Friday, August 7, 2015

James Holmes Gets Life in Prison

I don't get this. James Holmes, the killer of 12 people in a Colorado theater, gets life in prison instead of the death penalty.

That's what happens when you legalize marijuana in Colorado.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

You have evidence that the jury was supplied with marijuana?

I didn't think so.

Personally, I think it better that he sit in a cell for the rest of his life contemplating all the damage he inflicted.

Maybe some of the jury did too.

elwood p suggins said...

It is a virtual certainty that he does not care about the damage he inflicted, is not really remorseful, and will probably contemplate only his navel.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

There are many years ahead of him elwood. Many years.

I recall a case of a woman who was falsely convicted of murder in New York. Released after several years, she said the first six years saved her life, because she HAD been immersed in drugs and prostitution and violent street life, and it took six years for her to get all that out of her system and put her mind to making something of herself.

By all available reports, Charles Manson hasn't changed a bit. But most of his acolytes have. One never really knows.

elwood p suggins said...

Siarlys--the significant majority of "jailhouse conversions" are as phony as a $3 bill. Since the known recidivism rate for felons is, I believe, about 67% or so, given unsolved crimes, etc., the actual rate is probably at least 80%, likely even higher. There are, of course, the very occasional apparent success stories although, for a fairly wide range of reasons, the odds are greatly against them.

And then you have the possibility of a soft-hearted/headed judge/court or governor getting in on the act. And do not forget the possibility, however remote, of escape, a la the "Texas 7", and, more recently, the two dudes who escaped in upstate NY. They did not actually kill again, but the one was apparently prepared to and got himself perforated (like the guy in Ferguson yesterday) for his efforts. Too bad in both instances.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

elwood, you are starting to foam at the mouth. You cite no source for your statistics, and it would be difficult to place confidence in any survey or research really covering the full universe of prisoners, recidivism, and improvements. I wouldn't say "conversion" because its not like shifting from one status to another, or one full belief system to another. There are many variables. Some of my best friends have been in prison, and few have returned. There are others (not personally known to me, although a couple of young men I know could be future candidates) who would never have killed innocent ten year old girls on a playground (caught in cross fire, the usual story) if they had received longer sentences for past crimes. It requires some very careful judgment of each individual case to get a sentence in the ballpark of what it should be.

There is one category I think execution is appropriate for, but I wouldn't call it a penalty. That would lead to the conundrum that set me laughing uncontrollably during an oral IQ test when I was in 4th grade: "You are going to be hanged, said the judge, and I hope it will teach you a lesson." The category I refer to is those who commit aggravated assault or homicide in prison, or, if we can hedge this with a lot of safeguards, those whose history, criminal record, most recent crime, and behavior since arrest, provide clear and convincing evidence that they probably will. (This step to follow after a verdict finding them guilty of homicide). As Gary undoubtedly knows, clear and convincing evidence is considerably more than mere preponderance, but not to stringent as "beyond a reasonable doubt." Hey, we won't even get to that point unless they've been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of committing the crime.