Yes, I'd like some cheese with this whine.


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Combat-wombat
May 21, 2005, 03:26 AM
I've noticed that the "tough on criminals" law-and-order mentality is quite prevalent here on THR, and it bothers me a bit. Everyone is clamoring for more executions, executions and life sentences for pedophiles, etc. Even for non-violent crimes there's the "can't do the time don't do the crime" attitude present.

Don't get me wrong, pedophiles, rapists, and the like are some of the sickest, lowest scum on earth. However, all of this attitude assumes that our legal system is infallible. The fact is, it isn't. So many innocent people are convicted every year of horrible crimes, and sentenced to death or life in prison.

Also, it just annoys me to see people so hell bent on seeing people pay dearly. We're too eager to punish others with no sympathy.

And, finally, I know many THR members are Christian, so I'll try and appeal to that. I'm no bible scholar, but I was raised on many Christian principles. Jesus taught forgiveness, right? What about "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"? From what I see, Jesus is about love and forgiveness. It's ironic that the same religious right whose platform is based on Christianity is the same group who wants strict punisments for criminals.

Here's a few points of my proposal for the Justice/Prison System:

-Good behavior needs to be rewarded with parole and possible release into society, for almost any criminal. This gives the idea light at the end of the tunnel. Criminals will have a chance to reform, and innocent prisoners won't have their lives completely ruined.

-Extreme cases deserve death. I mean, absolute DNA and physical PROOF of guilt of first-degree murder. Even then, death should be reserved only for cases of extreme brutality/no remorse on killer's behalf, etc. No circumstantial evidence death sentences whatsoever.

-Life in prison without parole is probably one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. If someone's worthy of this sentence, it's worthy of death. Why should we pay for someone to spend their life in prison when there is no possible way they can reform, or leave? The convict just sits there, wasting our money, and can never have a second chance at becoming a productive member of soceity.

Tell me what you think about this. I'd like to know what you support/oppose about it and why. I was just thinking about this the other day and wanted to get an idea on what people here thought about it- I hope this doesn't turn into a giant flamewar.



-dons nomex hood, nervously looks around-

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Tom Bri
May 21, 2005, 04:17 AM
In general I agree with you, the death penalty should be reserved for cases where guilt is very clear and convincing. That is becoming easier as genetic testing gets better. I don't mind the death penalty for murder, child molestation and crimes of that sort. I think sexual predators should face the death penalty.

As for life in prison without parole. That is for cases where the evidence is not quite as clear as in death penalty cases. Perhaps something will come to light, even decades later, to prove innocence. It happens often enough.

Concerning the Christian religion. Forgiveness is appropriate for private individuals. But not for the government. I may somehow forgive the criminal (as the Pope did for his attempted assassin) but that does not mean I want the government to forget his crime. Forgiveness does not mean a crime does not have to be paid for. Two separate issues.

ravinraven
May 21, 2005, 06:37 AM
I've heard that it costs more to execute someone due to the legal moves and counter-moves that may take twenty years at $XXX per hour to play out than it does to just feed him. An advantage of keeping him alive is that he gets fifty years or more to regret what he did.

As for this thought:

"As for life in prison without parole. That is for cases where the evidence is not quite as clear as in death penalty cases."

I've heard it argued that if the jury is not convinced that the defendent is guilty to the point of executing him, they have no business convicting him. This is not a "Let's give him life 'cause maybe he didn't do it" situation. It's what's called The Precautionary Principle. Everyone who follows any natural science vs politicized science debate in these founding days of the Global Warming Religion realizes what that is costing humanity.

rr

longspurr
May 21, 2005, 09:45 AM
“I've noticed that the "tough on criminals" law-and-order mentality is quite prevalent here on THR”
This attitude comes from NOT wanting to be a victim of crime. IE do you want to be a crime statistic, Raped-robbed-killed?? You don’t have to search far to find posts of people that “didn’t want to hurt anyone” until they or someone close was a serious crime victim. Suddenly they are looking at guns – and they understand the meaning of NEVER AGAIN.

“I've heard it argued that if the jury is not convinced that the defendant is guilty to the point of executing him, they have no business convicting him. This is not a "Let's give him life 'cause maybe he didn't do it" situation. It's what's called The Precautionary Principle.”
I haven’t heard of this Principle but Google has:
the Precautionary Principle: When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity(person being charged with the crime), rather than the public, should bear the burden.

In Atlanta GA. A guy was convicted of killing 21 black children (Wayne Williams?). Doubt is being raised about his guilt – but the killings stopped when he was arrested.

-Life in prison without parole is probably one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. If someone's worthy of this sentence, it's worthy of death. Why should we pay for someone to spend their life in prison when there is no possible way they can reform, or leave? The convict just sits there, wasting our money, and can never have a second chance at becoming a productive member of society.

People know that even if it sounds convincing now, 20 years from now we may look back and say “how could they do that”. This is part of mature wisdom. In Illinois 7 people on death row were released because DNA or other evidence came later that proved they were NOT the guilty party.

Life without parole is a bad thing. It comes from well meaning idiots that want no one harmed, and good people that don’t trust the state to “get it right”. Until we can come up a better system we are stuck with this bad one. A science fiction alternative – cryo suspension for 30 years and if no new evidence comes forth then execution is delivered.

one-shot-one
May 21, 2005, 10:27 AM
Jesus forgave sins to my recollection he never commuted any sentence that was convicted in a proper court. he allowed his friend and cousin john the baptist to be beheaded, he did stop the stoning of the adulteress women but only by pointing out the hypocrisy of those who sought her death, they were not worried about her sin or its effect on their society but only sought to trick him.
also we must always remember everyone in prison is innocent!

armoredman
May 21, 2005, 10:49 AM
Life in prison without parole is probably one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. If someone's worthy of this sentence, it's worthy of death. Why should we pay for someone to spend their life in prison when there is no possible way they can reform, or leave? The convict just sits there, wasting our money, and can never have a second chance at becoming a productive member of soceity.

Hear, hear!

Psssniper
May 21, 2005, 11:09 AM
Good behavior needs to be rewarded with parole and possible release into society, for almost any criminal. This gives the idea light at the end of the tunnel. Criminals will have a chance to reform, and innocent prisoners won't have their lives completely ruined.

My guess is that you're still a youth? 17-20-ish? :D

Preacherman
May 21, 2005, 11:34 AM
O violent marsupial, there are some good points in your argument: however, they run up against the realities of life, and that's the problem.

1. Most criminals are not going to be deterred from future crime by a "softly, softly" approach - heck, they're not deterred by a harder line! The recidivism rate, nationally, approaches 70% in 5 years: that is to say, of every 100 criminals released from prison, 70-odd will be back in jail within 5 years of their release. So parole, probation, etc. are not incentives to improve behavior.

2. I'm personally completely opposed to the death penalty, partly on religious grounds, partly because there have been too many cases of people being sentenced to death and then found to be innocent. Many have been exonerated before being executed - but that implies that many have been executed before they could be exonerated. The death of even one innocent person is too many, so I want the death penalty removed altogether.

3. The death penalty is far more expensive to administer (in our present legal climate) than life in prison. For the cost of a typical death sentence, including appeals, counter-appeals, rebuttals, etc. (virtually all of which is paid for by the state), you can incarcerate someone in a maximum-security facility for 20 to 30 years.

4. The death penalty is actually an easier sentence than life in prison. I've personally known inmates who committed suicide after their final appeals were denied, and they realized that the rest of their life was going to be spent in a grey concrete and steel bar environment, surrounded by violent predators. Life imprisonment is no joke... and for the worst offenders (e.g. paedophiles, etc.) can be made much harder.

5. Whilst imposing life imprisonment, or long sentences for violent crime, there are ways to reward good behavior. A certain degree of sentence reduction can be countenanced, but this should be for extraordinary behavior - e.g. informing guards of a planned assault, thereby saving lives, or something like that. For less spectacular good behavior, there are many other ways of offering incentives: greater canteen privileges, more books/letters/phone calls/visits allowed, transfer to a lower-security-level prison, etc. Most of these systems are already in place, but can be improved.

Arc-Lite
May 21, 2005, 12:01 PM
Today .... when someone is sentenced to death, what does that mean? many times life.... and what does life mean, many times they get released after serving less then life.... if we are going to sentence these scum bags, let do it...and if its death, lets be done with them !!! The whole approach, of everyone have rights, except the victim...is crazy. The killer of another man, to gain personally from that action... has more suppot groups, and more people concerned with his soul....and his rights...then the one in the ground. As for the religious side of this question....thats between you and your God... as for the reality of this question... we need to let these scum bags know, that if your going to do the crime, you best be ready to dance to the music....and the DJ, has the music playing. In those cases that there might be a question and the crime warrents death, then lets keep after it, till the question is clear.... and then lets carry it out...the sooner the better. We as a society have excuses for EVERYTHING....and as that becomes the norm, our responsibilities to ourself, and each other becomes less....

pythonguy
May 21, 2005, 12:39 PM
Combat-wombat,

I'm sure you are a good guy but you are living in a fool's paradise if you think you can reform or handle criminals with kid gloves. While I am not, of course, for torture in prison, there is just no better way at this time then the penalties we currently have.

one-shot-one,

You religious views are heart felt I'm sure, but there has been more death and suffering done in the name of religion then anything else, so maybe there needs to be a different solution for the masses.

