Criminalizing Youth
Home Consider This Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track Kids as Adults


11/09/08 A father's plea: "Help free my son from Florida!"
Visit FreeKeenan's Blog I Interview with Keenan in May 2009

Dissemination of Juvenile Records in the Possession of FDLE June 7, 2005

01/12/07 Boy, 7, arrested after throwing backpack
St. Petersburg Times

10/22/04 11-year-old charged with sex battery [Link unavailable]
Hernando Today

SPRING HILL - An 11-year-old boy is charged with two counts of sexual battery after he was accused of molesting a 4-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl. James Pegg of 350 Upland Road faces charges of sexual battery on a child under the age of 12. Pegg is a fifth-grader at West Side Elementary School, authorities said. An affidavit said during interviews both girls told police Pegg used a plastic bulb to insert into their private parts. A witness told police that in July he found Pegg and the victims in a closet, wearing only underwear and a shirt. The witness told police the girls looked scared, the affidavit said. When Pegg was interviewed, he said he did not do anything and did not want to speak to investigators. He was turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.


10/06/04 Police arrest boy after scuffle (8-year-old handcuffed, charged with battery)
James L. Rosica, Tallahassee Democrat

It was a typical scuffle between two youngsters - some name-calling, a slap on the face, a punch to the stomach. After it was over, however, Tallahassee police handcuffed the 8-year-old boy who picked the fight and took him to a juvenile facility Monday night, charging him with misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief. But the boy's arrest raises the usual questions about arresting kids, including: At what age is there criminal intent?


05/14/04 Teen facing threat charge
Shannon Tan, St. Petersburg Times

Officials say a former Largo Middle student discussed shooting the school resource officer and blowing things up.

Cathy Corry, a Clearwater resident who founded to advocate juvenile justice issues, said officials should not have treated the incident as a crime. "It's the criminalizing of adolescent misdeeds," she said.


04/09/04 Girl, 9, arrested in bunny snatching
Steve Thompson, St. Petersburg Times
The girl, who began to cry during questioning, admitted taking Oreo the rabbit but denied taking two $5 bills and some change, according to a Sheriff's Office report.
Asked Thursday whether such an arrest is standard procedure, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll responded: "To arrest burglars? Sure."
A more common approach, said Pasco-Pinellas Public Defender Bob Dillinger, would be for the deputy to have taken a report and referred the charges to the state attorney. "There's just a lot of other things you can do with a third-grader," he said. "There are alternatives other than a simple arrest.

04/10/04 Girl recounts her frightening arrest
Steve Thompson, Pasco County Edition, St. Petersburg Times

Stephanie Jefferson, 9, watched nervously as the judge asked each of the other juveniles ahead of her if they wanted a lawyer. "Should I say yes or no?" Stephanie asked her mother, Star Spearel. "Well," her mom responded, "did you take the rabbit?" "Yes," Stephanie replied. "Then you don't need a lawyer," her mother said.

04/10/04 No matter the age, stealing is wrong
Barbara Fredricksen, Pasco County Column, St. Petersburg Times

Please forgive me if I'm less than sympathetic to the 9-year-old girl who is accused of going into a neighbor's house to steal a child's pet rabbit and grab a fistful of cash.


03/25/04 When did 'boy talk' become a crime?
Cathy Corry, Letters to the Editor, St. Petersburg Times

Re: Gun talk sparks inquiry of pupils, story, March 20.

Thank you for writing about our children who aren't allowed to be youthfully stupid anymore for fear of getting arrested. Adolescent misdeeds and youthful indiscretions are no longer allowed to be a part of the growth process. Children, you must act like adults and talk like adults.

Oh, so sorry, but you are not mature enough to vote or be a juror or drink alcohol.

Incredible that the two students at Largo Middle School could face criminal charges for talking in a classroom about the Columbine shootings. Nowhere did your article reference an actual crime that was committed. What criminal charge might these two young boys face? The police and state attorney have had more than a week to pore over the Florida statutes to figure out how this "talking" constitutes an actual crime. They will surely dream up a criminal charge so these boys can be raked through the injustices of the corrupt judicial system.

No doubt at all, this "boy talk" is extremely disturbing and needs to be seriously addressed by the school, the community and the families of the boys. But, a crime?


03/24/04 Plant City teacher kills baby rabbits in front of class
Associated Press, Daytona Beach News-Journal

A teenager would be arrested for the act described in this article...

"But Jane Bender [a Plant City teacher] won't face criminal charges for killing the sickly rabbits..."


03/24/04 Mother sues principal who held toy gun to son's neck
Associated Press, Daytona Beach News-Journal

In police interviews, [principal] Samore, 49, said he wasn't was trying to frighten the student but wanted to "illustrate to him that even toy guns scare people."