Why are Republican legislators sponsoring legislation lowering the penalties for sex offenders?

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Should Neil Rodreick have been given probation when he was younger for molesting kids? Three of your Republican State Senators apparently think so.

Hotazitgets has a disturbing post about three Republican Senators (Leff, Gray and Johnson) who are sponsoring four bills that would lower the penalties on sex offenders. This is really bizarre, especially considering the increasing availability of the internet for sex offenders to prey on children. Apparently now there are about thirty-four 15-17 year olds prosecuted under adult law each year in the county for their crimes. These new laws would send those criminals to juvenile court instead where they wouldn’t receive much of a sentence. What is wrong with this picture? The courts are already pretty generous with defendants, judges frequently let kids off the hook if they think the sex crime wasn’t severe. There should be some accountability for the kids that have clearly molested other kids, not just juvenile “camp.” The hotazitgets article reports that there currently aren’t even mandatory sentences in place for juveniles (other than very serious crimes and chronic juvenile felony offenders who are transferred to adult court), yet Senator Johnson is saying otherwise, claiming there are and that we need to do away from them.


Comments

  1. It’s Karen Johnson, not Carolyn Allen who is sponsoring the bill you are talking about…

  2. Frank Soto says

    I suppose a lot of your response to this depends upon your view of the purpose of the criminal law system. There are typically two views: utilitarian (deterrence, rehabilitation, etc) and retribution. Of course you could blend the two, and come up with some third alternative…

    I think that this buy “could” be justified under both views. It is highly unlikely that adult punishments deter 15-17 year olds in any substantial way. Further, I think that most would agree that sending a 15 year old to adult prison is nearly the same as ‘ending’ his life- future job prospects, national registry, etc. You may be able to rehabilitate these kids since they are still young, so maybe utility would say that we should put them in juvenile detention centers to give them a better shot at rehabilitation and becoming productive members of society.
    Under a retributivist view, it would be easy to make the argument that juviniles are less morally culpable for their offenseive actions, especially since most studes demonstrate that their brains are not fully formed, etc. If they are in fact less morally culpable than an adult they probably deserve less prison time.

    I am not saying that I necessarily agree with these brief arguments, but they are something to be kept in mind.

    Further, could you please give me an example of JUDGES reducing sentances? That would be the role of the prosecutors discretion in what charges to bring.

  3. The point of the legislation is to allow judges to have the discretion to sentence juvenile offenders according to the seriousness of their crime. Because of mandatory sentencing and mandatory transfer to adult court, we have teenagers being sentenced to years in prison for having sex with their younger teenage girlfriends. There’s a big difference in fact between a 17-year-old who is prosecuted for having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend and a 17-year-old who is raping a 6-year-old. The problem right now though is that the law treats them the same.

    By eliminating mandatory sentencing in this particular instance, we can allow judges to consider the facts of the situation and determine whether the kid is a real danger to the community.

  4. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    If the new law is intended to differentiate between 17-year olds having sex with 15-year old girlfriends, as opposed to molesting a 6-year old, then it makes some sense. It doesn’t say it isn’t a crime, but it rightfully points out that it is a completely different crime.

  5. Frank and Mari – did you bother to read the article? If it was underage “consensual sex” between a 15-year old and a 17-year old, then why was it reported to the police? Judges in this county have a reputation for giving lenient sentences, and they sure do revise guilty pleas (over prosecutor’s and victims objections) in order to put defendants on probation instead of serving any time in jail or prison. We’re talking about a measly total of 34 juveniles between ages 15-17 who were prosecuted in adult court last year – it is highly unlikely any judge sentenced them to jailtime unless there was clear evidence there was wrongdoing. No judge is going to risk sentencing the sweet 17-year old boyfriend of his darling 15-year girlfriend to jail. Why don’t you wake up and go look at the cases of the 34 juveniles that we’re actually talking about?

  6. Frank Soto says

    “Did I bother to read the article?”
    In fact I did, thanks. However, the point of my post was to respond to the ‘article’ on this THIS blog. If I wanted to respond to the other article, I would have placed an appropriate comment there. I was responding to this site’s contention that it was antithetical to being a Republican to lower sentances for criminals. All I was attempting to show (albeit very briefly) was that you don’t have to believe in strong punishments to be tough on crime, or a Republican. There are reasonable justifications for believing that what you are doing is actually perpetuating crimes in SOME cases.

    “Then why was it reported the police”
    Most statutory rape cases are consensual. That is why the prosecutor was only able to bring the statutory rape case, instead of of forcible rape (carnal knowledge of a woman with malice aforethought our great forefathers called it).

    Please show the me the empirical evidence that Judges actually give lenient sentances, instead of one biased viewpoint.

    There are many sentancing guidelines about sentancing that force judges into certain lengths of jail time, in an attempt to remove discretion.

