Legal Aid Society


Watch: LAS Calls on Albany to End the Arrest, Prosecution of Children

Marty Feinman, Director of Juvenile Delinquency Training with The Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice, appeared on BNC News to make the case why New York and other states must overhaul laws that allow for the arrest and prosecution of children.

Feinman responded to a question about a rape case involving a seven-year-old in upstate New York that has generated intense interest, pointing out that juvenile justice and cognitive science experts have been weighing in to question the assumptions leading to the boy’s arrest, as well as warn over the risk of trauma and the possibility of ensnaring a child who doesn’t comprehend their actions in the legal system.

“It’s hard to imagine how a seven-year-old engages in conduct that could legally qualify as rape,” Feinman said. “All of those rape charges involve elements that…presume a certain level of awareness and a certain thought process on the part of the perpetrator to justify charging somebody with such a heinous crime. All of those presumptions have little support in reality or in science when you apply them to the conduct and the thinking of a seven-year-old.”

Watch the full segment below.