joefromchicago wrote: OCCOM BILL wrote:
I’m thinking if I were to write the Law and sentencing guidelines; Life without Parole would not exist. There would be a long list of aggravating factors to first degree murder/capital offense, as well as ways to promote second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, child molestation, first degree DV, to first degree murder/capital offenses, as well as a list of special circumstances to allow for deviation to lesser degrees. As much as possible; I’d like to see mandatory sentencing guidelines that left very little to the discretion of judges, juries or even prosecutors. All offenders who met the well defined criteria for first degree murder/capital offense would face the death penalty. No other penalty would exceed 20 years without enhancements.
I'm not sure how that would work. You've divided the universe of murderers into heinous and non-heinous (for the sake of simplicity we'll ignore other heinous crimes for the moment). You have said that you would sentence heinous murderers to death. Presumably, that means that non-heinous murderers would not get a capital sentence.
Now, however, you're saying that all first-degree murderers should be executed. But the dividing line between first-degree murder and something less (like second-degree murder or manslaughter) is not heinousness, it's premeditation. Saying that you would put all first-degree murderers to death isn't the same thing as saying that you would put all heinous murderers to death. Some heinous murders aren't premeditated, and some premeditated murders aren't heinous. So there's an inconsistency here, unless
you're saying that all
premeditated murders are, by virtue of that fact, heinous. Is that what you're saying? Or is there a class of murders that, because they are premeditated, would qualify as first-degree murder but would not merit the death penalty because they are non-heinous? And if there is such a class, are you suggesting that persons convicted of these crimes should be sentenced to no more than twenty years in prison, disregarding any sentence enhancements?
Still pretending you don't get it, eh Joe? WTF is so fun about that? On the outside chance you're inability to get it is real; I'll clarify further:
I previously wrote:
I’m thinking if I were to write the Law and sentencing guidelines; Life without Parole would not exist. There would be a long list of aggravating factors to first degree murder/capital offense.
This alters the meaning of "first degree" in the same way "felony murder" enhancements work in many states. For example’s sake only; here’s a list of aggravating factors from Alabama.
Example 1: Man shoots cashier while robbing a convenience store. The state need not prove he went into that store planning to kill the clerk. That he went in planning to rob the store and that he did indeed shoot the clerk is sufficient to move to first degree/capital offense. No premeditation of the actual murder is required to meet First Degree/Capital Offense standards in this scenario.
Example 2: Man accidentally kills child during commission of Child Molestation. The State need not prove premeditation of murder or even intent to commit murder to meet First Degree/Capital Offense standards in this scenario.
Example 3: Man beats his girlfriend to death during a fight. Man has a history of DV, or rape, kidnapping, etc. Even though the unplanned, “heat of the moment”, attack would fit the definition of voluntary manslaughter in a vacuum, the aggravating factor of his history of violence would promote this crime to First Degree/Capital Offense, again, without premeditation or intent being required.
I previously also wrote:
as well as a list of special circumstances to allow for deviation to lesser degrees.
Example 1: Man lays in wait, locked and loaded, for the man who raped his child to appear at his home, then proceeds to execute him on the spot. In a vacuum; the pre-meditation and obvious intent would serve the requirements for first degree murder. However; in consideration of the fact that the victim
had previously committed a heinous act against his child serves as a special circumstance, which in this case should demote this crime away from First Degree/Capital Offense to a second degree or voluntary manslaughter charge.
Example 2: Woman shoots husband in the head with a gun she’d recently purchased and hid in her nightstand. Husband comes home drunk and belligerent, behaving in the same manner he has many times before when he had committed marital rape, beatings etc. This time she decides to put a bullet in his head before he even gets a chance. Although she did hide that gun there to use against her husband in advance, and did intend to kill him when she put one between his eyes; the special circumstance of having good reason to believe she was in danger is sufficient to demote this otherwise premeditated, intentional homicide from First Degree/Capital Offense. Since she was not yet in imminent danger, and gave no warning at all, she’s obviously guilty of a crime; but not first degree murder.
In the two examples above; neither the crimes of man who kills his child’s rapist nor the woman who kills her abusive husband indicate the level of depraved indifference to the life and liberty of the innocent (heinousness)… which is clearly indicated in the three examples of murders with aggravating factors listed above them. Hence, the presumed threat of recidivism isn’t comparable.
He who kills for an understandable reason (even if not legally justifiable) is not the same threat as he who kills indiscriminately, preys on the innocent, or has a demonstrated history of violence.
And yes: I am saying those not convicted of First Degree/Capital Offenses should be sentenced to no more than twenty years in prison, disregarding any sentence enhancements. I do not believe that any meaningful rehabilitation begins in the 20th year of a prison sentence.