Thursday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Citing Supreme Court Decision Caleb Fairley Seeks New Trial for 1996 Murders, Montgomery Media

A pro se prisoner attempts to expand the scope of the no mandatory life sentencing without parole schemes decision in Miller v. Alabama to include adults who were 21 at the time of the crime.

Caleb Bradley Fairley, now 38, filed papers in Montgomery County Court this week asking a judge to vacate his two life prison sentences and to grant him a new trial, or in the alternative, a new sentencing hearing, in connection with the September 1995 strangulation deaths of Lisa Marie Manderach, 29, of Limerick, and her 19-month-old daughter, Devon, in Collegeville.

Fairley, formerly of Upper Merion, relied on the high court’s 5-4 decision June 25, which determined mandatory life sentences without parole for those who committed murders before they were 18 constituted “cruel and unusual punishment,” and implied that judges need the discretion to weigh cases individually.

Fairley . . . argued the fact he was 21 at the time of his crimes is irrelevant. Fairley claimed scientific findings reached by the appellate courts support that “a person’s biological process is typically incomplete until the person reaches his or her mid-twenties.”

Does Committing a Murder Make a 13-year-old an Adult? In US Courts it Does, Practical Ethics University of Oxford

Detroit Ninth Grader to Spend 12-30 Year Prison Term in Death of Church Guard, The Detroit News

Police Stations to Handle Juvenile Cases, Times of India

The state government has decided to have special juvenile police units (SJPU) in all police stations of the state. The SJPUs that handle juvenile delinquencies are currently functioning from only the district police headquarters. “The juvenile units would now function in all police stations. The aim is to give dedicated attention to minors indulging in crimes,” director (social welfare) of women and child development department Sujata R Karthikeyan told TOI.

Child rights activists are skeptical of the move. “The mahila and sishu desks have skeletal staff. . . How can we expect best results from them,” said child rights activist Anuradha Mohanty. “Instead of running the juvenile units inside police stations, the government should open separate rooms elsewhere and engage dedicated police officers for handling the desks. The officers should be trained on how to counsel minor offenders,” Mohanty said.

Pakistani Girl Accused of Blasphemy is Innocent Police Say, Neon Tommy

Police investigators in Pakistan reported that a Christian Pakistani girl accused of blasphemy is innocent. The police announced that they had no evidence against 14-year-old Rimsha Masih, reported CNN.

Masih will be tried on Oct. 1 in juvenile court.  Masih and her family believe their lives may be in danger regardless of the ruling. Over the past 20 years, more than 30 people accused of blasphemy have been killed according to Christian leaders in Pakistan, BBC reported.

Council Slams Party Law as “Demonising Youth“, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News

The Youth Affairs Council and the Criminal Lawyers Association have both criticised the State Government’s proposed legislation to address out-of-control parties.

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