EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 4, 2014

Victims' families critical of ruling

SJC: Life sentences without parole for killers under 18 unconstitutional


“This decision should not be applauded, rather overturned as an act of justice and humanity to victims of violent crimes and their families,” said the Ritzer family.

Santino, Brodie’s sister, shares that view, saying that Gov. Deval Patrick’s public praise for the ruling, while failing to address the anguish of victims’ families, was troubling.

She and other family and friends have launched a campaign, using social media and online petitions, in hopes of convincing the Parole Board not to grant release to Baldwin.

“We’re just getting the word out to people to let them know this is happening, so that we can get the support we need,” Santino said. “I don’t even know if we can stop this. I don’t know what we can do. We just want to get people to know this is happening.”

They have set up a Facebook page called “Justice for Beth Brodie,” which has already garnered more than 1,600 “likes,” and have also created a petition at the website causes.com addressed to the governor and urging authorities not to parole Baldwin.

Santino said she’s hoping people will write letters that can be submitted to the Parole Board and to the governor.

For now, there is no parole hearing date scheduled. But last week, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said he’s been told that parole hearings for juvenile killers, nine of them from Essex County, will be held “sooner rather than later.”

Brodie’s family will oppose parole for Baldwin.

“I don’t feel that someone can be rehabilitated when he’s been in jail for 21 years with other criminals,” Santino said.

As for the view taken by both the United States Supreme Court in a decision last year and the Supreme Judicial Court that teenage brains are not fully developed, Santino said Baldwin knew that his actions were wrong.

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