90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Jail Time And Violent Juvenile Offenders

Fighting for life without parole for young offenders. Tough states do not want to back down — or re-open old cases.

T.J. Lane, right, listens to his attorney during court proceedings in Juvenile Court Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the killings of students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr . and Daniel Parmertor. (AP)

T.J. Lane, right, listens to his attorney during court proceedings in Juvenile Court Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Chardon, Ohio. Lane has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the killings of students Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr . and Daniel Parmertor. (AP)

We are all too familiar in this country with children who kill or try to kill.  A middle-schooler with a sawed-off shotgun in New Mexico.  A 14-year-old with a box cutter charged with killing his teacher.  For years, courts tried such minors as adults.  Many were given tough life sentences.  Then the U.S. Supreme Court said no.  Said children – even underage killers – deserve a chance at redemption.  No mandatory life sentences without parole.  Now states are wrestling with that ruling.  Some complying.  Some pushing back. This hour On Point:  juvenile offenders, life sentences, and the law.

 — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Erik Eckholm, national legal correspondent for The New York Times. (@eckholm)

Jody Kent Lavy, director and national coordinator at The Campaign For the Fair Sentencing of Youth. (@jkentlavy)

Paul Downing, son of Janet Downing, who was murdered by Edward O’Brien in Somervile, MA in 1995.

David Freed, district attorney for Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. President of the Pennsylvanian District Attorneys Association.

Jeanne Bishop, assistant public defender in the office of the Cook County, Illinois Public Defender. Sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who was shot to death at age 25 along with her husband and their unborn child. (@jeannebishop)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Juveniles Facing Lifelong Terms Despite Rulings — “Lawsuits now before Florida’s highest court are among many across the country that demand more robust changes in juvenile justice. One of the Florida suits accuses the state of skirting the ban on life without parole in non-homicide cases by meting out sentences so staggering that they amount to the same thing. Other suits, such as one argued last week before the Illinois Supreme Court, ask for new sentencing hearings, at least, for inmates who received automatic life terms for murder before 2012 — a retroactive application that several states have resisted.”

Detroit Free Press: Parole hearings on hold for 360 Michigan juveniles serving life sentences — “The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Attorney General Bill Schuette a stay of a federal judge’s order that would require parole hearings for about 360 Michigan juveniles now serving life sentences for murder with no possibility of parole. Today’s order is an early Christmas gift for families of murder victims who have been traumatized by the possible release of teenaged murderers sentenced to life without parole,’ Schuette said in a news release.”

NPR: Unlikely Advocates For Teen Killers: Victims’ Families — “One man’s mother had been killed by four teenage girls. Another man’s son was killed by a teenage boy. Yet all of them want the court to find life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional. It’s not a group you often hear about. Many in the room said they frequently are unwilling to share their feelings about the issue because they have been accused of not missing their loved ones enough. On this day, there was enough sorrow in the room to fill an afternoon — but also enough forgiveness.”

Tweets From The Hour

Listen To Victim’s Stories

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 22, 2014
Health workers carry the body of a woman suspected of contracting the Ebola virus in Bomi county situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP)

We’ll go to Liberia, and hear from a pastor and a physician at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis.

Oct 22, 2014
Authors Nicholas Kristof and wife Sheryl WuDunn attend the premiere of "Meena" at the AMC Loews Theater on Thursday, June 26, 2014 in New York.

Author and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says regular folks like us can change the world. He explains how.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 21, 2014
This undated image provided by Google, shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP)

The future of the car: from the fuels they’ll run on, to the materials they’ll be made of, to the computers that may drive them.

 
Oct 21, 2014
David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Two weeks to go till Midterm Election Day. We’ll look at how the biggest issues are playing out around the country.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
1 Comment
 
Two LIVE Tracks From Jazz Violinist Regina Carter
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Regina Carter shares two live tracks — one arrangement, and one original composition — with Tom Ashbrook in the On Point studio.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 17, 2014
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

We talk Facebook mishaps, whether Katy Perry was actually right and the glory of architectural giants and their iconic windows.

More »
Comment