Convicted murderer could be eligible for parole in 15 years because he was 10 days short of his 18th birthday when he helped gun down teen

Nysani Watt got life today for murdering a 16-year-old who had nothing to do with his gang beef in 2011.

But because he was still a juvenile on the day of the murder - aged 17 years, 355 days - he could be eligible for parole in 15 years, Judge Christine Roach ruled, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

However, Roach imposed the sentence in a way that could let prosecutors request she up that to life without parole, depending on how the Supreme Judicial Court rules on her request for guidance on how to sentence juveniles in murder cases.

The US Supreme Court ruled last year juveniles could not be sent to prison for the rest of their lives without a hearing. Roach rejected prosecutors' requests for a hearing, pending the Supreme Judicial Court coming out with its interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling for Massachusetts.

Watt's pal, Sheldon Mattis, was 18 at the time of Jaivon Blake's murder, so he got a mandatory sentence of life without parole.

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      Comments

      A sentence of imprisonment for 15 years …

      By on

      … assuming it is 15 years without the possibility of parole during that sentence, seems adequate for murder. Certainly, it is the standard in many other countries. If you imprison people for life, you ensure that their role in prison itself ensures that they will only become more and more violent. There are very few prisoners who are never paroled, even with life sentences, so the less rehabilitated that prisoner is, the more dangerous they will be when they eventually are released. Moreover, the less view that the prison system has towards rehabilitation, the more disastrous the outcome for every prisoner. Nor am I sure why the sentence should be meaningfully different for a gentleman ten days short of his eighteenth birthday.

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      No.

      Call me savage and uncivilized, but I do not want someone who killed an innocent person back out on the streets, ever. And if there were to be a number of years, 15 is NOT anywhere near enough. Maybe 60. Maybe. And frankly, I could care less about this thug when there are people in jail for LIFE for things like marijuana and non-violent drug convictions.

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      Eligible for Parole

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      To be fair, Manson is eligible for parole, but he ain't getting out.

      If the victim's family and the community raise a stink, there's a good chance that he is going away for a long time. If he turns his life around, that's what parole is for.

      The sentence is not 15 years. It is life. The issue is that minors cannot be denied the ability to be paroled. Sure, he was barely a minor, but the line is a strong one.

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      Read This

      It came out very recently, and you may have missed it.

      Thousands of people are serving life sentences without parole for non-violent crimes, and more than a few for marijuana-related busts: http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20131118/aclu-thousands-serving-li...

      Among the U.S. crimes that have resulted in life without parole are possession of a crack pipe, possession of 32 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute, serving as a middleman in the selling of $20 worth of crack to an undercover officer, shoplifting several digital cameras and taking an abusive stepfather’s gun.

      An ounce is about 28 grams.

      Full ACLU Report: https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/111213a-lwop-complete-report.pdf

      The section on people serving life sentences without parole starts on page 156. Plenty of case studies for you there.

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      $20 worth of crack

      By on

      Sometimes that's all it takes to turn a productive member of society into a worthless junkie. Don't forget, we're talking about the urban poor here, not some wealthy suburb dweller who can easily get fixed up some fancy $2000/day rehab after a month-long coke binge. A murderer only kills one, assuming he gets caught; a drug dealer can easily destroy the lives of hundreds over his "career." I'm all for three strikes when it comes to low-lifes peddling hard drugs.

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      Just So Stories!

      By on

      How I love them. No evidence. No analysis. Just a nice "just so" story about junkies, and why urban people should be locked up for life because those urban people with their urban skin and all that can't ever be rehabilitated because they aren't like suburban people.

      Uh huh.

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      Reading comprehension problems?

      By on

      Are you really having reading comprehension issues or just being deliberately obtuse? Urban poor addicts can't be rehabilitated because they don't have the resources to use fancy (and very expensive) rehab facilities catering to the wealthy urban and suburban coke fiends and alcoholics who can afford to miss weeks of work and spend tens of thousands of dollars, not because they can't be rehabilitated or are not worth rehabilitating. As for addiction evidence/analysis, do me a favor - go buy some crack, smoke it every other day, and let me know how you're doing in about a month or so.

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      Maybe

      By on

      The French were on to something..

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      Damn right they were

      If you can give sexual consent, you should be executed for killing somebody.

      I mean, really, is it going to take a judge's kid getting brutally murdered to stop this nonsense? I think it is.

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      Hey SJC

      By on

      Here's your "guidance'. The guy was convicted of MURDER! So, let's wake up and realize that his age at the time of the crime is totally irrelevant!

      Prosecute and sentence (if found guilty) based on the severity of the crime, and not some idiotic "standards" such as "juvenile" vs" "adult".

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      If a MURDERER can get off with only 15 years

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      because the law and the state Constitution were poorly written and foolishly (and wrongly) consider the person's age more important than the severity of the CRIME they were CONVICTED of committing, then these laws need to be rewritten.

      After all, it's not like the victim of this crime will get a second chance.

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      Consider this

      If someone under 18 is fully responsible in your estimation, why don't they get to drink? To vote?

      Funny how "old enough to serve a life sentence" isn't old enough to drink, to vote, or to sign a contract without a co-signer, join the military without parental consent, take out a student loan, hold particular jobs, drive a truck, etc.

      Make up your mind here: are we going to give people under 18 true agency or not? Or do they only get such responsibility when it is convenient for our retributive instincts, but retain the status of child when it comes to our authoritarian ones?

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      Consider this

      By on

      Oh, he is under 18, he's just a baby, he didn't know what he was doing and therefore isn't responsible for his actions. Let's just send him to juvy for a year or two, regardless of what he did, be it stealing an ipod from best buy, selling crack on the corner or murdering someone in cold blood. There's no fear of consequences, no accountability for one's actions, just a bunch of kids running wild, shooting at each other.

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      Cool story, bro

      Cool story, bro, Except that the perp in question isn't being sent to juvy for a year; he's being sent up for life. The only question on the table is whether it's "life without parole" or a normal life sentence, in which case he becomes eligible for a parole hearing (note: this does not mean he gets paroled, only that he becomes eligible for a hearing) in 15 years.

      I'm still fine with the principle that we don't put minors away for life without parole.

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      Only if this young man

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      was confronted with this situation 10 days later. Those 10 days are the most important 10 days of every humans life, the lesson we learn in those 10 days allow us to comprehend the value of ones life. There is no doubt in my mind that he would not of committed this grave crime if he was 18 and an adult.

      Ya Bob, real rational thought process.

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      Rational enough for me.

      Do you have a problem with the law allowing someone to vote when they're 18, but not allowing them to vote if their 18th birthday is the day after election day? It's not like the ensuing 24 hours are the most important 24 hours of someone's life, during which they magically acquire the wisdom of adulthood.

      Of course "only those 18 and over can vote" is an arbitrary distinction, just as the rule that we don't put minors away for life without parole.

      What's so irrational about that?

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      Ya

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      Comparing Murder to Voting is really helping your cause.

      Hey at the age of 17 i could have joined the Marines and justifiably took someones life, but this 17 in your eyes was not mature enough to understand the consequences of his actions.

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      Seriously?

      I said absolutely nothing about whether this particular 17 year old was old enough or not to understand the consequences of his actions.

      Many laws are going to have arbitrary cutoffs. Stealing stuff worth over $250 is felony theft; under that is misdemeanor. $249.99? Misdemeanor. $250.01? Felony. Can't park within 15 feet of a hydrant? What about 14 feet six inches? Nope. Can impose life without parole if perp is over 18. What about 17 years 364 days? Nope.

      Do you have a problem with the general concept of laws?

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      Really?

