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February 15, 2005

Comments

hrun

Av, all I can say is that I wholeheartedly agree. I reached my boiling point on this topic when that 13 year old kid was sentenced to decades in prison (even though I think the verdict was later overturned). But then again, I'm one of them ueber-libaral loons from Europe- no wonder I am 'soft on crime'.

Ryan Somma

To keep this in perspective, we should remember that we are talking about South Carolina. I was subjected to a body-cavity search in Charelston for parking illegally with out of state plates and pocket knife under the driver's seat (Seriously). South Carolina is the armpit of the Union (I'm not bitter).

I agree totally with your post Averroes, and I believe the same reasoning was used in Vietnam to bring the drinking age down to 18. The rational was that, if they were old enough to die for their country, then they should be old enough to buy a beer.

Sphaeron

I read a news article on this yesterday. Definitely an ugly situation. I don't understand the whole "tried as an adult" thing completely. I understand that some crimes are so heinous that the idea of letting someone just shy of a line of technicality get away with a lesser sentence is difficult to swallow. Trying a 17 year old that is months away from his 18th birthday as an adult.. understandable to a certain degree. The whole reason there is a separate standard for minors is because of the idea that their mental capabilities and skills of autonomy aren't yet to par with the rest of the world. What's the point of those separate standards are bypassed when the crime is especially brutal.

Though my impromptu thoughts are that Zoloft had nothing to do with his actions, I think professional research would probably show this kid to have a boatload of mental disability. From my own past experience, it's likely he was on the medication due to an improper diagnosis by a family doctor or a psychiatrist that was only alloted 15 minutes to see him by the insurance company.

Even though it doesn't fit the cozy model of "Crime and Punishment" I think he probably belongs in a treatment facility more than he does a jail. But I wasn't on the jury, and I didn't see all the facts. Maybe if I was at the trial I'd have thought he deserved the 30 years, no argument. For example:

Prosecutor Barney Giese reminded jurors how the boy carried out the killings, saying, "I don't care how old he is. That is as malicious a killing — a murder — as you are ever going to find," Giese said.

He pointed to Pittman's statement to police in which he said his grandparents "deserved it."

That sounds pretty damning.. but it's not in context, and certainly doesn't take mental disability into account. After all, who in their right mind says that to police after arrested for killing two people?

Winston Smith

Yo! Whuttup?

Nussmier

Article about this in the NYT if anyone is interested. Not much more information then what is above though..

pyrrho

well, I find the blaming of the Zoloft unacceptable, and I find the crime horrible and yet... Averroes makes the better point (except for the tongue in cheek prosecutor persecutions)

Thing is... horrible crimes are not a reason to get ignore law... CHANGE the law maybe... I still think murdering someone at a young age is not something to be protected as a childhood mistake... but the law as is is the law.

Furthermore, until this post I simply thought of this in terms my refusal to accept the Zoloft Excuse as given... so thanks for the widened perspective Av.

JD

Av : Great post. For those of you that know me, I tend to fall towards the more conservative end of the spectrum. As an aside, why do conservatives seem to so readily admit that, while liberals always seem to use phrases like moderates, center-left, fiscal conservative? But, I digress ...

The entire concept of trying children as adults has always incensed me. Due to my complete lack of clarity of thought, I had never been able to really put my finger on exactly what it bothered me so, I just knew in my gut that it felt wrong. Now, anybody that knows me knows that when I talk about feelings, or even acknowledge the possibility that I may actually have feelings, that I feel strongly about that which I am speaking of.

Av was able to describe my feelings in a way that my muddled thought process had not allowed me to. There are ages of consent (I think it is 8 in KY, lol), ages where you can drink beer, ages where you are allowed to drive a car, get your ears pierced without asking your parents, ditto tattoos, etc ... but when it comes to something like application of the law, all of a sudden the question of whether one is a child is debatable?!

Great topic.

pyrrho

jd,

"As an aside, why do conservatives seem to so readily admit that, while liberals always seem to use phrases like moderates, center-left, fiscal conservative?"

maybe it's an eye for detail, not painting with such broad brushes.

that'd explain it.

