DeVilbiss and the crime spree | AspenTimes.com
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DeVilbiss and the crime spree

Dear Editor:Reviewing Judge J.E. DeVilbiss’ sentencing of Aspen’s 1999 crime spree gang of 12 adults/juveniles, social connections and the influence of money seem to be a major factor. It is a tacit understanding between most longtime Aspen residents that who you know and or how much leverage (and money) one possesses largely influences the final outcome of any trial.The first boy (19 years old) caught was pulled over by Boulder police, in a stolen Jeep with stolen guns and a black ski mask in the back. He spewed out, “I am stealing from the rich to pay for my college tuition.”All of the young adults implicated in the 1999 gang robberies were in part motivated and morally justified to commit their crimes by this Robin Hood mentality or open perniciousness against the rich, which seemingly has infected our government, newspapers and schools. This social illness of materialistic envy is initiated and spread by Aspen’s residents to their children. In my opinion, the community at large was responsible for this warp in accepted social behavior for such a large population of Aspen’s youth. Remember, 25 students were directly connected and nearly half the high school and a few teachers knew about most of the capers. This again, in my opinion, makes much of our town culpable for these crimes.The vast majority of the gang was let off lightly and most are now attending school. Those who were economically and or socially separate were sentenced to hard time. One of the gang, after three years in prison, appealed for a sentence reduction. Judge DeVilbiss came out of retirement to deny the remorseful appeal of the young man and his supporters. He now still has nine years to serve with five years probation.To purposely ruin a first offender’s life and not offer fair and equal rehabilitation is not in the public’s interest. Rehabilitation is the primary purpose, not to extract a pound of flesh. Everyone knows extensive prison time is not rehabilitation. This kid is an Aspen scapegoat for its own sickness.The problem here is two-fold: The judge has not kept current with science’s advancement in the past 20 years regarding the physiological changes a juvenile brain goes through to maturity and the associated changes in social behavior and ability to differentiate between right and wrong. The male brain for some may not be mature until the age of 25. Secondly, do we need more council members that practice different strokes for different folks?Caroline McDonaldAspen


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