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Charging minor as adult is tough call

This week, teen reporters asked their fellow students, "At what age should a young person be tried as an adult for a crime?"

"You shouldn't be charged at 12 for committing murder as an adult, because, in our legal system, 18 is when you actually become a legal adult, so why can't the courts just follow that?" — Cameron Forrey, senior, Bountiful High School

"I think that once they make a law, there should be no exceptions. If someone is not a legal adult, they should not be tried as one under any circumstances." — Robin Risenmay, junior, Skyline High School

"I think 12 in this particular case is just fine. You know right from wrong at this time, I assume most people do. Whether or not you lack common sense is your own problem. You just don't go around killing people, so whether you're 18 or 12 you should be tried as an adult." — Stacy Moss, senior, Bountiful

"(You should be tried at) 16, because then you know when it's right or wrong. The difference (between 15 and 16) is they have more knowledge. . . . That's a hard question, but a good question." — Colt Black, junior, Bountiful

"I think 17 is the age. I think that by then you are old enough to know exactly what you're doing. There should maybe be exceptions for 15- or 16-year-olds who commit a major crime, but any younger than that should still be considered and tried as a juvenile." — Jared Daniels, sophomore, Skyline

"A 12-year-old doesn't know the difference between killing somebody or just getting revenge." — Mindy Dewaal, junior, Bountiful

"I think 15 is the right age because then they know what's right and wrong and they can make decisions for themselves; they are more mature (than 14-year-olds) and they know what's going on in the world more." — Ben Eggett, junior, Bountiful


Kathy Moss is a senior at Bountiful High School and Brinn Bagley is a junior at Skyline High School. If you are a high school student in Utah and have an opinion on this topic please send an e-mail to pulse@desnews.com or write to the Deseret News, attention: Susan Whitney.