Posted by: Matthew Fox | November 12, 2009

Crime news Thursday

The United States is one of the few countries to allow juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.  Although the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for offenders who committed crimes as juveniles five years ago, they have not looked at this other issue.

On Monday, the Supreme Court started to hear the arguments of two defendants who claim sentencing them to life in prison without parole for crimes committed when they were juveniles is unconstitutional.

This issue asks the question at what age can someone throw away their right to live amongst society?  One of the petitioners, Joe Sullivan, was only 13 when he raped an elderly woman for which he later received a life sentence.  No one can claim that rape is not a heinous crime and that Sullivan did not deserve some punishment.  However, I truly believe that it’s wrong to deny him the right to even have his case looked at every few years.  People do change.  Further, United States law differentiates juveniles from adults.  Juveniles are not allowed to drink, vote or gamble.  Yet, they are allowed to lose their right to live amongst their peers.  At least to me, there is some contradiction here.

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