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ragingloli's avatar

Justice isn’t just about the victim. It is about all involved, including the perpetrator.
It is not justice when the perpetrator is burdened with a sentence that is unbefitting his mental state, e.g. , when he can not be fully held responsible for the offence.

Darwin's avatar

What @ragingloli said.

The thought is that children are immature and as maturity comes they have a chance at no longer committing such actions because they realize the wrongness. The assumption about adults is that they are mature when they commit crimes and so they are aware that what they are doing is wrong and are less likely to change.

The juvenile justice system is both an attempt to salvage kids who have made immature choices, and to protect them from criminals who are known to be adult and thus choose with more awareness to hurt others.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@Darwin Aren’t all criminals immature?

Darwin's avatar

@walterallenhaxton – Some are immature, some are not. However, an immature child has a greater likelihood of maturing than an immature adult, since the adult has already proven that they haven’t been capable of maturing, or willing to do so.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@ragingloli That is fine for dead victims. What about the living ones. Raped women, people that have almost been killed and can expect more. Juveniles can wait a short period of time and come back and complete their crime. I don’t see a mechanism in a jail for a person to become a better person. If they are around other criminals at all they can only learn from them. That is an automatic process of the human mind.

ragingloli's avatar

@walterallenhaxton that is a problem of the, i assume, american justice system. It should offer rehabilitation programmes to its inmates.

ragingloli's avatar

also, no, i don’t think they can expect more. if they do, then i say that expectation stems from the victims need for revenge.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@ragingloli I am sure it does. I just looked it up. This happened 2 blocks from my house. I do not want such people wandering around my neighborhood at all.

marinelife's avatar

When a juvenile commits a criminal act, the juvenile justice system is better suited to treating and reforming and repurposing the offender. It seems like a better solution than throwing them in adult prison in which they will learn all the tricks of becoming career criminals.

How would the later help the victim?

Darwin's avatar

@walterallenhaxton – The idea is that juvenile offenders are less likely to be around hardened criminals in a juvenile justice system than they would be in an all-ages jail. Also, by law we can force juveniles to go to school in jail. We can’t do that with adult prisoners, although schooling is offered.

And while it is true there are juveniles that are sociopathic, there are also a lot of juveniles who get caught up in the moment, or are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or just made a really, really stupid decision.

And juveniles that commit serious crimes are often a) tried as adults or b) kept locked up u at least until age 18 (sometimes age 21).

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@Marina This girl would be loose in 3 years 2 blocks form my house. I do not want people who contract murder to live that close to me.
You can’t rehabilitate a persons heart. They will eventually get with the program and might even believe that they have made the change but over time that change will go away. In the end the person has to decide with out any external pressure whether he wants to be a good person or does not care about that.

ragingloli's avatar

“You can’t rehabilitate a persons heart.”
i think many psychologists would disagree with that statement.

Darwin's avatar

Juveniles are considered more malleable than adults simply because they are juveniles. Otherwise we would never have things like G, PG and R movies or a requirement for parents to take care of their kids by societal standards.

ragingloli's avatar

also my own experiences contradict your claim.
my best friend was, when i first met him, a rightwing extremist. less than a year in the right environment was all it took to make him switch sides.

cwilbur's avatar

Justice involves making sure that the criminal is punished appropriately for the crime and his or her level of awareness of responsibility, and that the criminal is rehabilitated.

Revenge is all about the victim getting an eye for an eye.

Which one of these are you asking about?

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@cwilbur I think that justice is that no crime was committed in the first place. If a crime is committed who ever does it should pay the full price for it. If there is no intent to commit a crime but a person does it because of a mental condition or out of ignorance they should have to pay less or not at all. I just am very skeptical that being a juvenile is sufficient. Being a child would be but the cutoff point for that should be preteen for most people. In the end it is at the discretion of a jury if it is a felony. For a misdemeanor it could be handled through arbitration with the victims. If they are satisfied I am. Mowing a law for the summer could be just what one of these kids needs.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Sir, I can’t open your link but in response after reading some of the comments, I’ll say this much. There are particular crimes that whether perpetrated by juveniles or adults, those crimes aren’t punished in a way to deter repeat offenses. Take violent sexual assault for example.

dynamicduo's avatar

It’s not about giving the victim better justice. It’s about not penalizing children and teens for doing retarded things that they will regret for years later down the road, and which would have the result of depriving them of their lives if they were tried as adults.

In your link example, it’s obvious that the teenager acted like an adult in (apparently) premeditating a crime, thus they should be tried as an adult and face the penalty an adult would.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence I don’t know why you can’t open it but here is what it says.

