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In the News Where Are You On This One?

May 18, 2010

VIEW : In brief -- Trevor Jones was trying to scam $100 from a classmate, but the plan went awry; the gun he had feigned offering for sale discharged and killed Matt Foley, who was attempting to purchase the weapon.

At the trial, the jury determined that Trevor had no intention of shooting anyone and what had happened was reckless manslaughter, basically, a very bad accident. But because the accident occurred in the commission of armed robbery, Trevor was also found guilty of felony murder, which carried a mandatory life sentence

The Colorado court rejected his appeal in June 2009. He's in his 15th year behind bars.

View the full FRONTLINE report on Jones and other young men sentenced to life in prison without parole.

80 Comments

COMMENTS

Why is our country have the highest number of incarcerated individuals in the world? Because we allow our laws and legal matters be dictated by our emotional investment in the circumstances that surround the laws.

Justice is justice and emotions are emotions, they were never meant to mix or one used to rule the other.

Phoenix Rayne / November 9, 2009 11:20 AM

The story about minors receiving life sentences appeared on the website next to the story about the impact of war on soldiers. I saw the parrellels of two stories about victims. We do have to take the childs age, personal circumstances and upbringing into consideration before we decide that one mistake will result in a life sentence. If we can't consider rehabilitating our children, what hope do we have for our adults? We should devote as much resources to curing our social ills as we do our physical ills.

Yvonne Cornell / November 9, 2009 2:06 PM

Yvonne,

Unfortunately I see it here in WI all the time. I would assume that it happens everywhere else as well. What I see are emotions dictating how people react to these kinds of things.

Then you hear the same people say that no criminal can be rehabilitated, so according to some, maybe most people agree with that philosophy. Personally I do not. I try to live by the credo that you fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, fool me three times, never again. But this poor kid was literally just that, a kid, and to never have a life ever again is just as cruel as the crime that he committed probably worse.

I heard the mother of the dead boy on the clip, for being a christian woman she is pretty unforgiving. I am not christian, but it burns me up when someone that claims to be christian then goes on to make such condemning statements.

Phoenix Rayne / November 9, 2009 4:38 PM


The flaws in our criminal justice system were made
only more apparent by these young men telling their
very tragic stories. Our only hope is that the U.S.
Supreme Court will understand that the adolescent mind is not fully developed. Thus a young person
is likely to act on impulse without a clear understanding regarding the consequence of their actions. Sadly, very few of our politicians have the depth, courage to change the laws.

Peggy / November 9, 2009 11:53 PM

Forgiveness is the only way victims will come to peace with a situation like this.

What an incredible waste of $$ and resources to keep this man--and others like him--in prison for life.

Gina / November 9, 2009 11:58 PM

It's wrong and it's stupid. So often the two go together. A system that locks up its youth in lieu of any other possible alternative, well, something's gone afoul, that's for sure! Something used to be rotten in Denmark, but now the stink is right here at home.

Jennifer Sunseri / November 10, 2009 2:57 AM

There is a peculiar American view that seems to believe that the commission of a crime means that one forfeits their rights to life and personal safety. This stems from some stupid Utopian view that America could be a nice place if we'd only get rid of the bad people. You can routinely hear from the common people such comments as that killers should fry, that child molesters will get what's coming to them in prison, and that even common criminals get soft sentences. This idea of punishment without limits, while many Americans think it protects them, makes this country a scary place to live in, where a single accusation can ruin a life.

Andrew / November 10, 2009 10:23 AM

So strange it is that the legally protected availability of instruments, exclusively designed for the end use of killing people, namely guns, is not even questionned as the underlying culprit. You americains debate the fine points of a structure of punishments rather than face the simple fact that if guns were not so much part and parcel of your culture, this would not have happenned.

Please stop fabricating and selling guns and if you do not have the courage to live without the futile feeling of power it gives you, at least keep your guns in your country

From Canada, (where gun crimes are one tenth of yours)

Francois-Xavier Demers / November 10, 2009 2:00 PM

I am for the second amendment, for what it was intended for in the beginning. To keep us from being under a tyrannical state. I am not going to comment on that part cause that is a whole other show.

My take on these subjects usually starts with prevention... Education, education, education. Teach about the guns so anyone can handle them properly, young and old. Teach them about accountability and responsibility (something that I don't believe is taught today) and how consequences can affect an entire life.

Above all teach HISTORY, for those that do not understand history are DOOMED to repeat it.

Phoenix Rayne / November 10, 2009 4:27 PM

This is all so sickening! To put a child in prison for the rests of his/her life is, to me, considered cruel and unusual punishment. At 16 and 17 years old, a person is NOT fully developed mentally; ethics and reasoning still aren't fully there. To take away their entire life for a crime made at such a young age is ridiculous; almost a waste of a person who could have possibly gone far and made an impact in the world. Instead, they have them rotting in jail, uneligable for parole.

This needs to be stopped. For children at this young age, there needs to be other ways besides life in prison. Sure, some prison time may be good for them to grow up a bit and really realize what they did wrong, but a life sentence is way too harsh. Instead, we should be rehabilitating convicts, educating them, and eventually reestablishing them back in to the real world among people. We need to help them to find careers and make goals for their lives; we need to encourage change and learning.

Jen Lynn R / November 10, 2009 7:21 PM

More than one third of all incarcerated Americans have a legitimate mental illness which, in some way, contributed to their current place of residence. We live in a broken system that does not seek to truly rehabilitate, understand underlying issues, or prepare the incarcerated person for life as a productive citizen upon release. And further, an adolescent's brain is not fully developed and therefore, they physically are incapable of grasping the consequences of their actions, or of the permanence of death. The idea of imprisoning a child for their entire natural life, regardless of the crime they have committed is organized, government regulated torture, in my opinion.

Elizabeth Romand / November 10, 2009 7:40 PM

No forgiveness? Hmm, what was her son doing buying a gun on the black market? No culpability there I suppose.

Todd / November 10, 2009 9:05 PM

FrontLine should be ashamed of itself for even posing the question in that emotionally biased manner -"Should children..". It should be stated "Should criminals under the ago of 18..". Many of the answers above clearly reflect the idealism of youth, without experience. For example, it is "Phoenix" that allows emotion to override her logic, even while she claims that "emotion" is the problem with our system. Indeed if the law were actually properly separated from this emotional nonsense, this case would not even be heard. Virtually all of the felons here lined up for life would have been justly eligible for the death penalty. This is just another example of an out of control legal system eating away at the foundations of safety and law - namely that people must be protected from violent criminals and that individuals (no matter what the age) must thus be held responsible for their actions. When these actions result in severe harm, unfortunately the punishment will also be. Another example of this perverse bandwagon is Elizabeth's repetition of the latest boondoggle claiming that "criminals are just mentally ill", and need help and therapy. The entire psychiatric establishment can't even show a valid track record of actual success treating regular people, and we all know from years of past experience what happens when we let them make judgments on whether to release sexual predators and murderers - they get fooled and we all have the blood of women and children victims on our hands again. I admire the compassion you all hold, but cannot allow your inexperience and expertise to put my family and others in danger.

