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Should Florida murder suspect have been out on the streets?

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  • Should Florida murder suspect have been out on the streets?

    In case anyone hasn't heard, a tragic event occurred over the last week in Sarasota Florida. An 11 year-old girl was abducted and murdered. The abduction was caught on tape, the suspect was caught and is now in custody:

    http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.j...toryID=4304838

    The suspect has 13 prior arrests including a similar abduction incident back in 1997 of which he was aquitted. He was also arrested on drug charges the day before he was picked up on suspicion of the murder.

    The murdered girls' father believes that Florida judges were previously too lenient with the suspect and that he should not have been out on the streets.

    What are your thoughts?
    \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

    \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

  • #2
    My wife and I talked about this last night. Many people who knew this man said they heard he had a "past", but was a family man now, lived in a nice nieghborhood - a regular guy.

    But then I heard that he was up for attempted kidnapping (among other things) and this is reflected in the post above. I think that anyone who is capable of kidnapping someone is far removed from most of us.

    I wrote(transcribed) a piece from Solzhenitsyn a short while ago that I think applies here:


    Evidently evildoing also has a threshold magnitude.

    Yes, a human being hesitates and bobs back and forth between good and evil all his life. He slips, falls back, clambers up, repents, things begin to darken again. But just so long as the threshold of evildoing is not crossed, the possibility of returning remains, and he himself is still within reach of our hope.

    But when, through the density of evil actions, the result either of their own extreme degree or of the absoluteness of his power, he suddenly crosses that threshhold, he has left humanity behind, and without, perhaps, the possibility of return.

    I posted it here:
    [broken link]

    You know, the one where I sit on my soapbox and post all the boring old literature stuff! :lol:
    Ah, my typing skills are improving though - I can almost read the words from my books and type at the same time. Still takes forever! :?
    Last edited by Rothgo; 04-21-2010, 02:01 PM.
    When they had advanced together to meet on common
    ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
    and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
    each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
    mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
    killing, and the ground ran with blood.

    Homer, The Illiad

    Comment


    • #3
      We're all horrified when something like this happens -- all the more because of the circumstances here. It is the legal system rather than individual judges (or even criminals) which seems to me to be at fault, where the whole thing becomes a game played by lawyers -- plea-bargaining and so forth. While I think we have the best basic system in the world (English Common Law and its developments) which reasonably judges a person innocent before guilty and so on, it does seem to me that it is a sign of something wrong when a criminal with a long record can be released after a modest amount of time while others on the 'three strikes' system can go to jail for a long time attempting (and failing) to steal a bottle of whisky (as happened in my home town recently). Public anger is too often directed against the individual criminal or crime rather than against what lawyers are prepared to make of the system. Ultimately, it seems to me, it is up to them to reform their own practises and conform to the spirit of the law rather than its letter. The way in which constitutional law is being used rather than common law also seems to me to be a corruption of the original purpose of constitutional law. This means that laws are often imposed on the public rather than the public gradually reaching agreement on what the laws should be (by invoking precedent and so forth). While there's no doubt that the US system of punishments is one of the cruellest in the industrialised democracies and the prison system needs serious investigation and reform, the system also frequently allows the killers with the largest
      fortunes to hire lawyeres who can use (or abuse) the law to get those killers free. My point is that we should be angered by a system which needs reform from top to bottom and those reforms might result in us not seeing quite so many cases of killers or potential killers released back into society. Simplistic political responses to simplistic public demands certainly aren't the answer, as we see every day.

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      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
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      Comment


      • #4
        This topic doesn't necessarily belong under political pressures.
        There's a lot that can be said. Where shall I go?...
        ok I'll start off with the poll. So far most say he didn't belong
        on the streets because of his past record. Well a lot of people
        don't belong on the streets because of past behavior/ record.
        This indicates that there are flaws in our system which are
        NOT easily fixed. If we can keep him in jail forever,
        that's what should be done right? But that leads to one of the problems...
        we can't keep people in prison forever-- most of them at least.
        It takes tax payer money, a lot of it, there is only so much space/ room
        in prisons, not to mention problems that Mike already brought up earlier.
        Someone being behind bars simply keeps them off the street,
        but what does it do to teach him/ her lessons such that when free,
        he/ she will not repeat the offense(s)? The prison system,
        time and time again fails in changing people for the better or even
        not change them at all. Considering cases like this one, and similar ones,
        and those involving pedophiles, and serial killers-- research shows
        that these people are "incurable" (correct me if I'm wrong;
        i'm not saying I'm an expert). Thus, our system of locking them away
        is only a short-term solution. I've heard plenty of cases where
        once the prisoner is released, he (usally, as opposed to she) goes and
        commits another crime soon, if not immediately after being set free.

        slight aside: ** Even the real world "aversion therapy" depicted and
        exaggerated in the movie "A Clockwork Orange" (injecting ammonia
        directly up someone's nose), has shown to have no long-term change
        in behavior (Again, correct me if I'm wrong).**

