What Will it Take for Erik Jensen to Get a Second Chance?

The Denver Post published a piece by Jessica Peck Corry yesterday called A Teen’s Crime, A Lifetime to Pay, and I was fascinated by the comments. Erik Jensen is one of an estimated 60 percent of the juveniles sentenced to life without parole in Colorado since 1998 who are there because of a felony murder conviction. The felony murder rule makes any participant in a felony criminally responsible for deaths that occur during the commission of the underlying crime. Erik participated in covering up the commission of the murder of Nathan Ybanez’s mother, but did not participate in her murder. 

Felony murder, at the time of Erik’s crime meant an automatic sentenced of Life Without the Possibility of Parole, or LWOP. Although the state overturned the mandatory LWOP sentence in 2006, the change was not made retroactive to include the 48 people who were already serving the sentence.

I hope that this site and this post might attract those with an understanding of sentencing law, because I am unable to understand how a sentence that was determined to be inappropriate, could be held up for those already serving it.

Please comment if you have thoughts on this.


131 responses to “What Will it Take for Erik Jensen to Get a Second Chance?

  1. Lisa, that article and the comments that follow shed incredible light on the complexities of these cases. Thanks for the link; I’m impressed by your ability to get an immediate handle on all this and your willingness to open up a space for discussion on such an important topic. Though misunderstandings and emotions may run high, the fact remains that the lives of innocent people are at stake; these discussions need to take place if the crime of inappropriate sentencing of juveniles is ever to be addressed and corrected. K.

  2. Charles Gramlich

    Definitely here the new law should be made retroactive.

  3. Karen and Charles,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Our State has taken positive steps, in that this sentence is no longer imposed, but we need to figure out how those left out of this decision can be helped. Thank you again for caring.

  4. I think everyone in the U.S. should watch the Frontline program “When Kids Get Life”, which featured Erik Jensen’s case among others. I remember, after watching this program, thinking that even as an adult I might have done just what Erik did. No reasonable human could think that Erik deserves a life sentence, and especially not LWOP. 2 years in prison, maybe. That’s what his “crime” deserved. It’s outrageous !

  5. Thank you for commenting. I think “When Kids Get Life” really is an eye opener for everyone who sees it and I’m grateful that Frontline continues to make it available to watch online.

  6. Where is the petition?
    I want to sign it immediately.
    I believe Erik’s situation is above all an injustice.
    A wrong place at the wrong time sort of deal.
    I am a fair guy and my views are generally concrete.

    Erik DOES NOT deserve a life sentence. He’s done 10 years already and maybe 2 – 5 more years is reasonable, but life? …without cance of patrol?!

    What has the American justice system come to?

    This is an outrage.

    Something must be done.


  7. Matthew, Thank you for reading and commenting. I don’t know that there is a petition to address Erik’s case, but you can always send a note to Governor Ritter at http://www.colorado.gov/apps/oit/governor/citizen/assistanceUtility/welcome.jsf

    The other thing that you can do to find out how you can help is to contact The Pendulum Foundation (link is at the top of the sidebar at this site) and you can check out the website for Erik’s Next Day Foundation (link is listed under the Resources sidebar).

  8. I watched the Frontline programme last night and it has left me sick in the stomache all day.

    I live in Sydney, Australia, and have always been a supporter of the American alliance. I have believed that (despite some pretty spectacular misjudgements in Iraq), America has always stood for democracy and the rule of law and for their extension to other countries.

    The fate of these boys seems to me to be the sort of deeply sick and misguided decision that I would expect in a third world country.

    These children responded to a particular set of circumstances, and pose no danger to anyone. Why can’t the powers that be, in Colorado, see this? I suppose some sort of wicked political cowardice in the face of “conservative” constituents.

  9. Why would a law NOT be made retroactive? If something is deemed to be just (as in : acting in with justice) today, why would it not be just for individuals charged in the past?

    Answer: politics.

  10. how can so many smart professionals come to such an illogical solution ? the world is insane . my heart goes out to erik and his family . please hold on buddy!

    i live in new zealand and just seen the frontline program and i was hoping to come online and see that erik was free …

    what a true injustice .

  11. I just saw the frontline documentary. I was once put in jail in California for 17 Hours out of a phone call from a druged up girlfriend. what a terrible experience. You are suddenly a number, not a person anymore. I hope the justice system will get somewhat of a Human heart and trial your son accordingly. He is very articulate, is very intelligent, he was at the wrong place, mat the wrong time, and without luck. I wish you the best and will certainly look for his name again on google and expect to see him free soon. (I still have hope in the American justice system).
    I wish strenght to the family and freedom to Erik.

  12. I watched the Frontline documentary a few months ago and I just can’t stop thinking about the fate of Erik Jensen. Injustice is not strong enough a word in my opinion – I am not sure what word is!

    When I was a teenager I did some stupid stuff, stuff that lucky didn’t effect the rest of my life, who can honestly say they have never done anything that in retrospect they realised was maybe not the right thing to do. I agree with what some one else said on this page, I am not 100% sure that even now as an adult, if faced with the same situation, that I wouldn’t do the same thing as Erik. His only crime was trying to help a friend in a terrible situation.

    My heart goes out to him and his family and also to Nathan – may he find some peace in his life wherever he has to spend it.

  13. I have also just recently watched the frontline documentary and Erik’s case is one that really bothers me. I have actually cried over it and want to help..I wonder where erik is in the judicial cycle..has he exhausted all appeals? Also, is there anything that can be done about his release?

  14. I have also just watched ‘when kids get life.’
    I feel so angry at what these people have done with Erik Jensen! Its unfair and horrible.

    How can we get this innocent man out?

  15. Please go to the HR 4300 web site and take the link to the petition to sign. We need many more signatures to help all these kids sentenced to life without parole.

  16. I have now seen the doco twice. I saw it a while back, a year or so ago and I ended up watching the whole thing again. The total injustice of it all is overwhelming. I wish there was something we could do, but being in Australia, like several others here who have posted a comment, I feel impotent. I would gladly sign a petition. How can those who have put Erik and the others away for so long sleep at night? In my eyes they are by far more culpable than these young offenders. To me that is the real crime. Shame on you America, shame. I will check this site to see if there is anything I can do.

  17. I live is a country where often is said” lock them up and throw away the key” . But seeing the consequences of a country that really does that is terrifying .

    If/when a child really committed a crime i can see the need for jail time together with a programme that helps them return to society.

    But in Erik’s case there is no crime.

    The adults in Nathan’s live failed them soo much they simply threw away all evidence of the failure they committed. “when kids get life” is haunting me since i saw it a year ago.
    How can a society claiming to have the best interest of the world in mind do such things? They cant.

    And i think theres more.
    People in america should ask themselves this question:” Is sentencing people to life making the streets safer?”

    If the answer is yes then please explain me how America`s city’s score so bad for safety.

    i forgot what city it is but the city with the most % of adults in jail is also the most dangerous place in the world. So the law system is clearly not working. If there is no investment made in prevention,education America will continue to be a country where too many people fail society’s limit for a successful live

    If a country is measured by the number of people it puts in jail it becomes obviuos how the US fails its citizens.

    As for these kids, as long as they are not returned into society with the proper help they need noone in my circle(family, friends,everyone i can persuade) is ever going to visit America.

    I cannot support a country financially that jails its people like this.

