Justice?

Okay, so here's something I've been thinking about (on & off) for a while now. Recently I read a book called Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and apart from being a really good book it raises many ethical issues that are present in our world today. The one that peaked my interest and stuck in my mind the most was made mention by a mafia boss, Abel Khader Khan, in Mumbai (where the book is primarily set) whilst talking to the protagonist, Lin - an escaped Austrailian convict and ex-heroin addict based on the author, where he suggested that the justice system we live our lives around is fundamentally flawed: we send a man to prison based on the crime within the sin and not based on the sin within the crime.

What I want to know is to what extent do you, the Escapists, agree with this premise, if at all, and more importantly, why?

Define "sin".

Stagnant:
Define "sin".

Low content?

-----------------------

1) Crime within the sin: The Crime committed is defined by the society around them, and therefore punished by the relative social taboo committed.

Rather than,

2) The Sin within the crime: The social taboo, which remains constant defines the crime, and punishes society for committing the sin, by labeling it a crime.

..............................................................................ok..........

Can I label 1) as the modern-day society as defined through democracy, ie the people ideally choosing or at least indirectly agreeing to the laws which they live by?
And can I label 2) A Theocracy Dictatorship (benevolant or not, Theocracy being one example) where an external force chooses the laws which society should live by, disregarding what the people may think of the "Sin" forced upon them.

....................................... I think its generic philosophical mud throwing ammunition .

Stagnant:
Define "sin".

As an example I would say murder, though of course it's not limited exclusively to. My interpetation is more about taking circumstances more into account. Again, as an extreme example off the top of my head: a man might have his family murdered and said man then proceeds to kill the murderer. Now I'm the first to admit that my understanding of the intricacies of law are limited if I'm being generous, but as far as i'm aware the man whose faimily was murdered would still get sentenced to 25 to life even though he was exacting revenge for an unprovoked attack on his family, instead of having a reduced sentence for instance.

Comando96:
-le snip-

Thanks for explaining that better than I could...

....................................... I think its generic philosophical mud throwing ammunition .

Fair point. I do realise it could, and undoubtedly would, lead to endless debates as to how bad the sin in question is in any given scenario. However as an ideal it seems a much fairer way of implementing justice.

The problem with justice is
1) it's relative between perspectives
2) Without an exact set of laws and precidents the justice system would not be able to function, except in a more arbituary way than now.

- The example of the man avenging his families murder...well then the murderers family exacts revenge on him...and then that is justified by the same law
-A woman kills her husband of 25 years because he cheated on her and planned to divorce her leaving her with nothing. In the eyes of some she was justified. Her oldest child blames her father for his murder, the woman's son only focuses on the fact that he lost his dad.

Sin is in the eyes of the beholder, we, as a society, just try to put in constants to try and deter(in theory) certain actions generally deemed problematic.

One reason revenge cannot be a realistic defense is because the "degree of justification" cannot be measured. It is subjective, regardless of how widely-agreed upon any ideas are. A law has to be established and then leeway can be given or taken away according to the situation. Without an established list of crimes...

Here's an example why it cannot work:
Two men are arguing. The first man throws piping hot coffee into the face of the other. The second man was taken to the hospital and his eyes are permanently damaged (not useless, just definitively worse and clearly damaged) due to the coffee. The first man is scheduled for a court case in the near future. Once he is out of the hospital, he approaches the first man and breaks his jaw as well as knocking out several teeth for revenge.

Who is in the right here? Is the first man the only one to be punished because he attacked first? Are they both sentenced according to how much damage they dealt to each other? Is the second man let off the hook because his actions were supposedly justified due to permanent visual damage? The law's ruling would be completely subjective according to either a judge, jury, and/or whatever set up is used in your respective country.

Court decisions cannot be decided completely according to "the sin within the crime" because it would be completely subjective and differ on a case-by-case basis. By establishing laws and punishing people based on "the crime within the sin" lawyers are able to refer to older cases in the defense of clients. Using an example within the United States, if the Supreme Court was not the official word on judging on "crimes within the sin" as they are now, what would be their purpose? In a society which purely judges "the sin within the crime", people have different views on how terrible murder is versus rape or how wrong abortion truly is. Since people cannot be that objective, flawless, and always know the "truth" about how wrong something is, the Supreme Court would merely be a special group of people whose opinions are highly valued.

