The case of Darrick Bellecourt who was charged of the second-degree murder was of a particular interest for me because this was the juvenile case. To put it more precisely, the charge of the second degree murder has been filed by the Crow Wing County attorney against the 17 year-old suspect, Darrick Bellecourt, who was arrested after shooting death of 15 year-old Zack Peterson. The attorney plans to certify and try Bellecourt as an adult. Eventually, the attorney succeeded in his effort to transfer the case to the adult court. Bellecourt was tried by the adult court and responded for the death of Peterson. In such a way, the court tried the suspect. In the course of the trial witnesses were interrogated and they provided the court with detailed information on the case and they proved that Bellecourt murdered Peterson. Eventually, Bellecourt was pled guilty and sentence to seven years term in prison. Remarkably, he was tried by the adult court and his sentence was the sentence that is normally applied to adults.
The crimes committed by juveniles traditionally evoke heat debates between specialists as well as among the public. At the same time, often court decisions are quite controversial in regard to juvenile offenders. In this regard, it is possible to refer to the case of Florida v. Tate and Florida v. King. Both cases involve juveniles, who committed murders, whereas the outcomes of the two cases are different because Tate got the life sentence whereas King brothers got seven and eight year sentences.
In fact, both cases are quite controversial, especially when they are compared to each other. The Tate case did not have any direct evidence of the guilt of Tate but the murder itself. Instead, King brothers used the bat to murder their father. In addition, Tate murdered another child, whereas King brothers murdered their own brothers.
At the same time, Tate should use the defense grounded on the occasional death of the girl. The defense should insist that the boy just played and he failed to use his physical force properly that led to the death of the girl. In such a way, the murder was rather an accident. In case of King brothers, Alex should make his brother responsible for the murder because it was his brother who ordered him to bat his father. In addition, his brother was older.
Basically, the Tate case was the first case of sentencing so young person to life. In this regard, the court ruling violates the Constitutional norm concerning the punishment that should not be cruel and unusual. In case of King brothers, the punishment is strict but basically it meets existing legal and constitutional norms.
Braithwaite, J. (1995). “Not Just Deserts. A Republican Theory of Criminal Justice.” Law and Society Review, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 765-776.
Goodnough, A. (December 11, 2003). “Youngster Given Life Term For Killing Gets New Trial,” The New York Times.
Canedy, D. (January 5, 2001). “Boy Convicted of Murder in Wrestling Death,” The New York Times
Canedy, D. (March 10, 2001). “Sentence of Life Without Parole For Boy, 13, in Murder of Girl, 6,” The New York Times