Mar. 3, 2005--

Supreme Court allows death penalty for victims of juvenile killers-- Effects of that 5-4 decision will increase the number of victims of murderous schemes by under-18 offenders who'd risk killing victims.

            One struggles in vain to find good judgment in the 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court to arbitrarily rule that no one under eighteen is capable of sufficient moral judgment to face the risk of evidence to rebut a presumption that they lack such judgment with respect to whether they should be deemed potentially liable for the death penalty upon proof of sufficient aggravating circumstances.  One recognizes that the setting of any age limit for the purpose of a legal classification unavoidably will-- in some small but irreducible percentage of cases-- seem, if not be, arbitrary.  One recognizes also that in setting such age limits for the purpose of preventing death or injury, a legislature would want to err on the side of minimizing such risks-- thus, the fact that many teenagers may be capable of being competent drivers years before the age limit established by law exemplifies a context in which the legislature may sensibly apply an arbitrary age-limit threshold rather than a rebuttable presumption that teens below a specified age could qualify for a driver's license.  

            However, common sense dictates that the goal of minimizing the risks of innocent people being murdered by criminals under eighteen (in contrast to being killed by incompetent drivers below the age-limit for driving) would require the legislature to err on the opposite side in establishing the age below which a murder would be too young to be deemed sufficiently morally responsible to face the risks of possible liability for the death penalty on the basis of evidence sufficient to rebut a presumption of the absence of such level of moral responsibility.  Instead, the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision maximizes the risks of innocent deaths by arbitrarily making it a conclusive presumption that no one under eighteen is capable of such moral responsibility.  Thus, the Court has given the "green light" to gang rituals requiring teens to commit murder as an initiation rite into the gang.  The Court has relieved hardened criminals under age eighteen of the fear that committing murder might expose them to the death penalty.  This is not only judicial legislation rather than adjudication, but it's also dangerous legislation that will, of necessity, lead to an increase in the number of, rather than to minimize the risks of, murders by criminals under eighteen.

Death Penalty for Common Sense.

The penalty ordering death
for viciously ending the breath
of innocent lives
no doubt has comprised
deterrence of some who'd cause death.

This argument doesn't depend
on science but mere common sense
that some, if not many,
with motives for killing
would choose to subdue them with sense.

That some aren't deterred by the fear
that death is the sentence they'd hear,
does not mean that many
do not avoid killing
for fear that such sentence they'd hear.

So therefore, one cannot deny
that fear of such death has comprised
--though not without erring--
a factor deterring
the murder of innocent lives.

And thus, we know rules to exclude
that death be a sentence to choose
would add to the till
decisions to kill
that folks fearing death wouldn't choose.

But rules for deciding the age
when choices for murdering made
could not be perceived
as choices conceived
by grown-ups, of course, must be made.

It's true rules we're forced to devise
on "age" to save innocent lives--
like rules setting higher
the age to be drivers
though younger ones safely could drive.

In contrast, procedures devised
the save the most innocent lives
from murderous rage,
presumptions on age
should err on the opposite side.

And thus the Supreme Court's decision
by fiat requiring excision
of rules to rebut
that not-yet-adults
could not deserve death needs rescission.

Effects of that Five-Four decision
will increase the number of victims
of murderous schemes
by under-eighteen
offenders who'd risk killing victims.

--Jim Wrenn, Editor at PoliSat.Com.

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Mar. 3, 2005 #01 Daily Update at PoliSat.Com, where satire is always commentary, but commentary isn't always satire

Title:  Death Penalty for Victims of Juvenile Killers..

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