Should we consider criminal records commited by minors?

The recent Kavanaugh confirmation hearing calls into question our current practice of dismissing the things kids do, including criminal offenses, as childhood stupidity, by sealing their records and giving them a fresh start when they hit 18.  We generally presume minors personalities, morals and life experiences have not matured enough for them to make good decisions up to that point and that is why they can't be responsible for themselves, or enter into binding contracts on their own.


There have been exceptions made for children who committed horrendous crimes, usually gruesome multiple murders, and now half the country wants to make another exception for Kavanaugh because they believe the crime he is accused of committing as a minor, is so horrendous that it should be held against him for he rest of his life.  Is that fair? 


I checked the statistics, about half our kids drink and half have sex before graduating high school and almost half the women who report being sexual assault victims say it happened to them as minors.  If we were to consider all the other types of crimes minors commit we might discover way over half of us would have hard time getting a job because of what we did as minors.  I'm sure that number would go even higher if we could count all the stupid things we didn't get caught doing.  Have we lowered the bar too much?  Would we want that same standard applied to us, our families and friends?


The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 30, 2018 - 11:27am
No, we would not want or allow the same standard to be applied to ourselves. This is orchestrated as an intimidation tactic to warn any who dare to oppose the "resistance". This takes on the same farcical quality of the old Monty Python sketch where Michael Palin plays the oily, Cockney tough in pin stripes paying a visit to the army base....
Nice army base you've got 'ere. Be a shame if somethin' should 'appen to it, no wha' I mean?
There should be an equally exhaustive background check of the accuser. Except that it would reveal much that the people behind this circus would never want known. I have the certainty that this is a case where I will be able to proclaim LOUDLY..... I told you so
opher goodwin Added Sep 30, 2018 - 11:44am
Riley - I think crimes committed by minors should be prosecuted. Women, or men come to that, should not be subjected to abuse and the perpetrators get away with it. They should be held to account.
For far too long women have been silent and put up with abuse from men.
I'm all in favour of sex and would not wish to spoil the excitement of that period of discovery in youth. But that should be mutual and consensual. There is no excuse for coercion or abuse. That is a crime.
Having said that I think once you've paid it shouldn't count against you for life.
In terms of Kavanaugh - from what I've heard he was a sleazy abuser. He should have been prosecuted long ago. But in law he is innocent until proven guilty.
Anti-Limey Added Sep 30, 2018 - 12:08pm
I would hope that whoever sits on the highest court in the land would be squeaky clean and totally free of the slightest suggestion of what they call moral turpitude. However, to answer the question, I would have to say no.
Dino Manalis Added Sep 30, 2018 - 12:18pm
 It depends on age; crime; and ability to change behavior.
Jeff Jackson Added Sep 30, 2018 - 12:30pm
Riley, only in exceptional cases such as murder with depraved indifference are children treated as adults by the law. Most criminal records are erased and the young citizen gets a new shot at life when they turn eighteen, with none of the former crimes admissible, with some exceptions. You are correct, most young people have some exposure to certain adult things well before they turn eighteen. To wait thirty years and then accuse them, any of them, is denial of a fair trial, because, if the testimony is "she said, he said" the best you can get is a stalemate. Somewhere along the line, this method of justice became guilty until proven innocent. It is the other way around. Unless guilt can be proven, irrevocably, the accused is innocent.
opher goodwin Added Sep 30, 2018 - 1:05pm
Jeff - I think Kavanaugh was over 18 when he committed his 'crimes' - if they were crimes - wasn't he? Wasn't he at college where his friends said he was going out getting drunk and abusing women?
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 30, 2018 - 3:14pm
Riley, at 18 the personality is set and morals are set unless a life changing experience happens such as a being on a battle field where you see your team mates die and you kill. The death of love ones. Near death experience. An injury that effects your functions.
Teenagers and young people ~ under 25 do not before acting think of the possible consequences of their actions. "They think they will live forever" is a statement applied to them. Not that they are not capable of determining the possible consequences of their actions, but it doesn't come second nature. When it is second nature they are mature.
Youth that commit horrendous crimes have in every situation I remember had to do some planing which means they had time to reflect and should have determined the possible consequences since the horrendous crime should have violated societies common laws which are often called morals. They should have fully develop adult moral codes.  Criminals do not.

"Exception for Kavanaugh" don't you need a crime? This is THEY said she said. Since she identified four people were involve or fully aware. Ford has not put forth one shred of evidence and the three other of her choosing said IT DIDN'T HAPPEN. Those Riley are the facts.
Further she said rape did not occur so even if it was just the two of them then the perception of the signals sent out by both matter. And the change in perception, looking back, can and does happen. Context changes.
We know that being thrown off the bed would not have ended a true rape. And we know that her clothing would have been torn that she could not have gone home without her parents knowing something happened.
His perception is that no rape, forced sexual happened. They were within the bounds that high school teenager believe exist while still being moral.
Both Ford and Kavanagh can be telling the truth.  Even in a he said she said, which this is NOT BUT A THEY SAID SHE SAID.  The test is actual RAPE. Which did not occur. no clothing was actually removed by choice or torn off that exposed the sexual organs. Not even close to RAPE.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 30, 2018 - 3:24pm
I obviously made up his reaction since THEY SAID IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.   So I created the scenario above from her situation but trying to look at it from his persepective.   This is a made up story.
Riley Brown Added Sep 30, 2018 - 4:19pm
In the case you bring up, Thomas, Kavanaugh's accuser is not sure about the year but on the outside edge puts her age at 15 and his at 17.  Both might have been a year or two younger at the time of the incident and I am still unaware that there is any real evidence proving he really is the person she remembers.
In the US anyone under 18 is considered a minor and criminal records for minors are discarded when they turn 18.
Even if police had been called, perhaps because neighbors suspected children were holding a party in their parents absence, and there was under age drinking going on, they wouldn't have done anything about a report of grouping, unless rape or statutory rape was alleged.  Back then they would have told everyone to go home, and if someone disrespected them, or wanted to report something like attempted rape, or possibly groping, called their parents and made them pick them up.  Most kids that age, especially girls wouldn't want that to happen because Mom and Dad would be very mad at them for sneaking off to an unsupervised drinking party with boys and girls present.
Bottom line, if Kavanaugh did just what is alleged, and his accuser called the police, Kavanaugh still wouldn't have been charged with a crime, Teen age boys who grope girls are just far too common for the police to bother with unless someone really presses the issue.
So even at worst, Kavanaugh would have a clean criminal record as an adult, thus the forum topic, does anything kids do short of murder or real rape rise to a level where we'd want to ruin the rest of their lives because of their stupidity as a minor?
Riley Brown Added Sep 30, 2018 - 4:24pm
Burghal, I do think poor Kavanaugh is being held to a much higher standard than most of his accusers could claim to have met personally, especially when they reach back into stupid things they did as a minor.
I certainly have a few skeletons in my closet and would be appalled if someone tried to imply the stupid things I did as a kid say anything about me now.  I like to think I learned a few lessons the hard way.
John Minehan Added Sep 30, 2018 - 4:25pm
Well, this particular example does not involve a criminal charge.  The controversy deals with conduct that may be disqualifying for serving as an Associate Justice  of the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Kavanagh does not face the loss of liberty, because he does not face a criminal charge.  Judge Kavanagh does not face the loss of a property interest since he does not currently hold the position.
Given the nature of the controversy, Justice Kavanagh is getting the process he is due, what Justice Brennan called "some kind of hearing."
As their are allegations that Judge Kavanagh may have continued after the age of majority and since the issue is not a criminal charge, his age at the time of the alleged events with Dr. Ford is less relevant.
Arguably, the whole matter might better have been investigated in a closed hearing.    
Riley Brown Added Sep 30, 2018 - 4:33pm
Michael B, one thing I noticed is that people rarely turn out to be what those who knew them in High School expected them to turn into based on their actions up to that time.
The people who become Valedictorians are always presumed to be headed to fantastic glory as adults, but for most that high honor usually marks the high point of their lives.  Few ever become the innovative icons we all look up to.  On the other hand the people who grow up to become the heads of places like Microsoft and Google, rarely did well as minors, most were malcontents and screw-ups in school.  Kavanaugh might make a good example of someone who was one kind of person as a minor and another as an adult.
Limiting any occupation to people who grew up squeaky clean might do nothing more than limit the pool of potential applicants to a small handful of people who are either not very normal, or possibly just lucky. 
I do consider a person's reputation, but would never hold a wild youth against a mature adult.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 30, 2018 - 5:01pm
Riley you put it in perspective yourself, "Bottom line, if Kavanaugh did just what is alleged, and his accuser called the police, Kavanaugh still wouldn't have been charged with a crime, Teen age boys who grope girls are just far too common for the police to bother with unless someone really presses the issue."
And you forgot that it is not a he said she said it is a she said they said.   She included two other people.   And I didn't mention that her attorneys didn't provide the the method used to improve her memory.   They had a good reason.  
Hypnosis is not accepted method of improving memory in a court of law.   If hypnosis improved the memory of the incident itself then why didn't it improve the memory of the location, date, and how she got to the party and back home?   It does not actually improve the detail in the memory, thus the reason for not remembering the location, date, and how she came and left since she didn't retain those in her memory. 
Hypnosis does improve the certainty stated.  We know that statistic of victim's capacity to identify assailants that they do not know to them is very poor.  DNA evidence kept before it was fully develop have freed many people convicted of rape that the victim identified and was the main reason for the conviction.  Victim was was certain but the physical evidence show it to be in error.
Riley what happened to presumed innocent?  Ford doesn't have enough FACTS to remove the presumption of innocence.  That simple.  
The other two cases are even weaker.  The likelihood that young men and even women would not tell someone is negligible.  The likelihood that six back ground checks for Kavanaugh's level is also negligible.  My brother-in-law became an FBI agent and he told my father that they knew he received a few copies of the Communist news paper in the LA area.  Dad said he had a friend that was a communist that put his name on the list.  My guess is that they also know that if it was recorded. 
Tamara Wilhite Added Sep 30, 2018 - 6:18pm
Thank you for having a balanced, neutral view of this.
Riley Brown Added Sep 30, 2018 - 9:00pm
Thomas, unfortunately it is common for women who have been raped to remain silent for years, especially if they mistakenly believe they share some of the blame, so we can't jump to any conclusions because she says she didn't report the incident immediately.
Yes you are correct, in the US the we are supposed to presume innocence until a crime is proven and even if he did do what was claimed that doesn't mean he could be convicted in court if there wasn't enough solid evidence to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 
However half the country doesn't care, or more to the forum topic, they also don't seem to care that they seem to be holding Kavanaugh to a moral standard that most of them would not like to be held to themselves.
Riley Brown Added Sep 30, 2018 - 9:08pm
Tamara, I'm glad someone notices my efforts.  Like everyone else I definitely have my own opinions, but like the forums because they help me understand other opinions.
I'm in a funny position, I don't like where I think Kavanaugh would take the court on several topics, but also think it's not fair to hold him to a standard that I would not want me, my friends or family held to.
At the same time I do fear that these very partisan tactics are setting us up for horrible problems later on.  If Kavanaugh is kicked out over UN-provable allegations, there is little to stop every candidate from no on from having to face the same.  Unfortunately when you have 350 million people, you will always have a few who would be willing to stoop that low to get their way.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 30, 2018 - 10:12pm
Let me repeat Riley this is a she said they said.  And they can be brought up for perjury.  They said the do not remember anything like this happening.   The ball is in her court and she put forth nothing that is specific enough to test her statement.   We are talking about his livelihood which is as important as a criminal trial.   
Two other problems exist.  First this could have been done outside of the media.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein sat on the letter for two month and she has been in congress for decades so it was on purpose.  Second Feinstein suggested Lawyers that were democratic activist.   Also on purpose.  And we know that a Democrat leaked to the media.   
Flying Junior Added Oct 1, 2018 - 2:16am
Riley is talking about criminal records.  I think just about everybody agrees that minor offenses can be purged.  It's a good idea.
But what everybody seems to be forgetting is that at the level that Brett Kavanaugh is playing he is basically a politician.  Politics can be a dirty game.  People can't expect to be protected from their own indiscretions.  If the information is out there and someone cares enough to bring it to the light of day, public reaction will determine what happens with that information.  Relatively recently it used to be that when politicians were caught in a lascivious scandal it quite often spelled the end of their political career.  I'm sure Kavanaugh's past actually doesn't bother some people.  But I'm saying that most of this pearl-clutching is telling the world that the average Kavanaugh supporter is full of baloney.
