Mentally Handicapped Man Tortured By Four Monsters

Wednesday, January 4, AD 2017

 

 

Unbelievable, even by Chicago standards:

 

Chicago Police detectives are questioning four African-Americans suspected of torturing a white mentally disabled man on videotape while someone yelled “F— Trump!” and “F— white people!,” a police spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

“The video is reprehensible,” said Anthony Guglielmi, the police spokesman.

The white victim lives in northwest suburban Crystal Lake, Guglielmi said.

Detectives think the young man, who appeared to be in his late teens or early 20s, met some acquaintances in northwest suburban Streamwood and they drove him to Chicago in a stolen vehicle, Guglielmi said.

The victim is believed to have been held hostage and tortured in an apartment in the 3400 block of West Lexington on the West Side, Guglielmi said.

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18 Responses to Mentally Handicapped Man Tortured By Four Monsters

  • Chicago’s political class is not concerned with law enforcement. They’re concerned with striking poses on race relations. The police know this and are hanging out at the doughnut shop to avoid the sort of incidents which lead to you being shivved by politicians.

  • Nothing shocks me, however this is probably the worst I’ve ever seen teenagers treat someone and be so ignorant to post it on Facebook. The level of ignorance with these black kids is appalling. Hopefully ALL ARE CHARGED WITH HATE CRIMES INCLUDING TORTURE, FALSE ARREST, KIDNAPPING AND AS MANY APPLY UNDER THE LAW AS ADULTS, NOT AS CHILDREN. OUT OF AT LEAST 4 INDIVIDUALS, NOT A SINGLE ONE ATTEMPTED TO STOP ANY OF THIS. CALLING HIM A BITCH ASS NIGGER.. WOW, I CANT SEE WHY HOW AND WHY THEYVE MURDERED 760 OF THIER OWN. DISGUSTING SAVAGES. May Chicago rot in hell.

  • Hate crimes?

    Back up a second.
    Hate crimes are; Publicly reading scripture, Defending Truth, Acknowledging disordered behavior in Homosexuality, Transgender and Lesbian lifestyle choices.
    Voting for Pro-Life politicians, Voting aginist euthanasia platforms, Refusing to bake a cake for a gay marriage, Refusing to adopt common core in your children’s public school systems…Need I go on?

    These folks above are only expressing their black lives…And THEY matter. To heck with the disabled white boy. He was fair game in today’s morality. A Trump voter, the monsters called him.

    The videographer, puffing on her smoke, is giddy at the brutality being demonstrated in front of her face. Hells bells…Isis has nothing on these terrorist. Isis could take notes…learn from these Farrakhan brothers.

    Jesus wept indeed.

  • As Donald says at the end, “Jesus wept.” But when He comes again this time on that Great White Horse clothed in a robe dipped in blood (Revelation 19), He ain’t a’gonna be weeping.
    .
    I have nothing profound to say. My heart goes out to the man tortured,and my rage to the racists who did this and the liberals who aid and abet this.

  • Racists exist ! Wire racist shot those black people in S C. It was wall -to-wall coverage in the press!! Black and white politicians everywhere. Clinton jumped all over that story. Now… the difference is that you will not see ANY black politicians or Obama decry this. Obama will not comment. He might even pardon them!! Before trial! Common sense demands we ask ” WHY have things developped this way ? Anti white is PC now.

  • I will pray for this today at Mass, There are no words to describe the horror and ain the young man suffered only because he is white.

  • This behaviour is unacceptable and criminal no matter what colour of skin the abusers are. Racism exists and is not confined to one colour and the current political climate is not helping. Pray for peace and love

  • …”Unbelievable, even by Chicago standards”…

    No, this is what happens when Christian values (brought and kept through Christian Religion and Christian liturgy), are obliterated whatever the excuse (laicism, socialism, progresism, “englightment”, sex among teens…)

    We gladly forget that in most (if not all) of the cultures and religions, including Jews and Greeks this kind of inhuman behaviour is and was normal.

    It is Christianity who brought the protection of the poor, the feeble, the sick; and created the culture that consider as normal (still more; a right) to protect and defend the most needed in its society.

    Now, we are discovering to our own peril what is to live without humanity and without God.

    I really doubt whether it is wothly to destroy our civilization whith no gain for someone (except for those (cultural marxists ) that are planning and implementing these measures)

  • I tutored a rough black girl for three years one floor above a drug gang and sent her to Catholic school for that three years. Two years ago I mugged a black guy who Robbed my house of a lethal weapon on the NY harbor. I once taght public school with black teachers who were wonderful. One had her house robbed four times by blacks because they knew her schedule and her working husband’s schedule. There are wonderful blacks bt there are a substantial number of blacks who have zero relationship to God and His rigid laws about loving one spouse until death. No fathers….no morals for many. There are exceptions who choose God despite having no father. There are many whose violence results from the fornicative absent father.
    Poverty?…India has the lowest divorce rate in the world…Asia has the lowest murder rate…with poverty.

  • It’s incidences like this one that confirm the Dylan Roofs of the world in their hatred for people different from themselves.
    .
    To invert the usual liberal media meme.

  • Hate crime charges filed against two males and two females in custody in this matter.

  • In reading the comments I am reminded that those good ole white boys whom these liberals hate are the ones who believe in a strong 2nd Amendment. They are not going to forever sit idily by while their disadvantaged kin are beaten and assaulted by hooligans and thugs. If the police won’t protect the innocent, then those good ole boys may decide to, and God help us when that day comes. We have had 8 years of Obama stoking the flames of racism. And you can’t do that for almost a decade without consequences. I pray that none of what I pessimisticly postulate comes to pass. I hope people keep their heads and wits about them. But when you’re kin folk are being beaten and tortured, that’s hard to do. Liberals have sown the whirl wind. God has a tendency due to man’s free will of letting man reap what he has sown.

  • One of my favorite things about eight years of Obamagic is all this racial healing.

    In 48 hours, they’ll blame Trump.

    Nothing to see here.

    Move along.

    Of the 150(?) police officers KIA in 2016, 20 were killed in ambushes instigated by the BLM propaganda machine, aka the media.

    Move on! The national crises are evil opposition to transgender (once known as perverts) men in Ladies’ Rooms, white privilege, income inequality, capitalism, racism, homophobia, racist cops, xenophobia, populism, Americanism, anti-abortion terrorists, AGW deniers, the nuclear family, taxpayers, etc.

    If the lying, liberal (redundant) media reported all black and Islamist terror attacks like it does Dylan Roof and police shootings, there’d be no column space for propaganda promoting Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  • Bonus: he was kidnapped because one of those four was his “friend” from school.
    Jose has a point– this is only outlandish because Christian values are so accepted, here.
    And they’re not, counter to what a lot of agnostics like to believe, a human default.

  • This made News in Australia on multiple media outlets. Faces of the four were shamelessly plastered on TV. Racism tensions are running high in the US I understand. Probably fuelled by the current Narcissistic US President and the many celebrities jumping on the “Black lives Matter” bandwagon. Trump is the best thing that’s happened to the US in a long time.

    But at the end of the day these horrible actions do come down to the fact that these four are horrible human beings, raised with no Christian conscience and devoid of any decent Moral boundaries. It is a symptom of the a relative, dysfunctional society.

    This is a colourless problem with no religious or political affiliations.

    Pigs like these four exist in all corners of society.

    My heart goes out to this poor man, and pray he can forget the trauma caused by the shameful way he was treated at the hands of these monsters.

  • Well now, I commented on this and have spent the morning and last night trying to assure people that there is no excuse for this, that qualifying it as something other than evil, or dismissing it as irrelevant next to the plague of cops killing minorities isn’t the appropriate response. And with that, I’ve had nothing but push back, from defending those who questioned if this is evil, to wondering if this really counts as torture. I thought saying that evil and hate and racism have no skin color wouldn’t be argued with.

    Nice to come by here for a breather.

  • I thought FB had a policy of taking down objectionable posts? must have been a lot of people watching.

  • “Nice to come by here for a breather.”

