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Juvenile Justice

February 03, 2003

Here's a riddle: When is someone who's not an adult really an adult? Answer: Whenever a judge and prosecutors decide he's more likely to get the death sentence ("Teen Accused in Sniper Killings to Be Tried as Adult, May Face Death," Jan. 16) or when he or she is accused of a crime that hurts the sensibility of a judge ("Teens to Be Tried as Adults in Rape," Jan. 29). I agree these crimes are severe, but either there is a juvenile court system with its own set of rules or not.

Or can it work both ways? Is "I'm sorry, your honor. She really, really looked, dressed and acted as if she were 18" now a legal defense in "adult" court?

Tom Ogden

Hollywood

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