Sixty years in an outrageous sentence.
Every state has slightly different sentencing guidelines, but for first degree murder, you’re generally looking at about 20 years to life without parole. For rape, you could be getting up to 20 (or even 30) years. But 60 years for neglecting a baby is just mind boggling. As awful as infant and child neglect can be, is it really a worse crime than first degree murder? The parents of infants who DIE because of mishandling or neglect will typically receive a fraction of this sentence. Child murderers may receive half this sentence, and child molesters even less!
Don’t get me wrong; what happened to that baby was just terrible, and I sincerely hope these assholes never regain custody of the other children. But they didn’t kill the baby, they weren’t actively trying to kill the baby, and there is no evidence of either of them ever having been violent towards the baby nor anyone else. They’re not a danger to the public — probably to future children, but that’s for CPS to handle, not the court system.
As heartless as this may sound, moral outrage interferes with justice. And crimes against infants never fail to evoke a power emotional response (both in the media and on juries) which threatens to overshadow all evidence and objectivity.
These “parents” were young. Twenty-one years old. Yeah, it’s no excuse, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope for someone to rough them up a bit behind bars. But to put them away for the next sixty years of their lives — three times the number of years they have even been alive — is far too excessive a punishment. How does this benefit the victim? How does this benefit society, which assumes the burden of keeping these people alive? What “lesson” could these two possibly learn in sixty years that they could not learn in five? Instead of incarcerating them for the rest of their natural lives, would it not be cheaper, more efficient, and arguably more humane to simply execute them?
This isn’t justice; it’s vengeance. And it’s a ridiculous sort of revenge, because as soon as these two kids fade out of the headlines, they’re going to be forgotten, while the infant (hopefully) goes on to thrive within a stable, loving family.