Was the Delaware County Daily Times trying to bait me with their front page on Friday? … “Teen Charged as an Adult”
They know that’s my hot button. They know I’ve often asked why so many teens of color aren’t charged as juveniles and must face the much harsher adult punishment process. They know I’ve yet to get a straight answer how that decision is made although most fingers point straight to the Delaware County District Attorney using his discretion to make that call.
In the ‘Interboro Student Charged as Adult in Parking Lot Melee’ story in Friday’s paper a student was actually charged as a juvenile and the DA stepped in and changed the charges, even before the adjudication hearing.
Here’s how the Daily Times puts it…
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said Wednesday that after reviewing the facts of the case, as well as the video, he authorized initial charges against Shawn W. George be upgraded to adult status. The teen had been in custody at the Delaware County Juvenile Detention facility in Lima pending an adjudication hearing, according to Whelan.
We learned from a case earlier this year in that a kid in Chester County was charged as juvenile after gagging an older lady and locking her in the closet for 4 days. It took a request for a hearing and a judges decision to move that case to adult court.
Here in Delaware County, youth don’t seem to be afforded that part of the process.
Is it that the Delaware County District Attorney doesn’t trust the juvenile justice process? Is he on a power trip? Is this a ‘tough on crime’ stance? Why does he consistently usurp the process? Or, is he the process?
Based on his record in this circumstances it’s easy to conclude that he just doesn’t like kids. However, he’s the same guy who came to the rescue of the Chester Panthers Youth Football organization when the City of Chester couldn’t keep their promise to pay for the trophies at their annual banquet this year. The DA was approached and without blinking an eye told them to go shopping and send him the invoice.
He was invited to attend the banquet where the organization recognized his generosity with an award.
I hope someone told those teens to take a good look at that man. If you so much as commit the most stupid of crimes, that man has the power to lock you up for a very long time without the benefit of being treated like the teen that you are.
If the teens didn’t get that warning, there’s a chance the DA was looking at them thinking there was a few among them that he may be deciding on the fate in the near future.
I’m not saying the DA is a bad guy. I just think allowing any person the power to bypass the entire juvenile system just because he can is not a fair process. Our current DA is not the first to have done it and unless people learn how to vote, he won’t be the last.