ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Social Issues & Current Events
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 2nd April 2019, 02:42 PM   #1
LTC8K6
Penultimate Amazing
 
LTC8K6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Directly under a deadly chemtrail
Posts: 21,414
Letting "minor" crimes go unpunished / calling felonies misdemeanors.

Wondering about the trend of letting minor crimes go unpunished, or reducing what used to be a felony, to a misdemeanor

I think it is a bad idea and a disturbing trend.

What do you all think?

Is this really a trend? Is it good or bad?

The new Suffolk County Mass DA has released a list of crimes not to be prosecuted, for example:

https://rollins4da.com/policy/charges-to-be-declined/
__________________
What a fool believes, no wise man has the power to reason away. What seems to be, is always better than nothing.

2 prints, same midtarsal crock..., I mean break?
LTC8K6 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 03:20 PM   #2
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 26,561
Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Wondering about the trend of letting minor crimes go unpunished, or reducing what used to be a felony, to a misdemeanor

I think it is a bad idea and a disturbing trend.

It's neither a bad idea nor a trend.

First of all, plea bargaining is an entrenched part of our criminal justice system. It has to be. There's simply not enough time or money to prosecute every crime. I don't know of a time in US history when it wasn't the norm.

Every DA has to pick and choose which cases to expend resources on. Based on the prevailing public beliefs at the time, this might mean letting up on minor drug offenses or seriously cracking down (pun intended). Of course, this also extends to public trends like racism - where black defendants are prosecuted much more vigorously than white people accused of the same crime (or, worse, where innocent minority defendants are railroaded where police would have done a better investigation if the initial suspect had been white).

The question isn't whether the DA should decline prosecution of some crimes. The question is whether the DA is declining or pursuing prosecution for good public policy reasons, and not something like racism. There's also a good argument to be made that these types of decisions shouldn't vary so much by region, or even by county. Prosecution for possession of a quarter-ounce of marijuana can range from none at all to exceedingly harsh within the space of a hundred feet.



Quote:
The new Suffolk County Mass DA has released a list of crimes not to be prosecuted, for example:

https://rollins4da.com/policy/charges-to-be-declined/

It's important to note that the DA here has not stated that certain things will just be de facto legal. Instead, some crimes will be sent to criminal and civil diversion programs. Others on the list will be prosecuted until a supervisory ADA makes a determination. I think the webpage is very badly designed, lumping some things where prosecution will generally be declined with others where prosecution may sometimes be declined with some things where diversion courts may be available. A drug possession charge may get sent to a diversion program where the defendant may have to complete drug education and submit to random tests for a period of time - and only those passing the program will have charges dropped.

The whole webpage is really a mess. In any case, it's the kind of policy that could change without notice overnight.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 03:49 PM   #3
bytewizard
Master Poster
 
bytewizard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: In the woods
Posts: 2,023
I have tomorrow all planned out now. I'll wake my 18 year old son around 2 a.m. We'll hop in my car but he will drive because his license is suspended. I'll be sure to have a cold 12 pack in the back seat, and a kilo of methamphetamine in the trunk, along with a boom box. My son will then drop me off at the nearest 7-11, then he will cruise the neighborhood while continually blasting his car horn, seeking out a vacant home for us both to occupy later. Meanwhile, I will first enter the 7-11 and visibly shoplift $249.99 worth of liquor and candy, then calmly walk out and await a call from my son.

Once he has broken into a comfy, unoccupied home, he will provide directions to me. I will walk to the home blasting my boom box along the way. Once we are both in the house, and after some drinking, drugging, singing and dancing, we will wantonly destroy at least the kitchen and bathroom and possibly a master bedroom.

Surely a neighbor will hear the ruckus. If the neighbor comes over to check things out, I'll just threaten him in a non-domestic violence kind of way until he calls the cops.

When the cops arrive, I will refuse to come out of the house. Instead I will invite them in to party on down with us. If they try to arrest us, **** them! I will resist.

Even if they do arrest us, we will be kicked loose without any charges whatsoever. What a great place to live!
bytewizard is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 03:53 PM   #4
Bob001
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,866
Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Wondering about the trend of letting minor crimes go unpunished, or reducing what used to be a felony, to a misdemeanor

I think it is a bad idea and a disturbing trend.

What do you all think?

Is this really a trend? Is it good or bad?

The new Suffolk County Mass DA has released a list of crimes not to be prosecuted, for example:

https://rollins4da.com/policy/charges-to-be-declined/

Note that the alternatives to prosecution include:
Quote:
(2) where appropriate, diverted and treated as a civil infraction for which community service is satisfactory, restitution is satisfactory or engagement with appropriate community-based no-cost programming, job training or schooling is satisfactory.
So minor transgressions are punished and corrected without giving somebody a criminal record or burdening the criminal justice system. Sounds to me like a good idea. It also reduces the incentive cops might have to arrest people on questionable charges in the first place. Not every arrest should result in prosecution, let alone conviction.
Bob001 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 03:56 PM   #5
Bob001
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,866
Originally Posted by bytewizard View Post
.....
Even if they do arrest us, we will be kicked loose without any charges whatsoever. What a great place to live!
You didn't read carefully. They can still prosecute for all those things; they just need a supervisor to sign off. Let's see if somebody would like to make an example of you.
Bob001 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:01 PM   #6
Arcade22
Philosopher
 
Arcade22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 5,498
Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Wondering about the trend of letting minor crimes go unpunished, or reducing what used to be a felony, to a misdemeanor

I think it is a bad idea and a disturbing trend.
Why don't you start by explaining why you think it's a bad idea and a disturbing trend?

As far as I'm concerned it should definitively not be up to police and public prosecutors to determine whether someone shouldn't be punished for a crime. We have legislators determine whether something should be a crime and we have judges (potentially with juries) determine whether or not someone is guilty of any such crime and what, if anything, they should be sentenced to.

Ideally if public prosecutors are convinced of a suspects guilt and that there's enough evidence to secure a conviction then they should be obligated to file charges and prosecute them. It's as simple as that. I can very well see it reasonable to not sanction someone for a crime, but it shouldn't be up to the prosecutors.

Edit: at most it could be possible to allow people who confess to a petty crime to be summarily convicted and thus avoid a trial. That's how it works in Sweden: if you are accused of a petty crime that would only warrant a fine then the prosecutor can (and often does) offer the accused a "summary imposition of a fine". Formally speaking you are still considered to have been convicted and this will appear in your criminal records.
__________________
We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms. Only in superstition is there hope. - Kurt Vonnegut Jr

Last edited by Arcade22; 2nd April 2019 at 04:08 PM.
Arcade22 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:01 PM   #7
Mumbles
Philosopher
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7,120
Worth note: Roxbury (where I grew up) and Dorchester are the "black" parts of Boston/Suffolk County. "Resisting Arrest", in particular, is often used alone to hem people up in these neighborhoods without reason - or rather for people who ask "what's this about, officer?" in the midst of aggressive questioning. "Trespassing" often means "was found in a lot that's been empty for decades, and owned either by someone who burned their place down in the 80s or was taken over by the city" or "homeless person found in a church that allows people to sleep in if it's too cold out." "Drug" anything is often one joint. "Disorderly conduct" and "disturbing the Peace" is often used to arrest a group of guys talking outside or in a lobby (because it's hot out, and they don't want to pack into a small apartment).

In other words, these are essentially meant to fix some of the issues related to "overpolicing", where police, even those assigned to "white" areas, will swarm the "black" areas in an effort to find people they can arrest. As the net worth of the average black person in Boston last I checked was $8 (nope, I meant that - eight), they essentially have no chance of hiring a lawyer, thus they take a plea deal, both clogging prisons and making it even more difficult to find employment. As such, I fully support this, and hope it expands to other areas (regardless of race of the person arrested).
Mumbles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:37 PM   #8
LTC8K6
Penultimate Amazing
 
LTC8K6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Directly under a deadly chemtrail
Posts: 21,414
I guess time will tell what the result will be of letting these things go.

The police are likely not even going to bother with crimes on the list, knowing it's likely going nowhere.

People probably will eventually stop calling the police, if the trend is to let the crimes go.

But I guess we will see.
__________________
What a fool believes, no wise man has the power to reason away. What seems to be, is always better than nothing.

2 prints, same midtarsal crock..., I mean break?
LTC8K6 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:44 PM   #9
Puppycow
Penultimate Amazing
 
Puppycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 23,736
Originally Posted by bytewizard View Post
I have tomorrow all planned out now. I'll wake my 18 year old son around 2 a.m. We'll hop in my car but he will drive because his license is suspended. I'll be sure to have a cold 12 pack in the back seat, and a kilo of methamphetamine in the trunk, along with a boom box. My son will then drop me off at the nearest 7-11, then he will cruise the neighborhood while continually blasting his car horn, seeking out a vacant home for us both to occupy later. Meanwhile, I will first enter the 7-11 and visibly shoplift $249.99 worth of liquor and candy, then calmly walk out and await a call from my son.

Once he has broken into a comfy, unoccupied home, he will provide directions to me. I will walk to the home blasting my boom box along the way. Once we are both in the house, and after some drinking, drugging, singing and dancing, we will wantonly destroy at least the kitchen and bathroom and possibly a master bedroom.

Surely a neighbor will hear the ruckus. If the neighbor comes over to check things out, I'll just threaten him in a non-domestic violence kind of way until he calls the cops.

When the cops arrive, I will refuse to come out of the house. Instead I will invite them in to party on down with us. If they try to arrest us, **** them! I will resist.

Even if they do arrest us, we will be kicked loose without any charges whatsoever. What a great place to live!
I like your idea, but it's important to read carefully. The page doesn't say they will never prosecute these cases. If a supervisor gives approval, they may prosecute, so you'd be relying on them to not approve it, whereas it is totally within their power to prosecute you if they decide they want to.
__________________
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
Puppycow is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:52 PM   #10
Giz
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,497
Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I like your idea, but it's important to read carefully. The page doesn't say they will never prosecute these cases. If a supervisor gives approval, they may prosecute, so you'd be relying on them to not approve it, whereas it is totally within their power to prosecute you if they decide they want to.
That’s even worse. Arbitrary power is bad power.
Giz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:54 PM   #11
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 37,124
Originally Posted by Giz View Post
That’s even worse. Arbitrary power is bad power.
Discretionary power.
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:56 PM   #12
rockinkt
Graduate Poster
 
rockinkt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,351
"Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

― Alexander Pope
__________________
"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." Steve Earle

"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Townes Van Zandt
rockinkt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:57 PM   #13
mgidm86
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,609
A San Francisco cop I know explained it like this...

This is sometimes done to help a city that has a lot of crime. It lowers their crime statistics so they look like they are improving. Often the crimes on the list are selected to improve the stats for minority crimes. This can result in more money and less political pressure for the city.

The cop says he was told to let certain crimes go and he is not happy about it.

Not sure how I can prove this here but I saw it with my own eyes...I was told this when I asked why the people who attacked, beat (injured) and robbed a woman I know were not prosecuted. "It isn't politically prudent for some cities to prosecute certain people for certain crimes."

The girl who was attacked and a passerby, another woman, were able to detain one of the SIX attackers but the cop let them go. My friend had a concussion, no broken jaw thankfully (was x-rayed), and her purse was stolen.

The cop who let them go said, "looked like an even fight when I arrived" That is a direct quote. The cop was a woman. She let the one perp walk away right at the scene. The attackers were black men and women who kicked her on the ground until unconscious. My 95 pound friend feels reeeeal safe coming out of a club in San Jose now.

Some of the crimes on the list in the OP are sensible, others not so much.

Another reason is that the cities can't afford enough cops. This is the case in San Jose, CA where the substation in the south of the city was closed down. This is also why police in this city will not respond to burglar alarms without corroborating evidence.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2011/12/...larm-response/

Quote:
Starting Sunday, San Jose police will respond to residential and commercial alarms only if someone can verify that an apparent break-in may be happening or has already occurred. Police say the new “verified response” strategy will ensure that in a department shrunken by budget cuts, officers aren’t wasting time chasing thousands of false alarms.

But notice of the policy change has left some people concerned that their safety will be compromised.
First hilite suggest that we the people are now supposed to do some of the policing. "Not sure if he's armed, let me get a closer look...ya he is he just shot me, come on over"

I could see responding to residential alarms being a problem, many of which are cheap and probably give a lot of false positives. So why buy an alarm system? The burglar knows if nobody is home no cops will come.

For a state that supposedly has a gigantic surplus of cash we sure run out of it a lot. Go figure.

tl:dr
It is not politically prudent for cities to prosecute certain people for certain crimes. Also cities don't want to spend money on law enforcement.
__________________
Franklin understands certain kickbacks you obtain unfairly are legal liabilities; however, a risky deed's almost never detrimental despite extra external pressures.

