, Salem, MA


January 10, 2014

Our view: Legislature should act on parole ruling


In a statement, the Ritzer family said it felt betrayed that the SJC showed more concern for the rights of killers than compassion for their victims.

“This decision should not be applauded, rather overturned as an act of justice and humanity to victims of violent crimes and their families,” the family said.

Finegold told reporter Dustin Luca the ruling “caught a lot of people off guard. I disagree with the decision, and I do believe it should be life without parole for someone who commits a crime like what has happened.”

Finegold said the Legislature “may have to look into a constitutional amendment. We need to look into legislation.”

That won’t be easy. Passing a constitutional amendment in Massachusetts is a complex task requiring the support of a majority in a joint convention of the Legislature in two successive sessions. Then, the proposed amendment is placed on the ballot for the consideration of voters.

There is already locally sponsored legislation regarding juvenile sentencing working its way through Beacon Hill.

A bill filed by State Rep. John Keenan of Salem after the Miller v. Alabama decision, but before the SJC ruling, called for imposing at least 35 years in prison before a juvenile convicted of first-degree murder becomes eligible for a parole hearing and maintained life without parole as a sentencing option for judges.

“The difficult cases are those like Miller (and some other Massachusetts juveniles) where it was not premeditated and not even the defendant who did the actual murder,” Keenan said. “A young kid makes a stupid mistake in agreeing to go along with friends who are going to rob a convenience store, not knowing they are armed, and when the clerk pulls a gun, the other kid shoots and kills the clerk. Those are the difficult cases, as each of us as teenagers made many dumb decisions.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate