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Author Topic: Fair and Equal Justice  (Read 6593 times)

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Offline Pumpkin SeedsTopic starter

Fair and Equal Justice
« on: October 07, 2011, 07:23:43 PM »


Not quite certain what sort of discussion this might spark, if any at all.  Just felt that something like this should be put forth for consideration.  A serious flaw I suspect in the Justice System where the rich are slapped on the wrist for their crimes and the poor are beaten for theirs.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2011, 07:27:45 PM »
It's not just the sentencing. They give his name, date of birth, height and weight, along with a fancy 'print mug shot' button. The message is, to my ears, loud and clear.

And it isn't like this is an isolated example, either. All should be equal before the law.

Offline Envious

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2011, 07:29:27 PM »
What things should be and what things are happen to be vastly different.

Offline Brandon

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2011, 07:44:20 PM »
I remember reading something like this a few months ago and I had the immediate reaction of "thats messed up!". There are some issues that need to be pointed out. First among them is the crimes took place in separate states (neither being federal crimes and tried/punished under the same court). Individual state outlook may be one of the reasons for the punishments that were given (i.e. some states are much more hostile with repeat offenders). I dont think thats something we can be sure on one way or the other but it bears a mention.

If memory serves, in this case the homeless man was a repeat offender which as I mentioned is a huge factor in some states. Also I heard, but can not confirm, that the CEO's sentence was actually an illegal one (being by law to little for the crime)

I still think its pretty messed up. Not only did the homeless guy turn himself in and plead guilty (which should mean a significant sentence reduction) but the reasons why he did it were certainly desperate. In the case of the CEO he pleaded not guilty and was proven to be so (essentially wasting the courts time and the tax payers money) and I highly doubt he turned himself in (forcing the police to use time and resources that could have been put toward other cases).

Maybe Im just crazy...well ok we all know Im crazy but thats beside the point :P Anyway I think that the act of turning ones self into the police when you've done something wrong should cut a huge portion of time off a persons punishments. In practice pleading guilty is supposed to do the same but a judge can still give someone the maximum legal sentence if they want.

This may be a little off topic but I see these issues as to much of our cultures embrace of law and not enough of chaos. All societies need laws but our justice system is beginning to seem more like a new brand of tyranny then a system put in place to protect the people. It forces us to sacrifice far to much individuality and freedom for an illusion of efficiency and safety.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2011, 08:36:23 PM »
There's no mitigating factor, here. Three billion dollars is, roughly, the net product of several hundred people's lives. We don't think about it like that, and that degree of ruination is difficult to comprehend. But it should be treated accordingly.

Offline Brandon

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2011, 08:42:16 PM »
There's no mitigating factor, here. Three billion dollars is, roughly, the net product of several hundred people's lives. We don't think about it like that, and that degree of ruination is difficult to comprehend. But it should be treated accordingly.

Not for the CEO no, but there is for the homeless guy. Thats what Im saying, the CEO did everything wrong and should get a drasticly extended sentence but the homeless guy did everything right and got a heavy one. Thats not how things should work but its how they do work

Again, repeat offenses and varying state laws also play a part though. Unless its a federal crime being prosecuted its just inacurate to say that two men in two different states are being judged under the same law

Offline Pumpkin SeedsTopic starter

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2011, 07:59:27 AM »
I don't know, at the end of the day one of the largest fraud cases in U.S. History should not have a sentence less than the theft of 100 dollars.  Just doesn't quite seem to equate for me.  I understand different states have different laws, but still.  3 Billion dollars versus 100 bucks.

Offline Scribbles

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2011, 08:05:55 AM »
I'm not sure of the state of prisons where he's going but is there a chance the judge saw jail as an opportunity for shelter, learning and food for the homeless guy? I'm desperately trying to find reason behind the madness...

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2011, 09:18:33 AM »
There is no reason there is one law for the privileged and one for the common people and its rarely fair.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2011, 09:45:34 AM »
I think reaction to this story is based on emotion alone and not logic. On the surface, complete with highlighted excerpts just in case you miss them, our eyes are drawn to what appears to be a gross miscarriage of justice and fairness.

$3 Billion
40-month Sentence

A homeless man robbed a Louisiana bank and took a $100 bill.
The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

If you read the whole first half of the story, you'll see that the CEO was sentenced for his role in a $3 billion scheme.

One the story implies there were more people involved than just the man sentenced, and two is suggested 'for his role', that his role was only one part of a larger scheme. It doesn't specify what that role was.

Was it driving the get away car?

I think it's far too easy to peruse over this graphic, become indignant at the apparent injustice, and run outside waving a pitch forck calling for people's heads.

Offline Jude

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2011, 10:45:51 AM »
Rest of the article definitely makes the executive look better:
Quote
Allen’s lawyer argued for leniency on the theory that Allen was CEO in name only. The real mastermind was Farkas, who kept Allen out of the loop on much of the company’s day-to-day operations, according to trial testimony.

