This is a very interesting article related to the criminal defense world, but also to humanity. We limit the age for driving, drinking, making life decisions, etc…, acknowledging that people who are under the age of majority are less capable of making reasonable decisions; but at the same time seek to punish these same young people in the same manner we punish adults.
And, I think there is a distinct difference in saying,
“At the time [of the original sentence], it was reserved for the worst of the worst”, Ricky Babin, 23rd JDC, District Attorney; and looking at the criminal history, speaking to the victims family, and heinousness of the crime itself, as was undertaken in the 19th JDC;
as opposed to,
Worrying about might happen upon release, like committing another heinous crime, without any reasonable examination of factors leading to that assumption, as were the comments of Tony Clayton, assistant district attorney in the 18th JDC.
The second of those two is nonsense, as we cannot guess what a person might do later and keep them in jail forever to avoid that possible behavior. If this were the standard, without reasonable consideration, every person ever put in the jail would remain there forever.
Legislatures and Courts, even in Louisiana, have recognized there is a difference when defendant are juveniles, the US Supreme Court has said that life sentences must only be used in the most extraordinary circumstances. I hope that all of the district attorneys moving to keep these people in jail are doing so with those considerations in mind. We must operate the criminal justice system in a manner consistent with our values as Americans.