Penn Slavetraders Heading to Jail? October 30, 2009 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Hey, remember those asshole Penn judges that were accepting kickbacks for sending troubled kids to jail? Things are happening. Kids convictions overturned, and the judges are being prosecuted.
posted by five fresh fish to MetaFilter-Related at 1:17 PM (77 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Original MeFi Link.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:19 PM on October 30, 2009


I've been following this for a while now. These guys are fucked. Which I'm okay with. It's hard for me to imagine the mental gymnastics it would take for me to be motivated to defend these fuckers in court.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:23 PM on October 30, 2009


The mental gymnastics are that our system is an adversarial one, and parties on both sides of a case are entitled to put their best foot forward.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:24 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Missed this the first time around. Two an a half million in bribes just to judges. There's some serious profit taking happening with the private system.
posted by Mitheral at 1:38 PM on October 30, 2009


We could recoup expenses and award damages to the wronged parties by taking the judges and the people complicit in this scheme and having them parted out for organs, slowly. Either that or we rent an island and let millionaires sign up for a round of the Most Dangerous Game. I reserve my greatest loathing for people in power who abuse the system in such a manner. Here is one case where I would like grim, terrifying examples made of the ringleaders and cronies, finishing with heads on sticks. They stole collective centuries from childhoods, for not much money per day.

I am trying to imagine the defense. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you ever seen Scared Straight? My client was merely attempting to provide these youths with an inside look at the prison system and to give them some lessons about society ..."
posted by adipocere at 1:41 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here goes a really minor quibble, but this is MetaTalk so I'll continue. Penn = how we refer to the University of Pennsylvania. Or William Penn. PA is how we refer to the state. It's strange, but we do say pea ayy.

With that out of the way, this is good news. We elect judges here (next Tuesday) and I can't figure out why.
posted by fixedgear at 1:52 PM on October 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's hard for me to imagine the mental gymnastics it would take for me to be motivated to defend these fuckers in court.

Presumably you're having trouble understanding why someone who allegedly denied someone else's due process rights should himself be accorded due process.

Do you have trouble understanding why someone who allegedly committed murder should be defended against prosecutors who are trying to have him sentenced him to death?
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:54 PM on October 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here goes a really minor quibble, but this is MetaTalk so I'll continue. Penn = how we refer to the University of Pennsylvania. Or William Penn. PA is how we refer to the state. It's strange, but we do say pea ayy.

Actually, my first reaction was that it had something to do with the university, too. I thought the secret to Paterno's long life and coaching success was suddenly to be revealed!
posted by Atreides at 2:05 PM on October 30, 2009


fixedgear: "Here goes a really minor quibble, but this is MetaTalk so I'll continue. Penn = how we refer to the University of Pennsylvania. Or William Penn. PA is how we refer to the state. It's strange, but we do say pea ayy."

Thanks, I was going to say that, it's P.A. And yea, electing judges is the dumbest thing ever, especially considering that they're not allowed to campaign on any issues. So that there's really no way for you to know anything about why you should vote for one or the other.
posted by octothorpe at 2:08 PM on October 30, 2009


Awesome! It's shitbags like these judges that make me wish Frank Castle was a real person.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:10 PM on October 30, 2009


I always think that my cynicism prevents me from being surprised at things like this, but when I first heard this story my head made a small noise as it asploded.

Guys like this make me hate people. Grand juries (48 counts of racketeering!) and the judges on the Supreme Court who overturned the juveniles' convictions restore my faith, just a little, in human beings and the systems we create.
posted by rtha at 2:10 PM on October 30, 2009


It's hard for me to imagine the mental gymnastics it would take for me to be motivated to defend these fuckers in court.

Presumably you're having trouble understanding why someone who allegedly denied someone else's due process rights should himself be accorded due process.


I'm fairly certain the author of the first statement is saying something about their own willingness to defend them in court, and is not making any claims to the denial of due process rights to those fuckers.