Daughter of slain man to be tried as adult
May 28, 2009

HAGERSTOWN — A 15-year-old girl accused of asking a friend to kill her father will be tried in the adult criminal system, a Washington County Circuit Judge ordered Thursday morning.

Danielle Black’s defense argued during a hearing Tuesday that the case should be handled in the juvenile system.

Danielle Black had been charged as a juvenile with solicitation of first-degree murder in connection with her father’s death, but on Dec. 19, 2008, Washington County State’s Attorney Charles Strong filed an information charging her with the same crime as an adult.

Conviction on a solicitation of first-degree murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Billy Lee Black’s body was found the morning of Oct. 31 in a pool of blood behind a house at 210 James St. in Hagerstown’s West End.

Alec Scott Eger, 20, of 15 Berner Ave., is charged with first-degree murder and felony murder in Black’s death.

Five factors are weighed in determining whether a case should be handled in juvenile court or the adult system, defense attorney Mary Drawbaugh said during her opening statement Tuesday.

The five factors weighed include the person’s age, mental and physical condition, amenability to rehabilitative treatment offered in the juvenile system, the nature of the alleged offense and public safety.

Washington County Circuit Court Judge W. Kennedy Boone III said Thursday morning that he weighed all five factors. He called the decision a “close call.”

Boone ordered Black held at the Washington County Detention Center, and set a $200,000 fully secured bond for the girl.

I think taking people out of the community deters crim for as long as they are gone.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@dynamicduo Isn’t that discrimination against adults that do retarded things? People who do adult crimes, Murder , Battery and Arson should be punished. What I mean by punishment is being removed from the community. I don’t care if they are sent to an island paradise.

dynamicduo's avatar

And in many cases, they ARE tried as adults, such as in the one you linked to!

Adults who do adult crimes get adult sentences. Teens who do adult crimes often get adult sentences if it is shown that the teen had adult intentions, that is to say it wasn’t an accident, it was a serious crime, or the kid has a history of crimes. But it’s hard to make this distinction, so many times the justice system throws the kid a bone and charges them as juveniles so that when they grow up, it will not be on their record, or so that they stand a chance at rehabilitation versus being integrated with the rest of the prison population.

I’m not sure how this is discrimination against adults, please illustrate your thoughts.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@dynamicduo They get treated more severly because of who they are and not because of what they did. I am not sure that anybodies record can really be erased with out brain damage. Even if no one else keeps score the individual involved does.
I do not know what rehabilitation means.

Restitution is another process that I think no one should be able to get out of. Harmed people should be made as whole as possible and the guilty party should be the one to do it.
I also think that restitution is more effective than rehabilitation and much more just.
Some kids went around smashing mirrors in my neighborhood and instead of paying restitution they got community service and I got a mirror that never worked right again and I had to pay for it. Where is the justice in that. Community service is worthless to the victim.
I doubt that taught them any respect for other peoples property. Just to avoid the law next time.

YARNLADY's avatar

Victims get Justice when society deals with the criminal. It is not about revenge, or an eye for an eye. That is something that many people who feel “justice” should be meted out by the victim do not understand.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@YARNLADY Justice is important. Fines and punishment do not establish justice without restitution. Some things can not be done that make the victim whole but what can be done must be done or there is no justice for the victim. If you are damaged you should be made as whole as possible.
I just wanted my mirror on the drivers side of my car replaced properly. It was that way and it should have been fixed by the person who broke it. They had the fun. They should have paid. If you go into a store and break something you buy it to make the store whole.
I gain no benefit for taking another’s eye and experience no replacement of mine if they loose it. I don’t care about eyes but mirrors are different. I am restored by having my mirror fixed. Some people never did get theirs fixed. I think there were a couple of windshields involved too.

YARNLADY's avatar

@walterallenhaxton Sorry about your car In my book, Justice and Restitution are two different things. There is no ‘restitution’ in a murder case.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@YARNLADY They might be different things but in all property crimes there can never be justice without restitution.
I am not talking about multiple damage awards but about paying for what you have done. You break it you buy/fix it.
Do you really think it would be OK if someone ran their truck into your car and did not pay restitution? Would that be just?

ragingloli's avatar

@walterallenhaxton that is what insurances are for.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@ragingloli Insurance companies are just the hired help. If it costs more than they are hired to pay then the responsible party is liable for the rest and if he did not bother to hire anyone he is liable for the whole amount.

YARNLADY's avatar

@walterallenhaxton this question is about murder, not property damage I do believe restitution of property damage is the right thing. I also believe that the responsible party should pay even if the insurance does cover it, because they didn’t pay the premiums, and they should not be allowed to “get out” of paying for the damages they caused.

