Archive for punishment

Montana Rape Judge Does It Again

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rape Judge Todd Baugh

You might not recognize this jurist's face, or even his name, but you will most surely remember why he made the news about three months back. Take a good look. Need a hint? The punishment he meted out for a rapist? Remember now?  The assailant was a teacher. The victim was his 14 year old student and after the attack, she killed herself.

Okay, final clue:

The judge sentenced the teacher to one month in jail, arguing that the girl shared responsibility for her rape because she appeared “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher.

Sure, now you got it. And he sentenced the rapist to what ended up being less than a month in jail.

Well, seems justice by this justice hasn't really become any saner since that debacle of jurisprudence. Judge Baugh recently heard a case of vandalism. Evidently shooting out windows with a BB gun is far more significant and heinous than rape.

Raw Story:

District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced 21-year-old Brandon Turell to 10 years in prison, with five of those years suspended, and ordered him to pay about $13,600 in restitution, reported the Billings Gazette.

What happens next though puts the frosting on the cake. The judge gives the vandalism perp 10 years, suspends five of them, and caps it with a large fine.  Then he lectures the convicted fast food service worker on how he should get a better (higher paying)  job so he can pay back the victims quickly.

Wait, how's he going to pay back the victims quickly if he's doing 5 years in jail? If he can suspend the rapist's sentence down to a month, and he's so concerned about the victims getting restitution, then why not let this man free to work to pay off the victims?

And it gets a cherry on top of the frosting on this delicious cake.

Burger King Whopper

The judge asked Turell, who bonded out of jail about 18 months ago, what he had done to pay back his victims, and Turell said he had been working at Burger King.

“Why can’t you get a real job?” Baugh asked.

Turell said he made $9.50 an hour working at the fast food restaurant, and Baugh again suggested he get a “real job” that paid better.

A real job? Is this judge serious? $9.50/hr is two bucks above minimum wage. If he doesn't think making that kind of money is real money, then what does that say about the minimum wage?

This jurist is totally out of whack with the real world. Justice in this judge's hands is a dangerous thing. Rapists go free. Rape victims are disposable (the girl victim is dead). But vandalism victims are sacrosanct.

Oh, and how stupid is it to order someone to pay for the damages they caused, then take away their only way to pay the victims back by jailing the criminal for 5 years? I don't know how much they pay prisoners in Montana, but I gotta believe they pay a lot less for punching out license plates than they do for serving a Whopper with fries at the King.

Pity the fools who live in Montana if this is their version of justice.

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I Take My Justice With A Slap And A Racial Slur

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RacistMississippiJudgew257h244

There's a good chance that you or someone you know will at a point in their life be called in front of a judge to resolve some issue. Maybe it's a renter/landlord dispute, or perhaps it's a speeding ticket. Maybe it'll even be something more substantial, but the odds are it's going to happen sometime.

What we all hope though is that justice is meted out fairly and with no prejudice.

Well, if you live in Mississippi, don't be so sure. Here's a shocking and sobering report about Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger, who is white.  Talking Points Memo:

A Mississippi judge [Weisengerger] allegedly slapped a young mentally disabled black man [Eric Rivers] earlier this month at a flea market and yelled "run, n----, run," the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday.

An apparent witness, Tammy Westbrook, told the newspaper Rivers was offering to help flea market vendors unload their goods when Weisenberger slapped him twice, then yelled "run, n----, run" as he fled. Westbrook and her sister, a vendor at the flea market, recalled that they thought Weisenberger was a law enforcement officer because he was wearing a security guard's uniform.

So this is the man who's pounding his gavel and dispatching justice. In a state with a Black population of nearly 40%, there's a chance this judge has issued quite a few punishments on minorities. Is there a chance he's only a bigot displaying racial hatred and animus when he's not wearing his robes?

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Letting Ex-Felons Vote -- A Racial Thing

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voting booth

What is the purpose of sending those convicted of crimes to jail? Is it punishment? Yes. Is it rehabilitation? Yes. So it's two mints in one as the Certs commercial goes.

And are most felons guilty of violent crimes? Actually, no. Most are incarcerated for non-violent (yet still serious) felonious crimes like embezzlement, tax fraud, mail fraud, auto theft, racketeering, drug possession charges, burglary, counterfeiting, possession of restricted pornographic material, spying, and various drug-related offenses.

Wikipedia:

7.9% of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons on September 30, 2009 were in for violent crimes.

Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national "war on drugs." The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.

Then why, if so many of these felonies are non-violent, is it that when you become an ex-felon, all of your rights aren't returned to you? According the the ALCU, ten states severely restrict voting from ex-felons (seven require long waiting periods, applying for reinstatement and review; three others - Iowa, Florida and Kentucky - ban it lifetime for these ex-felon offenders -- most of whom are non-violent). I can understand restrictions on getting a gun, but on your vote?

