When it comes to sentencing children for heinous criminal acts, Wisconsin may be one of the strictest in the nation. Multiple studies show that the developing teenage brain lacks the ability to form mature, rational decisions in many situations, and may be quick to engage in aggressive behaviors. Yet, Wisconsin law mandates that children 10 years of age and older who are charged with attempted homicide or homicide be tried as an adult.
This encouraged the court’s decision to try two 12-year-old girls as adults for violently attacking a ‘friend’ in Waukesha Park. The girls stated that they came up with the idea to stab the girl multiple times after persuaded by a fictional internet figure, known as Slenderman. The character was originally created as an online child stalker. One of the offenders was excited to show others that the mysterious Slenderman was actually real.
Although the girls cannot be sentenced to mandatory life without parole or given the death penalty due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to outlaw these practices in juvenile crimes, they may face up to 65 years in prison if convicted in the adult criminal system. The attorney of one offender is extremely concerned about the girl’s mental illness. He believes the young girl needs mental treatment rather than being locked away in the adult prison system for the better part of her life.
Research and history proves that teenagers are more likely to become infatuated with internet fantasy and may become enveloped in a surreal, make-believe world. When young teens are left to browse the internet unmonitored on a regular basis, they may be more susceptible to creating these dangerous ideologies. An established criminal defense lawyer may be able to lend vital knowledge to teenagers who face serious criminal charges.
Source: Twin Cities Local news, “Attorney: Wisconsin girl charged in stabbing is mentally ill,” Todd Richmond, M.L. Johnson, June 3, 2014.