The Champion

July 2012 , Page 52 

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Law Student Essay Competition

By Deandrea A. Jackson

‘Tough on Crime’ vs. ‘Smart on Crime’: Striking Balance Among Competing Goals

Editor’s Note: NACDL’s Diversity Task Force sponsored a law student essay contest, asking students to discuss the difference between being “tough on crime” and “smart on crime.” Congratulations to Michael Woodruff (first prize), DeAndrea Jackson (second prize), and Carol Celestine (honorable mention). The first place essay will be published in an upcoming issue of The Champion.

It is difficult to believe that after doing a little target practice with a .22 caliber gun, an 11-year-old boy would shoot and kill a man in cold blood and then brag about it afterwards. That is what Nathaniel Abraham was accused of doing in 1997. Because of Michigan’s Juvenile Waiver Law, Abraham was one of the youngest children ever to be convicted as an adult for murder.1 

Several years later, a 17-year-old and his younger accomplice broke into a woman’s home, bound her with electrical cable, wrapped her entire face in duct tape, kid

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