Sunday, February 22, 2009

Globe article examines Memorial Middle School shooter case

The ongoing saga of Memorial Middle School shooter Thomas Gregory White, 16, who has been behind bars awaiting trial since October 2006, is explored in an article in today's Joplin Globe:

It has been assumed that if convicted, White might be a candidate for placement in Missouri’s dual-jurisdiction program for juvenile offenders. An alternative-sentencing provision in state law allows a juvenile certified to stand trial as an adult to receive both adult and juvenile sentences, with execution of the adult sentence suspended and placement in the program’s secure-care center at Montgomery City.

There a juvenile may receive treatment and educational opportunities he or she would be unlikely to obtain in an adult prison. Jasper County judges have employed the alternative-sentencing provision in a couple of other cases.

But the law also requires that an assessment of the juvenile’s appropriateness for the program be completed by the Division of Youth Services before the offender’s 17th birthday. In other words, if White has not been convicted and an assessment completed by the time he turns 17 in December of this year, the door will have closed on his opportunity for placement in the program. And he will have to be sent to an adult prison if probation is not granted

No comments: