Saturday, November 08, 2008

Mens rea and child murderers

In criminal law, a criminal intent (or mens rea) is typically required for criminal liability.

A boy in Arizona recently killed his father and a boarder with a rifle. |AP|CNN|

First, police don't press charges, only a prosecutor does. Second, I wonder if an eight-year-old could possess the mental state necessary for a double murder.

People UK has more information here including some other recent murders/accidents involving children:

Seven years ago, 12-year old Lionel Tate was jailed for life for murder after a jury decided he beat to death a girl of six he was baby-sitting in Florida.

He was freed on appeal in 2004 and given ten years' probation...

A boy of 13 killed his mum last week as he moved a car at their South Carolina home.

In September a lad of seven killed a pal while playing with a golf club in Detroit.

A boy of four shot dead his gun collector dad when a weapon went off accidentally in California last year...

In Britain, baby Rashid Rullah died after being shot accidentally by his five-year-old sister in their Birmingham garden in September.

|Boy of 8 murders dad & pal - People UK|

Weapons are inherently dangerous and firearms are incredibly lethal, danger is their utility and their threat.

Children, on the other hand, are typically benign but bear watching.

The lesson I take away from this most recent story is that (if you own guns) it's smart to have a gun lock or gun safe and keep your guns (and/or ammo) there.

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