Thursday, November 13, 2014
"Lost for Life": a crime, once committed, is irreversible, even for a minor
“Lost for Life”, by Joshua Rofe (76 minutes), now available on Netflix, interviews several adult men now in prison for life for murders they committed as teenagers.
The film concludes by reporting the Supreme Court decision in June 2012 that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for persons under 18 were “cruel and unusual punishment”, but that it would be permissible to impose them case-by-case. The cases were Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, as reported in the National Center for Youth Law here.
The film opened with the interview of Brian Lee Draper (wiki for Cassie Jo Stoddart case ) in Idaho. He and a companion (Torey Michael Adamcik) seem to have been motivated by Columbine, and by a series of horror films called “Scream”. Draper stammered and was already balding at age 21, as he appeared in prison.
The film would interview Jacob, who had killed his parents in Woodland Park, CO, and an African American serving life for a gang crime; he had converted to Islam in prison.
One prisoner said that the system makes anything he does in prison “immaterial”. Society does not consider his life valuable or worthy of attention, given the need for retribution. The film also pointe out that the teen brain is not fully grown biologically, in the ability to “see around corners” as Dr. Phil puts it.
There is a site for a National Organization for Victims of Juvenile Murderers (NOVJM).
The documentary seemed to focus on crimes that had been premeditated. It did not go into the possibility of compulsive or impulsive acts, which would also be irrevocable.
The official site (Snag Films) poses the question “Could you forgive?”
The film did not cover rampage thrillers; on Feb. 2, 2013 I reviewed the PBS Nova “Mind of a Rampage Killer” (with Miles O’Brien) on my TV blog. The film also did not go into any wrongful convictions.