Life In Prison At 13... Supreme Court May Evaluate Florida Case

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mkrishnan, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #1
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/us/03bar.html?_r=1&hp

    It seems quite an interesting case based on the poor evidence (the article also indicates that biological evidence of rape was obtained and not presented in court, and it was reportedly destroyed before a request for DNA analysis in the early 90s), but then also on the extremely uncommon nature of no parole life sentences for crimes outside murder, for individuals at his age at the time of the crime, as well as for the issue of the level of mandatory oversight that life w/o parole sentences should get, vis-a-vis death sentences.
     
  2. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #2
    Wow, a harsh sentence for a child. While I do not belittle the crime involved, life in prison? :confused:
     
  3. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #3
    Yeah, the crime is despicable, although the case against him seems somewhat weak (and the system should not hand out the most severe penalty for a crime when the case against the defendant is not that strong).

    I guess, to me, it's a tough issue, because on the one hand, raping a 72-yr-old is not something a child finds themselves doing accidentally, is it? On the other hand, how does it benefit society (or how is it really just) to keep this man in prison for another forty or fifty years, above the twenty he's served so far? What is the quality of evidence that suggests that a child incarcerated at 13 is going to be a threat to society at 40 or 50 or 60?
     
  4. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #4
    I have issue with first dealing with a minor with such a harsh sentence, and also even more because the evidence seems sketchy. I see no real useful punishment or benefit to society by destroying his life.
     
  5. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #5
    Why ?

    Couldn't the same be said for those who are 17-18? Or do you think there is THAT much of a difference between a 13 year old and a 17 year old?
     
  6. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #6
    There's a huge difference. Any child development professional can tell you that.
     
  7. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #7
    Too bad, assuming he did do it, he will get what is coming to him.

    Mercy and forgiveness are shelters of those caught in a crime and have no practical place in the justice system. It has nothing to do with whether or not he can be reformed or whether or not he will do it again, he DID IT and now he has to face the consequences.
     
  8. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #8
    You have no idea whether he did it or not, since the case was obviously deeply flawed. Therefore you have no basis for your foolish and circular assertion that "he will get what is coming to him". Even if he did do it, for which there appears to be no meaningful evidence, life imprisonment without parole should never be handed out to a child. He should be put in a young offenders' institution and taken care of. Mercy and forgiveness always have a place in the justice system. If not for mercy and forgiveness, all you have is a cold-blooded retribution system without any prospect of improving anything.
     
  9. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #9
    Because he is 13. And yes, there is a HUGE difference between a 13 year old and a 17 year old.
     
  10. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #10
    Thats true. Doesn't mean a sadistic thirteen year old will not be sadistic down the line. I'm not implying guilt or innocence in that statement.

    This case seems a little sketchy. On the one hand, I think the sentence for robbing and raping a 72 year old is an incredibly sadistic thing warranting the sentence of life. However, at the same time, the evidence of this case appears incredibly weak.
     
  11. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #12
    Meh. I prefer Sodium Pentathol. And truth serums aren't exactly reliable. They mostly increase talking. The truth can come out, but so can lies. Its hard to gauge.
     
  12. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #13
    More advanced, yes.

    I just like a reference to The Guns of Navarone. :)
     
  13. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #14
    I stated that what I say is assuming he did it, if he didn't then he deserves a fair trial. But if he is guilty I don't see why he shouldn't pay for the act. There need to be consequences, at the very least there NEEDS to be jail time. He needs to be either reformed and released or he needs to be removed from the public to protect them from his violent behaviour.

    Besides, by the way I see it, removing violent offenders from society IS improving things, maybe not for them but the rest of us need not worry for our safety.
     
  14. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #15
    Lots of assumptions. It appears that the boy was tried and convicted on circumstantial evidence.

    Also, your reasoning appears circular, you state that if someone is innocent they deserve a fair trial, but the only way to assess guilt or innocence is through the legal system.


    The argument has been that juvenile offenders are different from adult offenders because of their ability to be legally responsible, hence the reason that 13-year-olds cannot drive or vote, is different. Some of this is due to historical relationships and some is driven by our newer understanding of the difference between a child's brain and an adult's.
    A child cannot understand clearly the consequences of their actions, especially in a way that an adult does.

    Furthermore, we see that a 13-year-old placed into the prison system is also at a very different risk for abuse. This should give us pause.
     
  15. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    #16
    Well said. I agree completely.
     
  16. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #17
    Not sure what is circular about it, a trial happens, if they are found guilty they should be dealt with correctly. Its true that this case seems built on incredibly faulty evidence, and I am not ASSUMING that he is guilty, I am saying that if he is then there is nothing wrong with correctional time. Reading comprehension is important, I never stated that he is guilty, I said that if he is then it needs to be dealt with correctly and justly(starting with a fair trial which it seems to he did not get).


    As for that garbage about a 13-year old not knowing, a 13-year old knows right and he knows wrong. By the time you are that age you should be able to understand that rape is a crime, if you don't then something went horribly wrong in your parenting.
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #18
    I do not recall anybody saying that detention would be inappropriate if he is guilty. What is at issue here is the idea that life imprisonment without parole is an appropriate or reasonable sentence for anyone aged 13. Whether the trial itself was fair is another question.
    So is writing: the way you phrased your post was unclear at best.
    Are you allowed a credit card at 13? Are you allowed to vote? Are you allowed to have sex? Are you allowed to drive? No? Why do you think that is?
     
  18. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #19
    A harsh sentence, but I am really more concerned with the fact that they didn't use and later destroyed biological evidence. Testimony from the victim that really amounts to "Well I THINK he did it" scares me a LOT more than a rare and long period of jail time for a minor.
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #20
    They are two entirely separate issues.
     
  20. iCantwait macrumors 65816

    iCantwait

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #21
    hang him up by his nuts


    WTF with 1000 ppl under 15 being done for rape? WTF is wrong with the USA?
     
  21. DarthTreydor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #22
    that is so nuts it's beyond comprehension. i don't think there is anything that a 13 year old CHILD can do that should send him away to prison for the rest of his life. CHILDREN's brains are not yet fully formed and they deserve to be treated with a degree of leniency. plus i'm not even convinced he did it, given the inherent racism of the american criminal justice system.
     
  22. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #23
    I agree. I can't see how convicting someone for life for an act they committed when they were 13 makes any sense. I did some dumb things when I was a teenager (though I never raped someone) because I was a normal, dumb, teenager. Certainly there should be some mercy, right?

    P-Worm
     
  23. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #24
    Yes, it is considering you glossed over the word "appears."


    Studies indicate that the adult brain and the child's brain are different and furthermore that cause-and-effect thinking are part of a mature brain. Children understand "right and wrong" but may understand consequences, rather they're following a structure they might intuitively understand.



    Thank you.

    Exactly. It's interesting that we don't give especially bright children the right to vote early or a credit card, but we are willing to punish malefactors as adults.
     

Share This Page