Should adults be punished for what they did as teens? | The Tylt

Should adults be punished for what they did as teens?

Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor from California, has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a house party when they were high school students. Many of Kavanaugh's supporters are saying even if the allegations are true, he should not be punished for actions committed as a minor. But conservative judges across the country, including former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia, routinely sentence thousands of people to long prison terms for crimes committed in their youth. What do you think?

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Should adults be punished for what they did as teens?
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Should adults be punished for what they did as teens?
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Conservative members of the Judiciary Committee were quick to come to the judge's aid. Sen. Orrin Hatch argued that even if the judge had assaulted a girl when he was a high schooler, those actions had no bearing on who he was as a person now. 

Mistakes, even mistakes that rise to the level of crimes, should not bar a man from opportunities later in his life. 

#MoralsAlwaysMatter

However there are thousands of people across the country currently serving prison sentences that extend well beyond their natural life span for crimes they committed when they were teens. Per The Atlantic

Virginia prisoner Dennis LeBlanc, then 34 years old, asked courts to review the LWOP [life without the chance of parole] sentence he received after his conviction for rape when he was 16. Virginia countered that resentencing was unnecessary because it already had a mechanism to free him: the state’s geriatric-release program, for which LeBlanc would have to be at least 60 years old to qualify. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately rejected that argument and ordered him resentenced last year.
 ...In Willbanks v. Missouri, Timothy Willbanks challenged his sentences for kidnapping, robbery, and assault committed when he was 17 years old. He received 375 consecutive years in prison for charges related to the first two offenses, plus a life sentence for assault. Though he’d technically be eligible for parole years down the line, Willbanks argued this lengthy term amounted to an LWOP sentence, which would violate the Graham v. Florida ruling that barred such punishments for non-homicide crimes.
Not so, said the Missouri Supreme Court: The Graham ruling was aimed at LWOP sentences specifically, not aggregations of prison sentences that may result in a defendant living out the rest of his years behind bars. Plus, the court reasoned, he might be able to get out at age 85.

These boys were sentenced as men, the state claiming there was no way they would ever be suitably rehabilitated to return to public life. 

#LetKidsMakeMistakes

When the conversation is about Brett Kavanaugh, though, no amount of leniency is too much. According to Megan McArdle, a columnist for The Washington Post, boys should be forgiven for any and all crimes committed in their youth.

#MoralsAlwaysMatter

Michelle Goldberg, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, pointed out in an op-ed for The New York Times that conservatives, including President Trump, frequently punish children for crimes they have committed. 

Some conservatives — though not just conservatives — insist that it is unfair to judge a middle-aged man for things he did as a kid. On Fox News, the former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer pondered the weight of high school misbehavior. “Should that deny us chances later in life?” he asked. “Even for Supreme Court job, a presidency of the United States, or you name it?”
Such arguments would be more convincing if people on the right weren’t so selective in their indulgence. Donald Trump called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, who were 14 to 16 years old when they were arrested. (They’ve since been proven innocent.) Children are regularly put on sex offender registries, sometimes for their entire lives, for conduct less serious than what Kavanaugh is accused of. In a sour irony, some legal experts think Kavanaugh’s confirmation could imperil Miller v. Alabama, a 2012 decision banning life sentences without parole for most teenage convicts.
#LetKidsMakeMistakes

Many people have been debating the morality of refusing to allow a person to serve a life appointment on the Supreme Court—one of the highest honors and privileges available to the people of this country—because of actions in their youth.

#MoralsAlwaysMatter

The Supreme Court recently declared mandatory life sentences for juveniles constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The Washington Post explained the decision: 

The 5 to 4 ruling said such mandatory sentences offend the constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and follow a trend at the court of treating even the worst juvenile offenders differently from adults.
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the majority, said the decision was consistent with the court’s past findings that children lack maturity and have an underdeveloped sense of responsibility; that they are more vulnerable to outside pressure and that their character is less formed and more open to rehabilitation.

The conservative wing of the court, which Kavanaugh would be joining, argued against the ruling. Scalia, who's spot on the bench was filled by Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch, was incensed by the ruling. 

Scalia said that was a power play that showed the majority’s true goal of getting rid of life imprisonment for juveniles.
“In Godfather fashion, the majority makes state legislatures an offer they can’t refuse: Avoid all the utterly impossible nonsense we have prescribed by simply ‘permitting juvenile homicide offenders to be considered for parole,’ ” Scalia wrote. “Mission accomplished.”
Clearly, Scalia felt the crimes of one's youth should not be swept under the rug just because of the passage of time.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should adults be punished for what they did as teens?
#MoralsAlwaysMatter
A festive crown for the winner
#LetKidsMakeMistakes