Posted 14 December 2011 - 22:50
In the US the age at which a minor can be charged as an adult for heinous crimes varies by the State since they handle the vast majority of criminal offenses. Minor can be defined differently, but it's usually between 14 and 18. In Michigan the youngest murder conviction was at 11, and Indiana charged an 11 year old this last summer.
I say usually because a Juvinile Court judge can issue a waiver for some kids, often bottoming at 9-12, allowing charges to be brought in adult court. They can't be executed if they weren't 18 at the time of the crime, but they can serve life without parole. Several states are even tougher, allowing adult charges at any age - Florida for one. Murder charges can also be brought in Juvinile Court but the kid can usually only be held until age 18 - 21, again depending on the State.
Some states are also implementing a form of Preventive Detention - committal in a psychiatric institution after a criminal sentence has been served, but this is mostly aimed at sexual predators; pedophiles, serial rapists etc. Still being hashed out as to if it'll spread.