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San Jose teen charged in dad's accidental death

Most people understand that teenagers can be prone to emotional outbursts and can do or say something they don't mean at the time. Like younger children, their brains are still developing, and it can be difficult learning to cope in an adult world. Many life situations can be stressful, scary, and confusing to a teenager who's uncertain how to respond. Although violence isn't the answer, when a child is charged with a crime, his or her age should be taken into account as well as the circumstances surrounding the incident.

A 17-year-old San Jose girl was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and taken to Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall, after a physical argument she had with her father resulted in the man's death. Police say the girl shoved her dad to the ground during the fight, and he suffered cardiac arrest. He was reportedly unresponsive when paramedics arrived, and died three days later of a heart attack.

Although details of the argument were unavailable, anyone can assume the girl didn't mean for the fight to end in her father's death. Many factors could have contributed to the way she reacted during the argument: Her upbringing, her relationship with her father, and any emotional or physical problems may have affected how the girl responds to stressful situations. Some could even argue that the man's health condition might have resulted in a heart attack during the argument anyway, even if the girl had not pushed him.

The upcoming case is sure to be difficult for the girl, especially with the allegations of unintentionally causing her father's death. A defense attorney can help to be sure she's treated fairly in court, and protect her from much of the backlash that follows.

Source: Fox News, "California dad dies after fight with teen daughter, cops say," April 17, 2013

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