    You are a breath of sanity on Patheos Dave!

A Horrific Crime You Will Probably Hear Little About

Wednesday, February 11, AD 2015

Craig Hicks

 

 

May the souls of the three murder victims rest in peace.  You probably won’t hear much about this crime:

 

Police say a dispute over a parking space spurred the murder Tuesday of three North Carolina college students, but the Muslim father of two of the victims insisted Wednesday that his daughters’ neighbor and alleged killer had menaced them before and was driven by hate.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder after turning himself in to police in Chapel Hill overnight. Although a Facebook page in Hicks’ name that described him as a supporter of “Atheists for Equality” and blasted “radical Christians and radical Muslims” for causing strife in the world prompted rampant suspicion the crime was motivated by hate, police said Wednesday it was about a parking space at the condominium complex where the murders took place.

Those killed were Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Raleigh, N.C. resident Razan Abu-Salha, Chapel Hill Police said in a statement.

 

Three Victims

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12 Responses to A Horrific Crime You Will Probably Hear Little About

  • That is quite a list! No wonder Mr. Hicks went off the deep end. His consumption of liberal junk food combined with anti-God poison finished off any soul he once harbored. One could call him the perfect liberal. Mindless heartless wretch.

  • Thanks for highlighting this news story. While Mr Hicks may be what some call hardcore Atheist, many of his facebook likes seems to stand more for equality. As an Irish Catholic I have many friends who would class themselves as left wing Atheist’s, but would not dream of shooting anyone. To be honest many extremists be it Muslim, Christian or whatever view often use their beliefs or political opinions as an excuse to use violence. These were three beautiful people that were shot, who were also very charitable. Sadly too many Muslim’s are being oppressed and living in fear, yet the media has chosen to ignore this. To believe in God is to believe in Love and the best way to respond is not hate or revenge but love.

  • Philip is correct. No one is more intolerant than a liberal leftist.

  • “seems to stand more for equality.”

    Only if anyone to the right of Stalin is not included in said equality judging from his facebook page.

  • Interestingly NPR ran a short on this tragic event. They only eluded to the possibility of Mr. Hicks being “mad.”
    No mention of his Facebook. Par for course NPR.

    By the way, prayers to all victims…including the victim of Left wing atheism..Mr. Hicks. May God convert him prior to his final parking space.

  • I’m not sure if atheism contributed to his hatred, but Facebook definitely did. Computers aren’t good for you. I’m serious about this. At a minimum, too much time with people who ratchet up each other’s anger isn’t good for you.

  • J.C., too many Muslims living in fear?! Oh, please! The Muzzies are causing way too many of us Christians to live in fear!
    Don, Walid Shoebat agrees with you about this guy. http://shoebat.com/2015/02/far-left-lunatic-who-hates-god-kills-three-muslims-not-christian-liberals-muslims-not-saying-anything-2/

  • After King Abdullah II’s response to the immolation of his aircraft pilot, and after Queen Rania’s comforting of the pilot’s widow, and after the murder of these three young students right here in my own backyard of North Carolina, I now have to change how I view Muslims. My opinion of Islam itself remains unchanged – it is a false religion. But what happened to those three young people and to Jordan’s aircraft pilot are crimes perpetrated by evil, wicked men. The former is a liberal leftist atheist and the later are radical Islamic terrorists. That’s a horse of a different color from King Abdullah or the three young people above who got murdered. By the way, I have worked with Muslims. One was my department manager – a Shiite. He had the Koran on his desk and he treated all his workers with fairness and justice. Another was a Sunni – a fellow engineer who saw me praying my Rosary Beads at lunch time and took the opportunity to share his Muslim prayer beads. We exchanged books and had good theological talks, though we agreed on nothing. I loathe what Islam historically has done, but I will be damned myself before I damn my co-workers to hell. I can’t win anyone to Christ if I act like a donkey’s behind.

  • “I can’t win anyone to Christ if I act like a donkey’s behind.”

    Comment of the week Paul. Take ‘er away Sam!

  • Any wagers as to his Party affiliation?

  • James, surprisingly Craig Stephen Hicks is unaffiliated:
    .
    https://www.ncsbe.gov/webapps/voter_search/voter_details.aspx?ncid=BL344944&county=32
    .
    North Carolina has a public database where a person’s affiliation can be searched:
    .
    https://www.ncsbe.gov/webapps/voter_search/
    .
    I show up as unaffiliated too because my Party – Constitution – doesn’t have enough members to be recognized under NC State Law.
    .
    By the way, I have used this database to search party affiliation of priests where I may go to Mass. It is no surprise that, for those registered to vote, the social justice types are usually Democrats and the traditional orthodox types are usually Republicans.

Jesus Wept

Friday, December 14, AD 2012

14 Responses to Jesus Wept

  • Pater noster qui es in coelis,
    sanctificetur nomen tuum;
    adveniat regnum tuum,
    fiat voluntas tua,
    sicut in coelo et in terra.
    Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie,
    et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
    sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
    et ne nos inducas in tentationem
    sed libera nos a malo.
    Amen.

  • Prayers for all involved, and especially for those parents who lost their greatest treasures today. Good Christ, save us.

  • Today, children are unable to enjoy being children, as their lives are so regulated to fear other people and their government with its own bad behavior.
    I cannot imagine how these little ones will grow being told to go on with no firm, plain foundation – such as trusting God loves them and that He is there for every real prayer. What kind of mark or sense will grow? Moving on doesn’t make it go away reasonably.

    In the 1950’s and 1960’s, children fearing people around them was uncommon. There was fear of the cold war and certain governments in common, with the solace of school mornings beginning with the Pledge, singing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” and praying The Lord’s Prayer. I am thankful, in retrospect.

  • Who could describe, even in words set free
    Of meter and rhyme and a thousand times retold,
    The blood and wounds that were shown to me!

    At grief so deep the tongue must wag in vain,
    The language of our sense and memory
    Lacks the vocabulary of such pain.

    Dante, The Inferno, Canto XXVIII, Circle 8, Pit 9.

  • At 8 am. Mass this morning, a friend of mine who is an American from Pittsburg offered this event in the Prayers of the faithful – I didn’t know what he was talking about till now.
    May our Great and Merciful Redeemer have mercy on them.

  • I’m not a Catholic, but like reading your posts. I’ve been told Catholics don’t pray to Mary, they venerate her. But your prayer sounds like it is straight to Mary. I believe we should seek the LORD, our Heavenly Father, in prayer and not any human being as this is idolatry according to scripture.

  • Marko, do you have any sense at all? This is a post about a calamity involving the murder of 20 kids and you want to start a fight about the veneration that Catholics give to the Mother of God? I am placing you on moderation.

  • Marko, the rest of the people on this blog can’t reply to you, because we only speak directly to Christ and not to any of our mere brothers and sisters in Christ. Because that would be talking to somebody besides God.

    I’m the designated idol-speaker, so I can address you like you exist and everything. People forward all their phone calls to me at the special Catholic call center, and I also answer posts on the Internet.

    Heh, not really… but that’s what you’re telling us to do. Mary’s our mother and sister and neighbor, and we do address her. She’s as alive as any of us, and as open to being asked for prayers and help. Ignoring her would be weird and rude.

  • @6:40pm – “…like it is straight to Mary ”

    Think about Hope-bearer, intercessor.

  • Today, oddly enough, is Friday – the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

    In a very real sense, we have seen Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane today, praying that if it were possible, let this cup be removed, yet not as we will, but the Father’s be done.

    In a very real sense, we have seen Jesus beaten and whipped and tortured today in blood.

    In a very real sense, we have seen that crown of thorns thrust on Jesus head today, with Him standing in a purple robe before cries of “Crucifige Eum! Crucifige Eum!”

    In a very real sense, we have seen Jesus carry His Cross to Golgotha today.

    And In a very real sense, we have seen Jesus crucified today.

    Everytime man commits evil, that evil is the nails which pierce His hands and His legs. That evil is the spear thrust into His side.

    “Even as ye do unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.”

    I have already prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries twice. I feel horrible, but it is all that I can offer up. Maybe a third time is in order.

  • Yes, we pray for these who died today: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.”

    We especially mourn for the children, their lives cut off, their future nil.

    But who mourns for the 4,000 children who die today, pulled piece-by-piece from their mothers’ wombs? Shall we pray for them as well?

    “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of ALL the faithful departed, through Your mercy, rest in peace.”

    Amen.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:13:

    “And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”

    “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ. Amen.”

    “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

    “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
    That never was it known that anyone who
    Fled to your protection,
    Implored your help,
    Or sought your intercession was left unaided.
    Inspired by this confidence,
    I fly to you
    O Virgin of Virgins, my mother.
    To you do you I come.
    Before you I stand sinful and sorrowful.
    O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
    Despise not my petitions.
    But, in your mercy
    Hear and answer me. Amen.

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A Brief Thought on Immigration

Thursday, May 20, AD 2010

Conservatives are fairly comfortable with the point that if you ban or severely restrict guns, than only the criminals will be armed.

Let’s then ask ourselves: If we ban or severely restrict immigration (most especially from a right-next-door country with a much poorer economy, such as Mexico) aren’t we assuring that only criminals immigrate?

If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates be willing to support a massively increased legal immigration quota for Mexico (say 250,000 immigrants a year, rather than the current legal quota of ~25,000) in return for permission and cooperation from the Mexican government for US law enforcement and military units to hunt down cross border cartels?

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34 Responses to A Brief Thought on Immigration

  • How many come illegally now? Will people be happy with 250k if many more come illegally? Can we treat those who exceed the limit as having violated the law and deport them? Can we take 250k a year now?

  • That’s asking an awful lot from a country that can’t control any aspect of their government? We have another border, to the north, that we don’t seem to have as many issue’s with illegals crossing? Again, there is a right way to become a citizens and an illegal way to be in our country. “IF” we legalize the all the illegals that are currently here, how do we stop the “next” wave of illegals coming in? Has anybody asked that question?

  • This ties in somewhat to points that Radley Balko (of Reason) has been making about immigration. He recently linked to this:

    http://futurity.org/society-culture/drop-in-violent-crime-tied-to-immigration/

    and his thoughts on the border town of El Paso from last year:

    http://reason.com/archives/2009/07/06/the-el-paso-miracle

    It is interesting (given that I live in a town with many illegal immigrants, in a neighborhood with a lot of immigrants, legal or non) to compare the American experience with the more segregated experience immigrants have in Europe.

    European countries also do not have birthright citizenship as an option for immigrants, so there can be non-citizens who were born and have grown up in a country while still being threatened with deportation. Given the essentially underground economy and violence among non-citizens living around the suburbs of Paris and other areas, I don’t think America should repeat the European model here.

  • It looks like the Pew Center has estimated that roughly 275,000 illegal immigrants per year have been entering the US since 2005, with more like 500,000 per year from 2000 to 2005. (That’s from all countries, not just Mexico.)

    Part of the theory of setting a large legal quota would be to make it less worth while to accept all the risks that sneaking in currently involves. Since poor non-skilled laborers currently stand almost no chance of getting immigration visas, sneaking in looks good. If they had a good chance of being able to do so legally within a year of applying (and if the process for applying was simple) it seems less likely that people would go to such risk and expense in order to go around the system.

  • So of the 250k per year that come illegally, can we deport them?

  • (That’s from all countries, not just Mexico.)

    My old neighborhood in San Francisco had a very large number of illegal Irish immigrants–mostly doing contracting work, house painting, etc. The local pub had a bulletin board up for under-the-table job postings until the police asked them to take it down.

  • DC

    The issue is not just the number, but the means of access. The difficulty for many is the cost — it is prohibitive for those who are in desperate need. I think we could do things for reform which include:

    1) greater access
    2) various reasons by which the costs can be reduced or waived
    3) work with those lands, such as Mexico, to help reform them so people will feel less need to migrate (I would question the proportionality of using soldiers and war-like methodologies for dealing with the problems, but I think other means, such as economic help, and perhaps some policing — though again with very sensitive elements here — might be possible).

  • In the end we are going to have to have a COMP Soultion. But having a sane guest worker program is going to have to be part of it.

    We used to have a nice pattern of circular migration now not so much

  • You’re using a much more reasonable tone here Henry.

  • Who set the current quota and visa system?

    Can we sustain such levels of immigration, especially during a recession?

  • “If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates”

    who is ‘anti-immigration’ ? Did I miss something? I thought the law in Arizona applies to illegal immigrants (only if they get stopped for another violation not related to their citizenship status).

    I didn’t realize legal immigrants can be arrested to…

  • Can we sustain such levels of immigration, especially during a recession?

    I’d think so, especially if it were tied with legal worker visas. Immigrants (legal and non) are responsible for a 10 billion per year boost in the US GDP, according to the report “The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration.” The problem is being able to tie employment to accurate tax status. According to this:

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2006-05-21/news/17295663_1_illegal-immigration-low-skilled-george-borjas/4

    A recent analysis by investment research firm Standard & Poor’s found that the Social Security Administration receives about $7 billion a year in payroll taxes that can’t be linked to valid names. S&P presumed that most of those funds come from undocumented workers.

    A lot of the problems surrounding large numbers of illegal immigrants come from the inability to collect taxes that support state/city infrastructure. More visas could help that problem.

  • Increased immigration would help pull us out of the recession.

  • First of all,

    Jasper is absolutely right. Darwin, you shouldn’t assume that people are “anti-immigration.”

    To the question:

    “If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates be willing to support a massively increased legal immigration quota for Mexico (say 250,000 immigrants a year, rather than the current legal quota of ~25,000) in return for permission and cooperation from the Mexican government for US law enforcement and military units to hunt down cross border cartels?”

    Put aside your parenthetical, which I don’t think can be agreed to in a com-box discussion, and I’d say that we could settle on some number and we would have a deal.

    My top concern is the cartels, the gangs, and the criminals who destroy life, liberty and property through violence related to drugs, prostitution (a massive sex slavery ring – don’t forget about that), and even the damage that is done to private property with no restitution during the journey north.

    At my blog I make that clear – I believe the cartels and the gangs are enemies of civilization and should be completely destroyed. I don’t mince words.

    My secondary concerns are the costs of illegal immigration, which can overburden relatively less wealthy states such as AZ.

    If the common good is really the aim of the state, then it would be immoral and insane for it to promise unlimited quantities of scarce resources, which is what an open borders situation brings about by default. The state has a right and a duty to the citizens to regulate and manage costs and social burdens.

  • Jasper,

    who is ‘anti-immigration’ ? Did I miss something? I thought the law in Arizona applies to illegal immigrants (only if they get stopped for another violation not related to their citizenship status).

    I didn’t realize legal immigrants can be arrested to…

    I hadn’t meant this post to be in direct reference to the AZ law, but rather in reference to concerns about illegal immigration in general. As to the question of whether anyone is “anti-immigration”, I am not going to search for citations at the moment but I’ve fairly often heard fellow conservatives of a populist leaning say, “We need to just seal the borders until we have things sorted out for people who live here, and then we can look at allowing other people in.” I don’t think it would be inaccurate to call that an “anti-immigration” stance. I don’t think that necessarily has to be a value judgment term — if people are right that immigration is bad for the existing population, then they’d be right to be against it.

    I tend to accept that analysis that immigration is a net benefit to our country (a very slight benefit to us, a large benefit to the immigrants, and an overall benefit to the GDP since those people are not producing wealth here rather than elsewhere), but I do see illegal immigration as a source of disorder. I think, however, it’s a pretty naturally expected source of disorder if our immigration quotas are so ridiculously low for the poor nations just to the south of us. I think that by increasing those quotas to a reasonable level (and making the application process simple and inexpensive), we could probably both control our borders, provide a humanitarian benefit, and get a better overall quality of immigrants.

    My thought process here is basically this: right now our restriction on immigration specifically from Mexico is so high that it encourages violation, kind of like Prohibition did. If we made the regulation itself more reasonable by taking it to a more enforceable level, it would probably to be possible to combat many of the evils that people associate with illegal immigration more effectively.

    Baron Korf,

    Who set the current quota and visa system?

    The current quota system was created by congress via the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. It allocated 170,000 visas to the Eastern Hemisphere, with no more than 20,000 per country, and 120,000 visas to the Western Hemisphere, to be given on a first come first served basis. There are an unlimited number of visas issued each year to spouses of American citizens, and a number of administrative quotas for admitting other types of family members of US citizens. The combination of these quotas end up admitting a total of 700-900k of legal immigrants per year from throughout the world.

    I would tend to think that we can sustain such levels in a recession, but if we can’t, unemployment tends to be worst for non-skilled laborers who don’t speak English well, so if we had “too many” legal immigrants from Mexico, I imagine they would just go back south.

  • In a nation where one-in-six is unemployed or under-employed, you conflate the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment with the flagrant war being waged on us by undocumented immigrants, to wit: Today, two of the worthies with automatic weapons killed two police officers.

    I welcome all immigrants who have a sponsor; have a place to live; have a job that they didn’t take from an American; live according to our way of life; pay taxes; obey the laws; learn English; and don’t demand that we hand over our collective life savings, i.e., social security funds, medicare/health care, welfare.

    If socialist saints want to do works of charity: do it with your money not my children’s and my grandchildren’s money.

  • Joe,

    Sorry, I took so long writing my previous I hadn’t seen your comment when I posted.

    It sounds like we’re mostly in agreement — I did indeed pick the numbers out of thin air to make a point, not argue the number specifically.

    As for gangs and cartels — I have no problem with going after them hard, aside from the prudential question as to whether certain means might cause more trouble than benefit.

    T Shaw,

    I really don’t think that immigrants are after anyone’s social security — and come to that, if they work legally they’ll be putting money into it just like everyone else, and doing so for a long time since most immigrants are fairly young. I don’t see why we should deny someone benefits at 65 because they didn’t arrive in the country till they were 30, that’s still paying in for 35 years.

    The real threat to such benefits, to those who treasure them, is that so many native born Americans aren’t having many children. And that the bozos who represent us in congress can’t stop their spending and borrowing spree.

    Perhaps we could deport congress? I think everyone could support that.

  • Perhaps we could deport congress?

    Who would take them? “Give me your tiresome, your boors, your befuddled jackasses…”

  • “Perhaps we could deport congress? I think everyone could support that.”

    To the moon!

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/07/20/lets-send-congress-to-the-moon/

  • Conservatives are fairly comfortable with the point that if you ban or severely restrict guns, than only the criminals will be armed.

    Umm, no. The military will be armed, the police will be armed, and private citizens who meet the criteria specified in law will be armed.

    Let’s then ask ourselves: If we ban or severely restrict immigration (most especially from a right-next-door country with a much poorer economy, such as Mexico) aren’t we assuring that only criminals immigrate?

    Are the social benefits from restricting immigration flows worth the costs? If they are, why is the composition of the pool who manage to evade the authorities of concern? It is a given that there are troublesome people in this world; your aim is to minimize the number at large in keeping with achieving other social goals.

    If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates be willing to support a massively increased legal immigration quota for Mexico (say 250,000 immigrants a year, rather than the current legal quota of ~25,000) in return for permission and cooperation from the Mexican government for US law enforcement and military units to hunt down cross border cartels?

    No. You don’t bargain with foreign governments over whom you allow to settle in your country. If they would like technical assistance from the United States Government to improve their domestic law enforcement, they are not in a position to insist on additional favors as a ‘price’ for receiving benefits. Our government can contain the cross-border cartels by fortifying the border and arresting and incarcerating those who make it across and commit crimes.

    I have a suggestion. Anyone anywhere who wishes to settle in the United States can apply at a U.S. Consulate and submit to a written and oral examination in the English language. If they pass the examination, they will be issued a place in a queue and derived from that they will be given a schedule of permissible entry dates depending on how many dependents they acquire in the interim. At such time as their entry date arrives, they are clear to enter the United States as soon as each individual in their family over 14 has passed a written and oral examination in English.

    To the foregoing you might append an actuarial assessment designed to inhibit the entry of certain types (e.g. unmarried childless post-adolescents from Saudi Arabia).

    You need no national quotas and can do without the paraphanalia of economic planning the Canadian government uses.

  • Anyone anywhere who wishes to settle in the United States can apply at a U.S. Consulate and submit to a written and oral examination in the English language. If they pass the examination, they will be issued a place in a queue and derived from that they will be given a schedule of permissible entry dates depending on how many dependents they acquire in the interim. At such time as their entry date arrives, they are clear to enter the United States as soon as each individual in their family over 14 has passed a written and oral examination in English.

    Ha. If this had been the law 150 years ago, only the Scots side of my family would have been allowed in. (Or maybe not… they were fishermen, and possibly illiterate.) The rest learned English after moving here.

  • Has any suggested to our southern border friends that perhaps they need to get their economy in order so that their citizens have employment in their own country. Or perhaps build employmnent opportunities in their rural northern sectors near our borders. And last but not least are any of you aware that illegals entering Mexico face a chagre of a felony ( not a hand slap ) and face prison time. Perhaps we need to respond and make illegal entry a felony with jail time for the illegals and those who hire them or abet them and the fences and wall would come down. .

  • Has any suggested to our southern border friends that perhaps they need to get their economy in order so that their citizens have employment in their own country. Or perhaps build employmnent opportunities in their rural northern sectors near our borders. And last but not least are any of you aware that illegals entering Mexico face a chagre of a felony ( not a hand slap ) and face prison time. Perhaps we need to respond and make illegal entry a felony with jail time for the illegals and those who hire them or abet them and the fences and wall would come down.

  • Since someone linked George Borjas, a non-brief lecture on the economic costs of immigration – legal and illegal:

  • Statistics show that Spain’s fertility rate is below replacement. This means if Spain does not open its doors to immigrants, it will go down in population. Spain needs immigrants. Mexicans need jobs. This makes sense, both historically and linguistically.

  • Agreed.

    The only real deterrents are:

    The Spanish economy is not so great.
    Spain is harder to walk or drive to from Mexico.

    Unfortunately, these seem to rate rather heavily with many people.

  • I hear you. But what if Spain fixes its economy? And what if Argentina can fix its economy, too? Then we’ll have two countries that will be welcoming, both economically and culturally, to Spanish-speaking immigrants.

  • That would definitely be to the benefit of all concerned.

  • What if Spain fixes its economy? What if Mexico fixes its economy? What if money grew on trees? What if we could time travel?

    Back to reality. I’m against government rationing but if we’re going to ration, we’d be better off letting in the skilled and educated first. They don’t have to speak English. I’d let in a great Chinese chef before a British bum. I’d rather have a Spanish-speaking nanny than an English-speaking one. Just secure a job (with a minimum salary requirement if you’d like) and you can come.

  • Guns aren’t quite like folks– you can put away a gun for ages, can’t do that with folks taking jobs under the counter– and I don’t know anyone that’s even close to the gun grabbers on restricting immigration.

    If you put “willing to join America and follow her laws” and “will be able to support themselves and any dependents they bring in a fully legal job” as the immigration version of “not a felon” for guns, sounds fine to me.

    Obviously, this makes illegals on the same level as folks who use illegal guns in a crime, but not my metaphor…..

    Now, I would no more allow a higher quota from Mexico to allow us to enforce our laws than I would support allowing a set number of highly armed gangs in order to be allowed to enforce anti-gun crime laws.

  • Back to reality. I’m against government rationing but if we’re going to ration, we’d be better off letting in the skilled and educated first. They don’t have to speak English. I’d let in a great Chinese chef before a British bum.

    At which point you would render the administration of immigration policy rather rococo and also a department of economic planning on the Canadian model. It is not merely that public agencies lack the information set to predict with any degree of precision the evolution of labor demand. People’s properties and dispositions also change. In addition, when you admit someone, you admit all of their descendants.

