To Juvenile Judge Legere
RE:MEMORANDUM ON DISPOSITION OF DAPHNE CASE
The trait theory of personality is one of the most fundamental areas in the study of personality. This theory usually suggests that individual personality is usually composed brad dispositions. The kind of characters that are used to describe a person includes: outgoing, kind, tempered etc.This theory focuses on differences between individuals. This theory holds that various traits usually combine to form personality that is usually unique in each and every individual. The theory usually intends to identify and measure personality characteristics.According to Gordon Allport there are three levels of personality traits. There is the cardinal trait which usually dominates a person’s life. These are the traits that a person is usually known for. The names of persons become synonyms with these traits. These traits are usually rare and tend to develop later in the life of a person. Then there is central traits which are the general characteristics which forms the basic foundation of personality. (Siegel 2008). They are not dominant like the cardinal traits but they are major characteristics which can be used to describe a person, for instance intelligent, shy or anxious.
Secondary traits in most of the times are usually related to attitudes or preferences and usually appear in certain situations or in some specific circumstances e.g. getting anxious while waiting for some friends. The above brief introduction of the trait theory will act as the basis of the review thinking like a criminologist in criminology.Inorder to undertake this I will look at the following case of a fourteen years old Daphne.This is a case of a fourteen year old girl called Daphne. The girl come from a rich family which stays in Beacon Hill .The father of the girl is works as an executive in a local financial services congremerates where he makes one million dollars per every year. Despite all this Daphne has a dark side of her life. It reported that the girl is always in trouble at school. The teachers complain that she is impulsive and that she has poor self control. She sometimes changes her character to be kind and warm but in most time she becomes very insecure and craves for attention. The girl has a drinking problem and she is even attending an AA meeting in high cliff village where she is being treated of substance abuse. Her character makes the parents to feel intimidated.
There is even a time when her father had filed a case when she had slapped him. She spends most of the time hanging out with friends in the public garden drinking.Most of the time she hangs out with a friend Christopher G. who has been going through some personal problems after his parents separated .He has been diagnosed of depression and stayed at home..One night the two friends met Michael who is 44 years old who suffers from alcohol problems. During the drinking spree a fight broke up. Michael was stubbed in the process, his throat cut, and was dumped in the pond.Daphn called the police emergency number and alleged that a friend had jumped into the pond and has not come out. She was arrested together with Michael as it was found out that they are the ones who dumped Christopher into the pond so that he could sink. She could not remember much of what happened as she had been drinking bit she alleged that it was out of jealousy that the killing happened.In the case the district attorney wants her to be treated as an adult and be sentenced for twenty five years due to the extent of the murder.
Her parents feel that despite all this she can be treated because she is still a child.As a criminologist I feel I would not agree with the ruling of the District attorney and agree with the pleading of the parents. This is because if I apply the trait theory in this case I realize that it was a problem of having some criminal traits that makes Daphne to behave the way that she is doing. Looking critically she is still a child but the criminal traits in her have developed severly.The traits may be genetic or that have developed because of the environment that she has been exposed to. In determining this case its good that we first look at this two aspects of her traits.Its good that we note here that having a genetic disposition of criminal behavior does not necessarily determine the actions of an individual. (Cassel 2007). However if they are exposed to an environment that is conducive then there is a high probability that the individual who is having the traits will engage in criminal acts or will expose some antisocial behaviours.Its good that we consider this two in determining the action that is supposed to be taken against Daphne.
There have been studies that have been carried out which shows that criminal behaviors can be inherited. This makes the chain of the criminality of a family to be continues. So this is one factor that I wish we consider in the above case. In the cases there is no evidence that has been given that shows that in the family lineage of Daphne there were some people who had such criminal behaviours.So in making the ruling of the case I would like as to put the issues of inherited traits aside.The other issue that will rise here according to the trait theories that one it seems that the kind of the characters that Daphne has exposed may be her central traits. They may not yet be termed as the cardinal traits as she is still young. This will be described as the traits which are more exposed in her personality. The girl is troublesome in school and even at home. According to the case these are the traits that have been used in the description of her behaviour.According to behavior psychologist central traits of a person can be changed especially at young age as the individual grow and develops. So I feel that in determining this case its good that we consider the fact that one Daphne is still a juvenile and second there is a chance that she can change her behavior if given enough assistance.
The other factor that we should consider is the environment that she has been exposed to. She is in an environment that makes it conducive for her to behave the way she is doing.Considering all the above factors I would recommend the following.The girl is still a juvenile so it would be unfair if she is judged like an adult. Let us give the girl the kind of treatment that would work for her personal good. In that case I find that she needs to change the environment that she has been living. This is because she is exposed public gardens, she moves out even during the nights. I feel it would be good if we consider reducing this freedom from the girl. I also feel that the girl needs a lot of guidance and counseling in her life. She needs the services of a psychiatrist to journey with her in the psychological problems that she is going through. She also needs substance counselors who will be in a position to guide her to stop abusing alcohol. She is also in need to be in a social group where she can be sharing life issues with friend and other people. I would therefore recommend that Daphne be put in a juvenile correction home where I am sure she will get all the above services which will assist her to become a better citizen. (Gainz 2008).
Cassel, E. (2007). Criminal behaviour, Routledge, pg 78-80
Gainz, L. (2008). Criminal justice in action, Cengage learning, pg 45-47
Siegel, L. (2008).Criminology, Cengage learning,
Welsh, B. (2008). Juvenile delinquency: theory, practice and law, Cengage learning.