BOSTON (CBS) – Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without any chance for parole for criminals who were under 18 when convicted are cruel and unusual punishment and, thus unconstitutional.
And whether or not you agree with their decision, it’s not hard to see why they reached it.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
The court was considering two cases, both involved boys who were 14 when they committed their murders.
In one of the cases, the kid was the lookout for a video store robbery in which his accomplice shot the clerk to death.
As Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority, mandatory life for a juvenile “precludes consideration of his chronological age and its hallmark features — among them, immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences,” and “prevents taking into account the family and home environment that surrounds him — and from which he cannot usually extricate himself — no matter how brutal or dysfunctional.”
All that makes sense.
But it makes no sense to me that the state of New Hampshire should have to spend scarce resources to re-sentence Steven Spader, the rabid animal who broke into the Cates home in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire in 2009, slaughtered an innocent woman, and tried to kill her 11-year-old daughter, who survived by playing dead.
Spader was one month away from his 18th birthday when he and a crony plotted and carried out their thrill killing. If you heard the judge recite the sickening details of his depravity at his 2010 sentencing, where she added on an extra 76 years to his life sentence for other felonies, you will never forget it.
But now the lawyer for Spader says he’s thinking of exploiting the Supreme Court ruling to seek a reduction of his client’s sentence.
Counselor, do humanity and decency a favor.
Spare the state the expense and the victims the agony, and leave this monster to rot.
Because the only thing cruel and unusual about this case was the lack of any humanity and decency by the perps.
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