Action Involving Johnny's Behavior

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Juvenile Justice for Johnny In the interest of full disclosure, I have to acknowledge a significant personal bias before discussing what I would do as a judge in this scenario. I simply do not see this as a serious offense. I do not think that stealing candy bars is a gateway to serious criminal behavior. In fact, I believe that this type of low-level criminal behavior is something that most children exhibit at some point in time. While a twelve year old is certainly old enough to appreciate that this behavior is inappropriate, there is also substantial evidence suggesting that a twelve year old's impulse control is not nearly as developed as an adult's. Therefore, while I would do my job as a judge and determine a sentence for the child, I have to admit that I would find it an incredible waste of resources to spend the time and effort to prosecute a 12 year old over two stolen candy bars. A much more appropriate scenario would have been for this to be handled between the store and the child, with the child having to work off, not only the cost of his theft, but also punitive costs, by performing work for the store owner. That would have offered retribution to the store owner, punishment for the child, and a lesson about stealing, without providing the stigma of criminalization to a child stealing candy bars. Despite my personal reservations about the criminal justice system taking any action involving Johnny's behavior, I do understand that he committed a criminal act

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