We are the loved ones of those who were murdered by juveniles. We formed NOVJM only for the purpose of supporting and informing each other. Our organization takes no specific stand on what criminal sentences for these offenders should be. Cases and victims’ views vary widely, and offender sentences are decided by the criminal justice system established in law by our society, not by victims’ families.
We stand for truth-telling in these cases. We stand for victims rights, and specifically those of all victim family members to be heard and participate fully as they choose in their cases.
We began as NOVJL, National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers, but changed our name to NOVJM in 2014 due to our growing membership of many victims families of those killed by teens who received sentences far less than life – the majority of teen killers’ sentences.
Loved ones of those killed by teens should join our NOVJM Facebook Group for the most up to date news and information, and to chat with each other.
Photo: Officer Larry Lasater of Pittsburgh, California, Killed in the Line of Duty by a Teenager Sentenced to Life
NEWS ON NATIONAL DEBATE OVER SENTENCING OF TEEN KILLERS
- BREAKING NEWS: The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled against the best interests of victims families in a case that has decided the retroactivity question – Montgomery v Louisiana. The opinion goes much farther than anticipated and appears to legally undo almost every long term or life sentence given to any teen killer in this nation, going decades back in some cases. The majority opinion from Justice Kennedy can be read here.
Victims families are urged to get in touch with the prosecutors in the county where their murder cases and trials took place for more information. We also ask all victims families to stay in touch with NOVJM about developments that they hear about in their own cases and states – email us at NOVJM@aol.com or through our Facebook and Twitter @VctmsTeenKillrs. Please join in our mutual information sharing and support.
The Supreme Court has decided, much to our dismay, that Miller v Alabama is retroactive. This ruling will likely affect negatively tens of thousands of murder victims family members, most of whom had no idea there was any challenge to the prison sentences being served by their loved ones’ killers. Many will not be able to even be notified of this devastating development because they walked away from the life sentences given their loved ones’ murderers believing they were permanent, and have not stayed in contact with local officials for notification of this legal nightmare just re-opened by the Supreme Court.
We are still analyzing the ramifications of this horrible ruling for victims families, some of whom have already shared personal shock and re-traumatization on our NOVJM Facebook group where we discuss and share with each other.
We submitted an amicus brief that states our view of the case and were present at the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. on OCTOBER 13, 2015. We invite all interested in helping support victims voices in this debate to contact us on our closed NOVJM Facebook Group or at NOVJM@aol.com.
Please visit the memorial page for Officer Charles Hurt, the murder victim at the center of the Montgomery case. As there will be much news media attention on this case, our NOVJM members that are willing to talk to the press can be found here. Our media release for October 13, 2015 at the Supreme Court can be downloaded here.
- Thank You to Jack Park, prominent attorney at the Strickland Brockington Lewis Law Firm in Atlanta, Georgia for representing NOVJM pro bono before the U.S. Supreme Court, and authoring our amicus brief. Your service to devastated families of murder victims is nothing short of heroic.
- Compromise legislation agreed to in Illinois for 2015 giving teen killers several chances at early release during their sentences will not be retroactive, but instead will apply only to new offender sentencing. Because of the 2014 Illinois Supreme Court interpretation of Miller v Alabama, declaring it retroactive, every guilty Illinois juvenile lifer will have one re-sentencing hearing. Victims families should be notified by their county’s States Attorneys as re-sentencing hearings already are beginning.
- Michigan legislature passes victim-friendly bill to deal with teen killers’ life sentences. U.S. Court of Appeals issues order staying any parole hearings for teen killers. Michigan Legislature passes on Miller-compliance legislation that is not retroactive. Victims families have suffered re-traumatization in order to be heard. Details here. Attorney General Schuette shows exemplary concern for victims families in his persistence against offender advocates.
- The Debate That Agonizes Victims Families: whether or not the Miller v Alabama Supreme Court ruling should be applied retroactively or not rages on, with victims families traumatized by all the uncertainty and re-opening of wounds.
- Massachusetts Supreme Court votes to traumatize victims families by re-opening their loved ones’ murder sentences. A leading newspaper calls for victims families to be treated better.
