The article States Rethink “Adult Time for Adult Crimes” from CNN shows that at least one state out of fifty is at last facing the folly of charging minors as adults. The story centers on a teenager whose life is basically ruined because he had the audacity to pilfer a package of chewing gum from another teenager, after which some fisticuffs ensued. Was that a nice thing to do? No, clearly. At the same time, was it a “crime” worth charging him as an adult for? A pack of gum for a life? Thank god Connecticut legislators have the brains to see that such a trade is asinine.
When will Colorado legislators reach the same conclusion? Direct File was invoked 138 times in 2007. Surely, in some of those cases a serious crime had been committed, but in how many of them was the issue at hand comparable to a pack of stolen chewing gum? Teenagers oftentimes do stupid things. Mosh pits, Woodstock, drag racing, and constant texting come readily to mind. If every teenager who made a mistake were to be charged as an adult, there would be none left to eventually grow into adults. The fact of the matter is that the power to decide which crimes are felonious enough to warrant adult charges is a power that should not be lightly vested in elected officials, but rather carefully entrusted to judges whose sworn duty to uphold the standards of justice is not subject to changing political winds.