EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 10, 2014

Letter: Justice should not be conditional for victim's family

To the editor:

I encountered a friend whose teenage daughter was murdered by a teenager decades ago. I sought her guidance as to whether or not I should engage in a circulating a petition to bolster victims’ rights in Massachusetts.

At the heart of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and U.S. Supreme Court rulings on parole for minors convicted of murder is the level of maturity of the offender.

Specifically, the brain of juvenile offenders has not developed sufficiently, which is expected to occur by early to mid-20s. This is the assertion of psychologists who have compelled parole boards to hold hearings on individuals incarcerated for life. Violation of the 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment is the concern.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling establishes a standard of rehabilitation.

However, the recent Massachusetts ruling is devoid of this standard.

So while this is debated my friend will relive the horror of losing her daughter and enduring legal proceedings.

I will now help my friend. I will speak out against the injustice of granting rights to those who willingly gave them up in the act of terminating the life of another.

Joe D’Amore

Groveland

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