Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.  (Read 4690 times)

dun

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 666
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2006, 11:54:58 AM »
Do you people know anyone that has been to jail? Do you know how rough it is, what its like?  I could not handle it and I'm a pretty solid tough guy. 

Yes.  Some pretty tough people I know (say, some who have killed other people) have been seriously injured and traumatized in prison.  It's not easy.  And solitary is even worse.

Yeah the people I know are really tough, and they came out animals.  The prison system needs serious reform.

Julie Fern

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 27222
  • hillary clinton say "boo!"
    • View Profile
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2006, 05:34:17 PM »
but he be surrounded by many of his friends....

SCgrad

  • Guest
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2006, 12:16:51 AM »
I don't understand what your point is with the 3 strikes argument.  They decided in California that for the crime of repeat shoplifting, they are imposing a sentence of 25 years in prison.  They aren't suggesting that anyone who shoplifts repeatedly and who is under 5 feet tall get 25 years solitary confinement, for the additional crime of being short.

As for the prison idea, why don't we build more prisons in general?  1. States don't have the money 2. No one wants a prison near them.

Now sell the idea of a prison specifically for child molesters, to protect child molester rights.  Meanwhile, serial rapists are getting released after 15 years due to overcrowding.    You really think this is a practical solution and you are accusing ME of not having anything intelligent to say?

you are basically saying a punishment is cruel and unusual if it doesn't fit the crime.  either that or that a punishment has to be applied universally for a specific crime.  if solitary confinement is cruel for a child molester, then 25 years is cruel for a shop lifter.  again, the solitary confinement is to protect him.  he can choose to be in general pop if he likes.  people who kill others due to some extreme mental illness are not guilty of ANY crime, but we still lock them up because they are a danger to society.  This guy is a danger to society AND is guilty.  the additional "punishment" of solitary confinement doesn't seem to be nearly as cruel as the prospect of more raped children, at least not to me.  Does the fact that you don't know who the next victim is yet make that person any less important?

You are using other injustices in the penal system as reasoning for this particular injustice.  that is the dumbest thing i've heard in a while.  I'm talking about what should happen.  Why are you against this idea?  You would rather have sex offenders go free than pay slightly higher taxes?  please spare me lessons in the stupidity of govt. and tell me what you actually think.  don't hide behind "because that's the way it is."  it makes you sound like a conservative.



I am saying the punishment must be in line with the punishments given to other offenders of the same crime.  In some cases, there are sentencing guidelines mandating a min and/or a max sentence for a crime.  If there is a guideline saying that shoplifters get 25 years for their 3rd offense, then fine.  That punishment is not unusual for a 3rd time offender.  You may have a fair argument that it is excessive, but I think that is beyond the scope of this discussion.

My point is this: there is some maximum standard of punishment for child molestation in the state in which this story occured.  That standard does not include solitary confinement, which is considered a worse punishment than imprisonment in the general population.  To punish a criminal to a higher degree because he is short is unjust.

You seem to be saying that he is a criminal and whatever punishment devised is fair, even if he is being punished more than he would be if he were 6 feet tall.  Is that correct?  Short people should be punished more than tall people?  Weak people should be punished more than strong people?  How is that justice?

Keep in mind that he is not a violent criminal.  He is a child molester, which is sick and terrible and wrong.  But he is not a child rapist.

I don't know what this guy did, so I really can't go further.  But let's try to paint it in the most favorable light possible, for our runt child molestor:

The girl is 12, but looks 16.  She is out with a group of friends, mostly boys, mostly older.  The offender is a guy they know, who will buy them beer.  They are all hanging out, drinking together.  Maybe she is flirting with him a bit, since it will make him more likely to give them alcohol in the future.  The offender gets sloppy and starts telling the girl she's real purdy.  He leans in and gets grabby with her.  She is creaped out, tells him to back off and he does.  Later, when her mom finds out about it and is furious that her daughter was drinking, the mother reports him.  Now sober, he is ashamed of what he's done and wanting to take responsibility for his actions. He pleads guilty and the prosecuter agrees to drop the charges for buying the booze if the defense attorney doesn't bring up the drinking of the victim since it is prejudicial to the case.  The girl is upset and creaped out and less likely to go drinking with old men, but not deeply damaged.  The offender is very bad, needs to be punished, really needs counselling, should be monitored for life and probably prevented from drinking in the future since he can't handle his booze but doesn't deserve 15 years getting sodimized by a huge career rapist/murderer.  He doesn't deserve to die for what he did. There is a good chance that given the right program and aggressive monitoring, he can become a productive member of society.

Another scenario: the girl is 12, but looks her age.  She is out with her school's honor society, doing volunteer work in the community.  As she is waiting for her mom to pick her up from the Habitat for Humanity site.  The offender is a stalker who's been following the victim around, waiting for a moment of vulnerbility.  He jumps her, drags her into an alley and starts to tear off her clothes.  A passerby stops him from doing anything further, but the girl needs extensive couselling and her entire worldview is shattered.  She no longer participates in activities, no longer has any confidence in herself.  She starts to wear oversized clothes in dark, unattractive colors.  She develops a number of serious disorders, such as anorexia and self-mutalation.  She can't escape the feeling that it is somehow her fault.  In this case, the offender should be put in prison forever and whatever happens to him there, rape, beating, etc. are part of the punishment.  There is no way to replace what he took.

That is what makes it hard to discuss this.  What damage did the offender cause?  What were the circumstances of the crime?

Since the judge felt the offender was worthy of rehabilitation, I am leaning toward something on the former scenario than the latter.

A discussion of what to do to fix the criminal justice system is beyond the scope of this discussion, but I think building special prisons for non-violent child molestors is not it.

Since this guy is not getting the punishment that fits the crime, I think the ability of the penal system IS the issue at hand.  How could it not be? 

I also like the huge hypocracy you put forth in the second scenario.  He now deserves the beatings, rapings, etc.?  I thought extra punishment past the law was wrong.  Please make up your mind before presenting your argument.

And Miss P, I am not dismissing the danger he faces in prison and the fact he should not be sodimized for his crime.  I agree with that.  I just believe the "if we can't do anything to keep it from happening, we must let him go" combined with the "doing something to change this is just too expensive" is lunacy.  For God's sake, we are spending millions of dollars now so that peoples' pets can be saved during natural disasters.  When our govt. puts the safety of Fido above that of my son or daughter (or prisoners for that matter), I am going to be rightfully upset.

note- this argument has nothing to do with what the best solution is for "rehabilitating" child molesters.  I don't know enough about that to opine.  What I do know is that a punishment should fit a crime, and in addition to not being too severely punished, one should not be too lightly punished.  That's just common sense.

SCgrad

  • Guest
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2006, 03:28:05 AM »


You seem to be saying that he is a criminal and whatever punishment devised is fair, even if he is being punished more than he would be if he were 6 feet tall.  Is that correct?  Short people should be punished more than tall people?  Weak people should be punished more than strong people?  How is that justice?


The state would not be punishing him differently.  As has been mentioned in this thread.  Prison is a dangerous place no matter who you are.  Would this guy be more likely to be hurt?  Of course.  Would he necessarily be hurt? No.  Is anyone in prison free from the danger posed by other prisoners? Yes, those in solitary confinement.  But no others. 

More things to think about. 

The judge gave him probation, which as you know means, if he does anything wrong, he gets the full 10 years.  So if he messes up now and does the same thing, the judge will be giving him his 10 years of "beatings and sodimizings" that are "cruel and unusual"

The Constitution makes absolutely no statement about "cruel and unusual punishment for the crime

If solitary confinement is worse, why not give him half the time in solitary confinement than what he would have recieved in general population?  It has been said that prison is really bad regardless, there must be a conversion.  Maybe 2 or 3 years in general is just as "damaging" as 1 in solitary confinement.  That would be a better argument.





