Louisiana grapples with juvenile crime decision by Supreme Court

By Paul Purpura, New Orleans Times-Picayune
Giovanni Brown was 16 when he and another teen forced their way into a home in an upscale Harvey subdivision in 1999, armed with pistols and intent on mayhem. After holding four people against their will for hours, ransacking the home and trying in vain to force the homeowner to withdraw cash from an ATM, the teenagers stole two cars loaded with the family’s property.
Brown was prosecuted as an adult and convicted of aggravated kidnapping and four counts of armed robbery. He was sentenced in 2000 to life in prison with no chance of probation, parole or suspended sentence for the kidnapping, and another 40 years for robbery. Under Louisiana law, Brown would never leave prison, a reality his public defender Marquita Naquin argued during the trial.
“What can a 16-year-old do in the first 16 years of his life that demands that we throw him away?” Naquin asked the jury just before it unanimously rejected her plea.
Her argument proved prophetic.
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