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Old 10-14-2012, 16:43   #1
steveksux
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SCOTUS strikes down mandatory life w/o parole for juveniles. Thoughts?

http://www.freep.com/article/2012101...ichigan%20news

I have no problems sentencing some juveniles to life w/o parole. Statutes that make that sentence automatic for juveniles? I'm not so sure that's a good idea. Politicians attempting to look tough on crime. Having other options seems reasonable to me. They can still decide to impose life without parole if I am reading this correctly. That's appropriate sometimes. Not sure if it rises to the level of being unconstitutional though...

What say you guys?

Randy

Last edited by steveksux; 10-14-2012 at 16:44..
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Old 10-14-2012, 18:17   #2
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How many years of institutionalism does it take to make someone incapable of living in society, like a gentleman/woman?

I know, kind of a loaded question.
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Old 10-14-2012, 18:19   #3
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Our Founding Fathers supported an eye for an eye, the death penalty in many forms that they would say were not cruel or unusual, parents own their kids, etc...

A court should have the right to decide a punishment and let the parents decide if they should pay for their kids or let their kids pay for set crimes.

Mandatory life for a child over 10 is silly, but the death penalty or 100 years should be seen as just in some cases.

Lets punish people and make examples. Hold people accountable. Age should help with the level of punishment, but the crime should be trump for what they get.
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Old 10-14-2012, 18:38   #4
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I felt like the whole system went to crap when they overruled death for juveniles. I friend of mine from elementary school was once the youngest person ever sentenced to death. He deserved it. Instead, he died of natural causes living free in Missouri.
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Old 10-14-2012, 18:39   #5
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How many years of institutionalism does it take to make someone incapable of living in society, like a gentleman/woman?

I know, kind of a loaded question.
Yep - they were incapable of that by about age 10.
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Old 10-14-2012, 18:52   #6
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I am against "automatic" laws that don't leave the judge any choices.

Having said that, if you play adult games, you should get adult prizes.
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Old 10-14-2012, 19:33   #7
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I have no problems recycling death row eligible juveniles back into society. Keeps the local LE employed for years to come.
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Old 10-14-2012, 20:10   #8
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I have no problems recycling death row eligible juveniles back into society. Keeps the local LE employed for years to come.
The problem with this idea is how many innocent citizens are going to be victimized as a result.
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Old 10-14-2012, 22:29   #9
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Old 10-14-2012, 22:33   #10
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FWIW; The human brain isn't fully developed until age 20 to 25. If minors are imprisoned before that age range, their brains and personalities are permanently molded by the experience.
I cant help but believe that some of those we throw away by imprisonment could have become useful members of society. I don't know how to differentiate them, nor how to better deal with them. It just seems like a waste, and prison is such an easy way to rid ourselves of problems.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:45   #11
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Quote:
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FWIW; The human brain isn't fully developed until age 20 to 25. If minors are imprisoned before that age range, their brains and personalities are permanently molded by the experience.
I cant help but believe that some of those we throw away by imprisonment could have become useful members of society. I don't know how to differentiate them, nor how to better deal with them. It just seems like a waste, and prison is such an easy way to rid ourselves of problems.
So, tell me why we allow humankind at age 18, and a little younger with parental permission to join the military branches. When I went into the US Army, and US Army National Guard I was taught how to shoot, and how to kill as part of the basics of being a soldier, at 18. Even though I myself was not sent off to a war zone at the age of 18, there are plenty of young men at 18 who were sent off to fight the opposition, even back during the lull between Vietnam and Desert Shield/Storm.

Young men and women learn about death and dying at a young age. They are also taught within some of their education, (if in a public school setting), about alternatives to birth of children, such as abortion being an acceptable alternative.

Take a child just out of the womb, (as in natural birth, or c-section for the purpose of life), and kill it, and then the charge of murder comes up. What's the difference? None. So, although their minds may not be fully developed until the early 20's the fact that we are teaching death at an early age in their young lives is present, and cannot be denied.