Chum

"As an aside, why do conservatives seem to so readily admit that, while liberals always seem to use phrases like moderates, center-left, fiscal conservative?"

The same reason some on the right use terms like "Goldwater conservative", "Reagan conservative", "McCain Conservative", "true conservative", etc.

It's to distance themselves from the stigmas of liberalism or conservatism that have have evolved during periods of gutter discourse. It's a shame that statements can't stand alone on their merit without the labeling which implies that the message should not be takn seriously.

Shinobi

Here Here Chum.

Wasn't Zoloft the drug that was shown to cause depression and suicidal tendancies in young people? Yeah it was.

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a697048.html

I don't know the details of the case, but I would tend to agree with some kind of mental insanity defense. And I certainly don't think he should be tried as an adult.

sweetchuck

Averroes, I find your use of the word “evil” to be odd. In the past you have assigned myself, and others, the opinion that Bush is evil, big business is evil, big pharma is evil… At the time I just saw it as a way to sidestep our arguments and replace them with the easily dismissed argument that so and so is just evil. Now you are picking up the E word and seem to be using it quite sincerely. I just find calling people “evil” to be simplistic. Sure, I find treating children legally as adults to be ridiculous, you either go with what the law says or change it. I also find it sad that this child received such a long sentence, but I don’t think the people who pushed for it are preparing the earth for Satan’s dominion or incarcerating the boy in the hopes that he will go bad and go to hell or working diligently to create hell on earth, or any of the other wild things the word “evil” bring to mind. I just see it as people with different life experiences and different opinions, who came to a conclusion that I find ridiculous. I like to think that I can sit down with people who have different opinions as me, and we can find some common ground, I may come to agree with them, or see where they are coming from, or they may come to agree with me. When you begin with the hypothesis that the person (or country…) is evil, it really ends right there. When you would accuse me of thinking Bush was evil, or Republicans or whatever, I always saw it as a way to refute anything else I said about the matter, because reasoning and listening were against the religion. Calling things “evil” really is a religious thing and once that’s in place there really is no point in talking about the matter.

Averroes

Some responses:

hrun: "I reached my boiling point on this topic when that 13 year old kid was sentenced to decades in prison "

My German friend went birdseed on this. We had a year long exchanbge on the German and American legal systems and penal systems. (He discovered Sheriff Arpaio's web site and went ballistic.) This "try 'em as adults" thing was something i found it hard to defend. on the other hand, his notion that no criminal deserves punishment, but should rather bekept in some nice apartment-like place for a whaile was hard to understand. To cut it short, i think we sometimes give a false sense of our systems. Germany has a top sentence for murder of 15 years. (And they don't compound charges; someone who kills 50 people gets the same charge as someone sho kills 1.) What he didn't say was that Germany has a robust system for defining people as "dangerous," and once so defined, they are likely to be incarcerated for life. And, in fact, the "hospitals" for doing this are worse than the prisons. And, i don't think he was really aware of that.

btw, maybe you can help me with something he couldn't answer. in Germany, time spent in prisons abroad is credited according to a sliding scale which rates how bad the prisons are, and adjusts it to German time. for instance, the gentleman who was the architect of Saddam's nuclear program in the early 90s had spent some time in a Brazilian prison, and he was given three times what he spent there as equivalent in Germany. (He ended up spending almost no time in German prisons.) My friend could never tell me how American prisons rated. maybe you know.

he also told me that it is common for those convicted in germany to receive no time for the crime, but it is stipulated that if they commit any crime whatsoever in the future, the full sentence will be imposed. his example was Boris Becker who was convicted of violating tax law, and who now faces an 8 year sentence if he, say, says, "Nazis weren't so bad."

i told him i thought that was kafka-esque. We'd rather that a person serve their time and be done with it, so that they don't have to live under the sword of Damocles. i see the German system as good-old government control.

i will note here what Thomas moore pointed out centuries ago, when cheap cotton decimated the English woll industry, and sheep workers flocked (yes, flocked) to the cities like London. Since many were without work, theft and robbery increased dramatically. of course, the government responded by cracking down on crime, includoing making robbery a capital offense. So, of course, murder immediately rose dramatically.

