While the voters of Louisiana have been rightfully fixated on spending and tax cut bills and the possibility of legislative pay raises, the lobbyists for criminal juveniles have quietly been working in
Under current law, if a juvenile commits a crime so horrible and violent, they can be tried and convicted as an adult, and sentenced to life without parole.
House Bill 122, authored by Rep. J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans) with the help of Rep. Walt Leger, III (D-New Orleans), would provide for automatic eligibility for those who committed crimes as juveniles, upon reaching their 31st birthday.
No exceptions were made in this bill, meaning even those who committed horrible murders, warranting a life sentence, would become eligible for parole.
Fortunately, this bill was defeated in the House on May 8, but only because it did not garner the required 53 YEA votes. Forty-nine (49) legislators voted FOR HB 122, with forty-eight (48) voting AGAINST.
These 49 legislators in the YEA column voted to grant eligibility for parole to the most violent juvenile criminals, even brutal murderers, some of whom were convicted as adults with life sentences.
And despite this bill being defeated two weeks ago, the fight is not over.
Senate Bill 400, authored by Sen. Cheryl Gray (D-New Orleans), is a carbon copy of HB 122, only recently amended to grant eligibility upon the criminal reaching his/her 35th birthday and after completing a GED Testing Program.
Again, this bill has no exceptions that consider the nature of the crime, only granting automatic eligibility for parole, flying against sentences already pursued and achieved by District Attorney Offices across the state.
Are we more concerned about the welfare of convicted murderers and rapists than we are about the victims, who in the worst cases, have no choice but to remain silent FOREVER? And why is it that the three legislators responsible for these bills all hail from
My State Representative, Mickey Guillory (D-Eunice), told me a month ago he was personally against HB 122. However, he cast a voted FOR the bill, with the explanation being that he received over twenty phone calls for the legislation, while my call was the only opposing voice from his constituents. He wanted to represent the “voice” of his constituency.
However, the media in Louisiana never made a single mention about the bill, so the criminal juvenile lobbyists had almost free reign in getting their supporters to voice favor of HB 122 to their representatives while the vast majority of the state remained clueless that such reckless legislation was being pushed.
I happen to believe that if the citizens of Louisiana had known HB 122 was being debated and voted on in the House, they would have responded with a majority voice AGAINST providing blanket eligibility for parole for criminals who committed crimes as juveniles.
But now, there is a second chance, through SB 400, to give your voice to our State Senators. This bill is set for a vote for final passage in the Senate, a voted that can take place any day now.
Tell them that we care more about justice for victims and their families than we do about criminals who forfeited their rights when they committed horrible acts of violence.
My family has been affected by a juvenile murderer, who was tried and convicted as an adult, and his serving a life sentence without parole. He showed utter disregard for the life of an innocent family member of mine. Senate Bill 400, if passed and signed by Governor Bobby Jindal, would subvert the sentence that was unanimously handed down to him by a jury.
It is time we stand up for those victims who can no longer speak for themselves.
Please contact your State Senators and tell them to vote NO on Senate Bill 400. Also, please see how your State Representative voted on House Bill 122, and thank those who stood up for the victims while voicing displeasure to those who supported the criminals.
You can see updates to votes on SB 400 at my website The Conservative Cajun, and read my recent column in the Daily Advertiser. Should anyone want to contact me for more information, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking time to read this announcement.
Nicholas J. Bouterie
Resident of Acadia Parish