So far in the 40 states that allow for ex-felons to vote there haven't been any issues at the polls. So why not make voter reinstatement upon completion of incarceration national?

We non-felons take voting for granted. But it's majorly important. Look at the crazy people that are getting elected these days. Their choices and legislation affect all of us. Yet if you're an ex-felon, chances are you are obstructed from casting a vote.

With the racial make-up of our prisons today, that appears to be a punishment that affects minorities disproportionately. And the Justice Department, led by AG Eric Holder, wants to fix that. And surprisingly he's meeting resistance on both sides of the political spectrum. Many Republicans are against it because they see the reality that minorities are the overwhelming majority of  the prison population. Minorities, for good reason, tend to vote Democratic. If you unleash hundreds of thousands of potential voters after they do their time, GOP'ers will have a tougher go of it holding their political offices. So the Republican reasoning is understandable: keep minorities away from the vote. It's wrong, but you can see their reasoning: self-preservation.

But for those Democrats on the fence, this is purely a heinous act of villainy. Why should non-violent convicted felons be subjected to lifetime sentences after they're released? It flies in the face of just punishment -- that fitting the crime. C'mon Democrats, you know better. You stand for social justice. Now promote it. Make "inclusion" more than just a catch word.

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Does The Punishment Fit The Crime?

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Clay County Jail

Hold onto your seats. Another kerfuffle of justice in... You got it, Florida. What are they putting in the orange juice out there?

If you live in the Sunshine State and your name is Cody Williams, you're not alone. And if you were born in the same year and attended the same high school, chances are you're not the luckiest guy in the world right now.

According to MailOnline:

The case started when a girl from Clay High School in Green Cove Springs claiming to have had sex with a boy named Cody Williams on or around Halloween in 2012.

The victim - who was under 12 but her age has not been disclosed - told investigators what the boy looked like and where he attended school, reported The Florida Times-Union.

Two months later police arrested Cody Lee Williams of Green Cove Springs.

This Cody Lee Williams:

Cody Raymond Williams 1

So, despite his protestations of innocence, off to jail he went --

The police were so confident they had the right guy, they called the victim, told her the assailant had been arrested and she could rest more easily. They'd taken the sexual offender off the streets.

Unfortunately for Cody Lee Williams, the police didn't do their homework nor their obligation of having a line up or showing the victim a picture of the accused. They just held him and refused to investigate any further. Finally Cody Lee's mother prevailed and they held a line-up. The victim told the police that her assailant wasn't in the line-up. They had the wrong guy.

They wanted Cody Raymond Williams, this guy:

Cody Raymond Williams, 2

See any similarity? I don't, but then again, I'm not a trained, experienced cop who should know these things.

Cody Lee Williams case was expunged, however he had already been in jail a total of 35 days. And the correct Cody Williams has since been arrested and charged with the crime. He'lll face court on a sexual assault charge on March 3. But what about the cops who were complicit in the wrongful jailing and inept police work?

An internal investigation found that Hawkins [and three others] failed to properly identify a suspect, failed to properly document information obtained in the investigation, made inaccurate statements in reports and failed to properly document actions taken in an investigation.

This resulted in 35 days of incarceration of a young, impressionable child of 17.  So what's the punishment for the cops?

You'll be surprised to hear that they are being given formal disciplinary letters which will remain in the permanent employment records and they must receive counselling. Oh, and they're awaiting news on possible ten day suspensions. Ten days with pay? Why not 35 without pay, like the victim of their actions caused?

Oh, that's right, it's Florida. Certainly not just a vacation destination -- but the vacation spot from justice.

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GOP'er Signs Bill Then Calls It A Turd

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turd

Hokay... now let's do a quick catch up, then boil it all down. But first, I want to go on record as saying I'm not really into name calling, it brings out the bullying in people. But when they name call themselves, then I don't have as much of a problem. Add to that a Republican name-calling his own actions and behavior as 'sh*t,' and though it's not quite champagne, I do get a kick out of it.

via HUFFPO:

A New Hampshire Republican seems to be feeling regret after backing a bill to expand the use of mental health courts, lamenting on Facebook that his "name is attached to this turd."

According William Tucker, writer for the blog miscellany: blue, Rep. Kyle Tasker (R-Nottingham) is one of the sponsors of HB 1442, which would allow circuit and superior courts to establish mental health courts. Those courts could lead to treatment for mentally ill, nonviolent offenders rather than incarceration.

Now this house bill in N.H. that Tasker put his name onto sounds like a very fair and compassionate action. After all, mental illness is just that, an illness. It's involuntary and those afflicted don't have the same faculties or abilities to assess and analyze their actions the same was as "sane" folks.

So what's wrong with this bill and Tasker putting his name on it? Logic for one:

But on a Facebook post from Feb. 2 and 3, Tasker commented that "[t]he idea that being crazy is a shield against the full force of the justice system is laughable."

"Crazy people need to face consequences equal or greater than everyone else," Tasker wrote.

