Children Should Not Be Shackled

“D.C. Public Defender Andrew Crespo remembers a 2011 case where his client, who was 8 at the time, was led into the courtroom in 2-pound restraints. The boy, who weighed about 60 pounds, sat in a chair with his feet dangling. Prosecutors said the boy allegedly touched a little girl inappropriately at his birthday party hours earlier and he was arrested for sexual assault. Before the hearing, Crespo said, his client kept whispering: “My mommy said I can still have my birthday cake. I can still have my cake, right?” Crespo recalled. The charges were later dropped.”

Jesus. This hit really close to home. My daughter is 8 and I could see her acting very similar. Haunting to imagine your own child in that situation. Maybe I should become a public defender.

The groups working to correct this overreaching and repugnant behavior are the National Juvenile Defender CenterD.C. Lawyers for Youth and the D.C. Public Defender Service.