How young is too young to charge a child with murder

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by KristyHall, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. KristyHall

    KristyHall Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 27, 2011
    North Alabama
    This five year old is being charged with murder?

    When is the magic age that crossed the line from child to adult?

    I am reading this article about a five year old drowning a toddler to stop the toddler from crying (PM me for link as the story is graphic)

    It boggles my mind that they're considering charging the girl with murder.

    What about the teenager that was suppose to be watching them? Where was the supervision?
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    I believe that child has probably always been a problem and his parent knew it and were hoping he would change. That a 5 year old can even KNOW to fill a tub and hold the baby under water and for how long shows a diabolical mind, no matter the age. I am sure Jeffrey Dahmer and the like were also kids like that.

    I think an institution would better serve the insane rather than a prison though.
  3. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Not sure if I agree with Debi. I'm a bit torn on this, but I agree with the articles' statement that a 5 year old isn't capable of full intent and the ramifications of what she was doing. I think she was trying to quiet the baby, not kill the baby. I think prison would of course be ridiculous. I don't even think she needs to be institutionalized. I think she needs to go to therapy, but I just can't see putting a 5 year old away for something like this. It's tragic, but I really doubt the child had any diabolical intent.
  4. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2010
    Albany,, Wisconsin
    A five year old!!!! what???? Are they crazy?? What happened to the person who was supposed to be in charge?????
    Even my 11 year old brother does not have the maturity to take responsabitity for his actions (he is bi-polar and ADD), there have been several incidents where he did stupid stuff to put both my 7 year old son and himself in danger, hence he is not allowed to be alone with him. But we as adults take responsability.

    I depends on the individual maturity. My seven year old is more mature than my brother, I know a couple of 13 year olds who have more maturity than the college kids I go to school with. But most any child under 12 does not have the fort thought to realize what they are doing could kill, or any real concept of death.
  5. bufforp89

    bufforp89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Chenango Forks NY
    I think that prison or an institution would also be unnessacary at 5. Maybe just some heavy, heavy therapy. She had to know somewhat what she was doing.
  6. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    It can be a hard question to answer. I find that America is not very well versed in various mental illnesses/abnormalities in children or adults. I would guess that the child in question is a sociopath/psychopath/someone with antisocial disorder. It depends who you ask on what term you use, which I also think shows our lack of understanding these issues. Sociopathy is a case where the person understands the culturally defined right versus wrong, but lacks normal physiological responses such as stress and guilt, and they consciously can choose to do wrong (compared to say, a schizophrenic who may have no real grasp on reality). Sociopathy is rarer in that all the signs are there in young children, and environment does not determine it. You can be the most loving parent in the world and still have a sociopathic child...a common misconception is that abuse causes this. The two movies I've seen that probably cover this more realistically are "Bad Seed" (controversial in a culture that maintains that children are "pure innocence" and blank has a cheesy 50s ending to try to minimize the shock), and "Honeymoon killers" which is based on a true story and is the most dead on portrayal of a sociopath I've seen. Met a woman in college who was a textbook sociopath and almost a replica of the woman in the movie. She also demanded no one swear (though they will during rages and do much worse than was covered a bit in the character in a movie called "Misery", but the character was more a fantasy blend of disorders), and joining charity groups for appearances. I recommend for anyone to research all they can on mental health and personality disorders for better understanding of themselves, others, and why some people do what they do. I do think if we're going to have a separation between charging children and adults, it should stand in every case, but I don't fully understand the process or reasoning.
  7. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:I'm very aware of the nature of a Sociopath, as my own brother is truly a sociopath. However, I doubt this child is a sociopath. What I think she is, is FIVE. She's 5 years old. Five year old children can't fully understand the consequences of their actions at that young age. They often believe people who die simply "went to sleep" and are often even told this by the adults in their lives. I just don't see how we can make diagnoses, evil accusations, etc on a FIVE YEAR OLD. They usually can't even spell the word "murder", never mind comprehend the ramifications of it.
  8. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I think, developmentally, most five-year-olds do not understand death. They don't understand that it is permanent and that the people are gone forever. So, no you don't charge a five-year-old with murder.
  9. newfoundland

    newfoundland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2010
    I think that many experts agree that the age of reason, when a child can be said to understand cause and effect, is generally around seven years old. Many of course would disagree and say it was later than this. I think most countries probably have a minimum age below which a child cannot be held criminally responsible. In UK this is 10 years old. Some years ago there was a case where two young boys of 9 and 10 abducted a toddler and killed him. They were tried in a private court and sentenced to be detained in a secure unit until the authorities deemed them fit to be released on license. One was recently released and soon re-offended. He was found to have child porn material and was sent back to prison.
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Gee... I can't say I remember much before the age of 5. My first memories are probably around there. Remember drawing a picture of my cat for the teacher, forgetting where my assigned seat was, being too short to see the front of the class... I don't think I really understood much of anything at 5 years old. Doubt this kid understands what they did at all even if the kid said they did it on purpose. I am told when I was 2/3, I was so jealous with my brother, I had managed to take down the side of what was my crib and had almost rolled him out of it... but my parents caught me in the act. The biggest q of this would be the choice of responsible parties...

    Even if they have no idea what they did now, when the kid becomes sentient, they will probably understand and forever have to deal with issues on what they did as a child, and that in it self may lead them down a less desirable path.

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