When will we ever learn...when will we ever learn.

Averroes

Ryan: "I believe the same reasoning was used in Vietnam to bring the drinking age down to 18. The rational was that, if they were old enough to die for their country, then they should be old enough to buy a beer."

But MADD saw it differently, and today, when one reads the names on the in memorium list on Stephanopolous on Sunday, one realizes that a great many of those killed could never have imbibed a legal beer. no one argues that if you are too young to reponsibly drink, you just might be too young to responsibly handle modern weaponry or interact with suspicious citizens in a way that furthers our goals. you could argue it either way, but not, i think, both.

And, hey, many years ago, i was stopped and arrested in upstate NY for being in possession of butt length hair. the officer let me go when I emptied my pockets of every penny i had. (He explained that since it was Sunday and the judge wasn't at work, he would save me the trouble of staying over until tomorrow by collecting for the court. i just had to ask him if I could be sure that the judge got my $28.34. He said, "to be sure." Fortunately he didn't ever discover the "extra keys" in the trunk.)

Averroes

Sphaeron: " What's the point of those separate standards are bypassed when the crime is especially brutal."

That's one of the problems.

There are problems with this case. The Zoloft defense was difficult because in South Carolina, they have to prove that the drug caused a condition which would pass the McNaughton test. i think that they are unique in that way, but i am not sure. But i am not so interested in the actual case as in the evilness of the prosecution and the idiocy of the laws.

You may not know that the young man burned down the house to cover his crime (we assume). this leads to another rant.

Over the last 10 years when i paid attentin to such things, i have often heard the argument, from prosecutors, ex-prosecutor commentators, and some conservatives that attempts to hide the crime are evidence that "theperpetrator knew it was wrong," and, thus, he fails the McNaughton test. In fact, this argument was used in this case.

What amazes me is that no one seems toi bring up the utter stupidity of this statement. At best, it proves that the perpetrater is aware that someone else thinks it is wrong. What it really shows is that the perpetrater thinks that someone who can have a negative effect on his life will have a negative effect on his life if that person finds out. Actually, it may even be the case that it isn't that strong; he may simply be hiding the "crime" from those he knows would be hurt if they knew he did it.

If your Jehovah's Witness parents knew that you were giving to the blood drive, theymight be very upset. Hiding the fact from them is no evidence that you know that giving blood is wrong.

Likewise, members of the French resistance may have thought that blowing up that RR bridge to slow the move of German reinforcements to the D-Day battle was good, but, despite this, they may have tr4ied to cover up their involvement in it, since, if the Germans found out, they were kaput. It doesn't mean that they were aware that blowintg up the bridge was wrong.

Yet evil peosecuters, who are smart enough to know that such an argument is specious, continue to use it.

Averroes

Winston: "Yo! Whuttup?"

hey, just a heads up, bro.

the last time i used the construction "I find it odd..." you popped that kernal into oodles of fluff, upon which crevices you driveled the butter of mindreading and salted with assumed intent.

I didn't want you to miss another opportunity, knowing that you value consistency.

Averroes

pyrrho: "I find the crime horrible and yet... Averroes makes the better point (except for the tongue in cheek prosecutor persecutions)"

they weren't tongue in cheek. i was a serious as a judge, you might say.

" I still think murdering someone at a young age is not something to be protected as a childhood mistake.."

I don't think anything should be "protected" as a childhood mistake...unless, of course, it is a childhood mistake. here, we decide in advance that this person is incapable of making a childhood mistake, even though he is a child, simply because of the nature of the crime.

in fact, i once heard a prosecutor vow to try a six year old for murder, after the youngster took his daddy's gun and killed his sister. he didn't win that one, but... why not? According to the reasoning, it is the nature of the crime, not the age of the kid that determines.

