Supreme Court Looks at Life for Juveniles

. Monday, November 9


In upstate NY in the early 1980’s, three kids aged 7, 8 and 11 took their father’s shotgun and went to the corner sub shop. They shot and killed the woman working at the time and managed to steal $7.73 from the cash register. Initially, all three were remanded, but the 7 and 8 year old were returned to the home after investigations were complete. The oldest was sentenced to a juvenile facility and released when he turned 18.

Now, the Supreme Court has been asked to declare that juvenile cases in which no murder was involved, with the sentence of life in prison is cruel and unusual and unconstitutional. Four years ago, the Supreme Court ruled out the death penalty for anyone under 18.

A sober thought comes with this set of statistics:

The 109 juveniles serving terms of life without parole are in Florida and seven other states — California, Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska and South Carolina — according to a Florida State University study. More than 2,000 other juveniles are serving life without parole for killing someone.

Are children an unfinished work in progress? Will softening the punishments doled out for juvenile offenders put others at risk?

I point this out because, once again, a monumental decision is in the works that has slipped through the cracks created over the frenzy of the national healthcare reform bill.

And, once again, a half-assed band-aid is applied to symptoms, not the cause.


Rebecca said...

In my opinion - the fact that the children had access to their fathers gun is where the crime began.

A childs brain is not fully developed until their early 20's. The ability to make responsible decisions come with age. If parents face prison time for crimes the children commit with their parents guns - we might have less of a problem.

Anonymous said...

I do believe in 99% of the cases it is indeed a lack of parenting that causes the kids to go bad.

Lets face it they are all born a clean slate and what you either put on that slate, or critcal programming that you should have put on it and dont is what causes these problems.

I really do believe the truly genuine "black sheep" does exsist but it a rare thing.i.e. Charlie Manson was born to a heroine addicted teenage prostitute that surrendered him to the Boys school ( juvinile detention) in Terre Haute, Indiana by age of eight. There where he was regulary sodimised due to his small size and infulenced by other disturbed kids is it any real wonder he turned into the monster he became???

Jeffery Dahmier on the other hand from all known accounts had a quite normal childhood and home life. Even by his own addmission what he did was not in any way caused by anything his parents did or didnt do when he was growing up.

I still believe that a lot more Mansons are created that Dahmiers are born though.