Monday, April 20, 2009

Texas Senate endorses penalty reduction for juvenile capital murderers

I'm as shocked to see the Texas Senate unanimously endorsed eliminating life without parole for juvenile capital murderers as I was to see Williamson County DA John Bradley testify in favor of the bill in committee. Congratulations to Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa for getting this landmark legislation through the Legislature's upper chamber. If it earns approval from the House and the Governor, the new law would make juvenile capital offenders eligible for parole (though not entitled to it) after 40 years, so in most cases sometime in their 50s.

I don't track capital sentencing issues closely, but Doc Berman over at Sentencing Law & Policy has written a lot on this topic, see:


sunray's wench said...

Good. Is Chuy thinking of running for Governor any time soon?

123txpublicdefender123 said...

I still can't get over the fact that Bradley testified in favor. I hope this gets done, and that Perry doesn't use one of his last day vetoes without explanation to kill it.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just put all murderers on probation? No jail time for any murderer, no matter what age. We have just been way to mean and it's time we made ammends. Everyone knows that enhancements don't work and jail hasn't done anything but make people worse. Let's do away with TYC and TDCJ all togethor. As a matter of fact, I don't think juvenile murderers should even get probation, that's a bit to harsh. Send them to live with a loving family that will understand them. Victim's families don't matter. They just need to accept and move on. It was probably the victims fault that they go murdered anyway. Really all of society needs to apologize to all criminals for being too mean.

sunray's wench said...

@anon 10.15 (who cant even come up with an alias, so lazy) ~ I suppose that those who are in the "eye for an eye" camp (which btw is a misrepresentation of the entire Bible passage, but nevermind)are never going to be convinced that what a child does at 15 does not necessarily predict their entire adult behaviour, especially with a short period of correction.

Naturally it would be preferrable for the child to not have commited murder in the first place, and I know it is distasteful but society as a whole must shoulder some of the blame if the parents are not able to raise their children the way society wants them to, if society does not them help before the situation becomes violent.

For a nation to talk about child protection and take measures like installing sex offender registers, and then to try children as adults and remove them from society for life, seems hypocritical in the extreme. Is it only middle class children that should be protected? Or those who have 6 siblings by different fathers? This uneven application of morals is confusing for everyone, not least the children themselves.

If you as a society agree that children need protecting (sometimes from themselves) then how can you justify moving the goal posts to ignore the fact that they are children? Children emulate adults, it's how they learn. So if your children are in such a mess that you are considering locking them up for life, perhaps you should take a look at yourself too.

We are not talking about adults here (pick your random age to define adult, 16, 18 or 21), we are talking about children.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

10:15, it's difficult to understand you when you're talking out of your ass.

MCMC said...

Sunray's Wench left me in awe of a thoughful and intelligent response while Grits' reponse just made me laugh out loud. Kudos to you both.