The logical leap you're making with your comment is just being fighty for the sake of being fighty, and really isn't necessarily contributing to this thread.
posted by hippybear at 2:17 PM on October 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Missed this the first time around; it's like the totally incredible musical Newsies, except not totally incredible and actually really fucking horrible.

It's hard for me to imagine the mental gymnastics it would take for me to be motivated to defend these fuckers in court.

The mental gymnastics are that our system is an adversarial one, and parties on both sides of a case are entitled to put their best foot forward.

Presumably you're having trouble understanding why someone who allegedly denied someone else's due process rights should himself be accorded due process.

Not to speak for Navelgazer, but there's probably a bit of difference between saying "I don't know how I could defend these guys" and "These guys deserve no defense and will not get one from any right-thinking individuals". As far as I can tell, Navelgazer just said the former.

I don't know how I would defend these guys either; fortunately, I'm not a defense attorney and that's not my job, so someone else can figure that out and I can get on with my actual job of judging them on the internet.
posted by Errant at 2:21 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Errant: "and I can get on with my actual job of judging them on the internet."

you, too? oh man, we gotta swap industry stories over beer some time! I don't know about you, but business is really good for me right now. I have been working my ASS off judging these sick fucks on the internet!
posted by shmegegge at 2:27 PM on October 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's awesome that the judges are getting hammered for this, but what's happening to the company that was laying out the bribes?
posted by fatbird at 2:31 PM on October 30, 2009


I'd really, really like to crack wise. All I can come up with, though, is "good".
posted by boo_radley at 2:41 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I seem to remember this being used as a plot in an episode of Law & Order: SVU.
posted by inturnaround at 2:41 PM on October 30, 2009


Which I'm okay with. It's hard for me to imagine the mental gymnastics it would take for me to be motivated to defend these fuckers in court.

I could make it worth your while. *wink wink*
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:42 PM on October 30, 2009


I have been working my ASS off judging these sick fucks on the internet!

Sometimes I get home, and my girlfriend and I are trying to relax, and she's all, "Honey, you're judging again, aren't you? Can't you just leave your shallowly-researched rage at the high lonely tower where it belongs?" And I'm all, I'd like to, but it's my life, this work I do, you knew that when you moved in. If I don't excoriate them on message boards and quietly to myself, who will, dear? Who will?
posted by Errant at 3:03 PM on October 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


Atreides: Actually, my first reaction was that it had something to do with the university, too. I thought the secret to Paterno's long life and coaching success was suddenly to be revealed!

Ok, that's Penn State.

Penn = the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in Philadelphia.
Penn State = the Pennsylvania State University, aka Linebacker U, located in State College.
PA = the state of Pennsylvania
posted by Doofus Magoo at 3:11 PM on October 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


In the original thread I was hoping for fire or lion-pits...

I've now expanded my horizons and I'm hoping for fire and lion-pits.

*crosses fingers*
posted by quin at 3:17 PM on October 30, 2009


*imagines fire-breathing lions in a pit*

I approve!
posted by rtha at 3:36 PM on October 30, 2009


I reserve my greatest loathing for people in power who abuse the system in such a manner.
And you fantasize about having enough power to vivisect them for financial reasons. The loophole, I suppose, is that the system in your fantasy is built for this purpose and therefore it wouldn't be abused.

(And if someone would just give me a hand in getting down off the Pedestal of Self-Righteousness, I'd admit that I often have similar vengeance fantasies.)
posted by joaquim at 3:45 PM on October 30, 2009


PA = the state Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:29 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


On seeing "Penn", my first reaction was that this had something to do with the TV show Bullshit!. The immediately previous "assholes" didn't help.
posted by DU at 4:32 PM on October 30, 2009


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by snsranch at 4:35 PM on October 30, 2009


Oh, totally, joaquim. I'm aware of the numerous problems inherent in that sort of thing. It's definitely a black fantasy, certainly unworkable and not exactly desirable even if it were.

