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Prosecutors seek waiver to charge boy, 15, with murder

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--- Quote from: Dos Equis on April 22, 2021, 06:11:20 PM ---Supreme Court Rejects Restrictions On Life Without Parole For Juveniles
April 22, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court's new conservative majority made a U-turn on Thursday, ruling by a 6-3 vote, that a judge need not make a finding of "permanent incorrigibility" before sentencing a juvenile offender to life without parole.

It was the first time in almost two decades that the high court has deviated from rules establishing more leniency for juvenile offenders, even those convicted of murder.

At the center of the case was Brett Jones, now 31, who was 15 when he stabbed his grandfather to death during a fight about Jones' girlfriend. He was convicted of murder, and a judge sentenced him to life without parole.

"In such a case, a discretionary sentencing system is both constitutionally necessary and constitutionally sufficient," the court's conservative justices wrote.

Writing for the majority, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said: "As this case again demonstrates, any homicide, and particularly a homicide committed by an individual under 18, is a horrific tragedy for all involved and for all affected."

He added: "Determining the proper sentence in such a case raises profound questions of morality and social policy. The States, not the federal courts, make those broad moral and policy judgments in the first instance when enacting their sentencing laws. And state sentencing judges and juries then determine the proper sentence in individual cases in light of the facts and circumstances of the offense, and the background of the offender."

Over the past two decades, the law on juvenile sentencing has changed significantly. The Supreme Court — primed by research that shows the brains of juveniles are not fully developed, and that they are likely to lack impulse control — has issued a half dozen opinions holding that juveniles are less culpable than adults for their acts. And the court has also ruled that some of the harshest punishments for acts committed by children are unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

After striking down the death penalty for juvenile offenders, the court, in a series of decisions, limited life without parole sentences to the rarest cases — those juvenile offenders convicted of murder who are so incorrigible that there is no hope for their rehabilitation.

But all of those decisions were issued when the makeup of the court was quite different than it is now. This case was the first time the court has heard arguments in a juvenile sentencing case with three Trump appointees on the bench, including new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who replaced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Previously, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in 2018, repeatedly was the deciding vote in cases involving life sentences and other harsh punishments for juvenile offenders. But with Kennedy retired and replaced by Kavanaugh, and with Ginsburg replaced by Barrett, the court in this case indicated that it is not inclined to go the extra mile to protect juvenile offenders from the harshest punishments.

"It's like the wind was blowing one way and now it's blowing in the opposite direction," says Donald Ayer, a former prosecutor and deputy attorney general in Republican administrations. He and other former prosecutors and judges, including two former Republican U.S. Attorneys General, filed a brief siding with Jones in this case.

Jones was originally sentenced to life without parole in 2004, but when the Supreme Court ruled that those, like Jones, who committed crimes when they were minors could not be automatically sentenced to life terms, he had to be resentenced. By then, he had spent a decade in prison, had graduated from high school, and earned a record as a model prisoner.

At his resentencing hearing, the judge did consider Jones' youth at the time of the crime, but again sentenced him to life without parole. The judge did not make any finding that Jones was so incorrigible that he had no hope of rehabilitation.

Jones' lawyer appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that consideration of a defendant's youth is not enough and that Jones, now in his 30s, should have at least a chance at parole because he has shown he is capable of rehabilitation.

Twenty-five states ban life without parole for juveniles entirely. And six more states do not have anyone serving that sentence for a crime committed when a juvenile. But 19 states do allow life without parole for juvenile murderers.

In a withering dissent Thursday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor used language from Justice Kavanaugh's past opinions to write that the court's decision was "an abrupt break from precedent." She accused he majority of using "contortions" and "distortions" to "circumvent" legal precedent. The majority, she said, "is fooling no one."

The court's previous rulings, she wrote, require that most children be spared from punishments that give "no chance for fulfillment outside prison walls" and "no hope." She quoted Jones as saying at his resentencing hearing, "I've pretty much taken every avenue that I could possibly take ... to rehabilitate myself ... I can't change what I've done. I can just try to show ... I've become a grown man."

Thursday's ruling will certainly make it more difficult for juvenile offenders like Jones to show judges they deserve another chance at freedom somewhere down the road, says Cardozo Law School's Kathryn Miller. "It's going to be much harder to convince judges" that evidence of rehabilitation is relevant, she says.

"A lot of times these judges really want to still focus on the facts of the crime" even though it is years or decades later, she said. "They're not interested in the rehabilitation narrative."

