UKC

/ American style justice

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Eric9Points - on 09 Apr 2018

65 years in prison for burgling a house at the age of 15.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43673331

The US accounts for 5% of the world's population but 15% of the world's prison population. If anyone needs evidence that harsh punishment does not prevent crime, then look no further than the US.

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wercat on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

He got 65 years for Murder, not burglary.  Of what crime the Alabama Legislators are guilty I do not know though I do know what should happen to them

 

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Skip - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to wercat:

> He got 65 years for Murder, not burglary. 

 

He didn't kill anyone.

stevieb - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

We have similar joint enterprise laws in the UK, and plenty would say that they are used too widely.

elsewhere on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

Mentally he's judged too young for sex or to buy alcohol.

Mentally he's judged old enough to get 65 years. 

1
balmybaldwin - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to stevieb:

It's not really similar -  Joint enterprise relates to actions by a group of suspects. It is not related to the actions of the police.

thomasadixon - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to balmybaldwin:

The line is that the actions of this group of suspects caused the death, which they did.  The length of US sentences always seems a bit mental (over 100 years, often, why?) but the idea that you're responsible for the consequences of the crime you've gone to commit is not unreasonable.

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wercat on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Skip:

in the law of the state he did, hence my comment about the legislators.

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wercat on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

your thinking smacks of LCJ Goddard.

In fact I think you are further to the right than he, as you allege that the defendant caused the death of an older member of the gang shot while running away. I don't recollect any such doctrine extending to someone killed by a police "novus actus interveniens" in English law.

Post edited at 13:54
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wercat on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to stevieb:

I've never read of a case in modern times in England or Wales in which a member of a gang was found guilty of a murder where the death arose directly from police action.

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Skip - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to wercat:

> in the law of the state he did, hence my comment about the legislators.


In this case the law is ridiculous

wercat on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Skip:

and the legislators have caused real harm

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stevieb - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to balmybaldwin:

> It's not really similar -  Joint enterprise relates to actions by a group of suspects. It is not related to the actions of the police.


It's a similar law in that you are guilty due to being part of a group.

In the UK he could easily have got life imprisonment if one of his gang had stabbed the policeman, but agree I've never heard it used (and I don't think it would apply) for retaliatory action by the police.

MarkJH - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to wercat:

> I've never read of a case in modern times in England or Wales in which a member of a gang was found guilty of a murder where the death arose directly from police action.

 

It doesn't seem quite right, but not for that reason.  In principle it seems fair  that criminals are responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their actions.  e.g. engaging the police in a shootout might lead to a bystander being shot by the police, or running from the police in a car might lead to a pedestrian being struck by a police car. 

However, if it follows that the perpetrators are jointly responsible for the actions of their accomplices, then one of them being shot and killed is more like joint suicide than murder.

Post edited at 14:00
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thomasadixon - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to wercat:

That's nice.  I've no idea who that is.

My thinking is that those who go to commit a crime are responsible for the consequences of that crime.  If that means an old guy gets shocked and has a heart attack and dies then you're responsible for that.  If you and your crew shoot at the cops and they shoot back you're responsible for that too.  It's not the cops' fault.

Edit - I do find your love of latin entertaining, not very useful for communicating though.

Post edited at 14:04
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wercat on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to MarkJH:

or perhaps a joint and several breach of health and safety at work regulations? Not providing a Kevlar helmet and body armour?

ps, they ran away, attempting to remove themselves from the scene during which the murder occurred.  That is the action that led to the murder, extraordinary.

Post edited at 14:09
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wercat on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

> That's nice.  I've no idea who that is.

He presided over the Bentley Case of which you should know.

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Ratfeeder - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

> The line is that the actions of this group of suspects caused the death, which they did.

The police officer who fired the shot caused the death, full stop. How can a charge of murder apply to someone who had no intention to kill and committed no action that killed anyone? The 'accomplice liability law', quite apart from being manifestly evil, is logically incoherent to the point of insanity. Notice that this is the state of Alabama and that the boy found guilty of murder is black.

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Skip - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Ratfeeder:

Spot on there

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thomasadixon - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Ratfeeder:

Black or not they engaged in a shoot out with cops (who obviously could respond and obviously would shoot back) when they were caught committing a crime.  They chose to do that, they chose to bring guns with them, they chose to rob the place.  They created the situation, they’re responsible for the results.  Not the cop.  It’s blindingly simple logic.

Post edited at 22:27
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thomasadixon - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to MarkJH:

For suicide they’d have to want it to happen, they were just reckless...manslaughter?  It does feel weird calling it murder I agree.

Post edited at 22:18
wercat on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

So,

if they had dressed in Kevlar helmets and worn full body armour, and carried more and much heavier weaponry, according to the blindingly simple logic, that pattern of behaviour would have meant that it couldn't be murder presumably as they had taken active steps to save the murder victim's life thus demonstrating that they did not intend him to be killed.  Whereas an unarmed  gang without body armour are more likely to be killed and thus are clearly intending murder!

 

Most lawyers looking at this would actually think that "murder" had been redefined in an extreme, almost Kafkaesque, way.  It reminds me of the Chinese government charging relatives for the expense of an execution.

Post edited at 22:20
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thomasadixon - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to wercat:

I reckon it’s foreseeable that the cops would bring bigger guns.  And it’d be foreseeable that there’d be more collateral damage as a result so making it a much worse crime.  What do you think?

To your edit - if they call it something else would that make finding him responsible okay?

Post edited at 22:28
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Billhook - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:excellent.  Another criminal off the streets.

