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Life Behind Bars? Juvenile Justice Believes Young Offenders Need a Chance for Parole.

Written by on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 6:02pm

In 2005 the Supreme Court banned the death penalty for anyone under the age of 18.  But what about those tried as adults before 2005?  Should they be grandfathered into the old law since the American Revolution or should there be some type of revision to the justice system?

About 2,500 prisoners are serving life sentences without parole for crimes committed as juveniles.  Around three percent of those prisoners were under the age of 15.  Lawyers encourage the courts to look at it from the standpoint that these youths are still developmental.  The belief is that the younger they may be the better the chance for rehabilitation.

Whenever the case involves murder, the court looks at it very black and white.  There is no middle ground for age.  Looking back to February, we had a case like this in Ohio.  TJ Lanesadly took the life of three local ChardonHigh Schoolstudents.  The 17 year old was first set to be tried as a juvenile, but as of this past month is going to be facing six charges as an adult.

Lane is facing life in prison.  The chances of parole are very small, but he is still a minor tried as an adult.

Lane’s lawyers can pitch an argument considering other cases have been able to seek parole after a life sentence.  How would you feel if someone likeTJ Lane received parole after 50 years in prison? How about 40 years? 30?

The perceived value of rehabilitation is not something that can be based upon someone’s age at the time of the crime.  The people of Chardon would hope he never sees parole.  Lawyers could brush it off that Lane never had the intent to murder anyone, just used the gun as a scare tactic that went horribly wrong.  This could allow for a shorter sentence.

There can be a sentence for anyone involved with a murder.  This includes a driver, someone who gave someone a weapon or even being in the car while a friend goes into the store to “buy a pack of gum.”  The murderer will most likely be facing life in prison, no parole.

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