From Yahoo News:
Davis was convicted of participating in a string of armed robberies in the Miami area in 2010. His accomplices testified against him, saying he carried a gun during their crimes and discharged it at a dog that chased them after one of their burglaries. But Davis was not convicted of hurting anyone physically, including the dog.
Davis would occupy no place at all in the annals of crime if not for his sentence. Now 20 years old, he was sentenced to 1,941 months – almost 162 years – in prison without the possibility of parole.
On the day of Davis’s interview with Reuters, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that life sentences without parole for defendants under the age of 18 constituted “cruel and unusual punishment” even in cases of murder. Unfortunately for Davis, he was 18 at the time of his crimes.
Normally I’m talking about non-violent drug offenses when I climb on the soapbox and decry outrageous prison sentences. But this one needs pointed out as well. 162 years, no possibility of parole. Well, at least his accomplices will be there with him to keep him company, right?
Davis, who still maintains his innocence, was the only one of the six men charged who went to trial. The others cut plea deals that left them with sentences of nine to 22 years in prison.
As the odd man out, Davis was convicted largely on the basis of his accomplices’ testimony, court documents show.
Let’s be honest. He got 22 years for the crimes, and an extra 140 years for daring to take the case to trial. Standard Operating Procedures. For example, after my arrest the DA offered me a plea deal of either 90 days in prison or 9 months probation, while making it clear that if I took the case to trial they would push for a sentence of 3 1/2 to 7 years. Accused criminals need to just cop a plea. How dare they attempt to use the system to prove their innocence?!
Davis is more than likely guilty in this case. And if guilty, his crime deserves a prison sentence. But 162 years makes a mockery out of the very idea of rehabilitation. It is no different than in Game of Thrones when they decapitate a criminal and put his head on a spike for everyone to see. It is the State, using their power of life and death, to make this man an example to other potential criminals. Innocent til proven guilty? Rehabilitation? What nation do you live in?
It is not clear why prosecutors decided to throw the full weight of the law at Davis.
Florida, though, has a history of “very zealous” prosecutions, according to Marc Mauer, executive director of the Washington-based Sentencing Project, which advocates for reform in the criminal-justice system.
For example, Florida leads in the number of juveniles sentenced to life without parole for lesser crimes than murder, sentences the Supreme Court declared to be unconstitutional in 2010. Florida and other states are now trying to determine how to resentence or grant parole to inmates affected by that ruling.
According to a recent study by the Pew Center on the States, Florida was first, among the 35 states reporting, in increases in time served in its prisons from 1990 to 2009.
In one recent, highly controversial Florida sentencing, Marissa Alexander, an African-American woman in Jacksonville with no previous criminal record, was sentenced to 20 years for firing a pistol twice into the air while trying to ward off an attack by her abusive husband. Denied the protection of Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law, the 31-year-old mother of three was convicted of aggravated assault, a felony, and given the mandatory sentence for anyone who fires a gun in commission of the felony.