 

 

1
balmybaldwin - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

well it led to a lawful killing by a police officer (by all accounts) not a murder. Either way it is utterly perverse that a 15 year old can be considered to have this level of culpability. It says a lot that the father of the "murdered" boy sat with the mother on the defence side at court

redjerry - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

" Notice that this is the state of Alabama and that the boy found guilty of murder is black."

It's really all you need to know. I think most people from the UK have no concept of how rotten the entire US criminal justice system actually is.
From Cops enforcing the laws, all the way to the US senators making the laws, the entire system is infused with racism of the absolutely ugliest kind.

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Minneconjou Sioux on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

Have you seen the movie, Roman J Israel about a lawyer (played by Denzel Washington) who argues that the plea bargaining system is fundamentally flawed and that sentences are too long. Essentially the argument he makes is (I think) that guilt and punishment is being determined by lawyers who plea bargain instead of a judge and jury and that the long sentences are a tool used to persuade people to plea bargain for a seemingly lower sentence rather than go to court where, if found guilty, they will get the longer sentence

Ridge - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to stevieb:

> It's a similar law in that you are guilty due to being part of a group.

It is, but something seems odd. 

A group of individuals commit a crime, which ends in death. That could be the person they are burgling (or burglarizating since it's the US), a passer by in the shootout, the police who respond or a member of the gang. So unless we regard the criminals as not worthy of the protection of the law, then I suppose it is the same scenario.

But if the death was lawful, how can it be murder? I don't get that bit.

> In the UK he could easily have got life imprisonment if one of his gang had stabbed the policeman

I have absolutely no problem with that.

> agree I've never heard it used (and I don't think it would apply) for retaliatory action by the police.

Same here. But could it technically be applied?

Dax H - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

I'm with you 100%, a group of 4 guys went on the rob, at least one of them went armed, there was a shoot out with the police and one died and 3 got arrested. I don't care if the charge is murder, manslaughter,  burglary or attempted murder for shooting at the police. It comes back to live by the sword etc. Had the kid not gone on the rob with armed people he wouldn't be in jail now. 

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wercat on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

I just can't see that a junior gang member in these circumstances is responsible.  If he'd been one of the ringleaders perhaps, but not to the extent of murder.

How is the sentence proportionate to what he actually did, given his age and inexperience?

wercat on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Dax H:

threatening the lives of the police is a different matter, but finding someone else guilty of murder when the killing was by police  does not make good law nor good community relations.  To be enforced well the law has to be respected not seen as repressive.

Big Ger - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

It's America, the country which elected Lord Dampnut, what do you expect? Sense?

Ratfeeder - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Black or not they engaged in a shoot out with cops (who obviously could respond and obviously would shoot back) when they were caught committing a crime.  They chose to do that, they chose to bring guns with them, they chose to rob the place.  They created the situation, they’re responsible for the results.  Not the cop.  It’s blindingly simple logic.


Blindingly simple maybe, but logical it ain't. The issue is the murder charge. To quote the article, "It's never been in dispute that a Millbrook police officer shot and killed Washington..."

The jury found that the shooting was justified. Well, if killing Washington was justified, as it may well have been, then it isn't murder, because murder, by definition, is unjustified killing. Yet the jury finds that the killing was murder after all. Either it is or it isn't. It can't be both. Yet the judgement by the jury is that it is both - a logical contradiction.

MarkJH - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Ratfeeder:

> The jury found that the shooting was justified. Well, if killing Washington was justified, as it may well have been, then it isn't murder, because murder, by definition, is unjustified killing.

That doesn't follow.  The grand jury decided that the officers actions were justified; not that the killing was lawful.  In fact, another (or possibly the same) grand jury decided that it may not have been.  You may disagree with this, but it is logically consistent.

 

Post edited at 21:15
Ratfeeder - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to MarkJH:

> That doesn't follow.  The grand jury decided that the officers actions were justified; not that the killing was lawful.  In fact, another (or possibly the same) grand jury decided that it may not have been.  You may disagree with this, but it is logically consistent.


There's a difference between a justified, unpremeditated killing that may not be lawful, and a murder; not all unlawful killings are murders. But all murders are unjustified killings. So it follows that a justified killing is not a murder.

MarkJH - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to Ratfeeder:

> ...not all unlawful killings are murders. But all murders are unjustified killings. So it follows that a justified killing is not a murder.

That is the problem with your argument.  Nobody has ruled that this was a justified killing.  In fact, a grand jury and a trial jury have both decided that it wasn't.  What the grand jury decided was that the officers actions (not the killing) were justified.  In short they decided that the officer had no culpability for the killing, but that it was murder none the less.  As I said, you may not agree with this (I'm not sure that I do to be honest), but it is not inconsistent. 

Post edited at 23:09
Ratfeeder - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to redjerry:

> ... I think most people from the UK have no concept of how rotten the entire US criminal justice system actually is.

> From Cops enforcing the laws, all the way to the US senators making the laws, the entire system is infused with racism of the absolutely ugliest kind.

Indeed. People here really ought to read Nancy MacLean's book, Democracy in Chains: the deep history of the radical right's stealth plan for America.

Ratfeeder - on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to MarkJH:

> That is the problem with your argument.  Nobody has ruled that this was a justified killing.  In fact, a grand jury and a trial jury have both decided that it wasn't.  What the grand jury decided was that the officers actions (not the killing) were justified.  In short they decided that the officer had no culpability for the killing, but that it was murder none the less.  As I said, you may not agree with this (I'm not sure that I do to be honest), but it is not inconsistent. 


I can see what you're getting at, but this is still a matter of logic. The trick being played by the court is to separate the act of shooting from the act of killing, as if it's not the same act. That it is the same act remains true independently of whether or not you or I agree with the decision of the jury.


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