and Detention: Should There Be a Minimum Age Limit for
Juvenile Delinquency in Utah?” provided a solution in
search of a problem.
title of the article suggests that babies could be placed in
detention. No, R574 is clear: children twelve and older can
only be placed in detention for serious misdemeanor level
offenses and for felony level offenses, and children ten and
older can only be placed in detention for serious felony
level offenses or attempts. No one under ten is going to
detention on delinquency charges, and few children under
twelve. Moreover, detention stays are statutorily quite
limited in time.
bulk of the article says that children can be referred to
juvenile court for delinquency prosecution at any age, even
as newborns. That is not true either. There is a lower limit
on prosecution, it’s mens rea. A young child
can’t formulate it, which is why a young child
can’t be prosecuted.
of the states listed in the article that have a minimum age
makes clear that those states are in a minority. A review of
the U.S. Supreme Court case law cited in the article does not
even suggest in dicta that the U.S. Constitution contains a
minimum age limit for either nonjudicial or judicial
resolution, and a reading of...