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November 6, 2016

"Life Without the Possibility of Parole for Juvenile Offenders: Public Sentiments"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by Jennifer Gongola, Daniel Krauss and Nicholas Scurich. Here is the abstract:

The United States Supreme Court recently abolished mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP) for juvenile offenders, holding that the practice was inconsistent with the 8th amendment’s cruel and unusual punishment clause, and its “evolving standards of decency” jurisprudence. The Court explicitly left open the question of whether non-mandatory LWOP is consistent with these constitutional standards.

This paper examines the public’s sentiment concerning juvenile LWOP. An online sample (n = 599) weighted to be representative of the U.S. population was queried about juvenile LWOP as a general policy and in response to a specific case in which they had to impose a prison sentence on a juvenile convicted of murder. The age of the juvenile was experimentally manipulated. Overall, 31% of participants favored juvenile LWOP as a general policy while 55% were willing to impose juvenile LWOP in the specific case presented. The age of the juvenile moderated this effect, such that participants were more willing to impose LWOP on a 16-year-old than a 12-year-old both as a general policy matter and in response to the specific case vignette. A majority of participants were consistent in their preferred punishment across both frames, including 30% who selected LWOP.

Political affiliation was the only demographic variable that predicted consistency in preferred punishment across the two frames. Additionally, participants who consistently endorsed juvenile LWOP placed greater emphasis on retribution and deterrence as goals of punishment while individuals who evidenced inconsistent punishment preferences placed a greater emphasis on rehabilitation.

November 6, 2016 at 11:44 AM | Permalink


I think Doug that you're going to have to re-evaluate your Obama is more moral than Trump:


Seriously--encouraging the stealing of votes?

Posted by: federalist | Nov 6, 2016 12:13:09 PM

You and Tarls claimed, partisan federalist, that I was wrong to suggest you participated in the alt-right echo-chamber, but now you seem to be promote a new alt-right anti-Obama meme with a headline that obviously does not match the statements of the Prez in the video. (Obama is seeking to explain in this video clip, albeit after a question that confuses the meaning of the word "citizen," that when an actual citizen votes, he/she need not be worried about being pursued by government agents.)

Though I supposed I should be troubled that you, partisan federalist, bother to pollute this forum with this silliness, I am prepared to continue to allow you to take these threads badly off topic in service to your partisan mission. That said, I continue to be truly bothered by the reality that a smart partisan like you, partisan federalist, can so delude yourself into the belief that your perspective on matters is somehow non-partisan.

Again, I continue to issue to you the challenge, partisan federalist, of making your full case under your real name that GOP Prez candidate Trump is a more moral person/politician than Prez Obama. Once you make your case, we can (in this forum or elsewhere) see how many folks other than partisans are prepared to agree with your moral claims. As you know, you have slunk away from this challenge before, but now I surmise you think you have a great new talking point for the claim. So, will you slink away again or will you actually try this time to defend your own assertions that your moral views are not influenced by your partisan commitments.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 6, 2016 2:59:36 PM

The word of the day ... "partisan."


Posted by: Joe | Nov 6, 2016 3:17:50 PM

Seriously, Doug? He's saying that there will be no repercussions to those who don't have the right to vote and who vote.

This isn't partisan---this is just logic.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 7, 2016 9:15:50 AM

So why the reference to "citizen" by Obama, partisan federalist? Isn't a citizen one who, by definition, has a right to vote? And if Prez Obama is truly seeking to "encourage" illegal aliens to vote, why does one need to go to an alt-right site to find this out? FWIW, here is the snopes.com debunking of your latest silliness, partisan federalist:

Again, partisan federalist, my point has never been that you should feel compelled to view Obama as more moral than Trump. Rather, I asked for your views on their relative morality in order to assess whether your moral views are influenced by your partisan commitments. Your comments in the prior thread and elsewhere and now here have established, over and over and over again, what I had thought was true -- namely that your moral views are influenced by your partisan commitments. This is not meant as an insult or an effort to silence you, but rather just an effort to help you see that your moral vision is colored by your partisanship.

That you continue to deny the impact of your partisan commitments while citing to alt-right sites to make your case is the truly sad story of so much of our current electorate: too many loud voices and smart people on both sides of the aisle now consider their partisan perspective to be pure "truth" and "logic" and further believe that any other views must be evil and false. And those kinds of attitudes --- plus the tendency to insult aggressively those with different perspectives --- has made this election cycle especially unpleasant. But this too shall pass, and I foresee more pleasant realities in the not-too-distant future.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 7, 2016 9:51:36 AM

I'll respond later. But I will point out, Doug, that your views on LWOP etc. completely clouded your views such that you made Montgomery arguments that the victims' families generally would be benefited retroactivity. I am not trying to make a tu quoque argument--I'll defend my position here later--but I think you need to look in the mirror.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 7, 2016 10:34:45 AM

For the record, partisan federalist, (1) I never stated that ALL victims' families would benefit from Miller retroactivity, and (2) I never denied that my categorical opposition to mandatory LWOP influenced my view that SOME victims' families could benefit from Miller retroactivity. More to the point of our discussion, partisan federalist, I never disputed that my categorical opposition to mandatory LWOP influences my arguments concerning a mandatory LWOP case being considered by the Supreme Court. (My opposition to mandatory LWOP also leads me to be agnostically supportive of the death penalty and to be persistently critical of DP abolitionists who advocate for mandatory LWOP as a means to get rid of the death penalty.)

I suspect that you understand these nuances but still bring up Miller/Montgomery hoping to pivot away from the very topic you decided to raised anew, namely your (partisan) belief that Obama may be less moral than Trump. As you try to pivot, partisan federalist, I hope you appreciate how foolish you appear attacking me for a substantive position I readily will admit influences my views/thinking. In contrast, you continue to try to dispute what your own words make so very obvious: namely, that your moral vision is colored by your partisanship. Indeed, it is so comical that you use a cite to an alt-right site like Gateway Pundit to try to show yourself to be non-partisan, I am now wondering if you are just now using the comments of this blog as a weird kind of performance art (like Supremecy Claus used to do).

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 7, 2016 11:28:50 AM

Doug, please read--I'll respond later to the Obama thing.

"victims' families generally", by the by, is not a synonym for "ALL victims"

Posted by: federalist | Nov 7, 2016 1:01:36 PM

Here's what Doug had to say regarding Montgomery and victims' families.

"As you know, not all victims favor death or LWOP or even finality. Indeed, one of many reason a less final sentence (with victim input) could be beneficial for victims is because it provides a reason for a changing defendant to seek to make some kinds of amends to victims to get their support for future sentencing purposes."

So there you have it--Montgomery could be beneficial to victims' families. This quote absolutely vindicates my statement that you argued that Montgomery benefited victims' generally.

As for Obama and the voting quote--wow. The right to vote is a precious right, and non-citizen voting, of course, is appalling since it goes to the heart of the ability of the electorate to choose its representatives and leaders. (Obama, of course, doesn't seem to troubled about that.) So in a conversation where the possibility of aliens voting is discussed, he says there should be no repercussions because no one is checking? Really?

You can call me partisan or what have you . . . . but given the preciousness of the right to vote for citizens, Obama was extremely cavalier about the possibility of dilution. Couple that with his DoJ's abject hostility to voter ID laws and other measures to ensure that aliens do not vote, I think this interview is a fair commentary on his morality.

Illegal immigrants ARE going to vote in this election--the question is how many? Given the amount of illegals on the voter rolls in Virginia, there is a strong possibility that enough will vote so as to swing an election. Obama doesn't seem to care (despite thinking that the franchise is very important), and his answer to the question would suggest to any illegal out there that voting in our elections isn't a problem and presents little risk.

And apparently, you're good with that.

Personally, if an illegal alien is caught casting a vote in a US election, the minimum sentence should be 20 years in prison.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 7, 2016 6:48:28 PM

I do not dispute in any way that I have made the case that "Montgomery could be beneficial to victims' families," which is a view that I have because I am categorically opposed to juve mandatory LWOP ... and one reason for that view is because sentences other than LWOP "could be beneficial to [some] victims' families." I am not sure what you think that shows, partisan federalist, other than to showace that my disaffinity for juve LWOP makes me eager to highlight that others sentences could be beneficial to victims' families.

Again, partisan federalist, all I am seeking to get you to do is see is your partisan commitments and how your you moral vision is colored by your partisanship. Note how I readily acknowledge my opposition to juve mandatory LWOP accounts for my eagerness to make the case that "Montgomery could be beneficial to victims' families." Similarly, you should readily acknowledge that your partisan commitments lead you to criticize Obama's morality and to believe Trump could be a moral moral Prez and to support your clains by citing to alt-right sites. I continue to be gobsmacked that you deny your ever so obvious partisan views.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 7, 2016 9:00:45 PM

Well, there you have it---because you are in favor of no juvenile LWOP, you'll argue that victims' families generally somehow benefit.


As for Obama's statement, you can yap about "alt-right" or whatever you want. I've made a reasonable case why Obama's comment should be appalling to anyone who cares about the right to vote. The Democratic party's recent history on the franchise is pretty laughable:

(1) fighting against military voters in Florida in 2000;

(2) dismissing voter intimidation judgments against NBPP thugs

And now Obama, whose political interests are advanced by illegals voting, signals to illegals that them voting isn't something he has a problem with or that there will be any repercussions if they do.

Like I say, yammer all you want about partisanship, but the sad fact is that you cannot do anything but name call.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 7, 2016 10:24:31 PM

There you go again, partisan federalist, mischaracterizing my statement about victim families AND then yet again going to a deep well to criticize only Ds for poor conduct on voting rights. Anyone who knows anything about anything knows the recent GOP record on the franchise is plenty ugly, but a partisan like you only sees and attacks one side because your partisan commitments shape what you want to see, remember and attack.

But highlighting your partisan perspective is not a form of name calling, partisan federalist; doing so just makes it easier for me (and perhaps others) to understand how and why you repeatedly raise certain anti-D talking points (and only anti-D talking points). And the remarkable fact that you seem to genuinely believe yourself not to be a partisan (while citing to alt-right sites) serves further to demonstrate how deeply and troublesomely committed you are to believing your partisan perspective is the only reasonable one.

Then again, you have slunk away and sought to pivot away again from a challenge to write up and defend your claims under your real name; that reality leads me to have a glimmer of hope that you know you are a hard-core partisan and are just engaged in a kind of avant-garde theater (under a stage name) through your comments here.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 8, 2016 3:48:35 AM

"Anyone who knows anything about anything knows the recent GOP record on the franchise is plenty ugly, but a partisan like you only sees and attacks one side."

Huh? Unless you think that voter ID laws are bad, name any GOP voting issue as bad as:

1996 Al Gore intervening to get criminals citizenship so they could vote, even though not eligible to be citizens.

2000 and the disenfranchisement of military absentee ballots at the behest of Dems.

2009 The NBPP issue.

Name one. I know you don't like felon disenfranchisement, but so what?

As for Obama, it's painfully obvious that Obama's engaged in some sort of weird dog-whistle politics and that he is signaling that illegals voting won't have any consequences. All in all, pretty immoral from POTUS.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 8, 2016 8:16:45 AM

And how did I mischaracterize your statement? You posit that Montgomery could be beneficial (note the lawyerly "could be") to victims' families interests, and in that C & C thread you defended that position.

It's utter sophistry. Did you work for Pravda in a previous life---whatever Montgomery has to say for it, benefiting victims' families isn't in Montgomery's plus column.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 8, 2016 8:20:17 AM

And I guess I'm partisan for pointing this out:


In ICE custody and not deported . . . . and a dead kid.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 8, 2016 9:25:53 AM

1. Mischaracterization, partisan federalist: calling lawyerly the phrase "could be" does not mean the phrase has no meaning. Saying families "could" benefit is not the same as saying they will "generally" benefit. That is your blatant and obvious mischaracterization. And, as you should know, a number of victims' families filed a brief in support of Montgomery, which is the sound basis for my accurate statement that Montgomery could be beneficial to some victims' families. Here is a link to that brief: http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Montgomery_Victims-Family-Members-Amicus.pdf

2. partisan obtuseness, partisan federalist: Are you not aware of the federal court ruling striking down recent GOP-driven NC voting law based on its "discriminatory intent"? I am not aware of any federal court decisions finding any voting laws passed by a Dem legislature to violate the VRA, but a GOP legislature in NC passed a voting law in violation of the VRA which led to this Fourth Circuit determination: "We can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the [new voting] law with discriminatory intent." Does that not count as one example of a "plenty ugly" effort on behalf of the GOP with respect to the franchise?

