A woman became an advocate for juveniles charged with crimes following a visit with a young man who had been convicted of two counts of 1st degree murder in 1994. Though this young man was a juvenile when the alleged crime took place, he was still sentenced to a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
This woman had since written a letter to former Colorado Governor William Ritter. In her letter, she expressed dismay that a life sentence without parole even existed. She also berated herself for being so “naive.” The case of the young man has since become a part of a 2013 documentary on PBS.
This advocate has worked to change the sentencing laws concerning juveniles. She has also advocated on behalf of a number of juveniles serving life without parole sentences. She believes such advocacy may be why she has been placed on this planet. She has applauded the work of other organizations that managed to get the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 to rule that such mandatory life sentences without parole were unconstitutional.
Attorneys that represent juveniles charged with crimes understand the significance of their role. Though juveniles may commit crimes or otherwise act out foolishly, we risk losing many of these young people by not providing them with a second chance. And of all those charged with crimes, these young people are likely most in need of good legal representation.
As this advocate has suggested, their chances to succeed on the outside world lessen the longer that they are held in prison.
Source: KUNC, “For Juvenile Advocate, The Job Is ‘Why I Was Put On This Planet’,” Oct. 2, 2013