On April 5, 2006, four teens in New Jersey were arrested and charged with first degree counts of conspiracy to commit murder, and conspiring to make terrorist threats.
The terrorism charge is a charge lawmakers created in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks; it carries a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison for adults.
These teens were accused of plotting to kill about 25 people in a lunch-period massacre at Winslow Township High School in Camden County.
The teens, a couple of whom have arrest records for fighting in school, did not have any weapons, although allegedly they did try and purchase them. Officials decided to try two of the youths as adults.
Discuss the following:
Should someone be punished for planning a crime that never occurred?
If so, should the punishment be as severe as it would be if the crime had occurred?
Should these teens be charged as adults or should officials just consider this as one of the parents described it—“just kids hanging out together and having a little wild time?”