After Jory and Jeremy left Scorchers the four men followed them to their car, where they attacked and robbed them. The scene turned violent when the men shot both Jory and Jeremy at point blank range. The suspects fled in a stolen car. Jeremy was shot in the head and shoulder and later passed away. Jory, shot in the back of the head, remained in critical condition at Metro Hospital, with bullet fragments lodged in his body. Seventeen-year-old Rafael King turned himself in the next day, and the police soon arrested the other three suspects in connection with the shooting. Rafael King was the youngest of all the suspects in the case, but had a long criminal history from the time he was twelve-year-old boy. Rafael is now awaiting trial for his role in this violent incident. The question has been raised whether Rafael should be tried as an adult or be given the considerations afforded a juvenile. When making the decision as to the appropriate court to try teenagers that are under eighteen, we should consider a certain set of standards before trying them as an adult.
One of the first considerations that are examined in the case of a juvenile, potentially tried as an adult, is the type and severity of the crime. Cases that are exceptionally violent or result in a death are often the ones most likely to be sent to adult court. Children as young as 12 years old have been tried as adults in some states, and "nineteen states allow capital punishment for 16- and 17-year-olds, and more than 70 juvenile murderers are on death row" (Grace). According to Hernandez, "If a juvenile commits one of 30 felony offenses spelled out in the law, ranging from murder to witness intimidation, the law allows prosecutors to send the case to adult court" (3). This is an indication that the public is willing to lower the age requirement when a capital crime or serious offense is involved. According to Steinberg, "Most reasonable people agree that a small number of offenders should be kept out of the juvenile system because they pose a genuine threat to the safety of other juveniles, because the severity of their offense merits a relatively more severe punishment, or because their history of repeated offending bodes poorly for their ultimate rehabilitation" (1). The severity of the crime brings in several aspects and considerations. As Steinberg points out, housing a criminal that is capable of heinous violence is beyond the capability of the juvenile holding system. They are minimum-security facilities that are not designed for maximum security situations. There can be no reasonable expectation that the public will spend the millions of dollars required to overhaul the juvenile jails and make them more secure. It is more likely that they will continue to transfer these cases to adult court, where they can be housed without being a threat to the juvenile population.
While the current crime and its magnitude is a prime consideration, the juvenile criminal's prior record needs to also be examined. If there is a long history of criminal activity that includes violence, then this could be a candidate for a transfer to an adult court. The philosophy behind the juvenile court system was to provide an environment where a youthful offender could be rehabilitated and reenter society as they grew into adulthood. State laws call for juveniles to be released at the age of 18 or 21 years old, and the juvenile records are sealed. In this way, the offender is given a