Sunday, December 23, 2007
The State and Victims Aren't the Same
Very nice story in USA Today on a judge's struggle to make the right decision in a juvenile homicide case--adult prison or juvenile treatment? The prosecutor wanted adult, but the judge looked at the offender and crim hist and such and decided on the latter. Good presentation of what judges go through, intellectually and personally, and the kid has turned his life around, actually serving on a state juv just committee now. The prosecutor is still waiting for his next murder, of course, but the key thing is how the victim's family felt like they didn't get the full justice they required. But the community has benefited. What the victim wants and what's best for the community is often but not always the same. The danger of over-representing the victim and ignoring the public good is what we always need to keep in mind in corrections sentencing. The best prosecutors and victims' reps understand that. This story tells us why that's okay.