Tablet Opinion

Miscarriage of justice, or a wise decision?

Thursday’s editorial was headlined “16-year-old’s sentence is hard for all.”

Not really. Not very hard for the 16-year-old, who is going to a country-club rehabilitation center.

How many Texas juvenile offenders get that opportunity? None, except for the very rich.

It’s obvious to all but the most naive observer that money bought this type of justice, or injustice, depending on your point of view.

Yes, juvenile justice should be about rehabilitation. But that should be in concert with serving time for doing the crime.

The judge’s experience that “some” offenders never get the kind of therapy they need in Texas juvenile justice facilities is no excuse for not pursuing time for the crime this young man committed.

The writer is correct in that none of us have sat in Judge Jean Boyd’s chair for 26 years. But does that mean we don’t know a miscarriage of justice when we see it?

As to the implication that Tarrant County voters must like her form of justice because they kept re-electing her, how many voters actually know the records of the justices they vote for? My guess is not many.

— Curtis McJunkin,

North Richland Hills

As a prison chaplain for the past seven years, I’d say that 95 percent of inmates have spent time in juvenile justice facilities, proving that the system is a total failure.

The juveniles come out with a greater knowledge of how to be on the wrong side of the law.

State District Judge Boyd, in her 26 years on the bench, has seen the failure of this system and had a chance to possibly save a 16-year-old boy by sending him to a facility that has had great success with youthful offenders.

Unfortunately, the high cost of good treatment is for the wealthy. We need a juvenile justice system in which all of our kids can receive treatment that works. That will take money, but it will save money in the long run and save our children.

What serves society better? A boy who comes out of a prison sentence worse off than when he went in, or a boy who is clean and can become a good citizen?

One thing I do wish the judge had done was to commit him to years of community service, dealing with disabled victims of drunk drivers.

My prayers go to the victims and their families, and I hope they can one day forgive this boy as Jesus Christ forgives us.

— Roger Sickler, Euless

I don’t know what makes me angrier, the ridiculous sentence by the judge or the editorial justifying it!

— James Garrett, Arlington

If ever I’ve been disgusted with our legal system, it is now more than ever, and with this judge who seems to have no regard for the four lives lost due to a reckless kid.

How do they sleep at night?

Judge Boyd will serve one more year before retirement and end 26 years of service with a judgment that was wrong and makes exception for those who have the money to sidestep the Texas juvenile justice system.

Ten years’ probation and a trip to Newport Beach, Calif., for a stay at a country club juvenile facility until he’s 19 for four lives lost and two lives forever changed, not to mention the families’ loss.

How about some adult Texas prison time for the teen after his stay in Newport Beach?

I’d hate to think that I ever voted for this judge over the years.

— Dennis Gee, DeSoto

The Thursday editorial added insult to injury.

We’re supposed to trust the sentencing judge and ask no questions simply because she has been the top judge on Tarrant County’s juvenile court for 19 years and has “rendered judgments on these tough cases time after time”?

Sorry, but years on the job and re-election are no guarantee against bad judgment and murky thinking when the arena is government.

This 16-year-old with rich, negligent parents must be incarcerated and not turned loose on the public to kill and maim again.

Our public safety trumps his opportunity for $450,000 worth of treatment at an exclusive facility outside of the prison system.

Somehow the wise, experienced judge that we are admonished to “trust” missed this, and so did the preachy editorial.

— Thomas Dieb, Fort Worth

The Texas Department of Transportation should post a new sign on our highways:

“Drink. Drive. Go To Jail — but NOT if you are a 16-year-old affluent juvenile offender.”

This retired police officer is highly offended.

— Helen Schilling-Wallace,

Burleson

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