      By on

      So, you love idiotic inflexible laws that let armed thugs with mile-long record walk on a minor technicality, yet you're crying your eyes out about equally idiotic and inflexible laws that land potheads and cleptos in jail for life? Can't have it both ways bro, make up your mind. Laws need to be more flexible to keep those who don't belong in jail out of jail, but same goes for being able to lock up those who should be locked up. Tossing gun charges because a cop allegedly didn't have probable cause to search a thug (in liberal ma that would amount to didnt physically see the gun being used to pump someone full of lead and have a bunch of witnesses to back him up) and having the thug murder someone a couple weeks later is just as idiotic as giving a life sentence to someone who had the misfortune of lighting a joint in front of a cop three times.

      Sure. Flexibility has its advantages.

      Very simple: When rigidity in the law benefits the individual at the expense of the government, I am in favor of it. When it benefits the government at the expense of the individual, I am against it. Laws should always favor the rights of the individual over the rights of the government; it's a 700 plus year old tradition in British and American law.

      It seems to me that tossing out illegally obtained evidence provides the perfect incentive structure to keep the government acting within the law: by breaking the law, the government gains no advantage. Yes, the effect in the short term is that an obviously guilty thug gets off, but the long term game is far more important.

      I really don't see what your objection is here; the perp has been sent to jail with a life sentence.

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      I see

      By on

      The tyrannical government excuse, now in occutard-style packaging. New look, same great taste. Let everyone run around with military-grade weapons because the government is eeeevil and will oppress is if we don't have our AR15s! Don't lock up felonious thugs caught with illegal weapons because the government is eeevil and will start strip-searching us all looking for that pack of gum we stole from CVS 15 years ago if we, god forbid, let the police do their job! Same delusional BS, though the latter causes way more deaths than the former.

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      Not sure about anon

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      but what bothers me about this is basic. The guy may have been sentenced to life, but he's eligible for parole in 15 years. Had he been 18 instead of 17.999, he wouldn't be eligible for parole at all.

      I believe anon's beef here is simple. True, an innocent person is dead, and their killer has been found guilty and sentenced. However, the person's killer gets special treatment (possibility of parole), not because of the nature or circumstances of the crime (which are often very valid legal arguments), but because they "weren't quite an adult" when the crime was committed. It may be accoridng to the letter of the law, but it's hardly justice.

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      There will always be boundary cases

      In what sense does the killer get "special treatment?" -- is he not treated exactly like everyone else in his same situation, namely, a minor convicted of first degree murder?

      If you accept the principle that a five year old who picks up a gun and deliberately kills someone with it should not be sent up for life without parole, then the only thing we're disagreeing about is the age at which the law should make a distinction. Of course the specific age, be it 15, 16, 18, or 21, is going to be arbitrary, and there are going to be boundary cases. As I pointed out in a previous posting, the fact that stealing $249.99 worth of merchandise is a misdemeanor and $250.01 is a felony may not satisfy everyone's idea of justice, but a certain degree of arbitrary distinction is inherent in the nature of laws, is it not?

      What alternative do you propose?

      Consider This

      By on

      If you don't want to live in a country where the government is required to abide by the law, then move to one where it isn't. I'm sure you'll love the weather in Sudan. If not there, I'm sure Russia will do you just fine.

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      Who says he is "getting off with only 15 years"?

      The fact that he becomes eligible to have his parole case heard by the parole board does not equate to a get-out-of-jail card.

      I think "No life-without-parole sentences for minors" is a reasonable rule. It does not mean I approve of turning violent criminals loose.

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      Interesting

      By on

      Alleged ghetto survivor who allegedly lost alleged family members to an allegedly violent alleged criminal doing a victory dance every time a violent thug avoids prison or gets a proverbial slap on the wrist - something doesn't seem right.

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      Perhaps you confuse...

      ... Belief in the rule of law and faith in what is, by nearly all estimates, the worlds premier justice system, for "doing a victory dance every time a violent thug..., etc."

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