Sunday, April 26, 2009
University of Southern Califonia (USC) Holds Forum on Life Sentences for Youth
Panelists include Professor Heidi Rummel of the USC School of Law; Elizabeth Calvin of Human Rights Watch, a researcher and advocate with Human Rights Watch will discuss SB399 and California specific issues regarding juvenile justice; and Efrén Paredes, Jr. who is serving sentences of life without parole in Michigan (present by phone); and students from USC Gould School of Law's Post Conviction Justice Project who are currently working on cases in which juveniles have been sentenced to life without parole.
Panelists will discuss several questions, including: Should juveniles be sentenced to life in prison? Are our youth incorrigible? Why is the U.S. the only nation in the world to not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child?
There is a statewide campaign to end juvenile life without parole in California, where more than 250 youth have been sentenced to die in prison. A bill has just been introduced in the California state legislature that would provide review and possible re-sentencing of all life without parole cases cases in which the offender was under the age of 18 when the crime occurred. Students at USC could play an important role in helping to get SB 399, the Fair Sentences for Youth Act, passed.
President Barack Obama who has openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that the United States has not, like the country of Somalia, yet ratified the Convention On the Rights of the Child which prohibits the imposition of life without parole sentences on juveniles. The United States and Somalia are the only countries in the world who have not ratified the treaty.
In October 2008, President Obama responded to this at the Walden University Presidential Youth Debate by saying, "It is embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia, a lawless land." He continued, "I will review this and other treaties and ensure that the United States resum es its global leadership in human rights."
Location: USC Campus WPH102 Sponsored by M.E.Ch.A. de USC .