    When you admit an immigrant, you admit a settler, who may do any number of things with his life. If you are concerned about the admission of ‘bums’, please recall that their is an assessment done of prospective immigrants which seeks to exclude persons likely to be a ‘public charge’; a simple medical examination might do. Please recall also that the receipt of Social Security retirement benefits requires one have paid payroll taxes for a baseline number of quarters and that the receipt of disability benefits has a like requirement and a secondary requirement that one have spent a threshhold period of time in the workforce over the previous decade. Implementing like requirements for the receipt of any sort of benefit of common provision by immigrants should suffice to limit the immigrant population to a productive population.

    Outside of the Anglosphere, there is going to be some corellation between mastery of English and skills and education, but that is not all that important. Any society takes all kinds. A man from Jamaica who slices corned beef for a living makes his contribution to the common life too.

  • Societies have a ” carrying capacity ” to accept immigration without getting in to serious problems, this carrying capacity is not fixed, as it changes as different circumstances change. I am broadly sympathetic to persons wishing to emigrate to the US from Mexico, even when they would chose to do so illegally. I presume that many of the people who choose to emigrate illegally to the US, do so because they are facing catastrophic financial difficulties in Mexico and were they able to obtain a reasonable income through employment in Mexico, that they would sooner stay in Mexico. If one presumes then that many of the people who are emigrating illegally to the US are economic migrants, it is not unreasonable taking their needs in to account, that for immigration in to the US to be useful to them, they need to have better economic circumstances in the US than in Mexico. There are serious structural problems in the US economy and large inflows of low skilled Mexican workers, regardless of whether it is illegal migration or legal migration, will not solve those problems, it will aggravate those problems. The US needs to build a fence on the US Mexican border and reduce the volume of illegal immigration through that measure. If the fence is effective and I believe it will be, then the numbers of persons to be admitted through the legal immigration process from Mexico could be raised but 250,000 is unrealistically high. A fence will also substantially degrade less sophisticated cross border narcotics smuggling operations.There seems to be a lack of comprehension on the part of the person who wrote the item ” A Brief Thought on Immigration “, that one can be a good person, trying to do good people good and it can all go horribly wrong. There is a real risk that the United States of America could implode or morph in to an Islamic state and engaging in well intended but society stressing immigration policies could encourage such an implosion or morphing in to an Islamic state. It is blatantly obvious that Islamists will attempt to target the Catholic Mexican immigrant community in the US for conversion to highly aggressive interpretations of Islam. If one has immigration from Mexico regardless of whether it is legal or illegal immigration, if the US economy can not give those immigrants possibilities of significant social and economic progress, they are not likely to go home to Mexico but rather stay in the US and become increasingly disenchanted with the USA and Islam in an extreme interpretation will likely seem highly attractive as an ideological / religious model to them.

Changed My Mind: Three Strikes Laws

Monday, September 21, AD 2009

I’ve been challenged on a few occasions, as one tends to be if one is a fairly strong adherent of one end of the political spectrum or another, as to whether I’ve ever changed my mind on anything to a position contrary to the standard conservative one. And so, an example:

When a three strikes law was put on the ballot in California (where I lived at the time) I was a strong supporter. California was one of the first states to pass a three strikes law, and there was huge support for it because California was suffering badly from the 90s crime wave. The case for it seemed simple: If you’ve committed three felonies, you’re clearly not learning your lesson, and 25-life will take you off the streets and prevent you from continuing to be a danger to society. Support for the bill was heavily fueled by frustration with a justice system which seemed to act far too much like a revolving door, with rapists and murderers often being back on the streets within 5-8 years, and proceeding to commit similar crimes again. With the judiciary and prison system seemingly unwilling to do their job in keeping criminals off the streets, the case seemed strong for citizens to pass legislation forcing them to, and the three strikes law seemed like an obvious way to do it.

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28 Responses to Changed My Mind: Three Strikes Laws

  • In a similar vein, mandatory minimum sentencing was also a bad, albeit quite understandable, idea.

  • Good post Darwin, and I agree.

    This is an example of democracy gone sour. People cannot be made to suffer to appease the frustrations of the electorate. People should be able to choose from among just and rational options – not to impose mob mentality through the ballot box.

  • “This is an example of democracy gone sour. People cannot be made to suffer to appease the frustrations of the electorate. People should be able to choose from among just and rational options – not to impose mob mentality through the ballot box”.

    The idea seems on the face of it to be rational. What arguments have you against it?

    And a reminder. GKC said that there is nothing infallible about democracy. What will you substitute – rule by “experts”?

  • What about the victims? Who looks out for them?

    I don’t know if 3-strikes or mandatory minimums is the right approach, but stiffer sentences (longer or harder time) is absolutely necessary. Maybe throwing judges out of office who’s sentences do not meet with public demands for protection. How about just “honesty” in sentencing? 10 years = 10 years, instead of out in 2 with good behavior or whatever the ratio is. This is especially problematic in plea bargain cases. Think of a guy who commits a crime with a 10 year sentence, but the prosecutor justifiably pleas it to a 5 year and the offender is out in 2 or so…

  • This post raises a long-standing discussion in criminal law, which is the question of why and how we ought to punish criminals. Specifically, some of the interesting questions involved are:

    What factors play (or should play) into sentencing:

    1. Prior bad actions?
    2. Prior convictions?
    3. Nature of the crime at hand and prior crimes (bad in and of itself (murder) versus bad because of law (felon possessing a weapon)).

    Why do we punish?

    1. Reform the criminal.
    2. Retribution.
    3. Safety of society.
    4. Deter others from committing the crime.

    How long and what type of punishment ought to be given for which crimes?

    The last question is what seems to be most relevant here. Most people in the general public favor a fairly tight relation between crime committed and punishment given. Obviously, the three-strikes law is a departure, sometimes significantly in practice, from that idea.

    The interesting questions is, why does it seem unjust to us that these laws should work as they do? Taking a easier case, if a person has committed three felonies, and is fully aware that his third felony will result in a lengthy prison stay, why would it follow that it is unjust if he is fully aware of the consequences of his actions? On one hand, we could posit some sort of idea that it is not just knowledge of the punishment, but also the justice of the punishment in and of itself that is in question. Therefore, without congruence between punishment and crime, the law itself is unjust.

    On the other hand, knowledge of and ability to knowingly avoid committing a crime is a large part of justice. From whence can we derive the idea that, if a felon knew of the law, and knew how to avoid it, and knew the punishment for committing it, the length of time itself is unjust?

  • Matt,

    I’m very much in favor of strict sentencing and sticking to those sentences. It’s just that I’ve come around to thinking that three strikes laws are a pretty poor way of achieving that — although motivated by legitimate indignation at failure to enforce the law.

    The big problem, as I see it, is that felonies have come to be a very wide range of crimes in most states. Stealing and expensive set of golf clubs, or being caught with a few ounces of pot, while both activities that I heartily disapprove of, don’t strike me as things meriting a 25-life sentence — even if the same person had done similar things twice in the past. It’s that kind of lack of precision that is the problem, in my mind.

    Jonathan,

    Good points all round. I’d say we punish criminals for all four of the reasons you cite — though primarily for 2-4, 1 is more up to the criminal than the state in many cases.

    I do think it’s often legit to take frequency of offense into consideration in sentencing — I just think that the three strikes law proved to be too broad brush and thus resulted in a lot of poor results. The last thing I want is to see a first time offender for armed robbery or rape given a lighter sentence because the prison system is clogged up with a bunch of petty shoplifters and druggies who have been locked up by three strikes.

  • DC,

    If you have not read it, here’s an interesting essay by C.S. Lewis on punishment – http://www.angelfire.com/pro/lewiscs/humanitarian.html.

    May I also recommend this – http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/legal-punishment/?

    Forgive me – I am not sure how much study you have done of punishment theory…

  • “The idea seems on the face of it to be rational. What arguments have you against it?”

    Well, I did say rational AND just… I suppose if one’s goal is to be as vindictive and unmerciful as possible, establishing a law that could send a person to prison for decades because they stole a pair of socks is rational in the instrumental sense. It gets the job done.