A discussion of what to do to fix the criminal justice system is beyond the scope of this discussion, but I think building special prisons for non-violent child molestors is not it.


I disagree, I think that is exactly what this is about.  There is an obvious flaw in the justice system, the only positve that could come out of this is for that flaw to be fixed.  You are quick to dismiss a special prison (could just be a sectioned off part of an existing prison) but have no solutions of your own.  Again, this sounds very conservative to me, and I don't mean that in a good way.

Miss P

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 21337
    • View Profile
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2006, 09:55:39 AM »
The Constitution makes absolutely no statement about "cruel and unusual punishment for the crime

I don't want to enter any further into this argument, which has gotten too personal and convoluted, but I do want to make a quick point about the statement above.  I think it's misleading. 

The Supreme Court has always interpreted the Eighth Amendment prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment" as relative to the crime in keeping with the idea that punishments must fit crimes.

What makes a punishment cruel is not merely its inherent inhumanity or barbarity but its disproporionality to the offense.  All punishments are in some senses cruel; the question is whether a particular punishment is a just response to the offense. (I believe Aerynn already said this earlier in the thread.)

What makes a punishment unusual is its arbitrary or capricious application.

For instance, the imposition of the death penalty has been found to violate the Eighth Am. in the cases of the mentally retarded, people who committed their offenses prior to the age of eighteen, and rapists. The Supreme Court does not hold these judgments about the classes of people eligible for punishment to have any bearing on the inherent cruelty or unusualness of the death penalty.  During the short period in the 1970s when the death penalty was, for all purposes, illegal in the US (when Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972), was still law), the Court's rationale was not that death itself was so cruel or unusual as to violate the Eighth Amendment but that its arbitrary applicatoin (on the basis of race) made it so.

Justice White, writing for the majority in Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584, 591-2 (1977) (finding that capital punishment violated the Eighth Am. when applied in non-homicidal rape cases), explained the general thrust of the Eighth Am. jurisprudence as follows:

In sustaining the imposition of the death penalty in Gregg, however, the Court firmly embraced the holdings and dicta from prior cases, Furman v. Georgia, supra; Robinson v. California, 370 U.S. 660 (1962); Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958); and Weems v. United States, 217 U.S. 349 (1910), to the effect that the Eighth Amendment bars not only those punishments that are "barbaric" but also those that are "excessive" in relation to the crime committed. Under Gregg, a punishment is "excessive" and unconstitutional if it (1) makes no measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment and hence is nothing more than the purposeless and needless imposition of pain and suffering; or (2) is grossly out of proportion to the severity of the crime. A punishment might fail the test on either ground. Furthermore, these Eighth Amendment judgments should not be, or appear to be, merely the subjective views of individual Justices; judgment should be informed by objective factors to the maximum possible extent. To this end, attention must be given to the public attitudes concerning a particular sentence - history and precedent, legislative attitudes, and the response of juries reflected in their sentencing decisions are to be consulted.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

Quote from: archival
I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.

SCgrad

  • Guest
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #45 on: June 08, 2006, 10:04:07 AM »


In sustaining the imposition of the death penalty in Gregg, however, the Court firmly embraced the holdings and dicta from prior cases, Furman v. Georgia, supra; Robinson v. California, 370 U.S. 660 (1962); Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958); and Weems v. United States, 217 U.S. 349 (1910), to the effect that the Eighth Amendment bars not only those punishments that are "barbaric" but also those that are "excessive" in relation to the crime committed. Under Gregg, a punishment is "excessive" and unconstitutional if it (1) makes no measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment and hence is nothing more than the purposeless and needless imposition of pain and suffering; or (2) is grossly out of proportion to the severity of the crime. A punishment might fail the test on either ground. Furthermore, these Eighth Amendment judgments should not be, or appear to be, merely the subjective views of individual Justices; judgment should be informed by objective factors to the maximum possible extent. To this end, attention must be given to the public attitudes concerning a particular sentence - history and precedent, legislative attitudes, and the response of juries reflected in their sentencing decisions are to be consulted.


well, this doesn't hit number one.  perhaps it hits number two.  i think i proposed a solution to that.

aerynn

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1188
  • Wait, what?
    • View Profile
    • http://lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=aerynn
    • Email
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #46 on: June 08, 2006, 11:09:26 AM »
Since this guy is not getting the punishment that fits the crime, I think the ability of the penal system IS the issue at hand.  How could it not be? 

