Juvenile Justice 1.pdf

Juvenile Justice 1.pdf - Maya Pankratz English III Per 4...

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Unformatted text preview: Maya​ ​Pankratz English​ ​III,​ ​Per​ ​4 Jiminez 2​ ​February​ ​2017 Juvenile​ ​Punishments Crimes​ ​carried​ ​out​ ​by​ ​minors​ ​are​ ​rightfully​ ​handled​ ​very​ ​differently​ ​than those​ ​by​ ​adults;​ ​however,​ ​whether​ ​juvenile​ ​murderers​ ​should​ ​be​ ​tried​ ​as​ ​adults​ ​or not​ ​is​ ​a​ ​widely​ ​debated​ ​topic,​ ​especially​ ​since​ ​this​ ​may​ ​include​ ​sentencing​ ​them​ ​to the​ ​death​ ​penalty.​ ​ ​Allowing​ ​killers​ ​to​ ​live​ ​predominantly​ ​due​ ​to​ ​their​ ​age​ ​is​ ​unjust and​ ​could​ ​present​ ​many​ ​issues​ ​for​ ​the​ ​community.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​especially​ ​true​ ​when​ ​the defendants​ ​are​ ​almost​ ​old​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​be​ ​tried​ ​as​ ​adults.​ ​As​ ​explained​ ​in​ ​Adam Liptak’s​ ​article​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​to​ ​Rule​ ​on​ ​Executing​ ​Young​ ​Killers,​ ​minors​ ​are given​ ​a​ ​major​ ​advantage​ ​in​ ​the​ ​court​ ​of​ ​law.​ ​The​ ​jury​ ​often​ ​places​ ​great​ ​weight​ ​on their​ ​youth,​ ​and​ ​if​ ​they​ ​present​ ​themselves​ ​well​ ​and​ ​recklessness​ ​is​ ​taken​ ​into account​ ​and​ ​viewed​ ​as​ ​a​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​responsibility​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​a​ ​sign​ ​of​ ​danger,​ ​juvenile murderers​ ​may​ ​not​ ​receive​ ​the​ ​punishment​ ​they​ ​deserve. There​ ​is​ ​no​ ​doubt​ ​that​ ​the​ ​jury​ ​takes​ ​into​ ​consideration​ ​the​ ​youth​ ​of criminals,​ ​as​ ​it​ ​is​ ​an​ ​important​ ​factor.​ ​Despite​ ​this,​ ​particularly​ ​when​ ​the​ ​crime​ ​in question​ ​is​ ​as​ ​serious​ ​as​ ​murder​ ​and​ ​the​ ​defendants​ ​are​ ​close​ ​to​ ​being​ ​legal​ ​adults, this​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​the​ ​best​ ​idea.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​case​ ​of​ ​Christopher​ ​Simmons,​ ​his​ ​life​ ​as​ ​well as​ ​that​ ​of​ ​the​ ​other​ ​teenager​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​the​ ​crime​ ​he​ ​committed​ ​were​ ​spared largely​ ​because​ ​of​ ​their​ ​age.​ ​Simmons​ ​was​ ​only​ ​seventeen​ ​years​ ​old​ ​when​ ​he became​ ​a​ ​murderer,​ ​pushing​ ​a​ ​46​ ​year​ ​old​ ​woman,​ ​bound​ ​and​ ​gagged,​ ​into​ ​a​ ​river after​ ​robbing​ ​her​ ​along​ ​with​ ​a​ ​friend.​ ​As​ ​was​ ​stated​ ​in​ ​Liptak’s​ ​article,​ ​one prosecutor​ ​in​ ​this​ ​particular​ ​case,​ ​George​ ​McElroy,​ ​agreed,​ ​stating​ ​“Seventeen years​ ​old…​ ​Doesn’t​ ​that​ ​scare​ ​you?”​ ​This​ ​is​ ​frightening,​ ​but​ ​since​ ​there​ ​have​ ​been a​ ​relatively​ ​small​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​juveniles​ ​executed​ ​in​ ​recent​ ​years,​ ​supporters​ ​of​ ​the death​ ​penalty​ ​for​ ​minors​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​the​ ​system​ ​is​ ​working​ ​and​ ​this​ ​sentence​ ​is being​ ​used​ ​only​ ​for​ ​the​ ​most​ ​dangerous​ ​underage​ ​criminals.​ ​These​ ​two​ ​juveniles​ ​fit that​ ​description​ ​though-​ ​they​ ​acted​ ​in​ ​a​ ​dangerous​ ​way,​ ​choosing​ ​not​ ​to​ ​stop​ ​at robbery​ ​and​ ​pushing​ ​the​ ​victim,​ ​Shirley​ ​Cook,​ ​into​ a​ ​river​ ​without​ ​the​ ​ability​ ​to escape​ ​or​ ​even​ ​call​ ​for​ ​help.​ ​For​ ​such​ ​a​ ​reprehensible​ ​act,​ ​age​ ​is​ ​hardly​ ​a​ ​solid justification. Demeanor​ ​of​ ​the​ ​defendants​ ​is​ ​another​ ​major​ ​aspect​ ​that​ ​is​ ​evaluated​ ​when juries​ ​are​ ​making​ ​their​ ​decision.