    My argument against it is Darwin’s argument. We are in agreement. I know someone whose father may be going to prison for shoplifting for life, because 20 years ago they were in a gang and had two previous felonies. That is an injustice.

    “And a reminder. GKC said that there is nothing infallible about democracy. What will you substitute – rule by “experts”?”

    I don’t object to citizens being able to choose from among rational and just policies. I do object to the notion that the fury of the mob can be represented by laws.

  • California has clearly suffered from too much democracy.

    I think sex offender laws are even more unjust. Constituents want ever harsher sex offender laws and there is absolutely no impetus to scale them back. That California case of the sex offender who managed to kidnap and rape a girl in his backyard for 18 years should demonstrate that many sex offender laws are just feel-good laws that don’t actually work. Unfortunately, the public will probably get the idea that the laws aren’t harsh enough.

  • My argument against it:
    sentence folks properly the first time— doesn’t it basically boil down to “you guys in charge of keeping bad guys in jail aren’t doing your job, so we’ll force you to do it”?

    If the folks in charge of that can’t manage their jobs, we might need ta replace ’em….

    RR-
    I know a guy who is…well, very dumb. There’s no nice way to put it. Not a bad person, just very very very low IQ and lacking in reasoning skills.

    He and a friend were accused by a 15 year old daughter of the friend’s girlfriend of rape. The other guy hired a lawyer; this guy went with public council, who told him to just say he was guilty and he’d be able to get out on bail. So he did.

    Girl admitted during the other guy’s trial that it was all a lie to hurt her mom, who wouldn’t do something or other the 15 year old wanted. So the other guy got off.

    The dumb guy is listed as a sex offender, is still under supervision and spent six months in jail, on an accusation that is known false.

    Sex offender laws *do* need some work….

  • Yes, I agree there are serious problems with “three strikes” and some sex offender laws.

    The main problem, I think, is that the general public and to some degree politicians equate “felony” with “violent crime,” and “sex offender” with “mad degenerate lurking in the bushes waiting to attack someone.”

    However, many non-violent offenses are felonies, and not all sex offenses involve violence or coercion. Felonies can include everything from murder to calling in a false fire alarm or shoplifiting an item worth more than $300 (or whatever the cutoff point for felony theft is in your state).

    Sex offenses, meanwhile, can include anything from rape and child molestation to a teenage boy grabbing a girl’s breasts as a prank — again, depending on how the laws of one’s state read. Sex offenders in some states may be required to register with law enforcement and severe restrictions placed on where they can live, regardless of the nature of their offense. Restricting people who have repeatedly molested children or raped women on the street is one thing; doing so to an 18-year-old guy who went too far with his 15-year-old girlfriend is another thing entirely.

  • I don’t think anecdotal cases of false convictions due to stupid confessions are evidence for a need to reform the sex offender system.

    Having said that, their is a serious problem when true sexual predators are not distinguished from teenage Lothario’s and pranksters, there is also a serious problem when you converge multiple attempts to curb crime (3 strikes and low thresholds for felonies).

    I would say that, on the whole, a proper reform of our justice system would generally enhance punishment, not diminish it.

  • I would say that, on the whole, a proper reform of our justice system would generally enhance punishment, not diminish it.

    /agree

    Create a new area of sex crimes, too– false accusations.

  • foxfier,

    Create a new area of sex crimes, too– false accusations.

    i don’t think so, if the person is innocent then they should not confess or be convicted, don’t add a new problem to fix another problem.

    There certainly is an issue with excessive pressure on defendants to confess even if they’re innocent. This has nothing to do with sex offender laws but with the structure of the judicial system.

  • i don’t think so, if the person is innocent then they should not confess or be convicted, don’t add a new problem to fix another problem.

    Perhaps they should raise the level of proof needed for conviction, then, because the rape laws are a joke right now. It’s entirely possible to be convicted of rape on week-old say-so of a woman, without so much as proof you were at the same party.

    Filing false reports of arson, murder or assault has consequences– why is rape different?

  • foxfier,

    Perhaps they should raise the level of proof needed for conviction, then, because the rape laws are a joke right now. It’s entirely possible to be convicted of rape on week-old say-so of a woman, without so much as proof you were at the same party.

    The standard is beyond a reasonable doubt for any crime, but at the same time I believe that in many places the laws limit the defense’s options for cross-examination in ways which MIGHT actually skew the result.

    Without any physical evidence of rape I would be hard pressed to convict beyond reasonable doubt. There would have to be something beyond the he said/she said.

    Filing false reports of arson, murder or assault has consequences– why is rape different?

    they shouldn’t be… are they???

  • False accusations/filing a false police report– yes they’re illegal! Or they’re supposed to be, though the recent woman who claimed to have been gang raped by four or five men up until one of them produced a cellphone video that showed she was stone-cold sober and utterly willing is the only case I’ve ever heard of the law even *considering* prosecuting false claims of rape.

    Remember that stripper that accused the lacrosse team of raping her? Turned out she makes this accusation a LOT, with no harm to her should it be shown to be a lie?

    It’s a disgusting abuse of the protections set in place for people who truly are victimized by scum– it turns them on their head to victimize someone else. A rape conviction can ruin your life faster than one for murder, for crying out loud….

  • foxfier,

    agreed.

    I think this problem should be solved by throwing the bums out of office, not some new legislation to layer on the existing ones.

  • The problem, IMO, is that three strikes laws are crude measures which have the ad man’s virtue of being reducible to slogans. A layman’s suggestions for replacements:

    –End indeterminate sentencing.

    –End judicial discretion over sentancing. Have the sentance or sentancing formulae dependent upon circumstance specified in the statute.

    –Have the sentance reduced by a statutorily specified percentage should the defendant plead guilty.

    –Track an individuals convictions over time and ‘award’ points for each based on the severity of the statutorily specified penalty. Establish a formula in law by which the statutorily specified sentance is to be enhanced given the number of points a defendant has accumulated.

    –Follow the same fact-finding procedures for juvenile crime as for adult crime. Have a separate and more lenient schedule of penalties and a separate set of prisons.

    –Limit the use of fines the most minor offenses and to corporate defendants.

    –Scrap probation, conditional discharge, and unconditional discharge.

    –Make use of restitution for property crimes in addition to incarceration.

    –Scrap prison furloughs.

    –Require a convict to serve at least half of his pronounced prison sentance before parole review is undertaken. Base parole review strictly on reported adherence to prison rules and avoidance of criminal conduct in prison.

    –Construct prisons so as to give each convict a small individual cell. Limit the amount of time out of the cell to a few hours a day, at most. Have simple and monotonous meals served in the cell. Eliminate prison amenites beyond electricity, heat, bedding, uniforms, and food.

    –Make statutory sentances short, but be sure they are served. A sentance longer than six years should be rare.

    –When you have finished your parole, you may be prohibited from receipt of certain public trusts (jury service, positions in law enforcement &c., pistol licenses). However, you are a free man, entititled to live where you please.

  • Art Deco,

    great post, let’s get down to details:

    –End indeterminate sentencing.

    –End judicial discretion over sentancing. Have the sentance or sentancing formulae dependent upon circumstance specified in the statute.

    I don’t think this would work, we still need a judge to sentence based on the circumstance and sometimes deviate from the expected sentence (up or down). Perhaps some sort of review board with citizen representation for all cases which deviate from the fixed sentence, or something like that.

    –Have the sentance reduced by a statutorily specified percentage should the defendant plead guilty.

    I like that, no getting off scot-free or pleading to some lesser offense, concealling the reality of the actual crime.

    –Track an individuals convictions over time and ‘award’ points for each based on the severity of the statutorily specified penalty. Establish a formula in law by which the statutorily specified sentance is to be enhanced given the number of points a defendant has accumulated.

    A little to complicated, though I like the intent. THere really should be a substantial escalation of penalties for repeat offenders, but I don’t think this would work.

    –Follow the same fact-finding procedures for juvenile crime as for adult crime. Have a separate and more lenient schedule of penalties and a separate set of prisons.

    that’s not how it works?

    –Limit the use of fines the most minor offenses and to corporate defendants.

    that’s not how it works?

    –Scrap probation, conditional discharge, and unconditional discharge.

    for minor first offenses this really does make sense.

    –Make use of restitution for property crimes in addition to incarceration.

    absolutely.

    –Scrap prison furloughs.

    absolutely.

    –Require a convict to serve at least half of his pronounced prison sentance before parole review is undertaken. Base parole review strictly on reported adherence to prison rules and avoidance of criminal conduct in prison.

    absolutely.

    –Construct prisons so as to give each convict a small individual cell. Limit the amount of time out of the cell to a few hours a day, at most. Have simple and monotonous meals served in the cell. Eliminate prison amenites beyond electricity, heat, bedding, uniforms, and food.

    I think it would be better to expand prison work, make it hard work that would help fund the prison, good behavior and effort would lead to increased comforts and privileges as well as better work and even job training. One of the most successful programs is a commercial diver training program in California, it has an incredibly low recidivism rate because it instills disciple and is a lot of hard physical work. The graduates make good money and are closely watched for drug use due to the nature of the work, they’re actually in high demand by employers.

    ps. no exposure to the public! None of these call centers that have been setup in places, it’s absurd.

    –Make statutory sentances short, but be sure they are served. A sentance longer than six years should be rare.

    no way. 6 is only sufficient for moderate property crimes, or very minor assaults. Robbery, aggravated assault, etc. should be twice that, with at least 6 years before parole.

    –When you have finished your parole, you may be prohibited from receipt of certain public trusts (jury service, positions in law enforcement &c., pistol licenses). However, you are a free man, entititled to live where you please.

    Additional conditions on a case by case basis, true sexual offenders need mandatory conditions and possibly lifetime ones beyond the original sentence.

  • Art,

    Many of these present problems. The ones which seem the most problematic, and which raise other questions, are:

    1. “End judicial discretion over sentancing.” – This is precisely the problem with the three-strikes laws. They are crude because judges have no discretion to hone sentencing finely.

    2. “Have the sentance reduced by a statutorily specified percentage should the defendant plead guilty.” This bothers me. There is too much potential for this to result in defendants who are innocent, but who think they will be steamrolled in court, to plead guilty. This is the same thing that happens in plea-bargaining.

    3. “Track an individuals convictions over time and ‘award’ points for each based on the severity of the statutorily specified penalty.” This could be construed as penalizing someone multiple times for the same offense.

    4. Why would you limit the use of fines, especially if the crime is not a violent one and / or is more white collar?

    5. Why should a sentence longer than six years be rare?

    6.

  • 3. “Track an individuals convictions over time and ‘award’ points for each based on the severity of the statutorily specified penalty.” This could be construed as penalizing someone multiple times for the same offense.

    I think it’s already established that subsequent offenses can involve escalating sentences, am I wrong here?

  • I think the sticking point would be formalizing it– right now, it’s something the Judge can take into account; if it’s added automatically, especially if we start doing so retroactively, they might successfully challenge it on the double-jeopardy basis.

  • I don’t think this would work, we still need a judge to sentence based on the circumstance and sometimes deviate from the expected sentence (up or down). Perhaps some sort of review board with citizen representation for all cases which deviate from the fixed sentence, or something like that.

    You can incorporate some circumstances into the provisions that specify the sentance, e.g. having sentances on drug charges computed by a formula dependent upon the units of contraband involved (one unit being so-and-so many ounces of marijuana, so and so many grams of cocaine, &c.) and incorporating a constant set at 1 for possession and 1+x for sale. One other thing one might attempt is devolving the function of executive clemency on county executives.

    Question: do we, by allowing judicial discretion, approach or recede from justice in the application of punishment. That depends on how reliable we regard the judgment of judges as a class of people. Mr. McClarey or Mr. Price might educate us here. My own understanding is that judges are knowledgeable about questions of law and serve their function by ruling on them and providing for regularized procedures, and are more practiced at explicit reasoning. I am not persuaded that judges have a more reliable moral sense than ordinary men, or that their comparative judgments in this realm will be better. We have three strikes laws because the conjoined judgments of prosecutors, judges, and parole boards generate decisions that are mad.

    that’s not how it works?

    The last time I studied the Penal Law of New York (some 20 years ago), the discretion to make use of alternatives to incarceration was broad but not unlimited. I think felony convictions mandated some prison time, but the exceptions and qualifications written into the sentancing rules were so rococo I am not sure I understood them. As of 1985, we had 35,000 people incarcerated here and 250,000 convictions per year, which is to say that convicts served a mean of about 52 days; about 73% of those convicted in New York’s courts served no time whatsoever. (I recall at that time that 38% of those initially charged in New York courts were hit with at least one felony count). When I say the most minor offense, I mean traffic tickets and sub-misdemeanor ‘violations’. If you plead guilty to disorderly conduct, you get three days in jail and a $120 fine.

    I think it would be better to expand prison work, make it hard work that would help fund the prison, good behavior and effort would lead to increased comforts and privileges as well as better work and even job training. One of the most successful programs is a commercial diver training program in California, it has an incredibly low recidivism rate because it instills disciple and is a lot of hard physical work. The graduates make good money and are closely watched for drug use due to the nature of the work, they’re actually in high demand by employers.

    I have several objections. One is that prison factories are a source of weapons. Another is that a penal system should be about punishment, not therapy. Allocate the task of straightening people out to philanthropies like the Church and the Salvation Army, who can get to work when the convicts are released. A third is Charles Murray’s objection that successful social work and education programs are often so because of factors peculiar to their founders, and difficult to standardize and replicate. I also think that guards allocating privileges to specified convicts is likely to have an unsalutary effect on prison society.

    no way. 6 is only sufficient for moderate property crimes, or very minor assaults. Robbery, aggravated assault, etc. should be twice that, with at least 6 years before parole.

    I think you can, within and between societies, garner considerable agreement on a rank ordering of offenses according to their severity. (One exception would be sex offenses). The thing is, it is difficult to have any sort of fruitful discussion of precise quanta of punishment for particular offenses. We might agree that robbery merits more than burglary, but could not on the precise number of years accorded to each. We are going to have to agree to disagree. Several points…

    –I am proposing a penal system quite different and much more austere than that which currently prevails. A convict sits in his cell 21 hours a day, lives on bulgar wheat and lard, and does not interact socially with anyone other than a weekly (non-conjugal) visitor, his lawyer, the guards, and the chaplains.

    –It is a commonplace (and I imagine substantiated somewhere) that the surety of punishment is a more powerful vector than the severity of punishment in deterring bad behavior. One needs to consider an optimal balance of resources between law enforcement and all other claims and between the various components of law enforcement (police patrols v. prison space). You start locking up burglars for six year sentances, it is going to get mighty expensive.

    –I am not persuaded that the procedures of the court system are all that accurate. Short determinate sentances are a hedge.

  • Art-
    look to Japan’s jails. Shoot, look at the whole system Japan came up with in something like the 50s to deal with their high crime numbers.

  • 1. “End judicial discretion over sentancing.” – This is precisely the problem with the three-strikes laws. They are crude because judges have no discretion to hone sentencing finely.

    That might be your problem with ‘three-strikes’ laws. It is not mine. “Three strikes” laws prescribe a life sentance for an offense in the nominal category ‘felony’ without regard without regard to what the crime is or how severe the previous felonies were. The sentances prescribed are cockeyed, not the procedures by which they are imposed. I am suggesting that sentances be specified in the statute or that formulae to compute them be so specified. If you commit a robbery, you get 24 months. If you commit a second robbery, you get 29 months. If you commit a third, you get 38 months, not 25 years to Life.

    This bothers me. There is too much potential for this to result in defendants who are innocent, but who think they will be steamrolled in court, to plead guilty. This is the same thing that happens in plea-bargaining.

