Philadelphia Criminal Law News

10-year-old Stabs Father in the Neck in Lower Merion Township

Everyone has had the urge to lash out at their parents. You probably did at some point, either through words or perhaps through silence. There may have even been a punch thrown here or there.

However, it's doubtful that things ever got close to fulfilling the nasty thought of "I wish you were dead." Not so in Ardmore, where a 10-year-old boy stabbed his 33-year-old father in the neck, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The father was brought to Paoli Hospital while the boy remained in family custody.

What does it take for a child to be tried as an adult?

As of now, there are no criminal charges against the boy, but further descriptions of the attack are being withheld in the case that charges are filed. But we hear so often about children being tried as adults in cases of violence. So what does it take?

The way a child is tried as an adult is when jurisdiction, or the power of a court to hear a case, is taken away from the juvenile courts, or when a juvenile court judge transfers the case to adult court, or when both juvenile and adult courts have jurisdiction.

When a law takes away an offense from the juvenile system, or when a judge transfers the case, there is not much that the child or their attorney can do to prevent it from going to adult court. However, if both courts have jurisdiction, there is usually a mini-trial to determine if the child should be tried as a child or as an adult.

Here, the likely charge could be something like attempted murder, as the boy stabbed his father in a known dangerous location, his neck. Another possible charge would be assault with a deadly weapon.

If he is charged with attempted murder, there is a statutory exclusion in Pennsylvania and he almost certainly will be tried as an adult. However, if the charges are anything else, he is not old enough to be waived into adult court for his actions.

The father who was stabbed by his 10-year-old son in Lower Merion will have some issues to consider when working with police and the district attorney because if there is a charge for attempted murder, his son could go to prison for life.

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