Teens locked up for life without a second chance

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

  1. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    began as horseplay, with two teenage stepbrothers chasing each other with blow guns and darts. But it soon escalated when one of the boys grabbed a knife.


    Quantel Lotts is shown at age 12, two years before he committed the crime that sent him to prison for life.

    The older teen, Michael Barton, 17, was dead by the time he reached the hospital. The younger boy, Quantel Lotts, 14, would eventually become one of Missouri's youngest lifers.

    Lotts was sentenced in Missouri's St. Francois County Circuit Court in 2002 to life in prison without parole for first-degree murder in his stepbrother's stabbing death.

    It made no difference that at the time of the deadly scuffle, Lotts was barely old enough to watch PG-13 movie and too young to drive, vote or buy beer.

    "They locked me up and threw away the keys," Lotts, now 23, said from prison. "They took away all hope for the future."

    Lotts is one of at least 73 U.S. inmates -- most of them minorities -- who were sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison for crimes committed when they were 13 or 14, according to the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization in Alabama that defends indigent defendants and prisoners.

    The 73 are just a fraction of the more than 2,000 offenders serving life sentences for crimes they committed as minors under the age of 18.

    full article"

    Teens locked up for life without a second chance - CNN.com

    is there any age to give murder a free pass? this article got me to thinking about growing up and the damage we did to one another....in a minute of unbridled fury....when we were younger ...a relative and i got into a fight..bottom line..he hit me with an ax...i pushed him out of a 2nd story window...it was a full brawl....both of us lived...but i do remember after it all happened...our terror at our own actions...that we got so absorded in the battle we didnt think about the consequences
     
  2. catzmeow
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    catzmeow BANNED

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    I don't believe that murder should EVER be given a free pass. However, at age 12, it seems to me that a therapeutic response would be more helpful than incarceration with adults. There are plenty of juvenile facilities around the U.S. that are equipped to deal with juvenile offenders who commit serious crimes. A better response would be to change their mandates, extending them upward into the early 20s, or create a system between the juvenile and the adult systems for offenders to serve a lengthier sentence than the ones allowed at times in the juvenile courts.

    However, sentencing a 12-year-old to life in prison is simply barbaric, knowing what we do about brain development.
     
  3. Agnapostate
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    Agnapostate BANNED

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    It's a hypocritical double standard to establish an imposition of adult responsibilities upon those who don't possess equivalent rights, effectively the "worst of both worlds."
     
  4. Agnapostate
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    Agnapostate BANNED

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    And what's that, precisely? Measurements of competence and the ability to make rational and informed decisions reveal extensive divergence from the traditional picture painted by brain scans, which aren't fully applicable to determinations of behavior. That's probably less true for a 12-year-old than it would be for a 14-year-old, but external environmental factors still remain a critical factor in mental development. You need to work on distinguishing between the brain and the mind.
     
  5. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Tough issue because each case needs to be evaluated in light of the accused, the victim, and the actions leading up to the homocide.

    There are kids who set out to murder. They ought to be punished accordingly

    Then there are kids who do not set out to murder, or who are, for one reason or the other, are not really acting with the kind of mental capacity to hold them ENTIRELY responsible for thier actions.
     
  6. RodISHI
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    RodISHI Gold Member

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    I agree w/ catz, murder should never recieve a free pass. Then again from he simple way the article reads this was not a murder but manslaughter by a young teen.

    I agree with you on the fact that it could have been anyone of us as the battle from our youths went on anyone of us could have made a slip and one could have been inprisoned for nothing more than a stupid mistake. Although we never played with axes or hatchets. My foot did manage to find the equalizing spot for the bullies that were all bigger than I in those years.
     
  7. xotoxi
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    xotoxi Platinum Member

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    Life without the chance of parole?

    Isn't that usually reserved for first degree murder...which I thought was premeditated murder?

    From the little description of the details of the case, it makes it sound like they were wrestling, then started throwing darts, and then someone got stabbed. It doesn't sound like premeditation to me.
     
  8. xotoxi
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    xotoxi Platinum Member

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    Okay...I answered my own question...


    Shoving match
    Quantel Lotts was 14. He and his brothers were spending the weekend at a friend's house in St. Francois County, Missouri, and Quantel and his stepbrother started fighting. Quantel chased Michael — who was three years older — with a bow and arrow before an adult stepped in. Not long after, while they snacked, one of the younger children noticed Quantel holding a knife and reported him to Michael.
    "Let's take this outside," Michael told Quantel. In the yard, their shoving match ended in Michael's death.
    Quantel says he turned down an offer to plead to second-degree murder just before his trial began. Found guilty, he was sentenced to life without parole.
    Today, speaking by telephone from prison, Quantel Lotts will not talk about what happened that day. But he remembers clearly where it left him.
    "They say my stepbrother's dead and they say I killed him," he says. "When I first got locked up, I spent the first six months crying to myself every night."

    Hard time: Law jails some kids for life - USATODAY.com
     
  9. Missourian
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    Missourian Gold Member

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    Well, I would say that these murderers should get the same "second chance" there victims received at their hands...but as I am standing in the vicinity of a second story window and don't know Bones' exact whereabouts at the moment...I'll keep me opinion to myself.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  10. catzmeow
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    catzmeow BANNED

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    The problem is that not every murder is the same. Nor is every murderer.

    A 12-year-old has a greater chance of being salvaged than a 32-year-old does. Or at least, that has been the assumption of most of the court systems in this country for the past hundred years or so.
     

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