    Defendants already face these dilemmas. Remissions specified in the statute make the consequences of particular courses of action more apparent to defendants. This particular suggestion does not provide for disposing of plea bargaining, it merely alters one of the parameters which influence negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys. It is my understanding that certain states have disposed of plea bargaining with success and that is something I would like to see.

    This could be construed as penalizing someone multiple times for the same offense.

    There were in 1989 provisions in the Penal Law of New York for modified sentencing schedules for people classified as ‘persistent felony offenders’ and the like. As far as I know, these have not been adjudged to violate constitutional provisions proscribing double jeopardy, so I think they are in accord with positive law. If you think they are unjust in spite of that you are suggesting that deterrence can play no proper role in penology or that escalation of punishments is inherently unjust, no?

    Why would you limit the use of fines, especially if the crime is not a violent one and / or is more white collar?

    I am more concerned to dispose of alternatives to incarceration. The utility of incarceration is that it robs people of time and freedom, and these are goods most equally distributed in the population at large. I do not understand the principle which finds that violent offenses merit prison time and property crimes do not (as opposed to less prison time), or that the local thug who took ninety dollars off you gets prison and the broker who embezzled the savings you accumulated over twenty years does not.

    Why should a sentence longer than six years be rare?

    See above. Consider that in New York, you had six classes of felonies. The most serious are Class A-I felonies, and of these there are only five: first and second degree murder, first degree kidnapping, first degree arson, and trafficking in large quanta of narcotics. IIRC, the only Class A-II felonies were certain drug charges. Back when I made it my business to study the crime statistics, you had 250,000 convictions in New York. The sum of murders and aggressive manslaughters was, IIRC, under 2,000. I think about 40% of these went unsolved, so the ratio of resolved homicides (many of which are class B felonies due to circumstances or plea bargaining) to total convictions would be about 0.35%. It seems to me that kidnapping for ransom and blowing up buildings are quite unusual, so I do not think convictions for 1st degree kidnapping and 1st degree arson are going to add much to that. Drug charges might. The most serious crimes are just not that common.

  • ” I am not persuaded that judges have a more reliable moral sense than ordinary men, or that their comparative judgments in this realm will be better.”

    You can bank on that! All you can say about judges as a group is that they will usually have a firm grasp of the law and court room procedures. Their grasp of morality is about the same as any group of individuals who have not been convicted of serious crime. Judges should have some discretion within a range of possible sentences, but given too much discretion and sentences for serious felonies will vary wildly from judge to judge. I believe a large amount of judicial discretion makes sense for first time offenders, misdemeanors and lesser or nonviolent felonies. Serious felonies involving violence however need a uniformity of sentencing to deter others from these acts and to ensure punishment for heinous crimes.

  • Art,

    I am proposing a penal system quite different and much more austere than that which currently prevails. A convict sits in his cell 21 hours a day, lives on bulgar wheat and lard, and does not interact socially with anyone other than a weekly (non-conjugal) visitor, his lawyer, the guards, and the chaplains.

    I’m surprised that nobody has come out and labelled your proposal to be torture… Honestly, I have no problem with this treatment for convicted criminals, I just think hard labor is going to be more effective at preventing recividism, which is important.

    You start locking up burglars for six year sentances, it is going to get mighty expensive.

    I’m not so sure, but 6 years with parole in 3 sounds fine to me for committing a serious property crime which potentially would have escalated to assault or murder if the premise had been occupied. I would probably settle for a 4/2 for burglary of an UNOCCUPIED residence.

    If you commit a robbery, you get 24 months. If you commit a second robbery, you get 29 months. If you commit a third, you get 38 months, not 25 years to Life.

    that’s absurd. 2 year sentence, serve only 1 year for robbery???? 38 months, serving only 19 for the THIRD offense? Robbery is not a property crime (ie. burglary or theft) it is by definition violent, and it is against a person, generally a vulnerable one. Sorry, this has to be 6 year/3 year parole on first offense, escalating on subsequent, and is completely justified for life in prison on the 3rd. I’m speaking here of 3 separate convictions, not so much a case where a man is simultaneously convicted of multiple offenses. To qualify for escalation, it would have to be offenses subsequent to the original conviction.

    Keep in mind also, that we’re talking about convictions, it’s entirely likely that these guys have committed many other similar or worse crimes that they got off on or were never even picked up. Most guys convicted on 3 separate occaisions would have been known to have committed many other offenses to which conviction didn’t seem likely.

    While we’re at it, we need to look at reducing the amount of concurrent sentencing. I don’t know if they should be completely consecutive, but each additional offense MUST result in at least a portion of additional punishment.

    Remember the “justice” in justice system refers to justice for the victim and society who have been harmed, and the punishment must reflect the severity of the offense upon the victim.

    Donald,

    I agree with you on discretion for first time offenders, and less discretion for subsequent ones. I still believe though, that in the current environment a citizens committee should have prior review on judicial sentences outside of a standard (except perhaps for jury sentences).

The Real Sermon on the Waterfront

Wednesday, April 8, AD 2009

Hattip to the ever reticent lads and lasses at Lair of the Catholic Cavemen.    Probably the most powerful sermon ever placed on film, Father Barry speaks of Christ and his crucifixion on the docks.  The best performance Karl Malden ever gave.  Elia Kazan’s masterpiece, On the Waterfront  (1954) was also his response to the criticism he received for naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952.

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4 Responses to The Real Sermon on the Waterfront

Gun Control and School Shootings

Wednesday, March 11, AD 2009

Politicians are already considering how to tighten gun control laws as people respond with shock and horror to a school shooting spree which took the lives of 15 victims and the 18-year-old shooter in a small town today in Germany. The problem is, Germany already has some of the tightest gun laws in Europe, a continent of tight gun laws.

In 2002, in the wake of a school shooting which killed 17 plus the shooter, Germany went so far as to require a permit for airsoft guns and starter pistols. Under current German laws, someone must have a gun license for each gun he purchases, and licenses expire and must be renewed at least every three years. To get a license, you must a 18 for an airgun or .22, and 21 for larger calibers. Applicants are subjected to a criminal and psychological background check and must demonstrate ability and safety knowledge.

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3 Responses to Gun Control and School Shootings

  • The one thing I’m willing to concede to the anti-gun crowd is that a gun allows a person to do a whole lot more damage in a shorter period of time than a lot of other weapons. Even the pro-gun crowd is willing to admit this implicitly, since they claim that a gun is a much more effective weapon of defense than a can of mace, a knife, or other such things.

    The problem as I see it is this. Even if we wanted to ban guns, we can’t really do that. We’re in an arms race against criminals, essentially. If we disarm, the criminals will be able to walk all over us with their illegal weapons.

    But how, then, do we deal with incidents such as these? I know most people I’m friends with would simply arm other students and let them drop the perpetrator, but I’m not so certain that’s the best idea. Simply shrugging and saying “well, it’s inevitable terrible things like this would happen” is not the greatest of ideas, either, though I tend to believe that statement.

    I think once again the problem is that the government is trying to micromanage the situation in a poor way. The responsibility for handling these things needs to be at a more local level. Neighborhoods and families. With incentive (somehow, not that I have any great ideas on that) to watch out for neighbors. Not spy, but know the neighbors, know if a kid is troubled enough to commit a crime like this, and try to lend an ear, a shoulder, or a swift kick in the butt, whatever is needed.

  • I wouldn’t remotely consider letting high school students have concealed carry to be a solution to this kind of thing — but it does strike me as underlining that national regulation is simply not a very good tool for assuring that massive tragedies will never happen. If one could wish all guns in the world out of existence, that would prevent such things, but gun control laws do not wish all guns in the world out of existence — which is a fact I think sometimes escapes advocates. A law may have the intent of keeping irresponsible people from getting guns, but that doesn’t mean that the specific measures take will be successful in that.

  • Where I work, we have registered first responders. These are folks trained in the use of first aid, including the defibrillator.

    Why not have adult concealed carry “first responders” designated by the school in case something like this happens. These people are volunteers, trained and permitted by the state who must take additional tactical training courses for the permission to carry concealed in the school.