Over the past several decades, adolescents have become increasingly involved in what historically have been considered “adult” activities, including violent crime, sexual activity, and substance use. This trend has forced lawmakers to determine, with increasing frequency, whether or not adolescents who engage in these “adult” activities should be treated as minors (who are deemed incompetent, less blameworthy, and unaccountable) or adults (who are deemed competent and responsible for their own actions). The ability to evaluate a minor’s level of maturity has thus become very important. For example, does a teenage murderer understand the consequences of his actions? If so, should he be held accountable and punished as an adult? Should a 16-year-old be allowed to seek treatment for a sexually transmitted infection? To make an abortion decision? When is a minor competent enough to be allowed to waive his right to counsel during police questioning?
The question For DB1, create a set of guidelines that determine when an adolescent should be treated as an adult.