Children as young as six years old can be charged and go to juvenile court in North Carolina.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, a six-year-old boy was recently charged with injury to real property for picking a tulip from a yard at his bus stop.
Julie Boyer, the boy’s attorney, said his attention span was short, so she had him color a picture during court proceedings.
The 2020 North Carolina Tsk Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice report recommends raising the age to 12. The National Juvenile Justice Network recommends a rise to the age of 14.
“A 6-year-old … we’re talking about someone that’s in kindergarten, first grade. They don’t understand the process, they don’t understand what’s going on, they probably don’t even know their address,” Lyana Hunter of the New Hanover County public defender’s office told WECT News 6. “The earlier that you introduce a child to the criminal justice system, the higher the chances are that they will remain in the criminal justice system.”
She says the behavior that sends children into the juvenile system is better addressed in therapy.
BNC Start Your Day hosts Sharon Reed and Mike Hill discussed North Carolin’s juvenile system.
“You’re wasting tax payers dollars and your time, the boy should be in school not the court house.” – @ItsMikeHill North Carolina send 6-year-old to court for picking a tulip from a yard at his bus stop. He is on trial in juvenile court for injury to real property. #StartYourDay pic.twitter.com/LuUqxf393k
— BNC (@BNCNews) March 19, 2021