P.S.

I'm terribly sorry if any of that seems like a jumbled mess, however it is difficult for me to word exactly why I disagree with the "judge based on the sin within the crime" concept.

Fingerprint:
...where he suggested that the justice system we live our lives around is fundamentally flawed: we send a man to prison based on the crime within the sin and not based on the sin within the crime.

What I want to know is to what extent do you, the Escapists, agree with this premise, if at all, and more importantly, why?

Certainly, that is how it is; but I wouldn't call it a fundamental flaw in the system - as if a better designed system would be able to accomplish the opposite. No, as long as it's an impersonal institution, a system, that is precisely what is to be expected. The "crime" is the input for the system and the output is the sentence; it has no means of recognizing/distinguishing "sins".

darlarosa:
- The example of the man avenging his families murder...well then the murderers family exacts revenge on him...and then that is justified by the same law
-A woman kills her husband of 25 years because he cheated on her and planned to divorce her leaving her with nothing. In the eyes of some she was justified. Her oldest child blames her father for his murder, the woman's son only focuses on the fact that he lost his dad.

NightmareWarden:
Here's an example why it cannot work:
Two men are arguing. The first man throws piping hot coffee into the face of the other. The second man was taken to the hospital and his eyes are permanently damaged (not useless, just definitively worse and clearly damaged) due to the coffee. The first man is scheduled for a court case in the near future. Once he is out of the hospital, he approaches the first man and breaks his jaw as well as knocking out several teeth for revenge.

Who is in the right here? Is the first man the only one to be punished because he attacked first? Are they both sentenced according to how much damage they dealt to each other? Is the second man let off the hook because his actions were supposedly justified due to permanent visual damage? The law's ruling would be completely subjective according to either a judge, jury, and/or whatever set up is used in your respective country.

I've never heard of a justice system in the world that had some bizarre notion that a certain amount of crime is justification for a certain amount of revenge...only those who have charges brought against them can be sentenced, and anyone who is charged, and who fits the criteria for guilt of a particular crime (which are fairly clearly laid out beforehand), can (and should for the sake of consistency) be sentenced. In other words, the bolded part is the right answer (though not necessarily "how much damage" but how many charges of one crime or another each can be held guilty of) as far as any internally consistent system is concerned.

So... we should send someone to prison because he's alcoholic, not because he drove drunk? Or something?

Or is this another way of complaining about the criminalization of harmless behavior alongside the legality of harmful behavior? If that's what it is, then I agree.

NightmareWarden:
One reason revenge cannot be a realistic defense is because the "degree of justification" cannot be measured. It is subjective, regardless of how widely-agreed upon any ideas are. A law has to be established and then leeway can be given or taken away according to the situation. Without an established list of crimes...

Here's an example why it cannot work:
Two men are arguing. The first man throws piping hot coffee into the face of the other. The second man was taken to the hospital and his eyes are permanently damaged (not useless, just definitively worse and clearly damaged) due to the coffee. The first man is scheduled for a court case in the near future. Once he is out of the hospital, he approaches the first man and breaks his jaw as well as knocking out several teeth for revenge.

Who is in the right here? Is the first man the only one to be punished because he attacked first? Are they both sentenced according to how much damage they dealt to each other? Is the second man let off the hook because his actions were supposedly justified due to permanent visual damage? The law's ruling would be completely subjective according to either a judge, jury, and/or whatever set up is used in your respective country.

The reason that both should be punished is because the government rightly displaces acts of revenge, vigilantism and so on, by administrating justice itself. The punishment resulting from the sentence for the crime of assault, and any civil damages thereunto, is the legitimate revenge of the first man against the second. Absent a justice system, I guess he'd have cause to take revenge himself. It's somewhat situational.

hang on isn't this the difference between being things like Justifiable Homicide and 1st degree Murder ?

there are lots of names for the act of killing someone in law (to pick an example) and they all take into account the nature of the circumstances and have different levels of punishment.

what i'm saying is the law isn't as blind to the circumstance surrounding the act as some people seem to be making out.

although i might not be following the topic well, my head is kinda foggy atm and this thread is kinda confusing...

