"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Human Rights Watch: Hiding an Agenda Behind "Children"

An October 2005 publication of Human Rights Watch takes the criminal justice system to task for imposing life without parole (LWOP) sentences on "children." Who are these "children?" They tell us that "[i]n keeping with international human rights standards, throughout this report we use the terms 'child' and 'children' to refer to persons under the age of eighteen."

The very case that abolished the death penalty for "children," Roper v. Simmons, illustrates the insanity of giving the "children" a wholesale pass on the death penalty; it certainly shows why some of these monsters deserve LWOP. As Justice O'Connor described it in her dissent:
Simmons and his 15-year-old accomplice broke into Mrs. Crook’s home in the middle of the night, forced her from her bed, bound her, and drove her to a state park. There, they walked her to a railroad trestle spanning a river, "hog-tied" her with electrical cable, bound her face completely with duct tape, and pushed her, still alive, from the trestle. She drowned in the water below. One can scarcely imagine the terror that this woman must have suffered throughout the ordeal leading to her death. Whatever can be said about the comparative moral culpability of 17-year-olds as ageneral matter, Simmons’ actions unquestionably reflect " ‘a consciousness materially more "depraved" than that of’ . . . the average murderer."
But Simmons was 17-- a mere child! So we can't execute him. Now this report has as its ultimate aim the abolition of LWOP for folks like Simmons: "Child offenders should be given the possibility of freedom one day, when they have matured and demonstrated their remorse and capacity for rehabilitation." Note: no exceptions, not even in the most heinous cases; no "child" offenders should ever be imprisoned for life.

Now, the SCOTUS, as I mentioned, abolished the juvenile death penalty in Roper. So, no more death penalty for those under 18 when they committed their crime. The most serious penalty left for the worst of these offenders? LWOP. But according to the sensitive souls over at Human Rights Watch, not only can we not execute these offenders, we should not even incarcerate them for life, because they can be rehabilitated, they were abused/poor/addicted to drugs/alcohol, etc., etc. We all know the litany of woe.

Remember this argument, because it is the same argument that will be used when the adult death penalty is abolished. Indeed, some of the more courageous liberals are already salivating at the prospect. Doug Berman, for instance, over at Sentencing Law and Policy, has already begun testing the waters:
if the Constitution now demands a categorical bar on the death penalty for crimes committed before 18 because of some offenders' "immaturity" and "vulnerability" and the general "mitigating force of youth," shouldn't these same realities and concerns come to bear in at least some non-capital sentencing cases?

So next time you see one of those polls the left uses to demonstrate that support for the death penalty diminishes when people are given the alternative of LWOP, just remember: if the abolitionists get their way, there will be no life without parole.

HT to Crim Prof Blog for the Human Rights Watch story.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the problem. Some people want higher sentences. Some people want lower sentences. I don’t see why either view is inherently more moral.

patty poo said...

YOu dont see why a sentence of 5 months for brutal murder might be immoral? Do you understand why people take sides on any issues? What is the problem with people taking a stand? Are you always this stupid?

Anonymous said...

I don’t pretend to know why the lay people take sides on issues. Usually they just repeat things they hear on TV. They are mostly illiterate, and some of them have even commented on Roper v. Simmons without reading it, which is unpardonable.

pattypoo said...

OK--so you are going with stupid. Gotcha.