- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014
Wisconsin stabbing highlights juvenile crime laws

MILWAUKEE (AP) - When two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls were charged this week with stabbing a friend nearly to death, authorities had no choice but to send them to adult court.

In more than half of the nation, kids as young as 10 are often charged as adults automatically using laws intended to crack down on gangs and guns. But the practice has been widely questioned by juvenile-crime experts, who say that research shows many young offenders pose no long-term threats to society.

Still, the author of Wisconsin’s law stands by it, and even a professor who opposes the laws acknowledges that many of the most heinous juvenile cases would be sent to adult court anyway by judges.

“What adolescent development has shown is that even expert psychologists can’t differentiate between the kids who are going to grow up and be repeat offenders, which is the exception, and kids who will outgrow their behaviors,” said Emily Keller, an attorney with the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.

The two girls told detectives the attack was an attempt to please Slenderman, a fictional character they found on a horror website. If convicted, they could be locked up for 65 years. The victim remained hospitalized Wednesday.

Wisconsin is one of the toughest states when it comes to punishing children the same as adults. A 1995 state law requires prosecutors to file adult charges in homicide or attempted homicide cases if the child is at least 10. Twenty-eight other states have similar laws, although their minimum age is no younger than 13.

Many of the laws date back to the 1980s and ‘90s, when public fears were stoked by an increase in juvenile crime and a Princeton researcher’s prediction that the nation could fall prey to a generation of “super predators,” violent youngsters from broken families who acted without fear or remorse.

___

Slenderman creator ‘saddened’ by stabbing

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The man who created Slenderman, a spooky character popularized in short stories, video games and films, and an administrator of a website that collected the works expressed their condolences Wednesday to a 12-year-old girl who was stabbed by two fans and to others affected by the tragedy.

A spokeswoman for Slenderman creator Eric Knudsen and an administrator for creepypasta.wikia.com said they have been overwhelmed with calls and messages since news broke that the girls charged in the weekend stabbing told police they wanted to curry favor with Slenderman and prove he was real.

“I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Wisconsin and my heart goes out to the families of those affected by this terrible act,” Knudsen said in a statement released by spokeswoman Sue Procko.

Creepypasta administrator David Morales said the site clearly states the stories there are fiction and its rules bar use by anyone under 13.

“We are not teaching children to believe in a fictional monster, nor are we teaching them to be violent,” Morales wrote in an email.

He noted that administrators have not allowed any new Slenderman stories to be posted since 2012 because they want users to come up with fresh ideas. Since Knudsen posted the first Slenderman stories and photos in an online forum in 2009, hundreds of other writers, artists and programmers have created horror stories featuring the tall, thin, faceless man in a black suit.

“Overall, the community has deep condolences to the family of the victim and all those who were involved,” Morales wrote.

___

New filings detail reasons for probe’s secrecy

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Court filings made public Wednesday related to the John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign and conservative groups show prosecutors sought to keep the probe secret to avoid publicity, which they feared could hinder or taint their work.

Walker’s recall campaign and other conservative groups have been investigated since 2012 as part of the secret probe. The investigation focused on alleged illegal campaign fundraising, spending and coordination between conservative groups, Walker’s campaign and others during recall elections in both 2011 and 2012.

No charges have been filed.

Last month U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued a preliminary injunction halting the investigation, saying it violated the First Amendment rights of Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors, Eric O’Keefe, who was among the targets of the probe.

Prosecutors filed briefs in the 7th U.S. District Court on Wednesday in support of their request that Randa’s order halting the investigation be put on hold. Prosecutors are also appealing the judgment.

As part of their motion, prosecutors filed a partially redacted copy of a petition submitted in July by Iowa County District Attorney Larry Nelson requesting that the secret John Doe investigation be commenced against O’Keefe.

Nelson said it was important to keep the investigation secret because any public filing “will generate substantial publicity, both from traditional (e.g., print and broadcast journalism) and non-traditional (e.g. Internet blog) information sources,” Nelson said. “This is because the individuals involved in this investigation are well placed.”

___

Police: Wisconsin stabbing victim walking, talking

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - Waukesha police have good news about the 12-year-old whose friends stabbed her 19 times and nearly killed her over the weekend.

Police Capt. Ron Oremus (oh-RAY’-mus) said Wednesday the girl is on the road to recovery, at least physically. He says she’s walking and talking again, and that she’s “a fighter” to be recovering so well from such trauma.

Doctors say she was “1 millimeter away from certain death” because one of her stab wounds just missed a major artery near her heart.

Two of her classmates are charged with trying to kill her Saturday. The girls told detectives they conspired for months to kill her in hopes of pleasing Slenderman, a fictional online character.

Oremus says the victim’s family is still overwhelmed and asks that their privacy be respected.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide