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ArcticMyst Security by Avery

Bonehead resentenced--5 years for pointing laser @ plane

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Mar 27, 2011
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I'm confused, how does putting someone to death not stop them from repeating?

It prevents the specific individual yes, but the main argument for the death penalty has, and continues to be, that it supposedly acts as a deterrent to other would be criminals.

Which goes along with the nature of this thread, where we constantly see extremely harsh sentences for seemingly minor offenses, that result incarceration, and are supposed to act as a deterrent to other would be wrong doers.

Anyway life in prison seems far more inhumane to me than the death penalty.

That is precisely the point. Rational people are quite a bit more afraid of being locked up for life.

To irrational people, the nature of punishment is basically irrelevant.

Not to mention that they way the death penalty is dealt with, in the US, is far more expensive, than even a life in prison sentence.

Experts Explain Why the Death Penalty Does Not Deter Murder | Death Penalty Information Center

There?s still no evidence that executions deter criminals - The Washington Post

Death Penalty does not deter crimes
 





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How many innocent people have been put to death over the years? Far too many, that's an argument against the death penalty, it's a mistake you can't take back which has happened many times. As far as putting someone guilty to death, well, if the government can do it, so can I... that's the kind of thinking you get from the death penalty and some do exactly that. I say no man, no government has the right to put someone to death for a wrong doing or crime, it elevates them to the status of a God when they are not, far more so for governments. My personal opinion is legally murdering a serial killer is too easy a way out for them, make them live a long life thinking about what they had done. For myself, thinking of living a long life in prison is far more fearful than dying, I am not afraid to die in the least, but then, I don't think any of us can really die.
 
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I believe in an Eye for an Eye and then some for he effort. If I have to expend energy to punish you for your crime, I also will put forth extra punishment for me having to punish you in the first place. I don't care whether it does or does not deter another person. That is not the point. The point is to rid the world of scum. If that means one at a time... so be it. There is the argument of the innocent. I don't have an answer for that.

Now that is my personal belief. As far as the government doing the incarcerations and executions; I am not totally in agreement with that. There are too many persons with ulterior motives. I don't feel that our "justice" system provides "justice". When the average public defender in large cities has a total of 7 minutes to review your case... that is terrible. When the majority of cases are resolved by a "plea bargain" something is wrong. The way we handle minor crimes, the way we outsource our jails, there is far too much wrong with how it is being managed.

If you have a shoplifter, allow the business owner to go to their house (assuming they have one) and let them steal something of equal or greater value (the plus some for the effort). If the person murders someone, and it can be proven (seen by 3 people, on video, with their mamma present, holding a birth certificate), they should no longer be under protection of the law. This would allow for any citizen to punish them as they see fit. You want to torture them and kill them back... ok no problem. Murderers, Rapist, Molesters, Cannibals, and the like no longer have human rights... they are no longer considered human in my eyes.
 

Benm

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You can write whole books on the topic, but it depends on the situation entirely.

First of all that are people that just commit a criming knowing they are likely to get caught and with serious consequences. These are things like murders, manslaughters and such.

Another group are mostly 'minor crimes' for which the punishment is an acceptable risk (like speeding to get to a meeting on time landing a contract worth far far more than the speeding ticket).

These laser related issues are a different category though. Normally no (serious) harm is intended, and i think people will be surprised by the possibility of jail sentence for doing something like accidentily hitting an aircraft which does not even crash as a result of it.

A more extreme example would be drug trafficking where a modest chanc of beight caught is weighed against large potential profits, and some people do it in desperation.

Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for law not to be applicable, but in many jurisdictions can be a serious factor in determining what sentence is appropriate. If no actual harm is none, in most of western european jurisdictions jailtime would be very unusual.
 
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Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for law not to be applicable, but in many jurisdictions can be a serious factor in determining what sentence is appropriate. If no actual harm is none, in most of western european jurisdictions jailtime would be very unusual.

Whereas in the US, ignorance does not excuse or reduce the sentence at all, and INTENT, not just the result is a crucial factor.

Which to me is extremely problematic since intent is so subjective. An estimated 80% of the US prison population is for entirely non violent crimes. Most of those for drug related charges.
 

Benm

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I've understood this is a pretty serious problem in the US indeed, with people being jailed for months or even years just for possession of an amount of narcotics without any prove that they had -any- intent on selling the stuff on.

And in in itself, having a years worth supply of something is not always a bad thing. People buy a years worth of washing up powder if it is a really good deal and noone sees much wrong with that.

So could having a pound of cocaine in your house be -proof- of intent to distribute? I reckon in some cases it could not be, someone just bought a years worth for their personal habit off some darknet market to be done with it for a while at a good price. This obviously changes the instance that person decides and gets caught trying to resell in it smaller quantities at a profit, but just having it present -proves- nothing about intent.