Tom with experience / November 11, 2009 12:30 AM

Sending a child to prison for life is inhumane. What kind of country are we who gives up on our young people? Yes, I understand that they should be punished for their crimes, but not for the rest of their lives. I also don't understand how we charge children as adults. Children are children regardless of the crimes they have committed.

Jeanette / November 11, 2009 1:27 AM

I feel for both families involved. In reading the opinions of the bloggers, there is a real lack of understanding of what these "children" go through in the so-called justice system. Perhaps if the shoe had been on the other foot, these people would feel differently. If you were involved in this system - would you feel the same way. Most of these children, do not understand what a "life sentence is, or what a sentence for other crimes means to the rest of their lives.
Shame on us for not looking into these things further. Do some research, talk to parents of incarcerated children, and ask of the victims - how would it feel if it were their children who had commited the crimes.

Shelley / November 11, 2009 10:51 AM

The age of reason is 12 - considered to be the age at which children can generally be held accountable for their actions overall. But children are charged as adults only when they commit a crime in an adult manner, and often not even then. We do that because sometimes evil can develop just as surely at 15 as it does at 19. It is amazing to hear after the fact the explanations, stories, excuses and re-interpretations that criminals and defense lawyers come up with to lessen the impact of the facts. Trevor's case above may be an example. Contrary to TV and pulp fiction, guns just don't "go off". We probably will never know Trevor's real story, but I believe that usually juvenile defendants of these most serious crimes are in fact often better protected than the large numbers of juveniles who commit much lesser crimes. These others do often suffer through an insensitive system, but their tenure is not for life or anything near to it. But it still takes rather a lot to end up incarcerated at all as a "child", contrary to some of the comments here.

Age of reason / November 12, 2009 1:08 PM

These tragedies happen frequently in this country . How on earth are guns so available here? Politics and money= NRA strength. Europe and Canada are amazed by us. There is ample EVIDENCE to show that these killings will continue without gun regualtion. There will always be an unstable aggressive type percentage of the population (underlying issues vary)- whether children or adults. And the easy access to weapons will continue to create tragedy . It is particularly tragic when a victim is killed by child perpetrator. Children are neither physically nor mentally/cognitively fully formed. They should NEVER have access to guns. It saddens me to see it continue .
Respectfully Submitted,
Isabelle Foster, LICSW

Isabelle Foster / November 12, 2009 4:01 PM

I do not agree with disarming the American population. I do feel that education is a better solution.

Despite the great tragedy of a child lost to violence, it is equally tragic to have a person lost in the prison system. He is a wasted life, b/c he wasted another's, and the mother of victim is a wasted life too-- evidenced by her unforgiving nature.

She has become cold aloof and bitter-- she holds onto to her rage in an effort to remember her son. She needs to embrace her faith her anger will never bring her son back.
Its sad.....

I dont know how I would want someone punished for killing my son.

If he were to be released, it ought to be on lifelong probation and regular psychiatric examinations to ensure that his mental state doesnt falter.

More than anything, I would like to see such incidents stop happening. Like I said before, I think that education is the best tool. Catch them while they are young.

Like his sister said, she thought he was going to go to jail. I remember in middle school identifying all of the kids who would go to jail. They all did. If a child can make such a prediction, why cant a college educated adult see the bad eggs? Why are they being ignored and left to their own dysfuntional devices?

It would not be hard to develop educational programs that are cost effective promoting, social or team building skills and civics.

America isnt lacking prisons, its lacking social responsibility.

Funyon / November 12, 2009 6:05 PM

The law, by its nature, is hard. Unyielding, it demands reparation for what evil a person does. The majority of the people within this blog are crying out for mercy. And indeed, mercy triumphs over judgment.

But the law does not give mercy. Who can provide mercy? Only the Savior Jesus Christ, whom God placed as Lord of all, can bring about a deliverance from the requirement of the law. We ought to stop trying to squeeze out from the law something that cannot come from it.

Furthermore, psychotherapy will not provide true mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation that we need. Only a true pardoning of one's sins from the Ultimate law-giver can grant such a new life. In fact, He does so only because He himself offered the price of blood for the sins of man. Human beings, at best, have come up with ways to inoculate the conscience---via self-help guides, self-pity, self-victimization, self-adoration, self-centered consumerism---all the while failing to clean and renew the mind. People who are ensnared by their own evils, as a result, barely function in society. Rather, we should put aside our pride and yield to the Creator, rather than to the created (= other humans), since it's plainly written in Scripture: "If we accept the testimony of men, the testimony of God is still greater."

God bless you all.

Seth / November 13, 2009 3:21 AM

"It would not be hard to develop educational programs that are cost effective promoting, social or team building skills and civics."

Our public schools already teach those things -- it really isn't a failure on the part of teachers. Most teachers in public schools today go above and beyond in trying to engage their students. However, you can't make every kid appreciate those things, unfortunately; especially if their parents aren't also teaching them the same values.

One of the first things that came into my head as I read most of the comments was Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange".

As a society, we have become wrapped up in the endless self-doubt that attempts to diffuse responsibility in even the most clear cut situations. Trevor Jones' case may be one of the more sympathetic, and at least supports the argument that special appeals may be worth considering in the case of minors. However, consider the youths who participated in the 2-hour gang rape of a 15 year old girl in Richmond, CA recently. Participating in a gang rape isn't just a dumb childhood mistake. It takes a special kind of personality that simply does not respect other human beings.

Unfortunately, I fear that such a total lack of compassion cannot ever be corrected with certainty, or at least the risk of it not being corrected is too great for the public to tolerate. In other words, a life sentence should not be ruled as an option, even in the case of minors - it is not an emotionally fueled punishment, but simply a pragmatic measure to prevent recidivism. However, as I stated above, special appeals may be in order in cases that lack one of the most commonly required elements in severe punishments: intent.

Jimmy / November 13, 2009 11:35 AM

How giving adolescents life without parole is ridiculous. No hope, no incentive to change , no incentive to better oneself, and the waste of life and huge finacial costs.
There has to be a better way

Mike / November 13, 2009 12:47 PM

Everytime a felon, child predator, murderer is released from prison society takes a gamble. Most time society loses bad. In most instances these folks committ a violent crime again. What was that guy in Cleveland doing out on the streets?

Paco / November 13, 2009 1:41 PM

Just like it says in the documentary "Vengeance is not Justice. Vengeance is Vengeance."

I wrote a 15 page long paper on this issue for my senior project after watching this video in my Legal Studies class. I believe that if someone is under 18, they should be tried as a child. Not to say they don't deserve to do time, go through a lot of therapy and have their release pending upon their improvements, and then be watched extremely closely after they are released.
What I'm saying is they deserve life too, but they should pay the consequences for their actions and be ready to have the life they need to live. Especially in the situations in this documentary, they should have looked at the circumstances, not only at the crime. I think mandatory minimums for adolescents aren't the right way to deal with the crimes they've committed.

Ashley / November 13, 2009 5:14 PM

Totaly absurd, what a waste. The woman who lost her son cannot see beyond forgivness it is not in her vocabulary..... my two cents.

Karen / November 13, 2009 9:11 PM

America, a country that has a 'health care system' that neither cares or is healthy. It is literally disease management and drug distribution, so is it any wonder that we incarcerate more youth than we adopt? There is no money to be made in adopting and caring, but with private prisons and legalized prison labor, some people become rich. The best thing to be said for these poor young people that get locked up is, at least they are not in the armed forces, this country has lost it's way; white man's karma.

Kettle / November 14, 2009 8:35 AM

Tom, I think you really need to watch the documentary, "When kids get life." Two of the children in the documentary killed their parents after enduring years of physical and emotional abuse. In one instance, the child's abuse was known by the local DHS, and nothing was done about it. In the absence of help from authorities or responsible adults, an abused child (or person under 18) literally has no way to protect him or herself. An abused adult can always leave the situation, but a young child absolutely cannot without help from an adult. In many states, women who are abused by their partners and then go on to kill their partners can use the battered woman defense. In no state is there a battered child defense. This fact alone is completely outrageous, but what is more disturbing is that a battered child, with no other means of escape who kills his or her parents, can go to jail for life.

No other country in the industrialized world puts individuals under 18 in prison for life, and no other country on earth has as many incarcerated individuals as the United States (not even China!). And we are certainly not a safer country for these laws. Look at low crime rates in countries like Germany where a life sentence is equivalent to 25 years in prison (not until an incarcerated individual dies).

Caroline / November 14, 2009 12:06 PM

What do you expect when a parent can not discipline their own children when the system cries child abuse, its a free for all. Kids are using the system against their parents. I believe if they will not abide by the rules they should face the consequences.

Tim / November 14, 2009 12:13 PM

the question is A) is society only getting even with the criminal, B) passing these long sentences to protect ourself so it is't rebeated by the same person,or is it to deter others. the later two can be examined and we should probably know how effective they are without much contraversy. however first one seems moral question to me, and what qualifys as harsh punishment will be debted forever. i think the penalty should fit the crime. if one regardless of age knows how to take a life he should know his can be taken as well. stop the ps.

Hanad/@seattle / November 15, 2009 2:02 AM

Some of these kids are real monsters and should not be released upon society.

Until we can enforce real reforms in the prison system where inmates receive daily, hours and hours of mental health therapy or brainwashing to make them gentle only then can we look at releasing them.

TeriTenn / November 15, 2009 1:38 PM

this woman's kid was buying a gun so her kid was also doing something wrong
I other cultures people are a lot more forgiving.
and besides it is not up to the mother of the victim.
This kid would have been freed if it weren't for the stupid laws in the US.

King / November 15, 2009 11:03 PM

I believe that the rules on sentencing should be different for Juveniles and that death or life sentences are inappropriate with or without parole.
Th reason is simple if you have to be 18 to decide to be in the military and offer your life potentially in its service, you are saying that this government QED the law and constitution says you are not mature enough to do that unless 18 years old
Too simplistic, I think not.
Regards,
Hodgson.

J.V.Hodgson / November 16, 2009 12:10 AM

Its so strange to read you people, discussing the nuances of level of maturity in using a small killing machine, education in using small killing machines, responsibility in using small killing machines, forgiveness after having used a killing machine. Are you collectively insane??.

There are very few situation in life where the answer is simple, here its almost mathematic, LESS GUNS equals LESS KILLING. To help you understand, if atomic bombs were available rather than guns, you would probably have atomic explosions every day in your country. Would you still see it as a problem of education or maturity or of forgiveness after the fact for Trevor Jones??. No, you would finally see the point.

Thousands would not have to die if you had any collective guts, Its proven, demonstrated, establish behond all reasonnable doubts, LESS GUNS equals LESS KILLING. But you Americans do not have the courage to live without the cowardly feeling of power guns give you and kids and lives are sacrificed because of your fears of each others.

Keep your guns out of my country (Canada)

Francois-Xavier

francois-X Demers / November 16, 2009 12:30 PM

What I find interesting in this particular case is that the woman's son was/thought he was purchasing a gun. She has no forgiveness for the incarcerated young man and yet her son was perhaps steps from being in his place.

There is great disparity in sentencing in this country. While I wholly support incarceration of those committing crimes, perhaps individual cases should be more closely evaluated for mitigating circumstances.

Cortney / November 16, 2009 4:22 PM

Seems to me the question is: What value will be brought by the punishment metted out, and what other choices might serve the situation? It's all well and good to go for the 'revenge' factor, but too often, in the long run, only we delivering the punishment get the 'value' and it's not a positive one. At the same time we need to face the fact that there is not a 'perfect' solution. So we need to do the best we can and realize that there will be some failures.

RiverRat37 / November 16, 2009 6:40 PM

What about the kids from Dunbar Village who brutally raped, beat, sodomized, and poured chemicals on a woman and her son? Her son was forced by the attackers to have sex with his mother. Should these juveniles be spared life in prison? Are children who beat, raped, and viciously attacked another human being ever hope to be rehabilitated?

Jason / November 16, 2009 8:06 PM

When Republicans rul, the law becomes punitive. When the Democrats rule, it becomes less punitive but not wholly redemptive and rehabilitative.

We have to decide wheter we want a just society or the status quo. Do the thieves who caused the crash last year and are now reaping BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars as "bonuses" deserve life in prison as Madoff? What is the greater crime against society-juvenile miscreance or adult conspiracy, collusion and theft by 'law?' After all, it's not against the law to package 'toxic' loans and sell them to speculators. Nor is it against the law to award ones self a multi-million dollar bonus after taking taxpayer dollars to keep your company afloat.