The problem is criminals are not, by and large, nice law abiding religious people like most of us are. They exploit those values for their own sick and criminal gains. So while all the non-criminal types will do fine with all the suggestions here, the ones that need them will laugh and rob or kill you while you try and get your message through to them. Maybe the next world will be more civilized.

LadySmith
May 21, 2005, 01:10 PM
Combat,
Perhaps what you're seeing is a lot of frustration towards what appears to be an increasingly fallible "justice" system. We see & read about revolving door recidivism and criminals with mile-long rap sheets that inexorably led up to murder. We see evidence of evil and our system's inability or unwillingness to deal with it. Also, a lot of the time, the punishment does not seem to fit the crime.
Sometimes some folks on THR may reflect the baser elements of humanity, yet here at least I see the attempt to rise above it.

LadySmith
May 21, 2005, 01:19 PM
Here's my tongue-in-cheek proposal for the Justice/Prison System:
#1: Murder, sexual predation, serial killers: Death because of convicts' obvious danger to society. Option to have method of execution determined & carried out by survivors & family of victims. May also serve for ballistics and other lethal weapons testing in order to be of some benefit to society.
#2: Other homicides: Victim's family get the option of claiming ownership of the convict, otherwise sentence to be determined by judge/jury.
#3: Drug dealers: Mandatory participation in medical/drug experiments. Their lack of concern towards the societal effects of the products they peddled make them ideal candidates for role reversal.
#3: Drug addicts: Rehab, restitution to victims if they stole to support their habits and community service in rehab facilities.
#4: Burglars: Restitution to victims, reform/job training, rehab/probation in a halfway house where their rooms have no locks. Eventually, they might get tired of stealing from each other.
#5: Robbers: Restitution to victims, reform/job training, community service as sparring partners or unarmed guards in areas hazardous to watchdogs. This way their threatening natures may be put to constructive use.
#6: Drunk drivers: Rehab & mandatory participation in driver/vehicle safety programs. Repeat offenders may serve as crash test dummies. Odds of their survival about the same as it would be on the street. Survivors get rehab, community service & make restitution for any damages they caused.
#7: Reckless endangerment: Mandatory service as stunt personnel without the required use of safety equipment.
:evil:

one-shot-one
May 21, 2005, 01:52 PM
They are, but my only point was/is that pulling the name of Jesus into this won't solve or clear-up anything, it will only further complicate it. as for the old "more evil in the name of religion" argument I did not mention religion only Jesus. personally I believe that everyone currently drawing breath on this world, regardless of what they or those around them say are capable of great evil under the right/wrong circumstances.
so in essence we agree on the original point of criminal penalities.

Combat-wombat
May 21, 2005, 02:24 PM
Well, to address the idea that these criminals will be a danger to society when released- This idea is also dependent on guns becoming much more widely accepted and used for defense as common staples of life. (while we're talking about pie in the sky)
My guess is that you're still a youth? 17-20-ish?
15- Durned liberal whippersnapper.
You religious views are heart felt I'm sure, but there has been more death and suffering done in the name of religion then anything else, so maybe there needs to be a different solution for the masses.
I'm actually not religious- just trying to appeal to the religious crowd here. I do respect Christianity, but agree with you on how religion has caused much pain, suffering, and violence over the ages.
Perhaps what you're seeing is a lot of frustration towards what appears to be an increasingly fallible "justice" system.
Yes- especially with non-violent criminals. I just saw a piece on CNN where a nonviolent criminal sold marijuana while carrying a gun. First offense-55 years in prison.

And finally, we've tried this tough justice system and everything, and I've got a question. Has it worked? Can we say that we are free of violent crimes? No! Not in the slightest bit. It's obvious we STILL have tons of problems that need to be dealt with some other way.

LHB1
May 21, 2005, 02:39 PM
Combat-wombat,
Sounds like you need to grow up mentally (possibly physically too). As far as sympathy, how about more concern, sympathy, and "real" restitution (for financial costs) for the victims? Everything in the legal system seems to be about "the rights of the accused". How about the "rights of the victim"?

As far as Jesus is concerned, read/study some more. Jesus forgave sins against God; he did not go around pardoning criminals and releasing them from prisons. He/God even allowed some of his disciples to be imprisoned. Criminals are punished for violating the laws of the land. Jesus said "Render unto God what is God's and unto Caesar what is Caesar's".

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

Combat-wombat
May 21, 2005, 02:46 PM
Sounds like you need to grow up mentally (possibly physically too).
Not trying to start an argument here, but just because I have an opinion you do not agree with doesn't indicate my lack of maturity. If you disagree, I'd appreciate a logical rebuttal rather than an attack on my age or maturity.

gunsmith
May 21, 2005, 02:53 PM
an ex con on release for good behavior raped my (ex)girlfriend (1978,I'm over it,she never recovered,oddly enough she is still anti gun).
Another ex con on parole for rape attacked me at work (1998) because I violated some kind of prison rule that I didn't know existed .
I know two ex cons from my spiritual group that are ok but for the most part, most belong there.
The few that can be rehabillitated need to be drug and alcohol free for ever.
not even a shot of whiskey on news years eve.

NavajoNPaleFace
May 21, 2005, 03:04 PM
qoute by Combat-wombat: "Well, to address the idea that these criminals will be a danger to society when released- This idea is also dependent on guns becoming much more widely accepted and used for defense as common staples of life. (while we're talking about pie in the sky)"

Please explain that comment....sounds like you are saying criminals are dangerous because of the availabilty of firearms. If that is the intent of your comments...hogwash! More personal deaths are contributed to knives, pipes, bats, etc. than ALL firearms types combined.

I am simply going to say that I have followed this thread and some of your ideas as naive, to say the least.

You obviously have never been the victim of a crime. I saw it every day for just over 28 years. Anything from a head lying by the front door and the body in the bedroom to 200 pounds of mangled and unidentifiable 'ground beef' in a vehicular accident where someone was running from their misdeeds...the list goes on and on.

I think that in cases of admitted guilt in gruesome homicides, horrendous rape cases and child molestation (to name a few) .......the .34 cents X 4 for a good firing squad releases the social burden of paying $30.00 plus a day to keep the scum bag fat and happy.

Arc-Lite
May 21, 2005, 03:17 PM
Navajo...I read it as...If society is armed then the scum, will think twice before being scum....I might be wrong, in my reading....

LHB1
May 21, 2005, 03:18 PM
Quote by Combat-wombat: "an attack on my age or maturity".

Combat-wombat,
Don't twist my words. I did not attack your age or maturity. I said your comments reflect immaturity and lack of sufficient real world experience. To me, they still do!

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

Combat-wombat
May 21, 2005, 04:06 PM
Please explain that comment....sounds like you are saying criminals are dangerous because of the availabilty of firearms. If that is the intent of your comments...hogwash!
Oops, I see how that could've been taken that way. I meant that there needs to be more armed citizens to protect soceity.

NavajoNPaleFace
May 21, 2005, 05:23 PM
My bad....sorry.

Bruce H
May 21, 2005, 07:27 PM
There are several people in prison who shouldn't be. Everybody that shoots at police during the comission of a crime should die on the spot. No hostage negotiations or touchy feely give up and we won't hurt you.

Nightfall
May 21, 2005, 07:56 PM
Perhaps a better solution than reducing the use of the death penalty would be raising the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt"? I also wonder how many of the death penalty cases mentioned where the executed was later found innocent are cases that had convictions before the advent of DNA evidence, with the change coming from technology not available at the time?

Standing Wolf
May 21, 2005, 08:56 PM
Once again, we're far more concerned about the criminals than their victims.

I'd like to suggest we worry about the criminals after all the victims have been appropriately taken care of.

RevDisk
May 21, 2005, 11:46 PM
There are several people in prison who shouldn't be. Everybody that shoots at police during the comission of a crime should die on the spot. No hostage negotiations or touchy feely give up and we won't hurt you.

Ah, like a gunnie reaching for his gun (resisting arrest) because the cops broke in the wrong door? (Mrs Weaver and Horiuchi; Ken Ballew and Lou Ciamillo) I'm just playing Devil's Advocate.

There always needs to be room for negotiation, or things get ugly. Not saying 'hostage negotiation' is always required, or that it should be. Removing it from the equation however will only end up with more bodies. "If you give up, we won't kill you and we'll see you get a fair trial" tends to end better than "We don't care, yer dead."

Sorry, guess I'm being a bleed-heart liberal or something, but I believe killing should be a last resort type of thing. Especially when it's the government doing the shooting at civilians.


Extreme cases deserve death. I mean, absolute DNA and physical PROOF of guilt of first-degree murder. Even then, death should be reserved only for cases of extreme brutality/no remorse on killer's behalf, etc. No circumstantial evidence death sentences whatsoever.

Heh. Personally, I think the Enron CEO deserved the death penalty. Intentionally messing around with the power grid for profit, tax fraud, intentionally destroying the pension plan of thousands of employees. Lining him up against the wall after a fair trial would have definitely sent a message.

I support the death penalty, but I really don't trust the court system with it. I trust folks with CCW to end the problem on the spot. I don't really trust the court system with handing down death sentences, as it's bungled many capital cases.


Sounds like you need to grow up mentally (possibly physically too).

Personally, I think it's a good thing our resident martial marsupial is questioning what he is told instead of just accepting it without thought. In my opinion, it does show a good bit of mental maturity.


I also happen to believe in second chances. (I'm not so much a fan of third, fourth, etc chances.) Locking a guy away for 55 years because he was carrying a gun and a small quantity of weed seems ... excessive for a first time non-violent offender.

Fletchette
May 22, 2005, 12:39 AM
Combat-Wombat,

I share some of your reservations. A lot of people, and unfortunately at lot of LEOs, have this type of attitude. I am not religious so I do not know how they reconcile it with themselves.

My personal opinion is that our justice system needs to give a punishmen that fits the crime. All too often we hear about someone who has broken a minor law who ends up going to prison for decades because our legal system is messed up. 55 years for a first-time pot seller is ridiculous, but that is what is happening.


Another thing that bothers me is the automaton mindset a lot of people have about the law. If a incredibly ridiculous, unConstitutional and just plain ethically wrong law gets passed, these LEOs would happily go around arresting these lawbreakers saying things like "don't do the crime if you can't do the time" or "stop complaining and write a letter to the King if you don't like the law, but for now the law is the law". This attitude is what allows tyrannies to grow.

The law isn't holy. Stalin had laws - and plenty of people willing to enforce them.

GRB
May 22, 2005, 01:29 AM
And, finally, I know many THR members are Christian, so I'll try and appeal to that. I'm no bible scholar, but I was raised on many Christian principles. Jesus taught forgiveness, right? What about "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"? From what I see, Jesus is about love and forgiveness. It's ironic that the same religious right whose platform is based on Christianity is the same group who wants strict punisments for criminals. I really do not give a plugged nickel of value to what Jesus may or may not have said. Jesus also whipped the hell out of the money lenders in the temple, did he not? So what! This site is not one geared toward religious beliefs even if some of the users are religious. I believe it may be rather offensive to some that you try to appeal to Christian morality when many of the other site users may be non Christian or non religious. Yet if you want to use his words, then I will play the game a little. I will gladly cast the first stone so to speak. I figure it goes along the lines of let him who has not been convicted of a felony be first to throw the switch.

Sure all the evidence should point at guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction, and maybe even beyond a doubt for an execution (such as DNA evidence, or a video of the killer rapping, torturing and killing his child victim). Once we have that I say fry em or hang em high. If for no other reason, they should be executed so they will never commit the crime again. This would be especially applicable as I see it for violent peodophiles, serial killers, violent rapists, murderers and so on.

Best regards,
GB

ezypikns
May 22, 2005, 01:57 AM
I believe it's good sound 'pest control'. By that I mean that if a particular individual is executed, he or she won't trouble society any longer. How many times have repeat offenders been rehabilitated and released back into society only to commit worse crimes?
Our legal system is not perfect, but I do believe it's the best in the world. The ideal is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and that everyone is entitled to a decent defense before the law.
Having said that I may just spoil my point by proudly proclaiming myself from Texas, where O.J., had he comitted his crime here, would be safely in Hell at this time.

gc70
May 22, 2005, 12:32 PM
Reform existing laws so that the punishment fits the crime. Non-violent drug use is probably the most visible area of inconsistency, but some of the sentencing requirements are simply bizarre.

Abolish capital punishment and life imprisonment. For people that can't be trusted in society, find an island, drop them on it, and make sure they can't get off - then leave them alone to sort out their issues.

"If only one innocent person...." Get a grip. In a country of 300 million people, perfection in the criminal justice system is a statistical impossibility - accept it.

Iain
May 22, 2005, 12:45 PM
Abolish capital punishment and life imprisonment. For people that can't be trusted in society, find an island, drop them on it, and make sure they can't get off - then leave them alone to sort out their issues.

We tried that.

What tends to happen is they form countries that subsequently whip the mother country's butt at successive Olympics.

ComWom (hehe, reds under the bed with whiskers) - like RevDisk I tend to think that questioning is a good thing.

I don't like capital punishment either, when justice is perfect I'll have a rethink. Of course I'll be long gone by then, and so I expect will humans generally.