TWRule:

NightmareWarden:
Here's an example why it cannot work:
Two men are arguing. The first man throws piping hot coffee into the face of the other. The second man was taken to the hospital and his eyes are permanently damaged (not useless, just definitively worse and clearly damaged) due to the coffee. The first man is scheduled for a court case in the near future. Once he is out of the hospital, he approaches the first man and breaks his jaw as well as knocking out several teeth for revenge.

Who is in the right here? Is the first man the only one to be punished because he attacked first? Are they both sentenced according to how much damage they dealt to each other? Is the second man let off the hook because his actions were supposedly justified due to permanent visual damage? The law's ruling would be completely subjective according to either a judge, jury, and/or whatever set up is used in your respective country.

I've never heard of a justice system in the world that had some bizarre notion that a certain amount of crime is justification for a certain amount of revenge...only those who have charges brought against them can be sentenced, and anyone who is charged, and who fits the criteria for guilt of a particular crime (which are fairly clearly laid out beforehand), can (and should for the sake of consistency) be sentenced. In other words, the bolded part is the right answer (though not necessarily "how much damage" but how many charges of one crime or another each can be held guilty of) as far as any internally consistent system is concerned.

TWRule:

I've never heard of a justice system in the world that had some bizarre notion that a certain amount of crime is justification for a certain amount of revenge...only those who have charges brought against them can be sentenced, and anyone who is charged, and who fits the criteria for guilt of a particular crime (which are fairly clearly laid out beforehand), can (and should for the sake of consistency) be sentenced. In other words, the bolded part is the right answer (though not necessarily "how much damage" but how many charges of one crime or another each can be held guilty of) as far as any internally consistent system is concerned.

To TWRule and Seanchaidh
I understand that they would both be punished. I was trying to make a point as to why people cannot live in a society in which they can be sent to prison "based on the sin within the crime".
I was not saying "I don't know which of these would be right," I agree that people should be punished according to their crime. My point was that in court cases in this theoretical kind of society in which people are judged according to the "sin within the crime," certain aspects will fall to the judge/whatever's personal/professional opinion rather than based on a code of laws. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

NightmareWarden:
-snip-

Fair enough. I think there are ways to resolve the moral subjectivity problem so that it's ideally not just left up to a judge; but as far as something that would be implemented today, you're probably right.

Sleekit:
hang on isn't this the difference between being things like Justifiable Homicide and 1st degree Murder ?

there are lots of names for the act of killing someone in law (to pick an example) and they all take into account the nature of the circumstances and have different levels of punishment.

what i'm saying is the law isn't as blind to the circumstance surrounding the act as some people seem to be making out.

although i might not be following the topic well, my head is kinda foggy atm and this thread is kinda confusing...

You are correct. See below.

Fingerprint:
My interpetation is more about taking circumstances more into account.

Look up the legal term "Mens Rea". Generally speaking a person can not be considered guilty of a crime unless they intentionally committed the illegal act. As a very simple example if you walk out of a store with an item in hand that you did not pay for you are only guilty of theft if you actually intended to take the item. If it was an accident then you are not guilty. The problem arises in that we can not read minds. I do not know that you did not intend to take the item.

Note also that most crimes are based on situational circumstances. Killing someone on accident is not murder one for example. Sentencing also specifically takes situational issues into account in determining the punishment for the crime.

It is true that in some instances judges and prosecutors may have hard ons for convicting certain offenses and throw any situational considerations out the window but generally speaking they are definitely taken into account. Oh.. and the other situation where circumstances may not be taken into account is when one pleads guilty. This is sort of dependent upon the judge and prosecutor as well but generally speaking you will get the standard sentence regardless of circumstances. If the author of the book went to prison on a drug offense he most likely plead out instead of fighting it, most people do, so his own perception of the law may be situational.

I had to learn that in the Netherlands we have 'daderstrafrecht', while in the US you've got 'daadstrafrecht'. Strafrecht=criminal law, daad=crime, dader=criminal.

In the Netherlands, we focus on the criminal (why did he do it, etc) while in the US you focus on the crime (murder=25 years).

Seems relevant.

Comando96:

1) Crime within the sin: The Crime committed is defined by the society around them, and therefore punished by the relative social taboo committed.

Rather than,

2) The Sin within the crime: The social taboo, which remains constant defines the crime, and punishes society for committing the sin, by labeling it a crime.

I will choose the first one.

