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  1. Profile photo of Saint Augustine Member

    Simon Templar:

    1. Humanitarian theory or the concept of Desert?

    Yes. I think it is only a modern delusion that there is any serious tension between the two.

    • #1
    • January 9, 2017 at 3:43 am
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  2. Profile photo of Publius Thatcher

    It’s a moot point in my case. I don’t support the death penalty because I don’t trust the state with that power. I’m losing more and more confidence in the criminal (and civil) justice system as I get older and watch it with each passing year.

    • #2
    • January 9, 2017 at 4:29 am
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  3. Profile photo of ST Coolidge
    ST Post author

    Publius (View Comment):
    It’s a moot point in my case. I don’t support the death penalty because I don’t trust the state with that power. I’m losing more and more confidence in the criminal (and civil) justice system as I get older and watch it with each passing year.

    I can understand your perspective, but in some cases the scales of justice can only be re-balanced by the state taking the life of the monster.

    • #3
    • January 9, 2017 at 4:57 am
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  4. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Publius (View Comment):
    It’s a moot point in my case. I don’t support the death penalty because I don’t trust the state with that power. I’m losing more and more confidence in the criminal (and civil) justice system as I get older and watch it with each passing year.

    I can understand your perspective, but in some cases the scales of justice can only be re-balanced by the state taking the life of the monster.

    I’m with both of you.

    The only person I ever knew (and I knew him well), who received the death penalty as a punishment, murdered four members of his family on September 11, 1999. He’s been on Death Row since 2001. During that time, in addition to the expenditures necessary for his detainment, he’s been the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars in “free” medical care to keep him alive, all courtesy of the good people of the United States who pay their Federal, and Ohio State, taxes. This isn’t justice. It’s a travesty.

    Bringing back the death penalty where it’s been abolished, and doing so as it’s currently imagined and enforced in the 32 states where it’s legal, would just be another one.

    I also don’t think bringing back the death penalty does anything to fix the problems in both society and the criminal justice system that allowed these four disgusting excuses for human beings (among others) to get to where they are today. Not enforcing the laws all the way up the line, not insisting on accountability for less egregious crimes, somehow excusing, and even almost rewarding, inexcusable behavior for reasons of race, circumstance, victimhood, or whatever else can be dreamed up to excuse it and to make “society” and “us” the ones at fault, and on and on.

    I doubt this is The Chicago Four’s first brush with the Law. So far, whatever the consequences for their actions, it hasn’t stopped them escalating. And I’m not sure bringing back the death penalty, in whatever form, without serious legal and societal adjustments elsewhere in the system, would have made, or will make, any difference. At this point, as disheartening as it is to think so, I’m not sure the toothpaste can be put back in the tube.

    • #4
    • January 9, 2017 at 5:42 am
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  5. Profile photo of Doctor Robert Member

    These are interesting ideas. I am both very pro-death penalty and very anti-government power. The correct balance between the two is hard to know. I do know, however, that the outright abandonment of capital punishment deprives society of a very valuable recourse.

    • #5
    • January 9, 2017 at 5:44 am
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  6. Profile photo of David Foster Member

    There are certain forms of criminal behavior so heinous that *no one* should have to be exposed to the perpetrators for any more time than absolutely necessary…not the prison guards, not the lesser criminals.

    Which would argue to the death penalty in cases of extreme sadistic behavior like this case.

    • #6
    • January 9, 2017 at 5:45 am
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  7. Profile photo of Austin Murrey Member

    I’m not sure the death penalty is called for, although I’m not opposed to it under certain circumstances, but the maximum sentence would seem appropriate.

    Given the fact that they knowingly distributed recording of their assault and that they targeted a mentally handicapped person a brief review of Illinois’s criminal statutes tells me the least they can be charged with is aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault.

    If the jury decides that “great bodily harm” -which is unhelpfully not defined by Illinois’s 1961 Penal Code – was committed by the accused then aggravated assault changes from a a Class 3 felony to a Class X felony, which alone comes with a minimum sentence of 6 years and a maximum of 45 years.

    Aggravated kidnapping is a minimum of 6 years and a maximum of 30 years, with a possible additional 15 to 25 years depending “upon the gravity of the crime”.