    I do hope i will be able to visit America while these kids still have some years left

  18. hi i just finished watching the doc…. thank you for an interesting and very sad doc.
    i believe that every man or woman should have a second chance.. especially for young guys who at the time prolly wasn’t able to weigh the power of their actions…. i dnt trust in JAIL as it appears… it s good to keep they away from society and let them think about their deeds but it doesn’t have any purpose if they aren’t able to give back to the society…. u know at least get a chance to right their wrongs , helping other kids with their xperiences….. help them avoid a bad situation… i would ve commit suicide if i were in their shoes… they are brave….
    its hard to loose a loved one but revenge is NOT THE ANSWER…

  19. Hi! I saw that doc tonight in Finland and I’m really shocked, angry and sad. How that kind of things can happen in America???!!! Where’s the JUSTICE and HUMAN RIGHTS?! Shame on you american politics who do this your children and people! How CAN you watch yourself in the mirror???? That is NOT justice, that is the bigger crime that murder to put in yale innocent young, and for life without parole. Wake up people, what are you doing your kids??
    And I understand why somebody loose his mind and kills his parent if he has abused. That’s the BIGGEST crime.
    I hope we can do something, if Barack Obama doesn’t do, i don’t believe you anymore, America. (The place of the inhumanity.)

    So sad, so true, so bad :(((

  20. Christine Henze

    Let them out! All 5 of them. I am sorry for the victims but these sentences are much too harsh and extreme and should be banished from our “civilized” society. This is outrageous and outlandish and should be repealed immediately if not sooner. I am ashamed to live in this state with this kind of attitude!

  21. simon shimbel

    I know Eric Jensen. Unfortunatly for us we met in prison in Colorado. Fortunatly for me I have been released. When I met Eric he was going to court for some part of his appeal, he was upbeat about his chances , as I also met his co-defendant and have heard the story I was upbeat for him. As jaded as I am about the criminal justice system(imagine that) I trusted a wrong would be righted and Eric’s LWOP would be tossed.Eric screwed up, nobody, including Eric would deny that, but for Gods sake make the time fit the crime.I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when we live in a country that trades prison shares on the stock exchange. Instead of building prison beds as needed we build them and then rush out to fill them so we can turn a profit. Two Million people incarcerated in the good old U.S of A. Talk about a human-rights violation. Anyway enough of my rant, I know what Eric’s life is like day to day, I did it for 7 years. Its pointless, dehumanizing and a slow death. To sentence a juvinile to LWOP is a CRIME. Hang tough Eric and hope common sense prevails….

    • Simon,
      I just reviewed the documentary on Erik. I am upset that they can find him guilty of murder or any of the 5 boys. Yes, death is death. I think that not all murders are based on wanting to kill that person. In Eriks case, he did not have any part of the actual murder, LWOP is way too harsh of a crime for him. He has served 10 years and I think his time is done. We live in a world where the government sucks money from wherever they can get it. Its sad to think that putting people in jail/prison is worth that, no matter what part of the crime they were in. If you do a crime, you should take responsibility for it. Please if you have any information on Eriks appeal let me know.

      • I am sad to report that Erik’s last appeal was recently denied. The most upsetting part of the appeal was that the federal judge literally said on record that he feels the prosecution attacked Eriks character by portraying him as a rich young punk ( SO ILLEGAL) and used that attack in order to obtain a first degree murder conviction. The judge could have overturned the conviction, or even vacated the first degree and gave Erik a second degree murder conviction. This would have made him eligible for parole within the next few years. As a family member, this was extremely exciting for all of us, since most judges never say anything like that when they plan on denying the appeal. Unfortunatley, he denied it anyway. Erik is up for Clemency with the governor this January, we remain hopeful since the governor is leaving office, however he is a former prosecutor and it is often hard to catch a break from prosecutors. I saw Erik today and he remains upbeat and hopeful, thanks for your support.


    • Dear Simon,
      I’ve been instructed by an old friend to tell you “a dingo ate my baby…”
      🙂 I’ve heard some fun stories about you, I hope all is well.


    • Concerned Citizen

      Is the Simon Shimbel who commented here the same Simon Shimbel who repeatedly forced another inmate to perform sexual acts on him while incarcerated?


      You talk about ‘make the time fit the crime’ in your comment, but does that ‘time’ include being beaten, sold like a sex slave and abused sexually? I’d be interested to know if that is the case.

      I assume this is indeed the same Simon Shimbel who beat and forced another inmate to perform oral sex on him before being extradited and transferred to serve additional time in Australia for a prison escape in Western Australia, that you have already been released. I think that the following links discusses your extradition, if you are indeed 35-year old Simon Kenneth Shimbel.


      Maybe you could comment on this case, since by the looks of the corrupt plaguing the corrections departments around this country you will never be held accountable for the horrors you inflicted on other inmates in Colorado prisons, and who knows where else.

      I am very much for compassion, and if you are indeed Simon Shimbel; you have some explaining to do before posting in a public forum. You may have served time for the crimes you were sentenced for, but you need to be held accountable for your actions while incarcerated as well.

  22. They’re children, after all. Children. They’re CHILDREN.

    How does it reflect on righteousness to treat children this way? And to be so obstinate in the face of such barbaric injustice? A child doesn’t know what it’s like to provide for itself, and we think children are fully cognizant of what they are doing by committing these crimes? Their unknowing is reflected in the ferocity of the acts. Mandatory LWOP laws for juveniles is so ill-thought, so weird and wrong, only a juvenile could see the sense in it.

    Erik, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t be treated this way. For whatever it’s worth, there are people who think your treatment is wrong; you’re not alone in defending yourself or in believing you’re entitled to better.

    The same for the rest of the guys featured in the documentary.

    They were children. They weren’t done yet, they weren’t finished. But the CRIMINAL ‘justice’ system has seen to it that they are, now.

  23. They were children, but also a criminal murderers. What part of this don’t you scabs understand. You kill, you go to jail, period! No second chance to kill another innocent person. At least now if this dirtbag hurts anybody it will be another criminal.

    Keep this filth and others like him away from society.

  24. River Palmroth

    @Bart Jackson

    I respect your opinion even if its the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Yes, they were children and yes they took lives away but they are not monsters. They are not a Charles Manson copy even though he never killed anyone personally.

    Point is, these kids (even if they are grown up today) should get a normal sentence. The victims won’t come back just because the person who took their life will spend the rest of their lives in prison. Its madness to throw a 15-year old kid like Andy in prison for the rest of his life just because he made a mistake, even a big one but he’s just as human as you and I and he deserves to get a chance because nobody is perfect not even you Bart.

    I sure hope they change the laws in the US because this is , pardon my french, fucked up!!

    Cheers from Sweden.

  25. River Palmroth, Tankafett? ^^

  26. Christine Henze

    Bart Jackson has to be the biggest idiot I have heard to date…buddy, go back to school and learn something besides what you see…there is no hope for any system if losers like this are allowed to vote and have a voice..sorry..

  27. I agree with Matthew there should be a petition if there isnt one, i would sign that, though only being a 15 year old in high school i have ben arrested for assualt.Idont have full knoledge of this case or the way the system works but if you were not present at the murder or part of the murder, a life sentance without a chance of parole is pretty unresonable. Maybe 5-10 for trying to cover the murder but being it he was not present, a life sentance would be another example of our corrupt government.

  28. After reading the story and doing a little research, i have a better knoledge of what went down.After a decade in prison, Eric deserves a second chance.Maybe the court in colorado could re-open his case to take a second look at what happened and under his being in there so long, take some mental tests to see if he is stable.I believe eric is very stable and was never un-stable, just a mistake, everyone makes them,even the judges and jury that put him in for life.The difference is that eric admittes his mistake and has paid his debt, a longer one than needed.Hundreds of government officials go through their days knowing of a crime they commited that they should have been fired for but was never tried because of being apart of the government.

  29. I just watched a show about Eric here in Australia, and I must say Im ashamed at the legal system…. How could anyone who was subjected to what he was, end up behind bars for life, it really is ridiculous !!

  30. what is going on over there Oh my god, these were children : (

  31. hi, i just watched the frontline show about Erik and wondered what is happening about his case, does anyone know if his appeal was successful, it was very sad to watch as i have a 15 yr old son, and would hate something like that to happen to him.. I hope that Erik is soon to be back home with his family.

  32. Like Simone and Sandra I watched the front line show last night and have jumped on-line to try and find out if Nathan and Erik are free yet. Firstly, how on earth could their friend sell Erik out, especially after his parents went to child services with Erik’s parents (out of concern for Nathan) and secondly if a girl was being sexually abused by her father and beaten by her mother would she have gone to jail? I thoroughly doubt it and I think that is what saddens me most of all. The whole way through the documentary I was saying to my partner that Nathan should have been able to appeal due to insufficient counsel (seriously – no witnesses, no mention of abuse and the trial lasted three days!!!). That is what basis he is launching his appeal on now but it has taken a decade! Clearly he still needs counselling and support as he is (understandably) a very disturbed young man. As for Bart Jackson’s comments – Nathan’s mother wasn’t an innocent person. She was sexually abusing her son and allowing her husband to beat him. If that had happened to your best friend would you have acted any differently to Erik? You dick!

  33. What is wrong with people !!!All this bleating about these poor CHILDREN who need a second chance…………..just like the 2nd chance their victims got. But who gives a toss about the victims and their families ??
    No wonder crime in Australia and the US is running rampart. You can’t set foot into downtown Sydney , Melbourne, Brisbane or even Darwin at night without getting bashed . Then the judicial system, in response to listening to bleating bleeders like some bloggers on this site, give them a slap on the wrist.
    I watched When Kids Get Life and applauded the Colorado legal system.
    Its funny that the only witnesses to these crimes are the offenders themselves.
    And of course the old” I was a victim of child abuse ” is dragged out as an excuse for murder.
    Didn’t the Mendes( ?) brothers try that one as well ???

  34. Christine Henze

    What is wrong with you Gary? You must be in the military or you are a heartless money grubbing a hole who knows nothing about the world and how rotten we have become as himan beings. With these attitudes you will ne ver survive the cataclysm that will come soon and destroy those individuals who do not support a God-centered society. I do not believe you will survive unless you start practicing compassion and love. Adios baby!

  35. Now Christine, snap out of it !!Only ignorant and naieve idiots believe that the meek shall inherit the earth.The meek and weak get exploited by the mean and strong.
    Yes, we do need a more compassionate and tolerant world, but only for those who help maintain a harmonious and cohesive society.
    Those who transgress must be put out of society not just as a punishment but to show society this behaviour will not be tolerated and the victims revenged.
    Compassion, if not administered correctly will be seen as a weakness to be exploited and used against you.
    It is lobby groups such as Pendulum and websites like this, civil liberterians and bleeding hearts like you who are causing a more violent and crime ridden society

  36. In support of my comments above and………..
    Why I applaud the Colorado judicial system. Read the story below

    A TEENAGER who lifted a university researcher and dropped him on his head during a fatal gang bashing has been sentenced to 10 years jail.
    The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded guilty to murder and robbery over the death of Dr Cao Zhongjun, 41, in Footscray in January last year.

    The court heard the teenager and the gang decided on January 22 last year to find an Indian student and steal their mobile phone.

    Instead, the gang came across Dr Cao.

    “You lifted Dr Cao off his feet and then dropped him,” Justice David Harper said in sentencing the teenager in the Victorian Supreme Court today.

    He said the youth then told Dr Cao to bend over, before stealing a mobile phone from the victim’s pocket.

    Another gang member, 21-year-old John Caratozzolo of Melton South, then kicked Dr Cao in the head.

    Justice Harper sentenced Caratozzolo, the attack’s ringleader, last month to 15 years with a minimum of 10 years.

    Justice Harper emphasised it was not alleged that the teenager intended to kill Dr Cao, and he was not sentencing him on that basis.

    After attacking Dr Cao, the teenager was involved in another attack on an Indian man the same night.

    The youth will serve six years before being eligible for parole.

  37. Reading Gary and Bart’s replies make me wonder what they would do if they had found themselves in the position Jacob or Nate found themselves in. Knowing that the judicial system is supposed to temper justice with mercy I wish that the judicial system was more merciful. As you all know Justice is when you get what you deserve, mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve. I am a Christian. Perfect? Far from it. A zealot? Hardly. I do try to follow God’s were and I do fall short quite a bit but I do try. The situation that is being discussed reminds me of a piece of scripture from Matthew 21 31:46. I would like to share it with you and let you know that I will be praying for these children as well as all the others that fallen victim to the judicial system. And I will also say a prayer for Gary and Bart. Thanks

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
    34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
    41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
    45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
    46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal lif

  38. now im 15 years old and i know what its like to be crying and scared while your parents cant help you.
    its a horrible repulsive situation to be in. you literally want to shrivel up and die, and the enormity of the whole situation for these kids must be so unbearably explosively painful. i would not wish it on any child unless they were repeat offenders of real intentional murder. it has nothing to do with god or hard justice. it simply has to do with impersonal unintelligent men and women who have a lack of wisdom perspective and understanding about the mind of a child.

  39. Please sign the petition for the Juvenile Justice reform act : http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/christophers-bill-the-juvenile-justice-reform-act

    you might change something…

    greetings from Belgium

  40. i just turned 18 and i cant imagine what it would be like to never start a family or have a career or fall in love. i think that erik should be given another chance. i watched the frontline documentary and done my own research on his case and i do believe that he is innocent of not murdering someone. his punishment was too harsh and i believe that they should let him out and let him live the rest of his life. as for nathan, he did what he did but he was also a victim too. no one helped him and when your helpless you will do anything. but i do strongly believe that erik should be let out of prison. i dont know why, but i have an immense amoune of sympathy for him and it breaks my heart to hear this story. he is innocent of murder. i believe it. i know it. i hope he gets out.

  41. I go to college at WVU. My socio teacher had us watch a movie about Erik’s story. I want to help and so do some of my classmates. I’ll do anything from protesting outside the prison to sending him something to let him know that there are people out there supporting him. Does anyone know anything I can do or how to send him something?

  42. I watched the documentary in my English lesson today. I could not believe my eyes. Common sense says that this was manslaughter, not murder. Also Erik is innocent- how can anyone say he should be in jail? He had NO part whatsoever in the death of the woman. She was already dead. I do feel sorry for both boys, esp. Erik 😦

  43. My name is Darrell Griffin, Sr. I am writing a book about the Erik Jensen story, titled “Trouble Bound.” My most current book, “Last Journey” is now available online at Amazon.com and other well-known online book stores as well as all other traditional book stores. I am looking for all the input from thinking citizens as I write this book. I am a conservative Christian and believe our juvenile justice laws are barbaric and unjust. Please link to http:www.thinkingpatriots.wordpress.com

  44. Let them out now! What kind of a barbaric society do we li ve in and how long will the sheeple let the farmer keep them in the barn. Come on people wake up! The legislators love to keep kids and adults in prison – its BIG business and no one messes with capitol. Time to take blinders off and take action – get rid of the district attorney who is now governor for this state. Christine Henze

  45. I find this situation often occurs in many different aspects of law through poor administration. Laws are put into place for certain situations. People want answers and sometimes quick, unprecedented, reactions are put into place to fit the moment in time. Other cases that follow may seem similar to the law and accidentally fall into the category of it, when it in fact should be treated as a different aspect of law. Erik Jensen clearly fell into a sentence that followed an inappropriate statue to begin with at the wrong time. Not to mention people all over the united states willingly have killed, admitted doing so, and have been released from prison in less than 10 years. I personally know a man, who as an adult, killed the murderer of his brother. He then told the judge, “Im guilty.” That man is free, alive, and well after serving 7 years. There is a reason teachers teach and lawyers don’t law. Lawyers practice law. They must practice inside the law which is always changing. Every case going forward is literally different from the one before it. To hand a life sentence down to ALL juvenlies who technically fall under a few words of judgement written down in the administration office of some state is one of the most outrageously, outright, dumb examples of how SILLY some of the most powerful people can be.

  46. elizabeth featherstone

    Please let me know if and when he is released…I feel so sorry for both boys.

  47. I started a petition for people to electronically sign. Please take the time to sign it and give Erik a chance.

  48. hi im katrina and from Australia and was just writing to say that i just saw the documentry on ‘when kids get life’ and i was shocked and so upset ‘like really crying’ for eric because of the injustice that he is serving. I so want to help and see him get out of jail.

  49. When I saw this documentary I was sick about it. Frankly I believe neither Erik or Nathan should have gone to prison, period. Erik for sure and I have written to him in prison as you all should in support. With respect to Nathan. His mother was a mess and obviously manipulated him to a point of temporary insanity. I suspect she sexually abused him as well. Let’s get these boys out of prison, Enough!!

  50. I am writing to you from Israel and I see thia as -Wrong, wrong and wrong. Each case must be measured on its merit and in the case of Erik and Nate a life long sentence simply does not fit the crime. These young men are not a threat to you or me and a life without parole seems utter madness. The relatives of the victim require consideration without doubt, but when they are long gone with their loss in tow, these men will reside in a place without a purpose. A sentence worthy of a Middle Estern dictatorship. and nothing at all to be proud about. Reform is required.

  51. Tracie Nelson


  52. I have just recently watched the ‘Kids who get life’ programme, I noticed that it was made in 2007 and came on the internet looking for an update.
    I expected that something would have happened by now but it appears that both Erik and Nathan are still in prison.
    I also can’t believe some of the crass comments left by people, there are victims of crime but some of these people on the documentary were also victims and no-one wanted to listen to them until it all went horribly wrong.
    I am a Police Officer in England and whilst we moan that the criminal justice system is too soft, especially on juveniles, this is based on habitual criminals.
    Our system is by no means the best but it would have prevented this draconian sentencing. I cannot believe what a shocking system they have in the USA and there are still people prepared to defend it without appreciating that not every case is black and white.
    My heart goes out to Erik and Nathan and the many others caught it up in this narrow minded belief that has put them all there.


  54. I watched the documentary last night and have been thinking about Eriks situation all day. Llike many others who have left comments I too have searched the internet expecting that he would have been released by now. I understand that there are victims to be considered but in the interest of justice he should be released. I feel that America should be ashamed of what it has done and what it continues to do to his children.

  55. I watched the documentary tonight and felt I had to put my comments on this site. I am totally horrified especially in Erik’s situation that this young man can be locked up for life. Look at the world around us, we have some real horrific people on the streets, he is certainly not one of them. The other young man he happened to be with even admitted Erik had nothing to do with this, what on earth is going on in America. Erik should be free to live his life, he should never have been in the hell hole he is in, in the first place. What a disgrace.

  56. Like many I watched the program last week, and can’t stop thinking about it.
    I also read some of the comments, some people (Gary)forget that these kids were incarcerated for LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE for nothing more than cleaning the carpet. It’s just so medieval…
    Even Charles Manson has the possibility of parole.

  57. i am a legal practioner in south africa.i am continually sickened at the american justice system that places accused at the mercy of politicised prosecutors and 12 unqualified jurists.punishment should fit the crime.this poor kid did not deserve this sentence and any civilised society would recognise the fact.shame on you colorado,shame on you america.

  58. I am from Namibia and just saw the programme. I just feel sickened and upset by the incredible injustice that has been done to these young kids. What a messed-up message is the Justice system sending out? It is a fair that they had to be punished for the crimes they had committed, could they that harsh..? unreal!
    I just pray that they will be given a second chance

  59. I was absolutely mortified at what the boys in the docu, Erik and Nathan are being put through. I have obviously just saw the programme.

    My heart isd going out to them, especially Erik. I will pray for him. He deserves a live of freedom.
    Is there some way of writing to him where he is held in prison?

  60. Saffron Baggallay

    I watched ‘When Kids Get Life’ last night and was completely outraged and devestated – I got on the Pendulum Foundation website, sent them a message wrote to the governor of Colarado.

    I have loved and defended America, and ironically Colarado for 13 years. Last night’s programme changed that for me completely. I cannot defend a place with such an extraordinary unfair and inappropriate judicial system. It is hypocritical in the extreme.

    I have been so haunted by this story (all 5 young men but especially Erik because he strikes me as such an intelligent and kind person – AND HE’S INNOCENT OF MURDER) that I have been feeling anxious all day. I just watched the re-run again with a mixture of utter devestation and rage.

    I have lost all respect for America. I am South African and thought being a third world country we had an unfair unjust system. For a learned, first world, wealthy country is is disgusting to treat young citizens like this – and for goodness sake if you have the resources to lock them up forever, why can’t you find the resources to rehabilitate? Because the latter is harder work, right? America is a hypocrtical place, revolting so, and on so many many levels. You should be ashamed of yourself (America collectively) signing treaties with the UN and pretending to be a democracy when you so clearly are not. Where is Obama and his liberal policies? Obama, why have you not looked in to the fact that you have over 2200 young offenders serving life without parole? WAKE UP AMERICA.

    I want to say so much. I want to swear and rage and rant, but it will serve nothing, and I would be a hypocrit if I were so unforgiving as the American system is being.

    I am truly sorry for ALL the victims, the dead, the incarcerated, the families.

    To Erik, Nathan, Jacob, Andy and Trevor I will pray for you. I wish you strength and freedom in your minds and hope in your hearts. I honestly hope and pray that your lives change and that your innocence is recognised. Erik, your words “in 10 years I’ll either be on the streets or dead’ really haunt me. Please hold on to hope, you are worth it.

  61. Like so many others I’ve been made aware of Erik’s plea thanks to the TV documentary.

    My wife and I are both touched and disturbed by what we’ve learned. This is terrible, the world should know about this – and the world should know what the USA is doing to their children!

    We would love to be able to write to Erik and others to keep their spirits up!

  62. I am a law student from South Africa and am shocked by the way these kids have been treated, even Nathan who commited the crime should never of recieved such a harsh sentence. When you have sexually and physically abused for so long, one could expect someone (especially a kid, who does not appreciate their action as an adult would) to eventaully loose it. At the end of the day, these are still children and to put a child in a maximum security prison without the possibility of parole is probably more damaging then a death sentence if you ask me. I am disgusted to learn that so many of these kids are still serving such horific sentences even after a global outcry.

  63. Speachless.

  64. this rulings are very controversial indeed. Looking into constitutional rights this rule of felony murder violated his federal constitutional rights under the fifth, sixth, eighth and fourteenth amendments. The main thrust of Erik’s federal constitutional challenge is that the use of the felony-murder rule relieved the Colorado state from proving beyond a reasonable doubt an essential element of the crime of first degree murder, malice aforethought.
    He could / should petition to add the claim that under Colorado law the felony-murder rule did not apply and Erik was, therefore, convicted of first degree murder without proof of malice aforethought in violation of the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to the federal constitution.

    I also find the case where Supreme Court ruled that unarmed robbery is a non-inherently dangerous felony. To sustain a felony-murder conviction, therefore, there must be a finding that the defendant had a conscious disregard of risk to human life when committing the unarmed robbery.

    I think there is a lot of grounds that could help Erik to get reduces charges. Is true that i could not get transcripts from his trial of the net, so if anyone have them or know them where to get them let me know pls.

    • J,
      This article does have a mistake in it. Erik was never actually convited of fleony murder, he was charged with it, but the charges never stuck. He was charged with complicity in first degree, first degree murder and accessory. Oddly enough no one can explain how you can be complicent in a murder and charged with that same murder in the first degree. Furthermore the prosecution obtained the first degree conviction by attacking Erik’s character by portraying him as a spoiled rich kid during the same time another “spoiled rich kid” named Eric went on a shooting rampage at his school in Colorado.

  65. Was Erik’s appeal successful???

  66. I only save this program recently and found myself horrified that this boy who had tried to help his friend, who did not kill anyone and who had no prior convections is serving LWP. He came across as a really loyal and good person and if I had one wish today it would be to see him released home to his parents. And to be honest his friend Nate should no be serving LWP either. @ Gary lets hope you are never in the wrong place at the wrong time or never put a foot wrong.

  67. I watched this program a lot but now I want to stop, it just to much and I hate the juvenile system in this country. The government always to busy to help kids when parents are mistreated them but they always available to punish kids after a crime commit. Where are they when those kids crying for help.

    I believe Nathan deserve to pay for what he did and I am happy that he recognize that but I still don’t think life sentence is the answer. When it’s come to Erik, my only question is “WHY”. Why is Erik still in prison.

    Erik is not the killer here, he was at the wrong place and at the wrong time. He was a teenager, he made a mistakes by help cleaning and carry the body, he’s been in prison for 10 years and I think he got the picture now, so he need to be free, he pay the prize.

    I am just open someone from somewhere realize that poor kid been in jail for 10 years for no reason. I will continue writing paper about Erik case and support as much as I can.

  68. Wow,
    I was unaware so many people were still commenting on this blog. To answer a common question:No Erik’s final appeal was not successful. The federal judge examined Erik’s case for several months and during a hearing made several exciting comments. He said he recognized that the prosecution had no chance of obtainig a first degree conviction without attacking Erik’s character and making him seem like a rich, spoiled punk. Columbine had made a monumental impact on Erik’s case and as we re examine his case in that light, it becomes more obvious that Colorado was very bias towards rich young men at that time. The judge could have overturned Erik’s conviciton entirley or he could have given Erik a second degree murder conviction, which would have made him eligible for parole within the next few years. Those of us who love Erik were very excited to hear this and let ourselves become hopeful since it made no sense for the judge to make such comments if he were planning on denying the appeal. To our unblievable disappointment, the final appeal was denied.
    Despite that hurdle, we remain hopefull of Erik’s release. He is up for clemency with out departing Governor Ritter in Januray of 2011. The governor is a former prosecutor and history has shown that prosecutors are not easily persuaded when it comes to prisoner being granted early release. I recognize the governor to be a logical man and am confident he will help Erik. If you would like to write in support :
    Now is absolutley the time and your support would be greatly appreciated.
    Erik appreciates all of your support and remains hopeful 🙂
    Thanks so much,

  69. I have emailed the governer asking him to grant Erik clemency.

  70. I am absolutely horrified by the documentary that was recently aired in the UK, ‘ When kids get life’, and particularly the case of Erik Jensen. The Colarado legal system is bereft of any compassion or logic and must be changed. How Erik Jensen can be jailed without parole defies belief. I would like to offer any assistance that I am able to.
    My prayers and thoughts are with Erik Jensen, and his family, especially at this time of year.

  71. I am a 30 year old South African female and given personal experience and the crime rates in my country, I think I know what a criminal or a murder is. Erik is not either of these.
    I just finished watching a programme about Erik and other Colorado kids who were sentenced to LWP and Im saddened and shocked.
    Erik is not a criminal. The sentence was too harsh, given the circumstances. Ill pray for his pardon in Jan and sign the petition.

  72. I am also a South African who has also just watched this documentary and I am horrified that Erik was given the sentence that he got. In South Africa you would have had to killl 100 people before you would get life without parole ! This is absolutely shocking and I hope that this young man gets another appeal and that this time it will be successful. I will write to the Colorado Governor and ask for clemency for this young man. My thoughts are with his mother and father at this time.

  73. I also watched the program ‘ When kids get life’ today when it aired here in South-Africa. I am astounded and horrified that Erik’s appeal was not successful. You expect this kind of thing in 3rd world countries, and places like China or Iran, not the great democracy of the US. Surely common sense needs to prevail here?! I sincerely hope that he is granted clemency by the governor.

    Like he said on the program, and I absolutely agree, ‘I wont stay in here another 10 years….’

    Good luck Erik, I really do hope your nightmare will soon be over !

    • Gustav,
      One lesson you must learn about the U.S: We don’t use common sense 🙂
      I love my country, but sometimes it a 6 year old child uses more logic than it does.
      Thanks for your comment

  74. I also live in South Africa and watched the program this weekend and the tears was rolling. I could not get this out of my mind. I can just imagine how Erik and his family must feel. I cannot believe that there is nothing that can be done to get Erik free. What saddens me the most that you can never get back the lost time. I really hope that something can be done so that Erik can be with his family and my heart also goes out to Nathan who was abused, as I know from personal experience what he had to go through in his life as a child. Once this happens to you, you will never be the same again. Being abused is truly a life sentence on its own. My prayers are with you all and I truly hope that Erik and Nathan can get out of jail like in today! Erik do not deserve to be there he needs to be with his loving father and mother.

  75. May the grace of God shine upon Erik and Nathan. It ain’t over until God says it is over and I believe God has not turned his back on Erik and Nathan. If this outgoing Governor doesn’t grant clemency, the next Governor will (I hope) do the honours. pressure needs needs to be continual, Erik’s story has to always be told so that his cause continues to be topical. the documentary has clearly ignited interest in the case throughout the world. I hope someone close to the case could start a fund raising drive for a “pardon Erik Jensen” campaign that people around the world could join and pressure Colorado to remove the “without parole” part of the sentence for juvenile convicts who are serving life sentences. I was under the impression that the “without parole” stipulation when sentencing someone to life was reserved for people who stood NO chance of being rehabilitated. Surely we can’t declare without a doubt that a teenage kid will never be rehabilitated in his whole lifetime. No teenager is the same person when he is 27 years old. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace etc need to be used to create viral spread of awareness campaigns about Erik’s case. When Erik gets clemency, it will probably be easier for Nathan to get clemency too. By the way, what is Nathan’s father saying about all this?

  76. I think the sentencing of the juveniles showed in the documentry is really unjust. It doesn’t show a compasioned system. Just a system based un vengeange. There should at least be a difference in sentencing between the juvenile court and the court for adults. The basic principle in juvenile sentencing should always be rehabilitation.