Does anyone remember Eliot Spitzer who resigned as the mayor of New York just ten years ago after it was revealed that he was seeing call girls?
Politics is a game of glass houses.  Trump seems to be above the entire scandal thing.  It's a gift.  Others are not so lucky.
opher goodwin Added Oct 1, 2018 - 5:18am
Aren't people really missing the point here? It surely isn't about whether it has been politically contrived or even whether he should have been prosecuted for his actions or even whether those records of underage people should be expunged. It is surely about the character of the man and whether he is worthy of being in such a high position in the land.
In my view these background checks should have been much more thorough before it came to this. What his friends say about him is extremely revealing.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Oct 1, 2018 - 5:44am
Though points of inflection inform of our descent into moral decadence, we are not fully there. For good men and women still exist to stave the forces that push us to the critical point.--a point where civilization pauses its ascendancy to, as Lot sought if he could find five righteous souls to hold destruction at bay, have us find the five righteous among us to have us remain at rest and not descend into the abyss of "nomoreness."
If the balance of our civilization rests with the feather of Kavanaugh not tipping the scale, then we must ensure that the Kavanaugh seated on the argus body of the Supreme Court be blameless on all matters regarding moral turpitude. 
Lindsay Wheeler Added Oct 1, 2018 - 7:40am
Riley, good post. Gave it a "like". You make the correct observation---the lowered bar and adopting the MeToo scorched earth policy. 
As Jesus said, "He who has no sin, cast the first stone". It seems that we want "Saints", or the Left does. The Left, the Democrat party didn't care one wit about the sexual abuse by Bill Clinton---they sweeped that under the rug.  Many, many people, from high school and college have vouched for Judge Kavanaugh's character. People who have known him from high school, want him on the Supreme Court. And Senator Lindsay Graham has pointed out that this is all a scam by democrats. 
It is a very sad, sad day in America. What this is, is a powerplay to beat down men and push women into leadership positions. It's just another Marxist play. It is all very disgusting. Judge Robert Bork and Judge Clarence Thomas all went thru this. 
Koshersalaami Added Oct 1, 2018 - 8:43am
If we assume that this is primarily political, the most likely partisan cause for this was the refusal to vet the Supreme Court nominee of a sitting President in 2016. Most of which is likely to be moot, because the FBI report probably won’t show enough to keep Kavanaugh from getting confirmed. 
As to the underage issue, I’m not sure where I stand on that in a case involving a lifetime appointment involving that much authority over what happens in this country. I’m not sure uniform standards make sense at that level. They don’t for top secret security clearances. 
If I were you, I’d be more concerned about voting a guy in who thinks the President should be damned near immune from prosecution. That sounds great when it’s your guy in office. Personally, I think giving any President that much power is dangerous. Like Ken Starr’s decision to force Secret Service agents to testify on what they saw and heard, a decision that Bush 41 disagreed with at the time, precedents go in two directions. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Oct 1, 2018 - 12:02pm
Gloria Steinem established the "one-free-grope" rule when Clinton was in office. So minors get to grope.
wsucram15 Added Oct 1, 2018 - 12:42pm
Im not going to comment any further on Kavanaugh, except I agree with MichaelB.
However, my son was robbed once by a boy and his friend at a bus stop and beaten with rocks I believe for a portable cd player when he was like 11. The boys my son knew by sight but got the name of the first boy who talked immediately.  The second boy was the problem and remained so because we ended up in circuit court because he and his parents refused to show in juvenile arbitration.  They ultimately let him go but with my pull, he was expelled and then ultimately barred from Baltimore County schools.  He had to go live with an aunt on the eastern shore. The courts did nothing except force him to go to school.
 It was an ongoing problem and he was a repeat offender for a long time.
Should records be unsealed..I guess it depends on the job they are applying for, especially if it involves violence or sexual allegations and any subsequent help regarding those issues.
Thomas Sutrina Added Oct 1, 2018 - 1:54pm
Riley made this a Kavanaugh case from the beginning, but he didn't have a criminal record as a minor.  So the premise of this article is faulty.  There is nothing to release.  Ford did not create a record so she did not remove the presumption of innocence.   Telling a friend which is common among teens didn't happen. 