Last edited by mgidm86; 2nd April 2019 at 05:01 PM.
mgidm86 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 04:57 PM   #14
rockinkt
Graduate Poster
 
rockinkt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,351
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Discretionary power.
Discretion is arbitrary as no human is devoid of emotion or prejudice.
__________________
"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." Steve Earle

"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Townes Van Zandt
rockinkt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 05:00 PM   #15
Arcade22
Philosopher
 
Arcade22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 5,498
Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
Worth note: Roxbury (where I grew up) and Dorchester are the "black" parts of Boston/Suffolk County. "Resisting Arrest", in particular, is often used alone to hem people up in these neighborhoods without reason - or rather for people who ask "what's this about, officer?" in the midst of aggressive questioning. "Trespassing" often means "was found in a lot that's been empty for decades, and owned either by someone who burned their place down in the 80s or was taken over by the city" or "homeless person found in a church that allows people to sleep in if it's too cold out." "Drug" anything is often one joint. "Disorderly conduct" and "disturbing the Peace" is often used to arrest a group of guys talking outside or in a lobby (because it's hot out, and they don't want to pack into a small apartment).

In other words, these are essentially meant to fix some of the issues related to "overpolicing", where police, even those assigned to "white" areas, will swarm the "black" areas in an effort to find people they can arrest. As the net worth of the average black person in Boston last I checked was $8 (nope, I meant that - eight), they essentially have no chance of hiring a lawyer, thus they take a plea deal, both clogging prisons and making it even more difficult to find employment. As such, I fully support this, and hope it expands to other areas (regardless of race of the person arrested).
That makes it seem like a more pragmatic and reasonable policy, all things considered. In general though it seems that the bar for being arrested should be far higher in much of the US.
__________________
We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms. Only in superstition is there hope. - Kurt Vonnegut Jr
Arcade22 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 05:23 PM   #16
Mumbles
Philosopher
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7,120
Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
That makes it seem like a more pragmatic and reasonable policy, all things considered. In general though it seems that the bar for being arrested should be far higher in much of the US.
One problem is that, for many things, they're just stating the name of the crime. "Drug possession" can mean "less than 1oz of weed", or "a large amount of heroin" The former is fine, the latter is likely a dealer. "Shoplifting under under $250" is just the name of the crime - could be Beats by Dre headphones, could be diapers that the person needs for their baby but can't afford. Charge the former, help the latter.

One example - I knew a guy that was sitting on his friend's porch (well, technically the friend's mother's porch), with his friend, talking in summer (Older Boston-area housing almost never have central AC, so they can get miserably hot in summer), when a cop just ran up and started screaming about how they were criminals, they'd better leave, etc. The friend explained that he lived there, and the guy started to explain that they were together just talking.

Nope, cop grabbed him, slammed him on the ground, put his knee on his neck while yelling at him to "stop moving", and eventually put him in handcuffs and hauled him off. The guy was charged with "trespassing" and "resisting arrest". Luckily, the friend, the friend's mother, *and* the guy's mother all showed up and argued that this was nonsense, so he was released and charges were dropped.

ETA: I should note that this was in Cambridge, which borders Suffolk County, but the police tend to get the same training, have the same attitudes, etc. You may remember that this is where they arrested Prof. Gates and charged him with a crime that the state supreme court had repeatedly ruled unconstitutional.

Last edited by Mumbles; 2nd April 2019 at 05:44 PM.
Mumbles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 06:24 PM   #17
Puppycow
Penultimate Amazing
 
Puppycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 23,736
Originally Posted by Giz View Post
That’s even worse. Arbitrary power is bad power.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Discretionary power.
Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Discretion is arbitrary as no human is devoid of emotion or prejudice.
Prosecutorial discretion is not a new concept though. There's not enough jail cells to prosecute every single crime to the fullest possible extent, nor would such a policy necessarily be desirable even if there were.
__________________
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
Puppycow is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 07:42 PM   #18
Bob001
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,866
Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Discretion is arbitrary as no human is devoid of emotion or prejudice.
Is it your impression that every crime results in an arrest, and every arrest is accompanied by indisputable evidence that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? Cops decide who to arrest and for what reason, and prosecutors decide whether a case should be pursued. What do you think should be the alternative?
Bob001 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 10:23 PM   #19
smartcooky
Penultimate Amazing
 
smartcooky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 12,351
Almost all major criminals start off as minor criminals who are able to avoid being caught. They become emboldened by the lack of consequences for their actions, and so they push harder and commit worse and worse crimes.

