A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Comment I Was Waiting For

After my last post on the juvenile system, railing against children being able to determine sentences for other children, and incidences that used to be handled elsewhere flooding our courts, I waited for the comment.

It didn't come right away. Then, last night, it showed up. The reason the system is filled with what used to be "things kids do," appeared on my blog:

But the client, no matter how much we all hate to say this, assaulted someone. Your client hit someone. They struck the first blow. If someone had hit you, you would want some sort of revenge or justice. I agree that while parents are no longer raising their children to be as respectful as they should be, and that some parents are checking out of raising their children, but we do still need to make children understand that they will be accountable for their actions.

If the prosecutor had let your client off with no punishment, what's to stop them from hauling off and hitting the next person who teases them? Your client needs to understand that people aren't always nice, but you have to deal with what they say.

Teaching a child to hit someone who teases them just causes more fights.

Let me summarize: "we need to let our children know that if they get in fights at school, they will be arrested, jailed, sent to court, and sentenced." "If it happened to your kid, you would want it that way."

No, I wouldn't. No, we don't.

While I appreciate the honest comment, it only reaffirms that generation of adults we have out there that believe the criminal justice system is there to resolve all of our disputes, to help us with our "revenge," that "justice" exists only in courtrooms, with cops, judges, and prosecutors.

If my kid got into a fight, I'd hope it could be handled at the school level. If it couldn't, I'd teach my kid about forgiveness and second chances. This was a fight with no injuries for God sakes. Have we no ability to use these opportunities to teach our children about resolving disputes? Or should we just teach them to call 911?

I will say it again, this is our failure, not the failure of our kids.

That we as adults can't see any other way to resolve a dispute between two children says more about us, than it does about our kids.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.Share/Save/Bookmarkokdork.com rules Post to Twitter