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Crime and Justice


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Poll: Crime and Justice

What punishment would you give John?

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#1 Icewolf

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 11:54 AM

So here is how this works. Please read the first scenario, and then vote on what punishment you would hand down. Then click the spoiler, read what is contained and follow its instructions. 

 

So you are the judge with the following case, and the facts are all proved, and the time has come for you to pass sentence. 

 

 

John lives on the ground floor of a two story building divided into two flats (apartments for you Americans). Above him lives a little old lady. His girlfriend Lucy recently broke up with him telling him he was a cowardly little man. He is desperate to prove her wrong. He decides that he will pour petrol on the floor of his flat and set it alight. He will then run outside, find a ladder, and rescue the little old lady living above, proving his bravery. He then plans to tell the police that it was his evil nemesis David. 

 

All goes to plan. The flats burn, and he rescues the Little Old lady, and the local media take his picture and label him a hero. 

 

Unfortunately for him he forgets about the CCTV. He is caught and is before you for sentencing. The Charge is Arson. Please pick a punishment from above. 
I'm not wanting to focus on the precise legal sentence. Imagine you have complete discretion. 

Spoiler


Edited by Icewolf, 04 April 2013 - 12:09 PM.


#2 commander thrawn

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:04 PM

In the first case he has arson and reckless endangerment not sure what the sentences are for that but I assume manslaughter and arson get a larger sentence.

#3 Icewolf

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:09 PM

In the first case he has arson and reckless endangerment not sure what the sentences are for that but I assume manslaughter and arson get a larger sentence.

I'm not wanting to focus on the precise legal sentence. Imagine you have complete discretion. 

The point is his actions in both cases are identical. Its just they have different results. Should they have different sentences. 



#4 Teddyyo

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:09 PM

I said 5-10 years, but was on the border between it and 4-5 years. First scenario, he's insane and sets fire to his building. Please do not let him near the public for awhile. Second one, he killed someone. And he's crazy. Life in an institution.

Not much sympathy for this guy here. He 1) has no restraint, 2) is more emotional than a teenage girl, and 3) is willing to purposefully mislead all around him with what appears to be no forethought or care/guilt about his crime being misinterpreted as a heroic act. Put him away.

edit: Back on the topic, though, intent is what matters to me; however, doing something that has a high possibility of !@#$@#$ up and killing somebody should come with consequences. It's kind of an awkward/grey area, because the intentions were good, but it was a !@#$% stupid thing to do. Simply punitive when nobody is hurt, because he needs to know that the !@#$ isn't okay. Punishments should be more when there is a victim, because the !@#$ actually ended up like it usually does and nobody is ignorant of what happens with gasoline and a lighter.

Edited by Teddyyo, 04 April 2013 - 12:16 PM.


#5 Icewolf

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:25 PM

I wouldn't say he had noble intentions the first time around-he wanted to show off to his girlfriend. 

And its not a real case so we don't know much about John. It has elements of a recent high profile case, but that is it. 



#6 Teddyyo

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:46 PM

I wouldn't say he had noble intentions the first time around-he wanted to show off to his girlfriend. 

And its not a real case so we don't know much about John. It has elements of a recent high profile case, but that is it. 


He at least wasn't intending to do it for a malicious purpose is what I meant.

#7 simon2269

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:03 PM

Went with 4-5 years in scenario 1.

 

For scenario 2 he should serve at least 10 years in prison which means it would be a 20 year plus sentence as he is likely to serve only half.

 

In scenario 2 it is not a matter of intent it is all about the resulting damage and he should serve a considerable prision sentance.

 

 



#8 Hereno

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 03:10 PM

I said 2-3 years. He shouldn't get off scot-free because he intentionally burned down someone else's place of living. Not only that, but his thinking is clearly "what the $%&@"-level dangerous for an adult. We don't want to give this guy probation.

 

With the changed scenario, I would up his sentence to 4-5 years. Normally, his good intentions would make the mistake just that - a mistake - and I don't think manslaughter should be a crime if it's honestly done completely accidentally. But that the mistake happened when he was intentionally burning down someone's house makes it his fault, although I'll readily admit that I am mainly dishing out the slightly higher sentence not because it will do John any good or help rehabilitate him more, but mainly out of "you killed someone by being an idiot and should be punished for it".

 

Ideally, he would spend his imprisonment doing forced labor with the value of that labor going to the family of the old lady who was killed (or the old lady herself, in the original scenario), as a way to give restitution to them for his idiocy.



#9 Golan 1st

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 04:01 PM

 

I'm not wanting to focus on the precise legal sentence. Imagine you have complete discretion. 

The point is his actions in both cases are identical. Its just they have different results. Should they have different sentences.

But from your description it appears that his actions are not identical and in the second case he poured more petrol ("too much").
This makes a difference.
Regarding intentions, while they matter, it also matters what the reasonably possible outcome of your actions are and you must consider them (for example, if you shoot somebody to injure him, and he dies, you cannot be excused just because your intention was different).
In this case, the possibility of the fire getting out of control is not too unlikely to consider.

