Quantel Lotts' sentence

by MBaexriumbee on November 12, 2014 - 1:18am

On the 12 of March 2012, Ed Pilkington published the article "Jailed for life at age 14: US supreme court to consider juvenile sentences" written in Charleston, Missouri for the website of the British journal The Guardian. The author in this article is reporting the case of youth offenders sentenced to life without parole in the United States, but more specifically the case of Quantel Lotts. Through a subjective writing style, the reader understand that the author is against sentences for adult in young offender cases.

            This article addresses the case of Quantel Lotts, an American man who was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of his step-brother. The abnormality in this case is the age of the convict. Quantel Lotts was fourteen years old when he was tried as an adult for homicide. This sentence means that he will never be able to stand before a parole board to possibly get out of jail. He basically will stay in jail until he dies.  An ethical question is raised around this case: "Is it ethical to sentence Quantel Lotts to life without parole?" In the case of Quantel Lotts, it is known that he had a troubled childhood. His family were crack addicts and he witnessed his uncle get shot five times. He was regularly beaten and was subject to anger outburst. All those factors did not seemed to have any influence on the juries' decision and Quantel Lotts got an adult sentence for a crime he committed while he was a teenager. Although, those factors should be influential toward a decision whether it is ethical to give sentence to Quantel Lotts.

            Stephanie Chen, a journalist for CNN, stated in another article about Quantel Lotts that most youth delinquents serving life without parole were exposed to  poverty, violence or drugs during their  childhood. This extends the question: Is it ethical to sentence young offenders to  life without parole?

Works Cited


Pilkington, Ed. "Jailed for Life at Age 14: US Supreme Court to Consider Juvenile         Sentences." The Guardian. The Guardian, 19 Mar. 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.

Chen, Stephanie. "Teens Locked up for Life without a Second Chance." CNN. Cable News       Network, 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.




The entire case in which Quantel Lott is being handed a life sentence for a homicide completely negates the possibility of mental illness being a factor in why this homicide took place.
I believe that Quantel could very well suffer from dissociative amnesia. Psychogenic amnesia, or dissociative amnesia, is a memory disorder characterized by sudden autobiographical memory loss, said to occur for a period of time ranging from hours to years. More recently, dissociative amnesia has been defined as a dissociative disorder characterized by retrospectively reported memory gaps. These gaps involve an inability to recall personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature.
As you mentioned Quantel's life is saturated with reasons for having dissociative amnesia given all of the traumatic experiences he has endured (uncle being shot, constant physical abuse).
It is possible that Quantel was suffering from an episode of dissociative amnesia which would make him unaware of his actions and not consciously present as he committed the homicide.
I think that after considering this the next step of action would be to request the court to run a full psychological evaluation of Quantel. Following that if he truly suffers from this mental illness or any other, the ruling should be reconsidered and re-issued towards placing him in an environment where people around him are equipped to help him with his mental illness.
The methods of treating dissociative amnesia are : Psychotherapy, Medication, Cognitive Therapy, Family Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis
The first goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and control any problem behavior. Treatment then aims to help the person safely express and process painful memories, develop new coping and life skills, restore functioning, and improve relationships. The best treatment approach depends on the individual and the severity of his or her symptoms.

The case study of young offenders is always very interesting. In the case of this 14 year-old boy, I understand the fact that Quantel Lott had a difficult childhood, but no matter how hard was your childhood, you know that killing someone is wrong. Even at very young age. Kids start to understand the concept of right and wrong when they are very young. Therefore, I believe that at his age, he should have understood that it was wrong to kill someone, but he did it anyways. Thus, I believe that what Lott did was immoral, and that his sentence is totally justified. In an article found on the website, Psych Org, it is mentioned that psychologists say babies know right or wrong even at six months.

Moreover, I personally believe that when having to chose whether Lott should stay in prison for the rest of his life or not, one should apply the principle of act utilitarianism. This theory is a consequentialist theory, meaning that it evaluates if the consequences of actions produces more happiness than unhappiness. I believe that Lott should be imprisoned for the rest of life, because it is going to produce more happiness than unhappiness. However, my position could be argued with the use of many other ethical theories. Here is a link that will better explain what is the theory of act utilitarianism in the context of punishment. This will help you understand in depth what I was briefly explaining above; http://www.iep.utm.edu/punishme/

Here is the link of the article I found on the website Psych Org: http://phys.org/news192693376.html