A Youth Deserves a Second Chance for Not Involving in a Shooting.
Khoi Quach was 17 years old when he and some friends attended a birthday party on a night of 2009. All of a sudden, a shooting occurred that involved a friend of Khoi. Thankfully the victim survived. Khoi and a few other boys were arrested and charged with premeditated attempted murder although he had had no knowledge of the accident nor was he at the crime scene. Khoi was charged with aiding and abetting the attempted murder and has been fighting for a fair sentence for more than 3 years now.
Why the petition?
To sustain a conviction against Khoi, the District Attorneys would attempt to prove to the jury that Khoi was actively involved because he was either linked, associated, known, or belonged to the gang which the shooter was a member of. The DAs would attempt to convince the jury that Khoi was a gang member whose interests are to vandalize and destroy lives and community. Then with prejudice, the jury would verdict Khoi to be guilty. Once the DAs were able to attain this conviction, a ‘Gang Enhancement’ component of the law will automatically be added to the sentence, which the jury would never be informed of prior to the conviction. (These are the facts collected from experiences told by other inmates and defense attorneys.) Thus, Khoi will face not only the punishment for the attempted murder but also a life in prison for actions of somebody else.
What the DAs are trying to prove in this case does NOT make sense to any rational person. One of the articles written by Lewis Yablonsky _ Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Criminology, California State University – Northridge, “simply membership in a gang does not prove the intent to commit a crime,” and “Judges and juries tend to share the ‘police perspective’ that all gangs are violent and criminal. This perspective clearly affects their judicial decisions.” And of course, being friends with gang members does NOT make you a gang member.
The focus of this petition is that Khoi is an innocent youngster who deserves a second chance because he had no prior awareness of the shooting as he went to the party just to have fun AND the shooting happened within seconds when the shooter was provoked, NOT PLANNED. Khoi is capable of being a helpful citizen for the society because he was a smart student, a responsible son and brother, and a good person as a whole who never intends to harm anyone in his life. Even if Khoi is guilty by the prosecution, it does not mean he must spend THE REST OF HIS LIFE IN PRISON for involving in a crime committed when he was a teenager. This punishment method makes no sense to anyone who views and treats children as children. This belief is also supported by the Senate Bill 9 that is extensively reviewed by the governor.
Racism is another aspect to be discussed in this case, but since there is not enough evidence to back up this claim, I wouldn’t talk about it here. Yet, I'm sure many people know what I mean by that.
So, we need changes for a better society.
Glory, fame, and bias can blind people to justice sometimes. That time is happening in this particular case. A change is needed to stop teenagers from facing the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in prison. We must realize that there is a huge difference between GUILT and PENALTY. This is totally absurd for a society who’s fond of protecting children. However, by continuing to ignore and let such situations pass by, we are allowing Khoi Quach and kids like him to be thrown away in the prison system meaninglessly.
Many kids have been sent away for life and many more are facing the same possibility. It’s time to ask the DAs to give some senses and humanity to what they’ve been doing to Asian teenagers. While children can tell between rights and wrongs, they do not have the maturity to measure the consequences of their actions. Moreover, psychology and behavioral science have proven that punishing children too harshly does NOT guarantee positive outcomes. Yes, we do punish them so that they learn the lessons from their mistakes but NOT with unsympathetic sentences that kill their spirit of becoming better individuals.
Please sign this petition asking the current DA to prove whether or not Khoi was guilty of planning and trying to kill someone, NOT that he was involved just because he was there and knew the shooter. Also, please help prevent kids from entering the prison system where they grow up, grow old, and eventually die in there. As parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and friends, etc., you CANNOT morally let this happen.
MAKE THE CHANGE, PLEASE!
We are begging for your kind consideration of giving Khoi a chance to rebuild his life and amend his foolish mistakes of being at the wrong place at the wrong time when he was a teenager. It will be a waste both to the DA's and Judge's time and energy as well as to the community when putting such a young and potential person like Khoi in jail for a long time. Please allow Khoi the opportunity to prove his worthiness to you and to the society by living a productive life. Khoi does not deserve to be rotten away in prison with a 25 years to life sentence. Instead, he can use the time to reflect and rehabilitate towards his future: A day when he can be reunited with his family soon and contribute to the society.
Better yet, Khoi has promised to reach out and help other youths to stay away from troubles. He also feels bad for the victim and his family for what happened. By all means, he swears he would have done everything to stop the accident if he could. So please grant Khoi the opportunity to see the promising freedom of his future as a useful individual.
With all due respects, we hereby petition for your reconsideration, as we believe you are one of the just DAs and Judges. We believe you are kind people who could save the life of a capable youth and give his life a better meaning with a second chance.
Enclosed are (1) the case summary and analysis that was researched and written by Daciana Quach, Khoi's sister, and Tung Nguyen, a former inmate of a gang related crime and a current activist against injustice; (2) a list of signatures of supporters to this petition; and (3) a CD copy of the video clip made by Compaign for Youth Justice organization and contributed by Daciana Quach with the case of Khoi.
Should you have any further concerns, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to Khoi Quach's sister.