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Supreme Court & juvenile justice


Chris James

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As the theme of my Falling Down story I focused on juveniles that faced mandatory sentencing guidelines in state courts. For years both the legal and medical professions have contested the harsh sentences on children and teens based upon the evidence that some of these cases are just too harsh.

Justice can only be served when each case is judged one at a time since every accused individual is different. The one size fits all dispensing of laws that force judges and juries to incarcerate without parole allows no examination of each crime.

At least in my story we saw a positive outcome. Do a little research and you will discover this is not a normal course of events. Do juveniles need to be punished? Of course they do, but there must be a limit, and "feel good" laws that get politicians re-elected are not the answer.

The SCOTUS has been pondering this issue for quite some time...and finally we have this positive decision:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/justices-extend-bar-on-automatic-life-terms-for-teenagers/ar-BBoFOqM?li=BBnbcA1&ocid=LENDHP

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Thanks, Chris. Good news. Now we must wait for Trump's diatribe on how the country is going to hell as its top jurors are soft on crime and how he'll appoint only justices who'll uphold the fine traditions of this country where everyone we lock up is locked up forever at hard labor. For no matter what.

Sounds like Trump, doesn't it?

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This is indeed good news. Now comes the challenge of how different states will follow through with it, either stacking parole boards or coming up with new charges later on.

A young acquaintance of mine had what I found to be a good compromise. A life sentence is limited to the number of years old the person was at the time of commission. Twelve years old? No more than 12 years. Give a person a chance.

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