If they are going to be allowed loose because their young minds were not fully developed, then enlisting in the military needs to be made illegal until age 21 or older; young men and women need to stay at home with their parents while learning a trade, or stay home with their parents while going to a university, because after all they are not old enough to know better on life and death issues; nor do they need to be able to vote, drive a car; etcetera and so forth until well past 21, because of making impulsive decisions.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:14   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul53 View Post
FWIW; The human brain isn't fully developed until age 20 to 25. If minors are imprisoned before that age range, their brains and personalities are permanently molded by the experience.
I cant help but believe that some of those we throw away by imprisonment could have become useful members of society. I don't know how to differentiate them, nor how to better deal with them. It just seems like a waste, and prison is such an easy way to rid ourselves of problems.
At the same time, society must be protected, justice needs to be provided for the victims, and if possible rehabilitation to prevent it from happening again...

However, there are some things that happen that are so heinous, my only concern is protecting society until the juvenile dirtbag is no longer a threat.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:09   #13
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FWIW; The human brain isn't fully developed until age 20 to 25. If minors are imprisoned before that age range, their brains and personalities are permanently molded by the experience.
I cant help but believe that some of those we throw away by imprisonment could have become useful members of society. I don't know how to differentiate them, nor how to better deal with them. It just seems like a waste, and prison is such an easy way to rid ourselves of problems.
My nephew's 18 year-old brain brain was molded (hopefully permanently) by 6 months in a pretty tough jail after assaulting his GF, stealing her car, and ramming it into a house.

This was what finally got him sent to jail, after years "Oh you're just a kid, try to behave and we'll give you probation..." for drug and alcohol offenses, along with attempts at assaulting his mother. (Father missing, step-father taken to jail one night and given restraining order after trying to prevent one such assault.)

Jail was the best thing for him. I wish it had happened sooner, but that 6 months behind bars taught him that he needed to grow the heck up.

He now has a job and is going to college, and while he is tempted to get back to the 'easy money' of selling drugs, he knows what the consequences of getting busted again would be.

Jail for juveniles can be a good thing, but it has to be applied judiciously.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:32   #14
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What I think is stupid is that in most states, people are considered a juvenile until 18 for court purposes. So a 17 year old is perfectly capable of knowing right from wrong and can choose to execute someone. Yet, they are "incapable" of being sent to prison for the rest of their life. That's bull****.

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Old 10-15-2012, 09:28   #15
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This is a perfect example of the kind of people we are talking about. Take a good look at the Boyfriend / father. She wanted to be a thug, gangster, rap star, now she is in jail. Where I hope she stays. Her family forgot to tell her that's where most gangsters, thugs end up.. The news story only tells a fraction of what happen to the two victims.
http://www.fox4now.com/news/local/173699541.html
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Old 10-15-2012, 16:15   #16
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Easy guys! The OP asked for thoughts. That's all my first post was meant to be. I'm not defending nor condemning. Just saying.........
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Old 10-15-2012, 17:07   #17
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Easy guys! The OP asked for thoughts. That's all my first post was meant to be. I'm not defending nor condemning. Just saying.........
"Just saying..."

When you place yourself into an intellectual debate with professionals who have very definite opinions on criminal justice issues, one is going to hear strong and well stated retorts to a position that doesn't often comport with the inferential rehabilitation opportunity opinion.

We see directly through our eyes minor infractions such as shoplifting and the horrors and violence perpetrated by juvenile offenders. The terrors inflicted on the victims leaves a lasting impression on those in law enforcement.

What do you say to a 24 year old mother who arrived home at her apartment complex and was removing her infant from the car seat when a 16 year old male shoves a loaded firearm into her face and was threatened with death in order to steal her car? What do you say when she was pistol whipped by the same young person? A woman so distraught and terrified for her baby's safety that she couldn't coherently speak for about twenty minutes afterwards? I'll say this... it was a damn tough interview.

The offender was caught later that night in a neighboring city after crashing the car into two other cars stopped at a stop light. The police had to chase him down in a foot chase.

When they learned that he was wanted for armed robbery, several counted of aggravated assault, and incidental charges, they held him for me and I went there to arrest him. He wasn't drunk or a drug abuser... he simply saw a movie and thought it would be cool to do that. So, he stole his father's pistol, snuck out of the house, and went to a nearby apartment complex to prey on anyone he could find. He did so on two people simply going home.

The kid has zero prior history of any criminal activity. Not even a dismissed curfew arrest. Yet, he chose to act out like a hardened gangster at 16 years of age. No one could explain his actions - not his parents, his relatives, his teachers. Only one friend had noticed that he had become enamored with thuggery.

