Do The Crime, Do The Time

Earlier this week the
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (MSJC) followed suit on the 2012 decision
of the U.S. Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Miller vs. Alabama.  In the
decision the SJC determined that mandatory life sentences for juveniles who
commit murder violates the Eighth Amendment of “cruel and unusual
punishment”.  This would mean that if a 14 year old boy was angry and
decided to kill his math teacher in the school bathroom for no other reason
than that he was mad at the world, he would not spend the rest of his life
behind bars.  So taking someone’s life should not mean yours is ruined,
unless you are of a certain age.
The main reason I have
an issue with this judgment, which is now being implemented nationwide, is that
I really have problems with legislating from the bench.  Granted, at this
time, I don’t think our legislators could do a better job, but they are the
ones elected to make the laws, not the courts.  I have always had a
difficult time with this, not just in this case.  The Constitution’s first
three words are “We the People…” not “We the Judges….”
 The Supreme Court has no accountability to bad laws that it makes.
The SJC came down 5-4 on
this decision stating that mandatory life sentences for juveniles do not “guarantee(s) individuals the right not to be
subjected to ex-cessive sanctions.”
, which is the Eighth Amendment.
 That may be so, but wouldn’t that apply to all murderers?  I guess
this is where the interpretation comes in and the SJC feels the need to write
the law.
The SJC argued that the
maturity level of the juvenile criminals are not capable of understanding their
crimes, therefore should not spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
 Justice Kagan wrote in the opinion of the court “We reasoned
that those findings—of transient rashness, pro-clivity for risk, and inability
to assess consequences—both lessened a child’s “moral culpability” and enhanced
the prospect that, as the years go by and neurological devel-opment occurs, his
“‘deficiencies will be reformed.” 
 That is a big guarantee
on reform.
But the decision
violates another amendment, in my eyes.  The 14th Amendment, which
provides citizens the equal protection under the law.  The 14th Amendment
is hogwash anyway because a 4 year old cannot get a driver’s license, a man
cannot attend an all-women’s college, and gays not being able to marry falls
under the 14th Amendment.  But if a 16 year old and a 28 year old commit
the same crime they are subjected to different sentences. What if the mentioned
above did the crime together, one goes to jail for the rest of their life and
possibly put to death and the other walks out of jail in a few years?
 Doesn’t seem to be equal protection to me.
I agree that our
juvenile criminals should be reformed to be able to function in society again,
but I draw the line at murder.  I also don’t have faith in the penal
system to do so and Chief Justice Roberts said as much in his dissenting view.
 He wrote:
“In this case,
there is little doubt about the direction of society’s evolution: For most of
the 20th century, American sentencing practices emphasized rehabilitation of
the offender and the availability of parole. But by the 1980’s, outcry against
repeat offenders, broad disaffection with the rehabilitative model, and other
factors led many legis-latures to reduce or eliminate the possibility of
parole, imposing longer sentences in order to punish criminals and prevent them
from committing more crimes.”
  
He went on to say. 
“….if a
17-year-old is convicted of deliberately murdering an innocent victim, it is
not “unusual” for the murderer to receive a mandatory sentence of life without
parole. That reality should preclude finding that mandatory life imprisonment
for juvenile killers violates the Eighth Amendment.”
The SJC opened a Pandora’s
Box with this ruling as longtime juvenile offenders are asking for retroactive
releases.  So Maryland, Lee Boyd Malvo (DC Sniper) can technically ask to
be released.  According to the SJC the six life sentences that he is
serving are cruel and unusual.  His cohort John Allen Muhammed was put to
death in 2009.
I am not surprised by
the MSJC’s decision to uphold this ruling, it’s the nature of the Commonwealth.
 I truly think the SJC dropped the ball on this one.  If the MSJC
wanted to truly support an SJC ruling and legislate from the bench, they should
advocate for the SJC decision for consumers to buy wine directly from the
vineyards.
3D
If you don’t take it
from me, ask my wife

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