Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Judge Says Some People Shouldn't Have Children; Davis Says Course of Some Juveniles' Lives Is Set When They Are Conceived

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Judge Says Some People Shouldn't Have Children; Davis Says Course of Some Juveniles' Lives Is Set When They Are Conceived

Article excerpt

Byline: Topher Sanders

Circuit Court Judge Henry Davis, who presides over matters involving juveniles in Jacksonville, told a crowd on Thursday that some community members shouldn't have children and that the course of some juveniles' lives are set the moment they are conceived.

Davis made the comments to a room of about 200 people at Jacksonville University, whose public policy institute was hosting a forum discussion on justice for juveniles. The forum also featured State Attorney Angela Corey, Public Defender Matt Shirk and Sheriff John Rutherford.

Among other topics the elected officials discussed were adult charges for juveniles, use of the civil citation program and how to better the community.

Davis, who is black and rarely shies away from controversial commentary, said many juveniles in the justice system simply aren't smart enough to cope with today's society.

The judge added that many of them are also victims and that some people shouldn't be parents.

"They didn't ask for their circumstances," Davis said of the juveniles in the justice system. "If I had the parents that some of these kids had, I would have been dead, too, by now."

Many of the issues facing black families are lingering effects of slavery, he said. The larger community, Davis said, has to get over its inability to openly discuss race.

"I bring up race with my colleagues, they turn red and leave," he said, to laughter. "We're here talking about juvenile justice, we're talking about black kids. That's what we're talking about."

He said some days every child on his court docket is black. The community has to step in even before a juvenile is born, he continued.

"We have to focus our efforts on children who are not yet conceived," he said. "Because once a child is conceived under certain circumstances, your plot is cast."

Rutherford also spoke about family and the need to strengthen homes and communities. …

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