If the problem is that under the juvie system in a particular state, those who have culpability for horrible crimes cannot get appropriate sentences, then the juvie law needs changing. i would have less problem if this child was tried as a child, and the judge and/or jury decided, based on evidence, that he had a 14 year old level of maturity (in other words, the prosecutor overczme the presumtion that a 12 y/o cannot form consent to a crime), and the judge found the crime so horrible, and the chances of this child to be saved soi remote, that he was able to give him a 30 year sentence.

i may note here that a prof of mine, quite knowledgable in hormones and physiology, described males between 15 qnd 35 as insane from the effects of testosterone. We know this of course, but testosterone defenses have never had the sway of post partum hormonal defenses.

he and i developed what i say is the most reasonable approach for youn males. Any male between 15 and 35 would be adjudicated as usual for any violent crime, murder, rape, armed robbery, assault, and others. it would be made clear to them that under the law, any second violent crime would get them a sentence of incarceration until age 35, unless the usual sentence would take them past 35, in which that would be sereved.

This would stop our present practice of training criminals to be criminals (by failing to either stop them or provide consequences for the acts by letting them out over and over) until they have long records and finally get a life sentence. This way, they have a t least the chance of getting out when their testosterone wanes, so that they can live a more normal life.

Averroes

JD, chum, pyrrho: "It's to distance themselves from the stigmas of liberalism or conservatism that have have evolved during periods of gutter discourse."

Actually, so long as the conservatives treated the term as a stigma, they did poorly. When they accepted the term proudly and explained wht they meant by it, they began the rise to their present ascendency.

The liberals will never be succeessful overall until they embrace their own philosophy.

the democrats were once stigmatized as "asses," whuile the Grand Old Party was shown as the noble elephant. those dems embraced it, and like the "Bums" in brooklyn, came to be widely loved.

Averroes

Shinobi: "Wasn't Zoloft the drug that was shown to cause depression and suicidal tendancies in young people? Yeah it was."

no, it wasn't. There was shown to be an increase in impulsive behaviour, including suicide, in populations taking Zoloft as opposed to controls. The Sout Carolina law required that it be shown that Zoloft caused the behaviour in this one individual case. this is much harder.

It's the difference between an association at the populatin level and causality at the individual level.

Another example: it is well known that those with both and x and a y chromosome and who make testosterone at a normal level, are much more likely to commit violent crimes than those who don't. You don't hear that as a defense in individual cases of violent crime much.

hrun

Av: I'm not that well versed in the German prison system, so I don't know how American Prisons compare to German ones.

his notion that no criminal deserves punishment, but should rather bekept in some nice apartment-like place for a whaile was hard to understand.

I assume that this is an exageration of his views to get your point across, right?

he also told me that it is common for those convicted in germany to receive no time for the crime, but it is stipulated that if they commit any crime whatsoever in the future, the full sentence will be imposed.

That is only partially correct. It should be that if he commits any crime whatsoever in a defined period of time from now. As far as I understand the US system, this is not unlike probabation here. You are sentenced to prison time, but you don't have to actually be in prison if you manage to conform to certain rules and regulations. Often this includes checking in with probation officers, staying drug free, taking lie detector tests, adhering to curfews, ... and of course it always includes committing no crimes as a stipulation as well. As soon as you do not conform to these regulations, you will have to serve the time for your previous crime and of course for the new one.

In Germany the time of probabtion is generally between 2-5 years. As far as I know, here in the US the time of probation can be a fair bit longer, so I have the feeling that here people will have to live 'under the sword' for longer.

Averroes

sweetchuck: " I find your use of the word “evil” to be odd."

i use it according to the usual meaning: "1a not good morally; b, arising from actual or imputed bad character, or concuct."

i realize that there is now a sort of liberal notion that the word should be reserved for extreme cases, if used at all.

Remember, when Ronald Reagan called the USSR an "evil empire," that was certainly indisputable, yet there was a world-widce sucking in of breath among liberal types. it was as if he had said to the Prince of Wales, "Your majesty is like a stream of bat's piss."

I think that this is part of the dilution of responibility that comes from attributing individual behaviour to social causes.
for instance, we have known for centuries that crime is positively associated with poverty. So we like to think that the poor thief is not evil, just driven by circumstances. in our desire to be magmanimous, we tend to avoid the word altogether.

Remember, from West Side Story, "I'm depraved on accounta I'm deprived." Wpld we call this person evil? Criminals have been quick to pick up on the quesiness that some ahve about calling a spade a spade.

"I just see it as people with different life experiences and different opinions, who came to a conclusion that I find ridiculous. I like to think that I can sit down with people who have different opinions as me, and we can find some common ground, I may come to agree with them, or see where they are coming from, or they may come to agree with me.

I couldn't have written a better caricature of the loioberal position if I had tried. Believe me, i have sat down with many evil people, and their being so didn't require me to refuse to agree with them should they make a compelling argument, nor did it keep me from remarking, "I see where you're coming from, man."

i saw an interview with a man who knowingly made and distributed an heroin substitue that was killing people. ("I considered it good advertising.") Whan the interviewer wanted to question why he did this, saying, "Why did you do this, you cjna't just be evil, there..." this man cut him off and said, "Oh, i think I'm quite evil." i found that refreshing. nietzshe noted that our jmodern socialologyof crime is robbing the criminal of the terrible beauty of their crimes.

By the way, be hoinest, did any of you reflexively think, of maybe half-think-half-feel, that his saying that he was evil was some sort of evidence that he was more deranged than evil?

sweetchuck, i use the term on these boards oftern to describe how others who don';t use the word dcouch Bush, for instance. to me, when you say, as had been said recently, that Bush's reason for wanting private accounts is to pay off his friends in Wall Street (or some other version of this), you are saying that he has evil motives. And since, almost to an argument, no evidence is offered, I have often concluded that the attribution of evil to Bush is an a priori in the argument, an assumtion upon which the conclusion rests, not the conclusion. this assumption is often tacit, and may be subconcious.

Bush wants private accounts;
(Bush is evil);
Therefore, bush must want them to, say, enrich his Wall Street supporters.

(Of course, the more general statemenbt of method would be:
Bush wants private accounts;
(Bush is evil);
We'd better find out why Bush REALLY wants proivate accounts. it can't be because he thinks they will benefit the common man.)

A religious Busite might argue thus:

Bush wants private accounts;
(Bush is a proper Republican, not an evil liberal);
Private accounts must be the best thing since sliced hard-boiled eggs.

I would rather people react like this:

Bush wants private accounts.
Interesting. i wonder what the pros and cons are to such accounts.

The problem here is that this tacit assumption is carried rolled under the arm, like the day's newspaper, while one looks for evidence that is consistent with it. this is the wrong way to go. much better, if you have to assume, is to adopt seriously the assumption opposite the one you naturally feel.

"I just find calling people “evil” to be simplistic."

It can be used simplistically, like anyother word. What would you call an evil person?

"I just see it as people with different life experiences and different opinions, who came to a conclusion that I find ridiculous. I like to think that I can sit down with people who have different opinions as me, and we can find some common ground, I may come to agree with them, or see where they are coming from, or they may come to agree with me.

I couldn't have written a better caricature of the liberal position if I had tried. Believe me, i have sat down with many evil people, and their being so didn't require me to refuse to agree with them should they make a compelling argument, nor did it keep me from remarking, "I see where you're coming from, man."

"When you begin with the hypothesis that the person (or country…) is evil, it really ends right there."

And that, friend, is exactly my point. One can only conclude with that point. this is what i have been arguing in the Bush case. (A few years ago I was making the same argument against the crazies who thought that Clinton was bombing things as a 'wag the dog" strategy. how did we know? Clinton was evil. remember?)

Why did we invade Afghanistan? you and i might think it had something to do with the Taliban's refusal to cougfh up bin Laden, but we were told that"

Bush wants to invade Afghanistan;
(Bush is evil) and involved in evil oil (say, wasn't there a pipeline proposal?)
Bush wants to invade Afghanistan so his buddies can build a pipeline and reap huge profits.

Here is a mild example from this vvery board:

"“Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Cheney said the government would have to borrow $754 billion over the next 10 years, and conceded that the price tag would involve borrowing trillions of dollars more in subsequent decades.”
Note that that’s not $754 trillion in the FIRST 10 years of personalization, it’s $754 trillion in the NEXT 10 years (five of which are before the program is slated to be in effect). I hope our representatives “won’t be fooled again”."

The poster goes on to wrry that the evil Cheney and other adminsitrations will try to fool us again.

Note here, though, that unless you already have the notion that Cheney and the admin are "foolers" it doesn't make sense. and there is no evidence offered for this proposal. now, my guess, i don't know, is that this is based on the medicare drug program discussion above this one. however, the conclusion that Bush are foolers actually cannot be reached in that discussion,without being fueled by the tacit notion that the Bushies are just the sort of persons who fool people.

Now look at the actual quote by Cheney. He isn't trying to fool anyone. he is simply answering the question as it is usually asked. And he adds that it will cost trillions more after the ten years. Let me repeat that: he adds that it will cost trillions more after that. So, one cannot cconclude that he is trying to hide costs subsequent to ten years from now in this inbterview, YET the poster thought that this was serious enough an example of "fooling" that the poster quoted it and warned of forthcoming attempts to fool. what i am saying is that the poster was fooled into thinking that this was a case of fooling by a prior presumption that Cheney was the kind of person who tried to fool people.

Again: Cheney: it is going to cost
X dollars in the next ten years and trillions after that.

Poster: [my paraphrase} There they go again, trying to fool us. Look out for more statements like this one, which are attempts to fool.

Nietzsche: "My friend, your inclination to see the world as bad and ugly has made the world--bad and ugly."

"Calling things “evil” really is a religious thing and once that’s in place there really is no point in talking about the matter."

Funny, I never thought of it that way. So, by analogy, when i say of someone that they are a good person, i am making a religious statement? Does that end the matter? Would their be no point in talking about it?

I call prosecutors evil, because, ignoring the problems of generalities, as a class, they do evil things, repeatedly. We have been discussing one example. i added another. in addition, and most damning, they do not follow their mandate to seek justice, but rather try to win cases at all costs. they are so committed to thsi that often, when they are shown to have comviceted the wrong man, they will stubbornly refuse to admit it.

Or, for more direct evidence, watch Nancy Grace.

Alright, alright, maybe the evil lies inthe system, not the prosecutors. maybe the system reqwuires and rewards such behaviour. maybe we could solve the problem of evil prosecutors by changing the system.

but we won't do it unless we identify the evil and so name it.

Chum

I believe it was in Hamburg, Germany where tennis player Monica Seles was stabbed in the back during a match. I also believe that the perp did no time as a result, which does't surprise me when a mss murderer would get only 15 years.

The treatment that Chris Pittman received is troublimg, especially considering he was only 12 when it happened. Killing ones grandparents is hard to understand at any age, but usually when you hear od such incidents it is in conjunction with a ronnery or some other crime. The significance of doing it while they were asleep as being excepionally henious escapes me. It sounds like the way most of us would like to go, I believe those Grumpy Old Men referred to such individuals as "lucky bastards".

I don't buy into the pure evil theory so I'm wondering what made a 12 year old kid do this deed. His cover-up story gives indication that he was thinking clearly shortly thererafter, but what transpired leading up to the murders shoud be taken into consideration.

Some of the disdain Av holds for prosecutors is shared, but like any other lawyer, when you need one and you get a good one they can really help our society find some level of justice.

Averroes

hrun: "his notion that no criminal deserves punishment, but should rather bekept in some nice apartment-like place for a whaile was hard to understand.

I assume that this is an exageration of his views to get your point across, right?"

