October 5, 2009, - 3:57 pm
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty for U.S. residents under the age of 18 a/k/a juveniles, no matter how heinous their crimes and how clear it was that they knew what they were doing. In Roper v. Simmons, the court relied on a series of ridiculous bases for the ruling, including international law (goodbye, U.S. sovereignty) and the claim that there is a “national consensus” among states that such executions are wrong (Supreme Court decisions via instant poll?).
Let Joe Sullivan Out?: At 13, He Raped 72-Year-Old.
The problem with the ruling is that it gave no incentive to violent juveniles to decline murdering someone, knowing that they would get away with it and get to live. And not only that, but probably be out of the slammer by age 21.
Now, I fear a similar ruling and result in Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida, companion cases that the Supreme Court is scheduled to decide this term. In those cases, the Court will decide whether or not it’s “cruel and unusual” punishment for minors to be given life in prison with no chance for parole.
Now that the court has already nixed the death penalty for 17-year-old rapists and killers, I predict the court will soon decide that these cretins can’t be required to serve life either. Keep in mind, as I noted above, that most juvenile offenders–yes, even murderers–get out of prison when they turn 21. It’s a very gruesome, extremely violent and brutal few who are sentenced to spend eternity behind bars. And they deserve it. They have no value on the outside, and in fact, they have a negative value because they’re likely to commit crimes again.
Take Nathaniel Abraham. When he was 11, the Detroit-area native shot and killed a man, just for the heck of it. He knew what he was doing. But liberal judges spared him, and at 21 he was released from prison in a tax-paid pimp suit and lots of public assistance for an apartment and college tuition, something non-murderers don’t get. He announced plans to become a rapper and a preacher. Abraham is behind bars again because he became a drug dealer. Shocker.
Then, there are the individuals at issue in the cases currently before the Supreme Court.
In 1989, Joe Sullivan was convicted of breaking into a Pensacola, Fla., house, stealing jewelry and coins, and raping the 72-year-old woman who lived there.
Coming after 17 prior offenses that included assault, burglary and animal cruelty, a judge found that rehabilitation was hopeless. He sentenced Mr. Sullivan to life imprisonment, which in Florida carries no possibility of parole.
Mr. Sullivan was 13 years old. That fact alone makes the sentence unconstitutional, says Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery, Ala., nonprofit that represents indigent defendants.
Some people are just wicked, simply evil. And incurably so. That they are 13 doesn’t make it any less the case. Sullivan must have known when he was 13 that raping a 72-year-old woman wasn’t just wrong. It was the behavior of an animal. And if he didn’t know it then, he’ll never know it. And, as the judge in his case noted, he will NEVER be rehabilitated.
I wonder if this creature, Bryan Stevenson, who is trying to get this monster freed from prison would be willing to let Sullivan live next door to him in a halfway house in his neighborhood. No, actually, I don’t wonder. Because I think we all know the answer. Yet, he wants this animal in human skin freed on the good people of Florida, already victims of his horrifics.
Graham, the other “victim” (read: criminal) of the the lifetime incarcerations in Florida, was convicted of armed burglary of a Jacksonville barbecue restaurant at age 16. The Supreme court ordered separate arguments in the cases because of the different ages of the litigants, but will decide the cases together.
I’m all for locking these kids up for life. They knew better, but they committed heinous, vile crimes anyway. A release from prison won’t make it better. But it will make it worse. We all know about the high recidivism rate from prison. Juveniles are no exception and probably worse because they are so impressionable. I’ve represented juveniles accused of violent crimes. They hang in juvenile prison with fellow offenders and define deviancy and crime down. It’s not a source of shame. It’s a source of pride and notch on the belt.
I fear for the Supreme Court decision in Sullivan and Graham. And I worry we’ll get another baloney opinion like the Roper v. Simmons decision, filled with liberal sobbing over “root causes” and how “cruel” we are. I’m sure it will, like in that case, cite international law (that no-one follows) and some nebulous national consensus. I’m sure the decision will play the race card here, since both criminals locked up for life are Black, though there are plenty of Whites who get and deserve this “lifetime achievement” award. Race has nothing to do with it. But I’m sure Sonia Sotomayor a/k/a Justice So-So will vote with the other liberals on the court . . . in favor of freeing violent criminals to commit further trauma on the general population.
And by the way, remember former Wyoming U.S. Senator Alan Simpson? He’s the one who kept giving illegal aliens amnesty and telling us it would be the last time. He’s also one of the fools supporting the release of these animals in kids’ bodies. He joined other juvies in an amicus brief supporting their release.
When the inmates are running the asylum, civil society ceases to exist. We’re already long on that path. And this case is yet another giant step toward the United States of Wilding.
The only “cruel and unusual punishment” here is siccing these soulless criminals back on the society they violated.
Tags: Bryan Stevenson, cruel and unusual, cruel and unusual punishment, Equal Justice Initiative, Florida, Florida Solicitor General, Graham v. Florida, Jacksonville, Joe Sullivan, juveniles, life in prison for minors, Roper v. Simmons, Scott Makar, Sen. Alan Simpson, Sonia Sotomayor, Sullivan v. Florida, Terrance Graham, U.S. Supreme Court, Wyoming