MechAg94
May 22, 2005, 01:24 PM
Always remember the victims. Before getting too caught up in sympathy for criminals, try a little sympathy for the victims first.

one-shot-one
May 22, 2005, 03:17 PM
you said "Yes- especially with non-violent criminals. I just saw a piece on CNN where a nonviolent criminal sold marijuana while carrying a gun. First offense-55 years in prison."
so you think a person carrying a gun while committing a crime is a non-violent criminal?
one of the things the ccw folk around here will tell you is you need to decide if you are capable of using it before you start carrying it.
i'd say no matter how you fell about the marijuana laws they are just that the law and carrying a gun while breaking the law increases the penalty in most cases, i have no sympathy for those who help to destroy lives with the illegal drug trade and get busted for it.
i try to stay "close" to the traffic laws also and got to say those who break them to the extreme are on my list of pet peeves also. maybe i'm just jealous that i can't get away with it!?!)

Preacherman
May 22, 2005, 04:00 PM
As to the 55-year sentence issue, here's the scoop (from http://talkleft.com/new_archives/008785.html#008785):

Tuesday :: November 16, 2004

Minor Drug Dealer Gets 55 Years - Judge Urges Appeal and Clemency

Atrocity of the day in Utah today...a 25 year old minor drug dealer was sentenced to 55 years. U.S. District Court Judge Paul Cassell was clearly troubled by the decision, but not enough to take a stand against it:

The judge then urged Mr. Angelos's lawyer, Jerome H. Mooney, not only to appeal his decision but to ask President Bush for clemency once all appeals were exhausted. He also urged Congress to set aside the law that made the sentence mandatory.

Judge Cassell said that sentencing Mr. Angelos to prison until he is 70 years old was "unjust, cruel and even irrational," but that the law that forced him to do so had not proved to be unconstitutional and thus had to stand. The sentence was all the more ironic, he said, because only two hours earlier he had been legally able to impose a sentence of 22 years on a man convicted of aggravated second-degree murder for beating an elderly woman to death with a log. That crime, he argued, was far more serious.

We wrote about the case in September, after a hearing at which Cassell asked both sides:

"Is there a rational basis," he asked, "for giving Mr. Angelos more time than the hijacker, the murderer, the rapist?"

So what was Mr. Angelos' offense?

The sentence against Mr. Angelos, the founder of the rap music label Extravagant Records, stemmed from his conviction on three counts of possession of a firearm while engaged in drug trafficking. The first count carried a mandatory five-year sentence, with each subsequent count calling for 25 years.

According to trial testimony, Mr. Angelos was carrying a pistol in an ankle holster while selling marijuana. He was not accused of brandishing the weapon or threatening anyone with it.

Leave it to the Justice Department to come up with an answer justifying the 55 year sentence:

....Robert Lund, an assistant United States attorney who prosecuted the case, called Mr. Angelos a "purveyor of poison," and said he had been dealing drugs for more than four years before his arrest. Carrying a gun in the commission of such crimes, he said, meant that Mr. Angelos was prepared "to kill other human beings."

So the sentence wasn't for a first offence dealing drugs: it was for three offences, all of which involved the carrying of a firearm, and the second and third of which carried mandatory 25-year sentences for the latter offence. I agree, it's out of all proportion to the crime, and it illustrates why mandatory minimum sentences are a bad idea. However, the cure for that is not to blame the court, but to get the law changed. I hope that the appeals process can inject some sense into this sentencing.

10shooter
May 22, 2005, 04:45 PM
Its a shame that he had to what so long to get his day in court. If he had gone in a timely manner he would have gotten only 5 years and been out in 4. Instead it took him so long to go to court that he was arrested twice more for the same offense. Then all 3 counts were stacked against him. :cuss:
Without serving his first sentence first before two more arrest he was unable to understand the gravity of selling drugs while having a gun on his person. :cuss:
It is all our faults for letting this happen. :cuss:
When will we learn that not everyone knows right from wrong without special government education (jail/prison). :cuss:

bjbarron
May 22, 2005, 05:18 PM
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see the differences....

1. Some people need to die for their crimes. Screw the 'cruel and unusual', bring back the rope.

2. The great majority need to spend some time penned up like animals and kept away from the rest of us. Hope is slight that they will ever reform. When they backslide they go back for a longer stay unless...see #1.

3. And there are some people who can be rehabilitated. It's impossible to predict who. They need to prove to us that they can be fuctioning citizens again...I see no reason to bend over backwards making this easy.

4. And yet even I agree that mandatory sentencing is stupid.

As for all those guys let off of because of new DNA info, I wonder how many of them were there for the crime, but just didn't pull the trigger or wore a rubber during the rape?

jsalcedo
May 22, 2005, 09:01 PM
Empty the prisons of the people convicted of victimless crimes.

Then we will have plenty of resources to rehabilitate the ones who want and deserve a second chance upon completion of their sentence.

The incorrigible violent recidivists need to be put to work as test subjects
for new drugs and medical procedures.

