Should Life Sentences Be Reversed for Juvenile Offenders?
In an article from U.S.A. Today, it was reported that the Supreme Court is contemplating the idea of reversing life imprisonment sentences for those who were convicted as juveniles. One of the main reasons why juvenile offenders were tried as adults was due to the notion that those who engage in criminal activities at a younger age will continue that pattern well into adulthood.
Our attorney stated, "Children and teenagers should not be treated as adults in any situation and we at The Hammer Law Firm are committed to fighting for our juvenile clients and their families."
The Origin of the "Superpredator"
The 1990's saw a large upswing in juvenile crime and delinquencies. In response to this, the laws got tougher on offenders. The idea was to put a stop to their activities by incarcerating them, which would keep them off the street and prevent them from committing crimes. These individuals were called "superpredators."
A superpredator was defined as possessing the following traits:
- No control over impulses
- Lacked a sense of morality
- Had no remorse for actions
- Prone to repeat offenses
Some states held onto the belief that juveniles should prosecuted in the same way as adults. However, in 2012, in the case Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court officially ruled mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole unconstitutional for juvenile criminal offenses.
Making the Call for Judgment Reversals
One of the key points in the argument against life imprisonment for juvenile offenders is that it is unfair judgment to make that one misstep will carry on into adulthood. Yet, there is no one single predictor of how a juvenile delinquent will turn out. They still have a chance for rehabilitation and ushered towards making better choices in the future. Prison conditions can also be very harsh on adolescents.
Our thoughts echo this: "To lock up a juvenile offender and throw away the key is unconscionable…In too many situations, young people are pressured into criminal situations by adults and their peers, only to find themselves locked away for crimes that they did not intend to commit or did not even realize were crimes."
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At this time, Supreme Court is still wrestling over the decision to retroactively reverse the life sentences for those convicted as juveniles. Our St. Louis criminal defense lawyers hold onto the hope that this verdict will eventually be eliminated altogether from the justice system.
From our attorney: "Because the representation of juvenile offenders is such a unique practice area, it is even more critical that an experienced, knowledgeable and sensitive attorney is retained to represent the child. The Hammer Law Firm is passionate about representing juveniles and their families and will work tirelessly to protect your child's future."