Social Question

throssog's avatar

Juveniles , should they receive criminal sentences with life time consequences?

Asked by throssog (795 points ) July 21st, 2011

A case was heard in which two 14 year old boys were sentenced as sex offenders with the life time consequences attendant thereto. Please, before you reply take a look at and read the post here:
http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2011/07/nj-appeals-court-upholds-lifetime-sex-offender-registration-based-on-buttocks-horseplay-by-14-year-o.html

Hopefully I did it right , this time:)
I look forward to responses to the issues raised by the question and in the posted article.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

31 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Not for this, no. I think it is ridiculous.

throssog's avatar

@ragingloli I trust you noted that it , the case, had gone on appeal and been upheld? It is the law (capital letters) in that place and for that area as of now. All and any children who are prosecuted in that area for ‘similar’,i.e., denominated sexual, offenses will be subject to these penalty possibilities . Interesting don’t you think?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Is it silly and ridiculous? It would not be the first law to do so. Anytime you try to treat a minor, which in the eyes of the law is a kid, in spite of biology, as an adult it reeks of hypocrisy. That is a demon society created in trying to erect boogey men a la Garrido. If the boy had sat his naked but on the face of a 20yr old college coed, we would not be talking now, neither if he straight boinked a 12yr old girl who wanted to engage him. The US is so afraid of certain types of sex they will go over board to prevent it or punish those who break it way harder than the crime even allowed. Sometime in the zeal to go after a particular class or type of criminal, they cast a gill net out that catches many fish they were never after in the first place.

ragingloli's avatar

@throssog
Yes I did note that. It is interesting that if they had stabbed the victim, they probably would not have to deal with a lifetime entry in a publicly accessible register.
And I do not know about americans, but I think stabbing someone is worse than sitting on someones face with your bare bum.

throssog's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central How true. It seems we are to “protect the children” until they do something we don’t care for and then it changes to “lock’em up and through away the key” or “brand them for life so we’ll know them forever more as criminals”. Interesting, to me…but,, then I have an odd take on things , I guess, hmmm? :)
@ragingloli Odd, isn’t it that such a disgusting , but silly sort of thing should mandate (!!) lifetime consequences when, as you say, a “knife attack” would be expungable and the child /children could be re-integrated into society. Of course, this entire discussion leaves aside the nature of juvenile detention centers and the horror story they are, eh?

Hibernate's avatar

It seems ludacris. Though it’s something wroth waiting to see what brings.

FutureMemory's avatar

Totally ridiculous.

throssog's avatar

@Hibernate While, from the safety of an arm chair, it may seem ludacris, it has consequences both for the children and for all of us. The law is that way. Bad law tends to generate more bad law and eventually you face a law enforcement as opposed to a peace restoring environment. It is always at the fringes of behavior or status that the worst and most ludacris law is generated and developed.
@FutureMemory I couldn’t agree more. But it is a development that should disturb us to the point of action. Don’t you agree?

Kayak8's avatar

When children are bullied to the extent where they kill themselves, giving bullies serious consequences might make people think twice.

marinelife's avatar

Sometimes they should. Say if the teenager in Florida is convicted of murdering his parents and having a party that night with their bodies locked in the bedroom.

For the case that you cited? Definitely not.

filmfann's avatar

It’s crazy. This offense simply doesn’t rise to the level of a life sentence.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The kid is/was a bully and they could not find a crime strong enough to stop it. If he had shoved a picture of his butt in their faces that would have been considered a sex crime too.

There is a modification of the law that states if the offender is younger than 16? 14? the record is expunged in 10 years if there are no further offenses. So in this case he will have a clean record when he is 24 – if he does not bully anyone. Obviously this varies state-to-state.

Don’t worry about the bully. He will do fine. There will be girls out there who will think he is big and strong and will date him in no time. “Oh he’ll never mistreat me that way.” Foolish.
My concern is for the 12 year olds.

Our friend, being over 21, will have his ‘offense’ on record for life.

LuckyGuy's avatar

We do not know the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say. It is highly unlikely this was an isolated incident. This was the time when he got caught and there were victims with parents willing to prosecute.

mattbrowne's avatar

We should make more use of restorative justice. The biggest breeding grounds for new crimes are prisons.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’m with @Kayak8. Bullies disgust me and I wish more of them would be tried as adults, so that other would see the steep consequences of such behavior.

If anyone wants to go with opinion that “boys will be boys” or “kids pull dumb pranks all the time”, I suggest you go to Throsso’s link and click on the link at the bottom of the blog to read the full court opinion. It was truly AWFUL what those disgusting boys did.

And I’ll point out a comment that someone made on the blog- if the victims had been 12 year old girls instead of boys, we wouldn’t even be discussing whether or not the sentence was appropriate.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t think it’s a matter of them being juveniles or not. What they did was bad and they deserve to be punished for it (from what I read else where, they basically got probation, community service, and had to stay away from the victims). Now, should they be labeled sex offenders for putting their bare ass (and possible testicles and penis depending on how it was done exactly), that I’m not so sure about it. If they were so willing to do this because they thought it was “fun”, where else would they willing shove their penis/testicles/ass for fun. Not to mention they did it while holding down their victims (showing they don’t mind using force against others for their “fun”).

I don’t have any problem with juveniles registering as sex offenders when they are truly a sex offender (such as actually raping someone), but this is a grey area to me. What they did could be seen as a form of sexual assault and sexual assault does seem worthy of labeling someone a sex offender in my opinion. Yes, I get that they were 14, but 14-year-olds are capable of understanding what they are doing (with exceptions for those with mental delays or something of that sort). I’d feel differently if they were a lot younger and not quite as capable of understanding what they are doing.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Seaofclouds According to the testimony, the offender’s penis did actually touch the victim’s face and more specifically, his lips. That’s not “all in good fun” as the offenders claimed it to be. It’s downright disgusting and abusive. I’m glad the offenders got slapped with a label.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I hadn’t read that. I agree with you. That’s way beyond “all in good fun” to me.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just read the trial report. Disgusting.