“Mr. Allen was not treated as a CEO. He did not function as a CEO,” said defense lawyer Stephen Graeff. “Sentence Mr. Allen the man, not Mr. Allen the title.”

But Brinkema said Allen’s title was significant, adding Allen’s reputation in the industry lent credibility to Taylor Bean that it otherwise would not have had. Even worse, Brinkema said, Allen had subordinates who were reporting the problems to Allen, but Allen left them to fend for themselves. One of those Taylor Bean employees, Sean Ragland, also was sentenced Friday to three months in prison and nine months of home detention for his role in the scheme.

“I can’t understand why in the world you didn’t stop it,” Brinkema told Allen.

Allen, for his part, apologized to his family and to “the entire financial community.”

By the time Allen became CEO in 2003, the fraud was already under way, and Taylor Bean owed more than $100 million to Colonial. Allen’s part in the schemes, came later, especially in the commercial paper loans from Deutsche bank and BNP Paribas that eventually grew to become the largest part of the fraud.

Ragland and Allen are the fifth and sixth persons to be sent to prison as part of the Taylor Bean-Colonial fraud, and investigators say the investigation is continuing. Sentences have ranged from three months to eight years.

All six received credit on their sentences for cooperating with investigators and testifying at Farkas’ trial.

“Mr. Allen’s sentence reflects his ultimate cooperation with this investigation, but also sends the message that unless executives expose and stop fraud when they first learn of it, they will be punished,” said Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Farkas is to be sentenced next week, and prosecutors have indicated they will seek a significantly longer sentence for Farkas than for his co-conspirators.
But the way the homeless man was treated still seems ridiculous -- I'll do a bit of reading and see if there were any omitted details.  I have a theory it has something to do with minimum sentencing rules for what was essentially a Bank Robbery.  Even though he only took 100 bucks, because of technicalities it was essentially equivalent to walking into a bank with a gun and wiping out the entire vault.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 10:49:01 AM by Jude »

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2011, 11:06:14 AM »
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/06/30/mortgage-executive-receives-30-year-sentence/

The person seen as masterminding the $3 Billion fraud scheme was sentenced to 30 years in prison.



But it is far more emotionally convenient to juxtapose a homeless African-American man to an old, rich white man who was seen to have gotten off easy.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2011, 12:35:06 AM »
indeed it is, still... the homeless man should've been charged with less than bank robbery, maybe simple theft?
system ain't perfect but it often works. when it doesn't it brings angry cries of people.
still... at least the ringleader got put away for 30 years... the CEO is guilty of neglect like so many other leaders through the years. "don't worry boss, I got everything under control" when you hear that enough times, check the books.

Offline Jude

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2011, 01:30:53 AM »
Well, technically he did rob a bank.  He pretended to have a gun and forcibly took money.

I'm not sure if there's a good way to account for the motivations of the individual or the amount stolen in our laws so that what happened to this homeless man will never happen again, because unfortunately laws are made to be inelastic for a reason -- to eschew subjectivity in favor of blind application of the rules.

There are laws though, as we all know, which are fundamentally unfair.  Most people on this forum are against DOMA.  I think the War on Drugs is a fundamentally misguided effort that helps no one.  And of course there's the sad fact that this homeless man is probably going to have a better life in jail than he would living on the streets -- at least there he'll get three round meals, a place to sleep, and be relatively safe.

Our society is definitely not without its ills, and progress isn't an end goal as much as it is a gradual yet never-ending process.

Utopias don't and can't exist.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2011, 07:16:20 PM »
*gives Jude a cookie*

Offline meikle

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2011, 08:08:49 PM »
I think it's far too easy to peruse over this graphic, become indignant at the apparent injustice, and run outside waving a pitch forck calling for people's heads.
imprisoning someone for 15 years for stealing $100 is an injustice worthy of indignation all on its own.

i mean, just so we're clear: $100 is 13 hours worth of minimum wage labor.  15 years is 131,000 hours.

it would seriously be better for everyone in the entire world if they sentenced him to a shower and ten hours spent with a placement agency.  (except maybe for him; there's that guy who stole $1 from a bank so that he could get prison health care, after all...)
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 08:13:52 PM by meikle »

Offline LustfulLord2011

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2011, 09:11:50 PM »
I don't think that the issue of whether one of these men got overly hammered by the law, and one of them let off too leniently, is even relevant. I think that the issue is whether our legal system works at all. I, for one, think it is extremely overcomplicated and under-effective (I know that's not a word, but it's late and I am sleep deprived, please forgive me). Proposed for public review/ridicule/praise, Lustful's Amended Legal Code...

All monetary crimes shall be punished first by the confiscation and sale of the perpetrators property to cover the financial loss of the victim. In the event that this does not cover the financial loss of the perpetrator, the perpetrator shall have all wages garnished until such time as their debt is paid. In the instance that they do not have gainful employment, the perpetrator shall be forced into indentured servitude, the monetary proceeds of which shall be paid against their debt until it has been remedied.