Thats not cruel or unusual is it?

fallingblock
May 23, 2005, 12:31 AM
"We tried that."
What tends to happen is they form countries that subsequently whip the mother country's butt at successive Olympics."
*********************************************************

A few bars of "Advance Australia Fair"

and "God Defend New Zealand" here. :D

rwc
May 23, 2005, 01:16 AM
the death penalty should be reserved for cases where guilt is very clear and convincing.
"Beyond a reasonable doubt" is the phrase you are looking for. And there is no higher standard in our legal system. The fact that innocent people are still convicted points out the weaknesses of our jury/evidentiary system. If you are interested in this topic do some research on jury reform and witness reliability. Our system operates based upon some assumptions that research over the last few decades has called into question. Some changes are happening (letting juries take notes, submit their own questions to witnesses, etc.). It is very slow progress getting oor justice sytem to catch up to our science and what we now know about memory and decision making.

The death penalty is a problem. The biggest problem is that it is irreversable ("So sorry Mrs. Smith, but your husband really was innocent it seems..."). Not that life without parole is a bag of chips. For the serious folks who merit such sentences it means 23 hours a day in a small concrete cell with few or no amenities and one hour in a slightly bigger box with a chain link cover instead of a ceiling. They are luck if sunlight actually hits their skin. Ever. Now that may make the "get a rope" folks happy but it doesn't do much for us as a society ($$$) and it sure doesn't do much for them.

In the end I have not heard a moral argument in favor of the death penalty that is very convincing to me. But at the same time there are some people who are just evil. Regardless of how or why - they are the way they are. Incarceration just narrows the pool of potential victims to other predators and DOC personnel. While I recognize my own lack of morality in this area, I do believe that some folks just deserve to die.

Some recent research has confirmed that even violent felons released after the age of 60 have a negligible recidivism rate. Common sense, no? Hard to knock off a grocery store and keep the Depends undergarments from falling off... Child predators were a notable exception to this finding. If we want sentencing reform we could mandate parole review at age 60 regardless of sentence length.

A larger systemic problem that only receives attention when the system fails tragically is post-release services. A lot of folks who are incarcerated have mental illness and/or drug addictions. If someone serves out their sentence (no good time or reductions) then there is no parole and no PO monitoring them. In my opinion an investment here could decrease the recidivism rate. We have the same problem, squared, in the mental health arena. Our justice and mental health systems are largely binary - either you are in or you are out. There are few places in between where someone who needs supervision but also deserves a degree of freedom can go to live.

A few thoughts on some very large problems that are not amenable to sound bite solutions.

Gordon Fink
May 23, 2005, 02:40 AM
Jesus said “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” There are a lot of Old Testament Christians who know not what they do.

So many gun owners support tough-on-crime policies and virtually worship the police and military. I fear they are helping to build the very apparatus that will eventually be used against all of us.

I try to forgive them, for they know not what they do.

~G. Fink

Werewolf
May 23, 2005, 02:11 PM
Jesus said “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Since when did ignorance of the law become an excuse? :evil: ;)

p35
May 23, 2005, 06:07 PM
Not long ago a case came down out of the Southwest where a death penalty was reversed because, among other things, the judge who imposed the sentence was stoned to the gills on pot and got the defendant's case mixed up with someone else's, and the defendant's first lawyer got drunk at a party and ended up in the sack (literally) with the prosecutor!

Most of you would be the first to say that we can't trust the government to do anything right, and I can't disagree. Why should it have the power to decide whether someone should live or die?

ravinraven
May 24, 2005, 04:08 AM
"Not long ago a case came down out of the Southwest where a death penalty was reversed because, among other things, the judge who imposed the sentence was stoned to the gills on pot and got the defendant's case mixed up with someone else's, and the defendant's first lawyer got drunk at a party and ended up in the sack (literally) with the prosecutor!"

Now that's my idea of a justice system. Can we amend the Constitution to make this a permanent feature??

rr

Boondock
May 24, 2005, 08:14 AM
I'm a young guy, married, and about to have a baby. Lately, I've been checking the Megan's Law website to make sure no child sex offenders live nearby. So far, so good. But it brings up an interesting question.

If a criminal - specifically a sex offender - serves his time, he is assumed to have "paid his debt to society". If that's the case, why do we need a website to track where these creeps are?


