In the last decade or so, the Judicial system has been changing the way that children who are transferred from the juvenile judicial system to the adult system or sentenced. The courts have also changed the sentences of those who are already in custody.
First, with those sentenced to non-violent charges, the Supreme Court of the US ruled that a life sentence for a non-violent crime by someone under the age of 17 is cruel and unusual and therefore unconstitutional.
Next, the Supreme Court ruled that juveniles convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison deserve an oppurtunity for release. Louisiana Legislative law changed to reflect the Supreme Courts new ruling, giving those previously sentenced to life without parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, parole eligibility after serving 25 years.
The court recognized that juvenile are more susceptible to peer pressure, less cognizant than their adult peers, and less culpable. This is really great news.
On the other hand, those juvenile who have been sentenced to long term sentences, say like what I as a 16 year was sentenced to (60 years), our parole date remains the same. So those convicted of 2nd degree murder, Kidnapping, or aggravated rape, can do less time than a juvenile found guilty of a lesser offense. sounds crazy, yet that is true. Currently my parole date is in 2049!! I’ll be 67 years old!
Plea bargains are, whether one believes it or not, the corner stone of the judicial system. They save the state millions of dollars by averting investigations, expert testimony, and lengthy trials. Thus, in lieu of the above, any attorney in the state of louisiana who advises a juvenile to plead guilty should be disbarred from the american bar association.
the juvenile found guilty will do far less time than the one that pleads guilty and waives all of his rights.
I hope all juveniles in this state go to trial instead of opting out for a plea bargain, otherwise he/she may just die in prison.
Walter West is a advid reader and also a former Inmate Counsel Substitute (at La. State Prison). If you have any questions, suggestions, or any valuable information you may email Walter thru JPay.Com, Walter West #426915
for snail mail:
Walter West #426915
Raymond Laborde CC/ C3-C1
1630 Prison Road
Cottonport, La 71327