Ray Allen

Photo Credit: John Pesina | Daily Texan Staff

Under Texas’ current legal system, 17-year-olds accused of crimes are usually tried as adults — but lawmakers are working to raise that age by one year.

On Wednesday, the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues subcommittee heard three bills that would raise the age at which youth are tried as adults to 18. The bills were left pending in committee.

Texas is one of nine states that places 17-year-olds in the criminal justice system rather than the juvenile justice system, according to Rep. Ruth McLendon (D-San Antonio), who was a juvenile probations officer for 17 years before she was elected to office.

“From my observations, one thing is clear, and that is a juvenile may be large enough and tall enough and strong enough to look and talk an adult, but there is no assurance that they have the maturity or intellectual growth to evaluate consequences and the ability to make decisions in the same manner as we expect from adults,” McLendon said.

Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) said he supports a change in the age of criminal responsibility because minors are being tried as adults for relatively small, nonviolent crimes.

According to an interim report released by the committee, 44 percent of 17-year-olds arrested in 2013 were charged with larceny, the possession of marijuana or for consumption or possession of liquor.

“Your chances of going to school, getting a job, getting licensed — heck, even finding an apartment — [are] greatly damaged,” Wu said.

A recent study conducted at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs found offenses committed by 17-year-olds were more aligned with crimes committed by 16-year-olds than crimes committed by adults.

“[17-year-olds] are typically arrested for nonviolent, minor offenses,” said Michele Deitch, the study’s author and LBJ senior lecturer, at the hearing. “Patterns of offenses and arrests really mirror that of the 16-year-olds, with slightly more drinking and drug offenses, which you would probably expect.”

Ray Allen testified at the hearing on behalf of the Texas Probation Association. He said while the Association supports a change in the criminal responsibility age, the change should not be immediate. Allen said there are concerns about the costs and time counties would need to implement the change.

“We absolutely do not oppose the policy change,” Allen said. “Our concerns … are focused almost entirely on the length of time we believe is necessary to make this change take place.”

It costs $50.04 per day to incarcerate a person at a state prison, compared to $366.88 per day to incarcerate someone at a juvenile detention center, according to the committee’s report. The report also found that 17-year-olds made up three percent of all adult arrests in 2013.

Neurobiology junior Kate Dembny said since 17-year olds are generally not considered adults, they should not be tried as adults.

“Seventeen-year-olds don’t get any other rights, so being tried as an adult is inherently unfair,” Dembny said.

After a 66-game sprint in a four-month span, the NBA has reached its postseason and many teams are already marred by injuries. The heavy schedule and lack of off-season preparations seem to be taking their toll on key players. No team was hit harder by this wave of injuries than the No. 1 overall seed Chicago Bulls.

Having played one-third of their season without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls will have to continue their postseason run without their best player. Rose landed awkwardly while driving to the basket late in the fourth quarter of game one against the Philadelphia 76ers. His teammates and fans feared the worst as he was carried off the courts. Hours later, it was confirmed that he tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.

The Orlando Magic were hit by the injury bug weeks before the postseason got underway. They were well on their way to earning a top four seed in the Eastern Conference but then lost All-Star center Dwight Howard for the season with a
herniated disk.  

Staying in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics’ hopes of making another championship run took a major hit when they lost Ray Allen with an ankle injury. While Allen will not require surgery, he’s expected to miss their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

The most bizarre injury of the playoffs so far goes to the Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire. After falling 0-2 to the Miami Heat, Stoudemire took out his frustrations by punching a glass enclosure around a fire extinguisher in the visitor’s locker room. Stoudemire sustained a lacerated left hand and will likely leave the Knicks without his services in their attempt to stay in the series.

“He’s probably going to be out. I don’t know how bad it is ... Your emotions run high. In a split second, a decision can alter things. You can’t fault anybody. We’ve got to deal with the repercussions,” said Knicks center Tyson Chandler. The Knicks are also without Iman Shumpert, who tore his ACL on Saturday.

The Western Conference side of the bracket has, for the most part, been able to escape the current spree of injuries. The Los Angeles Clippers lost Caron Butler for the rest of the playoffs during their historic 27-point comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies. After scoring 12 points in 23 minutes, Butler broke his left hand during the second half.

The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder are amongst the teams who have yet to be affected by injuries. With the Chicago Bulls and Celtics out of the picture in the East, the Heat have a relatively easy path to make a return trip to the Finals.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins agrees that the compact schedule may factor into the current rise in injuries.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” Collins said. “The wear and tear, I don’t think there’s any question, the fatigue. What happens during the playoffs, it gets ratcheted up even more.”

Commissioner David Stern disagrees with the assessment saying during a radio interview he stated that the injuries and the tight regular season were unrelated.

“I don’t think it’s related at all,” Stern said. “When anything happens, that’s what’s going
to happen.”After a 66-game sprint in a four-month span, the NBA has reached its postseason and many teams are already marred by injuries. The heavy schedule and lack of off-season preparations seem to be taking their toll on key players. No team was hit harder by this wave of injuries than the No. 1 overall seed
Chicago Bulls.

Having played one-third of their season without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls will have to continue their postseason run without their best player. Rose landed awkwardly while driving to the basket late in the fourth quarter of game one against the Philadelphia 76ers. His teammates and fans feared the worst as he was carried off the courts.

Hours later, it was confirmed that he tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.
The Orlando Magic were hit by the injury bug weeks before the postseason got underway. They were well on their way to earning a top four seed in the Eastern Conference but then lost All-Star center Dwight Howard for the season with a
herniated disk.

Staying in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics’ hopes of making another championship run took a major hit when they lost Ray Allen with an ankle injury. While Allen will not require surgery, he’s expected to miss their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

The most bizarre injury of the playoffs so far goes to the Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire. After falling 0-2 to the Miami Heat, Stoudemire took out his frustrations by punching a glass enclosure around a fire extinguisher in the visitor’s locker room. Stoudemire sustained a lacerated left hand and will likely leave the Knicks without his services in their attempt to stay in the series.

“He’s probably going to be out. I don’t know how bad it is ... Your emotions run high. In a split second, a decision can alter things. You can’t fault anybody. We’ve got to deal with the repercussions,” said Knicks center Tyson Chandler. The Knicks are also without Iman Shumpert, who tore his ACL on Saturday.

The Western Conference side of the bracket has, for the most part, been able to escape the current spree of injuries. The Los Angeles Clippers lost Caron Butler for the rest of the playoffs during their historic 27-point comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies. After scoring 12 points in 23 minutes, Butler broke his left hand during the second half.

The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder are amongst the teams who have yet to be affected by injuries. With the Chicago Bulls and Celtics out of the picture in the East, the Heat have a relatively easy path to make a return trip to the Finals.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins agrees that the compact schedule may factor into the current rise in injuries.
“I don’t think there’s any question,” Collins said. “The wear and tear, I don’t think there’s any question, the fatigue. What happens during the playoffs, it gets ratcheted up even more.”

Commissioner David Stern disagrees with the assessment saying during a radio interview he stated that the injuries and the tight regular season were unrelated.

“I don’t think it’s related at all,” Stern said. “When anything happens, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Printed on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 as: Compact schedule could be to blame for playoff injuries