Brandon McInerney, the alleged killer of 15 year-old Lawrence King, will be tried as an adult.
From the Ventura County Star:
Relying on past court decisions, a judge ruled Thursday that trying a 14-year-old boy accused of murder in an adult court does not violate the constitution, swatting down legal arguments raised by the boy's attorney that it was cruel and unusual punishment to do so.
'I cannot say that this is unconstitutional,' said Ventura County Superior Court Judge Douglas Daily.
This very issue caused quite a heated debate here on Bilerico when I last posted about many LGBT groups asking for McInernery to be tried as a juvenile. The comments came fast and furious on both sides of the debate...
While McInerney's lawyer has promised "not to gay bash" King in his defense of his client, it seems that many news sources are already putting King on trial.
First the Advocate ran a rather horrendous cover story that started the "was he asking for it" debate. Then Newsweek recently chimed in with its own slanted coverage about how King "used his sexuality as a weapon." The entire article was devoted to investigating King's sexuality and gender expression, with little coverage of McInerney or his past. Many were left feeling that the Newsweek story blamed King for his own death.
I feel the outrage over King's brutal murder and the ensuing coverage (and have expressed it many times here and other places). Yet I am extremely troubled with the decision to try McInerney as an adult.
I know that many do not share this viewpoint, but the courts have a juvenile system for a reason. A 14 year-old has diminished capacity and responsibility compared to an adult.
There is nothing good about this case. I am outraged over King's murder, but I have a problem getting behind trying another child as an adult. He should be punished harshly without a doubt, but that can happen while recognizing the realities of his age and cognitive abilities.
I think Queerty.com summed it up the best:
Regardless of the ultimate outcome, this shit's mad messed up. We have a dead boy and another whose life might as well be over. This is a perfect example of a homophobic culture's horrific repercussions...