    What I saw where not hardened criminals. Just kids that made an error in judgement. Kids should be allowed to make mistakes.

    In the case of Jensen, it is just shamefull, to send a kid away for life.
    It does not feel like justice.

    In the cases of longterm abuse, those kids where in a crisis and they snapped. I also felt the terror when I was in my teens from an abusive stephfather, it just builds up until you explode. This is what can happen and it shocked myself, the level of violence that came out of me.
    Those kids do not even belong in jail. They belong in a closed psychiatric institution where they can be helped and following MAYBE a jailsentence, but definitly not for life. The message your sending as a society is that you don’t care if something went wrong in the development of a child while in the care off abusive parents (mentally and/or physicly). And when they do snap (wich is basicly temporal insanity) and commit these acts off violence they should be considered useless and disgarded for the rest of their natural lives.
    Kids like Jacob are basicly fucked from the moment they are conceived, is what a society is saying.

    It is ridiculous and cruell.
    It can and should never be (made) that simple.

  77. Thank you for the updates Kristina. Like many here, I googled Erik’s name after watching the Frontline episode for the first time today expecting to read he was released by now as that episode is 3 or 4 years old. I think Erik has already served more than an appropriate amount of time given his apparently limited participation in the homicide and yet ridiculously he is still incarcerated. Good luck to you and your family.

  78. Hello Everyone,
    I have a new update for you. Unfortunatley, Governor Ritter didn’t grant Erik any clemency before leaving office. This was extremely frustrating, but expected. Rather than outright deny Erik, he basically passed the case on to the next governor. The good news is, we have it on high authority the clemency board did in fact recommend Erik. We are not sure what type of clemency it was, however, if he were recommended for 40 years without parole, he’d be in prison until he was 60. If he was recommended 40 years with parole, he’d be eligible in a few years. I’m optimistic that he was recommended more towards the latter. Additional good news is that unlike our former governor, a distiric attorney, our new governor is a buissiness man who has demonstrated tendancies towards being a socially liberal person while he was the Mayor of Denver. He, unlike our former governor, has no stakes in the justice system and doesn’t have the “fire and brimstone” mentality most district attorneys have. Erik will be resubmitting his clemency packet to this governor shortley. Erik and his family are very thankful for the support we have recieved over the years from all over the world, especially from everyone who wrote Governor Ritter supporting clemency for Erik. We can only ask, and beg, that you continue this support now with Governor Hickenlooper, who we feel will be far more receptive to your letters. Your support has made a more tremendous difference than you could possibly know and further support can help us to achieve our ultimate goal of bringing Erik home.
    Thank you again,

  79. I hope the new governer helps, I emailed the old governer, I will email this one. I must write to Erik, kept meaning to :0( I know it’s no excuse but I recently moved house.

  80. All I can say is Eric please do not lose hope…..! You WILL be free! I am praying for you and your parents (my heart goes out to them)

  81. Where can I write to Eric and his Parents???

  82. We are in the process of launching a website for Erik, it’s still being built but there are links about how to help and there will be a link on how to contact Erik shortly:

  83. Most of you need to read up on this case. Erik’s defense was that he was “too high” to know what he was doing and may have hit Nate’s mother. FRONTLINES documentary was incredibly bias. Secondly, before his trial was put on hold, Erik and his defense team plead guilty to second degree urder. Erik is guilty and should not get clemency

    • I am involved with the case and I am well versed in it, as you clearly are not. Erik was going to plea guilty to manslaughter, which means he would have been out 6 years ago. That charge was based entirely on Brett’s testimony. The prosecution knew they couldn’t make a first degree murder charge stick because, suprise suprise, they had absolutely no evidence except from one boy who A) wasn’t there and B) was saving his own neck. Even if second degree murder was the plea, Erik would STILL be out right now and wouldn’t need clemency. Then Columbine happens and the prosecutors refuse to make a plea deal and are able to fill the jury pool with a bunch of Coloradan’s who have seen 4 months of news coverage about rich white boys who kill. The prosecutor even admitted he was shocked they were able to convict Erik. Please tell me how a 6 year sentence before Columbine and dying in prison post Columbine is right in anyway.
      Furthermore, if Erik plead guilty to second degree murder is proof of his guilt in your mind and he would be out now had that happened, how does he not deserve clemency?
      And Erik’s lawyer didn’t want to put the victim on trial and attack her based on her many documented psychotic episodes and erratic behaviors. It was this high paid attorney who wanted to base the defense on Erik being “too high.” Frontline gave Brett and Mr. Ybanez, who both fled the state immediately by the way, ample opportunity to comment on the case and they declined.
      You need to read up on the case.

  84. I watched Frontline, i i have very bad feelings,becouse Eric dont deserve such punichment. Lot of support form Beglrade,Serbia

  85. Sandra Johnson

    Here is the link to the findings on Eric’s appeal by the Colorado Supreme Court. It is based on the facts brought out during the trail, not a TV program.


    • There are many things to say about this, so we’ll take it from the top.
      A lot can be said about our justice system, fair is typically not a common word used. I’ve found the word broken is the most common one. If our justice system is broken, our appellate system is an absolute joke. The same court you are defending denied Tim Masters originally. And if you want to really know about the appellate system, look into this man: http://www.thejusticeproject.org/kirk/kirk-bloodsworth-story/
      He can tell you about serving 15 years on death row for a murder that occurred 3 blocks away while he was home in bed. After having every appeal denied, he looked into DNA and became the first ever person to be fully exonerated by DNA. In case you’re struggling with the word exonerated, that means “you didn’t do it” they in fact proved it was someone else who arrived at the same prison as Kirk a few months after he was convicted. 15 years is a long time. I’f love to tell you he is the only one, but the innocence project has exonerated over 300 people to date. That’s not including people whose forensic evidence was destroyed after trial or like in Erik’s case where he allegedly participated in a violent, bloody murder, yet left no forensic evidence at the scene. You have a 3% chance in the appellate court, and if you truly believe our “justice system” only makes 3% mistakes, you are truly naive.
      Moving on, the facts of Erik’s case are the same as in frontline, Brett, Brett, Brett. No one else saw anything, no forensic evidence, Nate said from day one Erik never did anything and Brett was not only looking at adult time for accessory, but was also awaiting an adult trial for another incident involving a Porsche and 80mph and a big crash. Again, that magically disappeared along with his accessory charge, how is that not bias?
      And finally, for whatever reason, those who are anti frontline episode get so involved in trying to prove is bias, they miss the entire point. There are over 50 juvenile lifers in Colorado, and those of us who support Erik support every one of them. Why …BECAUSE THEY’RE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!! As you can see, Erik gets a lot of support from people around the world. Any other civilized country believes juvenile life is barbaric and can’t understand how we condone it. You can play pretentious American all you want, but we always end up following the rest of the world on social issues, even if we have to drag SOME people kicking and screaming. But you have to face it, they have a point, in Europe Nate would have been removed from his parent’s home long before the age of 13. Unlike our social system, they actually invest their tax money in it as opposed to building more prisons. Nate would have been fine, and this would have never happened…makes sense doesn’t it.
      Our justice system is a circus, Richard Gere does a pretty good metaphorical song about it in Chicago and it’s dead on. Whoever has the best razzel dazzel wins. In America boys can’t be sexually abused by women, Nate MUST be evil and by affiliation so is Erik. After all teenagers know everything, and fully calculate everything they do right !? 😉 How dare a 17 year old boy try to protect a friend, it’s not like teenaged relationships and friendships are extremely passionate or anything!? And America in no way makes laws to protect them from their own immaturity…drinking age, consent to marry, consent to join the military, smoking age, consent to enter any contract, consent to own property ect…
      The rest of the world and a vast majority of Americans (WAY more than you think) think outside of the box (Scary!!), maybe you should think about getting on board….