It's just the money/organ thing has that tinge of Dantean "justice" to it — as they parted out the lives of their victims, so shall they be parted out to give life to others. And the gold changes hands in both cases. It's definitely an Eighth Circle kind of crime; I could see a bolgia devoted nicely to just this sort of thing.

Tutoring some folks through various criminal justice classes, I ran into so many conflicting studies on the utility of punishment as deterrence. Mostly, I wonder, if deterrence isn't terribly effective on people who aren't liable to think more than a week ahead. Would such a ghastly punishment, though, deter white collar criminals who can, in fact, think ahead? Or does these failings run across all classes and deliberate criminal acts: appetite, an over-confident "knowing" that they will get away with it, the loss of empathy or can they simulate the suffering they'll cause and simply ... don't give a good goddamn?

These judges see the guilty (and perhaps some innocent) go to prison, week after week, year after year, so they had to know that it is certainly possible to hit the slam for your misdeeds. What was the balance between thinking they were smarter than everyone else and their greed? Would they have had second thoughts, not from pity but fear, if in legal history there was a known incident where someone in the black robes was made example of, in the oldest form of justice known? I wonder about that, a lot, when I think about things like Enron, or Tuskeegee.

I do think, though, that a good nose-crunching punch in the face would be perfectly reasonable, once they were duly convicted.
posted by adipocere at 4:35 PM on October 30, 2009


I don't wish them death, but I do hope they end up in general population. They won't, of course, but they should.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:38 PM on October 30, 2009


I find it amusing, in a puzzling way, that several of you are finding it necessary to say the same thing over and over. Once was enough and, hey, you know what, guys? You could not possibly find a less important thing to quibble about, as regards this slowly evolving case of corruption and evil.

It's awesome that the judges are getting hammered for this, but what's happening to the company that was laying out the bribes?

Now that is an important thing. It's about time someone pass a Corporate Death Penalty bill that can be used to destroy corporations that use bribery to influence judges and political powers.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:41 PM on October 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


What I hope, vengeance-wise, is that as each of these corrupt fuckers sits behind the defense's table, feeling scared, exposed, totally vulnerable, they experience a moment of empathy with the victims whose childhoods they sold so that they could buy themselves sports cars or new kitchens or vacations or whatever the hell they spent their blood money on. I hope they realize the enormity of what they've done, and I hope they feel as angry and disgusted by their actions as everyone reading this thread does. And I hope they have to live with that for the rest of their lives.
posted by homuncula at 4:51 PM on October 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


protip for fff: its not that they find it "necessary", they just didn't read the thread and with their lip quivering, jumped straight in with their "PA a "snow flake", not a "snowflake".

Thanks for the update.
posted by Rumple at 4:55 PM on October 30, 2009


Presumably you're having trouble understanding why someone who allegedly denied someone else's due process rights should himself be accorded due process.

Ha! I think we're well past the Point of Allegation. The reason this is back in trial is because the judges in question didn't like their plea deal.

Though I will acknowledge the rhetorical difference between the following two sentences:

"It's hard for me to imagine the mental gymnastics it would take for me to be motivated to defend these fuckers in court."

And:

"It's hard for me to imagine the mental gymnastics it would take for me to be motivated to defend these fuckers in court."

When someone who is not a lawyer issues the first sentence, they aren't presumably wishing to deny the criminals their due process, so much as asking the second question: Namely, how a lawyer could possibly resolve internally the cognitive dissonance and rational machinations required to issue a good defense for a pair of judges who themselves did not recognize the rule of law for thousands of people.

I think that reading is pretty clear to anyone who is at least mildly concerned about these two criminals and the devastation they caused to the legal system in Pennsylvania.

If you live in PA, whether or not you're a member of the legal community, what these two did will affect your rights, either way, if you ever end up in the unfortunate situation of having to defend yourself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:02 PM on October 30, 2009


"...what's happening to the company that was laying out the bribes?"

