Probable life sentence for a 13yo in the USA (warning: potentially distressing news story)

(149 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Mon 17-Sep-12 19:20:00

here (MNHQ: link to details of potentially distressing news story)

I know what he did was awful and he's obviously got issues, previous incidents of a sexual nature, killing a cat, etc. but I can't think that this is right. This sounds like a boy who's been badly let down, exposed to horrible stuff, etc. I really hate to think of him spending the rest of his life in prison. He's a child, he needs help. He needed help before it got to this stage.

pointythings Sat 22-Sep-12 21:43:41

So glad it isn't just me who feels this way. My DH is American - he will never, never go back to live there. He'll cheer for them during the Olympics and be fucking glad he's living in Europe.

bestemor Sat 22-Sep-12 22:33:02

Extro, I wonder where your preoccupation with the idea of punishment comes from?

And that word "exculpationism - I've never come across it before; where did you learn that?


Extrospektiv Sun 23-Sep-12 00:12:28


I first coined it to refer to the activities of three people around 1998: Nick Davies, Camila Batmengheilijd and Polly Toynbee. The three were all middle-aged bourgeois professionals repeatedly writing from their comfortable positions that the bad things "underclass" young people do are not their fault and are instead the product of society and the system, plus serious child abuse in some cases.

Hence their beliefs in short sentences, "inclusion" rather than expulsion or pupil referral units, "progressive education", massive wealth redistribution and a massive welfare state, and an anti-parent "child protection" agenda (Climbie became the sacrificial lamb desecrated in order for them to push much of this through) of a secretive metropolitan elite of people working with children overriding parents and subverting their values- all in the best interests of the child, of course.

I thought that "young people's misbehaviour isn't their own fault" was code for "end all social conservatism" given the hard left wing nature of much of the writing and the fact Blair's first-term Gov't took it seriously.

Extrospektiv Sun 23-Sep-12 00:21:31

Oh and he definitely IS a victim of abuse and failure to protect him from it. I meant that he is not only a victim, he is also a murderer, and a nonce. I am not preoccupied with punishment. If you read my posts you will see I am pretty nuanced.

I was against putting him in an adult prison (because he's a minor) and against a whole-life sentence (because he's a minor)... but it's when people emphasise the word "child" and suggest he shouldn't be punished at all that I have a problem. I hope for his rehabilitation and re-entry into society as a less violent, corrupted and damaged individual by the age of 30 (I suggested a 15-year tariff would be fair.)

Sorry for sounding black and white, it was only because the implications of some of the liberals' comments shocked me, as if they were trying to deny personal responsibility. I hope I have clarified things now.

BonnieBumble Sun 23-Sep-12 00:29:14

What a fucked up world we live in. sad

I don't like the idea of a 13 year old child spending the rest of his life in prison, it is an horrific thought. However I think it is too late for this boy. He was failed by everyone as a child and society is also to blame for the crime he committed. He never stood a chance.

AmberLeaf Sun 23-Sep-12 03:50:47

Fuck me, too late at aged 11 sad

AmberLeaf Sun 23-Sep-12 03:51:25

Extrospektiv you do talk some shit.

monsterchild Sun 23-Sep-12 04:05:48

So I'm not in the jurisdiction where this happened, but where I do live, "tried as an adult" doesn't mean adult prison for a kid of this age. It means the sentence is longer than another 13yo, and that efforts at rehabilitation are not as extensive as for another juvenile offender.

It doesn't mean he's in with 45 yo convicts. He'll still be in with juvenile kids until he's 18. then he would be moved to the adult facility. FWIW.

i can tell you that the circumstance of this case are terrible, and he was dealt a bad hand, the entire family. But that's the nature of the system we have right now. Kids do fall through the cracks. Social services is over worked and they don't have the resources to properly help the kids who are actually in care, much less the ones who appear to have some kind of family.

It's a terrible crisis, but as kids don't vote, and the congress in at loggerheads over the 47% of Americans they see as entitled slackers (this family would fit into that category, I'm sure) it's not likely to change soon.

monsterchild Sun 23-Sep-12 04:09:49

I'll tell you a bigger tragedy, and one that will never, ever ever be in your newspapers. the tribal lands here are governed by the tribes, but crimes of a certain level are handled by the Federal government. The feds have NO juveile justice system AT ALL. this means that any crime committed in Indian Country by ANY tribal member, even if young, is handled as though the offender is an adult. ALL of them. NO exceptions.

there are a huge number of Indian kids serving adult sentences in federal prison.

nankypeevy Sun 23-Sep-12 10:16:40

Monster - WHAT?

My jaw is agape.

In fact, I've got a notion for bombing the USA to try and encourage the adoption of democracy as a splendid way of running their society.

nankypeevy Sun 23-Sep-12 10:19:08

Monster, don't worry, I'd not drop bombs on you.

I really don't understand this - I thought the Constitution states that everyone is equal? Is that everyone-unless-you-live-on-tribal-land-or-a-lost-soul?


I'm so depressed.

No matter how he was bought up, he would be a danger if set free.
Doesn't anyone see that?
Surely the USA is just safe guarding its residents from harm, i don't blame them.

Unbelievable. And what's with him wearing the orange prison suit in the courtroom? Seems very prejudicial and making him seem like a convicted criminal.

FateLovesTheFearless Sun 23-Sep-12 11:13:16

just awful. That boy should not be being tried as an adult, he is 13 and his life appears to have been nothing but pain from the word go. Dont get me wrong, I dont think he should have no consequences and just be set free, but he is a young offender and needs help. He is only 13, surely its not too late to help the boy? Seems to me he has been let down by every adult in his life and authorities, they are partly to blame for what he did.

Nancy66 Sun 23-Sep-12 11:38:27

It's not too late to help the boy but the chances of him ever being a 'normal' human being are pretty much nil.

Early intervention is so important in cases of abuse because, tragically, once the child reaches around 8 years old so much damage has been done that it can't be reversed - especially in boys.

it's very very sad though. The poor kid never had a chance. How can you expect a child who has never been shown an ounce of love or care to grow up into a decent human being?

AmberLeaf Sun 23-Sep-12 14:11:23


Do you not see how the USA have failed this boy though?

Safeguarding their residents is piffle, what did they do to safeguard Christian?


Yes Ive thought that about the orange suit too.

Yes i see how they let him down, he should have been put in care long before what happened.
But the fact remains that he will never be safe enough let out into society where he would be a danger to the children of the public.

Jamie bulgers killers got let of too lightly and one of them has since been done for child pornography & they are both still deeply disturbed today. One of them has also been reported to have a wife & baby who knows nothing of his real identity-quite worrying.
Atleast the USA protects the public from criminals unlike here.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Sun 23-Sep-12 15:36:16

Poor kids. All of them. If they had all been looked after in the first place none of this would have happened. It's all very well saying "lock this kid up to protect others!" but who was protecting him when he was found wandering the streets at 2am and taken back to a drug den?! Not to mention all the rest of it. Did alarm bells ring at all for the people in charge?!

It was tragically too late to stop him killing his poor little brother but it breaks my heart to think of this kid being locked up for the rest of his life. He did wrong, sure, but he seems to have had no one in his life looking after him properly. Who's fault is that?!

This boy's life is already down the toilet. I personally think he can be rehabilated, given some time. But I bet the authorities simply pull the chain on him. Such a waste of so many lives.

monsterchild Sun 23-Sep-12 16:50:31

nanky don't worry, I'm sure you mean what I think which is many people need a giant slap upside the head!

the Constitution is a framework for laws. It implicitly meant "white men" when it was drafted. Now it means for "most people." Certainly the Native Americans here have been treated terribly. It was only after WWII that tribal members could even vote!
Every generation has to push and push to get minorities and others recognized as having those same rights as white men.

Kids don't vote, so they don't have a say in these types of laws, and in many states (not mine, happily) ex cons also can't vote, so I suspect many states don't have good representation in their elections on these types of issues. Especially because a startling number of people in prison are former foster children.

One other thing, crimes are handled by States, not the Federal Government, so the way this case is handled isn't representative for every state, just this one. Where I live, a child of this age is prohibited from being shackled in a court room.

nankypeevy Sun 23-Sep-12 22:58:34

It's a curiosity to me that so much about the States' laws and processes seem archaic.

It really is the white man is in charge.

Except for Barack, obviously.

What is the thinking behind each state making it's own laws? Is it because the geographical areas are so massive there's a cultural difference to accommodate?

I just can't get my head round Sensible, Naice People being happy to live with laws which deny folk who are dealt a shit hand from life a helping hand, basic human rights and justice.

monsterchild Sun 23-Sep-12 23:27:28

The US Constitution, that vaunted document, ensures that States get to make their own decisions about anything the feds haven't co-opted. The tenth amendment, actually. This was a major reason why the US Civil War happened.

The original colonies were all pretty different form one another, some being slave states, some having outlawed it. Also, people from different religions tended to settle together, creating different cultures within the colonies. And as the US grew, the different states kept attracting different types. So each state has it's own history and laws about non-federal stuff. (like marriage, property, crime, etc). For instance, in the SW, women could always own property and businesses. This wasn't the case in other states.

As for the old laws, well, they exist until they are over turned, right? so in Mass. it's still legal for a 12 year old to get married. They haven't had a reason to change it, and laws don't expire unless they explicitly say so. And there seems to be a zero-sum-game on letting others get a piece of the pie. It makes me a bit crazy.

So it's more like the EU than I think Europeans realize over here. I like to think of it more as a salad bowl than a melting pot. With a nice dressing of federal government on top.

monsterchild Sun 23-Sep-12 23:30:14

Also, most people her are very helpful and DO want everyone to get a hand up. really it's true! Why do you think Obama was elected in the first place?

And I think his being elected shows that, like all countries, the US is much more complex and dynamic than the stories you hear can show.

After all, we never hear good stuff on the news, only the drama and horror.

nankypeevy Sun 23-Sep-12 23:51:55

Absolutely. I hadn't thought about it like the EU, that makes perfect sense. When you are from a small country the distances involved in the USA are staggering. And, it makes sense, after all, we have a real cultural divide in the 40 miles that separate Glasgow from Edinburgh!

What we see in the press at the moment is the republican lunacy. Sigh.

Extrospektiv Mon 24-Sep-12 00:42:25

Oh ffs, DON'T use this case as yet another excuse to bash republicans.
And Amberleaf I don't talk shit, the 3 figures I named have plenty of publicly available writing to show that they do indeed believe the hard left bullshit which I speak of.

And people need safeguarding from murderers, Amber. Rambling on about "why did no-one safeguard Christian?" instead won't help anyone.

When you have people going to bat for 13 year old murdering nonces and 39-week abortion cheats, no wonder some people become hardcore right wing. The two equally crazy sides balance each other out as I sit in the middle as an anti-extremist getting told off by both.

hihohiho Mon 24-Sep-12 00:55:51


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