The NAACP doesn't think Travion Blount should not do prison time. It just doesn't think he should face the six life sentences he's been given for a robbery that was committed when he was a juvenile.
Readers of this blog know that we mentioned early last month that a group of justice system reformers in Virginia had taken up Blount's case seeking some easing of the penalties dished out to him for the 2006 crime. Last week, his attorney formalized the effort, asking Gov. Bob McDonnell for a conditional pardon. According to WAVY-TV, the request also has the backing of the Norfolk NAACP.
Juvenile crime charges need to always be taken seriously because of the possible consequences conviction could have on the young person's life. An attorney's help is always advised.
As crimes go, this one was more serious than most. But the point that reformers, the NAACP and Blount's attorney have been working to make with the governor is that the punishment far exceeds what's reasonable.
By way of background, Blount was one of three defendants charged with robbing attendees at a house party at gunpoint. Blount was 15 at the time. He is now 23. His co-defendants were both 18.
The other two defendants pleaded guilty and received sentences of 10 and 13 years. Blount, who refused to take a plea, was convicted of 49 felonies. He received the six life terms plus 118 years. State officials observe that's required by the law.
The head of the Norfolk NAACP says he has expressed to the governor that Travion should not escape punishment for his crime. But he says what has been meted out in the case is cruel and unusual.
Whether there is a chance any sort of pardon will be granted is unclear. The governor's office says it has received the petition and that it is working its way through normal channels.
Source: WAVY-TV, "NAACP asks governor to pardon man serving six life sentences, 118 years," Erin Kelly, Jan. 8, 2014