- Alabama’s Supreme Court joins other state courts and lawmakers in finding that the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer for optional sentences only for teens that kill is NOT retroactive.
- Pennsylvania‘s Supreme Court rules against retroactive application of the Miller Supreme Court decision while the Legislature votes to preserve Life Without Parole sentences as an option going forward. And, as elsewhere nationally, offender advocates’ claims about offender numbers are exaggerated.
- Victims’ families in California approve as the 9th Circuit rules in support of the discretionary life sentences in place for teen killers.
- Nebraska‘s new law for sentencing of teen killers is supported by many victims families and legal experts.
- Iowa‘s Supreme Court orders re-sentencing for teen killers, re-traumatizing victims’ families
- South Dakota – a lone Court rules on one offender’s case.
- Connecticut legislation to free teen killers defeated
- The Texas Senate Affirms Appropriate Prison Sentences
Texas‘ legislature passes a bill in special session to comply with Supreme Court regulations on sentencing of juveniles who commit capitol crimes.
- A New Hampshire case is reflecting national trends in offender re-sentencing after Miller ruling
- Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy dissects legal problems in Supreme Court’s decisions in Juvenile Killer Sentencing
- Montana abolishes life sentences for teen killers
VICTIM/FAMILY MEMBER NEWS
- CBS 48 Hours features the story of the murders in the Bishop Family in Illinois and the debate about the offender’s sentence.
- Thanks to JODY ROBINSON of Michigan who takes over as our new President of NOVJM! Many thanks to Past President Liz Hare as she steps down..PHOTO: Jody Robinson, NOVJM Michigan
- Family and friends in Massachusetts of murder victims Beth Brodie and Janet Downing have organized efforts to oppose the parole of their killers – something they were not told about until AFTER the law was changed and the killers came up for release.
- Laura Haynes Shimek gives powerful testimony before Iowa court granting parole opportunities to her mother’s murderer. Read her moving victim impact statement.
- Victim’s father tours nation with teen killer’s grandfather with programs to provide alternatives to youth violence.
- Illinois victims’ family member awarded for her leadership in helping the elderly.
- Grieving Ohio family’s story featured in two-part national Dr. Phil show in which teens present at the scene definitively fail polygraph tests.
- A Fallen Officer Hero from Texas killed by teens.
- A Michigan father works for justice for his murdered daughter.
- Tom Mauser, father of a Colorado Columbine massacre victim, writes wonderful book Walking in Daniel’s Shoes.
- We support the bi-partisan national movement to include victims rights in the U.S. Constitution.
- More news coverage of victims’ families of teen killers here and here.
- Juvenile Killers Continue to Horrify Nation
Teen takes “selfie” with body of his victim
- Reporter outraged over Psychologist’s argument that a rich kid cannot be held accountable for people he killed because he had “affluenza” – parents who spoiled him.
- Teen killers challenge their prison sentences all over the nation
Victims families report being re-traumatized by the flurry of legal and legislative activity around the nation following the Miller Supreme Court ruling, as we feared. Join victims’ families in discussion on our Facebook page. California has already begun re-sentencing teen killers. We note that these appeals by offenders for shorter sentences will often fail as many courts are affirming that the Miller case should NOT be applied retroactively and even where it is being applied retroactively, many offenders who do win re-sentencing are still receiving (and will often be serving) life sentences. Appeals to reduce prison sentences for these crimes even include the D.C. Sniper, worst teen mass murderer in USA, who is challenging his life sentences despite his former statements that he feels “like scum” for what he did. And an infamous school-shooter loses his bid for early release.
- NOVJM does not support the incarceration or over-sentencing of the innocent or minimally culpable offenders. NOVJM does support the careful use of risk assessment tools and other good data on a case by case basis to identify which more dangerous younger offenders should be tried as adults.
- Citizen’s Resource compiles valuable scientific information on psychopathology, how to best prevent violence, and evaluate offender sentencing. Many NOVJM victims were murdered by teenage psychopaths.
- Teens that kill in the news across the nation:
-horrifying details emerge in brutal rape/murder of teacher/mom of three; 14 year old student arrested for the crime
– Illinois teen, 14, allegedly repeatedly stabs her sister, 11, for being “ungrateful”
– Colorado teen predator sentenced to life for murder of 10 year old girl
– Oklahoma teens kill Australian student “for the fun of it”, so horrific even the President of the United States denounces it. Families involved agonize.
– teens kill elderly World War II hero veteran.
– shocking story from West Virginia of likely psychopaths killing a classmate.
– teen kills family “just because . . .”
– teen killer found decades later teaching college under assumed name.
– 17 year old convicted of murdering infant just because the child’s mother had no money when he was robbing her.
– Arizona Teen brags about killings on social media.
– 14 year old charged in murder of teacher.
Photo: NOVJM murder victim family members of those killed by teens from all over the nation at the United States Supreme Court during the argument of Miller v Alabama in 2012, a case that could free their loved ones’ murderers.
NOVJM For Victims Rights and Sound Public Policy
Regarding Teens Who Kill
NOVJM, formerly NOVJL, exists to support and inform victims families and friends of those killed by offenders under age 18. We found it necessary to organize ourselves, given the significant and well-funded advocacy effort that exists for those offenders that gives no information or support to the victims families of these crimes. NOVJM is devoted to victims rights and sound public policy regarding teens who kill.
We began as NOVJL (National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers), founded in 2006. We were a small group of victims families very concerned about the complete lack of information available to other victims’ families about the staggering multi-million dollar campaign to free our loved ones killers.
In 2014 we changed our name to NOVJM reflecting our significantly growing membership that included many victims’ families whose loved ones were murdered by teens but whose offenders were not sentenced to life in prison. NOVJM today reflects hundreds of voices of victims families from all over the nation.
We are an all-volunteer organization that works to provide information and emotional support to our fellow loved ones of those killed by juveniles. We hope to bring victims voices to the public policy debate about these offenders, while stunning sums of money are being spent by juvenile advocates to reduce or even end the prison sentences being served by the killers. At first we believed that those juvenile advocates would care about victim outreach and support, but after years of effort at bridge building on our part, they have refused to share even basic information with us about their campaigns, instead lavishing all their resources on convicted murderers.
How these offenders are sentenced is the subject of a significant public policy debate currently in which our main concern is that victims’ voices are heard. We are concerned also with the significant financial resources devoted to helping these offenders, while virtually no help, information, or support of any kind is being offered to victims’ families who have been horrifically traumatized by brutal murders of their loved ones. We are heartbroken each time we hear of victims families who had no idea there was an effort underway to free their loved ones’ murderers (until after it was too late to be heard in the process!)
This website tells the true stories of those murdered by teens – truth that is especially important in the face of the willingness of juvenile advocates to minimize and even misrepresent the facts of these horrible crimes in their attempts to paint a picture of reduced culpability by the killers. We know there is much to discuss in public policy regarding teens who kill, but good decisions can only be made when the full facts are known. We know that in every crime some offenders are more or less culpable depending on the individual facts and circumstances. But LIGHT is a great “disinfectant”. Blurring the facts of these crimes does not improve the public policy discussion.
We advocate for the constitutional and statutory rights of crime victims that exist in all 50 states and federally. We advocate for best possible policies to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.
We understand the controversy around the issue of teens who kill and the destruction left in the aftermath of those crimes – we are LIVING it. We understand the powerful feelings that the youthful age of these offenders creates. We understand the problems in our criminal justice system, as with any human institution. We often do not understand, however, the incredible focus on helping these offenders with no compassion for or attention to the victims they created. The behavior of juvenile justice reform advocates towards the victims families of these crimes during their national policy change push of the last few years has been poor, to say the least. These offenders have committed some of the most horrific murders imaginable. We miss our loved ones horribly.
Help Find and Support Victims Families
There are thousands of murder victims’ family members in this nation who are not aware that there is a movement that supports and advocates for teen killers that seeks to change the terms of their incarceration, and often without any notice to victims families. If you are aware of any victims families of juvenile killers please invite them to contact us.
Mistakes on this site?
This page is webmastered by victim volunteers. We do our best to gather accurate information. Please email us at NOVJM@aol.com with any edits, corrections, or suggestions. Thank you.