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Driver 'must carry coffin photo'

Crime Punishment Pennsylvania

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#81 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 09:52 AM

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However, we also forget that if a parent loses their children, the *children also lose the parent*. Since, the children have done nothing wrong, removing the child and placing it in the care or a relative, or worse, the state, is an awful thing to have happen to them.

I hear what you're saying, and, to a degree I somewhat agree. The child has done nothing wrong, and shouldn't be punished...But, as my mother use to always say when I would complain: "Life isn't fair, get used to it because it's the way the world works." Yes, it's an awful thing to have happen to them. Although, it's a far worse thing to have one parent dead and another in a coma.

The problem then lies in which child's needs should be taken into consideration? The one who lost his/her parent's need for justice? Or the one who parent's committed manslaughter, and just wants mommy back? One child's need, and possible future problems, should NOT replace the victim's NEED for justice.

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Yes, this lady needs to be punished, but it can be done in other ways. She'll get her reminder of what's in store for her with her 30 days in jail if she repeats her offense. Hopefully her license has been revoked, more or less permanently, and then there is that picture. Now, I'm not sure that the picture is going to be enough, but something else other than jail should be an option.

A reminder? Let's say she does do it again, with the same results. Another parent dies, and their spouse is in a coma...Can the state really afford a huge ass civil suit? Because that would be my response if she killed someone I cared about. I would hold the State liable for her actions, since they could've prevented the crime and didn't.

As for alternate punishment...I'm skeptical. I see potential for abuse with that. Namely, *Oh, you're white and have a child at home, you get off easy.* or vice versa. What else, other then jail, would you suggest?

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Next on down the line would be second degree murder. That does not have to be premeditated. It's usually the result of a depraved mind

Now, in the above defination of Murder 2nd degree, they used the examples of crimes of passion. However, and I may be stretching it pretty thin here, but couldn't you argue that she was depraved? She knew what could happen if she drove while drunk and did it anyway...to me that's not negilence, it's a depraved act. So, wouldn't they be able to charge her with 2nd degree murder?
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

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Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#82 Nick

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 12:47 PM

Yes, as has been discussed to death in this thread, this woman didn't commit "murder".  But the fact remains that she was at fault and someone wound up dead.  I agree that her punishment isn't the least bit cruel . . . but it is unusual.

Most fatal DUI cases result in far stiffer sentances, kids or no kids.  And yeah, it sucks for the kids to lose their mother, but this woman doesn't need to be rasing them.  She should be in jail a helluvalot longer, and the red "A" around her neck isn't gunna bring back the people she killed/put in a coma.

If I did the same thing, having no kids, I'd probably be imprisoned for more than a decade.

She may have had no malicious intent, but she chose to drive instead of calling a cab and wound up killing someone.  The law and precedents are clear in how these cases should be punished.  This judge went against all of that in awarding her this ridiculous plea.

Somebody's dead.  Somebody else is in a coma.  Sure "she won't do it again".  But that won't undo what she's already done, and she deserves far worse punishment.

-Nick

#83 TravelerOfTheWays

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Posted 19 January 2004 - 07:50 PM

I think the debate over the children is very interesting...

On the one hand, we know that children raised in foster care have a higher chance of all sorts of troubles.  Sid made a great point there--"children also lose a parent".

On the other hand, it seems very possible that the children are in danger living with their mother.  Rhea's point about her father being an alcoholic and worrying everytime he got into the car illustrates this.  What if her children are in the car with her the next time she decides to drive drunk?  

This reminds me of the age-old "staying together for the children" reason for remaining married to someone, when staying together could be the worst thing for the child.

Further thoughts?
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#84 Uncle Sid

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Posted 19 January 2004 - 09:37 PM

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The problem then lies in which child's needs should be taken into consideration? The one who lost his/her parent's need for justice? Or the one who parent's committed manslaughter, and just wants mommy back? One child's need, and possible future problems, should NOT replace the victim's NEED for justice.

Both children's needs need to be taken into account.  

Again, I'm seeing the myopic idea that prison is the only possible means of obtaining justice or punishment.  I'm a conservative over here, kids.  I'm in no way shape or form suggesting that we don't make cerain that this lady get's what she deserves, my issue is with the means by which this is done.  I feel that it's counter productive to be using a one size fits all punishment.  I do understand that above alternative punishment looms the prospect of Mickey Mouse punishments, but stuff like pillorying would also be considered "alternative punishment" these days too.  

