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States revisit mandatory sentences for juveniles

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posted on Aug, 18 2013 @ 01:19 PM
Well, I must admit folks, I have very mixed feelings on this. Very mixed indeed. First, the meat of the story.

SUFFIELD, Conn. (AP) — When Nicholas Aponte recalls the night in 1995 that sent him to prison, he describes an immature 17-year-old who told himself he was tough but in reality lacked the nerve to say no to a cousin he admired for being a troublemaker.

Sitting with a group of boys on a porch, playing cards and drinking, the cousin said he needed to "do a robbery" and asked if Aponte wanted to tag along.

Just an idiot-stick 17yr old kid who made a terminally bad decision which resulted in one man dead and a number of lives destroyed in the aftermath. The thing is, he didn't pull the trigger. He cousin did.

The plan failed. A 28-year-old sandwich shop assistant manager was killed during the robbery. Aponte was later arrested, as was his cousin, younger brother and a friend. Even though Aponte didn't fire the gun, prosecutors considered him the ringleader. He was treated by the courts as an adult and sentenced to 38 years without parole. That means he will be 55 when he's freed.

Should that make him innocent? Oh absolutely NOT. Should that give him 38 years in prison? I don't believe so. Give him LIFE or give him something realistic....but a sentence like 38 years to a 17yr old *IS* life. At least anything remotely like a productive life, is gone. Forever. If he pulled the trigger and was an adult? I'd say GOOD and chuckle over his sorrow at losing it, too. Taking someone else's warrants no sympathy. Should the same apply for kids, often caught up in a bad thing but not central to what made it particularly horrible?

In Connecticut, where Aponte is among about 200 inmates who could be affected by the high court's ruling, a proposal that would have allowed parole hearings for teen offenders who've served at least 12 years or 60 percent of their sentence died this year. There are plans to resurrect the bill next year.

Never a rabbit to suggest a problem without a solution, I say they already found it. They just need to PASS it to set this right, in my personal opinion. Juvies SHOULD have the chance to get out when their own hands didn't take life, in particular. I was first thinking 10 years as accomplice to what the story described...and the bit above for the law proposing 12 years to first parole hearing sounds reasonable. Generally speaking? That'll have a kid pushing 30 before even having the chance to get out ..and if he's not safe to release, then don't.

Mandatory sentences themselves were simply the lawmakers answer to weak judges and a system that wouldn't put criminals in prison. The answer has become so much worse than the original problem by both totally destroying lives which may well have had potential after some years to serve for a mistake ...but also by the obscene costs and overcrowding this has resulted in.

Thoughts? Should Juvies go down in the same 'throw away' style as adults do on a given range of crimes? Should the immaturity and inability to fully grasp one's own actions BE considered as the 2012 Supreme Court Decision of Miller vs. Alabama?

* A point to clarify. I'm not suggesting and nor are those in the article suggesting that anyone get away with anything. Prison is a part of the crime result, no matter what here. The question is simply whether statute law should determine whether the kid has no realistic future left, before adulthood even begins....or should the Judge and/or system at least have the ability to consider all factors in sentencing and possible release some day?

edit on 18-8-2013 by wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 03:40 AM
reply to post by wrabbit2000

Do you think Charles Manson should be free? He wasn't even at the scene of the crime. Both have been found guilty by association, and both's roles in these crimes are unclear. Nicholas says he didn't have anything to do with it and to this day Manson says he didn't have anything to do with the Tate murder either.

Of course the justification for keeping one in prison is that he is considered bat guano crazy.

posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 03:46 AM
I'd never live in the you es. Way to risky. You got all kinds of problems. We're not the far behind mind you;.

posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 04:04 AM
reply to post by wrabbit2000

I am unsure....may have missed it reading of your post...was Aponte tried as an adult? If so, the issue of juvenile sentencing is separate point.

Most state sentencing guidelines for juveniles are indeterminate, in that custody is remanded to the state for a period of time NOT to exceed the 18th birthday, 21st birthday if there are aggravating circumstances.

As to whether juveniles should be tried as adults, I kind of go along with the concept of bar mitzvahs....

posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 06:39 AM
reply to post by BigBrotherDarkness

Was Manson a 13 or 14yr old kid who wasn't at the scene? No... Not even remotely close. Charlie Manson is a sick sick bastard who led a warped little "Family" that killed in his name. How that evil troll comes into this is beyond me?