Accidentily hitting an airliner overhead with a laser pointed into the sky is not that different. The laser itself maybe very dangerous up close, but will pose little risk for the airliner, and it would be impossible to prove intent to shoot it down in most jurisdictions unless you atmitted to it.

In the latter case some jurisdisctions will still let it go as a minor crime since it's just impossible to shoot down a plane at cruise altitude using a handheld laser even if you tried your best, but your luck can, and perhaps should, vary in such cases.
 
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That is definitely one of the problems. In fact where marijuana is concerned, there have been numerous cases of people being raided, and jailed, supposedly with intent to distribute, because they grew plants in a quantity that was unusual for one person, but 100% reasonable if you're part of a cooperative. Not for resale, just cooperative arrangement.

There are also some ridiculous laws that make possession of most tools a crime. Specifically, let's say you're pulled over for speeding, cops decided to search your car (and in the US they WILL search your car if they want to) and you have a crow bar, some work gloves, a hacksaw, a flashlight, and hat lying around. Guess what... those are "burglary" tools, and you can be charged with intent to commit a crime, in the absence of proof of any crime having taken place.

Add on top of this the resources required to mount a defense to just about any serious charge, the fact that lawyers charge $300+ per hour at a minimum, want an upfront retainer for at least $2000-$5000, and that cases can drag on for YEARS.

What you're left with is a system that does not allow anyone who is not at least of median income to even consider anything but a plea bargain - where a lesser charge, and sentence is accepted instead of risking trial and a far worse charge.

Of course there will always be someone that cries out that EVERYONE is entitled to a vigorous defense, and a public defender is available to those who can't afford a lawyer on their own. Except there is always a shortage of public defenders, and they typically do not even consider anything but a plea bargain, unless it's an extremely clear cut case of innocence.

Incredibly, "intent" and "state of mind" is also how police officers almost always get away with crimes themselves. If they shoot someone unarmed, their justification is extremely simple and straightforward... "feared for my life", "acted to control the suspect" etc,.

It's become a very very broken and lopsided system.
 

Benm

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I suppose it is more broken in the US than it is in europe, or many other parts of the world at this time.

I presume the greatest problem for the US is the eternal war on drugs jailing thousands, perhaps even millions of perfectly well functioning citizens for posession of a practically reasonable amount of substances.

And reasonable should be exacty that - you may want to purchase an amount that lasts you for several months without any intent to resale. If you want to prove that someone is dealing drugs, just prove that act, not presume someone is doing so because he is in posession of an amount that in theory could be divided into smaller doses and be sold on.

These things do get out of control - the US has an incarceration rate that trumps any other non-totalitarian state by a fair margin, but most of them are imprisoned for actions that would not carry a prison sentence in the rest of the western world at all.

Most of western europe deals with these offenses with a fine or community service at worst, but imprisonment is a measure that is reserved for violent criminals or those that pose an extreme flight risk (few countries have a bail system like the us does)
 
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There is something decidedly wrong with our society that a crime that has resulted in absolutely no loss of life, property, or affected anyone's quality of life, results in a long prison sentence.

Though I don't think a long prison sentence is always the answer, I don't agree with the idea that only crimes that result in harm should be punished severely. Punishments should serve both as deterrence and rehabilitation. Deterrence means that the risk calculus is about attempting something versus the results of something going wrong, and it should be scaled to the (realistic) potential harm. For example, just because someone who gets DUI didn't kill someone doesn't mean they shouldn't be severely penalized for not planning ahead to prevent a drink-and-drive incident from occurring in the first place. If the person does kill another as a result of the accident, that's just lumped onto an already severe punishment.

There's also a motive factor. Some things like DUIs need high levels of deterrence because there is little motive to cause harm. For things like lighting up aircraft, etc. establishing motivation to cause harm can and should multiply the severity of the punishment.

In this case, 14-years is excessive because it is not established that the person was trying to bring down a plane. The laser wasn't chosen to maximize harm, the location of the incident wasn't chosen to increase the danger, and there's no other evidence that points to this being a deliberate attempt to cause real harm. Better to just scare the dude with some short jail time or a large fine so that the incident is publicized but the guy's life isn't ruined.

I think the appeals court got it right, but it's really unfortunate that the correct ruling only came on appeal.

Don't get me wrong, I'm for both punishment, and rehabilitation, but our criminal justice system is seriously screwed up when the punishment means putting someone into an environment with other boneheads for years at a time to learn more boneheaded behavior, all to the tune of thousands upon thousands, and ultimately benefiting no one.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. If this were someone obviously trying to blind pilots or blind people, I'd throw the book at that person. However, this really does seem like a "knucklehead" incident like a kid shining a flashlight at his parents' face. We don't need to be paying to ruin a person's life for a dumb decision without immediate dire consequences.
 
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While we are totally derailed on the topic of the death penalty, I'll simply mention that the death penalty is very expensive, but it does not necessarily need to be.

The argument that the death penalty elevates the power of government too far is a little tough for me to parse with the context that the point of the government is to uphold the peace and, in order to do that, has to enforce laws. If life imprisonment in crueler than the death penalty, and the death penalty is too harsh, what does that make life imprisonment?

I think the problem is that people are generally stupid in groups. The jury system sounds fair and all, but you could be a great person, minding your own business, get accused of a murder you did not commit, get a jury trial, and then deal with a mistrial after months of torturous days in jail and in court, just because one of the jurors wouldn't reach a not guilty finding, because he didn't like the way you looked or something equally trivial. Then the whole thing goes back to square one...

The court system could benefit greatly from a few simple changes. For one, "loser pays" would stop a lot of BS civil lawsuits. The criminal trials need better regulation, too, as there is way too much shenanigans that goes on.
 
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I say just do like the did way back in the day. Just send them all to Australia.
:)
Seriously though, our war on drugs employs too many individuals.
Think of all the agencies that this employs.
Police, FBI, CIA
Then you have probation officers, Parole officers, counselors, attorneys, judges, this is just a few.
On top of that the prisons are subsidized and outsourced.
If we got rid of the war on drugs you would see the largest layoff and that would be followed by a recession/depression until the change was made to allow certain drugs to be legalized/grown/produced.
There is too much money in it being illegal. This goes much deeper than most people think / pay attention to.
 
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There is too much money in it being illegal.

There was recently a big uproar within the DEA... guess over what?

Over DEA agents being required to take drug tests :san:

Keeping drugs illegal also provides immense support to drug cartels by driving up prices.

The cartels and the alphabet soup... they aren't opponents. Not on a high level. They are partners.

As for the recession - legalization and regulation would create a huge booming industry. Just look at the effects of legalization in Colorado... the only people not happy with it... large drug pushers, and... surprise surprise... the cops.

Goes further than that though, the criminal justice system itself, even putting aside the war on drugs, is a huge enormous revenue generator for the state. If all drugs were made illegal tomorrow, you can bet the following day you'd have cops pulling people over for drinking coffee in their cars.

Oh wait... that's already happening...

Cop Pulls Driver Over for Drinking Coffee - Eater
 
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The court system could benefit greatly from a few simple changes. For one, "loser pays" would stop a lot of BS civil lawsuits.

It would also make sure big corporations that cause some serious suffering and death, would never be held liable in a court. They could easily intimidate the hell out of any potential victims by simply hiring teams of $4,500/hour litigators to handle the case. This idea of looser pays is not a good one. Unless you are a major corp or billionaire, then its awesome. In fact it's a free pass to do anything just about. Politicians are so riddled with corp contributions that seldom are they ever even held accountable by government agencies or law enforcement. They have become above the law. Civil suits are about the only thing that keeps them from poisoning more rivers, causing cancer, ext.

Yeah, there are tons of frivolous law suits but I would prefer that to Monsanto getting to do whatever they want even more than they do now.
 
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Patent litigation, and litigation in general is actually one of the ways that large companies, microsoft, google, apple, etc,. control the market. Even when they have no case, they have the resources to pay law firms to drag out cases for years. Meanwhile a startup will rarely is ever be able to pay $500-$2000 an hour attorneys for months on end, let alone years.

I don't have even a proposal on how to handle the civil side of the equation, that I personally like.

As for the criminal side. It's very very straightforward.

Just as there is a state appointed, and fully funded district attorney's office, there should be an equally funded, equally resourced, and equally integrated state defense attorney. So that just as cops have immediate access to consult with a prosecutor, anyone charged can be met at the station with an attorney already there, and waiting for them, or at least on call.

Should a person opt to forgo the state defense attorney, they may represent themselves, or hire one privately, but the key point is, they should have equal representation on the defense side of the equation, from the state, and will all the same same state resources, as the cops do with prosecutors.
 
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Wait stop don't do it, there's still some hope for the future as long as you live. I know 1/4th of the world is at war now, and millions will die, and the number of refugees will clime to tens of millions and will bring on a global economic collapse and destabilize more countries, well come to think of it maybe it is hopeless, the news I have been watching is astonishing. I think I need a few drinks. On the other hand we may soon have a light speed drive for spacecraft, and we may have finally discovered aliens around a distant star, and I am sure a year from now there will be a new iPhone and iPad.:crackup:

Alan

Edit: Oh now you are going to live to be 100?
 
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