Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And I thought Texas" criminal courts were corrupt

Texas can't hold a candle to Florida.

Consider the case of Joe Sullivan, a mentally impaired boy convicted of sexual battery, largely on the testimony of two accomplices, both of whom were older than Sullivan, who each were rewarded for their testimony by given light sentences, one of them in a juvenile court. Sullivan, however, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was 13 years old at the time.

Or consider the case of Terrance Graham, a learning disabled teen born to crack-addicted parents. He was on probation in connection with a burglary when he allegedly participated in a home invasion. He was not convicted of the crime, but was sentenced to life in prison without parole for violating his probation. He was 16.

Two teenagers, both mentally challenged, both of whom need stern adult supervision and, yes, some time in prison. But for the Florida courts to decide these two are not capable of rehabilitation is barbarous, violates every standard of human rights known to mankind and is a clear violation of the eighth amendment that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

Fortunately, there is hope. The Supreme Court heard the cases of Sullivan and Graham Monday. Hopefully the justices will reason that children who commit non-violent crimes should not be sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole.

No comments: