Archive for September 10, 2010

Another Reason Why California Need Serious Sentencing Reform

Here is why California needs serious sentencing reform

“SANTA ANA – Two Huntington Beach teenagers were sentenced to 65 years to life in prison Friday for their roles in the retaliation shooting death of a gang rival in January 2008.
Joseph Lugo and Hector Genaro Pacheco, who were both 15 when the shooting took place, were convicted last month of chasing Abraham Sanchez, 20, from a bicycle and shooting him once in the chest to retaliate after someone in Sanchez’s gang threw out beer bottles in a drive-by of their neighborhood.

They were also convicted of attempted murder for punching, kicking and stabbing Cruz Aguirre, 19, in the same incident at Ellis Avenue and Delaware Street, and of felony street terrorism.
Co-defendant Ignacio Ruiz, who was 16 when the crime took place, was sentenced to life without parole at his sentencing by Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg last month.
During their trial, Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson called the attack a “truly senseless killing” to retaliate after rival gang members threw out beer bottles and crossed out graffiti in their gang territory.
There was no evidence that Sanchez and Aguirre, who were affiliated with the rival gang, had been involved in the earlier throwing of the bottles, Mendelson said.Four other reputed gang members pleaded guilty before trial to voluntary manslaughter for their roles in the attack and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to 16 years”

The reality is that the crime is considered a presumptive murder with no aggravating and one migitating circumstance. The one migitating circumstance is the age of the offenders. In my opinion, the age of the offender can be used a migitating factor if the age of the offender is under 17. The age of the offender was 15 at the crime and therefore, I consider the age to be significant migitating factor.

65 to life for an offender is significant migitating circumstance is considered to be unreasonable sentence by my standards. Review of similar sentences in the United Kingdom have youthful offender sentenced from around 12 to 17 to life in prison. Since it is fashionable in the United States to have harsher sentencing requirements than the United Kingdom or Canada, my recommend sentence is stricter than the sentence would be from the United Kingdom. The sentence should be 25 to life without no enhancements with mandatory release clause that states the offender are to be mandatory released after serving 35 years on the sentence.

However, we have no legal requirements that place a ceiling on the minimum term on first-degree murders if the offender is under the age of 17. The state legistature needs to adopt a sentencing mechanism that places a ceiling on the maximum term of the offender if the offender is under the age of 17. As the age of the offender gets younger, the ceiling amount for the maximum term will decrease.

Therefore, this will prevent young offenders who are 14, 15, and 16 from receiving harsh and brutal sentences that dispensed by California’s justice system.

Personally, I believe that the sentencing structure in this state requires massive reform, but if the state cannot pass the budget on time than it how can it make any effective changes to arcane sentencing structure. However, incremental reforms such as the one that described can go long way to make the current system that is in place more fairer.

September 10, 2010 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment


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