Grant Clemency for Erik Jensen
This petition had 366 supporters
Erik is serving life without parole. He was 16 he was charged with a crime, He has been behind bars for 13 years. Erik helped clean up a crime scene after his best friend, Nathan Ybanez, killed his mom after years of sexual, mental and physical abuse. Nathan was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Under our convoluted criminal laws Erik was convicted of the same crime that Nathan was convicted of. Erik was convicted by hearsay evidence that came for a third kid that helped Erik and Nathan clean up the crime scene. This third kid was given a deal where he was let off of prior criminal charges and was not charged with this crime for “getting the goods” on Erik. Kids convicted of similar or worse crimes before and after Nathan’s conviction did not get life in prison without parole. The U.S. is currently the only country on Earth that still sentences kids to life in prison without parole.
The Columbine school rampage happened 10 miles away from Erik’s trial site and only a few months before his trial started, making adult jurors hungry to convict any kid suspected of committing any crime. It was exclusively, without judicial review, up to the district attorney if Erik was tried as an adult or juveniles under what is called “direct file.” Erik was tried as an adult. If Erik was tried as a Juvenile he would have been given a sentence of a few years of rehabilitation. Medical science supports 100% the fact that the juvenile mind does not mature until almost 25 years old.
It can happen to anyone. Once a person is arrested it is almost impossible to get out of the legal system. The legal appeals system is structured to support convictions, not justice. Only 4% of convictions are successfully appealed.
The legal system is broken. When adults kill children they always get less punishment than when kids kill parents. There are a number of things that are wrong with our legal system:
• Direct file – D.A.’s over the last two decades could try a kid as a juvenile or an adult without giving any reasons
• Court room theatrics – A good performance is often more important than good evidence
• Hearsay – Sometimes a friend who told a friend, who told a friend, is considered evidence
• Solitary confinement – Prisoners are sometimes locked up for years – it doesn’t work as a deterrent
• Overcharging – used by D.A.’s to sway juries and as a bargaining tool
• Too many laws – We elect legislators who pass laws that are impossible to repeal and remain unchanged without ever being reviewed.
• Example – A 65 year old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for not having proper paperwork for importing orchids
Justice is harsher in U.S. than any other rich country. In the U.S. five times more people are in prison than Great Britain; 9 times more than in Germany; and 12 times more than Japan
In 1970 one in 400 Americans were behind bars, now more than one in 100 are behind bars.
Retribution or rehabilitation – The U.S. justice system is now more about punishing than rehabilitating.
Juveniles under the age of 18 cannot serve on the same juries that can convict them and sentence them to life in prison without parole. This makes no sense.
Erik’s real crime was trying to help his friend get through the horrible life he was leading, a life filled with sexual, physical and mental abuse. Erik should not be in prison.
Please sign this petition to help us convince Colorado Governor Hickenlooper that Erik deserves clemency.
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