Court rules teen can be tried as adult for murder he allegedly committed when he was 14

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that Ernest Watkins IV, charged with first-degree murder for a fatal Fields Corner stabbing in 2012, can be tried as an adult.

Watkins had sought to be tried in juvenile court, which cannot impose a life sentence. A Superior Court judge denied his motion. The Supreme Judicial Court said the case raised no double-jeopardy questions and that Watkins can be tried as an adult under a state law that sets 14 as the minimum age for adult murder cases.

The court said that if Watkins doesn't like the verdict he gets - he faces life - then he can appeal.

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    Comments

    Good SJC ruling for a change

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    As I've stated in other posts, the principal factor in determining how to try a person should be the severity of the crime the suspect is charged with.

    However, I don't like that bit about "The court said if he doesn't like the verdict, he can appeal."

    Last thing we need is judges encouraging frivilous appeals.

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    He always had the right to appeal

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    The SJC is only saying that the venue is proper for the case. All they did was sidestep the issue of whether or not being charged as an adult was proper. My gut is that they think it is okay, as there is a body of law that says so. However, they cannot keep an appeal after the trial from coming before them.

    It's like when petitioners get to the SJC claiming a summary judgment. If they say no, all it means is that the case goes to trial. This case is going to trial, and the trial will be in Superior Court. If he gets found not guilty, all ends.

    I have no problem with a person

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    appealing a guilty verdict based on newly discovered evidence that establishes innocence, or evidence that was not possible to be presented at the original trial.

    However, I have a huge problem with appeals based on "I was found guilty, but I think it was unfair because I was only 14 when the crime occurred", or " I was found guilty, but it was unfair because I hired a klutz of a defense lawyer", or "My lawyer chose not to object to a prosecution statement or motion at the original trial - give me an appeal." type BS arguments.

    So, no one should be able to

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    So, no one should be able to appeal if they believe the law was misapplied? I'm really glad I don't live under your imagined justice system.

    no, 14 year olds are not

    14 year olds are not adults. they're considered so undeveloped that they can't even own a contract for a cellphone.

    there is a reason that there are so many protections under the law for minors. sex is an 'adult act' too, would you perform it with a willing 14 year old?

    i hope not

    if 14 year olds are adults, they should be treated with the same respect as such then. i hope you're also a proponent for 14 year olds to have drivers licenses, conceal carry permits, and join the armed forces. as well as drop out of school.

    14 year olds are so undeveloped that it is illegal for them to not attend school.

    not adults.

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    ok actually you're right,

    ok actually you're right, good point. i think that when you have reached the new age of majority (13 sounds good) that you should just simply be considered an adult for all legal purposes.

    i retract my earlier assertions

    Not adults,but

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    They are supposed to know right from wrong. The age of reason is 7.

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    Except we are not

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    talking about cellphone contracts, or sex, or drivers licenses, military service, or the like. We're talking about stabbing and killing another human being. In other words, MURDER.

    Instilling the message that that is not normal "juvenile" behavior, and will have serious concequences for those who do it and get caught, should be far more important than continuing to support a broken justice system that continues to accept excuses to justify said behavior. If anything, that should be engrained at a far eariler age than allowing a person to own a cellphone.

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    no, you're absolutely right.

    no, you're absolutely right. the only time children should be considered legal adults is if they're willing to commit a crime that they obviously understand the full weight of emotionally (both to themselves, and the family of victims) and physically, as well as understanding the consequences of their actions.

    i know a fair amount of 14 year olds that are able to conceptualize the full spectrum of consequences of their actions the same way that a 30 year old might. as i said, it was a silly argument to make on my part to begin with.

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    Probably Both Right

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    The reason we treat children differently than adults under the law is that they are deemed incapable of understanding certain things. Accordingly, we typically prevent people from doing things to children that they can not reasonably consent to. Sex, binding them in contracts, allowing them to sign up for the armed forces, etc. However, a child cannot, per se, be deemed incapable of committing a crime, because a crime necessarily depends on the mental state of the offender (i.e. their level of intent). If a child picks up a hand gun and points it at someone and pulls the trigger intending to "shoot" them but not understanding that bullets kill people and that death is permanent, they should not (and cannot under the law) be held liable for murder. However, when a child plans a murder motivated by vendetta, obtains a lethal weapon, stalks their victim, and carries out their plan, I think it is fair to say that they acted with the same intent that an adult would be deemed to have acted with, and the defense that they were incapable of the crime because they were a child fails.

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    In other countries they sure

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    In other countries they sure are. Adolescence has only been extended with increased longevity in industrialized nations in modern times.