The second one requires to thing to really work. 1. A dictatorship, and 2. that dictator to have complete knowledge of objective morality and be able to craft laws based around those objective, unarguable, and true morals.

Democracy can be flawed, but we can agree being led by a dictator with his "own" morals decide what sins are.

Comando96:

Stagnant:
Define "sin".

Low content?

Nope, crucially important to the discussion. See, to me, "sin" is a word with no real meaning. It's usually used in a religious context, as an "offense against god" in the traditional sense, but that definition is as useful to me as "pisses off the invisible pink unicorn". I don't think I'm alone on this, and figuring out exactly what people mean in such contexts, and the definitions of words, is crucially important for such a discussion.

TWRule:
I've never heard of a justice system in the world that had some bizarre notion that a certain amount of crime is justification for a certain amount of revenge...only those who have charges brought against them can be sentenced, and anyone who is charged, and who fits the criteria for guilt of a particular crime (which are fairly clearly laid out beforehand), can (and should for the sake of consistency) be sentenced. In other words, the bolded part is the right answer (though not necessarily "how much damage" but how many charges of one crime or another each can be held guilty of) as far as any internally consistent system is concerned.

Most primitive justice systems, including the abrahamic religions, do this. An eye for an eye is actually still practiced in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Seanchaidh:
So... we should send someone to prison because he's alcoholic, not because he drove drunk? Or something?

I would say it's more about taking into account what, if anything, drove the man to alcoholism and why he was driving.

Danyal:

In the Netherlands, we focus on the criminal (why did he do it, etc) while in the US you focus on the crime (murder=25 years).

Seems relevant.

Yep, it's exactly relevant. How well, in your view, does the Dutch system work? Would you say it's a fair/er way of judging or not? Also, how quickly does your system allow each case to be resolved, i.e. does having to take in to account all the subjective material and individual circumstances take an inordinate amount of time and is it deemed, on the whole, as fair system of justice?

TheStatutoryApe:

It is true that in some instances judges and prosecutors may have hard ons for convicting certain offenses and throw any situational considerations out the window but generally speaking they are definitely taken into account. Oh.. and the other situation where circumstances may not be taken into account is when one pleads guilty. This is sort of dependent upon the judge and prosecutor as well but generally speaking you will get the standard sentence regardless of circumstances. If the author of the book went to prison on a drug offense he most likely plead out instead of fighting it, most people do, so his own perception of the law may be situational.

To the best of my knowledge the author was imprisioned for armed robbery and I don't know what the plea was. However being that the conversation was between a mafia don and an escaped convict I think it's fair to say their perception of an ideal legal system may be based around personal circumstances.

I think the idea of judging the sin within the crime is to try to remove the possibility of a judge and prosecutor getting a "hard-on" for a certain crime more than others. Thinking about it, actually pleading guilty might not have such an effect (affect?) with this - sin within the crime - system, though it depends whether the accused is pleading guilty to the charges offered to them or simply admitting s/he was in the wrong.

Fingerprint:
To the best of my knowledge the author was imprisioned for armed robbery and I don't know what the plea was. However being that the conversation was between a mafia don and an escaped convict I think it's fair to say their perception of an ideal legal system may be based around personal circumstances.

My bad, I had assumed since he was a junkie that his crime would have been drug related.
I decided to look him up on wiki and he seems an interesting character. He apparently robbed banks and the like and was careful to only rob places that had adequate insurance to cover the theft. Continuing with the idea that the observation in his book is based on personal opinion and experience it could be that he felt that his attempts to minimize the damages he caused lessened the severity of his crimes and should have been taken into account in his sentencing. He's also Aussie and I am not really sure about the criminal justice system there.

I think the idea of judging the sin within the crime is to try to remove the possibility of a judge and prosecutor getting a "hard-on" for a certain crime more than others.

This isn't really supposed to happen but judges and prosecutors have a certain amount of leeway in how they proceed and of course they are the people who are elected/appointed to make such decisions after all so they aren't likely to be often questioned. In all probability they would simply argue that persons who commit such crimes in the first place are obviously of a low moral character and anything they say in their defense is simply a hollow excuse.

Thinking about it, actually pleading guilty might not have such an effect (affect?) with this - sin within the crime - system, though it depends whether the accused is pleading guilty to the charges offered to them or simply admitting s/he was in the wrong.