        I hate to sound like a pessimist, but there will always be predators.
        The only way to stop them would be something like... making laws for
        child bearing and rearing. (Yeah some kind of weird Walden Two/
        Brave New World utopian future) The laws would require that you
        must take a written exam on child rearing/ parenting before
        being able to legally bear offspring. This will help ensure that every child
        is raised properly-- from a behavioral point of view.
        And then you would need adequate "watch dogs." We don't really
        have that now. I've heard enough cases where social workers and
        child protective services failed to rescue children from danger.
        And then how could you eliminate the effects of poverty?
        There is no easy solution.
        There's no doubt that we humans are highly complex creatures that
        require nourishment across a lot of variables (not just talking about
        food for hunger, you know) in order to turn out "normal."
        But then again what is the definition of normal? Perhaps in this context,
        merely someone who can grow up to be an adult and become
        a productive member of society, who for the most part is in compliance
        with The Law. So what happens in a theoretical utopia when there are still abherrances? (Consider the movie Gattaca (sp?)) Do we get rid of them
        as early as possible-- as soon as we detect the abnormality? Or what?
        Will our science be advanced enough to prevent any abherrances
        from occuring? (I doubt it.)
        Back to the real world... my point remains... there will always
        be predators. We must simply do our best to be vigilant to prevent
        them from reaching their prey. And if we fail to do so, we must capture
        them and do what we can to forever stop their unlawful predation.
        This of course should means improving our laws to facillitate these goals.
        But still, from time to time the "wolf" strikes, and then the media,
        for all the good things they do, will swarm like flies to feces,
        and do what they are good at-- purveying fear. It's a shame though if everyone started putting dog collars and leashes on their children, and freak out in hysteria everytime their child is interacting with a new and unfamiliar face. The world is so full of irony.
        I don't think there is anything wrong with people like me making fun of it.
        I, myself, refuse to live in fear.
        (I don't want to be like the Mabden-- slaves of fear-- in Corum's universe!)
        Cheers!
        \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
        Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
          ...the whole thing becomes a game played by lawyers

          Most lawyers I have met just wanted to win cases. It was just like a debate to them - each takes a position and defends it, regardless of right or wrong. They took all kinds of ethics vows and then disregared them just as quickly. It was "win, win, win".

          There are still some out there "fighting the good fight", but many I met were not. I worked with corporate lawyers though, so that may explain it.
          When they had advanced together to meet on common
          ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
          and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
          each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
          mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
          killing, and the ground ran with blood.

          Homer, The Illiad

          Comment


          • #6
            Perhaps it'd be most effective to just castrate the criminals who have repeatedly commited these types of crimes. Maybe that will calm them down.
            I've always felt an "eye for an eye" is the fairest system. If caught, you will be subjected to the exact same treatment you have done to others. Not that it will ever happen, but probably more effective than what's in place now. Heck, most anything would have been more effective in this case.
            \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

            \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

            Comment


            • #7
              Into the gas chambers for the management of Union Carbide for Bhopal then?

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes, Aaaaaarrrrrrggghhhh! :twisted:
                \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

                \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

                Comment


                • #9
                  DNA criminal profile database mooted by LRC
                  From:ireland.com
                  Wednesday, 24th March, 2004



                  The DNA profiles of those convicted of a crime, and of people suspected of having committed serious crimes, should be allowed to be retained on a database indefinitely, according to the Law Reform Commission (LRC).

                  This would mean that if a crime was committed where evidence such as blood or semen was left at the scene, this could be matched against the profiles in the database, which could assist in the identification of the perpetrator.

                  These are among the provisional recommendations of the LRC in a consultation paper being published later today. The commission was asked to examine the matter by the Attorney General, and the paper will now be circulated for further discussion and submissions before a final report is drawn up as the basis for future legislation.

                  At present, there is no DNA database in Ireland, though databases have been established in a number of countries for the purpose of assisting in the investigation of crime.

                  The Minister for Justice, who is launching the paper tonight, has spoken of the usefulness of DNA databases in crime investigation.

                  However, concerns have been expressed by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and other human rights organisations, about their potential human rights implications.

                  The LRC paper draws a distinction between a DNA profile and a DNA sample.

                  A sample contains the whole of a person's DNA, with all of an individual's genetic information.

                  The DNA profile, which is extracted from the sample, is believed to contain very little personal information, apart from parentage and relatedness. This is then used to pinpoint the likely identity of a person who left a DNA sample - for example, blood or semen - at a crime scene.

                  The commission recommends that only DNA profiles, and not the full sample, may be retained on the DNA database.

                  It also says that DNA profiles of people not convicted or suspected of crimes should only be retained on the database if they consent. DNA samples obtained directly from individuals during a criminal investigation for the purpose of comparison, where the person was then eliminated from the investigation, should be destroyed after the conclusion of the case.