In my ideal world, the executives of the corporation would be tried right alongside the judge, and if found guilty, they would go to jail and the company would receive the death penalty.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:05 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

I don't wish them death, but I do hope they end up in general population. They won't, of course, but they should.
Why?
posted by Flunkie at 6:52 PM on October 30, 2009


Because then their lives will be a living hell, which is the least they deserve.

Which is, of course, more than a little sick. It is to effectively wish them to be tortured for the rest of their presumably short lives — it's not like a jailed judge is going to avoid being shanked.

Is it torture to put them in solitary for the remainder of their natural lives, fed a gruel diet? If not, that's what I want them to get.

If that is torture, then I have to start reconsidering the death penalty.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on October 30, 2009


Ah, I see. You want convicts to do the dirty work that society won't do.
posted by Flunkie at 7:01 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also missed this the first time, so thanks for the update.

This is one of those times when I sigh and think, man, think about all the shit like this still going on that we don't know about.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:12 PM on October 30, 2009


Flunkie, you'll want to note that MCDMII:JO said one thing, and I answered as if you were questioning me. Also, I believe I state fairly clearly that I don't want the convicts to do the dirty work: I want full punishment, aka full removal from all society or life termination, whichever floats your boat.

I note that today the Canadian justice system put some genocidal maniac in prison for 25 years, apparently our maximum penalty. I am unhappy with that. The guy slaughtered thousands up on thousands of people in the most horrific manner, and we're going to give him the hope of some day re-entering society? That is just plain stupid.

Righteous FFFish, signing off.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 PM on October 30, 2009


I'm aware that you weren't the person I asked. I'm also aware, however, that you're the person who answered.

And no, if you don't want them to be put in general, then you weren't clear; yes, you said it was sick, but you also said that it was the least they deserved. Throw in a dash of "I want whatever we can do to them that we can avoid calling 'torture'", and your sentiments are even less clear.

I'm willing to believe you when you now say that you don't want convicts to do the dirty work that society won't do. Again, though, no, you were not clear in that.
posted by Flunkie at 8:47 PM on October 30, 2009


five fresh fish: I find it amusing, in a puzzling way, that several of you are finding it necessary to say the same thing over and over. Once was enough and, hey, you know what, guys? You could not possibly find a less important thing to quibble about, as regards this slowly evolving case of corruption and evil.

Rumple: protip for fff: its not that they find it "necessary", they just didn't read the thread and with their lip quivering, jumped straight in with their "PA a "snow flake", not a "snowflake".

Rumple, I think that "the less important thing to quibble about" that fff mentions is not the tiny, here-and-gone, obviously tongue-in-cheek derail about the special snowflakeness of how to refer to Pennsylvania. If I'm reading correctly, what fff objects to is the constant "lock 'em up in general" discussion about the judges, with no similar discussion about the company who paid the bribes. Considering that he follows it up with "Now, that is an important thing," I figured that that was what he meant: we were missing the bigger picture in the story, and that the "Penn/Penn State/PA" stuff didn't even scan on his radar at all.

Of course, I'll feel like a choad if I screwed up fff's point. But I'm still keeping my faves on all of the PA derails, because I grew up in Pennsylvania and I always notice shit like that -- kind of like how alumni of University of Arizona get a little uptight if you confuse it with Arizona State. It's a blessing and a curse, only without the blessing.
posted by bakerina at 8:55 PM on October 30, 2009


I want them in general because they have forfeited their right to any special consideration. If you abuse your authority, you should be stripped of any of the comforts it affords. Let them struggle and jockey for position like any other convict.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:58 PM on October 30, 2009


Uh huh.
posted by Flunkie at 9:02 PM on October 30, 2009


Believe what you like, prick.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:16 PM on October 30, 2009


Let them struggle and jockey for position like any other convict.

Well, they're not convicts, what with not having been convicted and all. But they seem like major league a-holes so I'll be quite pleased if and when that happens.
posted by dhammond at 9:59 PM on October 30, 2009




I don't find it surprising that people will sell out other people but I do find it surprising how cheaply people will sell out other people, and risk their own security and reputation and the well being of their own family.

