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High court to look at life in prison for juveniles
Associated Press ^ | Nov 7, 2009 | MARK SHERMAN

Posted on 11/07/2009 6:29:20 PM PST by presidio9

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.

Graham, now 22, and Sullivan, now 33, are in Florida prisons, which hold more than 70 percent of juvenile defendants locked up for life for nonhomicide crimes. Although their lawyers deny their clients are guilty, the court will consider only whether the sentences are permitted by the Constitution.

The Supreme Court's latest look at how to punish young criminals flows directly from its 4-year-old decision to rule out the death penalty for anyone younger than 18.

In that 2005 case decided by a 5-4 vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion talked about "the lesser culpability of the juvenile offender."

"From a moral standpoint it would be misguided to equate the failings of a minor with those of an adult, for a greater possibility exists that a minor's character deficiencies will be reformed,"

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: deathpenalty; docket; juveniles; scotus

1 posted on 11/07/2009 6:29:22 PM PST by presidio9
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To: presidio9

Grab the hankies, it’s time for some liberal boo hooing.


2 posted on 11/07/2009 6:32:33 PM PST by Bertha Fanation
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To: presidio9

hmm. wow. society has become so enlightened. just look at us.


3 posted on 11/07/2009 6:37:43 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (the obama doctrine: "let's not rush to any conclusions...")
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To: Bertha Fanation

I’m no liberal in general terms, but on this one I guess I agree with them. I think it’s absurd for society to deny rights to under 18s on the grounds they are not ready to be responsible for them, and then to hold them fully responsible for crimes.

Probably not a popular view here, but I’m not going to hide from it.


4 posted on 11/07/2009 6:38:31 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: Bertha Fanation
I'm hoping a lawyer will come along to this thread and explain to me how a lawyer can argue the severity of the sentence without conceeding guilt. In Sullivan's case, he's served 20 years for rape, and he's not getting them back. I'd be willing to stipulate at this point, unless you're hoping for a big payday when the actual rapist confesses.

Incidently, if you did not read the entire article, then you missed this:

"The crimes that these guys committed were grotesque," (Alan) Simpson said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I'm sure people will say Simpson's gone soft in the head." The Wyoming Republican served 18 years in the Senate, but as a teenager, he pleaded guilty to setting fire to an abandoned building on federal property and later spent a night in jail for slugging a police officer.

5 posted on 11/07/2009 6:41:28 PM PST by presidio9 (I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday -WC Fields)
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To: naturalman1975

When your grandmother is the one getting raped, and the punk clearly knew what he was doing, I have no doubt you’ll feel the same way.

As a matter of fact, felon are typically denied the right to vote, hold some jobs, and in some cases drink alcohol. From here one out, I say reduce their sentences when they commit more crimes. After all, they weren’t “ready” to be responsible for certain rights.

I think you are probably a decent person. I also think you think you are a wonderfully moral person. Unfortunately like a lot of liberals (in general terms), you have obviously not thought through completely the logic of what you are saying.


6 posted on 11/07/2009 6:47:30 PM PST by presidio9 (I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday -WC Fields)
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To: presidio9
Mr. Dubois then demanded of me,"Define a 'juvenile delinquent.'"

"Uh, one of those kids the ones who used to beat up people."

"Wrong."

"Huh? But the book said "

"My apologies. Your textbook does so state. But calling a tail a leg does not make the name fit. 'Juvenile delinquent' is a contradiction in terms, one which gives a clue to their problem and their failure to solve it. Have you ever raised a puppy?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you housebreak him?"

"Err . . . yes, sir. Eventually." It was my slowness in this that caused my mother to rule that dogs must stay out of the house.

"Ah, yes. When your puppy made mistakes, were you angry?"

"What? Why, he didn't know any better; he was just a puppy.

"What did you do?"

"Why, I scolded him and rubbed his nose in it and paddled him."

"Surely he could not understand your words?"

"No, but he could tell I was sore at him!"

"But you just said that you were not angry."