#10 Icewolf

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 01:19 AM

I'm not actually suggesting that a lack of intent in a case of recklessness is an excuse. I'm suggesting that the former case is as serious as the latter case, not that the latter case is less serious....if that makes sense (it did in my head-shhhhhh). 

 

If his reckless actions result in the death of a person is worth 10 years, then why would reckless endangerment of a persons life be worth only 5?



#11 the rebel

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:46 AM

4-5 years in the first, because even without the CCTV footage between the police and fire service it would be found the flat wasn't broken into and how/where the fire started and what caused it. So the arson has malicious intent due to being in a flat in which someone could have died in a neighbouring one.

 

10-20 years in the second, same as above but offense moves from arson to manslaughter.

 

 

Can't help but feel this topic subject comes about from the news where the man and woman with the help of a friend who ended up killing their 6 children through planned fire to frame mistress who ran away.



#12 Freddy

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:25 AM

Intentions matter, almost as much as the results. He intended to committ arson. He didn't intend to kill, but a reasonable person would know their actions may kill the old lady. In the case he failed to rescue her, he would need to prove he intended to save her life.

In most cases, arsonists are charged with murder when their fires kill. Often drunk drivers are charged with murder when they kill behind the wheel. If your actions may reasonably result in death, chances are you may face murder charges.

My sentence for John: 10 years chemical castration, so he will stop doing stupid things for sex (love).

#13 juslen

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:45 AM

Fine him.



#14 Icewolf

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:04 AM

4-5 years in the first, because even without the CCTV footage between the police and fire service it would be found the flat wasn't broken into and how/where the fire started and what caused it. So the arson has malicious intent due to being in a flat in which someone could have died in a neighbouring one.

 

10-20 years in the second, same as above but offense moves from arson to manslaughter.

Typical method of Arson involves pouring fuel through a letter box, so not necassarily. 

Can't help but feel this topic subject comes about from the news where the man and woman with the help of a friend who ended up killing their 6 children through planned fire to frame mistress who ran away.

No...not at all  :rolleyes:

 

Fine him.

And if he has no money?



#15 juslen

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:19 AM

Typical method of Arson involves pouring fuel through a letter box, so not necassarily. 

No...not at all  :rolleyes:

 

And if he has no money?

 

 

It depends on the system that is in place. Throwing people in prison and forcing people like me to pay for them isn't much of a solution either.



#16 Methrage

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:15 PM

I'm not actually suggesting that a lack of intent in a case of recklessness is an excuse. I'm suggesting that the former case is as serious as the latter case, not that the latter case is less serious....if that makes sense (it did in my head-shhhhhh). 

 

If his reckless actions result in the death of a person is worth 10 years, then why would reckless endangerment of a persons life be worth only 5?

Because results matter. In the first scenario, he's obviously an idiot and deserves some punishment. If his actions end up killing someone, then he is even more of an idiot and deserves harsher punishment, People do a lot of stupid stuff, which if they are unlucky could result in someone dying and if luck is on their side nobody dies. We don't treat their actions as killing somebody if nobody dies.

 

In the first scenario, I think it should be possible for him to pay restitution and not serve prison time (if he can afford it and the victim agrees), but you can't pay restitution to a dead person.



#17 Helbrecht

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:42 PM

Case 1 : awarded him 6 months.

Case 2: Guess it would have to be life in an institution for the criminally insane. If the institution certifies him cured... then shift him to a prison to serve out the rest of his sentence.



#18 Boyle

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:49 PM

And if he has no money?

Send him to Australia.

Anyway, I said 10-20 for the first case and 20+ for the second. No matter how you slice this, he was intending to endanger the woman's life and knew it -- end of discussion. Without that risk he would be unable to garner positive attention for this. Doing it for attention is a great symbol for sociopathy, and society doesn't really need more people like that. Plus, John is clearly unstable and presents a clear and present danger to himself and those around him.

Ideally, I'd get John psychoanalyzed and, if possible, rehabilitated. If rehabilitation is not possible, I'd remove him from society for as long as I could so that he presents less of a danger to those around him.

#19 commander thrawn

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:07 AM

I would say 5-20 years in the first case, 20-life in the second case.



#20 Icewolf

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:14 AM

I'm curious to know why people think results matter so much. I mean, if I try my very hardest to kill you and fail, that is attempted murder. If I succeed it is murder. Is there a particular difference in the punishment I should receive then?

 

 

As Rebel already noticed this is slightly taken from the Phillpott case, in which a person set fire to his house as a part of a custody dispute and killed six of his children in doing so (yes seriously..at some point they sat down and thought a solution to a custody dispute was to burn down his house). He got a life sentence. Had his plan worked and he had rescued his children I would still have support a life sentence in that case because he set his house on fire with his children inside it. 

 

In this case in the first instance he still set a building onfire with a person inside of it. How does the end result of that make him more or less culpable?


Edited by Icewolf, 07 April 2013 - 04:15 AM.





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