Openness An Issue In Case of NC Boy, 15, Accused in Killings


It’s not often that a juvenile delinquency hearing receives widespread attention, but on Monday, local eyes will be on the North Carolina courtroom where a 15-year-old accused of killing his father and stepmother will learn whether he’ll be prosecuted as an adult, says the Charlotte Observer. During a recent seminar for local court and media representatives, Chief District Court Judge Lisa Bell led a discussion about the juvenile court system, which differs significantly from adult court in its procedures.

The seminar came a month after a 15-year-old called 911 and said he'd shot his father and stepmother, police said. When officers arrived at the teen's home, they found 43-year-old Christian Hans Liewald, and his 24-year-old wife, Cassie Meghan Buckaloo, dead. The teen now faces two counts of first-degree murder. The Observer explains some of the issues involved. One of them is openness. At the teen's first court appearance his attorney made a motion to close the courtroom to everyone but family, arguing that making the case public could affect the teen’s mental health and damage his reputation and future. Although the courts take precautions to protect the confidentiality of juveniles, delinquency cases are presumed open to the public.

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