Now, we aren't even going to TRY to prosecute minor criminals... that will embolden them even more. They will learn that, not only are they able to avoid the consequences of their actions, but that no-one is even interested in visiting those consequences on them even if they are caught.

As sure as night follows day, this idea will only make a bad situation worse and we'll end up with a number of major criminals.
__________________
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore - if they're white!"
If you don't like my posts, my opinions, or my directness then put me on your ignore list.
This will be of benefit to both of us; you won't have to take umbrage at my posts, and I won't have to waste my time talking to you... simples! !

Last edited by smartcooky; 2nd April 2019 at 10:41 PM.
smartcooky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 10:28 PM   #20
smartcooky
Penultimate Amazing
 
smartcooky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 12,351
Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Prosecutorial discretion is not a new concept though. There's not enough jail cells to prosecute every single crime to the fullest possible extent, nor would such a policy necessarily be desirable even if there were.

Who needs jail cells? Electronic ankle bracelets are cheap and reusable.

Restrict minor, non-violent criminals to their homes with electronic ankle bracelets.... means the state doesn't have to house and feed them.
__________________
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore - if they're white!"
If you don't like my posts, my opinions, or my directness then put me on your ignore list.
This will be of benefit to both of us; you won't have to take umbrage at my posts, and I won't have to waste my time talking to you... simples! !

Last edited by smartcooky; 2nd April 2019 at 10:40 PM.
smartcooky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd April 2019, 11:11 PM   #21
BobTheCoward
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 17,430
Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Almost all major criminals start off as minor criminals who are able to avoid being caught. They become emboldened by the lack of consequences for their actions, and so they push harder and commit worse and worse crimes.
Prove it
BobTheCoward is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 04:52 AM   #22
Arcade22
Philosopher
 
Arcade22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 5,498
Meanwhile, in the UK...

Quote:
Offenders should no longer be given sentences of under a year to ease the “enduring” prison safety crisis in England Wales, MPs have said in a damning report.

The justice secretary, David Gauke, is already looking at the possibility of scrapping jail terms of six months or less, with exceptions made for violent and sexual offences.

The move is backed in a report from the justice select committee, chaired by the Conservative MP Bob Neill.

Neill said: “Throwing money at the prison system to tackle multiple issues takes funding away from external rehabilitative programmes that could stem or reverse many of the problems.”

The report said: “We need a serious open public debate about the criminal justice system, the role of prison and its affordability. We are pleased that the justice secretary and prisons minister have acknowledged this but regardless of the political climate it cannot just be a long-term aspiration.

“There must be greater transparency so that everyone can understand the true costs and challenging nature of decisions which need to be made about public spending on prisons and other aspects of criminal justice.

...

Plans are already in place in Scotland to introduce a “presumption” against custodial terms of less than a year.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/...crisis-say-mps

Note that this is already the case in Sweden. In general, for most criminal acts that are judged to merit less than 1 year in prison, there's a presumption of a being sentenced to some other form of punishment than prison. There are exceptions to this rule in that for some offences (such as assault, as opposed to petty assault) there's a presumption of imprisonment, but also such as when the convicted person is a repeat offender or when they refuse to pay a dayfine.

A dayfine is considered an alternative to prison and in general cannot be combined to with imprisonment, with the amount to be paid calculated based on the severity of the crime (as determined by the length of imprisonment) multiplied by portion of the convicted persons income and/or wealth. This means that rich people don't end up paying what's, to them at least, a relatively tiny amount of money.

Nonetheless about 75% of prison sentences are only 1 year long or less, mainly because most people who are convicted are repeat offenders of less serious crimes.
__________________
We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms. Only in superstition is there hope. - Kurt Vonnegut Jr

Last edited by Arcade22; 3rd April 2019 at 05:02 AM.
Arcade22 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 05:00 AM   #23
Arcade22
Philosopher
 
Arcade22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 5,498
Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Almost all major criminals start off as minor criminals who are able to avoid being caught. They become emboldened by the lack of consequences for their actions, and so they push harder and commit worse and worse crimes.
Actually the people who are convicted of petty crimes have a tendency to continue to commit more petty crimes.