3. the sad case/homicide that you highlight with your link does not make you a partisan, federalist. Objective facts are not partisan. Obtuse and persistent assertions that everything that Obama and Ds do are worse than anything that Trump and GOPers do is what makes you a partisan. This should not be all that hard for you to grasp, but apparently it is even though the more you discuss matters the more you showcase your hardened partisan perspective on nearly every issue.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 8, 2016 11:33:55 AM

Oh good grief Doug, your defense is weak.

(1) You didn't say "some"--and you're using the fact that (out of many thousands of victims' families) a few here and there want their kids' killers out as a fig leaf for the argument. Bottom line--Montgomery isn't about helping victims' families--generally, it hurts them. It's a cheap rhetorical tactic to undercut a very strong argument against Montgomery--i.e., finality.

(2) Re: VRA--stop. The southern states are subject to heightened scrutiny, and courts are using that to strike down common sense laws about voter ID etc. Just stop. Please. You know better than this.

(3) You can't debate the merits of Obama's wink wink nod nod re: alien voting.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 8, 2016 12:30:57 PM

Oh good grief, federalist, you just want to talk and talk and talk with your partisan talking-points that have nothing to do with the topic of this post or generally with the topic of this blog. It seems I continue to get under your skin by calling out your obvious partisanship and the way it impacts your moral judgments, and you continue to respond by mischaracterizing what I say in a bizarre off-topic wordsmith game about a discussion more than a year ago. Is that really the best you have?

No doubt you are feverish with partisanship these days, as now just about everything you say about courts and others is driven by your partisan taking points --- e.g., an out-of-left-field cite to an alt-right site mischaracterizing what Prez Obama said about voting, then complaining about something Al Gore may have done 20 years ago, all the while ignoring a federal court ruling from a few months ago that a recent GOP-led NC voting law was enacted "with discriminatory intent." That is what I expect from a partisan, but all sensible partisans would not then try to deny the obvious reality that this kind of fevered attack only on Ds is a product of a partisan perspective.

Meanwhile, what is there to "debate" about Obama's comment? I am not trying to avoid a debate, but I am trying to highlight that your eagerness to cite an alt-right site on an off-topic issue is still further proof of how your partisanship distorts your ability to have a sober on-point conversation sometimes. Is it too much to ask that your try to stay on-point in this forum? I am happy to discuss via email whatever the next alt-right cite/claim you want to turn into a new partisan talking point for whatever reason.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 8, 2016 2:14:21 PM

Doug, do you really think that states are powerless to enact voter ID laws? That's what the Fourth Circuit held. That the judges dressed up their dislike of voter ID laws as "discriminatory" says a lot more about the judges than the NC Legislature.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 8, 2016 2:22:10 PM

I think states are allowed to enact voter ID laws, and I voted today in a state that has such a law. And it is obviously possible to do so in a way without discriminatory intent, as lots of states have enacted such laws without having them struck down on the ground NC had its law struck down.

I also think states are not allowed to pass voting laws "with discriminatory intent" and the Fourth Circuit rules that this is what the NC legislature did. I get that, as a partisan, you do not accept a court's holding that contradicts your partisan views and you claim the judges are just "dressing up" their formal ruling. But, because I lack the time to read the whole record, I instead start by accepting a court's ruling at face value rather than just assume, as a partisan, that it must be right or wrong because I like or dislike the result.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 8, 2016 2:37:44 PM

Hmmmmm, ok, so voter ID laws are ok, but passing them with some "discriminatory intent" is not? Hmmmm.

That's just metastaticized Reitman v. Mulkey . . . .

The whole legislature and the governor passed a law protecting the ballot, and they all had discriminatory intent. And I am supposed to accept that at face value---ok, gotcha.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 8, 2016 3:29:50 PM

I am not urging you to accept any decision "at face value," partisan federalist. Rather, I am just spotlighting your partisan nature by highlighting your eagerness (1) to ignore a major court ruling when bashing Ds about voting rights, and then (2) to dismiss the court's ruling because it does not fit your own partisan narrative.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 8, 2016 3:51:16 PM

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