January 14, 2010
The United States is the only nation in which someone can be locked up forever, with no chance for parole, for a crime committed in his or her youth. The Supreme Court is expected in coming days or weeks to rule on whether states may continue this costly, foolish and cruel practice of extinguishing a youth's hope and chances at redemption, even in cases in which no one died. California has 250 people in this position -- condemned to stay in prison until they die for crimes they committed at ages as young as 14; only Pennsylvania and Florida have more.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 9, 2009 |
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is debating whether to file criminal charges against three Calabasas youths arrested in connection with recent attacks on redheaded students at a middle school. Sheriff's investigators booked two 12-year-old boys on charges of battery on school property and a 13-year-old boy on charges of cyber-bullying: sending a threat via electronic communication. The case was presented to a juvenile-case prosecutor Monday. The attacks were apparently spurred by a Facebook site and inspired by an episode of the animated "South Park" television show titled "Ginger Kids."
November 8, 2009 |
Colton Harris-Moore has been a one-boy crime wave since he was 7 years old. He has broken into houses, stolen cars and burglarized markets, hardware stores and cafes for years on this rural, woodsy island north of Seattle. Since early in 2008, when he escaped from a juvenile holding facility, Harris-Moore, now 18, has been leading police on a fruitless chase through Washington, Canada and Idaho -- stealing two boats and crash-landing three planes (he taught himself to fly on his computer, authorities suspect)
September 28, 2009 |
Joe Sullivan was 13 years old when he and two older boys broke into a home, where they robbed and raped an elderly woman. After a one-day trial in 1989, Sullivan was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole. Terrance Graham was 16 when he and two others robbed a restaurant. When he was arrested again a year later for a home break-in, a Florida judge said he was incorrigible. In 2005, Graham received a life term with no parole. The two young convicts represent an American phenomenon, one the Supreme Court is set to reconsider in the fall term that opens Oct. 5. At issue is whether it is cruel and unusual punishment to imprison a minor until he or she dies when the crime does not involve murder.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2009 |
A 13-year-old El Monte boy was charged Friday with two felonies for allegedly starting the Morris fire on Aug. 25 that burned more than 2,100 acres north of Azusa, prosecutors said. The youth, whose name was withheld by prosecutors because of his age, is accused of felony arson of a forest and recklessly causing a fire to a forest or structure. Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the L.A. County district attorney's office, said the boy is not in custody and is scheduled to appear in Juvenile Court in Pomona on Nov. 17. Robison said investigators are not revealing yet how the fire was ignited, but the boy was among a group of people known to be in the area at the time the fire began.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 7, 2009 |
Authorities used pepper spray to help end a racially charged fight among two dozen juvenile prisoners at Camp Kilpatrick in Malibu over the weekend, authorities said. The brawl began with name-calling between an African American and a Latino in the camp's dormitory about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, said L.A. County Chief Probation Officer Robert Taylor. The brawl lasted about an hour, and two staff members and several inmates suffered minor injuries. Twenty-three inmates were removed from the camp and housed at two other facilities, and one of the housing units sustained minor damage, Taylor said.