​ ​Juries​ ​thoroughly​ ​inspect​ ​the​ ​criminals​ ​and​ ​use tactics​ ​to​ ​draw​ ​what​ ​conclusions​ ​they​ ​can​ ​from​ ​this.​ ​How​ ​the​ ​juveniles​ ​appear​ ​and present​ ​themselves​ ​in​ ​court​ ​could​ ​either​ ​guarantee​ ​them​ ​a​ ​harsh​ ​sentence​ ​or​ ​grant them​ ​an​ ​easy​ ​way​ ​out​ ​(or​ ​at​ ​least​ ​a​ ​punishment​ ​much​ ​less​ ​severe​ ​than​ ​that​ ​which they​ ​deserve).​ ​In​ ​the​ ​case​ ​of​ ​Robert​ ​Acuna​ ​(his​ ​story​ ​was​ ​covered​ ​along​ ​with Simmons’​ ​in​ ​Liptak’s​ ​article)​ ​who​ ​was​ ​seventeen​ ​when​ ​he​ ​murdered​ ​an​ ​elderly couple,​ ​the​ ​former​ ​applied-​ ​though​ ​it​ ​was​ ​apparent​ ​that​ ​someone​ ​had​ ​tried​ ​to​ ​make him​ ​look​ ​younger,​ ​he​ ​showed​ ​no​ ​remorse​ ​at​ ​his​ ​trial,​ ​laughing​ ​and​ ​acting indifferent.​ ​For​ ​Simmons​ ​and​ ​his​ ​friend​ ​however,​ ​since​ ​unlike​ ​Acuna​ ​they​ ​did​ ​not receive​ ​the​ ​death​ ​penalty,​ ​their​ ​demeanor​ ​may​ ​have​ ​given​ ​them​ ​an​ ​advantage​ ​when taken​ ​into​ ​account​ ​with​ ​their​ ​youth. One​ ​feature​ ​of​ ​crimes​ ​committed​ ​by​ ​minors​ ​is​ ​that​ ​they​ ​are​ ​often​ ​reckless, which​ ​can​ ​be​ ​seen​ ​in​ ​two​ ​different​ ​ways.​ ​This​ ​callousness​ ​and​ ​brutality​ ​can​ ​be taken​ ​as​ ​a​ ​sign​ ​of​ ​danger,​ ​but​ ​some​ ​jurors​ ​may​ ​brush​ ​it​ ​off​ ​as​ ​a​ ​lack​ ​of responsibility​ ​due​ ​to​ ​youth.​ ​Acuna’s​ ​crime​ ​is​ ​an​ ​example​ ​of​ ​one​ ​that​ ​was particularly​ ​careless,​ ​as​ ​after​ ​shooting​ ​his​ ​victims​ ​he​ ​stole​ ​their​ ​car.​ ​Simmons’​ ​case definitely​ ​showed​ ​signs​ ​of​ ​recklessness​ ​as​ ​well,​ ​though​ ​a​ ​little​ ​more​ ​care​ ​was​ ​taken to​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​they​ ​were​ ​not​ ​caught​ ​by​ ​killing​ ​Crook​ ​after​ ​robbing​ ​her.​ ​Though McElroy​ ​took​ ​this​ ​into​ ​consideration​ ​and​ ​scoffed​ ​at​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​the​ ​defendant’s​ ​age being​ ​used​ ​as​ ​a​ ​reason​ ​to​ ​not​ ​receive​ ​the​ ​same​ ​punishment​ ​that​ ​an​ ​adult​ ​would, other​ ​prosecutors​ ​may​ ​not​ ​have​ ​looked​ ​at​ ​the​ ​case​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​way.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​shown because​ ​the​ ​two​ ​criminals​ ​were​ ​not​ ​executed​ ​in​ ​spite​ ​of​ ​their​ ​recklessness. In​ ​conclusion,​ ​allowing​ ​juvenile​ ​murderers​ ​to​ ​have​ ​their​ ​lives​ ​spared​ ​largely due​ ​to​ ​their​ ​age​ ​is​ ​an​ ​act​ ​of​ ​injustice.​ ​Considering​ ​executing​ ​minors,​ ​especially those​ ​that​ ​are​ ​seventeen​ ​and​ ​almost​ ​grown,​ ​a​ ​cruel​ ​and​ ​unusual​ ​punishment​ ​is​ ​kind of​ ​ridiculous​ ​when​ ​this​ ​punishment​ ​would​ ​be​ ​given​ ​to​ ​an​ ​adult​ ​for​ ​a​ ​similar​ ​crime and​ ​not​ ​considered​ ​cruel​ ​or​ ​unusual.​ ​Christopher​ ​Simmons​ ​and​ ​his​ ​friend​ ​are​ ​an example​ ​of​ ​criminals​ ​that​ ​should​ ​have​ ​received​ ​the​ ​death​ ​penalty,​ ​for​ ​robbery​ ​and murder.​ ​Despite​ ​being​ ​underage,​ ​the​ ​two​ ​killers​ ​were​ ​fully​ ​aware​ ​of​ ​what​ ​they were​ ​doing​ ​and​ ​just​ ​as​ ​responsible​ ​as​ ​someone​ ​of​ ​age​ ​would​ ​have​ ​been.​ ​They​ ​acted in​ ​a​ ​way​ ​that​ ​was​ ​uncaring​ ​and​ ​dangerous​ ​and​ ​could​ ​still​ ​present​ ​a​ ​danger​ ​to​ ​the community​ ​at​ ​large.​ ​Though​ ​a​ ​life​ ​sentence​ ​in​ ​prison​ ​could​ ​be​ ​considered​ ​sufficient punishment,​ ​it​ ​still​ ​isn’t​ ​enough​ ​simply​ ​because​ ​their​ ​age​ ​was​ ​such​ ​an​ ​important factor​ ​in​ ​this​ ​sentence. ...
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  • Spring '17
  • Jiminez
  • English

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