Mr. Dubois had an infuriating way of getting a person mixed up."No, but I had to make him
think I was. He had to learn, didn't he?"

"Conceded. But, having made it clear to him that you disapproved, how could you be so cruel as to spank him as well? You said the poor beastie didn't know that he was doing wrong. Yet you inflicted pain. Justify yourself! Or are you a sadist?"

I didn't then know what a sadist was but I knew pups."Mr. Dubois, you have to! You scold him so that he knows he's in trouble, you rub his nose in it so that he will know what trouble you mean, you paddle him so that he darn well won't do it again and you have to do it right away! It doesn't do a bit of good to punish him later; you'll just confuse him. Even so, he won't learn from one lesson, so you watch and catch him again and paddle him still harder. Pretty soon he learns. But it's a waste of breath just to scold him." Then I added, "I guess you've never raised pups."

"Many. I'm raising a dachshund now - by your methods. Let's get back to those juvenile criminals. The most vicious averaged somewhat younger than you here in this class . . . and they often started their lawless careers much younger. Let us never forget that puppy. These children were often caught; police arrested batches each day. Were they scolded? Yes, often scathingly. Were their noses rubbed in it? Rarely. News organs and officials usually kept their names secret in many places the law so required for criminals under eighteen. Were they spanked? Indeed not! Many had never been spanked even as small children; there was a widespread belief that spanking, or any punishment involving pain, did a child permanent psychic damage."

(I had reflected that my father must never have heard of that theory.)

"Corporal punishment in schools was forbidden by law," he had gone on."Flogging was lawful as sentence of court only in one small province, Delaware, and there only for a few crimes and was rarely invoked; it was regarded as 'cruel and unusual punishment.'" Dubois had mused aloud, "I do not understand objections to 'cruel and unusual' punishment. While a judge should be benevolent in purpose, his awards should cause the criminal to suffer, else there is no punishment and pain is the basic mechanism built into us by millions of years of evolution which safeguards us by warning when something threatens our survival. Why should society refuse to use such a highly perfected survival mechanism? However, that period was loaded with pre-scientific pseudo-psychological nonsense.

"As for 'unusual,' punishment must be unusual or it serves no purpose." He then pointed his stump at another boy."What would happen if a puppy were spanked every hour?"

"Uh . . . probably drive him crazy!"

"Probably. It certainly will not teach him anything. How long has it been since the principal of this school last had to switch a pupil?"

"Uh, I'm not sure. About two years. The kid that swiped..."

"Never mind. Long enough. It means that such punishment is so unusual as to be significant, to deter, to instruct. Back to these young criminals They probably were not spanked as babies; they certainly were not flogged for their crimes. The usual sequence was: for a first offense, a warning a scolding, often without trial. After several offenses a sentence of confinement but with sentence suspended and the youngster placed on probation. A boy might be arrested many times and convicted several times before he was punished and then it would be merely confinement, with others like him from whom he learned still more criminal habits. If he kept out of major trouble while confined, he could usually evade most of even that mild punishment, be given probation 'paroled' in the jargon of the times.

"This incredible sequence could go on for years while his crimes increased in frequency and viciousness, with no punishment whatever save rare dull-but-comfortable confinements. Then suddenly, usually by law on his eighteenth birthday, this so-called 'juvenile delinquent' becomes an adult criminal and sometimes wound up in only weeks or months in a death cell awaiting execution for murder. You..."

He had singled me out again."Suppose you merely scolded your puppy, never punished him, let him go on making messes in the house . . . and occasionally locked him up in an outbuilding but soon let him back into the house with a warning not to do it again. Then one day you notice that he is now a grown dog and still not housebroken whereupon you whip out a gun and shoot him dead. Comment, please?"

"Why . . . that's the craziest way to raise a dog I ever heard of!"

"I agree. Or a child."


- from Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. 1959.
7 posted on 11/07/2009 6:47:53 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: Bertha Fanation

ACLU and amnesty international scum

god have mercy on these people if the revolution starts
because the rest of us won’t


8 posted on 11/07/2009 6:52:05 PM PST by Charlespg (The Mainstream media is the enemy of democracy destroy the mainstream media)
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To: naturalman1975
"Ah, yes. When your puppy made mistakes, were you angry?"