Pleading guilty means you have accepted the charges against you and do not challenge them. There are legal systems where this is not allowed and they tend to think that the US system that allows people to plead guilty is horrible. To some degree they are right as prosecutors abuse the system by more or less coercing people into pleading guilty.

An example to tie in the above paragraph and this one: A friend of mine was arrested for Domestic Violence. His girlfriend was mad at him and he decided to walk away from the fight (verbal) to calm down by taking the trash outside. When he went to go back inside he found the door was locked. He wound up sitting outside, in his boxers, at night, with ice on the ground, waiting for her to calm down and let him in. After a while he decided he didn't want to freeze his nuts off so he broke in to his place, grabbed some clothes shoes and wallet, and went back outside to put them on and figure out where to go for the night. Well the police showed up and arrested him (despite his girlfriend telling them not to) because breaking into a place when your partner has specifically locked you out constitutes Domestic Violence by law there. My friend was afraid and didn't know what to do. The prosecutor told him that he would go to jail and had better take a plea bargain in order to avoid jail. In a trice she had him agreeing to plead guilty to the lesser offense of "vandalism" with court ordered anger management courses.

Stagnant:

Comando96:

Stagnant:
Define "sin".

Low content?

Nope, crucially important to the discussion. See, to me, "sin" is a word with no real meaning. It's usually used in a religious context, as an "offense against god" in the traditional sense, but that definition is as useful to me as "pisses off the invisible pink unicorn". I don't think I'm alone on this, and figuring out exactly what people mean in such contexts, and the definitions of words, is crucially important for such a discussion.

eh i don't think it wasn't a comment on the content but rather a nudge/warning.

if your post is below a certain number of words or characters or something the forum software will autonomously take mod action against your profile but there is a time period involved because it kinda scans the forum in passes so you have the opportunity to edit it to make it longer and not get a mark against your profile if the auto mod hasn't swung by yet.

hence the nudge/warning from Comando96

in other words: "short one or two word posts can get you in trouble dude"

Sounds like the old concept of the spirit of the law vs the letter of the law.

I agree wholeheartedly that the justice system is too bound up in procedure and strict interpretations of the language of the law. However, I don't know an alternative that isn't open to abuse. Like Democracy, it is the worst method, except for all the others that have been tried. To have a better system would require a better species.

Stagnant:
-snip-

What Sleekit said. It wasn't a critism, rather a concerned warning that 2 words may result in mod wrath.

...apparently not... guess the mods do recognise quality ;)

Justice should be blind. You committed a crime against society. It doesn't matter -why- you did it. The only reason your sentence should be effected at all by the why is if A: You're too bugnuts to understand why this is a problem, in which case you should be committed. This is why I also think degrees of murder is a load of crap. You killed someone and did it deliberately, why does it matter if you planned it out ahead of time or just decided that his head would look good as a sidewalk painting? He's still dead.

PrinceOfShapeir:
Justice should be blind. You committed a crime against society. It doesn't matter -why- you did it. The only reason your sentence should be effected at all by the why is if A: You're too bugnuts to understand why this is a problem, in which case you should be committed. This is why I also think degrees of murder is a load of crap. You killed someone and did it deliberately, why does it matter if you planned it out ahead of time or just decided that his head would look good as a sidewalk painting? He's still dead.

The concept of blind justice is supposed to speak to impartiality. It is not supposed to matter who you are, how rich you are, where you come from, ect justice will be mete out the same. It says nothing of "why", and "why" is actually quite frequently a matter of concern in judgement if not the very definition of the crime itself.

Why does the why matter? The crime was committed. Someone was harmed or killed. Why does their reasons for it matter? Why does it matter what they were feeling? They broke the law.

Stagnant:

Comando96:

Stagnant:
Define "sin".

Low content?

Nope, crucially important to the discussion. See, to me, "sin" is a word with no real meaning. It's usually used in a religious context, as an "offense against god" in the traditional sense, but that definition is as useful to me as "pisses off the invisible pink unicorn". I don't think I'm alone on this, and figuring out exactly what people mean in such contexts, and the definitions of words, is crucially important for such a discussion.