Herb / November 16, 2009 8:53 PM

The human brain is not even done developing until late adolescence/early adulthood, we are talking early 20's...this is the prefrontal cortex that has to do with thinking, decision making, impulse control, and planning....yet we treat them completely as if they have adult cognitive abilities.
America is a very ironic country: those who proclaim to be Christian and site the bible tend to be the most judgemental, least forgiving,concern themselves least with the poor, and support capital punishment, against health care reform, and worried about only their own self-interests...exact opposite of how Jesus lived. I am Christian but I strive to live it in my values, my vote and my daily actions.

stephanie / November 16, 2009 10:53 PM

Francois-Xavier, not to worry. We wouldn't think of sending our guns to Canada. We need them here.

The problem is not guns- it's the evil hearts of those who use guns for evil purposes. When I was growing up in the 1950s and '60s, guns were much more easily available. There were very few restrictions on purchasing a gun compared to what we have today, and the horrific mass-killings that are common today were unheard of. As a teenager in a Los Angeles suburb, I used to carry a very realistic-looking BB rifle around the neighborhood, and no one paid it any mind, as long as I didn't shoot at their windows! Today if a teenager did that, the SWAT team would shortly be summoned. High schools used to have competitive rifle teams, and the kids did not turn their weapons on each other. Today, under the mindless, fear-driven "zero tolerance" policies, a student will be expelled for bringing a plastic water pistol onto the school grounds.

So, let me ask you- what has changed in our society since the days of my youth? Could it be the graphic and gory glorification of killing and violence promoted on TV and in the movies? Could it be the cheapening of life promoted by the wholesale slaughter of countless millions of the smallest and most helpless of humans who never get to see the light of day? Could it be the rejection of traditional values of decency and morality in favor of a "do whatever feels right to you" philosophy? What if killing other humans "feels right" to me? Isn't that OK? Ideas have consequences, and the chickens are coming home to roost.

Britain banned the ownership of guns; now they're banning knives because of the escalating wave of violence that erupted once people were deprived of the most effective tool available for personal defense and the criminals ran amok. Not only has the British government turned their subjects into defenseless sheep, if one of the sheep DOES have the audacity to injure a criminal in self-defense, he will probably be charged and thrown into prison, while the criminal walks free and files a lawsuit for damages against his victim! How crazy is that?

As the Scripture says, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools".

Mark / November 17, 2009 1:55 AM

There should be a "maturity test" developed to be able to determine if a juvenile has matured enough in regard to intention/premeditation when committing a crime. I was an english teacher at a middle school for a year and I know how some (most, depending on the culture and societal strata) 14 and 15 year old kids mature a lot faster than then peers. Only by determining the level of maturity on a case-by-case basis, would it be possible to liken a juvenile's mindset to that of a vicious criminal, whose criminal acts are made most reprehensible because of malice aforethought or criminal intent or what have you, concepts that which can only be produced by a mature enough mind. At any rate, life without parole is the most cruel solution one could come up with. Living in a cage with only one hour of sunlight is worst than capital punishment. Technology nowadays would provide total oversight over a convicted criminal (theoretically speaking of course, we know how many "criminals" are actually innocent but wrongly railroaded into the C.J system) aiming toward a total rehabilitation of the individual. Emphasis should be rehabilitation rather than incarceration, for death is better than the latter.

edmondd / November 17, 2009 5:44 PM

It's very sad what happens to young people that end up in the system. Draconian laws and punishment do not work. All this ends up doing is making people better at committing crimes by learning from others behind bars. Thirty years of failure in our system and the question is...when will it change. Disparity is also another grave issue needing to be addressed. If no one listens to our kids, then tradegy occurs. Just take a look at adults within our correctional facilities and most end up going back. Most in society don't realize that a great percentage return for minor violations of probation and parole. Let's rethink this America! Can anyone grasp the concept that some do change and the invisible punish they endure when they return to our communities? Their coming back one way or another eventually. Let's put our money where our mouths are at instead of complaining and help change recidivism rates. What the system did was throw away these young people forever. The laws sometimes end up creating more harm than good. Accountability on everyone's actions and behavior is what is appropriate. Too much money goes into prisons. When it's more than what's poured into education in our country that's a serious problem.

Cheryl Tillet / November 22, 2009 11:05 AM

What is missing in this discussion is the responsibility of the parents when their children commit such crimes. All too many parents today are not willing to "finish the job" when their previously sweet little darlings enter into their tween and teen years.

It's truly shocking when their precious kids transform into impulsive, peer-presssured, foul-mouthed, secretive, disobedient, self-absorbed adolescents whose main mission is to separate themselves from all forms of authority including their parents. I know...I am "finishing my own job" of parenting my now 21 year old daughter who attempted to break every household rule, short-change her education, elope from our home, hang out with thugs who dealt and used drugs, alcohol, with violence, and screamed that she hated me on a regular basis. You get the picture.

We saved our daughter by meeting each and every effort she made to thwart our authority by restricting her non-school activities, sitting next to her in each class she cut, and called the police to report her missing each time she didn't come home. I drove by those places she claimed to be at and showed up on her high school campus to check with her teachers and principal when her grades slipped. She didn't get any money she did not earn, did not drive a car unless she contributed to insurance and gas and then promptly took the keys away when she got any infraction with both the rules of the road and those of our household. No cell phone, no internet, no new clothes, no ANYTHING unless she earned it. When her time to graduate high school neared, her belongings were put into plastic bins in the garage and was told that they would placed on the driveway if she failed enroll and attend a full load of college classes on the first day and thereafter.

My husband and I met her insults, screams of fury, and defiance with "we love you too much to see you fail and we won't fail you in the process." However, these past 6 years have been pure hell. This experience left us feeling exhausted, heartbroken, and mentally deflated. Our marriage remains intact because we both were united and dedicated to the task at hand. The good news: we were able to get our "Titanic" daughter to turn and miss the iceberg of disaster.

Extreme circumstances must be met with extreme measures. If parents are held truly responsible for the actions of their dependent kids then they should sit in jail with them, pay the fines and restitutions and fully participate in their kid's rehabilitation. The easy way out is to put the kid in jail and throw away the key rather than rehabilitate both parent and child to restore the family unit.

Money from incarceration would be better spent on restoring fractured, disfunctional, and broken families that focuses on empowering parents and counciling their troubled children. Mental health services are essential here.

Lauren / November 23, 2009 1:07 AM

Life-term without parole is worse than capital punishment including death by injection, electric chair, by firing squad or hanging as it
extinguishes hope and kills the soul.

The legislators who create such laws must weigh the consequences of making such laws. Would they
send their own son or daughter to prison without possibility of parole?

They say guns dont kill - people do. Who is responsible kids who kill? Parents? Schools?
Neighbourhood? All are equally culpable.

There should never be a law that closes all hopes of reprieve, except for the rarest of the rare cases such as serial killings, mass killing through terrorism or similar.

Louis D'Mello / November 24, 2009 2:26 AM

I didn't read all of the comments as they were getting away from the main question.
You can't generalize. You have to go case by case. I don't care how stupid some people may think teens are. I remember my teens. I got nervous speeding in a car. I would never think of scamming/robbing somebody, especially carrying a gun that I think I might need. That's just the way I was raised. There were always those bad kids in high school. Some you knew carried drugs in their cars, who knows what else. There is always a bad part of town. It's all environment. It's a person's personal view on how their world works. What makes you think that a teen that commits armed robbery before he graduates is going to be intelligent and reasonable after he gets out of high school and is truly in charge of himself? Stop putting a line at 18 years old. Everyone's childhood still affects their thought process as an adult. If I vandalized someone's house as a kid, either myself or my parent's would have paid for it one way or another. They are not going to put me in therapy for it. They are going to punish me to change my thought process.
Save the debate about whether or not we should have the death penalty or life as punishment for another time. The real debate is if we should punish some of these "kids" like "adults". Yes. Let the court decide.
Lastly, for those who said taking away all the guns will solve the problem needs to look at the drug problem in this country. I don't own a gun, yet. I will in the future. I am in the Army and love long range target shooting. I will never use them for anything else. Criminals will still get a hold of weapons: guns or otherwise. Taking away the gun is just dancing around the root problem. Education and environment is the key.

David DeHaan / November 24, 2009 12:27 PM

It is a very sad affair all around. However, why was Matt buying the gun? What were his plans? No Trevor shouldn't spend his life in jail, and Matt's mother should learn the lesson of forgiveness. I think that Trevor has learned his lesson and he needs to make serious retribution to the Foley family, jail is not retribution, it is there to protect the rest of us from dangerous criminals, that doesn't seem to be what Trevor is. I don't see him as a repeat offender.

jaye / November 25, 2009 3:24 AM

This is a disgusting waste of time and money. Are we as a society any safer because we are ware housing children at considerable cost.
Matt's mom is in pain, but she is also kind of hateful.

Her son was buying a gun, for what? She could very easily been in a much different position.

Mimi / November 25, 2009 2:53 PM

The size of the US prison population is America's shame. The nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the world has lost the right to call itself "the land of the free".

This program addresses a tragic scenario, and I do not believe any person under 18 should forfeit the rest of their life behind bars; but what really fuels the insanity of the American criminal justice system is the failed and destructive policies of the War on Drugs.

Since our politicians have refused to show the courage to honestly address this issue, it is time that ordinary citizens resorted to the oldest form of American protest, that of jury annulment. If you are called to serve on any State or Federal jury in a drugs case, so long as the crime does NOT involve violence, it is your duty to vote for aquittal, until such time as our Representatives gain the courage to and the horrors of prohibition, and its associated gang violence.

Adam Wallace / November 26, 2009 3:19 AM

How was Trevor able to secure a gun?
Why did Matt want to buy it?
What was their upbringing like that one parent had a child with a gun, and another parent had a child that wanted one?
In most cases of child crime, I am certain it can be shown that there was a failure of good, strong parenting. Easy? No. Necessary? Yes. Unfortunately, American seems to be a place where getting pregnant is inconsequential, and out-of-wedlock is not only acceptable, but often glorified. Our family ideal is broken, yet most Christians are concerned only with homosexuality and abortion. Should we not be more concerned with an enviornment whereby families are stable and flourish? Would that not go a long way to reducing incidences of child crime?

Richard Herring / November 27, 2009 1:40 PM

America's laws are too severe and are always based on a comparison of "soft" vs "hard" policies. The real issue is what is "effective" versus "non effective".

Incarceration alone, not only does not deter crimes from happening in the first place, it does nothing to prevent re-,offending. The threat of the death penalty, does nothing to deter people from committing capital offences, and in some cases motivates people to kill their victim.

It's time to get smart about crime prevention, both before it happens and after it happens. There is loads of good research from Canada about risk factors for crime and how to prevent re-offending.The UK,NZ and Australia have adopted this model with great success.This is done on an individual risk assessment for each offender, targeting what needs to be done to prevent reoffending,from high, medium and low risk.

Why doesn't Frontline do a comparison of this model of managing offenders to the American model.

P

Forensic / November 27, 2009 10:12 PM

The whole problem with this is the lack of common sense in the American people these days. The term "Cleansing the gene pool" needs to be used more often.

That kid knew right from wrong and he choosed wrong. His wrong actions killed an innocent kid.

Screw life sentances, off them right after the verdict. People respond to shock and awe, its time for some.

Shane / November 28, 2009 6:09 AM

Can this country do ANYTHING right?

yoda / December 1, 2009 3:51 PM

It really does happen too much, but not just here! Please stop bashing our country people. Take a good look at things. The state is responsible for this young mans' sentencing. Every state handles things differently. Pointing a loaded weapon at anyone over 100.00$ is crazy! I feel sympathy for him and next to Colorado.....his parents should be looked at first they could have kept this from happening. HIND SIGHT isn't going to help us here. We should all stop acting angry at our country and at eachother our children are watching every thing we do and listening to everything we say! Hate breeds hate. We need to be good parents and people and lead by example so our youth may have a chance at a less violent future.

JMH / December 2, 2009 12:40 AM

To lock a child, a teenager, in a cell forever, is completely insane and utterly incomprehensible. Maybe we would all like to believe that life is black and white when in fact, many shades of grey exist. The individual, their background, and current emotional status MUST be taken into account before blatantly throwing them into a cell for life and throwing away the key. What happened to redemption, forgiveness, compassion, some understanding??? Is murder wrong, YES! Can we understand why it happens, YES! Should some people be sentenced for life with no parole, YES! But in order to judge who this should apply to, we must first find out the reason why the murder took place. There is NO ONE that lives that has not needed or wanted a second chance for some reason whether it be life threatening or not. Teenagers in prison for committing murder for "x" amount of time while being rehabilitated is completely understandable and needed. But for LIFE with NO parole...NO! Lastly, in the case of Nathan Ybanez, the abuse he was foreced to endure was tragic and was the catalyst that led to him murdering his own mother. Any sane, logical person can see this. And Eric Jensen was guilty of watching and helping to get rid of evidence. But to be convicted to a LIFE in prison with no parole is bogus, absolutely ridiculous. It is a horror and unforgiveable for Colorado to do this to him. He has served almost 10 years as of now. He deserves to be released. What a waste of a human life and taxpayer's money. This is a tragedy in of itself.

Valeria / December 2, 2009 12:37 PM

If it was not a mistake, then life it is. It is sad to say but, I could never tell that murdered boy's mother he deserves to be let out of jail. But, if it was not intended to murder then ten years is more than enough. This is not about money. This is sad and tragic. Not everyone can be saved and I am sure Trevor is sorry and greatly remorseful but, he needs to spend the rest of his natural life in jail.

martin mcnulty / December 2, 2009 6:37 PM

I feel that the ones that came from HORRIFIC home enviroments such as incest, child rapes, parents gave them drugs to take at a young age or abusive foster parents. "NO" they should not be given life the parents of these children should be prosecuted for the crime because they created these monsters. When are the parents held accountable?

myshel / December 6, 2009 1:26 PM

I did not have the courage to read all of the above comments. I can only say that my son, at age 14, was shot nine times with a 22 rifle. He and a 13 year old friend were shot and killed by a 15 year old friend while staying overnight, unsupervised, at the 15 year old's house, whose father was not at home at the time. Apparently, the three had drunk some beer from the father's fridge. There was never an explanation as to what really happened because the fifteen year old was declared too young for an open trial. The teenaged killer was soon released due to his age. All I know is what I read in the newspaper, and that I buried my only son. I hope I never meet up with his killer whom, as far as I know, is still still free and alive. He should be in prison for life.

F. Garman / December 7, 2009 11:17 PM

I am disheartened that there only seem to be comments from non-Americans about the overarching issue of guns in our society. I have to agree with the man from Canada. We foster a very violent culture in our country. I agree with the assessment that if we didn't have guns, that there would naturally be less instances of crime and accidents related to guns. I believe that we Americans are violent because of the stuff that we allow ourselves to be exposed to in so many of our medias.

It's the GIGO theory, garbage-in-garbage-out. On a daily basis, we can view other human beings, or creatures or even animals being destroyed in a violent fashion. All we have to do is turn on our TVs or go to a movie or open our email or look on the internet. So we are desensitized to these horrible things much more than people from cultures that do not promote so much violence. But Hey, It Sells! So let's protect our holy free-market and let our children grow up with this violent garbage going into their heads. How about all of us asking TV & movie producers to stop making shows that show one person killing another person? We can ask them by simply refusing to watch anything with that sort of content. They'll get the message when it stops selling.

I read a lot of great stuff from people in the previous comments who see the deficiencies in our legal processes.

AND, BY THE WAY, HAVING A DISCUSSION ABOUT OUR PROBLEMS IS NOT BASHING OUR COUNTRY! IT IS, IN FACT, BEHAVING IN THE FASHION THAT THE FOUNDERS OF OUR NATION HOPED WE WOULD.

JOHN from Salt Lake / December 8, 2009 4:35 PM

PEGGY (November 9, 2009 @ 11:53 p.m.) is correct when she wrote "... the adolescent mind is not fully developed." In fact, functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have revealed that the typical adolescent's brain is qualitatively different from the adults's. Specifically, the limbic system (dealing with emotions) and prefrontal cortex (involved in planning and cognitive control) continue to develop well into the early 20s of adulthood. (AUTHORITY: Steinberg, L. (2005). "Cognitive and Affective Development in Adolescence." Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 69-74; Steinberg, L. (2007). "Risk Taking in Adolescence: New Perspectives from Brain an Behavioral Science." Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 55-59.)

KEVIN JAY LONG, B.S.
MEDICOLEGAL RESEARCH COMPANY
Medicolegal1 Juno com

KEVIN JAY LONG, B.S. / February 14, 2010 5:38 PM

As a retired Probation Officer with thirty-one
years of experience, I can attest to the fact that
juveniles just don't seem to think things out before engaging in anti social behavior. They don't seem to relate to cause and effect: the
ramifications of their actions aren't considered.
To them it seems that life is like a movie where it's bang bang you're dead and now lets go to the next scene.Their impulsive tendencies tend to make them dangerous and unpredictable, ripe to follow others into the commission of unthinkable acts. I'm not trying to excuse their behavior, but merely express my observations.As to sentencing a juvenile to life without the hope of parole, one must consider that the pain inflicted upon the victim's family doesn't necessarily diminish with time, however, some people can change and do deserve a second chance at life.

Harry J. / May 18, 2010 1:33 PM

We have people in this country who do not believe in a trial by jury. They think that they and only they can decide the penalty for a crime, by mandating a sentence. Our forefathers set up a jury system because not every situation calls for the same outcome. We need to trust juries to make the right decision.

Mayme Trumble / May 18, 2010 4:19 PM

Doesn't Matt Foley carry some blame also? The brief said he was going to buy the gun for $100. If that is true, then he is partially responsible for behavior that lead to his death.

Melody Springer / May 18, 2010 5:05 PM

The mother is just wrong! The cousin who was with Matt testified that it was an accident (and no one will argue it wasn't a reckless accident with little regard for life), but it was not cold blooded murder.

She will now have to answer to her maker, and it won't be pretty!

Jackie / May 18, 2010 6:39 PM

There is no punishment sufficient to right the wrong done to victims of violent crime, and for that I am truly sorry. But the bottom line is that the law is not about justice or retribution; it's about building the society we WANT to live in. If we continue imprisoning juveniles with the same fervor we do adults, it will soon be a society not worth living in. Until we invest our money and time in the services that PREVENT juveniles and adults from turning to crime (education, medical and social services) we as a country are in for a brutal awakening.

C.A. / May 18, 2010 9:45 PM

I think it is a sad day to see someone so young "lose their life" to incarceration. However, I also believe that teenagers have the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. Perhaps responsibility lies in part with parents and society as a whole. We do not teach our children the principle "if you take someone's life, it is your life in exchange" as clearly as we ought. I believe in grace and forgiveness, but I also believe that without justice their is anarchy. A man or woman who commits a crime should take responsibility for his or her actions and the results of those actions. There are many mistakes that are made in foolishness that affect both a perpetrator and a victim. Foolish decisions are still decisions - Each person makes a choice to act in one way or another. Should we excuse foolish choices that lead to injury or death of another person? If this was the case, no drunk driver should be held responsible for their "foolish" although perhaps not "malicious" actions. Education is essential and parents must take the time to teach their kids as much or more as they expect them to learn in society.