"What? Why, he didn't know any better; he was just a puppy.

See? When Jo Sullivan raped somebody's grandmother, he was just acting like a puppy. Why get angry with him? No real harm done.

9 posted on 11/07/2009 6:53:12 PM PST by presidio9 (I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday -WC Fields)
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To: naturalman1975
I think it’s absurd for society to deny rights to under 18s on the grounds they are not ready to be responsible for them, and then to hold them fully responsible for crimes.

I think you made a perfectly reasonable point.

If a kid is deemed too immature to manage a cigarette, how can we hold them to the same standard as an adult in any area?

I think that's it's odd, as far as the rape story goes... In Texas a person under 14 legally CANNOT consent to a sex act. If that's the case, then how can they knowingly perform the act of rape in the eyes of the law? We say that a 13 year old can't understand the consequences of normal sex, but we then say that they understand the consequences of rape?

Don't get me wrong, people. These kids are dangerous. They need to be locked up and reformed. I believe that most of these kids have something seriously wrong with their home lives to stoop so such lows. Maybe taking a 14 year old and putting them in a disciplined environment with morals, values and proper nutrition will do them a world of good.

IMHO, it should be on a case-be-case basis.

10 posted on 11/07/2009 6:53:51 PM PST by Marie (remember, remember, the fifth of november...)
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To: presidio9
When your grandmother is the one getting raped, and the punk clearly knew what he was doing, I have no doubt you’ll feel the same way.

I've dealt with crime including serious crime involving members of my own family, and my views haven't changed. I don't base important beliefs solely on emotion but on principles as well. If you're interested - google Janine Balding.

As a matter of fact, felon are typically denied the right to vote, hold some jobs, and in some cases drink alcohol. From here one out, I say reduce their sentences when they commit more crimes. After all, they weren’t “ready” to be responsible for certain rights.

The situation isn't equivalent. They lost their 'adult' rights by their actions. Adolescents have never been granted them. Nor do I believe they should be.

I think you are probably a decent person. I also think you think you are a wonderfully moral person. Unfortunately like a lot of liberals (in general terms), you have obviously not thought through completely the logic of what you are saying.

Wonderfully moral? Not particularly. My level of morality is nothing I consider unusual and my position isn't based on a belief that I hold any type of moral high ground. It's based on the belief that we can't deny people rights on the grounds of irresponsibility, and then hold them to be fully responsible when it suits us.

I don't believe in being soft on crime either. I think courts typically treat adolescents far too leniently - but we go from one extreme to the other when we let them get away almost unpunished for minor crimes - and then drop the heavens on them when it becomes major.

11 posted on 11/07/2009 6:54:55 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: presidio9
naturalman is not a liberal. He's just thinking (Something that a Free American is encouraged to do.)

Personally, I think that it should be on a case-by-case basis. A kid can change a lot (for better *or* worse) in the 5 years from 13 to 18.

12 posted on 11/07/2009 6:56:30 PM PST by Marie (remember, remember, the fifth of november...)
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To: presidio9
quick execution is good in so many ways, I have no idea why we pay to lock these people up for life.

Take them out of the court room and string them up with 5 dollars of robe you can recycle on the next perp.

13 posted on 11/07/2009 7:02:28 PM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied, the economy died)
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To: naturalman1975; presidio9; Marie
I guess I agree with them.

You, like anyone else are entitled to your opinion. So are the many legislators who considered the facts surrounding the bill they passed and the governor who signed the bill into law.

What you or I consider to be bad or improper law is not necessarily unconstitutional. The strict constitutionality of the sentence is what Scotus should decide, not the squishy notion of the modern "morality" of the sentence.

14 posted on 11/07/2009 7:11:48 PM PST by Jacquerie (All Muslims are suspect.)
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To: Jacquerie

True enough - a court should rule based on the law and the constitution and not on other factors.

I wouldn’t want or expect them to do anything else.

But I don’t agree with laws that treat people as children one moment and as adults the next.


15 posted on 11/07/2009 7:17:38 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: Jacquerie

True enough - a court should rule based on the law and the constitution and not on other factors.

I wouldn’t want or expect them to do anything else.

But I don’t agree with laws that treat people as children one moment and as adults the next.


16 posted on 11/07/2009 7:17:42 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975
Two basic problems with your position:

1. You're missing a very important distinction.

The assumption of adult responsibilities in civil matters has ALWAYS been different from the assumption of responsibilities in criminal matters. The latter is not a question of minority or adulthood, but simple humanity.

Whether or not you have sense enough to enter into a contract, drive a car, or vote is completely different from whether you know right from wrong.

The ancient common law put criminal responsibility (knowing right from wrong) at about age 7. That is STILL the case -- the purpose of the juvenile system is not to diminish responsibility but twofold: to rehabilitate if possible, and to keep juveniles out of the prison system so that they are not victimized.

And if you're thinking that kids are like puppies, you are denying both their intelligence and their humanity.

2. The juvenile system already treats kids on a case by case basis, and there are multiple hurdles to sentencing these kids as adults. First, there are only a limited number of crimes for which juveniles may be prosecuted, let alone sentenced, as adults. A hearing is held in juvenile court and the juvenile judge looks at the accused's record in detail before making a finding that he has had multiple chances in the juvenile system and cannot be rehabilitated, that he understands the criminality of his conduct, and that he is unamenable to treatment in the juvenile system. Only then does the case proceed to the regular superior court system.

There is ample opportunity for considering the accused's mental state and level of responsibility in the trial as well. And THEN there are additional hurdles to cross before a juvenile may be sentenced as an adult.

This is not something that "just happens" all of a sudden to some hapless innocent who has no idea that his crime is serious.

17 posted on 11/07/2009 7:38:16 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - (recess appointment))
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To: naturalman1975
I think I understand what you are saying.

But sadly, certain rights are attained by age.

But, certain crimes are irrelevant to age in terms of sentencing.

Most kids are good. Some know the difference between right and wrong...and just don't care.

I fear we will see more of this as time evolves. It is a sign of our times.

18 posted on 11/07/2009 7:42:53 PM PST by berdie (Hey, Bill Mahr...That's Mrs. Cracker to you.)
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To: naturalman1975

A child is not a puppy but if a child messes his pants your analogy might hold up.

A teenager rapes grandma and he’d better be in prison for the rest of his stinkin life.


19 posted on 11/07/2009 7:59:08 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
1. You're missing a very important distinction.

No - not missing it. Just don't think it's a real distinction.

The ancient common law put criminal responsibility (knowing right from wrong) at about age 7. That is STILL the case - the purpose of the juvenile system is not to diminish responsibility but twofold: to rehabilitate if possible, and to keep juveniles out of the prison system so that they are not victimized.

Actually it didn't. Common law (the doctrine of doli incapax to be precise) assumed a child was not criminally responsible in most cases until the age of 14 - which at the time was fairly consistent with the age he was allowed to carry out most adult responsibilities. There were very rare cases where a child under that age might be found to be criminally liable but they were rare and unusual. Seven was set at the absolute limit for these rare cases - it was never the 'normal' limit under common law.

Common law can be superseded by both courts and legislatures, so it's not particularly relevant to modern discussions, but it was what it was and it said what it said.

And if you're thinking that kids are like puppies, you are denying both their intelligence and their humanity.

No, I don't think kids are like puppies - and I'm frankly amazed that anybody might think I do. The point of the quote I gave isn't whether children are like puppies or not. I'll single out the bits I consider most important just to make it clear.