If James is now a felon, his friend Daniel should at least be charged with aiding and abetting. They both should be screwed.

Back in the day, parents took care of things like this. Those days are gone.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@worriedguy I agree. And I still would have done my part as the parent, before all the sentencing stuff. If that were my boy, his ass would have been red and stinging so badly that he wouldn’t be able to sit down without wincing for a week.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate That’s what I was thinking but shortly thereafter both of us would be fluthering from prison.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Hey, no one can send me to prison for spanking my child!!

throssog's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Actually they can.
@worriedguy The law you speak of , in regard to expungement of records, does not apply to sex offenders. They will have to register , every time they move, will not be allowed (pain of imprisonment) to live within a certain distance of certain sorts of places and will, for life, be prohibited from certain sorts of trades and professions. Bit stiff, don’t you think? For a childhood bad judgement and act that hey didn’t really comprehend the nature of.A child’s’ brain cannot, repeat: cannot, work as adults do. It is an accepted situation in nueroscience that they cannot and so…is it possible to hold a child as responsible for their acts as we might an adult? I can not bring myself to do so.
@Kayak8 Even were their acts to rise to the extent of causing another to take ther own life – I still could not see holding a child to the same degree of culpability as I would an adult. That would defy the very nature and rationale for a juvenile justice system. Juveniles used to be incapable of committing crimes and were only found as being delinquent – a totally different concept and rive with rehabilitation . We did not want to waste a child…back then. We have since changed,eh?

Kayak8's avatar

@throssog I really encourage you to read the full court opinion if you have not already done so. The judges clearly explain why they made the decision they did. They compare the case to other cases where intended humiliation was not the goal and they clearly explain their decision. I have to agree with them.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@throssog Actually they can’t. Not for spanking. For beating, slapping, punching, etc… but I am within my parental rights to spank my child. No one will send a mother to jail for spanking her children. Unless the parent lives in some bassackwards state with a stupid “no spanking” law and the jury is filled with idiots.

I live in Texas, home of the death penalty. We believe in punishments that fit the crime. I will never be arrested for smacking my attitudinal daughter’s butt with my hand.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@throssog 14 is not a mere child. Also, their actual punishment wasn’t too harsh. The only lifelong part of it is the registration as a sex offender and with the fact that the guys penis was actually touching his victims lips and he thought it was all in “fun”, I think he deserves that title.

throssog's avatar

@Kayak8 I fear I shall have to wait for Saturday to do that, though I’ve no doubt that the Court explained their rationale fully and , I hope, well. However, I still maintain that juveniles are, by the very fact of their being within that class, different from adult offenders and should ,imho, differently from adult offenders. The delinquency itself is of little consequence if we forget the status of the delinquent. Perhaps and old fashioned , out of date notion,eh? However, one I still believe in.
Much as Th. Moor is credited , in the play “A Man For All Seasons” , with saying: “I would give the Devil the benefit of law – for mine own sake.” I cannot bring myself to regard children as , truly, criminal. They lack the mens rea, though I’ll grant you the actus may in fact be there. :)
@WillWorkForChocolate Ah, you find the laws of Texas to suit you? Good. I only hope, for your sake, if not your daughters, that they continue to endorse such methods. Many states do not. I’d be careful of my traveling itinerary, were I you. :)
@Seaofclouds You, my friend, and I will remain poles apart in our judgments on this matter. I would maintain that 14 is a child and that no child should be held accountable for what they do, as a child, through out their life. A difference of opinion which bespeaks a vast difference in world view, eh?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@throssog So you would feel the same way even if they had raped their victims? What if they did this the day before they turned 18? Would they still be undeserving of being registered sex offenders?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Seaofclouds So you would feel the same way even if they had raped their victims? What if they did this the day before they turned 18? Would they still be undeserving of being registered sex offenders? The way I see it is, if you are going to be true to the law or the rules you follow it. If they could not consent to having sex with their graduates school physics tutor a day before their 18th birthday and not have it be a grime for the physics tutor then that is a flaw in the law they can take advantage of.

Kayak8's avatar

Well, for those who have NOT read the appellate court opinion, the law in New Jersey specifies that the requirements to register as a sex offender are different for those UNDER 14. If the offenses were committed by the delinquents prior to age 14 AND if they are able to provide clear and convincing evidence that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others, the requirement that they register as sex offenders ends when they turn 18. These knuckleheads committed their crime AFTER they turned 14 (it was actually the primary offender’s 14 birthday).

The court noted that the first criminal (they are calling him James) may not have had a decent lawyer for his trial and are allowing that those are issues to be remanded to the court. The second criminal (they are calling him Daniel) confessed before being fully admonished as the content of the law (specifically the requirement to register as a sex offender) so they are remanding his adjudication of delinquency.

So, all that being said, neither case is over. The cases exists because of Megan’s Law (Megan Kanka was a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known sex offender). New Jersey law is pretty tough on sex offenders as a result. There are 3 tiers of offenders (Level 3 is viewed as likely to re-offend, Level 2 includes those with moderate risk of re-offending and Level 1 is a low risk of re-offending.

I was not able to locate in the actual transcript the Level of Offender for either of these criminals.

Kayak8's avatar

Here is another link with a good explanation of the appellate court’s decision.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther