A persistent controversy in criminal justice involves determining the age at which a juvenile should be held accountable for his or her actions. With this context in mind, respond to the following questions:

  • What factors influence an adolescent’s maturity and ethical development? Explain and provide appropriate reasoning for your answer.
  • Should there be an across-the-board age limit that defines the border between the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems? Or should it vary on a case-by-case basis? Explain your reasoning.
  • The 2005 Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons represented a turning point in juvenile justice in the United States. Significantly, the majority opinion even referred to international opinion in the explanation of the justices’ reasoning. Should “international opinion” influence the decisions of the US Supreme Court? Why or why not?
  • Choose another country and research its procedural law regarding juvenile offenders. Summarize for the class how the country you chose prosecutes and punishes (or treats) juvenile offenders. Are there any aspects of the other country’s procedures that could improve the US system? Explain.

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