Anonymous / May 18, 2010 10:46 PM

Isn't it sad that the US is the ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to put children, under 18, in prison for life. I think its around 2,800 currently serving life in prison for crimes committed under the age of 18. I see this as a human rights violation

steve / May 19, 2010 7:50 PM

I also vote that the punishment is far too draconian. I don’t want to pay room and board for people I’m not scared of. We need to be clear about whether the purpose of the justice system is to protect society so we can get on with our lives or to serve an eye for an eye. Retribution, indeed justice, does not heal the victim, and we’ve all been hurt. A couple observations I would like to make.

1) We have 7 times as many people incarcerated per capita as they do in most of Europe. It’s incredibly expensive, and the UK isn’t any less safe than the US.

2) 20% of those in jail are there for marijuana. Let them earn their own room and board. Half are there for some drug related offense. I’m in principle against laws which affect what you do to yourself. You should only be chargeable as a criminal for what you do to someone else. If you commit a crime under the influence of drugs, like drunk driving, I believe in harder penalties as a deterrent.

3) Many people here have pointed out the lack of attention to mitigating circumstances. This is a direct result of the fact that legislatures increasingly impose mandatory penalties. They do this in an effort to impose the same sentence for stealing a TV in Omaha as in Boston. But we pay a very steep price for this equity, because it breaks down the separation of powers (between legislative and judicial). The system of justice that has evolved over millennia involves a judge who looks you personally in the eye, who assesses the whole situation, who is preferably local to the community. Sentencing guidelines tend the whole system toward the impersonal, the Gulag. (“You stole a 2002 Volvo. According to line 104, page 713, that’s a fine of $70,000 and 1 year in prison. Yes, he’s a jerk and we all believe he molested molested your daughter, but she can’t prove it, and besides, she’s 19. So sorry. Irrelevant. Next.”) The judicial must be local and personal. Judges must have power to feel into the whole situation.

4) I agree it’s not about guns. The 2nd Amendment is important.

Just Me / May 20, 2010 6:38 PM

No doubt the lives of Matthew's family, especially his mother, are forever changed. Saying she is deeply hurt and in incredible emotional pain probably don't come close to how she may feel about this devastating loss. I do think though that Matthew's mother brings even more hurt on herself by her position towards Trevor. If she begins for herself a process to forgive - whatever forgiveness may mean - I think she will have less angst and feel less pain in her life. Forgiving isn't intened to absolve Trevor or what he did. It simply brings about healing to those who seek it.

Rich / May 20, 2010 11:46 PM

It breaks my heart that children under 18 are sentenced for life of murder.You cannot bring the the victim back but sentencing the murderer because of accident for life is inhumane.I cannot even think of loosing my son or daughter,but letting the killer suffer for life in jail will not bring justice or your child back.It is ruthless to send a child for life in prison is worse then torturing.
Is everyone a monster in this country.?Society hates
felons no matter what.Children should not serve for life that is the true justice to me.Everyone makes mistakes no one is perfect.I believe what goes around comes around the murderer will get in life the crime they commit,but sending them in jail will not bring mercy.Everyone should have second chance.
God will decide who will suffer on earth or in hell it is not up to human's.Murderer's will never go to heaven until victim's parent's forgive that is what Islam says.So, do not punish the the children twice or for life.God does not want children to suffer for life of crime because they are kids.It is the parents responsibility to teach children not commit crime such as murder.
I tell my kids every single day if you do crime you will be punished all your life in jail or in society.To a victims mother I feel her pain nothing is worse then loosing a child.God bless her son rest in piece.Love,caring citizen for all human kind.

Hatice Kursat / May 21, 2010 10:47 AM

Interesting interview of both families that were affected and will continue to be affected by the murder that took place. Both families have suffered a loss.Both males involved experienced death, if in fact death means cessation of life as we know it. Both families continue to mourn for different reasons but they do continue to mourn. I am not writing to speak of who is right or wrong in this instance. What I do know though is the woman who physically lost her son can never get him again can she? The one whose son is in prison can yet talk with him, facilitate schooling for him, provide opportunities for him to reconcile himself to God. I think he has a great advantage. He has TIME. His family has TIME with him. They must learn how to maximize that TIME. PERHAPS THE YOUNG MAN IN PRISON CAN BECOME AN AUTHOR THAT HELP OTHER YOUNG MEN OR WOMEN TO NOT END UP WHERE HE HAS ENDED UP. THAT WOULD BE POWERFUL WOULDN'T IT? It might even be effective.

Clarice Bridgewater / May 23, 2010 12:48 PM

Our laws are supposed to be based on what is reasonable. First, it is not reasonable to think we have anywhere near enough information to accurately comment on this case. That said, I find it interesting how passionate and confident some people seem to be about where they stand on what is undoubtedly a much more complicated case.
I will therefore take the few given facts of the case at face value, but there are one or two points that I need to speculate on with the realization that I could be wrong. That being said, here's how I see it: A 17 year-old was selling a gun to a classmate. So far, Trevor is illegally selling a gun and the classmate is illegally buying a gun. The scam was presumably that Trevor had no intention of handing over the gun once he'd received his money. It appears the 'rub' lies in the fact that he admitted this, as opposed to saying that he would have handed the gun over once he got his money, in which case the charge would have been illegal sale and/or possession of a firearm instead of armed robbery. Whether or not he would have handed the gun over seems a minor point considering the tragic outcome, but it appears he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole because of this seemingly minor detail. After all, the jury declared that Trevor had no intention of shooting anyone. So, because, " I was not going to hand the gun over once I got the $100" was interpreted as, " armed robbery", Trevor is locked up until he dies. That is not reasonable. As I said before, our laws are supposed to be based on what is reasonable. Every case is different and should be interpreted and treated as such. Furthermore, I will repeat this because I think it's important: " the jury determined that Trevor had no intention of shooting anyone." It is not reasonable to lock ANYONE up for the remainder of their life without the possibility of parole if they were found to lack an essential element of a crime... INTENT.

Dave Zolla / May 24, 2010 7:49 PM

I am still at a loss to understand how we can try juveniles as adults. There was a reason that we as a nation, along with many other countries, created a juvenile justice system. We don't allow juveniles to vote, drink, enter into contracts, serve in the military, etc. because they are children. Why, when they commit a crime are they suddenly adults? Just because they may look adult does not make them adults emotionally.
I am personally very worried about the way our "justice" system seems to have turned into revenge. Of course people who commit crimes should be punished, but the punishment should fit the crime and additionally one would think that we would want criminals to be rehabilitated so that they can become valuable members of society and do not continue to commit crimes after their release. What good does it do when we are almost certain that they will be released as worse criminals than when they were incarcerated? The fact that approx. 1% (and increasing) of the U.S. population is behind bars is also very disturbing. Building more prisons cannot be the answer, especially when many are being outsourced (what possible incentive could a private company have to rehabilitate criminals when it impacts their bottom line, especially if they are not incarcerated again?). It's treating the symptom instead of the disease.

