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  • Adult Time for Adult Crime: Chawa See

    On November 9th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments challenging the constitutionality of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences. In preparation for oral arguments, JLWOP: Faces & Cases will be an on-going series on The Foundry that will tell real stories about juvenile offenders who are currently serving LWOP sentences.

    Defendant: Chawa See (16)
    Victim: Robert Trevino
    Crimes: Murder with special allegations and other crimes
    Crime date: October 1, 2006 in Visalia, California

    Chawa See shot a 15-year-old boy in the head with a .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun, killing him almost instantly.

    Chawa See was a member of the Oriental Troop gang, an Asian street gang active in the north central area of Visalia, California. Robert Trevino, a 15-year-old former member of the Norteno gang, lived on NE Fourth Street in Visalia, part of the area the Oriental Troop gang considered its “turf.”

    On October 1, 2006, Trevino was outside his house playing football with younger boys—neighbors, not gang members. See and four of his fellow gang members decided to confront Trevino. After covering their faces with bandanas, they walked over to NE Fourth Street and approached Trevino. Several bystanders advised Trevino to go inside to avoid the confrontation, but he told them that he was doing nothing wrong and had nothing to fear.

    See and his “posse” came nearer, and one of them shook hands with Trevino. While Trevino was distracted with the handshake, See pulled out a .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun and, from a distance of less than three feet, fired the weapon at Trevino’s head, killing him almost instantly.

    See fled the scene and went into hiding. He admitted the murder to a female friend, and the handgun was found in his bedroom.

    Charles D. Stimson is Senior Legal Fellow and Andrew M. Grossman is Senior Legal Policy Analyst in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Adult Time for Adult Crime: Chawa See

    1. jerry, west virginia says:

      I don't like life without parole.If the crime is worthy of LWOP then the death penalty should apply.To put a young person,especially a juvenile,in prison for LWOP invites all sorts of more problems.Maybe this juvenile should stay in prison for life but leave some option for possible reform.

    2. Voice of Reason, Suw says:

      People can change. Dr. Mimi Silbert at the Delancey Street Foundation has over a 90 percent success rate. Instead of gangs, murder, violence these felons and addicts earn degrees, become professionals and change their lives. Yes, this crime is brutal, but aren't we just dealing with the problem. Why don't we work on positive, life transforming solutions? Isn't this a win-win for all stakeholders; future victims that never become one, felons who change direction and contribute to their communities, society who doesn't have to fear violence and the taxpayer who doesn't have to fund all these prisons?

      If one person can influence others for change, we know it can be done. Just from a cost standpoint wouldn't this make sense to make criminal justice reform a priority?

    3. Loyd Reddig, Weather says:

      As long as these young gangsters know they will not get the time as an adult would, they will continue to do the crimes. They are recruited at a young age and set in place by knowing adults. Put them in prison for life without parole since it is deemed barbaric to execute them. A cold blooded murderer at age 16 is a waste of time to society. This is not someone who will be rehabilitaded. This life is what he was raised with and will return to.

    4. Larry Wallace, Mowea says:

      If you're guilty of the crime you do the time. Since we "make nice" these days,i.e., the recent Soule(sp?) case comes to mind, felons are paroled then back on the street doing even worse atrocitys than ever before. Either life w/o parole or the death penalty. Yes, by God's Grace, some do change their lives–but they still must pay a price for the wrongs they've committed against society. Murderers have no place walking free amongst us. That is why the general public is yearning for swift justice–not years in the pipeline. That only gives the defense team time to get the defendant time to get a haircut, presentable and looking like mainstream society which they are not!

    5. Maria, Williamsburg, says:

      Giving up on young people will not make us safer, and certainly doesn't give other young people a reason not to give up on society. When we work to rehabilitate young people it helps everyone, we know it can be done. Let's do it.

    6. Leslie, Michigan says:

      I have my doubts as to whether perpetrators of these cold blooded crimes can be rehabilitated to the point of being released back into society. Are there studies, reports, numbers, anywhere on this? Has it been sucessfully done? If so, who, when, and how many others? As someone else noted, when these "kids" know they won't get a punishment that fits the crime, they're more apt to commit these heinous crimes. Maybe we also need to hunt down the adult slime that get them into this gang life and put them away for life.

    7. Steve, Chester,MD says:

      Voice of Reason is correct. People can change. But the time to affect that change is before the crime is committed. Regardless whether an individual subsequently has a religious epiphany, earns advanced degrees or becomes "professional", when a heinous crime has been committed there are, and need to be, serious consequences. To do otherwise, as a society we become less and less civilized over time. Going further, it can never be a win-win for the victims and their families, nor is it a dollars and cents issue.

