The question of whether to name a juvenile defendant in news stories is always a tough judgment call.
There is the argument that juvenile defendants should be named in cases in which the circumstances are serious or if they are being tried as adults.
There is also the argument that young people should be given a chance to redeem themselves without the stain of publicity. This is especially true in the age of the Internet when stories from years ago show up on web searches.
The issue has been debated at professional journalism organizations, such as the Poynter Institute.
The debate came to Patch last week when a 17-year-old Concord youth was in court to face manslaughter charges. The 17-year-old was at the wheel of a SUV that struck and killed a father and daughter on an April bike outing on Treat Boulevard.
Patch had previously decided, at the time of the arrest, not to name the youth.
In the ensuing weeks, other media organizations, including the Contra Costa Times, San Francisco Chronicle, ABC 7 television and CBS 5 television, named the defendant. So, Patch revisited the question. And we disagreed over whether to name him.
In the end, we stuck with our original decision. One of the primary reasons was that the case is in juvenile court. In part because of that decision, we decided that Patch would treat this defendant as it treats other juvenile defendants
Naming a defendant just because everyone else is naming him was not a good enough reason.
We'd like to know what you think. Vote in our poll and then tell us what you think in our comments section.
Please refrain from naming the defendant in your comments. We'd like you to respect our decision to keep his name off our sites. If you name him, we will delete your comment.