The idea that prison, community service or some other type of criminal sanction is a great way to have criminal youth and young adults "scared straight" isn't empirically supported. It will work for some, but in many cases they will persist mainly because the factors that contribute to their criminal behavior are still present. In fact prison can be a great place for youth and young adults to get connections with more established criminals and move deeper in criminal subcultures.
__________________
We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms. Only in superstition is there hope. - Kurt Vonnegut Jr

Last edited by Arcade22; 3rd April 2019 at 05:02 AM.
Arcade22 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 05:20 AM   #24
Tony99
Muse
 
Tony99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Austin
Posts: 812
Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
The new Suffolk County Mass DA has released a list of crimes not to be prosecuted, for example:

https://rollins4da.com/policy/charges-to-be-declined/
It's a start.
Tony99 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 07:45 AM   #25
Information Analyst
Philosopher
 
Information Analyst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Besźel or Ul Qoma - not sure...
Posts: 9,663
Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
That makes it seem like a more pragmatic and reasonable policy, all things considered. In general though it seems that the bar for being arrested should be far higher in much of the US.
It's ironic that on the handful of occasions a year that someone in the UK is arrested pending investigation of whether what they claimed was self defence really was, Americans who seem liable to be arrested simply for coughing within ten feet of a police officer get the most outraged.
Information Analyst is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 08:57 AM   #26
William Parcher
Show me the monkey!
 
William Parcher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 23,122
Not so minor...

Waco Texas biker shooting: Prosecutors drop all charges in deadly shootout

Originally Posted by NBC News
No one will be convicted or otherwise held accountable for the 2015 shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco restaurant parking lot that left nine people dead and at least 20 injured, prosecutors in Central Texas said Tuesday.

In a statement announcing all charges will be dropped in the deadliest biker shooting in U.S. history, McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson said any further effort to prosecute the case would be a "waste of time, effort and resources."

"In my opinion, had this action been taken in a timely manner, it would have, and should have, resulted in numerous convictions and prison sentences against many of those who participated in the Twin Peaks brawl," Johnson said. "Over the next three years the prior district attorney failed to take that action, for reasons that I do not know to this day."...
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...ootout-n990341
__________________
Bigfoot believers and Bigfoot skeptics are both plumb crazy. Each spends more than one minute per year thinking about Bigfoot.
William Parcher is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 09:04 AM   #27
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: central Illinois
Posts: 39,699
Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
Wondering about the trend of letting minor crimes go unpunished, or reducing what used to be a felony, to a misdemeanor

I think it is a bad idea and a disturbing trend.

What do you all think?

Is this really a trend? Is it good or bad?

The new Suffolk County Mass DA has released a list of crimes not to be prosecuted, for example:

https://rollins4da.com/policy/charges-to-be-declined/
Well considering that those with resources and family who can support them take pleas and stall the case to get better sentences it isn't really anything new.
Just more open that usual.

The privilege of money is very strong in our system, there are people who sexually perpetrate on their own family and get court supervision that goes away once they complete their conditions.

Much less the more garden variety 'this privileged youth gets community services, this not privileged youth is a monster'.

Now I do have to say I am surprised that

'Shoplifting (including offenses that are essentially shoplifting but charged as larceny)' and ' including operating with a suspend or revoked license' are listed.

But the shoplifting may be a for less than a certain dollar amount, now the driving charges are odd to me in Illinois that is usually as a consequence of repeated drunk driving
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar

Last edited by Dancing David; 3rd April 2019 at 09:20 AM.
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 11:51 AM   #28
smartcooky
Penultimate Amazing
 
smartcooky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 12,351
Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
Actually the people who are convicted of petty crimes have a tendency to continue to commit more petty crimes.

The idea that prison, community service or some other type of criminal sanction is a great way to have criminal youth and young adults "scared straight" isn't empirically supported. It will work for some, but in many cases they will persist mainly because the factors that contribute to their criminal behavior are still present. In fact prison can be a great place for youth and young adults to get connections with more established criminals and move deeper in criminal subcultures.
Which is why I advocate NOT putting them in prison (I thought I made that clear) but instead I advocate detention at home, using electronic tagging to curtail their freedom. I'll give you an example;

Three young offenders are caught and convicted after an aggravated robbery of a liquor store. They are generally good kids but have been caught up associating with some bad people. Its a scenario that is very common in society these days. They are each convicted to three years home detention. Included in the sentence are the following conditions.