Pam / May 25, 2010 5:55 PM

@Tom with experience

Are you suggesting that a person who kills someone (whether intentionally or accidently) be given the death penalty. You said "all of the felons here lined up for life would have been justly eligible for the death penalty." Basically, someone found guilty for manslaughter (accidental death) should be elligible for the death penalty? How backwards are you? Oh wait, you must live somewhere out in bum f___ US with the other nuts

Right Wing Nut / May 26, 2010 3:17 AM

Earthellism, the new philosophy based on the science of astrobiology, can provide answers to all questions. Life in prison without parole is a true journey through hell. Earthellism tells us that hell is located on the surface of earth and high-security prisons are hell on earth. We get confused to think that hell cannot have a beautiful sunny day or 1 hour of recess,therefore does the crime deserve hell on earth then death.
Those who show no remorse for the murder they are responsible for or act as atheistic human devils may deserve this journey in hell to protect us. Clearly murder that was not first degree or not a capital offense should be reviewed to see if this person is a atheistic human devil and if not consider some type of a second chance or parole.

Darshan Tolat MD / May 28, 2010 11:27 AM

In this country of ours it should not have to come to this, sending our children to prison and treating them as adults since they are not adults. The problem we have as a nation sending so many of our young people away to prison is a reflection of the social, cultural, moral, ethical and spiritual decline of this nation and its people and the kind ofinfluences that created these young people to go down the wrong path. The violent and abusive society these young people grow up in and the destructive influences and poor adult role models they encounter in their lives and the abuse many of them encounter at the hands of those who suppose to love them and the lack of caring and supportive adults in their young lives, no wounder these young people go down the wrong path of life. If they have mental illness they do not always receive the kind of treatment they deserve. When our country does not place a high priority on our young people and their wellbeing we will have problems such as these.

Michael Ziemlak / May 29, 2010 7:05 PM

Trevor took a life. The young man he killed was never able to experience his life. The young man's parents and family have been scared forever - and can never recover their loss.

Therefore, it is fitting that Trevor remain in prison until they carry him out in a box. He gave up his right to freedom when he killed.

Let him rot in prison. This is about justice, not mercy. He can ask for mercy from his God.

Fred Gray / May 31, 2010 12:20 AM

This situation is very sad for all of those involved. There was not a life lost that day, there were many more. The young man who died lost his life as did any future children he may have had. His family lost a piece of their lives also. Trevor lost his chance at a life as well as his future family and current family.
Yes the punishment needs to be severe, he was 17, he took a life, and at 17 he is old enough to know right from wrong. Can he ever change? Of course he can, if he TRUELY found God. What a terrible tragedy for all of those involved.
I'm not so sure that life without parole is the right answer, although I will admit if it were my son he killed I would probably feel different.
As for the mother of the child who was shot, wow! That is some real bitterness. You will never find peace in regards to this situation until you find forgiveness. Remember the measure you use to judge others is the same measure that will be used to judge you. How can you ask our Heavenly Father to forgive your sins if you don't have forgiveness in you?

C Hammond / June 1, 2010 2:18 PM

Look, it's not like he was 9--he knew damn well GUNS CAN KILL PEOPLE. However, because he's not a working class urban youth people feel sorry for him; this type of thing happens in urban ghettos very often, yet if that's the case people want these case to be tried as adults.

Just like in Rancho Bernanrdo where those young men shott pellets at an old man WHO DID HAVE A GREEN CARD!

Andreas Aescher / June 1, 2010 2:45 PM

Reading all those comment I do feel amazed. Those, who mention the God, seem to be the most unforgiving. Their comments do not tell me anything about their God, but they do tell me volumes about those who wrote them. And by the way, why are those God-seekers also supporting the 2nd Amendment? Did Christ carry a gun? So why should the believers carry the guns, or support carrying the guns? Something is terribly rotten here. Why do not you see the contradiction?

As for the particular case, there are no easy answers. But the point made by Dave Zolla on May 24, 2010 is very disturbing. The offender was not sentenced on what he did, but on a legal detail. This is the American legal system in its full glory. Abominable.

Wojtek / June 2, 2010 10:28 PM

I would like to provide another view from Canada.

If locking people up resulted in less murders, then the US would be one of the safest places on the planet.

The murder rate in the US is 3 times the rate in Canada. Some major US cities have murder rates that are comparable to the worst places on the planet.

The incredible number of guns in the US leads to more murders. In Canada 1 in 3 murders are committed by a gun. In the US it is 2 in 3. Many more murders and many more murders by guns.

In Canada, our hardcore murderers get 25 years without parole. After 25 years they can request release but the very worst do not get released.

Our laws would give the offender in this story some reason to rehabilitate himself.

My guess is that, in Canada the offender in this story might have received about 6 to 12 years. The judge would have had a fair bit of room to base it on the situation.

If Canada's laws seem foolish, then why does it lead to a murder rate 1/3 that of the U.S.?

Len / June 4, 2010 6:27 PM

In Canada youth are protected by the young offenders act. In the case of murder a third of the sentence is spent in prison, a third in a psychiatric hospital and a third in the community. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. There is a staggering number of people incarcerated on drug charges. http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php

Michelle Danda / June 5, 2010 12:35 AM

I cannot see any justification for treating Minors exactly the same as adults legally. If we do not allow then to vote or smoke or drink legally until x years old we are saying they are insufficiently mature to make what are much less third party damaging judgments.
Having said that over 16/18 at the time of a crime and 12 or under another.
In this case it has everything to do with Guns.
How this kid came by the gun is relevant and how the law ( plus his family) allows him to do so is critical. The US has to view the constitutional gun laws in the light of what the founding fathers knew and restrict guns for personal use to six shooters or single shot rifles, and the type of ammunition reasonable today not steel jacketed or huge calibre bullets M16's and AK 47's etc were not invented or dreamed of, and it talks about a "regulated Militia."
This boy should not be in prison for life without parole. If correct then it just proves the law or sentencing guidelines are an ASS as usual.
If America and Americans have not got the message that proportionately the 2nd amendment leads to more crimes and death involving guns ( especially involving minors) than anywhere else in the world (not at war) Then god protect you from some on the run criminal who shoots first at the police officer, misses, and kills you or the raging lunatics who go on death sprees more frequently in America than anywhere else. You can have your 2nd amendment literally; and in context. The NRA is simply a business run PAC
Regards,
Hodgson.

J.V.Hodgson / June 8, 2010 2:56 AM
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