I can imagine that someone might offer so much money as to overwhelm common humanity and common sense but whenever these stories pop up they always seem to offer so little cash for the risk and for the damage it will cause.

Buying souls apparently does not cost so much.
posted by arse_hat at 10:19 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish: It's about time someone pass a Corporate Death Penalty bill that can be used to destroy corporations that use bribery to influence judges and political powers.

On this issue, we need the will more than we need new law. States can revoke corporate charters of corporations violating the law or the terms of their charters. It's just really hard to find behavior egregious enough for it not to be dismissed out of hand.
posted by Zed at 11:13 PM on October 30, 2009


I'm willing to believe you when you now say that you don't want convicts to do the dirty work that society won't do. Again, though, no, you were not clear in that.

Fair enough.

Sorry, bakerina. The proper abbreviation for Pennsylvania is, in fact, absolutely the least important thing ever as regards this case. I am sorry you feel choadly. You may want to keep it all in context, though: this is MeTa, after all. Minimal choadliness, I'm sure, like forgetting to brush your teeth afterward. As long as we're not kissing and you don't double-dip in the veggie platter, we're cool.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:17 PM on October 30, 2009


This is a straightforward matter of interpretation.

According to the Metafilter Code (I think it's s2, I don't have my copy to hand) all possibly ambiguous comments are to be interpreted in such a way as to allow the fightiest response possible.

This is as it should be. I mean, what's the point in posting something like "hey look, some total arseholes might actually be about to get their just deserts"? How could we argue about that? We're not monsters.

Fortunately Navelgazer saved the day by posting something that we all agree with, thereby giving us an opportunity to rip each other to shreds over a misinterpretation.
posted by GeckoDundee at 11:33 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've said it before, and I'll say it again. In a republic, the only proper penalty for corruption in public office should be death. I don't take any pleasure in that, and I don't support the death penalty in general, but some betrayals of trust can only be cleansed in blood.
posted by atrazine at 2:33 AM on October 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yikes. As a civilized person, I disagree. Serious betrayals can only be repaid in containment, boredom, social exclusion, general deprivation and reduced future employment opportunities.
posted by ~ at 4:20 AM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


You people should keep your vengeance fantasies to yourselves. This weird dynamic of punishment one-upmanship is how groups of otherwise decent people talk themselves into committing acts of cruelty. Don't flaunt your vengeance. Be distrustful of those impulses.
posted by ryanrs at 6:57 AM on October 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


Thanks for the update! Those jerks~~

I much prefer mental rhythmic gymnastics
posted by jtron at 7:09 AM on October 31, 2009


They stole collective centuries from childhoods, for not much money per day.

This was the hot topic of discussion this morning and all I could think of was, how many hours of misery are Judge Mark Ciavarella and Judge Michael Conahan personally responsible for? 6,500 cases times 1000s of hours? Good Christ! Those kids must be convinced that the world is truly against them and nobody gives a shit. How does it happen that some judge can sentence children "without lawyers for hearings that lasted only a few minutes." Where were the baliffs? Where were the parents? Where were the advocates?

And don't even get me started on the privatized jails. Making a profit on jailing people. That is insane Republican bullshit.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:22 AM on October 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ciavarella is representing himself, which seems rather ill-advised even if he is a judge.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:36 AM on October 31, 2009


Minimal choadliness, I'm sure, like forgetting to brush your teeth afterward. As long as we're not kissing and you don't double-dip in the veggie platter, we're cool.

Okay, I can live with that. I may be a choad, but I'm a considerate choad.

