How America’s justice system failed our children

ideas.ted.com

In 1989, children younger than 16 could be sentenced to die in the United States. Lawyer Bryan Stevenson (TED Talk: We need to talk about an injustice) represented some of these juveniles in Alabama, the state with the most children sentenced to death per capita. Read his chilling account of meeting Charlie, a 14-year-old tried as an adult for capital murder, in an excerpt from his new book: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.

“He’s just a little boy.”

It was late, and I had picked up the phone after hours because no one else was in the building; it was becoming a bad habit. The older woman on the other end of the line was pleading with me after offering a heartfelt description of her grandson, who had just been jailed for murder.

Charlie was fourteen years old. He weighed less than 100 pounds and was…

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