Don’t Charge 14-Year-Old Protester as an Adult

Target: Kari E. Brandenburg, Bernalillo County District Attorney

Goal: Don’t charge a 14-year-old anti-Trump protester as an adult.

At one of Trump’s rallies in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a 14-year-old protester threw a rock at a police officer. He was rightfully arrested and charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery on a peace officer, but the problem here is that he is being charged as an adult. He needs to learn the consequences of his actions, but to be charged as an adult when he can not vote or even drive yet is too harsh and arbitrary. This kid should not have his life ruined by being charged as an adult.

There is a reason that minors are charged differently than adults, and to decide to charge a kid as an adult for no other rationale than to “teach him a lesson” goes against the very basis of our criminal justice system. If children are going to be charged as an adult simply on if they deserve it, then there would be no reason to continue separating minors and adults. Courts need to follow due process no matter how obnoxious the child might be.

When children are charged as adults, it is usually for serious and violent offenses, such as murder and rape. Throwing a rock hardly counts as a serious offense. Furthermore, adult prisons do more harm than juvenile prisons, with children facing longer sentences and fewer resources while incarcerated. They are much more likely to be sexually assaulted.

Once a child leaves an adult system, they are 77 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent felony than those who were sent to juvenile institutions. Therefore treating this 14-year-old as an adult will not “teach him a lesson,” but almost ensure that he will cause more problems in the future. Sign this petition and insist that this young boy not be charged as an adult.


Dear District Attorney Brandenburg,

A 14-year-old anti-Trump protester was arrested for throwing a rock at a police officer. He deserves to be arrested. However, he will be charged as an adult, which is not right. Our criminal justice system separates minors and adults because children’s brains are still developing, and thus need different resources than adult criminals. It is arbitrary to choose when a child is charged as an adult based on whether they “need to learn a lesson.” This child is not even old enough to drive or vote, so charging him as an adult would be too harsh and counterproductive.

Children who go through the adult system usually face longer sentences and fewer resources, and they are much more likely to be sexually assaulted than if they had went through the juvenile system. Also, once a child leaves an adult system, they are 77 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent felony than those who left the juvenile system.

If convicted, this child would only learn how to be a better criminal by going to an adult prison. Please eliminate all chances of that happening by not allowing him to be charged as an adult.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ammodramus

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  1. TRISH RYAN says:

    We are not in Israel! He’s a kid caught up in the crazy MEDIA crap.

  2. Margaret Melnick says:

    At 14 I think he knew what he was doing. Sorry I can’t sign your petition. Think back I think at 14 you knew right from wrong and you knew what you were doing.

  3. Imelda Higgins-Wiffle says:

    Throwing a rock at a human body can have deadly consequences, just like shooting a gun at someone. What scares me about this scenario: people collect in large groups and think that what they say or do will be anonymous. Let’s send a message that it is not and people will be charged accordingly. I cannot in good faith sign this petition. But I applaud you for having the interest to get involved in some way.

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