I'm with Zed: if ever there were a situation where the state should revoke a corporate charter, this is the one. Unfortunately, I don't know if anyone has the stones to actually do this.
posted by bakerina at 9:43 AM on October 31, 2009

Believe what you like, prick.
If you think that I like believing that you have worked hard to come up with a rationalization for a desire to see these men murdered or at the very least beaten, raped, and constantly tormented for the rest of their lives by their fellow inmates, I assure you you're mistaken.
posted by Flunkie at 9:55 AM on October 31, 2009


If you abuse your authority, you should be stripped of any of the comforts it affords. Let them struggle and jockey for position like any other convict.

I think the reason judges would be kept separately is not a perk of their position, but because their position makes them peculiarly vulnerable to violence from fellow inmates. Once they're in prison, they'll be wards of the state, and in my opinion, what happens to them there is the responsibility of the state, just like any other prisoners. Letting them get beat up is extra punishment of a kind we don't officially condone. So if we know they'll be particularly badly treated by other inmates, they should be kept separately.
posted by palliser at 10:03 AM on October 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Those men betrayed out society and betrayed it in a way that demonstrates an absolute lack of humanity. The only appropriate punishment is complete removal from our society.

That spells death or isolation to me.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 AM on October 31, 2009


They are so completely evil, it's hard not to wish them torture.

This is why privatizing/monetizing/profitizing stuff (schools, universities, healthcare, prisons, the military) isn't a good deal for taxpayers, or for society.
posted by theora55 at 11:02 AM on October 31, 2009


Serious echoes of post civil war slavery here.
posted by scruss at 12:32 PM on October 31, 2009


I don't wish any torture on these men, and I think that the American penal system is bizarre and globally unusual in its savagery. I just feel that they should be executed. To be fair, it's probably just a side-effect of spending the rest of today reading about the early Roman Republic.
posted by atrazine at 12:40 PM on October 31, 2009


I presume Ciavarella and Conahan are non-violent, first-time offenders. They were granted bail, so they probably aren't considered flight risks. I expect they will serve most of their sentences in a minimum security work camp with other white-collar criminals who are unlikely to cause trouble.

It's hard to believe so many mefites are worried that the US prison system is insufficiently cruel. That's like worrying that the ovens aren't hot enough.
posted by ryanrs at 4:19 PM on October 31, 2009


What's cruel about killing them?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:23 PM on October 31, 2009


What happened to your plan of putting them in solitary and feeding them a gruel diet for the remainder of their natural lives?

I'm against the death penalty for other reasons.
posted by ryanrs at 4:36 PM on October 31, 2009


What's cruel about killing them?

Eh. Go kill them then. They're not going to get the death penalty though, and I don't see what in the world your point is here other than whipping up some imaginary vigilante justice or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:37 PM on October 31, 2009


Just wanted to be sure killing isn't cruel.

I am also okay with the solitary. I firmly believe that what these men perpetrated was of such extremely harm to our society that they must not allowed to participate in our society any more.

I don't see it as much more different than treason. Judge, soldier, politician: they are all serving in the name of our country. I got no problems with the treasonous being expelled from our company.

But that's not going to happen: we don't do solitary any more because it's "cruel" to the person, it will make them go crazy. So we let them mingle with others, find a place in their own little society-within-society. And give them televisions, so that they might continue to be connected to our society. Let them outdoors, so that they might feel free. Feed them a varied diet, so that they might experience a more sensory life. Provide them access to books, so they might feel they still are with us.

I find that unacceptable. These judges are inhuman beasts who preyed upon vulnerable children. I do not believe they deserve the comfort of human society.

Despite being generally against the death penalty, especially as we've seen it misused, there are appropriate times to make exceptions. These traitorous, evil justices fit my mark for exceptionalism. Failing that, they deserve isolation, shunning, expulsion, solitary confinement. Extreme punishment for extreme things is fair and just.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:00 PM on October 31, 2009


Or tl;dr; "I think the comfort of human society is far too kind a consequence to serve as punishment in extreme cases such as this."