    8. John, Colorado says:

      Killers can't be rehabilitated. They like killing too much.

    9. Slick - Nebraska says:

      My guess is that neither Jerry in West Virginia or Voice of Reason in Suwanee, GA have never experienced a senseless crime of one of their family members. I just don't get it . . . if you have a person who has no conscience who gets a sick thrill out of killing someone because he/she can, are you willing to take the chance that NEXT TIME it will be your child, brother or sister or parents????

      How do you go back to the beginning and reconstruct the life of a human being so that they will be a productive part of society, have compassion for their fellow human beings, become a steward of our environment, have a sense of integrity and self worth, exhibit a strong sense of right and wrong, and become a successful parent?

      Since both of you seem to think that these kinds of people ought to have another chance, may I suggest that YOU take them into your home, make them a part of your family, expose your children to them, and see how that works out! Do you think you will have trouble sleeping at night? Maybe it will take a terrible inhumane tragedy to wake you people up to the fact that we CANNOT save everyone.

    10. M. L. Anderegg, More says:

      Many criminal enterprises have begun to depend upon juveniles for runners and errand boys and girls, knowing that their youth will work in their favor if caught. That will continue until they are given a wakeup call. That wakeup call may well be adult sentences for adult crimes. Then, these users of our youth will have to rethink their strategy.

    11. Mike Dodson, Midland says:

      A person so depraved as is this young man must be either locked up for life to protect the rest of us from his psychopathic personality, or the ultimate penalty should be imposed (for the same reason).

      Deterrence generally can't be measured in most crimes. But, capital punishment can be measured as a deterrent in individual cases: He won't do the same (or any other) crime again. The recidivist rate for these folks is 0, while the recidivist rate for all ex-convicts hovers around 75%.

    12. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Mad dogs are mad dogs.

      We all cried when Ol' Yeller had to be put down,

      but the farm kids got over it quick enough. There are just those times where we gotta do what we gotta do.

    13. Mike Winsauer, Kings says:

      The inane drivel from some of the writers above makes me want to vomit. Where do these people come from? Voice of Reason (now that's funny!) and Maria, have apparently lived in a vacuum in their own universe so long that the lack of oxygen has hampered their ability to think clearly.

      Slick, from Nebraska said exactly what I would have. In fact if the afore-mentioned bleeding hearts want to arrange for this murderer to move into their homes, I will pay the bus fare to get him there.

      I believe that when this miscreant planned with his "posse" , to put a gun to the victims head and shoot a bullet into his brain, he and his accomplices ceased to have rights to live among the human race. Letting him live and have a chance to get out some day will only tell him and others that there will be little price to pay for these crimes. And that will make them want to stop killing? Ya, right!

    14. Elgee says:

      Those that follow their group will follow them until we can show that it doesn't pay to do the crime. We do without those that they commit the crime on. Why not try doing without those that commit the crimes? I think that will work, and it won't take very long for them to realize it. Yes they can be taught to do the right thing. Lets teach them that before they commit the crime by using punishment on those that lead them?

    15. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      The Law is without emotion for a definite reason. It keeps all of us from debating whether this child/man should be punished for taking the life of another human being.

      We are a Republic, and therefore a Nation ruled by Law, not man. So, in America, if you take a life,unless your life or others were in immediate danger, your life is forfiet.

    16. Dona Ramirez, Anahei says:

      I think the punishnment must fit the crime. Unfortunately, this case is very close to home, the victim was my nephew and Godson. We were told that the defendents stated that they "just wanted to see what it felt like to kill someone". With that kind of mentality, you tell me, how can we possibly rehabilitate someone so deranged. I wish they would follow the Bible, "An eye for an eye". He had barely turned 16, and something else, his 7 year old niece was with him and saw everything. Imagine how traumatic it is for her.

    17. gary says:

      Let him get owned in jail.

    18. Jackie Oregon says:

      You get what you put in. Some will never change, some just do not know how to live , never been shown how. We should not be offering our homes, The system should have that rehab for them. Not prison where you learn twice as much there than you would in a place centered around helping, not power!. not all people are what they look like on paper, you are guilty, unless you have the money to prove it. not saying this KID was not, he needs some time, with someone who will listen and correct him and respect him, show him how life is, if he shows no improvement then i say lock em up. try to help first, he may really have remorse. My Husband was murdered from a man who had past domestic violence lied on the stand and was set free, why? if a man can be set free when guilty a man can be convicted when not. Unless you have lots of money like O.J. for example.

    19. Anonymous says:

      He is now serving time for his crime, and he will soon be let out!

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