Personally, I'd rather see the Enron crooks put in a pillory located prominently in the Manhattan financial district for two hours every evening than have them soaking up the rays and tax money in a federal minimum security prison.  In jail they can *hide* from what they've done without having to pay their own way.  


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As for alternate punishment...I'm skeptical. I see potential for abuse with that. Namely, *Oh, you're white and have a child at home, you get off easy.* or vice versa. What else, other then jail, would you suggest?

It's a valid concern, but it'd be even more valid if prisons weren't already filled up with more blacks per capita than whites already.  Yeah, white people might get off more, but then, what would be different than what already happens?  You can't make the argument, because the status quo is no better than the situation you're objecting to.  

In theory, both prisons and alternative punishments should have a racial distribution that is based on an equitable sentencing structure.  If it doesn't then the problem isn't the sentence itself, it's the guidelines and controls for giving it out.  

We need to make distinctions between classes of criminals.  As I said before, one-size fits all is not an appropriate nor effective means of protecting society or individuals from problems.  Saying "Send them up the river!" is just an instant gratification response.  You "get back at the bastards" when in the end, you may just be making things worse.  

Prison is a means of confining people and is useful when they cannot be allowed to walk around free.  A person like this coming back from Happy Hour can be controlled by ensuring that they do not drive or own a vehicle and for the most part, you'll be alright.  If she's a repeat offender then she needs to be confined.  

Society's needs dictate that the children have an opportunity to have a parent so that they don't end up becoming the next drunk drivers.  If this parent has two kids who end up being messed up because of this situation, you might have two people in the world instead of just one who end up killing or hurting people later on.  

Now, this is completely seperate from whether the parent is a fit parent to begin with.  If the parent is an alcoholic, that's entirely different, as I have said previously.  In all cases of felonious parents, I think that a Social Services investigation is warranted as a matter of course upon conviction.  However, it should not be done for the purposes of punishing the parents, but rather for the purposes of doing what is best for the children and thus protecting society later on.  Gleefully taking children away from parents as if it was part of the punishment is a warped concept since it really would have no effect on adjusting the behavior of the parent and could cause behavioral issues in otherwise well-adjusted children.
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#85 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 10:51 AM

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Both children's needs need to be taken into account.

Again, I'm seeing the myopic idea that prison is the only possible means of obtaining justice or punishment. I'm a conservative over here, kids. I'm in no way shape or form suggesting that we don't make cerain that this lady get's what she deserves, my issue is with the means by which this is done. I feel that it's counter productive to be using a one size fits all punishment. I do understand that above alternative punishment looms the prospect of Mickey Mouse punishments, but stuff like pillorying would also be considered "alternative punishment" these days too.

Personally, I'd rather see the Enron crooks put in a pillory located prominently in the Manhattan financial district for two hours every evening than have them soaking up the rays and tax money in a federal minimum security prison. In jail they can *hide* from what they've done without having to pay their own way.

I'm all for putting this woman is a pillory, located directly in the center of town, right next to the victim's totaled car. Put her there for several hours every day for the next couple of years, and then perhaps both children's needs will be taken care of.

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It's a valid concern, but it'd be even more valid if prisons weren't already filled up with more blacks per capita than whites already. Yeah, white people might get off more, but then, what would be different than what already happens? You can't make the argument, because the status quo is no better than the situation you're objecting to.

In theory, both prisons and alternative punishments should have a racial distribution that is based on an equitable sentencing structure. If it doesn't then the problem isn't the sentence itself, it's the guidelines and controls for giving it out.

I guess that the reasons there are more blacks in prison wouldn't have anything to do with either: A: young black males committ more crimes. or B: Due to financial means, white males can generally afford better lawyers. Of course this doesn't always hold true, there are exceptions...Does the name OJ ring a bell? Also, which prisons are you referring to? State? or Federal? Because it seems, and this is just my opinion, that whites generally committ more white collar crimes then blacks.

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We need to make distinctions between classes of criminals. As I said before, one-size fits all is not an appropriate nor effective means of protecting society or individuals from problems

Don't we already have such classes? A murderer is a murderer, and a thief is a thief. The two aren't the same. However...If person A steals, they should face the maximum sentence. Just because person A has children shouldn't negate the law.
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#86 Uncle Sid

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 04:34 PM

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Because it seems, and this is just my opinion, that whites generally committ more white collar crimes then blacks.

They certainly do, for various reasons.  However, blacks also tend to get more stringent sentencing accross the board on average.  Again, is this because when they commit crime, blacks do it worse than whites?  Perhaps, but how is that rebutting my point?  