  86. Charlotte Lewis

    Kristina, I support Erik & his endeavours to get out of jail – he deserves to be released. I live in Britain, was born here & have never lived anywhere else. Myself & the majority of my fellow countrymen/women get very frustrated by our justice system as we see it as too liberal. We’re forever hearing about nasty criminals getting away with non-custodial sentences, & our judges can’t deport foreign criminals because those criminals get legal aid to argue their case in respect of the obnoxious European human rights act. Example:- An Iraqi man killed a child by knocking her over in his car & leaving the scene; he served a short jail sentence & IS STILL LIVING HERE. I’m very concerned about anyone anywhere in the world being convicted of a serious crime without DNA evidence, unless of course they were ‘caught red-handed’.

    • Charlotte,
      Thank you for your support. As far as your frustration with your justice system, all I can say is isn’t that ironic? Yours is too soft, and mine is to strict, why can’t we find a happy balance? Standing up for juvenile rights often makes people think you’re soft on crime when honestly I’m the opposite. Adults have a moral obligation to know the difference between right and wrong. And I especially hate the “I had a rough childhood” excuse, again ironic, because I believe when you are a fully matured adult, you owe it to yourself and society to let it go and become the best person you can me. My Prozac nation seems to have issues with that. I can’t believe that Iraqi man was treated so leniently. I’ve heard common frustrations from my neighbors to the north. Evidentially in Canada, you can sexually abuse a child and go to rehab for a year, and then be released. How is that keeping the public safe? I also agree, serious crimes hold way more weight with DNA evidence, I wish those without it were given more (real) appeals. I’m proud that Europe got the juvenile thing right 🙂

  87. Richard garlake

    Erik Jensen’s sentence is an absolute travesty and for a country that prides it’s self on freedom, and ‘ The American dream ‘, in this case, I see amongst many other factors, a total contradiction.
    I live in the UK. We have had many examples of awful miscarriages of justice, bit I can tell you, we would not treat juveniles like the State of Colarado does.
    I have written to the Governer, I believe you now have a new one, started his term in January? Yes, I will write to the new Governer, (excuse any mis-spelling), but is there, are there, other ways to keep Erik Jensens case in the spotlight? Please let me know.
    My prayers and thoughts to Erik Jensen and his family.

    • Richard,
      Thank you also for your support. You are correct, Governor Hickenlooper took office this January. The good news is he is socially liberal and has supported reform in juvenile justice 🙂 We just launched a website for Erik
      We are just starting to post blogs but there will be a blog to update at all times. Furthermore there is a book called “troublebound” to be published hopefully by the end of the year. The French are releasing a documentary on one of there main news channels in May. I will update on this blog and on the website when I know.
      Erik also can be found on facebook, we use it currently as a way to update people. The more people get involved on these websites and blogs, the more Erik will be in the spotlight:)
      Have a good day

  88. Charlotte Lewis

    Kristina, I just looked at Facebook & there are loads of Erik Jensens!

  89. I’m in South Africa and have just watched the documentary. I’m busy studying some criminology modules at university level at the moment because it is so fascinating and complex. It seems unbelievable to me that Erik should still be in jail in light of the fact that even Nathan said that he was NOT involved in the actual murder.

  90. Richard garlake

    I am glad that more spotlight is being focused on Erik Jensen’s case. The wider the forum, hopefully more people will take notice of what is going on, due to the convoluted machinations of Colorado justice.
    This should be in the spot light and people should remember that at the end of the day, Erik Jensen is not a bad person. He should not be in prison. Period. However, this is clear to most people aware of this case.
    So, I guess it is a case of writing to the present Governor, and other people involved in the US judiciary system, continually, if that’s what it takes.
    Please, give any more advice, Kristina, on what members of the public can do. Anything that could help.
    I have written to several British broad sheets in the letters section, highlighting this huge injustice. I hope one or two get printed, it may bring to light Erik Jensen’s case to some of the British public, a small aspect, but this case must get all the publicity it can get, even in Britain.
    My thoughts and prayers.

  91. My High School Sociology class just watched Frontline’s “When Kids Get Life” that features Erik Jensen’s story. Coming from a group of 16,17,18 year olds we can’t imagine being locked up for the rest our lives for a crime we committed at this age. Did Erik Jensen make some poor decisions, Yes! No one is saying Erik should get off scotch free, when he made the decision to help hide the body he became an accomplice to murder. But Erik should never have been locked up for life. He was a kid who got put in a terrible situation and reacted to it very poorly. He should be punished but not life in prison!!!
    Emily S. Age 17

  92. All this is tragic. The state needs to take responsibility and take action. Lets all pull together and wish for real justice to be served

  93. Another South African. I hope Erik get out of prison real soon!!

  94. Nwabisa(South Africa)

    Watched Eric’s documentary last night and this has got to be one of the greatest injustice to a young man who potentially had such a great future.
    Its sad to know that this young man is rotting in prison for being at a crime scene and responded poorly to he situation.
    I really hooe to live to see this young man walk out of those prison doors!
    Good luck!!

  95. Nwabisa(South Africa)

    Watched Eric’s documentary last night and this has got to be one of the greatest injustice to a young man who potentially had such a great future.
    Its sad to know that this young man is rotting in prison for being at a crime scene and responded poorly to the situation.
    I really hope to live to see this young man walk out of those prison doors!
    Good luck!!

  96. Have just watched the documentary and i’m shocked…yes he should be punished for his crime but life in prison does not fit that crime,its an injustice.I am from the uk and over here heavier sentence’s are much needed to young offenders and adult offenders,even some of the most high profile murders are let out after only 10 years and given a new life from our goverment.So i have always looked upon prison sentences in America to be what we need over here…but in this case its just ridiculously extreme
    Clearly Erik does not pose a risk and i hope one day hes free!!

  97. I am writing from the UK having seen “when kids get life” last night. I am utterly appauled by the Erik Jensen case – and in fact ALL of the cases featured.
    I am heartbroken to see these children who grow up with no hope, no dignity, in horrific circumstances – thrown behind bars for life with no possibility of parole. How can we possible expect this children to have any understanding on what is right and wrong when they have been nurtured in this horrendous households.

    I really am devastated that America the great can be so blinded by politics that they are willing to strip these children of any hope of redemption.

    It makes me very proud to be English when I see our children are offered treatment, counselling and a second chance. I really am horrified with Denver and the other states who are just as guilty of abuse as the parents who pushed them to these crimes.

  98. I am from the UK and have just watched “when kids get life”. This show makes me proud of the justice system we have in the UK.
    The punishment handed out to Erik Jensen and other “victims” in this show is nothing short of an utter degradation of justice.
    Clearly, there needs to be consequences for our actions and all of the young men featured in the show had made very bad decisions which should have consequences but, not one of them deserved anything like LWOP.
    I am not saying that LWOP is a redundant setance but this really should only be for criminals and indivuduals who are literally an absolute danger to society and cannot be rehabilitated. None of these young men were that!
    Trevor Jones victims mother: I feel very bad for you and can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. However, your child killers does not deserve LWOP. Your child was buying a gun illegally do you know what he was planning with this gun?
    You need to learn to forgive – my uncle killed my father in a fight (manslaughter) and I cant imagine carrying the vengeance and bitterness towards him that you do. It really can’ be good for you!
    Lee Stalham (find me on fb)

  99. Well said Lee, if you are on twitter, please search for John Hickenlooper – he is the new governer and it is felt he may go a long way for these children, he is not afraid to stand up and say enough when something is not right. I have tweeted him everyday since I watched the documentary and will continie to do so, for Erik and all these children!