    So all told conviction of two counts could be anywhere from 6 years to 100 years per accused. As the judge I’d be inclined to give them consecutive sentences for 100 years each to send a helpful message to the youth of Illinois about what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

    • #7
    • January 9, 2017 at 5:54 am
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  8. Profile photo of Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Austin Murrey (View Comment):
    So all told conviction of two counts could be anywhere from 6 years to 100 years per accused. As the judge I’d be inclined to give them consecutive sentences for 100 years each to send a helpful message to the youth of Illinois about what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

    So with our helpful progressive judicial system they would be out in what? 6 months? a year? maybe two?

    • #8
    • January 9, 2017 at 6:05 am
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  9. Profile photo of Austin Murrey Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Austin Murrey (View Comment):
    So all told conviction of two counts could be anywhere from 6 years to 100 years per accused. As the judge I’d be inclined to give them consecutive sentences for 100 years each to send a helpful message to the youth of Illinois about what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

    So with our helpful progressive judicial system they would be out in what? 6 months? a year? maybe two?

    If they each got 6 years running concurrently they could be out in as little as 30 months – one half their sentence minus six months for overcrowding.

    I strongly suspect that they’ll take a plea deal for reduced charges, although if the Chicago DA wants to grandstand one might not be offered.

    • #9
    • January 9, 2017 at 6:07 am
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  10. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    Kill them all.

    • #10
    • January 9, 2017 at 6:14 am
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  11. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She

    Austin Murrey (View Comment):
    If they each got 6 years running concurrently they could be out in as little as 30 months – one half their sentence minus sixth months for overcrowding.

    I strongly suspect that they’ll take a plea deal for reduced charges, although if the Chicago DA wants to grandstand one might not be offered.

    A truly disheartening, but entirely plausible scenario, I fear.

    And as far as their sentence serving any sort of “deterrence” function against future heinous infractions, that ship has probably already sailed. The idea that a punishment can be used to rehabilitate enough to deter future criminal behavior depends on the ability of the person being punished to recognize and act on the notion that certain behaviors are unacceptable and will lead to further punishment. And, perhaps, in rare cases, even to embrace the carrot of “good” behavior as the model without the stick of punishment in view at all times.

    All of these four appear to have reached the age of eighteen or so without any visible sign that they’re capable of understanding any of this. For them, I suspect, the only effective punishment (because it removes them from the field of play) is that of Desert. The Desert of life, to match their Desert of mind.

    So if the scenario proposed above does pan out, I don’t expect it will be long before they’re back in jail, for something even worse.

    • #11
    • January 9, 2017 at 6:31 am
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  12. Profile photo of ST Coolidge
    ST Post author

    She (View Comment):
    he death penalty, in whatever form, without serious legal and societal adjustments elsewhere in the system, would have made, or will make, any difference.

    The difference is that society balances the scale of justice. C.S. Lewis’ concept of Desert does not advocate for deterrence. It is to punish the perpetrators according to their crime, nothing more and nothing less.

    • #12
    • January 9, 2017 at 6:36 am
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  13. Profile photo of ST Coolidge
    ST Post author

    David Foster (View Comment):
    There are certain forms of criminal behavior so heinous that *no one* should have to be exposed to the perpetrators for any more time than absolutely necessary…not the prison guards, not the lesser criminals.

    Which would argue to the death penalty in cases of extreme sadistic behavior like this case.

    As I did a little research for this I found some that turned my stomach. I decided, for that reason, not to show them here. In one case a guy got death (I think in 91) for raping and murdering an 11 month old girl. Sometime in the 2000’s they commuted it to 75 years. Don’t know how old the perp was in 1991. That is a lot of taxpayers dollars to keep this monster housed, clothed, and fed for the rest of his life. But more importantly this does nothing to balance the scales of justice – just the opposite. Neither the victim’s parents/family nor society get closure. Wrong – Wrong!!!

    • #13
    • January 9, 2017 at 6:52 am
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  14. Profile photo of ST Coolidge
    ST Post author

    Austin Murrey (View Comment):
    give them consecutive sentences for 100 years each to send a helpful message to the youth of Illinois about what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

    I am inclined to agree with C.S. Lewis, and he believes that punishment is not about ‘healing.’ His notion of healing is that it is both rehabilitation and deterrence. You seem to be arguing for deterrence or in other words the humanitarian theory.

    • #14
    • January 9, 2017 at 6:58 am
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  15. Profile photo of Publius Thatcher

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    Publius (View Comment):
    It’s a moot point in my case. I don’t support the death penalty because I don’t trust the state with that power. I’m losing more and more confidence in the criminal (and civil) justice system as I get older and watch it with each passing year.

    I can understand your perspective, but in some cases the scales of justice can only be re-balanced by the state taking the life of the monster.

    I don’t know where I come down on that since my thought process on this ends with enough distrust of the state that it is also a bit of a moot point for me, but I understand what you are saying.

    I’m anti-death penalty, but don’t make the argument that killing, for example, Timothy McVeigh was morally wrong. I would enrolled him into the “locked up until mammals are extinct” program, but I wouldn’t have been lighting a candle outside the prison where he was executed either.

    • #15
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:00 am
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  16. Profile photo of Saint Augustine Member

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    That is a lot of taxpayers dollars to keep this monster housed, clothed, and fed for the rest of his life. . . .

    Take that, factor in how a reduction of justice to the Humanitarian theory makes the government responsible for healing our souls (an important job Socrates didn’t know how to do and Augustine left to Jesus), and does death penalty abolition not give more power to the government?

    • #16
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:01 am
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  17. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She

    Simon Templar (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    he death penalty, in whatever form, without serious legal and societal adjustments elsewhere in the system, would have made, or will make, any difference.

    The difference is that society balances the scale of justice. C.S. Lewis’ concept of Desert does not advocate for deterrence. It is to punish the perpetrators according to their crime, nothing more and nothing less.

    And I agree with C.S. Lewis, on this, as much else. I think he does leave room for “mercy,” but only as a vehicle for pardon, not as having an integral role in the punishment.

    “He got his just deserts,” is a phrase that sits well with me, because I am afraid I believe that there are incorrigible people in the world. Call them evil, irredeemable, or what you will.

    I’m not sure that those who point out that these guys will probably plead down their cases, be sentenced and then be out in a few years are necessarily arguing that that’s what they believe should happen. I’m inclined to believe, myself, that it probably will happen, but I in no way think it should.

    • #17
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:21 am
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  18. Profile photo of Doug Watt Member

    There is a difference between temporal punishment and eternal punishment. The late Tim Russert describes a moment that occurred when he found himself in trouble as a student in a Catholic high school for young men. He was confronted by one of the Brothers and Mr. Russert asked for mercy. The Brother told him, God deals in mercy Mr. Russert, I deal in judgement.

    • #18
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:29 am
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  19. Profile photo of ST Coolidge
    ST Post author

    Should the fact that the victim is mentally (at least I think that is the case) handicapped have any bearing on the sentencing. I think yes, but is that not leading to a bit of the hate crime argument?

    • #19
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:32 am
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  20. Profile photo of formerlawprof Coolidge

    No United States jurisdiction has, or has had, the death penalty for criminal conduct not resulting in the death of a victim for several decades.

    • #20
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:52 am
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  21. Profile photo of Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):
    Kill them all.

    While I appreciate the sentiment it seems a little extreme. The person they kidnapped survived and is alive. Even the old eye for an eye standards says death is not warranted in this case.

    • #21
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:56 am
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  22. Profile photo of Saint Augustine Member

    Is now a good time to mention that the Left’s idea of justice is less like “to each his own deserts” and more like “to each his own desserts”?

    (This is all in Plato, by the way.)

    • #22
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:58 am
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  23. Profile photo of Old Bathos Member

    I too would like to see hideous retribution meted out to these animals. It is not going to happen.

    My provisional opposition to the death penalty is that it is “another badly run government program” to quote a great conservative. I oppose the death penalty under current conditions because (a) the quality and precision of justice in the courts is not good enough to warrant giving judges and juries that particular power and (b) the likelihood of equal treatment (as measured by financial means and lawyerly competence much more than race) in similar cases is vanishingly small.

