High court to look at life in prison for juveniles

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by strollingbones, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    WASHINGTON - Joe Sullivan was sent away for life for raping an elderly woman and judged incorrigible though he was only 13 at the time of the attack.

    Terrance Graham, implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17, was given a life sentence by a judge who told the teenager he threw his life away.

    They didn't kill anyone, but they effectively were sentenced to die in prison.

    Life sentences with no chance of parole are rare and harsh for juveniles tried as adults and convicted of crimes less serious than killing. Just over 100 prison inmates in the United States are serving those terms, according to data compiled by opponents of the sentences.

    Now the Supreme Court is being asked to say that locking up juveniles and throwing away the key is cruel and unusual — and thus, unconstitutional. Other than in death penalty cases, the justices never before have found that a penalty crossed the cruel and unusual line. They will hear arguments Monday.

    High court to look at life in prison for juveniles - Crime & courts- msnbc.com
     
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  2. xotoxi
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    xotoxi Platinum Member

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    Too bad we can't just send them away.

    Like to Zimbabwe or Saudi Arabia or someplace like that.
     
  3. JD_2B
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    JD_2B Little Vixen

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    Armed robbery should not carry a sentence of more than 10 years for a first time offender, in my opinion..

    And how would sending them to Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe do any good? So then, they join forces again on the side of oppression and end up causing even more harm, and getting cheered on for it? Ridiculous. I hope you were being sarcastic, LOL
     
  4. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Interesting concepts all. In this day and age juveniles seem to be committing more and more very serious crimes - the whole list of stuff. If a kid kills somebody when he is only 14 should he be allowed out of jail when he turns either 18 or 21? The person he killed is still going to be dead so what we're basically saying is that human life might not be worth more than 4 to 7 years in jail. I don't see the fairness in that. I also find it hard to believe that a kid of 14 doesn't know the difference between right and wrong. I vote to keep them in jail. I think that is the fair thing to do. Like Baretta used to say on tv, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." Should a person go to jail for at least 10 years for armed robbery? Yes, and I think they should serve everyday of it. It will give them plenty of time to think about what a stupid thing they did was. If they shoot somebody in the commission of the armed robbery I think they sould get at least 20 years day for day. That's just me though. I believe in justice.
     
  5. chanel
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    chanel Silver Member

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    Adult crimes should have adult time.
     
  6. BasicGreatGuy
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    BasicGreatGuy Aut libertas aut mors

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    I don't see the SCOTUS ruling that there has been a violation of the VIII Amendment.
     
  7. Charles Stucker
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    Charles Stucker Senior Member

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    For adults.

    A child of seven sets up a practical joke that involves a bucket of water over a doorway. The bucket falls without tipping and kills someone. The child lacked either the experience or judgment to know the act was unsafe, but by your logic, they should get convicted as an adult for manslaughter.

    The US should adopt a universal definition of adult, when one gains both the privileges and the responsibilities of an adult. Only in exceptional cases, as of 14 year old paid assassins, should the rule not be followed.
     
  8. JD_2B
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    JD_2B Little Vixen

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    I agree that these minors did not deserve life in prison. Even an adult who committed these crimes wouldn't typically get life, anyways.

    However, a seven year old lacking in judgment, and causing someone's death as the result of it, is much different than someone who goes out and rapes someone (did he SO lack in judgment, that he took his pants off to pee and slipped and fell into the old lady, with his penis just happening to land in her vagina?? NO) or a couple of boys who commit armed robbery. (Were they playing cowboys and indians, and ran into the bank or convenience store saying "stick em up!"? NO!)

    Actually, with the 13 year old rape convict AND the 14 year old sniper, I would even venture out and say that these are still young boys, and although they have technically reached maturity in age to be teenagers, they are also very impressionable still, and I would NOT advocate for life in prison for ANY minor, and definitely not the DP for them. Give the 14 year old a solid 10 to 14 years- that IS the equivalent of his life as it stands.
    Give the 13 year old a 5 year sentence, just like all the other rapists pretty much get.

    Why does anyone want to give LONGER and harsher sentences to young people than to older ones, with more life experience and understanding?
     
  9. Charles Stucker
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    Charles Stucker Senior Member

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    JD I must apologize for derailing. I was responding more to the moronic slogan based "adult crimes deserve adult time" attitude than the specifics of the thread.

    Teenagers lack a lot in judgment, as graphically shown by the number who text while driving, and thus cannot be called adults by any reasonable measure. The ability of the brain to process information changes as people age, and this is an underlying problem with declaring children adults. As a society we must discourage antisocial behavior, but excessive punishment is detrimental to everyone. When Britain regularly executed people for stealing, robbers routinely killed their victims to reduce the chance of discovery as they faced the same punishment if they let the victims live.
    The same thing happens with juvenile offenders - our punishments must fit the crime and the offender or the perception that there is no justice for the poor will lead to youths rebelling against the system by (for example) making a game of killing police. Those same youths may then claim, when caught, that they are 'victims' of a disadvantaged upbringing and blah, blah, blah.

    This is what we, as a society, want to avoid; creating a series of excessively harsh punishments that lead to a spiral of violence and retribution. Treating children as adults (which I understand you do not support) is the first step along that path.
     
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  10. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    it brings into question....is the american justice system one of punishment or rehabilation
     

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