October 13, 2003

The Babykiller - There is

The Babykiller - There is so much about this story to make any rational person cringe; two weeks ago, a 14 year old girl gave birth to, and then strangled, a baby. The baby's father was a 22-year-old man who the girls parents had allowed to live in the house with them, and who'd started having sex with the girl two years ago, when she was 12 years old.

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner is seeking to try the girl as an adult. She's charging the "boyfriend" with statutory rape - which is a charge you file when people have sex with people who aren't of age to consent yet. In other words; the girl didn't have the adult faculties it takes to consent to sex, so the guy gets charged; but she's adult enough to stand trial in adult court?

The Pioneer Press' Ruben Rosario discusses the case:

No question, it's a horrible act. Who in their right mind would commit such an atrocity? This kid obviously needs help. But is adult prison the answer?"
Of course not. Society recognizes the diminished capacity defense, although it makes it appropriately hard to use. If you're not capable of rationally knowing what the problem is with a crime, it's a mitigating circumstance at least.

And who could possibly have a more diminished capacity than a girl who'd not only been raped (statutorily, anyway) for years, but did it with the tacit approval of her parents (or their negligent indolence, which any child that age will consider approval)? Can you figure out a better way to permanently warp a kid's sense of right and wrong?

If there was ever a textbook case for why we have a

  • juvenile justice system separate from the adult one, not to mention a diminished capacity defense, this is it.

    It all goes back to Susan Gaertner. The woman be Ramsey County's home-grown version of Mike Hatch, always looking for the angle to get the political headway.

    In Ramsey County, if your kid is late to school more than six times in a semester, Susan Gaertner's "Truancy Intervention Project" (Motto: "providing work for lawyers who can't get real jobs") intervenes - for the childrens' own good, of course. And if heaven forbid a parent falls behind on child support payments - Gaertner's minions are always ready to pounce. If someone should use a gun to defend his property or her life; for you, justice in Ramsey County is Susan Gaertner's sensible pump, on your throat, forever...

    ...but now, when you have a set of parents that failed to a criminal extent at the most important job they have - where's Gaertner? The parents whose negligence allowed this whole sordid incident to happen have apparently not been charged with anything.

    Gaertner is in the unenviable position of having the left as well as the right taking shots at her; her record on gun owners rights and inserting the County Attorney's office into the dumbest places makes her persona non grata among Republicans, while trying to charge this girl - no, as a conservative, I think I can get away with calling the girl a "victim" - as an adult will now offend at least some of her DFL supporters (the ones that aren't frantically trying to portray themselves as "Not Soft On Crime!", anyway).

    Posted by Mitch at October 13, 2003 06:52 AM
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