Monday, January 25, 2016

Potential Parole for Juveniles with Life Sentences

The Supreme Court ruled that teens cannot be given a life sentence without a chance to gain their freedom.

The court was reviewing the case of Henry Montgomery, who killed a deputy in 1964 and received a life sentence. The court ruled 6-3 that teens should get a change at parole or resentencing despite the ruling of the court on their initial sentencing.

There was a similar case heard in 2012 by the Supreme Court and Justice Kagan said in the majority opinion that sentences must consider “the mitigating qualities of youth” (Al Jazeera). I believe that it is odd to treat people who are just under eighteen and just over eighteen slightly differently because of their age when they are pretty much equally able to make judgements about if they were doing something terrible or not. Furthermore, the definition of juvenile can vary from under sixteen to under nineteen depending on what state you are in. 

Do you believe that juveniles should be allowed a second chance if they committed murder? Do you think that there should be a national age limit for juvenile or should state continue to be allowed to define what this loose term means?


Jared Mayerson said...

I agree with you that there is no exact second for every person where they become a mature adult. Becoming 18 does not make you more mature than your last day as a 17-year-old. However, to me, this is our best option. I do believe that juveniles should be allowed a second chance. Some may understand their actions while others may not, but I still believe that teens should not receive life sentences. A possible alternative is an extra investigation whether or not they understood the true extent of the crime they committed, but, for now, 18 is our best number.

Adjon Tahiraj said...

This is one of the few cases for murder that I believe people should be given a second chance. Like Jared said, being 18 years and a few months old does not make you any more mature than a few months ago when you were 17. For this reason I believe that there should be a national age limit for juvenile when it comes to being given a life sentence because all teenagers have to be treated equally when it comes to something this serious.

I think that when you are a teen you make a lot of stupid and sometimes harmful decision, therefore everyone deserves a second chance. Now granted, this does not mean there shouldn't be a minimum of how many years the person has to serve before he is given a chance to be released. I believe this should depend on a case to case basis, but there should be a bare minimum of 15 years, because in the end murder is murder.

Hannah Fontanos said...

Like Jared and Adjon, I also believe that juveniles should be allowed a second chance if they committed murder. Even though mental maturity varies from person to person, I agree that there should be a national age limit for juveniles to create some consistency.
Another factor that should be considered when determining whether or not a juvenile should receive parole is whether or not the juvenile had any sort of mental illness during the time that they committed the crime. I think the level of carnage that they did on someone or on more than one person should also be taken into consideration. Whether or not that person committed similar crimes in their adult years should be another factor.
Overall, I think that most juveniles should be given a chance at parole, but I think that those that had a violent history and were charged for more crimes should not be given as much slack despite their age. No matter their age, I believe a criminal should still take some form of punishment.