                  A mass screen for such samples should only be conducted if a Garda superintendent approves, while DNA crime scene samples should be retained indefinitely, according to the LRC paper.

                  The commission also recommends the setting up of an independent Forensic Science Agency, incorporating the existing Forensic Science Laboratory.

                  This would hold the samples. It should be subject to independent oversight, there should be strong measures to protect the samples and database from any external intrusion, and it should be an offence to misuse them, according to the paper.

                  In all court cases where it is sought to rely on DNA evidence alone, the jury should be warned of the dangers of convicting on this evidence without any supporting evidence, the LRC recommends.
                  \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

                  \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "The prison system, time and time again fails in changing people for the better or even not change them at all. "

                    This presupposes that the role of the prison system is reform. I argue that it is not. If it were, there would be no death penalty. The prison system is about revenge and punishment. Which is ironic, in that the prison system "punishes" inmates by doing their laundry for them, providing them with three meals a day, full (albeit time restricted) use of work out equipment and libraries, and access to cable TV.

                    About the lwayers and the game playing; that is one way to look at it, and in fact many lawyers DO lose site of the forest (the public good) for the trees (winning the case at hand). This by the way, is my biggest criticism of other lawyers. But before we both get hypocritical here, understand that a) the ethical requirement IS rigorous advocacy and not putting the guilty in jail (in other words, if the attorney doesn't make the arguments of the kind we are talking about here, the defendant could be sprung for, among other things, ineffective counsel) and b) we set this system up for failure. There is the premise of innocent until proven guilty, but with things like Miranda and the aforementioned advocacy requirements, we have implicitly agreed that it is better to have one guilty person go free than to have one innocent person imprisoned. We get what we ask for.

                    And there is the issue of dollars; I can't remember where I saw the stat, but whe I was living in Georgia about three years ago, there was a statistic about how it cost XX dollars a year to maintain one inmate in a Federal Penitentiary. My brother, a police officer in town, pointed to that and said "That is more than I make in a year". Talk about "WTF"?

                    Along those lines, there is the issue of overcrowding; most states are at or near capacity in their prisons. Meaning that without risking the wrath of the ACLU, many prisons can't take any more prisoners. Which leads to plea bargains (not to take the easy way out, but to cut losses) and early release programs. We CAN get these people off the streets, but are we willing to pay the $$ to do so (Building more prisons? Not In My Back Yard!) or the moral cost? I think not.

                    Finally, as to the issue of "fairness" and "justice" (to Mike's example on the guy who attempted to steal the whiskey), most (not all) crimes are set forth by statute (not by the constitution or by common law) at the state level. You do see a marked difference in the application of criminal statutes between states. In most cases where someone goes to jail on a third offense type sentencing, the legislature (not the lawyers, not the judges) have taken the discretion away. Another example of good intentions (the "Zero Tolerance" policy) paving the way to hell through the utter disregard of common sense.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good points, Bill.
                      So what are your feelings about prisons serving to reform instead of "punish?" Like you pointed out, how is it punishment when the clothes are washed, there's recreation, and free meals?
                      Do you think it would be better if prison were designed to change people for the better? I think it is futile in some cases. Hopefully not all cases.
                      \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                      Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Personally? I think the percentage of reformation is low, low, low. I think it is an unfortunate reality that the viewpoint going in to prison isn't usually "Thanks God, this is my chance to make things right", but is usually "I was f****d by The Man". Blaming someone or something else is not a recipe for changing one's ways.

                        Admittedly, my sample population is small (three ex-cons I know personally) and maybe two or three I know of anecdotally, but only one of the aforementioned will concede that he made a mistake and is thankful to have the experience behind him.

                        Flame on, but that is my opinion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          DNA conviction

                          Helena Kennedy argues against retention of DNA samples except from those people convicted of crimes (20 March, p 20). As a lawyer she should know that compared with the population as a whole, samples from people arrested but not charged, or else acquitted, will contain a disproportionate number of matches with DNA taken from subsequent crime scenes.

                          Her argument that retention could lead to people being convicted because of cross-contamination fails because the presence of DNA at a crime scene is not in itself proof - there must be other evidence too. At the same time, giving the police the ability to identify the person whose DNA is at a crime scene tremendously improves their chances of identifying suspects. This is a huge boon that Kennedy and some others in her profession would deprive society of.

                          Kennedy must be aware of the recent rape case in which the accused was implicated by DNA evidence that was subsequently ruled inadmissible because the prior sample from the accused "should not have been kept" after his acquittal for burglary. Whose civil liberty is Kennedy concerned with? The victim's? The relatives'?

                          In the real world people care about the effects of crime. The principle of "innocent until proved guilty" must continue to apply, but every DNA sample should be kept for the benefit of us all. Perhaps one day the existence of a database will even become a deterrent to potential criminals.

                          Richard Chandler
                          Caldicot, Gwent, UK
                          \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

                          \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

                          Comment

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