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  • Justice Under Siege in Colorado

    For at least the past five years, anti-incarceration activists, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and Amnesty International (AI), have been waging a disinformation campaign designed to free juvenile killers from prison. The latest battleground is Colorado where the Grand Junction Sentinel reports: “Three state lawmakers are hoping to overturn the life sentences of 48 juveniles who were tried as adults and convicted of murder. The bill, which is to be heard in a House committee this week, would allow those juveniles, who are now adults, to become eligible for parole after they’ve served 40 years of their life terms.”

    Retroactively throwing out valid life convictions is terrible public policy. Worse it feeds a movement that spreads false statistics and misleading legal claims. For example, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch partnered in 2005 to co-author a bogus “study” that, among other misstatements, asserted that there were 2,225 juvenile felons serving juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences in the United States. This statistic has since been repeated many times by the media and lawmakers. The problem is, it is just not true.

    In a report titled Adult Time for Adult Crimes: Life Without Parole for Juvenile Killers Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Cully Stimson details how Amnesty International/Human Rights Watch manufactured this claim:

    The Department of Justice does not collect or have these statistics. State departments of correction often “lose” juveniles once they are tried in adult court and do not keep JLWOP statistics in a uniform or reliable manner. Worst of all, the AI/HRW report included 18- and 19-year-olds as “juveniles,” and its statistical assumptions were fatally flawed. Deep in their “study,” and stripped of manufactured statistics and bogus assumptions, the AI/HRW admits that they could only verify 1,291 actual juvenile offenders serving JWLOP in the United States. The bottom line: Since the states don’t know exactly how many juveniles are serving LWOP, no organization can state how many juveniles are serving JLWOP.

    Last year in their Graham v. Florida decision, the Supreme Court by implication adopted The Heritage Foundation’s statistics and soundly rejected the manufactured statistics of the  activist groups. The Court also held that upheld the constitutionality of JLWOP for killers.

    The Sentinel reports on one of the killers activists are trying to set free:

    As a case in point, [Mesa County District Attorney Pete] Hautzinger pointed to the 1996 murders of Janet and Jennifer Davis, the only Mesa County case among the 48.

    That was when Verle James Mangum, then 17 and high on methamphetamine, bludgeoned 42-year-old Janet Davis with a baseball bat when she caught him having sex with her 11-year-old daughter, Jennifer.

    “Then he goes back into the bedroom and bludgeons the 11-year-old to death because she might be a witness against him,” Hautzinger said. “That’s not somebody I’d want out after 40 years regardless of how old he is.”

    This legislation has moved through the Colorado legislature at a lightning pace which has not afforded any of the victims families an opportunity to be heard. Not only is this morally questionable, but it might even be a violation of the Colorado Constitution.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Justice Under Siege in Colorado

    1. Steve S. California says:

      This is just sick. and a perfect example of what's wrong with the mindset of so many in our government and society. The victims, who suffered so hideously have no standing in this issue. The people pushing this agenda simply have lost, if they ever had it, their humanity, as proven directly by their lack of compassion for the victims. It is truly a sad state if the only way you can learn these things is to have your life directly affected by such horror. This kind of injustice needs to be addressed directly. What's the difference between the murderer and the one who would force the victims to relive the event? Not much, evidently.

    2. Tom Sullivan in FL says:

      Liberals often take the sides of criminals, our enemies, degenerates, and awful ideas like legalizing all drugs because they are reactionary. If conservatives are for it, they are against it. Anything that works or that society likes and enjoys, they are against it.

      They want to make mandatory everything they like, and criminalize everything they don't like.

    3. JIM IN ARKANSAS says:

      The day that reconsideration of these sentences bring back the victims

      is the day we should, maybe, rethink initial decisions.

      jl

    4. Daver (Ft Worth) says:

      This is incredibly disheartening. I can't help being reminded of Illinois Governor George Ryan's equally immoral mass moratorium on executions in 2000.

      I'm not certain of the legal machinations, but it would seem to me that mass ex post facto legal changes should be categorically unconstitutional when they fail to take into account the specific merits of the cases involved.

      After all the victim's families deserve to have some level of closure based on a trial's outcome. Now it appears that even that level of questionable comfort is being stripped from them. It's wrong. These people have a vested interest in the outcome. The ACLU and Amnesty International have no such interest–therefore no standing to raise a suit on a class of people's behalf.

      As Bill Clinton was selling pardon's out of the backseat of his pickup pulling out of the White House parking lot it was a point of consideration that maybe the whole notion of pardons and commutations was an idea whose time was past. It's one thing for a conviction to be overturned on appeal based on merit, but to have legally acquired sentences changed in mass or haphazard ways defies the justice we claim to ascibe to.

