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Crime and Courts


Did the judge in the Chardon shooting case pay enough attention to age?
Crux of the appeal for T.J. Lane is whether his age was weighed heavily enough before he was sentenced to life in prison
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
A panel of three appeals-court judges will decide if another hearing should be held on Lane's sentence.
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Three appeals judges heard about a half hour of arguments in Geauga County today on whether T.J. Lane should be locked up for the rest of his life. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that issue came down to age  -- and a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision from the other corner of the state.

LISTEN: A question of age and change

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T.J. Lane admitted he walked into the Chardon High School cafeteria two years ago and opening fire – killing three classmates and wounding three others. He was 17 at the time of the killings, but his case was moved to adult court, where Judge David Fuhry sentenced him to three life sentences in adult prison. 

Advocates – including the American Psychiatric Association – are pushing against life sentences for juveniles, saying the development of their brains shows they can – and many will -- change. Lane’s attorney, Michael Partlow, says higher courts have noted that -- most recently the Ohio Supreme Court n a Cincinnati case earlier this month. 

“Before, you didn't necessarily have to consider youth. You could consider it. Not only that, you certainly didn't have to consider it as amitigating factor. The Ohio Supreme Court has now said, 'Youth is a mitigating factor, period.'"

But Geauga County Prosecutor James Flais says Partlow is arguing semantics in this case – that the judge considered age and a mass of other factors in sentencing Lane.

“This was a school shooting. Age and circumcumstances was in the forefront of every discussion in the case. And the trial court judge looked at all of this information and looked at the other horrifying circumstances in the case and those clearly outweighed a 17½-year-old committing these crimes.” 

Lane killed Daniel Parmertor and Demetrius Hewlin, both 16, and Russell King Jr., 17.


Related WKSU Stories

Ohio Supreme Court says age must be a factor in juvenile life sentences
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ohio Supreme Court says age must be a factor in juvenile life sentences
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

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