TWRule:
I've never heard of a justice system in the world that had some bizarre notion that a certain amount of crime is justification for a certain amount of revenge...only those who have charges brought against them can be sentenced, and anyone who is charged, and who fits the criteria for guilt of a particular crime (which are fairly clearly laid out beforehand), can (and should for the sake of consistency) be sentenced. In other words, the bolded part is the right answer (though not necessarily "how much damage" but how many charges of one crime or another each can be held guilty of) as far as any internally consistent system is concerned.

Most primitive justice systems, including the abrahamic religions, do this. An eye for an eye is actually still practiced in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

I agree, an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.
Anyone who wants to use religion as a legal excuse for revenge is just, Well, Ima let Commander Shepard handle this one:

Actually, an eye for an eye means the eyepatch industry is going to see a massive upswing. Nearly everyone has two eyes.

People really need to stop dropping quotes by famous people and acting like they prove something on their own. Gandhi did not have special wisdom inaccessible to anyone else, nor was he a perfect being. That goes for just about everyone else in history. Sure, there are a lot of learned, intelligent men, and studying what they had to say has merit, but don't act like just because Gandhi, Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, or Paul of Tarsus said it, it's automatically correct.

TheStatutoryApe:

Fingerprint:
-snip-

My bad, I had assumed since he was a junkie that his crime would have been drug related.
I decided to look him up on wiki and he seems an interesting character. He apparently robbed banks and the like and was careful to only rob places that had adequate insurance to cover the theft. Continuing with the idea that the observation in his book is based on personal opinion and experience it could be that he felt that his attempts to minimize the damages he caused lessened the severity of his crimes and should have been taken into account in his sentencing. He's also Aussie and I am not really sure about the criminal justice system there.

-snip-

This isn't really supposed to happen but judges and prosecutors have a certain amount of leeway in how they proceed and of course they are the people who are elected/appointed to make such decisions after all so they aren't likely to be often questioned. In all probability they would simply argue that persons who commit such crimes in the first place are obviously of a low moral character and anything they say in their defense is simply a hollow excuse.

-snip-

Pleading guilty means you have accepted the charges against you and do not challenge them. There are legal systems where this is not allowed and they tend to think that the US system that allows people to plead guilty is horrible. To some degree they are right as prosecutors abuse the system by more or less coercing people into pleading guilty.

An example to tie in the above paragraph and this one: A friend of mine was arrested for Domestic Violence. His girlfriend was mad at him and he decided to walk away from the fight (verbal) to calm down by taking the trash outside. When he went to go back inside he found the door was locked. He wound up sitting outside, in his boxers, at night, with ice on the ground, waiting for her to calm down and let him in. After a while he decided he didn't want to freeze his nuts off so he broke in to his place, grabbed some clothes shoes and wallet, and went back outside to put them on and figure out where to go for the night. Well the police showed up and arrested him (despite his girlfriend telling them not to) because breaking into a place when your partner has specifically locked you out constitutes Domestic Violence by law there. My friend was afraid and didn't know what to do. The prosecutor told him that he would go to jail and had better take a plea bargain in order to avoid jail. In a trice she had him agreeing to plead guilty to the lesser offense of "vandalism" with court ordered anger management courses.

In all honesty his crimes were drug related. To quote/paraphrase the film Trainspotting "Heroin may explain your actions but it does not excuse them." However as I see it, although he commited crimes and should be punished there could be an argument for premeditation in as much as he made sure the places robbed could cover it with insurance. Kind of like premeditative murder though this time reducing the sentence (even a little) instead of increasing it.

I've got to say reading your last paragraph made me raise an eyebrow. Just to clarify, was the house owned by your friend, his girlfriend, or rented etc.? As I would assume that would have to make a difference to the ruling. However as I read it I'm amazed the judge didn't laugh the case out of the courtroom, it was an arguement and little more. Hell, I would have done the same as your friend and like as not I wouldn't have seen a cop let alone been forced to plead guilty to avoid being locked up.

(Sorry for the short reply but it's late and I've got to go to work.)

Fingerprint:
In all honesty his crimes were drug related. To quote/paraphrase the film Trainspotting "Heroin may explain your actions but it does not excuse them." However as I see it, although he commited crimes and should be punished there could be an argument for premeditation in as much as he made sure the places robbed could cover it with insurance. Kind of like premeditative murder though this time reducing the sentence (even a little) instead of increasing it.