The argument that I was addressing was that people would get lighter sentences because they were white and with children so therefore alternative sentencing is potentially bad.  Well, I'm saying that for whatever reason, whites already get lighter sentences without alternative sentencing.  So, what's the difference?

Now, in the last post, you've explained why it isn't unfair that the same disparity already exists in the "mainstream" system.    So then, I might ask, is there not perhaps a good reason that a white mother with a child might get off with a lighter sentence than a black male in the alternative system as well?  I'm not saying that this is the case, but I'm taking your reasoning to a logical end.  

On one hand, you've suggested that there might be a racial bias in sentencing which makes alternative sentencing undesirable, but on the other hand, you're explaining why a similar apparent bias is "not actually a problem" for the prison system because the blacks on the whole, tend to do more and worse crimes.  

What is at question here is not the sentences...these are just tools.  Racial bias comes into play in the sentencing structure (ie. how the sentences are applied).  What I'm saying is that we need a wider variety of sentences to better fit society's needs.  Bias may well affect the application of the sentences, but it already could be shown to.

Edited by Uncle Sid, 20 January 2004 - 04:35 PM.

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#87 Rhea

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 04:37 PM

One of the things that has happened to me since I started working in special education is that I've become much more of a cynic about biological parents and the automatic assumption that biology somehow confers some special blessing on parents.

Since many of the children who end up in special ed are the resultant of substance abuse during and after childbirth, and the courts persist in keeping children with their biological parents in the most appaling circumstances (we have one mom who's a drug addict with four kids, one of them a Downs Syndrome child, and these children are literally living in a house that has nothing but mattresses on the floor. But Mom manages to get her goodies, her manicures and her fun.  :glare:

And they're far from the only ones.

I still don't buy that children are automatically better off with a biological parent.

And I especially don't buy that carrying those peoples' pictures around in her wallet is any punishment at all for this woman. This woman is being let off the hook. Period.

Edited by Rhea, 20 January 2004 - 04:38 PM.

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#88 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 05:11 PM

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The argument that I was addressing was that people would get lighter sentences because they were white and with children so therefore alternative sentencing is potentially bad. Well, I'm saying that for whatever reason, whites already get lighter sentences without alternative sentencing. So, what's the difference?

Perhaps I didn't make my position clear, when I used the racial aspect as a reason against alternative punishment. Giving Judges the power to use alternative punishment definately, IMO, opens the door to: "Your white and have children, you get off easy." "Your black, you get the book thrown at you."

Where as with the current system it's not so much about race, as it is about guidelines for certain crimes. You mention: whites already getting lighter sentences, without alternative sentencing. Which is true. But, is that because of their skin color? or because they are able to afford a better lawyer; where as, for the most part, blacks aren't able to?

If we have a system in place that says: "If you do such and such crime, you'll do such and such time." Which, for the most part, we do have...How is that being biased?

Edited by LORD of the SWORD, 20 January 2004 - 05:12 PM.

"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#89 Uncle Sid

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 10:10 PM

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How is that being biased?

How is an alternative system any more biased?  That's the real question.  Why is it that only white women with children who are going to benefit?

As for the current system, the prison time ranges are not just "you're a thief, you get 20 years, period" or whatever.  Even the sentences for murder generally have ranges.  When the allowed sentence is anywhere from 15 to life, you think there's no way that the sentence can be applied unfairly?  There's also probation, as well the ability to get parole which can also be determined under sentencing.  There's nothing particularly new about judges giving what they feel is appropriate here.  

There's really no difference between an alternative sentence and prison time except for people's ability to understand it.  It certainly should be worked out so that the actual sentence fits the crime, but honestly, prison isn't that much of a deterrent for many of the worst criminals, and its also well known that prison environments are certainly not huge successes in reforming anyone either.  As I've said before, everybody in jail is innocent, or so they believe.  Is that the atmosphere for them to regret their decisions?  No.  It's an environment that fosters denial, which then encourages anti-social behaviors.  And when they get out of jail?  Sure they may have some skills to get by with, but they're felons and have been out of work for so long that you're going to dump them back into the lowest part of the pool and then expect them to be model citizens.  It just doesn't work.  

If this parent can be out and taking care of her children she needs to be there to do so.  There are certainly ways to make sure she pays in another manner.  Certainly she's balking this sentence, so it's certainly not Mickey Mouse to *her*.  If it was, would she risk the ire of the judge who might well just shrug his shoulders and give her a nice safe prison sentence?  I don't think so.  Criminals are not all cut form the same cloth and treating any person convicted of a crime the same as a hardened conscience-impaired gangster is a serious mistake.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey



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