    “No judge is going to risk sentancing the sweet 17-year old boyfriend of his darling 15-year girlfriend to jail.” Blatantly incorrect. Even if someone just read ESPN.com they would know this is not true- due to their extensive reporting on high school atheletes that suffer under statutory rape laws.

  7. Sonoran Truth Squad says

    Jana,

    No need to get quite so angry… Often times cases of underage consensual sex are reported by the parents of one of the kids involved. I’m not commenting on the original story but on the comments posted here. To understand better the difference between consensual sex between minors and the molestation of a 6-year old, read this story:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=wilson

    I’m not defending underage sex in any way and I do not want underage folks engaging in it. But I do think there is a difference…

  8. Frank, it’s a known fact that Maricopa County has an overabundance of liberal judges, because judges are appointed, not elected. Conservatives have been trying for years to get rid of judicial appointments by the governor and move to elections instead, like other smaller Arizona counties have. Why don’t you provide me evidence that those 34 juveniles in Maricopa County who were sentenced last year in adult court were really just persecuted for consensual sex?

    The case of Genarlo Wilson – an adult – is hardly a reason to let up on sex offenders. He is no hero.
    http://savannahnow.com/node/233943
    http://www.peachpundit.com/2007/02/19/my-take-on-genarlow-wilson/
    He videotaped himself with 5 adult friends having sex at their own “party” with a 15-year old and a 17-year old, and after the 17-year old became semi-conscious/passed out from inebriation he became violent with her. The 15-year old gave all six oral sex. The 17-year old says she were raped. Since the guys videotaped it all, the jury got to watch all this on videotape. Wilson was charged with rape, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aggravated sodomy and aggravated child molestation. “This was not two star-crossed lovers on a date!”

    The O’Reilly Factor has been covering that case, and here’s what a prosecutor had to say –

    For more on the case, The Factor was joined by former prosecutor Sunny Hostin, who saw the tape showing Genarlow Wilson with the 17-year old. “It was vulgar and reprehensible,” Hostin declared. “This woman was knocked out, there was no way she could have consented. She was dragged into a bathroom.” But Wilson’s lawyer B.J. Bernstein stressed that her client was acquitted of raping the woman. “The jurors spoke out that he was not guilty of rape, and the only thing they convicted him of was consensually receiving oral sex from a 15-year old. I don’t say that Genarlow Wilson didn’t do anything wrong. Was it right? No. Was it rape? No!” The Factor argued that Wilson is where he belongs, behind bars. “From what we can see on this tape, it doesn’t look like this woman wanted it to happen. The media jumped out and said Wilson should be set free, but the tape shows that maybe this guy got what he deserved.”

    My guess is the jury convicted Wilson of the lesser crime of consensually receiving oral sex from a minor because they wanted to give him a lesser prison sentence than rape.

    BTW you spelled sentence wrong three times and athletes.

  9. Hometown Guy says

    Jana, Jana, Jana,
    Give it a rest!

  10. Frank Soto says

    Ok.

    I apologize about my incorrect spelling. No one ever taughted me how to spoke.

    I can see we are going in circles. Let’s call it a rest.

    Frank

  11. Let’s see. One case in Georgia proves that all judges in Maricopa County Arizona are liberal and give lenient sentences? That’s some “emperical evidence” you’ve got there Jana. Frank asked you twice to provide evidence of any time that a judge reduced a sentence under what the parties agreed in a plea agreement and you failed to do so.

    Game, Set, Match – Frank.

  12. Jana,

    “Genarlo Wilson – an adult” Yes, he is now, But NOT during the time when he committed the act is question….I know of no state in the US where the age of majority is beelow 18 years of age, further, there are at several states that have legalized marriage (with parental consent)at the age of 14. And NO ONE is calling him a hero, yet any idiot, (yours50 adelf excluded), can recogize an injustice. It’s NOT as if he’s 50 and she’s 15!

    Yes, Wilson made poor choices, however the girl AND her mother both say the acts were consentual AND he was acquitted of a rape charge of a 17-year old girl at the same party. You need to read the FACTS of the case rather than listening to a blowhard talking head like O’Reilly… If you had, you wouldn’t HAVE to “guess” why the jury made their decision and then you would have realized the ONLY act they could prove (because they filmed and admitted it) was the act of CONSENTUAL oral sex. Had the jury KNOWN that the sentence was a MANDATORY 20 YEAR sentence, they would have voted to acquit (Jury nullification).

    Frankly, I give the O’Reilly Factor” about as much creedence as a you when it comes to issues of common sense. Funny how he can justify sexual harrassment of an employee as a man in his 50’s, yet he’ll throw the book at a couple of NORMAL teenagers who’s hormones got the best of them.

    Oh, and please point out my spelling errors too, you grammar police need some kind of ammo when you have nothing else of value to add…

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