Not really. he is a great bveliever in rehabilitation, and proudly sent me pictures of what he said were medium security prisons where people lived in little apartment like deals with a common "living room." i almost had a heart attack. Sitting next to an easy chair was a large pot with a fern in it. Weapon. his notion is that
american prisons only have violence because we treat people so badly. i think that one of the problems was that most of his information came from documentaries about max and supermax prisons, and he sort of assumed that all prisons wer like those, and that all prisoners were in such facilities regardless of their behaviour. he found it hard to believe that so many prisoners could "earn" their way into such facilities.

"It should be that if he commits any crime whatsoever in a defined period of time from now. As far as I understand the US system, this is not unlike probabation here."

Right. you jogged my memory. Becker was under the supervision for 8 years. the kicker was that if he committed another crime (or violated his terms in such a way that he was imprisoned) he would have to serve the whole 8 years from then. in other words, when he went in, that would be day one, plus whatever the other thing brought.

in America, you are usually sentenced, in a sense, to be under the jurisdiction of the justice system for so many years. So, if Becker had such a probation here, if he went in, he would only have to serve the rest of the eight years from when he was sentenced. (Plus whatever else.)

It works the same way with parole, supervised time after release. your parole plus your time in prison cannot exceed your original sentence without an additional crime.

Averroes

Chum: "His cover-up story gives indication that he was thinking clearly shortly thererafter"

I'm not so sure about that (and it doesn't really weigh on his mental state at the time of the crime.)

Way back in the late 60s, Braginsky, Braginsky and Ring issued a study that shocked the world of academic psychology. it shoowed that even the most psychotic patients in state hospitals can find their way arouind, meet their needs, know, for instance, when the Canteen opens, etc. In fact, this is so obvious that people who work directly with such patients for a period of time often come to believe that they are faking it, and only want "three hots and a cot."

The point is that one can by floridly psychotic and still duck among the back alleys to avoid the police.

What one might say is that one who is floridly psychotic is more likely to provide a psychotic cover story: "I had to kill her. She was talking but evil was coming out of her crotch. if i didn't kill her the men from the planet Zygoss would be able to multiply and and breed with the pure white race of Michael jacksonites."

Of course, the prosecutor would immediately cite this as evidence that the perp knew right from wrong, and was trying to fake insanity.

"I don't buy into the pure evil theory so I'm wondering what made a 12 year old kid do this deed."

Could it be.....SATAN?

"like any other lawyer, when you need one and you get a good one they can really help our society find some level of justice."

Of course. there are plenty of great lawyers, many of whom labor in obscurity. These are the ones you can talk to about the lack of three point shooting at that chance meeting at the high school basketball game without having it show up the next month as a "billable hour."

hrun

Becker was under the supervision for 8 years. the kicker was that if he committed another crime (or violated his terms in such a way that he was imprisoned) he would have to serve the whole 8 years from then. in other words, when he went in, that would be day one, plus whatever the other thing brought.

Again, only partially correct. Indeed the time on probabtion is not counted towards how much time you will serve if you do not abide by the probation stipulations.

However, the numbers are all wrong. You can not give probation for sentences longer than 1 year (or max of 2 years in exceptional cases), so if Becker would have been convicted to 8 years, he would actually be in prison. Also, the time of probabtion will be between 2-5 years. So the time of probation will generally exceed the time you have been sentenced to. As far as I know you can chose to waive your probation and go to prison instead, if you prefer.

Also, the maximum sentence in Germany is not 15 years. There is a sentence that might be translated to 'life in prison'. However, this does not mean that you necessarily will stay in prison until you die. In fact, the German system mandates that there has to be a chance for the criminal to be released from prison before his death (kinda odd clause, isn't it). In any case, particularly severe crimes will be punished by 'Lebenslange Freiheitsstrafe'. This means you will stay in prison at least for 15 years. After that a decision will be made by a panel about the release. Usually the time served will be between 17-23 years.

pyrrho

>>pyrrho: "I find the crime horrible and yet... Averroes makes the better point (except for the tongue in cheek prosecutor persecutions)"

>they weren't tongue in cheek. i was a serious as a judge, you might say.

I don't believe you. You can't think there should be no prosecuters based on your other statements. I believe the sentiment was sincere though.

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