    5. Jennifer Bishop Jenk says:

      Thanks to Heritage for this important heads up about a very dangerous bill HB 1287 in Colorado. Not only is it retroactively set to undo life without parole sentences of dangerous convicted murderers without notification of their victims families, or their input, in violation of the Colorado Constitution; but it also creates the mechanism where any violent juvenile, convicted of a dangerous felony and tried and sentenced as an adult for demostrating exceptional culpability and heinousness, could be immediately set free without any incarceration at all by corrections administrators who would be given broad discretion for "community corrections". People will be victimized and even killed if this bill passes. No on HB 1287 – call your Colorado Legislators. More information at http://www.teenkillers.org

    6. Martin Jones says:

      I sincerely apologize for the stupidity that Colorado may inflict on the rest of the country. Also apologize for the Salazar brothers and their stupidity.

    7. Carol,AZ says:

      There's clearly something rotten in CO, for the rule of law .

      The mind set that Conn has written about goes back to the Acorn style program affectionately named; "Hugs for Mugs."

      This "warm and fuzzy" feel good rehab program , costing all of us, trillions in funding was first gardered, in CA.

      Ca lined-up for the $$ and boasted their re-hab program that would exchange role playing and other therapeutic sessions that would make us" feel good" after we were made to" feel quility, that, "not all things are not equal," for these mis-guided youth who committed non-violent crimes.

      Just give them enough "hugs and love."

      The gee whiz of the jeevie progams, after CA pocketed the Federal fund was failure. Since Ca actually admitted this, the back story must be amazing.

      However, later on, a few tweets from CA's liberal leadership/ press/ published that all of these jueevies were gang bangers who were also in most cases here illegally, and ALL convicted of violent crimes.

      Other laws that are pending, or have been futher blocked for passage in CO, 2011:

      * To block Illegals in Co, to vote unless they have legal proof of citizenship.

      *To cut -off taxpayer benefits to illegals ( which they are currently getting)

      *To allow the local police to enforce existing immigration laws. (which they have refuse to do)

      *State tuition bill pending for illegals living there ( CO's own Dream Act) SN-11-126.

      The skeltons that must lie under the snow melt in CO , to date, is the back story that no one in Co speaks about.

      Co is after all, " pure as the driven snow."

      Lots of hugs going around.

    8. Benjamin, Reno says:

      B.J. Nikkel (a co-sponsor of the bill) is a republican. Hopefully her involvement in this clear subversion of justice won't go unnoticed by the republican party.

    9. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      It is similarly marvelous how ACLU offer zero help to the Thought Crime Victims! What? Civil Liberties for murderer's only? Self Defense 'felons' get no help. Republicans being pushed out of Government get no help, so it never was about true 'civil liberties!' It is all about Progressive Junk. ACLU is Anti-American. ACLU is not 'civil' by any stretch of the imagination and everything they do is in concert with the enemies of Liberty! Union, no doubt, but don't think the individual lawyers have a vote in the cases they take up, as in a real Union. They say their name and they have already lied four times!

      Colorado was a small State in the day, and we got swamped by Out Of State money and people. Our State became the Liberal dream world and all sense of American Justice went to Hell in one generation! Counties actually destroyed Public Court Records by not keeping them, and the Progressive Family Law came in like gangbusters (but actually creating gangs like crazy.) Colorado is so down that Progressive Road you wouldn't recognize it now. Democratic Spoils System gave lots of Colorado Politicians jobs in Washington (that was their reward for Communizing the State of Colorado. Look how busy they are Communizing America now!

      They just love Criminals at the ACLU but do nothing for Victims of the Progressive Agenda. Like in Libya America is placed in the service of gangsters here at home. Remember Judge Vinson strongly criticized HHS from US v Stevens, the government is seeking Totalitarian Powers! Americans support the ACLU to fund their own demise. Victims of Government who aren't murderers? Go to the back of the Obama Bus.

    10. Harry Snyder Tempera says:

      It's impossible to know the particulars of the hundreds of crimes committed by these "juvenile" murderers, and the adage "do the crime, do the time" may not be entirely appropriate, but I believe most of these crimes fitted the same category as the one described. It has even happened here in Michigan.

      But I have to look a the above mentioned groups and their intervention into matters in which they have neither knowledge nor standing and question their motives. Yes, question their motives.

      And one might mention that there are other places and issues more horrendous than that of brutal criminals who received all the rights and protections of the U.S. Constitution.

      What, I wonder, are the real reasons??

    11. Bobbie says:

      What an UGLY PERSON!

      17 is old enough to have sex, know drugs, get drugs and take drugs makes it no excuse for his cruel conduct. But as this government continues to circumvent everything that was once good, like holding people accountable to their actions, is being swept under the rug. This murderer gave up his rights by killing the rights of others. Clear indication HE IS UNFIT FOR SOCIETY! The punishment is fitting for life in prison, if not capitol.

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