Most juvenile crimes in New York are unlike the case of two 13-year-old girls charged in the stabbing attack of another girl. At their hearing, the judge insisted that the character of their alleged crime demanded a response at an adult level. He reasoned that if they were convicted in the juvenile system, then they would be released at age 18.
Currently, they are accused of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Convictions could lead to 65 years in prison. When the girls remained silent in the courtroom, the judge entered not guilty pleas on their behalf.
The girls were taken into custody after the alleged victim survived 19 stab wounds. According to investigators, the girls planned the murder for months. They reportedly meant her death to be a sacrifice to the Slender Man, a tall and thin online fantasy figure who wears a dark suit and has no face. After the attack, the girls hiked toward a forest where they said Slender Man lived. Part of their reasoning for the alleged attack was that it would prove the existence of Slender Man.
Their defense lawyers insist that if their clients are convicted, then they will not receive proper treatment in adult prison. They maintain that the girls are mentally ill and therefore should be tried in the juvenile system.
For particularly violent crimes, courts sometimes reserve the right to try minors as adults. Any person in that situation has a right to create a criminal defense. An attorney could advise a person about the consequences of a conviction and could possibly offer insights into how to enter a plea. Furthermore, an attorney could advocate for a lenient sentence or argue for an acquittal during a trial.
Source: ABC News, “Teen Girls Plead Not Guilty in Slender Man Stabbing Case,” Greg Moore, Aug. 21, 2015