How Would You Sentence Violent 14 Year Olds?

There is a lot of controversy about how to handle teens younger than 18 when they commit crimes.  Many are sent to juvenile detention until they reach 18 or 21, depending on where in the country, and then they are released back into the general public.  A number of states have passed laws allowing minor teens to be charged as adults for violent crimes, but bleeding heart liberals argue that putting them in federal prison will do irreparable harm to them.

I’ve heard some liberals say that minor teens often don’t understand the difference between right and wrong.  They say that they don’t realize that there are serious consequences for their wrong actions.

My answer to that is bull.  Kids learn at young ages what is wrong and what is right.  Four year olds will lie to their parents when asked if they did something because they know it was wrong and that there are unpleasant consequences.

So how would you sentence young teens who exhibit violent behavior?  Case in point involves a pair of 14 year old twin boys from North College Hill, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati.

On April 11, 2012, 45 year old Pat Mahaney was walking home from the grocery store, carrying his groceries.  A group of 6 underage teens were bored when they saw Mahaney and decided to beat him just for the fun of it.  They attacked Mahaney, beating and kicking the man and destroying his groceries.  After the attack, Mahaney was hospitalized with severe internal bleeding and numerous bruises over his face and torso.

Among the attackers were 14 year old twin brothers Tyree and Terrell Mizell.  They pleaded guilty to felonious assault and promised to turn their lives around.  For the past year, the brothers were under house arrest, awaiting their sentencing.  Last Thursday Judge Sylvia Hendon felt compassion for the boys and instead of sentencing them to juvenile prison, she gave them suspended sentences and ordered them to spend 9 months at a secured educational and treatment facility known as Rite of Passage.

Judge Hendon is now re-thinking her sentencing of the twins.  It turns out that last Wednesday, the day before telling the judge they were sorry and promised to change their ways, they assaulted another boy.  Assault charges were filed against the Mizell brothers on Friday.  The twins never told their attorney or the judge about the assault that happened the day before they told her that they were changing their ways.

If the new assault charges hold up in court, Judge Hendon will be face with the decision of what to do with the brothers.

To begin with, I would never have given them a suspended sentence or send them to Rite of Passage.  At 14 years of age, they knew that attacking an innocent stranger was wrong and dangerous and that it would inflict bodily injury, but they did it because they were bored and needed something to do.  Giving them the suspended sentence just sends the message to other kids their age that they can commit this type of heinous crime and get away with only a slap on the wrist.

I would have given the twins and the others involved in the beating of Pat Mahaney the maximum sentence allowable under the law.  Send their sorry butts to prison for as many years as possible.  The more this happens, the more some may think twice about attacking someone.

If you were the judge, what would you do?