"The idea that being crazy is a shield against the full force of the justice system is laughable," he continued. "Texas doesn’t have any problem executing the mentally ill."

"Damn it this is why you need the full language before you sign off on bills like this...now my name is attached to this turd," Tasker said in a separate comment.

A screen grab of his Facebook entry:

KYLE-TASKER-570

So crazy people (Tasker's term, not mine) need equal or GREATER punishment than everyone else? Are you crapping me? One of the great things about our system of justice, flawed as it may be, is that we distinguish between limited or impaired capacity of perpetrators of crimes. Judges and juries must know whether the accused is capable of understanding that they are breaking the law.

Take children for instance. We alter justice for them because of their age and ability to understand right from wrong. Take pornography. If the participants are 18 or older, it's determined they have the ability to understand the consequences of their actions and it's legal. If they are under that age, it's a felony for anyone to have possession of this content.

Now move onto murder even in adults. If a person is not capable of knowing right from wrong, they're not generally punished the same way as a non-crazy person. A defense available is diminished capacities or temporary insanity.  (Personally I think most people who commit murder are temporarily insane but that's another story).

So what's Tasker thinking here? It's certainly outside the norms of jurisprudence. He wants to heap additional burdens on the impaired?

Wait -- he does cite precedent: Texas. They execute the mentally challenged. Caution to Rep. Tasker -- don't visit Texas. You  might get executed because you won't have your diminished mental capacities defense taken into consideration.

Maybe Tasker is a turd. But because of his own words, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's one of the crazy people who deserve special consideration. He's seemingly afflicted with diminished capacities. So his self-proclaimed guilt for backing this bill will be taken into consideration. But this court mandates that he seek and receive mental health care/treatment until such time as he proves to the court that he's capable of sane decision making. Until then, Mr. Tasker, you will , just like your reference to this bill, be referred to as a turd. Smile. You've earned it.

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What Is The Purpose of Prison, Punishment Or Rehabilitation?

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Prisonw398h248

Why do we send people to prison? One reason is punishment for committing a crime. Another is to rehabilitate those who committed the wrongdoing. What good is locking someone up if they're just going to come out and commit the same or worse crimes? And so, that leads me to this report from ABC News 10 San Diego:

The part that interests me is the rehabilitation part of incarceration. If someone does time and then gets out of the slammer and commits another crime, then their initial stay behind bars was a failure in my eyes. We paid to feed, clothe and house them. Then we send them out to re-commit those crimes or maybe worse, new crimes they learned about while behind bars. In that case, we got nothing in return but more crime. So we didn't do our job.

Now you take Judy Lynn Hayman. She was 23 years old when she escaped from a Midwestern prison 37 years ago. Yesterday she was captured in San Diego where she lived a crime free life for THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS.

Hayman pleaded guilty in June 1976 to a larceny charge in Wayne County, Mich., and was sentenced to serve between 16 months and two years in custody, according to prison officials there.

Ten months later, she escaped from the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. She remained a fugitive until this week, using various aliases.

Let's consider whatever she did was wrong, non-violent, but wrong. She pleaded guilty and served 10 months time -- perhaps enough for her particular non-violent crime of larceny. Unfortunately, her sentence was for a minimum of 16 months, so her early departure wasn't condoned.

Prison was too barbaric and cruel to her. She felt she was ready to reintegrate into society as a law abiding citizen. She couldn't take it any longer and she took a huge chance and broke out. We may think she was free, but think again.

She lived not only the remainder of her sentence but the ensuing 35 or so years constantly looking over her shoulder, the fear of being discovered and re-apprehended for who she really was, an escaped con. That's a hefty weight to bear. Living in fear can be even more of a punishment than a physical prison.

During that time she gave birth to, raised and supported a son -- he's living crime free so obviously she was a good and strong influence on him and his character or he'd be doing time in a cell like his mom once did.

The point is not whether this woman was right in escaping, but what to do with her now? Should she be charged with unlawful escape and add that onto her prior sentence or should we look at what the purpose was in incarcerating her to start with? She was to be punished, granted. And she did serve 10 months, basically 2/3's of her minimum sentence. But hasn't she proved by her exemplary existence after her escape that she had learned her lesson? Aren't those 30 plus years living in fear worth some credit?

judy-hayman-jpg

I hope the Michigan justice system will take into consideration what for and why they sentence people to jail. I'd prefer a woman or man who's rehabilitated be back on the streets than someone who's served their term and reverts to recidivism. Prison isn't a good environment under any circumstances. Yet it does serve a purpose. But sometimes correctional institutions (notice the word correctional and not punishment) don't do their job. Maybe they did with Judy Lynn Hayman. She's proven she's learned the lesson of her bad ways. I'm hoping Michigan can see that and take it into consideration. We'll see.

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Video- The Daily Show: Heavy Settle

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So simple, but so ignored.

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