    We usually cheap up on defense of serious criminals at trial then as the execution date appears, it seems like half the Harvard Law faculty is drafting the appellate briefs to block the execution or reverse the conviction. Why we don’t front-load the defense resources in these cases to avoid the inevitable has never made much sense to me.

    If it is a death penalty case, the judge and the lawyers and the forensic and other resources and all procedural steps have to be of the highest quality, any colorable issue can be the the basis of an interlocutory appeal for instant appellate review so the final outcome does not drag on for ten or twenty years.

    The results of the Innocence Project in Illinois should shake anybody’s faith in the system.

    • #23
    • January 9, 2017 at 7:59 am
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  24. Profile photo of Nanda Panjandrum Thatcher

    As I may’ve said on another recent post, ST, both incarceration as it stands and the death penalty are too good for them. These animals need to be subjected to the sort of ‘treatment’ that their victim would have endured – being ‘institutionalized’ in the 1950s to mid-1960s…Don’t know if they could handle the ‘living Hell’ that was for many.

    • #24
    • January 9, 2017 at 8:03 am
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  25. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She

    Simon Templar (View Comment):
    Should the fact that the victim is mentally (at least I think that is the case) handicapped have any bearing on the sentencing. I think yes, but is that not leading to a bit of the hate crime argument?

    I want to say yes. But I think I say no.

    I dislike the idea of “hate” crimes and “social” justice, and any other sort of mechanism that qualifies and measures what ought to be an absolute. It either is a crime or it’s not, or it’s justice, or it’s not. (I suppose you might call it my version of ‘binary.’)

    Putting one’s thumb on the scale to tip the result for any purpose, I think, shouldn’t be necessary, if the laws on the books are uniformly and consistently enforced. And the fact that they’re sometimes not, should not be reason to create more laws to get around the fact.

    What we ought to be doing, here, as in lots of other places, is a better job of enforcing the laws on the books as they stand, fairly and swiftly. But that’s another story.

    • #25
    • January 9, 2017 at 8:09 am
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  26. Profile photo of Saint Augustine Member

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    As I may’ve said on another recent post, ST, both incarceration as it stands and the death penalty are too good for them. These animals need to be subjected to . . . .

    But the important point from Plato and Boethius is that even the death penalty actually is good for them.

    • #26
    • January 9, 2017 at 8:14 am
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  27. Profile photo of She Moderator
    She

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    As I may’ve said on another recent post, ST, both incarceration as it stands and the death penalty are too good for them. These animals need to be subjected to . . . .

    But the important point from Plato and Boethius is that even the death penalty actually is good for them.

    Perhaps @nandapanjandrum‘s point is that it’s not good enough? She’s hoping for something even better . . . . ?

    • #27
    • January 9, 2017 at 8:31 am
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  28. Profile photo of Nanda Panjandrum Thatcher

    She (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    As I may’ve said on another recent post, ST, both incarceration as it stands and the death penalty are too good for them. These animals need to be subjected to . . . .

    But the important point from Plato and Boethius is that even the death penalty actually is good for them.

    Perhaps @nandapanjandrum‘s point is that it’s not good enough? She’s hoping for something even better . . . . ?

    Right you are, @She! I want a living Hell for them…Surprise, surprise.

    • #28
    • January 9, 2017 at 9:13 am
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  29. Profile photo of Z in MT Member

    I have argued before that the death penalty should only be used for the protection of life. i.e. I would reserve the death penalty for people who have proven that they don’t respect the life of their fellow humans, usually as evidenced by multiple instances of murder or attempted murder. In very rare cases this can be proven by extremely horrific murders.

    I wouldn’t apply the death penalty to this case, but these animals should be put away for a very long time.

    • #29
    • January 9, 2017 at 9:27 am
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  30. Profile photo of Western Chauvinist Member

    I honestly don’t know how we can repay these perps “in-kind.” Their victim, being of limited mental capacity, was a child-like innocent. He thought he was meeting a “friend” from school. And the “friend” does this to him. I don’t know what we might do to make these reprobates feel the kind of fear and anguish their victim does — and likely will for the rest of his life.

    Almost makes me wish we could erase selected memories.

    • #30
    • January 9, 2017 at 9:33 am
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