The Justice part comes in when they pay their debt to society, through fines or jail.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@YARNLADY That is what I meant when I said this “Harmed people should be made as whole as possible”. Of course it is not possible to restore a life or many other kinds of damage to a persons body/mind. As much as possible.
I am bring up the point of restitution because the state often takes big fines and locks up people who pose no further danger and neglects to pay the restitution from the money it receives or even order it paid by the criminal. Somebody who is locked up can’t pay it either. So the victim is never made as whole as possible and justice is not satisfied..

Zuma's avatar

@walterallenhaxton First of all, a crime is an offense against the state, not the victim. It is the state which punishes, presumably for some utilitarian purpose, such as deterring crime or suppressing crime. It does not punish to give satisfaction to the victim—or at least it shouldn’t.

The “criminal justice system” is a misnomer. The police, the courts and the prisons are not about Justice, they are about the law, which may or may not be “just” in it’s application. Punishing the possession of crack cocaine 100 times more severely than powdered cocaine, for example, knowing that this is mainly going to impact blacks, turns the law into a tool of oppression. Indeed, punishing people severely for possession of powdered cocaine violates the principle of proportionality which Justice requires that punishments fit the crime. Justice, then, is decided by the legislature and not by the courts, especially when they limit the discretion of judges with such things as mandatory minimums, enhancements, and “three strikes.”

Making the victim whole is the province of insurance, not the law or the courts. Most states have a victim-witness restitution fund, a kind of insurance of sorts, but most of them make it practically impossible for victims to get anything near full reimbursement for their losses. The reason for that is that the only money that goes into these funds is paid by prisoners, who earn maybe 9 to 45 cents per hour (and most of whom are drug offenders who do not have any actual victims). Since the demand is far in excess of what these restitution funds can pay out, benefits are correspondingly limited. That, however, is a political decision; and it has been decided by our legislatures that the public would rather have a few people suffer the uncompensated loss of being victimized than to inconvenience the many with slightly higher taxes.

The idea that “justice” consists of the victim being “made whole” by witnessing and taking enjoyment from the suffering of his victimizer is both archaic and barbaric. It has no place in a civilized society. That is why we no longer have public hangings, floggings, mutilations and the like. Such brutality often exceeds the savagery of the crime itself, and it accustoms the spectators to a ferocity from one wishes to divert them. In such a system, the executioner comes to resemble a criminal, judges murderers, causing a reversal of roles which makes the tortured criminal an object of pity. It also makes the state complicit in the crime.

In France and other areas of Europe that follow the Napoleonic tradition, rather than our adversarial English Common Law tradition, there is much more emphasis on finding out the whole story behind the crime and thereby reconciling the criminal and his victim, and both to society as a whole. I saw a documentary recently about a gay man in France who was beaten to nearly death with a stick by a group of skinheads who had gone out that evening looking for someone to bash, and they threw him in a lake, where he drowned. Rather than demonizing the kids and giving them all the same penalty, as the prosecutors would do in our system, there was a careful investigation of the motives, the actions, the politics, and the intellectually deprived backgrounds of the perpetrators, even extending the complicity and culpability of the parents who let them run wild, tolerated their anti-social behavior, covered for them, and tried to destroy evidence of the crime.

It was determined that one of the kids was younger than the rest and was just following along under peer pressure, so to speak, and once the enormity of what he had done sunk in during the course of the trial, he seemed to express something close to genuine remorse. He was considered a good candidate for rehabilitation and he was given a lesser sentence than the two other young adults who participated. The main perpetrators got about 18 years in prison, instead of life, which they would have gotten here. One of the fathers got 2 years for destroying evidence. The sentence was based on practical considerations, not vengeance. After 18–20 years they would be more mature and therefore less of a risk to society. The victims of the tragedy were able to come to terms with their loss and even forgive the perpetrators who expressed remorse. It was much more civilized than our system.

In the present case, we don’t know the whole story. Usually, when a child murders a parent, there is a long history of some kind of abuse. As you will notice, there was no weight given to anything like that in the factors considered And she didn’t do the murder herself, she merely asked someone else to do it. Had that person come to his senses and not gone through with it, there very likely would have been no crime. Here it does hurt to ask. In any case, if she had been tried as an adult and gotten life in prison, the punishment would have been far worse than the crime. It is utterly barbaric to sentence a child to life in prison. We are the only country in the world that does so, and other countries look at us with a combination of horror and disgust because of it.

Another thing to know about murder is that most murders murder their own family members, usually in the heat of passion, and often under the diminished capacity of alcohol or drugs. The vast majority of such murderers never murder again because the situations are so personal, extreme and unique. The juvenile system can hold this girl until she is 25 if she is not fit to release before then. From the sound of it, she poses no danger of harming you or yours, assuming she isn’t brutalized beyond reckoning in prison.

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