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Should juveniles get life sentences without parole if they’re convicted of murder?

March 21, 2012

By John Vettese, Student Voices staff writer

A crime is a crime, no matter how old the person committing it might be.

But should the punishment carry more flexibility?

The rights of juvenile defendants have been debated extensively over the past 10 years. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to sentence convicted criminals under 18 to death. Five years later, the court followed up by ruling that life in prison without the possibility of parole was also off the books for all crimes committed by juveniles, except murder.

Now, the justices will rule on whether juvenile killers also should be protected from life sentences without parole. This week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about two homicide cases involving minors. In one, the defendant didn’t pull the trigger, but was convicted as an accessory to murder in a state (Arkansas) that gives accomplices the same punishment as the perpetrators. In the other, a 14-year-old Alabama boy was convicted of killing someone in a robbery gone awry. The defendant had been severely abused when he was younger, and had tried to kill himself six times.

Right now, 38 of the 50 states allow juvenile killers to receive life sentences without parole. And in many states, the punishment is mandatory, meaning the defendant’s age and background cannot be considered when determining the sentence. The argument behind barring life terms without parole for juveniles echoes the argument from those cases in 2010 and 2005: Sentencing juveniles to life in prison violates the Constitution’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment. Juvenile justice advocates say teenagers and children are not as emotionally and mentally developed as adults, and might not have a true grasp of the consequences of a crime and how the rest of their life could be affected. Advocates also point out that juveniles have a greater capacity for reforming their behavior than adults; there are success stories where people convicted of murder as juveniles have gone on to work as lawyers, editing prominent legal publications, or counselors working with troubled youth.

On the other hand, those on the law enforcement side of the argument say that a major crime deserves a significant punishment. In an NPR interview, Alabama Solicitor General John Neiman said, “As a moral matter, it is OK for a government to say, even if there is a possibility that someone will rehabilitate themselves, if a person commits a sufficiently egregious crime, then they just deserve a very severe sentence.”

Neiman argues that adults on trial for murder often face the possibility of capital punishment. “If the defendant is not going to get the death penalty,” he said, “Then at the very least, the defendant ought to get life without parole.”

What do you think?

Should juveniles get life sentences if they’re convicted of murder? Does their capacity for reform, or their room for emotional development, mean they shouldn’t receive the severest possible sentence? Or do you agree with those who say that the punishment for a severe crime should also be significant? Join the discussion!

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Comments
5/15/2017
magnolia,tx
cole slaughter
metzger, magnolia west
i seen the point of giving these younger kids or not quite a adult a chance of parole to hopefully come out and make everything better for himself but there are so many times that they will be back in jail even if it is for a minor charge. Which happens a lot more than you think because you they will have nothing after being in prison for so long.

3/21/2017
Bloomsburg/PA
Jake
Mr. Davis
I believe that juveniles should not get the same punishment as adults. If the case is very severe they should be rehabilitated until the age of 18. Then of course after the age of 18 they will be on their own. But they still deserve a second chance while a minor.

3/21/2017
Bloomsburg, PA
Braydon
Mr. Davis
I don't think they should because it is wrong to give kids the death penalty, they should just be sent to prison for a long time.

3/7/2017
Bloomsburg
Marcela
Mr. Davis
My personal opinion about whether or not young people should be charge with the death sentence is that the death sentence is too much. I believe this because Juveniles are too young to really know what they are doing. As the article states that some young people who had committed crimes in their youth has later become lawyers and counselors for youth.

3/7/2017
bloomsburg/pa
ashley
bloomsburg high school
i don't have a strong opinion on this subject for the reason i do not have experience with it. But i do believe that a child that feels so strongly about killing someone, it must be because of their environment. they may have been abused at home, bullied at school, or have a mental illness that parents refuse to recognize and get help for. on the other hand, if i experienced one of my family members being murdered by a child i would want them to get the highest punishments possible. it is difficult for someone that has enough hate to kill to recover and become a normal citizen again.

3/7/2017
PA
James
Bloomsburg High School
In my opinion I think that juveniles should not have the same sentence as adults because to kill a juvenile over murder is a little too much and they should be locked up for a really long time, but not be killed. They have their whole life ahead of them and I know that they shouldn't have done the crime but that is a little to crazy to give them the death penalty.

3/7/2017
bloomsburg pa
allyssa
mr.davis
i believe that if a juvenile kills someone it should result in a life sentence. a crime is a crime no matter how old the person might be. you're taking the life of one individual therefore that juvenile should be given the same sentence as an adult.

3/7/2017
Pennsylvania
Corinne Hildreth
Mr. Davis/ BHS
I believe every child should have the right to proper rehabilitation, because obviously if they made the decision to kill someone, they need help. Some kids don't have the best home lives and maybe just need to be shown what their actions' consequences are. Show them how the real world would treat them as adults and maybe they'd understand their actions have serious consequences. I feel like with the right treatment, almost any child could reform themselves to belong in society.

3/7/2017
Bloomsburg,PA
Dylan Klinger
Bloomsburg area high school
Yes a child should get the life sentence for committing a murder just like if they were an adult murder is murder it doesn't matter who you are.

12/5/2016
Magnolia, Texas
Maria
Mr.Metzget/-Magnolia West HS
In my opinion minors should receive the same punishment that an adult receives for killing someone. Just because they are young it doesn't mean that they can get away for what they did.

5/19/2016
Rochester
kyle
Mr.G
juveniles deserve the death penalty for committing murder or even attempting murder

12/2/2015
Grand Junction / Middleton High School
Deshun Greene

A crime is a crime , no matter how old the person committing it might be

11/17/2015
Joplin, Missouri
Doyce Latimer
Anderson HIgh School
I believe that children are children. Its not natural for a child to want to commit murder, so obviously they must of had to experience certain conditions that the average child doesnt have to experience. I also think that showing children hope and giving them proper rehabilitation for several years would greatly reduce the chance of a second offense. In conclusion, i think that a child that is that disturbed should be in a long term mental rehabilitation indefinitely or until they a proven worthy of being granted the right to freedom.,

11/12/2015
coshocton ohio
teri
Riverview
I think they should reevaluate the juveniles to see what their behavior, education, remorse, has been since sentence. If reformed i believe they should get a second chance.

11/11/2015
Atlanta
Brittany
Handerson
I think that is not fair but they could pay for what they did no matter what b/c could affect their family??

9/16/2015
youngstown ohio
Amber
Pezzulo
I think that the juveniles should not be sentcesed to death because some are to young

6/17/2015
Johannesburg
angelica
emndeni secondary school
I think it is totally unacceptable to punish juveniles to life imprisonment they are still young and did or committed the crime with the young mind which doesn't mean they will repeat the crime when they grow

11/14/2014
Stroudsburg,PA
Bailee
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
If someone is convicted with murder, they should get a life sentence because they took a life away from someone else which is not fair. If they let the prisoner gets away they could find someone else and murder them which would not be safe for the community. In my opinion if you take away the life of someone else you should be given the death penalty as well.

11/14/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Kenneth
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe the answer is yes because they could kill someone one more time then hide there tracks even better.

11/13/2014
Stroudsburg/Pennsylvania
Annika
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg Junior Highschool
I think that minors should get the same sentence as adults. If you committed a murder, no matter how old you are, you still ended life. They know that they are comitting a murder and they should know the difference between what's right and what's wrong. Even in the description, it says, "A crime is a crime, no matter how old the person committing it might be."

11/12/2014
Show Low, Arizona
Tiffany
Show Low High School
I am currently writing a persuasive essay on this very topic. Me being only 14 and a Freshman I do very much feel that minors should get the same sentences as adults. Even the death penalty, now you may think "oh, they were too young and they didn't know what they were doing." but if you are 13-17 and you DONT know that killing is wrong than you either have a mental disability or were raised very wrong. You could also argue that "They have their whole life ahead of them." but if your life has already started with killing another person r committing such crimes, why keep them here in harms way? This is only my opinion but as said in the excerpt "A crime is a crime, no matter the person committing it might be." and i agree to this to the max!!

10/30/2014
Sun Valley/CA
Giselle
Mr.Bilovsky/Francis Polytechnic High school
Supreme Courts that are sentencing kids life in prison for any offense is just cruel and inhumane. Do I believe they should be unpunished? Of course not. However, I do think that children should be not be trialed as an adult. For one thing, it has been scientifically proven that teenagers' brains are not fully developed and do not think the way adults do. Why should we punish kids as adults when they are not treated like such before a crime is committed? Kids do not have the same rights as adults, so no we are not the same. Why are teens not given the privilege to vote? Why can't a sixteen year old watch a rated R movie without a parent? Why do teens are required a curfew? It's due to the matter of fact that kids do not make the right choices, good or bad kid. It's because kids are less responsible, immature, impulsive and vulnerable. But they do deserve a second chance. How? Through Rehabilitation. There is always hope, educate the uneducated and help those who ask for it.

10/30/2014
Sun Valley/CA
Giselle
Mr.Bilovsky/Francis Polytechnic High school
Supreme Courts that are sentencing kids life in prison for any offense is just cruel and inhumane. Do I believe they should be unpunished? Of course not. However, I do think that children should be not be trialed as an adult. For one thing, it has been scientifically proven that teenagers' brains are not fully developed and do not think the way adults do. Why should we punish kids as adults when they are not treated like such before a crime is committed? Kids do not have the same rights as adults, so no we are not the same. Why are teens not given the privilege to vote? Why can't a sixteen year old watch a rated R movie without a parent? Why do teens are required a curfew? It's due to the matter of fact that kids do not make the right choices, good or bad kid. It's because kids are less responsible, immature, impulsive and vulnerable. But they do deserve a second chance. How? Through Rehabilitation. There is always hope, educate the uneducated and help those who ask for it.

9/15/2014
Murrieta CA
Ashley
Mr.Jabro Creekside Highschool
If a teen is convicted of murder then they should get life in prison without parole. Murder is taking a human life and should always been seen as such, the individual's age ( to a point ) should not be considered. Adults get life in prison and teens should too. People are equal, even in sentencing for crimes they have committed. Now teens should not be put to death as a sentencing. They are still young and people cannot forget the parents and family who already have to deal with their child being put behind bars.

9/5/2014
Murrieta California
Stephanie Folston
Mr. Jabro Creekside High School
No Mercy! Juveniles should get all the way up to the death penalty. Teenagers know what they are doing, why does an adult get charged life and sometimes death for murders when teenagers are only getting up to 10 to 15 years jail time. Their emotions should never come to play in the sentencing but only the fact that the juvenile reacting on emotions and a person cant do that in reality. Only someone with physiatric problems can kill someone or something on purpose like a person or their pet in my opinion. Therefore I agree that juveniles should get all the same sentencing as adults. If you kill someone you get the same treatment back. All these kids want to be adults and the justice system in my opinion can finally treat them like they are.

8/12/2014
Washington
Laife
TCC
Life Without Parole should be acceptable for Juveniles who commit an egregious crime such as murder. I hear the (very flimsy) argument that "Minors tend to go with the crowd" How is that relevant. Its as if you're insinuating that children commonly kill people. There is no designated table in every high school where three children are sitting down discussing their murder plans. The other argument I hear is that minors haven't learned to think all the way yet. Trust me, I'm seventeen years old, and if you couldn't tell already, I'm very capable of knowing right and wrong, knowing whats okay and what is not okay. If I killed someone, give me life without parole, damnit.

5/13/2014
Quincy, Illinois
Aryanna
Mrs. Bruner/Quincy Senior High
If you read True Notebooks by Mark Salzman you may change your mind.

1/17/2014
Salem/Oregon
Triston
Sandusky/South Salem High School
I think that sentencing a kid under the age of 15 to life with out parole is just steping over the line. no mater the crime

9/13/2013
Sidney/Montana
McKenzie
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think juveniles should get a different kind of sentence if they commit murder. I think teenagers haven't really developed their true identity and usually tend to sway with the crowd. I think the jury should decide of how long the defendant will go to prison depending on the case. If convicted, they should put them in a special program that watches them and keeps track of their progress. After their sentence then they can decide if they're ready or not to come back to the real world.

4/16/2013
Buna, TX
Glenda
Buna
I think teenagers are easily pressured into going along with the crowd too many times. If the person has only been involved in one murder as a teen, I do believe there should be a lessor sentence for them. I think 30 years is MORE than enough for a teen to learn their lesson. In fact I believe 20 years behind bars should be the max for a juvenile. If it's seen in prison that the juvenile is violent and remains violent, maybe that one can't be rehabilitated, but I think most can be. A weak moment in the juvenile's life causing such a tragedy is something most of them will certainly regret and live over and over in their minds wishing they had made a better decision. To lock up a teen up for life without parole, is just too much. If we are going to be society of an eye for an eye.. soon we will all be blind. Forgiveness must start somewhere, if the person wants forgiveness. Most the kids that get in trouble are there because parents either were not there for them or gave up on them. They need and want the same things we all want, love and security.

3/20/2013
Denver/ Co
Gerardo
Ms.Mumby
In my opinion a crime is a crime no matter how old the person committing the crime is. And depending on the case should determine wether they get parole, if its a murder. it was obviously commited on purpose. So why should the murderer be rewarded with a lesser sentence ?

3/15/2013
Hillsborough, NJ
Ori
Hillsborough HS
It's not fair. We CAN change.

2/20/2013
Sidney, MT
Amanda
Mr. Faulbher Sidney High School
I think that if a juvenile commits murder they should be sentenced to life without parloe or be allowed to go on probhtion if they commited a murder and everyone should pay the same consequences.

12/10/2012
CA
Yovana
MHS
A juvenile should get a life sentence if convicted of murder. Regardless of at the age at which the murder was committed, a murder is a murder and everyone should pay the same consequences.

12/9/2012
California
Melissa
Monache
A crime is a crime, that's the bottom line. If the murder was committed on purpose then why should the felon be rewarded with a lesser sentence?

12/9/2012
Montgomery, TX
Mfluty
Metzger-MHS
Juveniles should not be given life sentences without parole for being convicted of a murder. Though they did commit the crime they are still kids and can't thoroughly think through all the consequences of their actions. Most kids that commit that serious of a crime at a young age have grown up in rough communities and didn't have a proper role model. They shouldn't be punished for the rest of their life when in reality their life has hardly begun. They can be rehabilitated and still be an active member in society despite a mistake they made. In the example they gave of the 14-year old in Alabama who was severely abused and tried to take his life is a prime example of a person who needs someone to notice and help him. He doesn't belong in a prison for the rest of his life, he deserves to be helped and given a chance in life. So, with proper help and counseling for a few years until the child is ready to go back into society would change these kids life. They deserve to redeem them self and be given another chance and not be penalized for a mistake they made at such a young age.

12/9/2012
Montgomery, TX
Candace
Metzger
I believe everyone should be tried the same. Is it still a fair trial if we don't? The excuse I've heard a lot, is that the frontal lobe (the decision-making part of the brain) isn't fully developed until you're at least 18. However, we can still make decisions, so it's not that we can't use it. We can. It's sometimes accessed slower than in adults. So, maybe capital punishment isn't fair to juveniles, but I think life without parole is extremely reasonable. After all, you did take the life of someone's child, loved one, and best friend. I don't think the age at which you committed the crime should change your punishment because no matter if you're 15 or 50 you still killed somebody.

11/25/2012
Montgomery, TX
Kennedi
Metzger
In my opinion, if a juvenile commits a serious offense such as murder, then he or she should get the life sentence without parole. The act of committing murder or the intent too shows psycological problems within the minor. Every person is born with a sense of right and wrong, but not everyone thinks the same. We can't allow extreme violence grow and be about. If that were the case, then we should just allow all unstable mental patients to walk around freely. Yet we don't because they can cause harm to others and themselves. Thats why we have such institutions in the first place. People who are willing to commit such an evil act, no matter the age, deserve the life sentence without parole because its justice and karma. An evil act calls for a punishment.

10/30/2012
Sidney, Montana
Colleen
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that a juvenile over the age of 13 knows wrong from right and if they commit murder than yes they get life without parole. Even though your brain doesn't fully develop until your 26 you still were taught that killing someone is wrong.

10/24/2012
Watertown, ma
Cameron/Meg
Mr. Rimas
No they should not. It is in humane to give juveniles a life sentence, with or without parole. Someone that young should not have such a harsh penalty placed on them even if they are convicted of murder.

10/24/2012
watertown MA
Wilson
Rimas
Yes!

10/17/2012
Westland MI
Jake
Mr.Windle
I think children under 18 should go to life sentence without parole

10/3/2012
Irving/Tx
Jazmyn
Bradley/Nimitz
My opinion on this topic, is that I don't think that they should be granted parole. Someone who commits a crime such as murder deserves whatever comes there way. It doesn't matter what crime, what happens if you break the law you should have to pay for the consequences. If the person doesn't get the full consequence, there is no grantee that they will not do it again.

10/1/2012
Ohio
Claire
St. Richard
No!!!!!

9/7/2012
Sidney MT
LaShell
Mr. Faulhber/Sidney High School
I do belive that juveniles should get sentenced to life. If they are so emotianally damaged to kill someone at a young age, they should not be able to be in a functional society. Thats giving them a free opputinity to do it again. Now lest say a 15 year old is driving under the influence and kills someone no, thats another subject, it was unintanall and not planned out. Murder is Murder. if its planned out by someone they should have every one of there rights taken away from them, just like they took the life of someone away from that person.

5/31/2012
CT
stephen
mr ross
why dont these juveniles who are convicted for murder just not kill anyone in the firstplace. they wont get life in prison and no one dies

5/10/2012
Porterville, CA
Andres
Mr.Smith/Monache
I don’t think they should be able to get life sentences if they’re convicted of murder if they are under age. I would probably give them 15-20 years. I do think that their emotional development means they shouldn’t receive such a hard punishment.

5/10/2012
porterville,ca
salinna
smith/monache
i really dont know what to think on this issue. There are so many possiblietes that they are to young to be sent to prison. Since living in prison and surving there could develop the way they grow up. Though it would also depend on the murder. Since many have committed murder through reacting television and media. Thus, this issue has a right and a wrong.

5/6/2012
Porterville CA
Anthony
Smith/Monache High SChool
I personally would have to consider the child and situation of the murder. Most children act out on some trauma that they have witnessed so i do not believe that juveniles should get a life sentence. They should be up for re-trial when they become an adult because most juveniles have a different state of mind when they are older. When someone is at the age of 17 or 18 they should be trialed as an adult because they are at the approproate age to understand the degree of the crime.

5/4/2012
san diego CA
chubasa
mr.warlop
yeaa alowing kids to go to jail is horrible so no mr.sorensen is wrong

5/4/2012
Montgomery/ Texas
Allison
Mr. Metzger/ Montgomery High School
In my opinion I believe that juveniles deserve the same punishment as adults for such a serious crime. This isn’t like a little robbery; we're talking about murdering another person. No matter how old a person is murder is murder, and you can't twist that around any way to make it sound better. A lot of these cases start with the parents, but the government shouldn't allow kids to get off easier just because their parents didn't do a good job in raising their child correctly. If kids under the age of 18 are capable of committing such a serious crime as murder, then just imagine what they could be capable of when they do become a legal adult. If they committ the crime they should face the same consequenses as everyone else.

5/1/2012
Marengo Illinois
Ryan Hoff
Mr. Price/ Marengo High school
Giving children life without parole is cruel. They have underdeveloped brains and cannot react to certain situations as adults. They have an underdeveloped lymbic system which accounts for their processing and reacting.

4/25/2012
Irving/Texas
Lauren
Bradley/Nimitz
I do believe that juveniles should get the life sentence for murder. It is important to keep in mind that we are discussing MURDER. We are not considering the consequences of “accidental” or “conditional” crimes that may have resulted from an “emotionally unstable” youth. In fact, I find it irrelevant to the case that “the defendant had been severely abused when he was younger, and had tried to kill himself six times.” There are so many individuals mistreated and faced with unimaginable challenges through out their lives and it's amazing how they react with perseverance and inspiring hope. Those who react with anger and violence have chosen to do so and there is simply no excuse for that kind of malice taken out on others. Murder is defined as “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.” Meaning: there is no way to say that a juvenile could not “grasp the consequences.” I find that statement even harder to believe in our technological age with the abundance of crime television shows and media monitoring of real life cases. We are not discussing children who haven't yet spoken their first words; we are discussing young adults. And the sooner they, or should I say 'we', understand the austere crime of murder, the sooner that occurrence will abate.

4/24/2012
irving/tx
Amy
bradley/nimitz
Most juveniles know the difference between right and wrong therefore if they are convicted of murder they need to face the consequences of their actions. They do deserve to receive a severe punishment for their crime however because of their capacity for reform I believe that they should at least be given a chance to change and rehabilitate themselves. If they truly believe that some people can change then they should at least be given a life sentence with a chance of parole. Some people do learn from their actions and can grow up to be successful.

4/23/2012
Sidney, Mt
Joe B.
Ms. G Sidney High School
I think that a crime is a crime and if it is so severe that a teenager should get the same consequences as an adult would. A teenager should know that difference between right and wrong especially with something so severe that they could get a life sentence.

4/23/2012
Sidney , Montana
Joseph
Ms. G
If there is a possibility that any juviniles that can be built back into a model citizen then why not keep them alive it'll cost more to kill them than to change them.

4/23/2012
Sidney, MT
Nicole
Ms. Gunderson/Sidney High School
I believe that sentencing a defendant who was convicted as an accessory to murder for life is unconstitutional. A life sentence is too harsh of a punishment for a child.

4/23/2012
Montana
wade
miss. Gunderson
I think that juveniles should receive life sentences for murder. Some might use the arguement that their brains have not fully developed, but they are old enough to know right from wrong. Minors should have to serve the same time and conquences for murder as an adult. A crime that serious should be executed to the fullest extent.

4/23/2012
Sidney,Mt.
Tyler
Faulhaber/SHS
Murder is murder whether you are a juvenile or an adult and the punishment should be the same.

4/23/2012
Sidney, MT
Ashley
Ms. Gunderson
Juveniles should be allowed to receive life sentence without parole. Everyone has the possibility of changing their world around but that shouldn't determine what type of sentence they receive. Juveniles who commit murder know what they are doing. Someone isn't going to commit murder and not know what it is.

4/23/2012
Sidney/MT
Taylor
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I don't believe juveniles should be able to receive life sentences without parole if they're convicted of murder. Teenagers are still learning and sometimes make the wrong choices. They should be punished if they do something wrong but not that harshly. Maybe they had a hard childhood and had no one to turn to. If they get the help they need, they may be able to help others from making the same mistakes they made.

4/23/2012
Sidney, MT
Jaycee
Ms. Gunderson
I think that teenagers should get the same punishment as an adult who commited the same crime. Just because they are younger doesnt mean they should get of easy with a lighter punishment. Juveniles know what murder is and what the affects of it will be. Juveniles may have a greater capacity for reforming their behavior but they should still have the same punishent for a serious crime.

4/23/2012
Sidney
Tom
Ms. Gunderson
I think that juveniles should face the same punishments as adults to for the same crimes. I dont think that we should be treated differently because of our age because we are still people and the constitution begins with We the people, why can they take that away from us?

4/23/2012
Sidney MT
Brett M.
MR. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I feel juveniles under the age of 17 shouldnt get a life sentence. They should be tested for any psychological disorder and look into the childhood. If they have anything wrong with them then they should get help with their problem and go to prison when they turn 18 for a certain number of years based on the murder. If the the juvenile doesnt have any mental problems and a good childhood then they should have to serve prison time at that age.

4/23/2012
sidney/ mt
nadia
mrs.G/ sidney hs
if a teenager commits a cold blooded murder they should be treated just like the adults and receive a life sentence in jail.

4/23/2012
Sidney, MT
Shane
Mr. Faulhaber
Juveniles should get life sentences if they're convicted of murder. They are definitely old enough to know that murder is the wrong thing to do. I think if someone is convicted of murder they should receive capital punishment, or at the very least life in prison, no matter how old the person is.

4/18/2012
Warren
Ryen
Mrs. Hoff
Yes. Murder is nothing to play around with. you are old enough to know what you are doing.

4/16/2012
Irving/ Texas
Ashley Lenart
Bradley/ Nimitz
Speaking as a teenager myself, I know that if I killed someone I would have to pay the consequences, or would want to anyway if I wasn't given punishment. Plus, being charged with murder or something of the same severity would be on my record, therefore ensuring me close to no future life at all. I believe that if kids are irresponsible enough as to go and kill someone, they either had a reason, and therefore most likely knew what they were getting into, or were simply careless and stupid. However, I would agree that in some cases, such as self defense, the defendant should be given some leeway, but how would the court determine who gets special treatment? I do agree with the statement that children have more room for growth and betterment, but that's not to say that all juvenile delinquents do. Children are still growing and their judgment is still hazy, but what are we to tell the families of the victims who were killed by some child's reckless behavior? Are we to say, “Oh, he/she didn't know what she was doing, therefore we can't punish them harshly”, I don't think so. Despite the age of the defendant, I'm sure that any family in this situation would want justice. It may be deemed as cruel and unusual punishment, but if we were to let all children run wild killing innocent people without consequences, our world would be in chaos.

4/15/2012
Irving/Texas
Kacie
Bradley/Nimitz
I think that what the article said is completely right, “A crime is a crime, no matter how old the person committing it might be.” Whether the person is 16 years old or 70 years old, if you kill someone, you should be punished for your actions. I agree with the idea of no possible parole because if you think about it, would you really want someone that has murdered someone to get out on good behavior or whatever to just being roaming the streets again? Personally I wouldn't, even if it meant they spend their life in prison. I most definitely agree that the severity of the crime should reflect the severity of the crime no matter the age. It makes me feel safe knowing that 38 our of 50 states feel the same as I do and I wish that 50 out of 50 states would adopt the same laws.

4/15/2012
Irving/Texas
Melissa
Bradley/Nimitz
14 years old is already an age when you know what you are doing. You are no longer a little kid. You are growing up and you know right from wrong. I think it is only fair to get life in prison after taking a life. It's not like teenagers don't know what they're doing. If someone kills someone on purpose they should be punished. Unless it was an accidental thing where the kids were really young and they found their parents' gun, they should be punished. There is not many teenagers who go out and kill and the ones who do are obviously not the same. You never know what will happen to them. Like it was said in the article, there have been many who have grown up to be lawyers, but what happens to the others who don't? Not all of them are going to have the ability to go out and make something out of themselves. Like I said, we know right from wrong, so letting them off easy just because of their age should not be done.

4/15/2012
Irving, TX
Lilly H
Bradley/Nimitz
To those who believe murderers should suffer the same amount as their victims: do you believe that murderers then should be put to death despite what age they are? An eye for an eye even if they're just fourteen years old? In no way am I trying to say murder is something that doesn't deserve a significant punishment, but I do place a lot of hope, some would say too much, in a person's capacity for reform and room for emotional development. I'm lucky. I haven't experienced what it's like to have close friends and family members murdered. I don't have the anger, the bitterness, and the heartache to relate to and to shape my opinions. If I did, I am almost sure that my answer would be different. That murderers don't deserve a second chance. That a lapse of judgment so large can't just be blamed on the “lack of emotional development” alone. That such people should be locked up forever where they can't hurt us. However, since I don't have such an emotionally charged argument to offer, I still hold the belief that juveniles should get life sentences if they're convicted of murder but with parole.

4/13/2012
Irving, Tx / Texas
Lucy
Bradley / Nimitz
Whether it be a adult or juvenile that has convicted a murder, he/she should be punished and serve time for their ruthless actions. A crime is a crime, simple as that. That person took someone's life with some sort of intention, so should he/she be let off the hook easily? I think not. If you hurt someone, you should suffer about the equal amount they did and really think about why you would even do such a horrendous thing in the first place to have caused yourself to a life sentence in jail if not, in certain cases, death. That's just how severe these sort of cases are – it is not something to take lightly. Personally, I could never give any sort of sympathy for someone who would take the life away of someone else and then reflect on themselves AFTER the damage has been done. Instead, they disgust me and they should stay locked up their whole lives. If you do something once, there's always a chance you will strike again.

4/12/2012
Irving, Texas
Keller Simpson
Bradley/Nimitz
In 1968, 11 year old Mary Bell of Scottswood, England, was convicted of two counts of murder of small children over the course of that year. Not one year after Bell's own murders, Mason and the Family committed the famous Tate and LaBianca murders over in America. In 1980, at the age of 23, Bell was found to be readjusted, was released from prison, became a mother in '84, and a grandmother in 2009. Manson was originally sentenced to death, but had his sentence changed after his state renounced the death penalty to life with parole – his next year to apply is this very year, 2012. These two murderers, no matter the severity of their crimes or the age of their targets, were given the chance for redemption and to prove themselves better – one took that chance and created a life for herself after proving her own growth. As stated by the Juvenile justice advocates – teens lack the emotional and mental maturity to fully comprehend the abstract consequences of their actions, and have historically been found to be able to be turned around with correctional assistance. To condemn juveniles to a life in prison with no hope of escape is cruel beyond comprehension. And despite the sentiment of good Mr. Neiman, no man, especially a juvenile, should be blocked from the ability to prove themselves better and be allowed to reintegrate themselves back into society as a working citizen. If Bell can change, if Mason can be up for parole, then a juvenile, even convicted of murder, should be given the chance to prove themselves changed.

4/12/2012
Irving/TX
Carly T
Bradley/Nimitz
The public is absolutely horrified at the thought of a juvenile not getting a second chance after committing a murder, but allow me to ask: did the murderer leave the victim a second chance at anything? The person who was killed won't get a shot at waking up each morning for work, at driving their kids to school, at picking up a new sport in their free time. Yet, the majority of citizens are outraged that a murderer, who could take every opportunity away from a person, should not be allowed to live a normal life and at some point take advantage of all these little things they were cruel enough to take away from someone else. I personally am outraged that our justice system is questioning punishing a murderer who could take another human being's life. No matter what age, no matter what developmental stage, a person who could sink that low is a threat to society and has damaged possibly forever the small world their victim was a part of. At fifteen years old, someone may not be able to reason through constant obedience of their parents or may not make the best dating or fashion decisions. But killing someone is an act of malice that comes from a characterstic not grown out of or into. The punishment for murder is not something that should be made less harsh, until someone can make murder less harsh.

4/12/2012
Irving, Texas
Fatima S
Bradley/Nimitz
Juveniles have the same thought process an adult has. They know what is right and what is wrong. Giving them leeway on murder is not correct because they have a brain and they know what they are doing is wrong. Just because they can reform their minds doesn't mean that it will happen. Setting someone free for committing murder is taking a chance that they will commit murder again. Are the people really willing to take that chance? Juveniles and adults aren’t that different. Sure, the brain is more developed in an adult, but teenagers have the same capacity in their brain to know that committing offenses is wrong. Breaking the law is wrong, so why should their punishment be less fervent than those that are a couple of years older than them.

4/12/2012
Irving, TX
Allison
Bradley/Nimitz
Juveniles should not be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole if convicted of murder. Locking up for life an adolescent who may not have been mindfully aware of his actions is cruel and unusual. People of a tender age should be given a chance to repent and reform their ways, even if they commit murder. Instead of life without parole, adolescents should be entered into a rehabilitation facility to help them recover from whatever influences led them to kill another human being. The benefits of such a transformation not only on the adolescent who committed murder but also on the juvenile delinquents who can learn from him or her as a motivational speaker or a counselor outweigh the cost to our principles of throwing away the life of a troubled youth.

4/11/2012
Irving/TX
Dalena
Bradley/Nimitz
Punishment for any severe crime should always be significant -- punishment, in general, should always be significant in ANY crime. If juveniles are mature enough to commit murder, then they should be mature enough to handle the consequences like any adult would. I don't necessarily believe that every juvenile who commits murder should receive a life sentence in jail, but they should be in jail for a long period of time. I don't believe any single person is a horrible enough person to receive life sentences at all. After some time in jail, convicts tend to learn the lesson and learn more morals, therefore they'll become wiser and know better in the future.

4/10/2012
Irving, Texas
Kevin Sanchez
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that juveniles should not be sentenced to death without parole. They are still in a stage of development and their outlook on things will be different 10 years later when they are 28. They should be required to finish a rehabilitation treatment and once the judge feels they are changed, they can be let out on parole. After all, teens mess up and deserve a second chance once they mature.

4/9/2012
Irving/Texas
Aubrey G.
Bradley/Nimitz
Juveniles of the age thirteen and up should receive a life sentence for murder. Teenagers are going through rough times, but any person who's hormones cause them to be homicidal doesn't need to be out on the street anyways, and they should receive life imprisonment. I think that if a person under the age of eighteen commits a murder, they shouldn't be sentenced to death until after the person turns eighteen. People younger than thirteen are just babies, just little children and they should be punished, but since there's a significant amount of time until they reach adulthood which means plenty of time for improvement.

4/4/2012
Irving/ Tx
Itzel
Bradley/Nimitz
If a juvenile is convicted of murder, then they should have a life sentence. If someone is capable of committing such an action then they are more likely to do it again. I feel like they should automatically be convicted to a life sentence in jail or possibly be let out under certain circumstances after ten years or so. Although, I don't agree that it is okay for them to be let out, I do believe in people changing their ways. It is sad to see a juvenile go into those circumstances but murder is murder. It is a very serious crime, and it should be taken seriously. Meaning a life time sentence in jail.

4/3/2012
Benson
Chace
Mr. Soresen
Nope He killed some one, hes dangerous. We don't need those kind of people running around, especially at that age. as john said you did the crime so you have to do the time.

4/2/2012
siletz,OR
lewis
lorrie syms /siletz valley high school
I think that teens should not get charged with murder cause in a lot of cases its out of self-defense and the judge wont listen to them they just think that cause the murdered someone they don't have rights. I think that the judge should listen to the story of the teen or whoever when its their turn to talk. I have a friend that comited murder in self-defense to save his own life. and the judge wont here his story. i think that he should get 25 years to life for killing the person with parole. cause he's not the only person i know whos killed someone and i've seen change in alot of them since they killed someone. and i think they deserve anouther chance. maby they could do good or maby they couldnt let them make their chocies not the judge cause after all who judges you in the end.

4/2/2012
benson az
colton
sorenson
i think that you cannot judge overall on this issue, the punishment should go with the crime and events leading up to the murder.for example if it is a premeditated murder then the kid deserves life if he is the individual who personally does the killing.

4/2/2012
Irving/ Texas
Randie
Bradley/ Nimitz
I think that juveniles should be able to receive life sentences for murdering someone. Because I feel that they should already know right from wrong. It is not okay to kill someone, and then want a lenient sentencing. Because they made a decision to go and kill someone, so they made their choice. I don't think their capacity for reform or emotional development, should mean they get a less severe sentence. Because its not fair to the murdered person's family that they lose a loved one, and the killer gets a second chance at life.

3/30/2012
Benson, AZ
Josh Martin
Sorenson/Benson
I don't think that they should get the life sentence without parole. There is a reason 18 is the standard for what is considered to be an adult. Even though people are taught the difference from right and wrong once they are born, they cannot actually put that into "legitiment" actions until they are really of age. Don't get me wrong killing someone is killing someone no matter what has happened and a punishment should insue. But taking away someons life when they are not even old enough to start living it is wrong. Even if they took someone else's, taking away theres won't bring they person they killed lifes back. Your basically doing to them what they did to another and that doesn't make you a better person does it?

3/30/2012
Benson AZ
Austin
Mr sorensen
If a kid kills someone there should be just as much pain and sorrow or death as the juvenile gave the family

3/30/2012
benson,Az
Dustin
Sorenson
i believ that if someone is going to commet the crimes then they should have they same punishment becsue its not right to kill someone with anger and get away with it so if you kill someone then you should die too

3/30/2012
Benson, AZ
Cassie
Mr. Sorenson
If a juvenile is going to committ a murder I believe that they have decided to take on responsibilities of an adult, and therefore must accept the consequences that an adult would have. There should be no right given to someone no matter the age of more flexibility. I agree that the age and background shouldn't be considered when determining the sentence.

3/30/2012
BENSON AZ
ashlee
SORENSON
I think that if juveniles are going to commit murder, then they should get the same punishment as a man. The government does a lot in order to help "troubled teens" but if the teens want to do something like this then yes they should be punished like anyone else should.

3/30/2012
belleville ny
Callie Collier
miss Colby bhcs
i think that if a juvenile is going to committ murder then they should have the same sentence a a men. all the states should be the same and juveniles should have a life sentence for murder. not just murder though in all cases like drugs juveniles should be allowed to get away with something like that because a men or women wouldnt. if the problems start at home then children should learn who to talk to and open up with so that there no in those situations because there is no reason to kill another human over your child hood. the boy could have told someone at some point and he would have been fine but he didnt that was his choice. at the age of 14 you know right from wrong 99% of children know it from 4 to the age of 7 so there is no reason. juveniles should be tried as adults and there shouldnt be to differnt courts.

3/29/2012
Irving, Tx
Jocelyn E.
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe in if you do the crime you do the time, especially if you have murdered somebody. But I also believe that juveniles CAN get their act together throughout the years and become better people. I think they should only get life with the possibility of parole if they have showed they have matured and they have been actively trying to better themselves. The only way I believe that they should not recieve parole is if they have some sort of mental issue that causes them to become violent at anytime and be unstable. They should either stay in jail or go to an asylum. They shouldn't just be given parole, they should have to show they deserve it and they are a better person.

3/29/2012
Irving, Tx
Adam
Bradley/ Nimitz
As the passage stated, a crime is a crime, regardless of the age of the person committing it. The person that intentionally took someone else's life should be punished the same when they are considered a juvenile as when they are an adult. I think that in time the person could become better and reform but they would just need to be reformed in prison because they need to have a consequence for the crime that they committed. A severe crime deserves a severe punishment in all cases.

3/29/2012
Benson,AZ
Brian
Mr. Sorencen/Benson
I believe Juveniles should get life sentence if they kill someone. They deserve to go to prison for life for taking someones else life. so i do believe if you commit murder you should be put away for life.

3/29/2012
benson AZ
Jonathan m
Mr. sorensen benson high
Well i agree with ryan meza on "if you do the crime, you should do the time also". Because if your willing to do something very severe, you should have severe punishments to even if the criminal is understand the age of 18 year old. I believe that any human being who is convicted of a severe felony, should have 25-30 years of prison and parole. That way while their in prison they will have time to think about the decisions they made, and maybe decide to never do it again.

3/29/2012
Irving/TX
Carolina
Bradley/Nimitz
Well it really depends on the situation of the juvenile. When you take a look at cases like the one above about the 14 year old boy that was convicted of killing someone in a robbery. The boy has issues which include the abuse he went thru and the suicide attempts that he tried. Juveniles like this should be treated and be taken into a more serious consideration of putting them in jail for the rest of their life. The situations really depends on the case and how the child's emotional stability is. A psychologist should always be present in cases like these to make sure of the minors safety as well as of others.

3/28/2012
Benson Arizona
Rayleahna
Sorenson
Unless you can claim to be criminally insane, then the punishments for certain crimes should not vary. I mean check out the movie Halloween Rob Zombie's directors cut, Micheal gets put in a facility his whole life and even when he's a grown man he returns to his murderous ways. Theres a big difference between self defense and cold blood killers. A life for a life is only fair.

3/28/2012
Benson/AZ
Victoria
Mr. Sorenson/BHS
Obviously if a juvenile is involved with murder they need to go to jail and deserve a life sentence no matter the age because its clear that he/she is a physco and need to be taken off the streets so they cant continue on with their craziness

3/28/2012
Benson AZ
Jenna
Mr. Sorensen/ Benson High School
Yes becuase why whould they be treaded any different because of thier age.

3/28/2012
Benson/ AZ
Ryan
Soresen/ Benson High School
i believe that they should because they did the crime so they should do the time.

3/28/2012
Benson Arizona
Kendra Marie
Mr.Sorenson Benson High School
I am in agreement with law enforcement side of the argument. " A major crime deserves a significant punishment." I DO think juveniles should get a life sentence if they are convicted of murder. I do not think their room for emotional development maens they should not recieve the severest possible sentence, just because they are young they know exactly what they did. They killed someone.

3/28/2012
Benson, Az
Ryan Meza
Mr. Sowernson/Benson
If your willing to do the crime, then your willing to do the time no matter what your age, background, or excuse for it is. I agree that severe crimes, such as murder, should receive significant punishments even if the person convicted is under 18. People just have to understand that taking another life will never ever be acceptable, espsecialy if the victim in the end was just some innocent bystandered. Honesty if you are guilty of murder, you deserve the worst.

3/28/2012
Benson/AZ
Nicole
Sorenson/Benson High School
Juveniles that commit a crime no matter what it is should be punished. But i think that every situation is different and every person is different so there could be a chance that quite a few of these juveniles would try to better themselves. In that case life without the opportunity to get parole is a bit much, if they in fact try to better themselves, they should get the option of parole. I would say at least five years in prison with the option of parole in the future.

3/28/2012
benson/az
Darrel
soreson/benson
yes i think that they should if they kill some one.

3/28/2012
Benson/Arizona
Paxton
Mr.Sorenson/BHS
well... if you think of it this way passed a certain aged kids know what a gun, a knife, ofr any other wepon and how it can kill some one. they know what murder is and they should convicted just like if a 40 year old guys kills people.

3/28/2012
Benson, Arizona
Alexandria
Mr. Sorensen
Yes, and No. Yes, because it should be the same for anyone who commits murder, old or young. But also No, because some children commit murder and learn from it. So I don't know.

3/28/2012
Benson, Az
Shaylene
Sorenson/ Benson High School
I think the punishment for juveniles who commit murder shouldn't be life without parole or even the death penalty. I think it should be 25 years in prison with a chance of parole. This way the juvenile commiting the murder has a chance to reform and clearly have enough time to think about their actions. They will still have a good life if they so choose when they get out of prison and wont have to throw their life away on one bad decision.

3/28/2012
benson/az
dakota w
sorenson/benson
I think they should be retied when they turn 18 to see if the get a life sentences.

3/28/2012
Benson/ Arizona
Matthew
Mr. Sorenson
To a certain age i believe some kids know what they are doing was wrong but they went ahead and did it anyways. so i think depending how hold they are they should be tried as an adult. the 14 year old boy is old enough know what he did and i think he should be charged as an adult.

3/27/2012
Irving,TX
Richard
Bradley/Nimitz
Its real simple: if you take a persons life, why should you continue to have a life of your own. I don't mean that the person charged with murder should be put to death, but they should be sentenced to life without parole. The article states that some people convicted of murder go on to become lawyers or go on to work in other high profiled careers. Those who were convicted decided to better themselves. The government should sentence the juveniles with life and have parole as an option. Every five years or so, have a government official drop in and see how the juvenile is doing. If the juvenile has tried to better themselves in any way possible, let them have parole. If the juvenile has not done a single thing in order to better themselves, don't give them parole. Let them stay their and rot. Any one who can take a life should know that there will be consequences. No matter how old that person is, there will be consequences.

3/27/2012
Irving TX
Elizabeth R
Nimitz/Bradely
Juveniles should NOT get a life sentence if they are convicting of a murder. They deserve a severe punishment for their crime but not that. As teenager I can say that we rather act more upon our emotions than anything else. As I get older I realize that the decisions I thought were perfect before were the worst I have made when I think back today. Most of the times we react quick without thinking about the consequence that lies ahead. As we get older we begin to actually think before acting. Yes. Juveniles convicted of murder should not go on without a punishment. But not a life sentence. A lot of considerations need to be made before deciding what type of punishment a Juvenile deserves. Murder is a crime, but I do not know a teenager who has that hard of a heart to murder someone without having something done to them that caused it. Or some sort of emotional or mental problem.

3/27/2012
Irving, Tx
Areli M.
Bradley/ Nimitz
Oh wow. I cannot believe that the government believes that giving a juvenile life imprisonment with no chance of parole for MURDER is "cruel and unusual" punishment. If anything, the juvenile knew what he or she was doing, and if they can't do the time, then they shouldn't have done the crime. I understand if the death took place by accident, many of the times that's just how it is, but if they planned it out and executed with the knowledge that this is what they wanted, then OF COURSE they should receive severe punishment. Their capacity for reform shouldn't matter if they killed more than one person with intent; that's a young serial killer being let off the hook for their age because someone out their believes that they can "change". The real fact is that people may change, but eventually they can revert to old habits. This is why we need to keep dangerous criminals locked up. They can lie to be let out , only to repeat the same offenses over and over again. A child whose heart is tainted so young can become just as worse when reaching adulthood. Maybe parole can be considered, but life imprisonment is not cruel in the case of murder with intent to kill.

3/27/2012
Irving, TX
Jocelyn P
Bradley/Nimitz
This is a hard topic. You normally hear about adults being convicted or murder, or at least in my case I rarely hear of juveniles committing murder. I have always believe that if someone kills someone else for any reason, except for in self defense in form of assault or rape etc., that they should be given jail time and depending on how the crime was committed and the circumstances even possible a death penalty, but it's a lot harder imaging having to put to death a 14 year old boy who did not pull the trigger but was only an accessory. And I also can't imagine having the same 14 year old placed in hail for 30 years. The judge making a decision that could change someones life forever, because they literally are kids who don't always think about the repercussions and still have their whole life ahead of he/she, would have to be very certain and affirmative with his decision, because it could lock up a future doctor from the world, or it could very well put a potential criminal away.

3/27/2012
Irving/Texas
Mayra
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that teenager(17 and under) know what they are doing, they know they are doing wrong. Some kids grow up in a bad environment, and they think they have an excuse to be violent. They have the mental capacity to think clearly and rational, they can make the decision not to kill someone intentionally. If they murder someone then they should be charged as an adult.

3/27/2012
Irving/TX
Cathy
Bradley/Nimitz
Juveniles should not get life sentences if they're convicted of murder. Like stated in the article, the brains of kids under 18 aren't fully developed yet. How can they be sentenced to life if they can't even grasp the extent of damage that they have committed? It's not fair that some adult murderers get life in prison having known they committed something as big as a murder while someone under 18 gets the same punishment when they haven't gotten the chance to use their brain to it's full potential yet. The only honorable excuse that can be used in a court room to defend an under-aged murderer would be that their brain isn't full developed yet. Yes, murder is murder, but would you charge a 5 year old for accidentally shooting someone because they didn't know the gun was real? That is the same concept as giving the life sentence with parole to someone 18 and under. They should get some kind of punishment, just not something to the extent of life in prison. After their punishment, they should be able to attend a facility that will hopefully help them understand what they have done and set them up for better choices in their future. Let's say we put the situation into another perspective. Say we are all mothers and our 12 year old son is sentenced to life in prison for stabbing a classmate over a girl. How would we all feel? As a mother, father, sister, brother, grandparent, of course we would ask they judge to excuse their crime because they're only a minor, right? Conclusively, I feel that juveniles should not get life sentences if they're convicted of murder.

3/27/2012
Irving/Texas
Nicole
Bradley/ Nimitz
I honestly don't know. I think that in some cases if you can decide consciously that you want to kill someone then you should get a real punishment, but I also understand that accidents happen. Maybe a little child is playing with their father's gun and he shoots his sister or brother and accidentally kills them. I know no one wants to think about it that way, but there is always that chance. I have to agree and disagree with those who say that children should get the severe punishments all the time. I personally have felt the pain of an accidental death and if that person were to have gone to jail then I don't know where my life would be. I think that the severity of punishment should be determined on the case and all the actions leading up to the case and all the different variables. Things aren't always black and white in my eyes, I see some gray, but this is one of those gray areas in my eyes.

3/27/2012
Irving/Texas
Marvin G.
Bradley/Nimitz High School
I just gave this a scan, but I'm pretty sure I got the main points. Juveniles, as we call them, should be punished for murder cases, BUT only when its special situations. If the juvenile knew what he was doing and had nothing wrong going on with him like a sickness or mental disorder, then he should get life sentence. But if the juvenile is indeed sick and cannot comprehend what he did, then he should be kept in house arrest and only be allowed to leave the home for appointments scheduled by the court to see a psychologist or any one else that can help.

3/23/2012
Bellvielle New York
Kellen
Mrs.Colby/Bellvielle
In my opinion i think the juvenile should be given 25-30 of jail time if convicted of murder and possible parole based on their history and the way they act but give them a second chance and if they mess up. Then its up to the judge

3/23/2012
belleville ny
michelle
miss colby/belleville heanderson central school
if you have killed someone i believe they should stay in the jail and rot. but i dont believe they should kill them there selves because they are not going to feel anything like the family will. sso they should feel the pain and resee what they have done by killing someone

3/23/2012
Belleville, N.Y.
Jacob
Ms.Colby/Belleville-Henderson Central School
In this issue, we must first look at the criminals history and background. This will give us a better understanding of who this person is and why they commited the crime. Once this is determinded, the court system will find the appropriate sentencing for the crime.

3/23/2012
Belleville, NY
Seth
Miss. Colby Belleville Henderson
I have mixed feelings about this debate. In most cases of murder, no matter what age, I think the sentence should be life in prison. In other cases of murder, if a minor (17 and under) kills someone or is an accomplice in the murder, I think they should be hospitalized and treated. Many children all over the United States don't have great surroundings or they are living a bad life. In those cases, I think their punishment shouldn't the same as an adult.

3/23/2012
13611
Joe
Miss Colby Belleville Henderson
If someone kills another human being and is found guilty, I think they should get the death penalty. This would make taxes lower and with more of the "killers" gone the gangs would start to decrease. If a 17 year old kills his friend. (not being an accident) then get rid of him, teach everyone else not to harm others.

