August 19th, 2016 Federal Court Agrees!
Child lifers in Philadelphia are being manipulated into taking a plea-bargain that, in reality, still equals a LIFE sentence; and is not in the spirit of the Supreme Court’s Miller v. Alabama ruling that expressed the unconstitutionality of mandatory life sentencing for child offenders and the cruelty of not considering the many mitigated factors that causes a child to commit or participate in horrible crimes.
During the ‘Seth Williams Have a Heart’ rally (Sponsored by the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration), on August 9th, members of CADBI brought public awareness to the fact that District Attorney Seth Williams was not, actually, living up to his word that he would no longer seek Life Without Parole for Child lifers.
CADBI members were resilient in their protest of Seth Williams and Patricia Vickers (CADBI and Human Rights Coalition member) said that it is a manipulating move to offer a sentence of 35-to-Life as a plea-bargain; because 35-to-Life is still a LIFE sentence; also going in front of the Parole Board, well, it isn’t legal because by law, in Pennsylvania, a person who has a LIFE sentence cannot be paroled; in addition the mitigating circumstances haven’t been considered. The system labeled these children as “the worse of the worse” and “beyond redemption” and to date it continues to force that label on them even against the U.S. Supreme Court’s instruction.
So guess what? The FEDERAL COURT is in direct agreement with CADBI’s view. Ten days later, August 19th, a judge of the Federal Court ruled (in the case of Kempis “Ghani” Songster) that the way Seth Williams is handling the Juvenile Life With Out Parole (JLWOP) re-sentencing hearings is unconstitutional and does not follow the US Supreme Court’s ruling.
“A sentencing practice that results in every juvenile’s sentence with a maximum term of life, regardless of the minimum term, does not reflect individualized sentencing,” Timothy J. Savage, District Court judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, wrote in both opinions. He added: “Passing off the ultimate decision to the Parole Board in every case represents an abdication of judicial responsibility and ignores the [Supreme Court’s] mandate.”
Click here to read the original article.
Stand strong folks, cause we are another step closer in building a humane and redemptive society.