As I mentioned teenagers understand moral code and the rule of law.  Even an 11 year old.  Teenagers do not spent the thinking time to determine effect of an action in the process of deciding what to do.   The teen knows from the start if an action breaks his moral code and the rule of law, at least at the common law level.  Murder should be unsealed because it violates what will be recognized by a teenager.  Direct harm to an individual should be unsealed.  Such as battery with a blunt object.  The blind side knock out punch.  
What should be sealed is a fight between people where both participate.  Speeding and other traffic violations that are done commonly, not enforced is the impression.  In fact anything that teen would conclude is a moral or law that is often broken by adults.   
Sexual fore play I think would fall into not enforced but rape, with force applied would.  So a rape conviction as a minor should be released when it is appropriate for a job. 
Anti-Limey Added Oct 1, 2018 - 8:55pm
@ Riley B. - "Michael B, one thing I noticed is that people rarely turn out to be what those who knew them in High School expected them to turn into based on their actions up to that time."
That's very true. For example, I knew people in high school who were pretty much straight arrows, but a few years later, many of them were full-blown coke heads, lol. Another example is an engineer I used to work with; he was (and still is) about as straight and sober as they get. I took him target shooting with me once, and afterword, he wanted to know the process for buying a gun. After I ran down the list, he asked if they looked at juvenile records; I said usually not. I sensed there was something to that, and asked what kind of trouble he got in. I was absolutely SHOCKED (which is hard to do these days) when he ran down his list of juvenile offenses, which included a four-month stay in juvenile hall for torching his girlfriend's dad's car. He was a good example of a prodigal, lol.
Ken Added Oct 2, 2018 - 12:39am
Riley - I believe you are posting this in response to the allegations against Kavenaugh, but there is a difference.  While this alleged crime occurred while he was a minor, he was not charged while a minor. 
Unless charged as an adult of a crime, minor criminal records are sealed with very few exceptions.  If this were adjudicated 35 years ago, we would know he was convicted (if that were the result) of a felony as a minor, but it could be anything from burglary to murder.
What we are talking about here is an accusation of a crime that was allegedly committed as a minor, but coming to light 35 years later.
There is no good answer to your question.  To me, if the crime is serious enough and the child should have known that (some children 12 and younger have been tried as adults and convicted), most crimes convicted by minors should not ruin the rest of their lives.
Ward Tipton Added Oct 2, 2018 - 8:31am
 But Slick Stoagie Willie said he supported Kavanaugh didn't he? 
TexasLynn Added Oct 3, 2018 - 7:34am
Opher >> Aren't people really missing the point here? ... It is surely about the character of the man and whether he is worthy of being in such a high position in the land.
Anybody want to place odds that Opher was even remotely concerned over the allegations against Slick Willie Clinton?
And the evidence against him was 1) much more collaborated by others and 2) Included actual rape (as opposed to groping).
Again, the abject full-frontal hypocrisy of the left is exposed.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 5, 2018 - 7:18pm
If we had to "burn the woman to save Kavanaugh," wouldn't you be in favor of that, TraitorLynn?  If you answer yes, we can talk about some rightist's hypocrisy.  Guess whose?
Thomas Sutrina Added Oct 5, 2018 - 8:55pm
Senator Collins said that we need to listen to and believe women but that the principle of 'innocent until proved guilt' applies beyond a court of law.  It applies to the capacity of earning a living and I am sure to access to establishments. 
Dr. Ford has not proved that Brett Kavanaugh is the assent.  That doesn't mean Senator Collins doesn't think that Dr. Ford was assaulted. 
Riley Brown Added Oct 7, 2018 - 10:02am
Thomas, if an unverifiable allegation of bad behavior from 36 years ago was allowed to disqualify Kavanaugh then I would expect the same to happen with every future candidate.
There are 350 million people in the US and when spectacular murders are committed the police always get "confessions" from people who had nothing to do with the crime.  How can we ever expect that there won't be a few who would be willing to do what Dr. Ford might have done to Kavanaugh, so they could prevent someone else from becoming the next Supreme Court Justice.