1. They are electronically tagged with GPS bracelets.
2. If they have jobs and/or are attending an educational institution, their GPS tags allow them to travel between work, school and home only.
3. Their mobile phones are confiscated for the whole of the sentence (the GPS tags can detect the immediate presence of a mobile phone).
4. If they have a landline, they are not allowed to use it (exceptions may be allowed for official/work/school purposes).
5. All their social media accounts are suspended for the whole of the sentence (and no access to the internet is allowed).
6. A breach of conditions of sentence can automatically add time to their sentence -
1st breach - warning (final).
2nd breach - three months.
3rd breach - six months.
4th and all subsequent breaches - nine months on every occasion.
The purpose here is to inflict on them all the loss of freedom and loss of privileges that sending them to prison will inflict on them without removing them from the people that can help them to get through it. Conditions can be altered to suit individuals, for example, if home is an abusive place and the judge thinks that detention in a group home, or with relative (if willing) might be a better environment, he can order that.

This might not work well for every offender, but it could certainly be used as a basis for punishment that is far better than sending a young kid to a prison where they will end up going to Crime University and becoming a financial burden on the state; Instead, they are isolated from the their associates and other criminals, and become the responsibility of their families and people who care about them. A potential criminal is far more likely to be put on a straight path at home than behind iron bars.
__________________
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore - if they're white!"
If you don't like my posts, my opinions, or my directness then put me on your ignore list.
This will be of benefit to both of us; you won't have to take umbrage at my posts, and I won't have to waste my time talking to you... simples! !
smartcooky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 12:11 PM   #29
Mumbles
Philosopher
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7,120
Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
Actually the people who are convicted of petty crimes have a tendency to continue to commit more petty crimes.
Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Even if it were true that most people involved in large-scale crime began with petty crime, it does not follow that most people involved in petty crime proceed to major crime. And I certainly don't see how pushing anyone caught in petty crime to the fringes of society would help anybody out.

(note - I would not consider armed robbery to be "petty")
Mumbles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 12:21 PM   #30
William Parcher
Show me the monkey!
 
William Parcher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 23,122
Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
1st breach - warning (final).
2nd breach - three months.
3rd breach - six months.
4th and all subsequent breaches - nine months on every occasion.
These are increasing sentences for wearing the monitor bracelet, right? None of this is prison, right? They won't ever be sent to prison for violating their sentence, right? Because there isn't enough room in prison and nobody wants the tax burden anyway, right?

Well, if so, you would have a lot of these convicted (petty) criminals cutting off their monitor bracelets over and over and over. Hundreds of times. Why? Because they will never be sent to prison and it isn't that difficult to cut off the device.
__________________
Bigfoot believers and Bigfoot skeptics are both plumb crazy. Each spends more than one minute per year thinking about Bigfoot.
William Parcher is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 12:23 PM   #31
Mumbles
Philosopher
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7,120
Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
But the shoplifting may be a for less than a certain dollar amount, now the driving charges are odd to me in Illinois that is usually as a consequence of repeated drunk driving
In Roxbury/Dorchester, it used to mean either "illegal immigrant" (though they may let them get a license now) or "can't afford the fees but has an under the table job that requires a car". I'll agree, though, that where I live now, it's usually a repeat drunk driver (or a DUI that injured someone). Most likely, the plan is to check for repeat DUIs, and throw the book at anyone who does have that.
Mumbles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 12:44 PM   #32
sadhatter
Philosopher
 
sadhatter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 8,694
Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
One problem is that, for many things, they're just stating the name of the crime. "Drug possession" can mean "less than 1oz of weed", or "a large amount of heroin" The former is fine, the latter is likely a dealer. "Shoplifting under under $250" is just the name of the crime - could be Beats by Dre headphones, could be diapers that the person needs for their baby but can't afford. Charge the former, help the latter.

One example - I knew a guy that was sitting on his friend's porch (well, technically the friend's mother's porch), with his friend, talking in summer (Older Boston-area housing almost never have central AC, so they can get miserably hot in summer), when a cop just ran up and started screaming about how they were criminals, they'd better leave, etc. The friend explained that he lived there, and the guy started to explain that they were together just talking.

Nope, cop grabbed him, slammed him on the ground, put his knee on his neck while yelling at him to "stop moving", and eventually put him in handcuffs and hauled him off. The guy was charged with "trespassing" and "resisting arrest". Luckily, the friend, the friend's mother, *and* the guy's mother all showed up and argued that this was nonsense, so he was released and charges were dropped.