Apparently, the biggest flaw in our justice system is that our criminals aren't paying their true debt to society. Be that death, longer prison term, or incineration. :fire:

spacemanspiff
May 24, 2005, 01:14 PM
for starters, combat it sounds like you are simply going through what many go through: "if you arent a liberal in your youth you are heatless. if you arent a conservative in your adulthood you are brainless."

secondly, remember that is OUR tax dollars that keep criminals locked up. we arent paying for their rehabilitation, just their isolation from the rest of society.

i'd much rather have my tax dollars go to a case of 45acp to dispatch 500 vile murderers and rapists, than to keep a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and keeping them fed.

there really is no reason for us to treat criminals with humanity. after all, they are the ones who willingly commit inhumane acts on us.

if you keep trying to sympathize with them eventually you might find yourself identifying with them. they are a poison. keeping them alive does not eradicate the threat of their poison.

besides, take a look further back, at the mosaic law that laid the groundwork for what christ had to say. the hebrews executed their violent criminals with no remorse. revenge was even a just cause to kill someone who accidentally killed your relative.

Sean Smith
May 24, 2005, 01:36 PM
My thoughts are mostly in line with Preacherman's initial post here.

In our current legal system, it is cheaper to imprison people for life than it is to try to put them to death. And alot of people die on death row from natural causes because it takes so dang long to actually execute somebody. That, combined with the fact that you can release someone innocent from prison, but you can't raise the dead, makes me oppose the death penalty for strictly practical reasons.

I also think the "war on drugs" is largely a case of misplaced effort. Imagine how big a dent could be made in the murder/rape/armed robbery/child molestation rates if we took HALF the money and manpower used to hassle dope smokers, and went after violent criminals instead? How much better off would we be with twice as many dope smokers, and half as many killers, getting away with it?

Skunkabilly
May 24, 2005, 03:13 PM
I do respect Christianity, but agree with you on how religion has caused much pain, suffering, and violence over the ages.

So have guns. Does that make guns bad or is just that some people are idiots?

corncob
May 24, 2005, 04:32 PM
You know what would be really cool? Living in a place where it was considered "uncool" to involve yourselves in each other's lives. I know--it's a pretty whacky idea. but try to bear with me:

If the paralizing fear of one's neighbors committing sins behind their closed doors (you know, like saving too much money which causes others to be poor or smoking marijuana which causes societial decay) didn't cause most of our countrymen to establish, swear allegience to, worship, and dedicate themselves to an institution that deprives honest folks of the means to ACTUALLY PREVENT VICTIMIZATION on the spot, as a crime is actually being committed, maybe this whole argument would be moot.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here, people. Gun people should understand better than anyone else that an overbearing state is not the solution to any problem.

Men with guns demanding money commit the same sin whether wearing badges or not.

corncob
May 24, 2005, 04:34 PM
Think I'm an extremist, see who shows up when you don't pay your property taxes (pronounced "protection money").

richyoung
May 24, 2005, 05:22 PM
Jesus said “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


He also said, "Go ye forth, and SIN NO MORE."

Fletchette
May 24, 2005, 11:16 PM
He also said, "Go ye forth, and SIN NO MORE."

Guess what (I looked it up) owning a gun isn't a sin!

...and neither is owning a sword - Peter had one

Nehemiah Scudder
May 25, 2005, 01:35 AM
Jesus also said: "Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword."

pythonguy
May 25, 2005, 08:35 AM
This is a gun forum, why all the quoting Jesus? You want non intrusion into your gun rights, yet you bring religion into other peoples lives, did they ask you to? Your religion, sex/personal lives should remain just that, personal and private. Stick to your guns so to speak, or go to the other gun forum that caters to Jesus and shooting. The fact is we are not perfect nor is the system. Bad people, really bad people, tend to stay bad and when they commit more and worse crime everyone goes nuts complaining the system is too lax. You can't have it both ways, to complain after the fact when someone either repeats their crime or was proven innocent is disingenuous. And by far criminals repeat their crimes, just do a google search and read the statistics.

ravinraven
May 25, 2005, 08:46 AM
Jesus also said: "Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword." Especially if you take it oa gun fight.

rr

NavajoNPaleFace
May 25, 2005, 09:12 AM
quote by pythonguy:

"This is a gun forum, why all the quoting Jesus?"

Yeah, I can see where discussing crime and punishment is related to guns.....why not religion? :)

quote by boondock:

"I'm a young guy, married, and about to have a baby."

Man, science has come a long way! HE he he he :D

I'm sorry if this post was/is off-topic but I had such a chitty day yesterday that when I woke up this morning a smile on my face was what was needed.

pythonguy
May 25, 2005, 02:08 PM
NavajoNPaleFace,

do as you wish but religion is a discussion people take personally when you disagree thus creating lots of friction, resentment and fighting. If thats the way the forum wants it, cool, but I doubt they do which is why religious threads are closed.

Gordon Fink
May 25, 2005, 02:50 PM
He also said, “Go ye forth, and SIN NO MORE.”

That’s what this discussion is all about, my friend, winning the hearts and minds …

That Jesus of Nazareth was a pretty cool cat. Too bad most folks would probably just laugh at him nowadays.

~G. Fink

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