The female victim, her child, and the husband moved out of their apartment the next day. It cost them a lot of money to break the lease, but they did it. They went into hiding and the mother refused to appear at hearings. She told me that she could never look at the suspect again without reliving that night.

The offender and his parents got an attorney and went to Court, choosing to plead out for the hope of a minimal sentence. The Judge asked for the victim upon sentencing, but she wasn't there. The Judge asked my opinions during sentencing and I told her the bizarre Janus figure I encountered. A criminal who viciously told a young mother that she would die, after watching her baby killed there, if she didn't give up her car. The young man who quietly sat wearing handcuffs and answered every question I asked, while ending each statement with 'sir'. These facts were related to the Judge and including the lack of any prior offense[s]. She sentenced him to Arizona State Prison for 20 years, flat time.

In a number of years, he will get out and be at least 37 years of age. He will have missed his high school graduation, college, dating, and many other things. His parents and family missed out as well. I also wonder what the young mother and father missed out on. I haven't forgotten any of them. I never will.

How would you answer that situation when justice has to be applied fairly to all, government resources are strained, and you are the arbiter of people's lives and society's guardian? I too, often criticize judges, but they have a difficult task and I have chosen to never become one.

That said, "just sayin..." is never an answer.
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Old 10-15-2012, 17:39   #18
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Blueiron, the OP asked for thoughts. I gave mine. I worked as a nurse in the New Mexico Department of "Corrections" and have strong thoughts about how the guilty are treated.

As a paramedic I treated a woman who'd been stabbed in the head with a screwdriver by a stranger. In prison I treated her convicted murderer until he beat a corrections officer to death with a 2x4. The CO had a young child and a newborn.

Wish we could talk over coffee or a beer, you would find there's no need to focus your anger on me.
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Old 10-15-2012, 18:08   #19
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Blueiron, the OP asked for thoughts. I gave mine. I worked as a nurse in the New Mexico Department of "Corrections" and have strong thoughts about how the guilty are treated.

As a paramedic I treated a woman who'd been stabbed in the head with a screwdriver by a stranger. In prison I treated her convicted murderer until he beat a corrections officer to death with a 2x4. The CO had a young child and a newborn.

Wish we could talk over coffee or a beer, you would find there's no need to focus your anger on me.

There is no anger intended. Simply an incident that illustrates the dilemma that society faces when dealing with juvenile offenders.

I don't know your experiences or training. Some people come here to ask, having no experiences. Some come here with a modicum of experience and ask for clarification about issues. Some come here with ulterior motives.

You asked a genuine cogent and considered question and I offered my experience in consideration of the numerous options facing society.
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Old 10-15-2012, 21:19   #20
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FWIW; The human brain isn't fully developed until age 20 to 25. If minors are imprisoned before that age range, their brains and personalities are permanently molded by the experience.
I cant help but believe that some of those we throw away by imprisonment could have become useful members of society. I don't know how to differentiate them, nor how to better deal with them. It just seems like a waste, and prison is such an easy way to rid ourselves of problems.
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Easy guys! The OP asked for thoughts. That's all my first post was meant to be. I'm not defending nor condemning. Just saying.........
I think the problem with your reply is here....
Quote:
The human brain isn't fully developed until age 20 to 25. If minors are imprisoned before that age range, their brains and personalities are permanently molded by the experience.
It makes it sound as if you are suggesting that juveniles should not be jailed at all.

There's a duty to rehabilitate juveniles if possible, yes, but the greater duty is to protect society from them. The same immaturity/less than fully developed brains can render them less capable of understanding the gravity of their actions, the consequences to their victims, resulting in them sometimes being much more vicious and cold blooded than some adult offenders.

I'm against automatic life sentences w/o parole for juveniles, but I think some certainly deserve it. While their upbringing may have messed them up plenty, say to the point that they can't be rehabilitated, does it matter even if we assume for the sake of argument it may not even be their fault*? The crux of the matter is can they be reintegrated into society and not be a danger?

For some, I submit, the answer is no.

Randy

*for the record, there are kids in horrible family situations, horrible schools, that manage to turn out ok, so I don't believe for a moment that they are powerless to control their outcome. They choose to hang out with the bad element, or the good students, to do homework, or not. in spite of, or because of their parents.

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