Jacksonville Juvenile, Joshua Phillips, was sentenced to life in Florida State Prison approximately 10 years, but he has spent in the past eleven years in custody for the murder of Maddie Clifton. At the time of the Jacksonville homicide, Joshua was only 14 years old, and Maddie was 8 years old. Due to the circumstances surrounding the crime, the presiding Duval County Florida judge sentenced Joshua to life without parole, the harshest sentence available to juveniles of that age.
Many Jacksonville Florida residents have a strong opinion one way or another about this case. Some follow the “eye for an eye” theory. They believe that Joshua should not be given a second chance, because Maddie cannot have a second chance. This theory concentrates more on retribution than on rehabilitation. Perhaps, the belief revolves around the idea that a person that commits a certain type of crime is beyond rehabilitation, no matter the age of the offender.
On the other hand, others believe that Joshua should have the opportunity to present evidence to a parole board in order to determine if he has been sufficiently rehabilitated to reenter society. In fact, the Juvenile Justice Accountability and Improvement Act, H.R. 2289, is a congressional bill that is pending regarding this matter. H. R. 2289 would allow Jacksonville Juvenile Defendants, such as Joshua, to go before the parole board. Those that support this act believe that juveniles should not be treated as adults. This theory is premised on the research that has established that juveniles’ brains are not fully developed. Therefore, they cannot be held to the same standard as adults. Visit freejosh.com for more information.