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Under Aged Killers Get Life

The Supreme Court just ruled on two juvenile murder cases that are likely to set major precedents for young convicted murderers going forward. In a decision opposed by the conservative side of the court, the Supreme Court voted to allow both boys, now men serving time, the possibility of parole for their crimes.† There are a few justices, and states, who are not happy about it.

Part of the argument for the decision revolves around the fact that many adults who committed murder at early ages like 14 or so may later regret their actions after fully developing and rehabilitating in jail. Many of these people who committed crimes at that age under stress or a unique social situation might have avoided those situations at a later age or higher maturity level. Itís with these intentions that Attorney Bryan Stevenson argued for the more liberal ruling of granting parole. Bryan Stevenson is partnered with the Equal Justice Initiative, representing the two men before the Supreme Court.

Alito wrote the dissenting opinion in the case and was backed up by Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts. There are a few good arguments for the dissenting opinion, notably that offenders granted parole could recommit crimes. But recidivism isnít the only one. The other is that there were stark differences between the cases. In one, Evan Miller burned down the trailer of a 52 year old who died in the ensuing fire.† In the other, Kuntrell Jackson was merely a lookout while an accomplice went into a videostore with a shotgun, killing the clerk inside. Itís arguable that the same decision is not transposable or tenable for both cases.

In 28 states, laws exist that enforce mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles and adults convicted of certain types of murder. Some forms of murder that qualify for capital punishment in adulthood do not for juveniles. Itís interesting that most of the juvenile murderers currently serving time for their crimes are doing so in states which prohibit parole. What if it were possible that a culture of harsh penalties for murder actually caused more murder? It would seem that the two are linked based on the fact that a smaller fraction of those serving time are doing so in states which donít impose mandatory life sentences without parole.

There are some states and some lawmakers who donít see things in grey. Certainly, morality operates in black and white in many cases- itís wrong to kill. Killing is disgusting. But someone who commits a murder is still human, and they donít permanently lose that humanity from killing. This is particularly true for young people whose minds are still developing when they commit a crime. But in states where lawmakers seem to adopt the most draconian attitudes towards murder, it seems like murder is a worse problem. And in states where lawmakers endorse more liberal, classically Democratic notions of murder penalty, it seems like a less serious problem. †Recognizing children for what they are, immature, seriously underdeveloped versions of adults, is tantamount to refining our outlook on punishment for capital murderComputer Technology Articles, particularly for the states and lawmakers apparently set against it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


This article was written by Bradley Morton, he is a law student interested in the legal discovery process and hoping to one day be an attorney. He believes that technology has the power to revolutionize legal proceedings, through things like electronic discovery†Document Review.



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