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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Comic Book Explains Arrests and Lawyers to Teenage Children

In New York City, anyone arrested under the age of 16 is now provided an informational pamphlet (four pages) explaining the criminal process from the booking stage right through sentencing.

Is it me, or do others find this one of the latest signs of the apocalypse?  This is a sad commentary.

This comic book does not mention the presumption of innocence or the specific charges facing the youth (although it has the feel of a possession rap).  There is an assumption that the arrest was valid.  Defenses are not referenced.

In the end, the judge finds the urban youth guilty.  Sad but realistic. [This link will download a PDF of the entire comic.]

The concept of this instructional graphic pamphlet was hatched by the Youth Justice Board of the non-profit Center for Court Innovation whose mission is to teach high school students about public policy,  leadership and public speaking.

Khaair, a Justice Board member who did not want his last name published, said they decided on the comic book as their project because, "the youth of New York don't have representation and we really need a voice -especially for the stuff that involves us."

This "stuff" apparently involves cops, arrests, criminal charges, drugs, and lawyers.  All in a day's work over in Queens at the Francis Lewis High School where Khaair is a senior.  BTW: he wants to be the Mayor of Gotham and in our opinion, he's off to a great start.

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