"Never mind. Long enough. It means that such punishment is so unusual as to be significant, to deter, to instruct. Back to these young criminals. They probably were not spanked as babies; they certainly were not flogged for their crimes. The usual sequence was: for a first offense, a warning a scolding, often without trial. After several offenses a sentence of confinement but with sentence suspended and the youngster placed on probation. A boy might be arrested many times and convicted several times before he was punished and then it would be merely confinement, with others like him from whom he learned still more criminal habits. If he kept out of major trouble while confined, he could usually evade most of even that mild punishment, be given probation 'paroled' in the jargon of the times.

"This incredible sequence could go on for years while his crimes increased in frequency and viciousness, with no punishment whatever save rare dull-but-comfortable confinements. Then suddenly, usually by law on his eighteenth birthday, this so-called 'juvenile delinquent' becomes an adult criminal and sometimes wound up in only weeks or months in a death cell awaiting execution for murder.

It's actually a separate point to the other one, which is why I put it into a separate post. There are two issues here that are relevant as far as I am concerned. The first is whether or not it is sensible to treat people as irresponsible children for some purposes and as responsible adults for others. I don't believe that is sensible or reasonable.

The second issue - the one I quoted from Starship Troopers about - relates to the fact that our society is creating more and more delinquents because we're not punishing children in a way that's appropriate for children. We let them get away with so many things (or nearly so) until they suddenly go too far for us to ignore it. And then we tend to come down on them like a pile of bricks. Our society isn't doing what it needs to do to stop these children becoming serious criminals. Once they become such, we have to treat them as such - but we should be doing a better job of preventing them reaching that stage.

I'm a teacher - my students don't turn into juvenile delinquents? Why - because their parents discipline them, and so do their teachers (with the approval of the parents in our case). Every day I see kids who aren't being disciplined and a lot of them do wind up as criminals. It's their choices, but it's not just their choice.

I lost my parents when I was nine. I was lucky. Other people took on the responsibility of seeing I was brought up right. There's too many kids now who nobody is doing that for.

20 posted on 11/07/2009 8:14:28 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: driftdiver
A child is not a puppy but if a child messes his pants your analogy might hold up.

Why are people fixating on the puppy? The puppy is not the point of the quote.

21 posted on 11/07/2009 8:15:48 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: AnAmericanMother
This is not something that "just happens" all of a sudden to some hapless innocent who has no idea that his crime is serious.

Just for the record - I lost a cousin to rape and murder. At the hands of five people aged 14-22. And for at least the youngest of them, this was something that 'just happened' to them and he did have no idea of the seriousness of what he'd done.

He's now been in prison nineteen years. And his papers are stamped never to be released.

That's not the US - it's an Australian case. But it's left me interested in these issues and following them around the world and including in the US. What happened is hardly unique.

Do I think he deserved to be punished? Yes, I do. For the level of culpability and understanding he had as a fourteen year old who had basically had no effective parenting since he was at least nine, and who had not been involved in any serious crime until he was finally taken in by a group of older people which included hardened criminals.

22 posted on 11/07/2009 8:23:06 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Because the puppy is the point. People aren’t puppies. Teenagers know right from wrong. They may not have the judgement adults have but they do know.

The point of putting someone in prison is to 1) punish them and 2) keep society safe from them


23 posted on 11/07/2009 8:35:33 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: naturalman1975
I actually see what you are saying and agree about the lack of proper parental guidance.

First let me post a disclaimer..I don't equate humans with animals, but some of our behavior is similar.

I recently read an article that detailed a study about a group of young elephants that were separated from their mothers and their herd. They had no teachers. They became dangerous “rogues”.

So my question is this..Do we isolate the dangerous rogues, even though we have compassion for their circumstances? Or do we allow them to run over society?

What would a good, realistic answer be?

24 posted on 11/07/2009 9:38:01 PM PST by berdie (Hey, Bill Mahr...That's Mrs. Cracker to you.)
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To: presidio9
"From a moral standpoint it would be misguided to equate the failings of a minor with those of an adult, for a greater possibility exists that a minor's character deficiencies will be reformed,"

I would say: "From a moral standpoint it would be misguided to in every case release violent predators on their 18th birthdays and put additional innocent people at risk just because in general a possibility exists that a minor's character deficiencies will be reformed. The trial courts should have the discretion to make that decision on a case-by-case basis, and (if the Supreme Court cares) the trial courts do have that authority under the law."

25 posted on 11/08/2009 3:57:53 AM PST by TurtleUp ([...Insert today's quote from Community-Organizer-in-Chief...] - Obama, YOU LIE!)
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To: naturalman1975
I have no idea what the situation is in Australia, but the idea of an American kid running with a hard core criminal gang and having no contact with law enforcement until he commits a heinous murder seems unlikely.

Moreover, if that were truly the case (and you didn't have the opportunity to see the perp's juvenile record - it's sealed) there would be consideration in sentencing.

Parenting or no parenting, a 14 year old knows that killing another human being is wrong. If you deny that, you deny his ability to THINK. In which case a defense of mental retardation would have been interposed.

It's not a perfect system, but the chances of a kid who has had no contact with law enforcement or the juvenile system being tried as an adult and sentenced to life without parole are quite slim. There are just too many gateways and hoops to jump through before you get to that end result.

26 posted on 11/08/2009 4:59:11 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - (recess appointment))
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To: naturalman1975
A work of fiction (with a strong point of view - Heinlein always has a point of view) is not a valid or reasonable argument, compared to actual knowledge of an actual system.

And of course Heinlein is just getting everybody's juices flowing with his argument (and you went for it). He starts with a completely false premise: that the juvenile system is 'just a slap on the wrist'. People love to claim that, and of course the writer, to achieve his desired effect, knows that. But he is seizing on a popular (and erroneous) idea for his own purposes.

Certainly there are folks who fall through the cracks, juvenile officers who are not vigilant, juvenile judges who are overly lenient, but a quick read of the appeals reports from any state intermediate court will give the lie to the idea that juvenile offenders aren't punished. That system includes a complete range of punishments up to and including imprisonment, and believe me they are imposed.

So your first premise is inaccurate.

As to the question of criminal responsibility, it is true that I was painting with a broad brush and speaking rather generally. You're correct that at common law 7-14 was a fuzzy area. But the point is not that that law is still in force, or even the details of it, but that it has always been recognized that a child may have criminal culpability long before he has the ability to enter into a contract or vote. And the younger end of the scale depends, just at it depends in the modern system, on multiple factors. That's why it was, as you note, a rare case for a child as young as 7 to have full responsibility for a crime imposed upon him. It's rare now, as well.

The other question is one of predictability, and balancing the situation of the juvenile against the danger to the public. Is a child who can commit rape and murder at age 14 capable of being rehabilitated? And are you willing to sit on a parole board that releases that individual, only to have him reoffend?

27 posted on 11/08/2009 5:15:42 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - (recess appointment))
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To: Marie

Let me get this straight:

You are equating the correct decision that a teenager is incapable or unwilling to weigh all of the factors before becoming addicted to cigarettes to the the correct decision that the victim and society come first when determining how a crime should be punished. Did I get that one right?


28 posted on 11/08/2009 5:39:20 PM PST by presidio9 (I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday -WC Fields)
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To: naturalman1975
I don't believe in being soft on crime either. I think courts typically treat adolescents far too leniently - but we go from one extreme to the other when we let them get away almost unpunished for minor crimes - and then drop the heavens on them when it becomes major.

Forgive me for not Googling your loss. My own best friend was brutally murdered. I was the best man at his wedding, and we both worked at the top of 1 WTC until the summer of 2001, when we moved our office a block and a half south. So I'm familiar with the subject as well. I started a thread on the crime if your interested. The perp is still at large. I'll FReepmail you a keyword if you think you can help.

I'm not sure what the rest of your point is. The beneficiaries of a sentence are society and the victim. Any rehabilitation of the the creep who comitted the crime. I have comitted two crimes in my life one when I was younger, one of a white collar nature. I can promise you that in both cases I thought what I got was unfair. Both were two lenient.

29 posted on 11/08/2009 5:48:20 PM PST by presidio9 (I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday -WC Fields)
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