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Life Sentence for OC Child Kidnapper-Rapist 'Cruel and Unusual'

An appeals court overturns the sentence for a "mentally retarded" teenager who assaulted four young boys, calling it "cruel and unusual."

An appellate panel ruled that an Orange County Superior Court judge violated the constitutional rights of a defendant convicted of multiple sex crimes as a 14-year-old when he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison, according to court records obtained today.

The defendant -- known in court records as J.I.A. -- was convicted of two counts each of sodomy by force, kidnapping to commit robbery, dissuading a witness by force and second-degree robbery, along with kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, forcible oral copulation and attempted second-degree robbery.

He committed the crimes against three 12-year-old boys and a 13-year-old boy when he was 14, but was sentenced when he was 18 years old. Orange County Superior Court Judge James Stotler sentenced him to 50 years to life plus two consecutive life terms, making him eligible for parole when he is about 70 years old.

In June 2011, a three-justice panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that the defendant should be given a sentence that would make him first eligible for parole when he is about 56 years old so he would have a reasonable chance of getting out of prison before he dies.

The state Supreme Court last October vacated the ruling and sent the case back to the Santa Ana appellate court panel for reconsideration in light of a similar case from 2012 involving the sentencing of a juvenile.

The appellate justices came to the same conclusion in the ruling handed down Wednesday, taking into account J.I.A.'s abusive childhood.

The boy's ``mother neglected him, and his father and stepfather, who both had substance abuse problems, were physically and emotionally abusive,'' the justices noted in the ruling.

``When he was 5 or 6 years old, he was visiting family in Mexico when a family friend took J.I.A. into the woods and forced J.I.A.'' to perform oral sex on him, according to the ruling.

The boy first had sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 13, and when he was 14, he had sex with a 30-year-old woman, according to the ruling, which says he began drinking when he was 9 and smoking marijuana at 13.

When the defendant was 8 years old, an IQ test indicated he was in the mentally retarded range, according to the justices.

They ruled the boy's sentence violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Juveniles do not have to be guaranteed a chance to get out of prison in their lifetime, but they at least must be given a chance to earn release, the justices ruled.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK OF THE COMMENTS

Do you agree with the appeals court?

- City News Service

Donna February 02, 2013 at 12:33 AM
I say lock him up and throw away the key! I completely agree another comment regarding the ripple effect of those who did harm to him. This cannot be a reason though to go easy on him. What is going to be the defense's excuse for him when he gets released possibly in his 50's and preys on more victims, whether they be child or adult? With any luck, his fellow inmates will "take care of him" and we won't have to worry about his possible impending release!
Elle February 02, 2013 at 04:27 PM
the court system in this country is joke. does anyone really think given this guys past and the fact that he will spend most of his life in prison that he will walk out as "Greg Brady" or "Mister Rogers?" no, he is going to walk out and and commit the same crime again. and when he does, then who's guilty. WE THE PEOPLE ARE. don't we have a responsibility to protect one another and our children?
Dawn April 03, 2013 at 01:19 AM
I don't think he should be abused more than he already has been. This guy needs help. But!... He should not be put back out in the public. There needs to be a place where people like this can go and be productive to stay and live out the rest of their natural lives. ALL TOGETHER. The same kind of people together. The same. But, not be able to reproduce. That would be a harsh enough sentance. At least they would be able to contribute to society maybe by manufacturing things that we get, say by China or other countries. Lord knows there are plenty of offenders.
Bella April 06, 2013 at 01:28 AM
Stop the excuses, you do the crime, you do the time. Oh, he had too much sugar growing up, that's why he raped. He'll be on the receiving in for the next 56 years! I have no sympathy for anyone that rapes, murders, anything...
Bella April 06, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Meant to say, he'll be getting it in the END!

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