Chief Judge on Punishing Juvenile Offenders

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A judges gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom (Getty)

Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York , talks about the policy of punishment and why he thinks the age of criminal responsibility needs to be raised.


Jonathan Lippman

Comments [18]

Amy from Manhattan

martin from manhattan, have you seen the movie "Slavery by Another Name"? It shows exactly what you're talking about, starting w/how that clause in the 13th Amendment was deliberated ab/used by finding excuses to arrest black men &, in effect, put them back into slavery.

Aug. 13 2014 11:06 AM
Trevor Milton from Queens

Most academic research supports what Justice Lippman is saying. Up to 89% of boys and 81% of girls in New York recidivate after serving time upstate. There is no positive lesson they "learn." We are making criminals.
See Kupchik ("Judging Juveniles"); Milton ("Overcoming the Magnetism of Street Life"); and Barrett ("Courting Kids") for research on juvenile offenders in NYC.

Aug. 13 2014 10:52 AM
Becca from Brooklyn

Many prisons are For Profit in the US - our government is making deals to privatize prisons. Those prisons have goals to keep their prisons full and to expand...

Aug. 13 2014 10:44 AM
Ginzberg from Inwood

I guess as a judge he has to sit quietly and listen to lawyers go on and on, so now that he's got the floor, there's no stopping him! Good insights though, and conversation, when there's room for it.

Aug. 13 2014 10:44 AM
beryl from Upper West side

waiting 7-10 years to expunge the record means much of their young life had to be very limited. Too many years to wait

Aug. 13 2014 10:44 AM

Virtually all of the gun-related massacres that have made headlines over the past decade have had one thing in common:
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by Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D.
Columbine shootings in April of 1999. Though shot multiple times in the chest, Mark survived the shooting. It was later revealed that both shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, were on antidepressants at the time of the shootings. Harris had reported to his psychiatrist that he was feeling depressed, angry, and suicidal while on Prozac. He was then prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft and later Luvox after complaining about restlessness and a lack of concentration. At the time of his death, Harris had therapeutic Luvox levels in his system and his prescription bottle was in his pocket.

Aug. 13 2014 10:44 AM

Brian, why are you even trying to stop this guy? It's not a dialogue. He knows this issue - let the monologue continue. Sometimes you just need to know when to sit back and let 'em go.

Aug. 13 2014 10:43 AM
martin from manhattan

a theory. crime and punishment is a vestige of slavery. 13 amendment to the constitution ended slavery but allows for incarceration (often abusive) if a "crime" is committed. this is now engrained in the culture.

Aug. 13 2014 10:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm glad Judge Lippman is advocating this change. Is there a petition somewhere that we can sign, or other things we can do to help make it happen? Is there a bill in the state legislature?

Aug. 13 2014 10:40 AM

Federal Mandatory Minimum sentences were a Congressional response to the understandable tendency of Judges not to impose long sentences for victimless crimes - drug use, and sale to willing buyers. So today the "United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world, at 754 per 100,000 (as of 2009). ***
In the twenty-five years since the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the United States penal population rose from around 300,000 to more than two million. Between 1986 and 1991, African-American women's incarceration in state prisons for drug offenses increased by 828 percent."

Aug. 13 2014 10:39 AM
E from Bk

This guest sounds like the "I love to laugh!" guy from Mary Poppins and it's making me really happy.

Aug. 13 2014 10:38 AM
Lyonn Redd from Cologne / Germany

Hi Brian!
I am German. In Germany for young criminals juvenile law (Jugendstrafrecht) is applied up to the age of 18. However - if the person is attested to be still immature - juvenile law is even applied up to the age of 21. I think this is the right way!
Thank you for your always great shows.
Greetings from Cologne

Aug. 13 2014 10:36 AM
Nuala from Jackson Heights

It is extremely rare for a person under 19 years old to have a criminal record for a misdemeanor crime committed under the age of 19 in NYC.

For a young person to obtain a criminal record before 19 they have to have committed a long series of crimes, or a second Felony record!

Aug. 13 2014 10:35 AM
Casey from Brooklyn, NY

To respond to the question about how race factors into punishment: race is absolutely a factor when you consider that many people do not view young people of color as children. See, for example, this study that found that black boys were viewed as older and less innocent than whites:

It's a frightening world for these children, who deserve every bit of the same protection and care that white children do.

Aug. 13 2014 10:34 AM
Tony from Canarsie

How does governor Cuomo closing several prisons and juvenile detention centers over the past few years fit into this?

Aug. 13 2014 10:33 AM
Joe from nearby

Thank you Brian! Finally someone who actually has rich experience in this area with something valuable to say, instead of politicians pandering for "tough on crime" votes.

Kids shouldn't have criminal records so early in life, they shouldn't be put on Megan's law either (still developing- give them counseling instead), and Big Business shouldn't be able to PROFIT off online search fees to find a kid's record.

Aug. 13 2014 10:31 AM
Nuala from Jackson Heights

I am concerned that this is misleading

The Chief Judge is not talking about Youthful Offender treatment which applies to all defendants between 14 and 18 which does not give them a criminal record.

Aug. 13 2014 10:31 AM
John from Brooklyn

Thank you for this guest!! A refreshing perspective and the most important points of the issue are extremely well-put by Mr. Lippman. He's doing great work and I thank him.

Aug. 13 2014 10:28 AM

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