Today’s Other SCOTUS Ruling

25 06 2012

It came out this morning before SB 1070, and therefore, it got lost in the hubbub.

States cannot hand out mandatory life without parole sentences for anyone under 18 convicted of any crime, including murder.  However, this is not the same thing as out and outright prohibiting life without parole as a possible punishment for anyone under 18 who commits murder.  An earlier SCOTUS decision (Graham v Florida ) totally exempts U-18s from life without parole sentences for non-homicidal crimes, and then course there is Roper v Simmons, which totally takes the death penalty off the table for U-18s.  What SCOTUS is saying here with Miller v Alabama today is that state judicial systems must show flexibility in sentencing juveniles-certified-as-adults who commit murder.

However, I think the disparate impact (to borrow one of the judiciary’s favorite phrases) is that U-18 murderers will no longer get life without parole.  Going forward, you know that the defense attorneys for U-18s given life sentences will drag the sentence into court on Miller v Alabama grounds every time.  The states, seeking to avoid the hassle, will either give long fixed terms or life with occasional parole hearings to U-18 murder convicts.

I won’t delve into the court’s actual decision, you can read it yourself.  But it seems perfectly obvious to me that this very same Supreme Court would, if given the chance, find both the death penalty and life without parole for adult criminals to be in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and almost completely gut the concept of criminal responsibility for most people under the age of 18 in most circumstances, and there’s an outside chance, using Elena Kagan’s rationale in this case as precedent, that they would pretty much exempt many blacks, juveniles or adults, from most criminal responsibility.  How can you read what she has to say here and not come away thinking this?

Again, I’m not a lawyer, I’m just a well educated amateur.

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6 responses

25 06 2012
rjp

My take was the same, with Kagan’s input and voting, the gradual erosion of responsibility for crimes committed under the age of 18 by a disparately impacted group. And it is not good. Even life in prison, doesn’t necessarily mean life, so to say to a 17 year old or younger “essentially you can do multiple kills and only do 10-15 years in this state with ‘good behavior’ …. or less if you get a ‘good jury'”.

25 06 2012
countenance

Now that SCOTUS has spoken, this means that every U18 currently sentenced to life without parole will flood the zone with appeals. That also includes this worthy:

http://countenance.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/norvelle-brown-update/

However, I get the feeling that the Federal judiciary will still allow life sentences for U18 cop killers. That’s because cops protect judges, and both cops and judges are government employees.

25 06 2012
rjp

Oh and I should add ….. I think it came out before on purpose …. so it was swept under the rug.

There is an app that monitors web pages for changes that I used in the past: URLyWarning. Would be interesting to install it and watch SCOTUS. Heathcare is going to be big so could they have something else big on the docket to ease their conclusion that because people live in one state and work in another it is a ICC right to regulate ….

Kagan is a scumbag.

25 06 2012
countenance

Miller v AL was 63 pg, SB 1070 was 76 pg. That was 139 pg of legal reasoning I read today. Methinks the ObamaCare decision will run well into the hundreds of pages. You know that all nine justices are going to want to say their piece. But the wxman says triple numbers in STL later this week and close to it for the weekend, so this will be the ideal weekend to read a long drawn out set of judicial opinions.

26 06 2012
Kurt Plummer

I’m not for extremes of sentencing unless we are talking something like the Knoxville Horror where it should be clear that there is a mental disturbance factor going on (max both psychiatric and prison times to get the best of both 8 + 8 or whatever…).
That said, it seems to me that the cogent aspect being ignored is how much we pay to lock people up forever and at 40,000 dollars a year (I’ve heard this is in fact conservative for some of the higher level ultramaxes where the truly despicables are sent, for their own safety…) 50 years comes down to 2 million per candidate. Yes, the streets will be safer but I’d really like to spend that 2 million on a reborn space program or all-electric green power Windmill. Or the Roulette Tables in Vegas.
OTOH, if you get junior back out on the streets in say, 6 apiece, and he does three in a row, that’s only 18 years or 720 grande and I think he’s proven that he is genetically damaged and can be killed rather than housed any longer.
Especially as this country descends to a third world hole where everyone plays the Bowling Alone island culture game of non contribution; we need to be as pragmatic as possible and in this, the nature of the crime and it’s recidivity speaks more to an ultimate-penalty jury than does prior times upstate.
Obviously this means we must stop acting like sheeple to whom said State owes total protection. So freer laws with respect to open or concealed carry and the right to Stand Your Ground should also be a part of this.

26 06 2012
countenance

Welcome. I love your posts on AR. BTW do you sometimes post as “Lop Eared Galoot?”

Slavery as a punishment for crime is allowed by the 13th Amendment. (This is how “community service” as a punishment for crime is Constitutional). I wonder if we could use this to our benefit per your suggestion of outside the box thinking re criminal justice.




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