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At What Age Are You Responsible for Your Actions?

Part 1
A persistent controversy in criminal justice involves determining the age at which a juvenile should be held accountable for his or her actions.

- What factors influence an adolescent's maturity and ethical development? Explain and provide appropriate reasoning for your answer.

- Should there be an across-the-board age limit that defines the border between the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems? Or should it vary on a case-by-case basis? Explain your reasoning.

Part 2
The 2005 Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons represented a turning point in juvenile justice in the United States. Significantly, the majority opinion even referred to international opinion in the explanation of the justices' reasoning.

- Should "international opinion" influence the decisions of the US Supreme Court? Why or why not?
- Choose another country and research its procedural law regarding juvenile offenders. Summarize how the country you chose prosecutes and punishes (or treats) juvenile offenders. Are there any aspects of the other country's procedures that could improve the US system? Explain.

Solution Preview

Part 1
- What factors influence an adolescent's maturity and ethical development? Explain and provide appropriate reasoning for your answer.

Factors such as a brain that isn't fully developed affect the ethical and maturity levels of juveniles. Juveniles make rash decisions without thinking of the potential consequences or long term impact of their decisions because their brains are not like adults. Therefore, when juveniles commit crimes they are working on impulse instead of rational decision-making akin to that of an adult.

- Should there be an across-the-board age limit that defines the border between the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems? Or should it vary on a case-by-case basis? Explain your ...

Solution Summary

The age you are responsible for your own actions are determined.

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