Typically this would work the other way around. When a person specifically commits a crime in such a way because they feel that it makes it a lesser offense they are usually given harsher punishments. They are considered more likely to commit such offenses again having already excused their actions as "not that bad".

I've got to say reading your last paragraph made me raise an eyebrow. Just to clarify, was the house owned by your friend, his girlfriend, or rented etc.? As I would assume that would have to make a difference to the ruling. However as I read it I'm amazed the judge didn't laugh the case out of the courtroom, it was an arguement and little more. Hell, I would have done the same as your friend and like as not I wouldn't have seen a cop let alone been forced to plead guilty to avoid being locked up.

(Sorry for the short reply but it's late and I've got to go to work.)

This is part of the problem with plea deals. The deal is not typically made in front of the judge. The prosecutor speaks with the prisoner in private and leans on them trying to convince them that they are better off taking the deal. If they do they go into the courtroom, the charges are read, they are asked if they understand the charges, and they are asked how they plead. They don't tell the judge their story or discuss the case. All the judge has to go off of is the police report which may or may not give much detail.

TheStatutoryApe:

Fingerprint:
In all honesty his crimes were drug related. To quote/paraphrase the film Trainspotting "Heroin may explain your actions but it does not excuse them." However as I see it, although he commited crimes and should be punished there could be an argument for premeditation in as much as he made sure the places robbed could cover it with insurance. Kind of like premeditative murder though this time reducing the sentence (even a little) instead of increasing it.

Typically this would work the other way around. When a person specifically commits a crime in such a way because they feel that it makes it a lesser offense they are usually given harsher punishments. They are considered more likely to commit such offenses again having already excused their actions as "not that bad".

I've got to say reading your last paragraph made me raise an eyebrow. Just to clarify, was the house owned by your friend, his girlfriend, or rented etc.? As I would assume that would have to make a difference to the ruling. However as I read it I'm amazed the judge didn't laugh the case out of the courtroom, it was an arguement and little more. Hell, I would have done the same as your friend and like as not I wouldn't have seen a cop let alone been forced to plead guilty to avoid being locked up.

(Sorry for the short reply but it's late and I've got to go to work.)

This is part of the problem with plea deals. The deal is not typically made in front of the judge. The prosecutor speaks with the prisoner in private and leans on them trying to convince them that they are better off taking the deal. If they do they go into the courtroom, the charges are read, they are asked if they understand the charges, and they are asked how they plead. They don't tell the judge their story or discuss the case. All the judge has to go off of is the police report which may or may not give much detail.

Although I can see the logic behind an extended sentence in that scenario it still doesn't sit right with me. I understand that it was premeditiated however having enough forethought to make sure no-one other than the insurance company is too badly worse off for it seems less bad, at least a little; though that might be because I personally loath all insurance companies.

Surely then if the prosecutor is trying to convince the defendant to take whatever plea is being offered behind the scenes then unless the person has a comprehensive knowledge of law then they're almost always going to be forced to take that plea without necessarily knowing if there is something better that's just not being offered to them?

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Although I can see the logic behind an extended sentence in that scenario it still doesn't sit right with me. I understand that it was premeditiated however having enough forethought to make sure no-one other than the insurance company is too badly worse off for it seems less bad, at least a little; though that might be because I personally loath all insurance companies.

Surely then if the prosecutor is trying to convince the defendant to take whatever plea is being offered behind the scenes then unless the person has a comprehensive knowledge of law then they're almost always going to be forced to take that plea without necessarily knowing if there is something better that's just not being offered to them?

It's not so much about the premeditation as the justification. Causing lesser harm is typically taken into account in sentencing but when one uses it as justification for a crime not being so bad one shows oneself to be someone that will commit a crime as long as they can justify it to themselves as "not so bad". If someone told you that they picked a fight with a big guy because he looked like he could handle himself would you think that's not so bad? or that this guy seems like he wants to pick fights?

The first things you will be told when arrested, before questioning and plea deals, is that you have the right to stay silent, the right to a lawyer, and that one will be appointed if you can't afford one. They will then try to get you to forget those things and not worry about getting a lawyer. They're not forced into taking a plea bargain, they're more or less tricked into it. Scared into it might actually be more accurate but it's a bit of both.

Ever seen the Don't Talk to the Police video? It's a bit long but a good watch and he's rather entertaining.

 

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