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View Diary: Misinterpreting Legal Language is the REAL Racism (35 comments)

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  •  My view (1+ / 0-)
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    If they're guilty anyway I don't have sympathy for them. Bill Cosby said on Meet the Press a few weeks ago, when Russert asked him about the unfairness in coke sentencing laws, he said that he would tell his kids "not to use coke". I think that the real issue is keeping them out of the criminal justice system to begin with and finding them alternatives that keep them from resorting to crime. But once they commit a crime and are found guilty it's hard for me to feel sympathy. Frankly I'm more concerned about the legitimately wrongly convicted than the oversentenced criminal.

    •  Than are you not (5+ / 0-)

      falling into the very trapped discussed in the post?  The point is that not only do the accused have the right to a defense, but the convicted have a right to a certain "proportionality" with respect to sentencing.

      What's next; prison time for jaywalking?  The "oversentenced" criminal might not deserve sympathy equal to that of the wrongly convicted, but the issue is as important in order for our system of jurisprudence to render justice rather than vengeance.  The two are not the same.

      Furthermore, the ability to selectively engage in harsher sentencing based on race (or any other irrelevant factor) diminishes protections against the capricious and arbitrary use of power which is supposed to be the very strength of the rule of law.

      Be ye ever so high, the law is above you.

      by Shadow of a doubt on Wed Oct 24, 2007 at 08:51:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  uhh..that should be "then are you not..." n/t (2+ / 0-)
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      jennybravo, debedb

      Be ye ever so high, the law is above you.

      by Shadow of a doubt on Wed Oct 24, 2007 at 08:52:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  oversentencing (3+ / 0-)

      Is not 20 years for a crime that merits 2 as unjust (or more so) as 2 years for a crime that merits none? Whatever it means for a crime to merit X years in prison.

      The idea that one should have no sympathy for someone only because that person has been convicted of a crime seems to me to border on immoral; at any rate it is problematic.

      A person does something illegal and goes to jail. Has that person ceased to be a person meriting of respect and decent treatment? Where is there humanity without justice?

      Most folks in prison are just ordinary folks who did something stupid, e.g. get caught with some coke in the car, drive drunk, punch guy in a bar in a fight. It's often something that could be resolved in many ways, perhaps more productively with less time in jail.

      `Don't use coke' would make more sense as a message if the society made some effort to help those who use coke; putting them in prison often doesn't do that.

      Among developed countries (whatever that means) the US is the one with the longest prison sentences, the highest percentage of its adult population in prison, etc... This reflects a generally warped attitude towards the use of prisons rather than a desire to make the society healthier.

    •  uh huh (0+ / 0-)

      If they're guilty anyway you don't have sympathy for them. Even if they're guilty of breaking a window and get a 20-year sentence for it, they shouldn't have broken the window. Do I read you right? How much does your Mom charge you for renting her basement?

    •  Coz has always taken a somewhat jaundiced view (0+ / 0-)

      of civil rights and it seems that his son's murder some years ago as an innocent random victim may have colored Cosby's views on drug laws and sentencing.

      One recent phenomenon has been the treating of children as adults in the system.  The logic seems to be if a child does an "adult" crime, then he should be at risk for an adult sentence. Of course, as we now see twelve and thirteen year olds in the adult penal system, the question has to be asked if there is not a difference between the way a thirteen year old and a thirty five year old thinks and if it is really equitable to sentence a fifteen year old to life without possibility of parole.

      Since Law & Order Nixon generated a landslide by exploiting middle class suburban fears of criminals, our justice system has become more and more draconian.

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        My personal view is that the age should be 16. Juveniles over 16, if their crimes are violent and heinous enough, should be tried as adult. By 16 I think that the average teenager clearly knows that violent crimes are wrong. I agree, though, that 12 and 13 is probably a little too young to try a kid as an adult.

    •  i agree (0+ / 0-)

      yeah, the point is to get people to follow the law.  but there is a huge difference in how much time a kid will spend in jail.  and let's just look at the deals that (rich or white) others get (minimal jail time).   maybe the parents should have kept the kids from going to a party to which they weren't invited.  the school should have definitely dealt better with the situatuion.  jena was a perfect storm of mistakes by administrators, students, parents and the justice system.  the kids don't need sympathy; they need justice, which is a right interpretation of laws.

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