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October 1965

The Adolescent MurdererA Psychodynamic Interpretation

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;13(4):310-319. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01730040020005

I  NO SINGLE form of delinquent aggression has the power to mobilize official agencies and horrify the populace to the extent that murder does. The youth of the offender, especially if he falls within the purview of the juvenile court, only adds to the general consternation as to how such cases should be handled. Many juvenile courts respond to this consternation by an evasion of their responsibilities, remanding the adolescent murderer as quickly as possible to an adult court. The offender's youth in itself is usually looked upon as a bizarre aspect of the case. People have developed conventionally accepted stereotypes of what a murderer should look like, and the picture of a small, frightened, withdrawn, frequently baby-faced adolescent in the jail or the courtroom contradicts our movie-nourished expectations.Once the jurisdiction of the adult court is established, the case must be settled in terms of its disposition not