In SC and other US states, children as young as 10 are being arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced as adults under mandatory sentencing mandates. Children are being sentenced to mandatory terms created to net young people involved in gang violence and the drug trades. Children are being sentenced to life without parole. Often under the influence of prescription drugs, otherwise average and above average children commit unthinkable crimes. These children are then thrown into a court and sentencing system designed for hardcore adult criminals. Mandatory sentencing does not take into consideration the past non-violent social history or the effects strong prescription drugs have on young minds. The results are ruined young lives. We need your support. Please sign this petition and lend your name to the pursuit of Juvenile Justice. http://www.christopherpittman.org/
TO: THE MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE
PETITION TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE INVOLVING CHILD SENTENCING REFORM IN THE SOUTH CAROLINA JUDICIAL SYSTEM
We the undersigned, do hereby petition the South Carolina Legislature to immediately and without delay open a joint discussion on the juvenile justice system.
We the people support judicial discretion for the punishment to fit the crime in every case. Judges should determine appropriate sentences based on the facts concerning juvenile cases that come before their court.
Judicial discretion is "American Justice". Congress built departure authority into the sentencing system when it passed the Sentencing Reform Act in the 1980's. Departure power is necessary to guarantee a fair and just criminal justice system.
Mandatory minimums established for adult sentencing deprive judges of the right to dispense juvenile justice on an individual basis. Prosecutors and mandatory minimums currently dictate sentencing which is often inappropriate for crimes committed by children.
South Carolina judges should have their authority restored enabling them to dispense fair and just sentences to the children of South Carolina in the juvenile justice system.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED, DO HEREBY PETITION THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE TO SUPPORT AND PASS INTO LAW;
CHRISTOPHER'S BILL (THE JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM ACT)
1. NO CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 14 MAY BE SUBJECTED TO MANDATORY SENTENCING.
2. CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 14 WHEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE OR RELEASE AT THE AGE OF 21.
3. CHILDREN WITHOUT A HISTORY OF PRIOR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR SHALL NOT THE TRIED IN AN ADULT COURT.
4. REHABILITATION WITHIN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM MUST INCLUDE COUNSELING AND EDUCATION.
5. CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 14 MUST HAVE AN ATTORNEY OR GUARDIAN PRESENT BEFORE THEIR MIRANDA RIGHTS CAN BE READ.
6. CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 14 MUST NOT BE QUESTIONED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY OR GUARDIAN PRESENT.
7. ANY CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 14 WHO COMMITS A CRIME WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF A PRESCRIBED MIND-ALTERING DRUG MUST BE TRIED AS A JUVENILE IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM.
8. ANY MENTALLY ILL OR MENTALLY DISADVANTAGED CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 14 WHO COMMITS A CRIME MUST BE TRIED AS A JUVENILE IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM.
9. THIS BILL IS RETROACTIVE FOR 10 YEARS FOR CASES INVOLVING CHILDREN THAT WERE UNDER THE AGE OF 14 AT THE TIME OF THEIR ARREST AND LATER TRIED AND SENTENCED AS ADULTS.
Authors Janet Sisk, Michael and Sheila Maloney
Organization Justice for Juveniles
Copyright 2005 Justice for Juveniles