I also like the huge hypocracy you put forth in the second scenario.  He now deserves the beatings, rapings, etc.?  I thought extra punishment past the law was wrong.  Please make up your mind before presenting your argument.

And Miss P, I am not dismissing the danger he faces in prison and the fact he should not be sodimized for his crime.  I agree with that.  I just believe the "if we can't do anything to keep it from happening, we must let him go" combined with the "doing something to change this is just too expensive" is lunacy.  For God's sake, we are spending millions of dollars now so that peoples' pets can be saved during natural disasters.  When our govt. puts the safety of Fido above that of my son or daughter (or prisoners for that matter), I am going to be rightfully upset.

note- this argument has nothing to do with what the best solution is for "rehabilitating" child molesters.  I don't know enough about that to opine.  What I do know is that a punishment should fit a crime, and in addition to not being too severely punished, one should not be too lightly punished.  That's just common sense.

Do you accept the premise that different punishments are appropriate for different crimes?
Do you accept the premise that even for crimes of the same name, e.g. child molestation, there is a difference between instances of that crime both in the dangerousness of the criminal to the community, the effect of the crime on the victim, the likelihood that it would be repeated, the ability of the offender to be rehabilitated,etc?

If we can't agree on those two premises, there is no point in continuing to discuss this.
Here's how it went for me for Fall 2006 admission:
168/3.67
In: Emory($$), UGA ($), W&M ($$), GW($)
Waitlisted:American(W), UVA (W)
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=aerynn

SCgrad

  • Guest
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #47 on: June 09, 2006, 12:06:40 AM »
Since this guy is not getting the punishment that fits the crime, I think the ability of the penal system IS the issue at hand.  How could it not be? 

I also like the huge hypocracy you put forth in the second scenario.  He now deserves the beatings, rapings, etc.?  I thought extra punishment past the law was wrong.  Please make up your mind before presenting your argument.

And Miss P, I am not dismissing the danger he faces in prison and the fact he should not be sodimized for his crime.  I agree with that.  I just believe the "if we can't do anything to keep it from happening, we must let him go" combined with the "doing something to change this is just too expensive" is lunacy.  For God's sake, we are spending millions of dollars now so that peoples' pets can be saved during natural disasters.  When our govt. puts the safety of Fido above that of my son or daughter (or prisoners for that matter), I am going to be rightfully upset.

note- this argument has nothing to do with what the best solution is for "rehabilitating" child molesters.  I don't know enough about that to opine.  What I do know is that a punishment should fit a crime, and in addition to not being too severely punished, one should not be too lightly punished.  That's just common sense.

Do you accept the premise that different punishments are appropriate for different crimes?
Do you accept the premise that even for crimes of the same name, e.g. child molestation, there is a difference between instances of that crime both in the dangerousness of the criminal to the community, the effect of the crime on the victim, the likelihood that it would be repeated, the ability of the offender to be rehabilitated,etc?

If we can't agree on those two premises, there is no point in continuing to discuss this.

yes, agree with those.

now tell me why the failures of the prison system is outside the scope of this when the judge that you are applauding actually stated in her ruling that she wished she could send this guy to prison, but wouldn't because he would be targeted.  You said her ruling shows she thinks he is more towards the first scenario, but since she stated he should be in prison, I think that should be the focal point of the discussion.  first, how someone who cannot be punished or rehabilitated or whatever by conventional means should be dealt with and secondly, if they cannot, what should be done.  You are saying he can't be punished by any current method, but have no alternative to my proposed seperate facilities.  Sometimes you have to do the hard thing and actually answer a question and solve a problem.  There is often no easy solution, but doing nothing and just accepting injustice is not right.