And if the mark is set low for the actions of these judges, how do we appropriately punish other behaviours that are less harmful to society? A common thief should walk if destroying 6000 children comes at the price of being committed to the long-term social club for elite bad boys.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:10 PM on October 31, 2009


Common thieves do walk. A first-time, non-violent thief (like a shoplifter) likely gets probation. There's nothing wrong with that. Do you think breaking up their families and making them lose their job will lead to less shoplifting?
posted by ryanrs at 5:22 PM on October 31, 2009


FFF, I don't think we should approach imprisonment from a strictly retributive point of view. Since we're not awash in corrupt judges, and since these particular judges will never have the opportunity to reoffend, I don't believe extreme measures can be justified under the banner of deterrence or rehabilitation. Existing sentencing guidelines seem to be working vis-à-vis judicial corruption.
posted by ryanrs at 5:47 PM on October 31, 2009


Meh.

Fair enough on the first time thieves. And first time murder is pretty much scot-free, too. It frustrates me to no end that we treat lives so casually. Over 6500 children were sold by these corrupt men. Thousands of lives were damaged and destroyed by the callous greed of these judges. Surely to gods there should be some serious consequence for that behaviour.

Is there no point at which a human in our society should be entirely eliminated from society?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:05 PM on October 31, 2009


Here's the thing: I live in California, home of mandatory minimums and three strikes laws. I look at the system such laws have created, and I see a hugely expensive, terribly unjust machine that has grown so large it has evolved the ability to reproduce and perpetuate itself. The prison system itself has become the leading advocate of harsher punishments and longer sentences, through the politically powerful prison guards union.

It pains me to see a Canadian arguing the American system isn't brutal enough. California's prison system was recently ruled criminogenic due to massive overcrowding brought about by that kind of thinking. I understand your emotion, but please, it's bad enough already. Really, it is.
posted by ryanrs at 6:46 PM on October 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


It frustrates me to no end that we treat lives so casually.

Is there no point at which a human in our society should be entirely eliminated from society?


Even though I share your outrage, this caused me a fair bit of cognitive dissonance, to be honest. But I guess that's because I share your frustration as regards the former, and my answer to the latter is "no".
posted by Errant at 5:00 AM on November 1, 2009


Is there no point at which a human in our society should be entirely eliminated from society?

Even though I share your outrage, this caused me a fair bit of cognitive dissonance. ... my answer to the latter is "no".

"No" meaning what?
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:55 AM on November 1, 2009


The American — and the Canadian — systems are absolutely stupid in most regards. We are far too hard on victimless crimes. Many small-time crimes are punished inappropriately. The social climate in jails, especially the rape-y American ones, is godawful.

In many, many ways, our prison systems are garbage.

That does not, however, mean that in cases of incontrovertible extreme harm against others the guilty should be treated with kid gloves.

Errant, you say "no." No to what? No to execution, or no to lifetime solitary confinement?

Is there no sociopathic action that is so extreme as to warrant entirely excluding the privilege of socialization? Are we prevented from isolating the very worst of the worst from all aspects of our society?

Should Munyaneza be allowed to have any sort of social life in prison? Why?! The man stuffed children into sacks and gleefully beat them to bleeding pulp, but we're going to give him the opportunity for parole in twenty years. He raped hundreds of children and women, and slaughtered hundreds and thousands more. Why should he be granted the privilege of life, let alone socialization?

I do not have any cognitive dissonance in wishing our prison systems to be reformed, so that the idiocy of three strikes and mandatory minimums are eliminated, while simultaneously removing the very worst sociopaths from our society.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:27 AM on November 1, 2009


I saw the Law and Order episode about this too, and the judge in it was one evil bitch. I'm pretty sure I'm safe in my assumption that the people who would really do something this horrible to children aren't far off from the TV character.

Where are the thumbscrews? The anal pear?
posted by elder18 at 4:07 PM on November 1, 2009


In case anyone is still reading, it looks like the bastards have been ruled immune from any civil action for anything they did while sitting on the bench. Here's hoping the criminal charges stick.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:53 PM on November 24, 2009


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