3/23/2012
Belleville/New York
Phillip
Miss Colby/Belleville Henderson
This is a tough topic to create a straight forward answer to. Those between the ages of 14 and 18 are at a point in their lives where they are looking for acceptance and it becomes so important to them. If a bad group of people accept them, that is who they trust and support. This can lead to many behavioral and psycological problems. I think that in some cases the life sentence for murder is appropriate for juveniles, but there would need to be outstanding evidence that they did this willingly and out of "cold blood". If the juvenile does it because they were told to (or else they would be hurt) there still needs to be punishment (and guidence) but the ones giving the orders should face the severest of punishments. To manipulate a young person is the worst thing you can do in my book. An experience like that will haunt a young person for the rest of their life and that is a severe punishment too. To see the faces of those who you have harmed in any offense brings on such an overwhelming sense of guilt that it is almost unbearable. The rulings on young people should be strict but not crippling. As I said before, if it was done intentionaly and out of "cold blood", that is enough for me to say "lock em up for life" , but in most other cases there should be a little wiggle room. Don't let them off the hook, that is be strict and diliberate in punishment, but don't be stricter than is needed.

3/23/2012
Belleville, New York
Eric
Ms. Colby/ Belleville Henderson Central School
I believe that cases involving juveniles should be handled with the upmost thought and consideration. I think more people need to realize that, as a juvenile, children and teenagers do not fully comprehend the meaning of consequences. Suffice it to say that I still believe in punishment and I agree that juveniles should receive ample punishment for their crimes, but I disagree with what many call "ample" punishment. One of the goals of our justice system should be to rehabilitate America's youth and teach them the importance of our justice system. Part of juvenile punishment should be an education of the system as well as a time of atonement for their actions. If our justice system embraced this process, I believe that it could lead to many individuals coming out of the system with a new opportunity and goals on how to better themselves.

3/23/2012
Belleville Henderson NY
J.W.
Colby
As stated, a crime is a crime no matter how old the person is committing it might be. Therefore, the punishment should be the same. Those committing serious crimes are of enough age to know better and understand right from wrong. In order to ensure a safe society we must all be punished equally based upon what crime we may committ.

3/23/2012
Belleville, New York
Amanda
Mre. Colby
No matter the age, murdering someone is inexcusable and that murderer should be punished. However, I don't believe that a mistake made at a younger lifetime should derserve a life in prison. Although if you a psycho, I do think they should be sent to prison and get the help they need. But if it's just a childhood mistake, I don't think punishing someone the rest of thier lives is appropiate.

3/23/2012
Belleville/New York
Kayla Kiblin
Miss.Colby/Belleville Henderson
I believe that if anyone, including a juvenile under the age of 18, should be tried as an adult especially when it comes to murder. If a juvenile thinks that it is okay to committ such crime, they should be punished as anyone else. I strongly believe that if a juvenile can committ a murder then they should spend the rest of their life in jail even at such a young age.

3/23/2012
Adams/NY
Timothy
Miss Colby
kids under the age of 18 know the difference between bad and good, if you kill someone you should be tried as an adult.

3/23/2012
Belleville NY
Shelby
Miss Colby Belleville Henderson
I think if you killed someone under the age of 18 you should be going to prison or some where's not mattter how old you are. Kids and teens know that murder is bad. Just because they're not an adult doesn't mean that they don't know that. If you're going to kill someone you should get a punishment for that. Maybe not a life time sentence as a teen but some kind of form of a long punishment.

3/23/2012
Belleville/New York
Taylor
Colby/Belleville Henderson
I agree with the first sentence stated in the paragraph-"A crime is a crime, no matter how old the person committing it may be." Therefore, if the juvenile got convicted of murder he should pay the price. But if the child has something severly wrong with them or the did this conviction out of protection, then that could be a whole different story.

3/23/2012
Belleville New York
Stephennie
Miss Colby/Belleville Henderson
Personally, I think that anybody of any age; even under 18 should get a life sentence if they are convicted of murder. Killing someone is completely wrong if it isn't self defense. They said childrens "emotional development" can be a big part of this, but I think at any age, kids know right from wrong with the feeling that they get inside. Juvenile justice advocates say that "teenages and children are not as emotionally and mentally developed as adults and might not have a true grasp of the consequences of a crime and how the rest of their life could be affected". I honestly can say that that does make sense, but to me murder is muder, and I think that any murder is wrong. The comment below makes sense as well in the fact that adults are not who they often are as children and if it takes them 50 years to get out then their whole life is going to be spent not learning about the wrongs of killing, and i feel as if that would only be on their minds. I think if you are 10 and under, you should not get sentenced to life.

3/23/2012
Belleville, NY
Kate
Colby/Belleville Henderson
I believe that if a juvenile convicts a crime as serious as murder then they should be punished as anyone else would. If they think they are above the law and can murder someone without consequences, they are mistaken. There is no reason that they should be given lighter punishment if they knowingly and purposely murder another person.

3/23/2012
Belleville/ NY
Adam
Miss Colby/ Belleville Henderson Central School
I think that juveniles that are 17 should be tried as an adult especially in a murder. I think that there emotional development could help them get out of prison but only in the specialist of occasions. I dont think that everyone juvenile that murders should get the worst sentence and that they should be able to work it out in theropy.

3/23/2012
Belleville NY
Andrew Folk-Passage
Ms. colby/ Belleville henderson central shcool
Depending on the severity, if it was an accident then yes some flexibly would be fair. Allowing that child to feel the guilt and be punished but in due time allow themselves to prove that they can change. Everyone deserves a second chance. Because of my second chance im albe to live my life. Yes murder is murder but placing the worst charge on a minor could have the opposite affect thats intended and scar that child, and in turn make them worse than before.

3/23/2012
Belleville New york
Lelani
Ms. Colby/Belleville Henderson Central School
In my opinion it doesnt matter what age you are, you still commited the harshest crime there is known to man. Some crimes that kids my age do, are like smaller than murder. Murder your taking someone elses life away, for ridiculous reasons. Emotional development is no excuse for crimes like these. Everyone around us (adults) may have done something like this. We learn from the tabloids, news and people. Its inevitable to learn about a murder everyday. They should get the serverest punishment, because they chose to take that action. Juveniles should take just as much punishment for murder as an adult would face.

3/23/2012
Belleville, New York
Taylor
Miss Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I think it all depends on the kids background whether or not they should get life sentences. We're not exactly sure how a kid may be brought up or what that person was brought up around. If they live in surroundings where their parents are alcolholics and into drugs then what does that say about the childs life? I believe punishment is sufficient, but to the point where they have learned their lesson. If their home life isn't what it should be then they should not be allowed to go back to their parents or whomever they were living with. You have to keep in mind too that people are not the same person as from when they were a kid.

3/23/2012
Belleville, NY
Kieran Wiemer
Ms. Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I think that it all depends on how old you are in order to be punished for murder. Most kids understand that murder is wrong and understand that if you do committ a crime you will be punished.

3/23/2012
Belleville Ny
Dylan
Ms. Colby
No, i think that if a kid kills somebody, they should get a certain time in a mental institution, and let the Dr. decide the mental stability of the kid after the time is up, let him determine if the now adult is ready for life free, or prison.

3/21/2012
Menlo Park, California
William
Jon/ Lydian
To me it seems that sentencing a child to life without any possibility of parole is incredibly cruel. People are rarely the same person that they were as a child, and therefore I think its unfair to sentence anyone to a lifetime that will last probably 50 years in prison.

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