Also, if you were to consider this guy the normal and taller people the exception, you would be punishing taller people more for the same crime simply because they are tall.  I know you will say that doesn't matter because the punishment is within the scope of what is considered uncruel and usual, but it still causes an injustice and inbalance in the legal system.

aerynn

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1188
  • Wait, what?
    • View Profile
    • http://lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=aerynn
    • Email
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #48 on: June 09, 2006, 08:54:29 AM »
1. I am not applauding the judge.  I understand the decision, though.

2. If you are going to have separate facilities, there should be one for non-violent crime, one for violent crime, and then those white collar prisons like the one Martha Stewart went to.  This would mitigate the "training ground" effect of prisons, where someone goes in for shoplifting and they come out a murderer with no regard for their life or the the lives of others.  The idea would be to keep criminals with others on the same level, rather than with those who will escalate the criminal behavior.

3. Rehab for drug crimes and many sex crimes.  And anything else that seems like it is a dumb kid or a poor person acting out of desperation.  Rehab for drunk drivers that have not caused personal injury to anyone, just property damange.  Stop criminalizing mental illness.  Treatment with the goal of creating someone who can function in society, instead of a storage facility where problems escalate. 

In this case, while the judge acknowledged that she would like to send the guy to prison, she also felt he was a low risk for repeating his crime AND she sent him for treatment, not just released into the world.  I think sending him to a hospital for the mentally ill is a much smarter setting for someone who is mentally handicapped and acting inappropriately.  Not a place where he will become a victim himself and then be released back into society, more damanged and dangerous than he went in.

Ultimately, I find your call for a special child molester prison to be naive because of the state of the criminal justice system.  You would end up having shoplifter prison and rapist prison and murderer prison and armed robber prison and many, many, many petty drug crime prisons. 

Why build a special prison when we need mental healthcare facilities and some way for people who need treatment to get it?  Even those with insurance can only get about 30 days of mental health treatment.  Take the prison money you are willing to spend and do something constructive instead of destructive with it. 

You are quick to call me "conservative" but one of the worst traits of the current incarnation of the conservative groupthink is the need for revenge and punishment when rehabilitation and treatment would ultimately be more productive to society.  Let go of your need to exact a pound of flesh and save future victims by stopping the creation of violent criminals.
Here's how it went for me for Fall 2006 admission:
168/3.67
In: Emory($$), UGA ($), W&M ($$), GW($)
Waitlisted:American(W), UVA (W)
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/display.php?user=aerynn

SCgrad

  • Guest
Re: You have got to be f-ing kidding me.
« Reply #49 on: June 09, 2006, 09:18:33 AM »


Ultimately, I find your call for a special child molester prison to be naive because of the state of the criminal justice system.  You would end up having shoplifter prison and rapist prison and murderer prison and armed robber prison and many, many, many petty drug crime prisons. 

Why build a special prison when we need mental healthcare facilities and some way for people who need treatment to get it?  Even those with insurance can only get about 30 days of mental health treatment.  Take the prison money you are willing to spend and do something constructive instead of destructive with it. 

You are quick to call me "conservative" but one of the worst traits of the current incarnation of the conservative groupthink is the need for revenge and punishment when rehabilitation and treatment would ultimately be more productive to society.  Let go of your need to exact a pound of flesh and save future victims by stopping the creation of violent criminals.

The first paragraph might be right.  My actual proposal (or rather the one I think would be better) was a section of the prison.  Again, if prisons were just run well, that wouldn't be necessary.  Even a murderer (or other violent criminal) doesn't deserve to be murdered in prison.

I agree with the second paragraph

Your third paragraph is baseless.  I never said anything to that effect. 

And why should drunk drivers be penalized differently based on the damage they cause?   Isn't THAT the "pound of flesh" you are talking about (I personally believe drinking and driving is not taken seriously enough in the US)? 
Your arguments still seem to have a lot of inconsistencies, although this one was much better.  You actually said something.