Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crime and punishments

From a newscast I was made aware of the Supreme Court hearing a case involving a juvenile who murdered a young girl. The juvenile is seventeen years old and was sentenced to life without parole. The appeal is on the grounds that the sentence is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment for someone of that age. The newscast stated the justices were sharply divided on this issue.

I have no such reservation. The legal definition(s) I have found for 'cruel and unusual' simply states it can be defined as punishment that is excessive compared to punishment measured against lesser crimes or crimes committed in other states. The biggest problem with our system is too much interpretation and misuse of definitions of words. The English terms cruel and unusual are easily defined. Look them up, they are in the dictionary.

A person sentenced to life in prison is not unusual as it is in fact, the norm in this society and in all states of the Union. In so much as being measured against a lesser crime, there is not one. Murder is the king of the hill. We're not talking about a ten year old whose brain is not fully developed. A person who is seventeen is in full command of his choices in life. He knows right from wrong. Someone younger than that can be legally emancipated from their parents. Again, able to choose the direction their own life takes. This person made a choice and therefore must live by the consequences. His sentence is neither cruel or unusual.

As my family has suffered through a situation similar in nature to this I believe I am fully able to offer an educated opinion on this subject. I would ask any of the Justices this; how would you feel if the girl was a member of your family? Sometimes being removed from a situation can cloud one's judgement just as much as being too involved. In this case being personally removed strips all the emotion away. Emotion can be a great barometer of right and wrong. It's often the only stable reality as legal rulings are often overturned and rehashed by someone twisting and turning words to fit their own definitions. It's not about his rights anymore but the safety of society. He gave up his rights when he committed the crime.

Lock him up and although you can't throw away the key (as it might cause someone to get their panties in a wad), bury it deep in the yard surrounded by angry dogs. It'll be there if it's really needed.

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