Neither, it seems, is the newly constituted conservative Supreme Court majority.

--- End quote ---

Stabbed his grandfather with a knife that broke, so he used a steak knife to kill him, stabbing at least 8 times. 

The neck tat is a nice touch.  If he's truly rehabilitated, he's making prison safer for other inmates.

Dos Equis:
Florida teen sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing 13-year-old classmate
By Melissa Alonso and Zoe Sottile, CNN
Updated:  March 24, 2023

A judge sentenced Aiden Fucci – the Florida teenager convicted of first-degree murder for stabbing a 13-year-old over 100 times in 2021 – to life in prison on Friday.

Fucci, 16, entered his guilty plea in February 2023 at a hearing intended to get jury selection for his trial underway, according to CNN’s previous reporting. Fucci was 14 years old when he brutally killed classmate Tristyn Bailey in the woods in St. Johns County in northeastern Florida. He was charged as an adult.

During Friday’s sentencing, Circuit Judge R. Lee Smith said he took into account several factors when making his decision, including Fucci’s young age, the “heightened level” of premeditation, and that he was the “sole participant” who was not pressured by anyone to commit the “devastating crime.” He noted that Fucci was considered of “average maturity” by his peers and that he understood the consequences of his actions.

Aiden Fucci, 16, pleaded guilty to first degree murder, authorities said.

Bailey “suffered a painful and horrifying death from someone she trusted,” said Smith before announcing the sentence Friday.

He described the victim as an “energetic, happy child.”

“The loss which you have clearly suffered is unimaginable,” the judge said to Bailey’s family and friends. “Sometimes family members hope or expect that whatever the sentence is, that somehow or another that’s going to heal or provide closure.”

“I cannot provide a closure to this,” he went on. “It may close a chapter, but … I cannot bring her back.”

“You still have a lot of healing to do,” the judge said to tearful loved ones. “Her spirit lives on through each and every one of you.”

Fucci will have 30 days to appeal the sentence if he intends to do so, the judge said.

Bailey’s body was found on May 9, 2021, after her family had reported her missing earlier that day. She had been stabbed 114 times and sustained 49 defensive wounds to her head, hands, and arms, according to the state attorney.

The prosecutor said that Fucci had told witnesses that he intended to stab someone to death in the woods. Additionally, Fucci’s DNA was found on Bailey’s body, according to CNN’s previous reporting.

Following the sentencing, the victim’s father, Forrest Bailey, shared a touching message for his murdered daughter.

“Tristyn, I wanted to let you know we are so extremely proud of the person that you were in your time here,” he said.

“When you went out into the world, you gave it your very best. You should be proud of the friend that you were, the teammate you were, and what you left behind,” the father of five said. “We love you. We will continue to hold you in our hearts – and we will always be the ‘Bailey seven.’”

Forrest Bailey thanked the prosecutor, sheriff, and judge for the life sentence. He also asked people to be kind to members of Fucci’s family.

At Friday’s sentencing, the judge noted that while Fucci showed some potential for rehabilitation, the crime was “extraordinary.”

“His behavior was so unusual compared to individuals his age that there is a poor prognosis for rehabilitation,” he said.

He called the case the “most difficult and shocking case” that St. Johns County had encountered. Smith added that the crime was especially troubling because it had “no motive.”

“This was not done out of greed, it was not done in retaliation, retribution, or revenge, it was not a crime of passion, it was not a crime that was committed because he felt rejected by her. It was not done in a fit of uncontrollable anger. There was no reason. There was no purpose,” he went on. “It was done for no other reason than to satisfy this defendant’s internal desire to feel what it was like to kill someone.”

When someone that young commits a senseless murder, there really is no hope for rehabilitation.  Look at Lionel Tate.  He should have never been released.

Dos Equis:
I have no idea what to do with a kid this young who commits a crime like this.  Lock the parents up?

Virginia 6-year-old's chilling words after shooting 1st grade teacher during class revealed in unsealed docs
The boy allegedly bragged about possibly killing Richneck Elementary School teacher Abigail Zwerner, newly unsealed warrants allege
By Danielle Wallace | Fox News
Published August 9, 2023

. . .

"I shot that b---- dead," the boy said on Jan. 6, 2023, just moments after the shooting, according to Amy Kovac, a reading specialist at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. Kovac rushed into the classroom afterward and restrained the child until police arrived.

. . .


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