All violent offenses shall be punished by death.

All sexual offenses shall be punished by castration, if the perpetrator is male, or the equivalent procedures, if female.

And that's it. Benefits include: No need for jails at ALL, no need for the taxes needed to support the jail system, and best of all, a drastic drop in violent and sexual crime rates, as there will be no such thing as a "repeat offender". I realize that my proposals may seem harsh, and they are meant to be, but I also believe that they are fair.

I also realize that some of what I said here may be taken as inflammatory. I hope that this is not the case, but if I have offended anyone with my proposal, please feel free to express your disapproval (respectfully, of course).

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Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2011, 10:00:46 PM »

Offline Brandon

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2011, 10:08:53 PM »
I don't think that the issue of whether one of these men got overly hammered by the law, and one of them let off too leniently, is even relevant. I think that the issue is whether our legal system works at all. I, for one, think it is extremely overcomplicated and under-effective (I know that's not a word, but it's late and I am sleep deprived, please forgive me). Proposed for public review/ridicule/praise, Lustful's Amended Legal Code...

All monetary crimes shall be punished first by the confiscation and sale of the perpetrators property to cover the financial loss of the victim. In the event that this does not cover the financial loss of the perpetrator, the perpetrator shall have all wages garnished until such time as their debt is paid. In the instance that they do not have gainful employment, the perpetrator shall be forced into indentured servitude, the monetary proceeds of which shall be paid against their debt until it has been remedied.

All violent offenses shall be punished by death.

All sexual offenses shall be punished by castration, if the perpetrator is male, or the equivalent procedures, if female.

And that's it. Benefits include: No need for jails at ALL, no need for the taxes needed to support the jail system, and best of all, a drastic drop in violent and sexual crime rates, as there will be no such thing as a "repeat offender". I realize that my proposals may seem harsh, and they are meant to be, but I also believe that they are fair.

I also realize that some of what I said here may be taken as inflammatory. I hope that this is not the case, but if I have offended anyone with my proposal, please feel free to express your disapproval (respectfully, of course).

Sounds like another form of Tyranny to me. I dont think Ive ever heard of medeval justice being proposed as solutions to the problems of our current system. Usually they're used as "what not to do" guides

Think about it, you're proposing government sanctioned slavery, mutilation, and systematic murder despite any circumstances of the crimes in question. Im sorry but theres no way I would allow that.

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Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2011, 10:13:21 PM »
I should also point out that castration isn't necessarily effective as a preventative of sexually based crimes.  In cases where they've used 'chemical castration', the recidivists will simply use objects as penile surrogates.

Offline LustfulLord2011

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2011, 10:19:22 PM »
A valid point. Ok, then. Amendment to the code: repeat sexual offenses not involving traditional intercourse shall be counted as violent crimes, and the perpetrator subsequently put to death. I wasn't thinking it was a preventive in that sense, but more in the "you're not going to do this unless you are REALLY, truly, sociopathically detached, because nobody who isn't irremediably screwed up wants to suffer those consequences for ANYTHING." And I'm not talking methods like chemical castration. I'm talking hacksaws for men, cauterization irons for women, and network television to capture the moment.

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Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2011, 10:29:41 PM »
In that case, refer to my post regarding 'violent crimes'.  The justice system, being a creation of fallible beings, and conducted without benefit of omniscience, does sometimes give a false verdict.  As such, the existence of appeals (and by extension, jails) serves to minimize the consequences of Type I errors.  A man was released from jail just this past week after being held for 25 years for the murder of his wife.  DNA evidence proved conclusively that he didn't do it.  Under your system, an innocent man would have been killed immediately, and the real murderer would have gone free.

Offline LustfulLord2011

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2011, 10:36:07 PM »
I never claimed my system was perfect. Just simple, fair (at least, in terms of someone's social standing making no difference whatsoever in terms of the penalty assigned for crimes), and efficient. I would probably make the process for determining guilt a lot more rigorous too. For instance, mandating not one, but three cellular juries in a trial, none of which were allowed to communicate with eachother, who had to submit written verdicts rather than verbal ones, and all THREE must have, unanimously, come to a guilty verdict for someone to be sentenced. Also, no dismissals of evidence allowed. If someone has demonstrable evidence, whether for or against a plaintiff's guilt, they are not just free to present it, but should be mandated to, as the cost of a miscarriage of justice under my system would be grave indeed.

Offline Missy

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2011, 10:54:26 PM »
You cannot inspire morality by fear

Offline LustfulLord2011

Re: Fair and Equal Justice
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2011, 11:03:06 PM »
No, you can't. But morality is an artificial construct. You CAN, however, inspire obedience, which is the real point of the law, as our current system shows. Many of the laws in place now, and the penalties for breaking them, have nothing to do with the public good, and everything to do with enforcing compliance. I'm just willing to be a little more honest about my motives than your average politician.