ETA: I should note that this was in Cambridge, which borders Suffolk County, but the police tend to get the same training, have the same attitudes, etc. You may remember that this is where they arrested Prof. Gates and charged him with a crime that the state supreme court had repeatedly ruled unconstitutional.
You almost stayed to make a point, then comes the rambling " pigs is bad" rant for the rest of the post.

"Cops suck" isn't some get out of logic free card, neither is hardship.
sadhatter is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 04:20 PM   #33
smartcooky
Penultimate Amazing
 
smartcooky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 12,351
Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
These are increasing sentences for wearing the monitor bracelet, right? None of this is prison, right? They won't ever be sent to prison for violating their sentence, right? Because there isn't enough room in prison and nobody wants the tax burden anyway, right?

Well, if so, you would have a lot of these convicted (petty) criminals cutting off their monitor bracelets over and over and over. Hundreds of times. Why? Because they will never be sent to prison and it isn't that difficult to cut off the device.
If you cut off the bracelet, you spend the rest of your sentence in prison.

Very few will cut off the bracelet.

Oh, and the electronic monitoring ankle bracelets I have seen (Geostasis Q4) are very difficult to cut off.


ETA.... and have very effective anti-tampering systems.
__________________
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore - if they're white!"
If you don't like my posts, my opinions, or my directness then put me on your ignore list.
This will be of benefit to both of us; you won't have to take umbrage at my posts, and I won't have to waste my time talking to you... simples! !

Last edited by smartcooky; 3rd April 2019 at 06:13 PM.
smartcooky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd April 2019, 06:19 PM   #34
smartcooky
Penultimate Amazing
 
smartcooky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 12,351
Originally Posted by sadhatter View Post
You almost stayed to make a point, then comes the rambling " pigs is bad" rant for the rest of the post.

"Cops suck" isn't some get out of logic free card, neither is hardship.

I'm not seeing a "pigs is bad" rant in Mumbles' post.

Perhaps you could point out this rant.
__________________
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore - if they're white!"
If you don't like my posts, my opinions, or my directness then put me on your ignore list.
This will be of benefit to both of us; you won't have to take umbrage at my posts, and I won't have to waste my time talking to you... simples! !
smartcooky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2019, 04:02 PM   #35
Mumbles
Philosopher
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 7,120
Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I'm not seeing a "pigs is bad" rant in Mumbles' post.

Perhaps you could point out this rant.
There was no rant. For whatever reason (and the fact that he sums up his view of my opinion as "Pigs is bad" offers a major hint), he either can not or will not interpret anything I have to say correctly, so I just ignore him.
Mumbles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th April 2019, 04:18 PM   #36
BStrong
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 12,448
California Prop. 47

California voters approved Proposition 47 in 2014:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_C...Proposition_47

Proposition 47, also known by its ballot title Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute, (originally titled The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act by California Attorney General Kamala Harris) was a referendum passed by voters in the state of California on November 4, 2014. The measure was also referred to by its supporters as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.[2] It recategorized some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors, rather than felonies, as they had previously been categorized.

The results were/are mixed at best:

https://www.ppic.org/publication/the...nd-recidivism/

Summary

Passed by voters in November 2014, Proposition 47 brought broad and significant changes to California’s criminal justice system. Undertaken in the wake of public safety realignment in 2011, Proposition 47 reduced the penalties for certain lower-level drug and property offenses and represented a further step in prioritizing prison and jail space for higher-level offenders. The policy has sparked continued debate around two key questions:

Did Proposition 47 increase crime?

We find no evidence that violent crime increased as a result of Proposition 47. While California saw an uptick in the violent crime rate from 2014 to 2016, this trend appears to have preceded the reform and is due in large part to unrelated changes in crime reporting after 2014.

We find some evidence that Proposition 47 affected property crime. Statewide, property crime increased after 2014. While the reform had no apparent impact on burglaries or auto thefts, it may have contributed to a rise in larceny thefts, which increased by roughly 9 percent (about 135 more thefts per 100,000 residents) compared to other states. Crime data show that thefts from motor vehicles account for about three-quarters of this increase.

Despite recent upticks, California’s crime rates remain comparable to the low rates observed in the 1960s—even with the dramatic reductions in incarceration ushered in by recent criminal justice reforms.
__________________
"When a man who is honestly mistaken, hears the truth, he will either cease being mistaken or cease being honest." - Anonymous

"Dulce bellum inexpertīs." - Erasmus
BStrong is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Social Issues & Current Events

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:01 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.