Besides.. Manson should have died. He was given the Death Penalty. Rosey Bird and the Supremes are the only reason the man is still breathing. It's a shame too.. If ever a poster boy for the Death Penalty could be found among people who didn't literally kill with their own hands? He's the one.

posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 07:13 AM
reply to post by wrabbit2000

Then my question to you is what makes you believe the 17 year olds story? What was presented that made 12 men and women give him such a sentence? Do you think he was railroaded leading to that verdict? What is the evidence other than his sworn testimony?

I recall seeing this story covered on the news when it happened, and I recall seeing the security camera footage as well, I remember his expressions on those tapes and thinking if he was not a part of it, nothing was preventing him from saying F this and driving away when the shtf. As I have been in a similar situation, when I was in college I was being nice as a designated driver for some already drunk "friends" that wanted to go get more alcohol. Well, it was a tad after 2:00 by the time their drunk selves got to the counter, so they tried to just drop the cash on the counter and walk out, needless to say a brawl quickly ensued. Well, guess who wasn't there to be an accomplice to that nonsense... me. Bear in mind I had known one of the guys for over 10 years.

I am happy to say no one died, but someone could have... I had some pissed off friends for ditching, but that's a situation you just don't put friends in, so don't expect them hang around and be a better friend than you're being by doing some senseless nonsense.

That being said, if his story is true he had options and he didn't take them, instead he stuck around and became an accessory to murder whether he pulled the trigger or not. If you don't know right and wrong by age 12 then the world has failed you or you are developmentally stunted. At age 17 whats right and wrong isn't a random guess you know and if you don't well no one is to blame but yourself. In some states 15 can be tried as an adult, but in most 17 is the age one can be tried as an adult... and I agree with it.

posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 11:31 AM
reply to post by BigBrotherDarkness

You make some good points..and keep in mind, I opened it with saying I have very deep, mixed feelings on the whole topic. I can see the victims side and generally have my sympathy there before any criminal suspect/convict.

At the same time, it seems a reasonable question as this isn't ONE case being talked about. One case was simple shown for the example. However, mandatory min.'s to draconian levels, carried to kids, is a national problem and across both violent and non-violent crime alike.

In the larger context and why I chose this forum for it, is it right to essentially end a 70-80 year lifespan for any productive outcome 13-17yrs old over anything short ot outright, hands on murder? Is it right, even for that? Depending on cricumstance....

More MANDATORY min. right at all? After all, the sentences imposed that way leave no room or options for consideration of anything. It's Crime = Time and whatever came around it is totally and 100% secondary trivia. I'm not entirely comfortable with that black/white and brtually cold approach to adults. In the case of kids? The Supreme Court had a real good point about Immaturity, as much as kids will fight to the last breath arguing the point.....they MAKE the point, in the process.

posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 09:48 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

I'm pretty sure I catch your drift, I mean you have to have a lot of experience to gain wisdom and kids are just deficient by default. A lot of times adults do forget to slip on the same mental shoes they wore when they were the childs age when dealing with behavior... if we did we could recall and understand their point of view and have more tolerance and understanding. It could be argued talking to them on their level stunts their mental growth... but showing them you understand because you've been there will certainly turn u the volume of your voice in their ears more than just playing I know whats best for you authority figure. It also could be considered a point of adult guilt, that adults are failing children and instead of accepting responsibility for some reason, hide them in the closet or in this case prison for the failure...

At the same time 17 is plenty enough time to learn right and wrong and how to go about things... parents that don't teach it expect the schools to do it, schools don't do it because it is their job to educate them on a subject not how to act in society and around others, but thats where they seem to be most of the time so if parents and teachers are not taking that responsibility then they are going to learn it from? Their peers... or the blind leading the blind. It doesn't help that both parents and teachers have their hands tied behind their back to teach consequence so the child "gets" it to where consequences of actions isn't a concept but actual experience.

At age two (the terribles) a child is learning how to push boundaries and manipulate to get what they want, and how adults react forms a persons coping mechanisms many times they become life long coping skills, hardly any positive or useful as an adult or in society. In the teens they should be resolving and making better coping skills from positive examples, but if the only people doing that come from experiencing being the pecking order... it starts becoming very reminiscent of lord of the flies and a battle of gaining a comfortable place in the eyes of your peers.

Pretty daunting, sad thing is most kids now think respect is earned... that it is not freely given until someone proves they don't deserve it from experiencing their behavior. Instead they run around trying to get street cred and respect by doing things against the gr'ups. This is gang initiation mentality, and it's only going to get worse, the longer we go ignoring the responsibility to give them the right tools to become a responsible adult.

But by age 17 if one hasn't learned it by then, they are going to have to learn it the hard way even if we were slack in our responsibility to them. It's easier to separate people from society in a concrete walled time out than it is to give them the tools no one else ever bothered to give them up to that point.

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