Sentencing and the “Affluenza” Factor
| Cataloged on:
Feb. 21, 2014
ANNOTATION: “This month a judge in Texas ordered a 16-year-old boy who killed four people in a drunken-driving crash to enter rehabilitation as part of 10 years of probation she imposed without a jail sentence. A defense psychologist had said the teenager suffered from “affluenza,” his judgement stunted by his pampered, privileged upbringing. The case has angered many who have said that a poor person would have been imprisoned, without the same considerations. To what extent should life circumstances affect sentencing?” This case is sure to be appealed and may impact the way affluent youth are treated by the juvenile justice system. A group of seven criminal justice experts weigh in on this judgment. They explain why the decision should or should not have been made. It is important reading for anyone working with youth, whether they are rich or poor. Issues debated are: “All Circumstances Are Not Created Equal” by Alan M. Dershowitz; “Systematic Changes are Necessary” by Preeti Chauhan; “Consider the Crime’s Root Causes” by Aundrea Brown; “Utilitarianism vs. Retributivism” by Alan M. Gershel; “Judicial Discretion Can Help the Poor” by Timothy K. Lewis; “Life Circumstances Level the Sentencing Field” by Marc Mauer; and “Money Can Open Up Options” by Jenna Finklestein.