 9-year-old understands the charges against him, and if he can contribute to his own defense.

A defense expert already said the boy is incompetent and cannot be restored to competency in the time allowed by law.

We have yet to hear from the State’s expert.

While those discussions were ongoing, the plea agreement was finalized. The linked article explains in simple language that the plea agreement in this case is the type that allows the State to raise these charges again at a later time. Apparently, there's another type that would be final.

What could possibly motivate the prosecutors to do something like that? To me it seems weird to say the least. Are they that unbending when it comes to personal responsibility? Does someone have to pay for the crime? Is that the mentality?

One commenter to the ABC article suggested that it's because the prison industry is now big business and there's money to be made in sending folks to jail, like this boy when he's 18. What do you think about that? Does it sound plausible given that there seems to be en endless supply of grist for that mill?

Another commenter referred to the case as something I'd never heard before. Undaunted, I immediately went to that infallible source of vocabularic truth, The Urban Dictionary.

Indeed, if this case is anything, it is one big Goat Rope.

What's your opinion?

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