Juvenile offenders transferred to criminal court

Six juveniles charged with violent crimes were transferred to adult criminal court Wednesday, part of an on going effort by the District Attorney General's office to quash violence among Memphis youth.

The suspects were charged with everything from aggravated robbery to rape to first degree murder.

As of Tuesday, 65 teenagers have been transferred in 2005. But over the past 8 years Shelby County has seen a decrease in the number of transfers from 211 in 1996 to 97 last year.

"We've got to do everything we can to make sure this increase we've seen in the last few months is temporary," said Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, "and that we go back to the longer term downward trend,"

Gibbons credits the long term decrease to stiff sentences handed down to juveniles. He cites as an example a 14 year-old sentenced to 50 years for executing a fellow gang member.

Gibbons wants to send the message to young people that committing violent crimes closes the door on childhood.

He is taking that message to middle schools in a few weeks.