Exploding the Superpredator Myth: Why Infancy is the Preadolescent's Best Defense in Juvenile Court
Lara Abigail Bazelon
Loyola Law School Los Angeles
May 1, 2000
New York University Law Review, Vol. 75, No. 159, 2000
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2012-40
This paper advocates the implementation of a reformulated infancy defense by juvenile courts. The defense would create a protective presumption for juveniles ages seven to eleven who are charged with serious offenses. This presumption would require the state to prove that the charged juvenile had both the capacity to possess and was in possession of the charged crime's requisite mens rea. The defense would grant a similar protection to juveniles over the age of eleven who could demonstrate lack of capacity sufficient to justify such a presumption. The paper desribes the development of the infancy defense and critiques the primary justifications behind its erosion, including the Rehabilitation Theory, the Procedural Policing Theory, and the Demarcation Theory. The paper analyzes the ongoing trend towards treating juveniles as miniature adults, the emphasis on punishment over rehabilitation in the modern juvenile court system, and the psychological differences between juveniles and adults relating to their capacity to form criminal intent and understand the consequences of their behavior.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: juvenile justice, juvenile offender, infancy defense
Date posted: April 5, 2011 ; Last revised: October 26, 2012
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