  100. I have just watched the When Kids get life documentary and I was upset by the case of Erik Jensen. He has been handed down a totally dis-proportionate sentence. I have always been in favour of harsh sentences for criminals but in this case an injustice has been done. As a resident of the UK I am appalled.

  101. First the titile should read, Put an (not and) End to Sentencing Juvenilles to Life without the Possibility of Parole. You want others to take your efforts seriously. My students are learning about Erik’s case because they are trying to understand the 8th amendment (cruel and unusual punishment). They believe that Erik should not have gotten life in prison. They want to help. Please let us know how we will be able to assist.

  102. I am a senior at a University in Michigan, criminal justice system and we watched frontline “when kids get life” today in class. Erik Jensen’s trial left me appalled. He should have been punished, but life without parole is wrong in so many ways. It is ethically wrong and it is stupid to the fact that we are putting a teenager away for LIFE, that means we take away his life and pay our tax dollars for him to rot in jail. Most people who go to prison turn into bad people due to their surroundings, they experience rape, violence, corruption, they become a number and lose hope. It is sickening that a young 15yr old boy got this harsh of a sentence for being present and acting scared in a messed up situation to be in. I am a very dramatic and nervous person when things go bad, I can only imagine what I would’ve done in this situation, although I’d like to believe I’d go home and tell my parents, I can’t say if I wouldn’t have been in shock and acted out of character. Erik was a good kid with good parents, he did not deserve to have his life taken away. He has been there too long already, it’s sad but the prison system has probably ruined him. Very sad to see how unjust and ignorant our system can be.

  103. I really don’t know what to think. I’ve just seen the documentary and am truly appalled at the way these two boys have been treated. Blanket policies are never a good thing as they act in black and white – never the grey. Of course life is never black and white is it, so, whilst I truly believe that Erik and Nate’s case should be successfully appealed, and they be freed, I can also sympathise with those who have lost loved ones to the mindless violence and greed that has sadly become all too prevalent in today’s society. I don’t believe one rule can cure all.. and as such think that each crime should be looked into with great depth. In Erik and Nate’s case. Erik was no more than a scared boy who unfortunately witnessed the crime that he did, he then panicked and tried to help his friend. was it wrong? yes, but his actions were also understandable and therefore forgiveable as opposed to the crimes that Nate suffered at the hands of the two people that were supposed to love and protect him.

    This isn’t the same as killing somebody because of their race, or killing someone because they won’t give you their phone when you demand it, or even killing for the thrill of doing so (as in poor little Jamie Bulger’s case). For the people who have lost loved ones in such a way, life can only be seen as a fair outcome. After all Jamie Bulger will never see another birthday, and his mother has a life time of hurt and anguish to look forward to. The short sentence those two boys got – followed by the name changes and protection they received would never be have been good enough if I were the mother of a two year old murder victim.

    Isn’t vengeance sought where justice fails? There are always two sides to every coin and justice emphasises that all too well. Surely the issue here is the need to properly examine each case in fine detail with time being allowed/allocated to examine any mitigating circumstances apparent at the time of the crime, so that an informed decision can be used regarding the length of sentence given. In England we are too often far too lax and in Colorado well they are definitely too harsh.

    • I too am appalled but I am even more appalled at the legislatures and the policies in this state of Colorado. There is so much corruption by the Republican party and the school districts and the prisons – somebody is getting rich keeping these boys in prison. I wish to God somebody would do something to change things as this kind of corruption has got to end NOW! You would think Ritter would have pardoned them. He did not pardon one person. Appalling. I only have hope that they will pay for these policies in the astral realm and pay BIG.

  104. You actually make it appear really easy along with your presentation however I find this topic to be really something that I think I would by no means understand. It seems too complicated and extremely extensive for me. I’m having a look ahead in your next post, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

  105. Disgusting eriks still in prison, obama should pull his finger out of his arse and get him released

  106. I watched the documentary and truthfully, I didn’t feel like Erik or the other kid was being TOTALLY honest. I think Erik’s mother minimized a lot (“It was only about 45 seconds and it was over”) and both kids really seemed to skim over the truth a bit. Doubt anyone will ever know Erik’s full involvement. Still I think both kids got extreme sentences, though Erik is the one I would give the most benefit of doubt to.

  107. Rot in hell all people over the age of 12 who kill I say. Good riddance. Forget the life without parole rubbish. They should all be sentenced to death and executed within a year so we can all visit and spit on their graves. Their victims are serving a life sentence never to be released as well. We forget about that. My uncle was murdered and the killer was 18 at the time. Thankfully he is now burning in hell where they all should be!

  108. Wow! What an outrageous indictment on the USA’s ‘justice’ system. I have just seen the Frontline programme and am utterly horrified at how the Colorado judicial system is prepared to throw away these young people who have made errors in judgement (however grave). Here is New Zealand a young person in any of the situations outlined in the documentary would get, even as a maximum, 15-17 years in prison. I’m sorry but it just reinforces my view of the USA justice system as a brutal and draconian part of American society.

  109. John, i think your a bit sick in the head. Although, being English i think all types of capital punishment are disgusting. Over here, 18 years in prison seems to be the norm for murder (or 25 years for extreme cases) and sometimes i do believe life should mean life. when murder is unprovoked / intentional. NOT for when young boys have troubled backgrounds or in the wrong place at the wrong time. These young men have served more than enough time. let them rebuild their lives. share their experiences and give something to the community. and seeing as some comments have been from morally uptight, narrow minded selfish beings let me put this to you… do you know how much in taxes it costs to keep someone in prison for life? or on death row? surely if you want to help yourselves (because thats all that some of you seem to think about?) surely you would want to decrease these expenses?

    of course that is not aimed at the majority of opinions. im just catering to the ignorant posters. Those who fight for true justice now exactly what they are talking about.

  110. Am commenting all the way from South Africa just after having seen the documentry When kids get Life. I was deeply touched by Erics story and never understood why he was prosecuted for life, although in a foreign country there is nothing I can do but pray for Eric and wish him the best in the future.

  111. I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your website. It appears as if some of the text in your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.


  112. I am from Germany and I have also just learned about Eric’s and others cases. I am shocked as to how black and white his and compatible cases have seemed to be view and sentenced. I believe in second chances and in fair consideration of all facts and circumstances. Teenagers that have become aware of their friends needing help should be rewarded for alarming often times blinded adults. I hope my voice helps to bring fairness and forgiveness to all justice systems!!! Andreas bell, Germany, 2013

  113. On every level, all of the kids featured in this story have been let down by the US system, if this happened in a 3rd world country, the world should be advocating the release of these kids.

    I empathize with the families who lost their children and I don’t in any way belittle their bereavement but for God sake these were just children and Erik’s case is not even worth a 2 year sentence, that any judicial court can sentence Erik to live in prison is a shame, real shame and an indication that these children are not worth redeeming. I mean these were kids let down by their parent and also a government, and what is Erik’s crime?


    All of these cases should be revisited.

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