I Sentenced a Teen to Die in Prison. I Regret It.

This piece originally appeared at The Washington Post

“You will die in the Department of Corrections.” Those are the words I spoke as a trial judge in 1997 when I sentenced Bobby Bostic to a total of 241 years in prison for his role in two armed robberies he committed when he was just 16 years old.

Bostic and an 18-year-old friend robbed a group of six people who were delivering Christmas presents to a needy family in St. Louis. Two shots were fired. A bullet grazed one person, but no one was seriously injured. The two then abducted and robbed another woman — who said she was groped by Bostic’s accomplice before the two released her. They used the money they stole from her to buy marijuana. Despite overwhelming evidence against him, Bostic chose to go to trial. He was found guilty.

Bostic had written me a letter trying to explain his actions, but despite this, he had not, in my view, demonstrated sufficient remorse.

I told him: “You are the biggest fool who has ever stood in front of this court. . . . You made your choice. You’re gonna have to live with your choice, and you’re gonna die with your choice. . . . Your mandatory date to go in front of the parole board will be the year 2201. Nobody in this room is going to be alive in the year 2201.”

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Dr. Timothy Leary

The A.C.L.U. never tells the whole story here. Did he or did he not get the broom handle surprise during his incarceration ?


Your pathetic attempt at trolling is boring and you should feel ashamed.

Cityzen Y

You're Still alive?
Why people been telling me that Timothy leary is dead all my life?
Check this site out if you really want to "pass the acid test." (Trip and LIVE)
cezar reign = is/was/ WILL-B 4-eva doomed!!!
Glad to see Your still kickin it.


dick head

Anonymous ....

Tough break kid..
If this individual didn't participate in this type of activity then would be no problem.
Punishments increase once you involve a weapon in the commission of crime...

Once you play, you pay, 6 months in jail or 241 years in prison...


Lets see, he robbed a bunch of innocent people. He shot at them and it was blind luck that no one was killed. He assaulted and groped another innocent woman. But wait, he was 'only' 16, meaning that makes everything he did alright.
Sorry, the sentence he got is one hundred percent the right one.


I hope you don't have children, and for their sake I hope they don't have you as a parent. One can only imagine who you are...not that I care to know because you sound like someone who benefits from white privilege. Also, before you make suggestions, you should consider further educating yourself, especially starting with some writing classes.


So, what exactly did I say that compelled you to launch an insulting and personal attack against me.
This kid committed a serious of violent crimes. The fact that he was a kid does not justify or excuse his actions.
He deserves to spend most of his life in prison for what he did.
Do you feel he should just get a slap on the wrist and be put back on the streets so that he can kill someone.


No one is saying he shouldn't have been punished, but a lifetime in prison is a sentence for murder, not robbery, even with a weapon involved. Ten years, even twenty, maybe. But life? For a stupid and dangerous mistake where no one died? I don't think so.


I realize your small brain may not be able to process this, but in this country we believe that pumishment should match the crime. We also believe in rehabilitation, which is why we offer parole. The mandatory sentence for felony murder is 25 years to life. But this sentence —two centuries without parole for a 16 year old who killed no one — is excessive by any measure. And I don’t give two shits what your opinion is, little man.


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