Wrongful convictions, child murders and the unfair sentencings of our American Justice system

Julia James, Staff Writer

I think it is fair to say that our justice system isn’t as proficient, as moral or as good as it should be. These problems stem from racism, ignorance and inefficiency, and truthfully it’s both equally a little embarrassing and a little alarming that such an important system is so heavily flawed. We hear the stories of people being locked up for 30  years, only to be released when it becomes known that a mistake had been made and that he/she was actually innocent. We hear the stories of a man committing a minor crime and being sentenced to seven  years, and another man who  committed a major crime but only got three. It’s baffling at times to hear about such disgusting crimes that people commit and its equally baffling to learn about the level of unjust sentences, punishments and outcomes of particular cases. Truthfully I can’t say I’m fighting for the criminals who have committed terrible crimes; I think I’m more so a proponent of calling out the flaws of our criminal justice system.

This op-ed  was initially supposed to be about a murder case, in which a 9 year old boy was charged for murder as an adult. I was then supposed to go into detail and share my opinions on the matter of charging children as adults. When I went to conduct  research on the topic of children murders however, most of the stories ended up with the same story. The young child committed the murder, the parent was held responsible for the child’s actions and was therefore charged for the murder. Most states don’t allow criminal charges to be made against children so young. Police officers, and others involved in these cases, are sometimes proponents for charging these child murders as adults but that rarely ends up the case.

Murder, as we know, is one of the most evil acts a person can commit. It’s wrong, terrible and frightening no matter the age. But if the act of killing is done by a child, something that we often see as innocent and pure, then, suddenly, the act becomes even more frightening and confusing. Its fair to say that we, as a society, like to make up an excuse, fabricate a reason behind someone’s terrible act. We like to think “he must be crazy if he stabbed his mother to death.” “Maybe it was an accident” is also not uncommon thought. There;s also “if he’s committing murders as a child, imagine what he would do as an adult”. Do I personally believe that children should be tried as an adult though? No. Children are not at the same mental capacities as adults, and charging them as one doesn’t make sense.

There are a lot of evil people in this world, who do a lot of terrible acts. Children, I do believe, there’s always hope for. But beyond children murderers and unfair sentencing and wrongly convicted people, something must be done about the way our justice system is run.