Funding treatment for boy accused in murder at issue (Sam Spital)

“On September 25, 2012, the UT digital edition reported a 10 year old boy is accused of murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Apparently, another child tried to separate two neighborhood children who were in an altercation in which one was threatening the other with a knife; the fatal stabbing took place in a location adjacent to a mobile home park near El Cajon.

The criminal case was suspended by the Court due to the child offender being held mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Now, it is unclear what will take place because juvenile offenders are generally taken to Juvenile Hall, at the expense of their parents. Until the boy is deemed competent, however, he needs to be placed in a residential treatment facility as a result of the evaluations of two psychiatrists who claim he suffered from mental and developmental issues from fetal alcohol syndrome.

In the interim, the attorney for the boy charged with the above crimes is looking for funding.

The conundrum here is the lack of funding to treat individuals in society before they commit heinous crimes that later become a reality after a homicide, much like the unparalleled situation when the barn door gets closed when the horse gets out.

When will we as a society know we cannot spend too much money for the treatment of mental health issues? When will parents and others obtain education to identify and properly deal with symptoms that inevitably occur leading up to eventual improper &/or uncontrollable behavior (certainly we cannot allow the surge of criminality as we have seen in recent times)?

As a criminal defense attorney, I personally share the sadness of the victim’s family and the juvenile offender’s loved ones. But that grief is outweighed by a concern that society and our schools are not doing enough to identify and prevent the factors that lead to criminality.”

Sam Spital, Criminal Defense Lawyer