Oversentenced? Perhaps

But hard time for repeat property offenders is neither cruel nor unusual

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A Georgia judge may have gone overboard in sentencing a repeat “property” offender to life in prison without parole. And the Georgia Court of Appeals may have gone out of its way to say so.

But we thoroughly disagree with the notion that the case confirms that hard time for hardened property offenders is either cruel and unusual or a waste of taxpayer money.

Undreas Davis will have to be sentenced again in Douglas County to less than the 150 years without parole that he first got.

He may get substantially less – but largely because of a technicality, not because the court ruled his sentence “cruel and unusual.” It did not.

The Court of Appeals panel ruled that the cruel-and-unusual issue was not raised at the trial court level, and could not therefore be ruled upon by the appeals court.

But in an earlier ruling the judges made it apparent they considered Davis’ sentence cruel and unusual, and they ultimately found a way to overturn the sentence: They ruled that the trial judge erred by using Davis’ federal conviction to conclude he is a career criminal.

Basically, the prosecutors failed in their paperwork.

However the judges got there, the outcome was probably just: The life-with-no-parole seems a bit much in this case.

But we don’t agree with several Augusta attorneys who were quoted in a Chronicle story as saying nonviolent criminals don’t belong behind bars.

“We can’t afford it, and frankly we don’t have the room,” one said.

In many cases, particularly with first-time offenders, that may be true – and a new state law will reflect that, by going easier on property offenders and reserving most prison space for violent criminals.

Still, those who are properly adjudicated as career criminals – people who have victimized others time and time again, and show no signs of ever stopping – should be put away for very, very long times.

Undreas Davis may have been oversentenced, though it took a technicality to determine that. But the truth is, most property offenders traumatize their victims, often for life. And the unrepentant ones simply don’t belong on the streets of this country.

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omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 12/29/12 - 04:51 am
2
0
"unrepentant ones simply

"unrepentant ones simply don’t belong on the streets of this country."
amend that to say county and bus them across the Savannah or county lines.

wouldn't effect the recidivism rates in Richmond County too much, but goodness could you imagine the uproar!

Riverman1
84152
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Riverman1 12/29/12 - 08:34 am
4
0
Yep, we all feel like that

Yep, we all feel like that judge sometimes. Nobody likes a thief. Maybe 150 years without parole was a little harsh. Try 99 years and see if that gets by.

soapy_725
43678
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soapy_725 12/29/12 - 09:11 am
0
0
Crime does not pay, was never a true statement.
Unpublished

Not only are less that ten percent of criminals caught, maybe five percent are convicted. And look at the revenue created to make millionaires out of lawyers and judges who otherwise would not be needed. Not to mention the federal, state and local police, riot squads, etc. payrolls.

harley_52
23458
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harley_52 12/29/12 - 10:29 am
3
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The Difference Between...

...."violent" and "non-violent" is often nothing more than whether or not the homeowner happens to be home, or whether the purchaser of the drugs has the money to pay for them.

As for "repentant" versus "non-repentant," there is zero difference, except that one is more willing to lie than the other. It's nothing more meaningful than a defense attorney advising his client to wear a tie to the trial and/or to get a haircut.

JRC2024
8888
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JRC2024 12/29/12 - 11:41 am
3
0
No crying from me because I

No crying from me because I do not have any pity for someone who breaks into a home, robs another, steals cars or takes anyone possessions that they worked hard to purchase. Whatever they get is ok with me just as it was for the 18 year old that lost his life holding up someone yesterday.

dichotomy
33059
Points
dichotomy 12/29/12 - 12:26 pm
4
0
Shoplifting and burglary are

Shoplifting and burglary are are simply the first step to armed robbery and murder.

You know it, I know it, the cops know it, the judges know it. But we let people tell us different because it's cheaper to turn them loose and let them ruin other people's lives. It's cheaper for our bureaucrats to deal with them later when they actually kill somebody. There is no profit in protecting the innocent. It leaves more money for the politicians and bureaucrats to spend and steal, and the lawyers make lots more money on multiple offenders. Criminals are an industry and it's cheaper to turn them loose and more profit from mulitple offenders. After all, judges have to face the fact that they may not be re-elected and will have to go back to making a living being lawyers. No crooks on the street, no money coming in.

Your safety and peace of mind are not economically viable in the view of our criminal justice system.

Jack T
121
Points
Jack T 12/29/12 - 03:41 pm
1
4
Not trying to defend any
Unpublished

Not trying to defend any criminal's actions but the above statements from the article shows a major problem in our justice system and is the reason our prisons are way past capacity. We want to throw the book at everyone including people who are non-violent drug users and people who do nothing more than commit property crimes. Then we wonder why we can't house real criminals like people who murder or rape others.

Look at how Norway runs it's prison: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/24/world/europe/norway-prison-bastoy-nicest/i...?

And before you start taking jabs at it consider their 16% re-offense rate as opposed to 50% here? Sorry, you can't argue with results. Almost every negative post here is calling for more punishment, harsher sentences. Yeah, look at how well that is working here. Sorry, we should be learning from places and programs like this, not vilifying them.

Jack T
121
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Jack T 12/29/12 - 03:43 pm
1
5
People in the US, and around
Unpublished

People in the US, and around the world for that matter, need to learn to use love, compassion, and empathy when dealing with criminals. Yes, there are some pretty nasty ones, but the majority of people did not wake up one day and decide to commit crimes. It was most likely a multistep process over a period of many years, probably stemming from childhood.

Two important rules for a healthy society. First, do not cause harm to other people. Second, help those who cause harm. Asking for harder time for criminals, especially the non-violent kind, is not the answer to having a healthy society, and a society in which someone can be reintroduced to have a productive life, and people do not have to feel worried. We waste tons of money on caging people up like animals, and get crap results, and ruin lives, and society is not in any better shape.

Showing empathy and compassion towards someone who caused harm does not mean you have to condone what the person did. Showing love and compassion for a person, and hating the action that they did are two different things, and a good way to view crimes. Hate the action not the person.

9 times out of 10, positive interactions yield positive results, and Norway's prison system represents that. Show criminals kindness, give them a therapeutic environment, make them feel useful, don't treat them like animals, and you'll often get better results. The inmate will come out mentally healthier, able to get back into society as a new creation, and society is better off as well.

I'm not a very religious man, but regardless of what religion you follow, or choose not to follow, this verse from the Bible is quite excellent. I know the Bible is not perfect, but I can also accept the fact that there are good messages to take from it.

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. BE CAREFUL TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT IN THE EYES OF EVERYONE. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

harley_52
23458
Points
harley_52 12/29/12 - 05:53 pm
2
1
Other Bible Quotes....

"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; "

"And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire."

"“But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will visit you with panic, with wasting disease and fever that consume the eyes and make the heart ache. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down before your enemies. Those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when none pursues you. And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins, ... "

"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. "

oldredneckman96
5095
Points
oldredneckman96 12/29/12 - 06:13 pm
2
0
150 Years
Unpublished

If he is so good at breaking in, let him break out of prison! Really, why do we have to pay to keep a felon in jail? I have to work to support my family, why can’t he recycle trash for a living in prison. This would help two problems, overcrowded trash dumps and prisons. If they have to sort trash instead of lifting weights they won’t come back to jail.

specsta
6505
Points
specsta 12/29/12 - 06:24 pm
0
3
Traumatic Events

"But the truth is, most property offenders traumatize their victims, often for life." ACES

Anybody can be traumatized, at any time, by anything. Some folks are traumatized when stopped by a cop for a traffic infraction. It gives them nightmares. Others might just be mad. Some folks are traumatized at the sight of blood or medical procedures. Others might just shrug it off. Some folks are traumatized if forced to speak in front of a crowd. Others might relish the attention.

Everyone deals with life differently. There are people who lose a job and fall completely apart, to the point of committing suicide. Others just move on to the next job, expecting a better outcome.

There is no certifiable reaction to a traumatic event. To say that MOST EVERYONE who has been victimized by a property thief suffers trauma is a bit of a stretch. I think most of us know someone - either ourselves, a family member or a neighbor, who has had something stolen from them non-violently. Heck, if I buy something in a store and the price rings up higher than displayed, and I don't realize it until later, isn't that a form of non-violent theft?

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 12/29/12 - 08:22 pm
2
0
"Two important rules for a

"Two important rules for a healthy society. First, do not cause harm to other people. Second, help those who cause harm."

Jack T. Please tell me the source of these Two Important Rules.

I will give you credit on the first one....first do not cause harm to other people; but alter it to read...First, do not harm "yourself" or others.

On the second one... Help those who cause harm... exactly, what would that look like?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/29/12 - 11:26 pm
0
0
I'm so glad that people

I'm so glad that people realize that a person forcing their way into your home IS traumatic, even if you aren't there. A person can face many sleepless nights especially if they've had to deal with it more than once, never knowing when or if you will wake up to a thug in your home while you ARE there. I have NO pity for burglars, thieves, etc. And it's not all about material possessions being stolen. It's about peace of mind and general feeling of safety. Those who havn't been through it don't have a clue.

As to the comments by several Augusta attorneys, “We can’t afford it, and frankly we don’t have the room,” one said.
Property owners can't afford to take care of crooks either, nor repair damages to their homes over and over again for everyone else's convenience financially. They should not be able to finance the items they stole or damages over 4 or 5 years probation interest free or however and whenever they choose. Make the criminals pay immediately for the cost of their crimes. No restitution paid? Go directly to jail. Otherwise what's the purpose of probation or any other terms of a so-called punishment?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/29/12 - 11:16 pm
0
0
specsta

Sometimes I have to wonder about you. I wonder if you would spit out the same hot air if it were your mother, daughter or other family member?

Gage Creed
17276
Points
Gage Creed 12/29/12 - 11:50 pm
0
0
Pink Hearts, Yellow Moons,

Pink Hearts, Yellow Moons, Orange Stars, Green Clovers.....Wake up Jack T... you are living in a fantasy land and being an enabler!

Jack T
121
Points
Jack T 12/30/12 - 02:35 am
1
1
The real opener about the
Unpublished

The real opener about the link I shared here is not that Norway has nice prisons. It's that Norway's crime and recidivism rates are extremely low. This article explains the recidivism piece. The important question to ask is why is the crime rate so low? The biggest reason is that everyone pays their fair share of taxes, and the government spends the money prudently on basic services that everyone needs. People commit crimes largely out of desperation. They sell drugs and steal things because they need food and medicine. They commit violent crimes because of the stress of living that way. You can trash the "welfare state" idea all you'd like. But people who are having their basic needs met are much less likely to commit crimes. And very few people are "mooching" off the welfare system in Norway. The country's unemployment rate is around 3%.

Our penal system abruptly pulls people out of society. This results in the loss of employment and family support. Then they abruptly put you back into society usually without either and expect you to succeed. With no work history and a Felony record.

Then our morons in the criminal justice system and the people who support it expect you to succeed!

What they have done and you have done by supporting it is created a massive Prison Industrial Complex that grows and perpetuates itself.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/30/12 - 10:14 am
1
0
Jack T

There is this illusion that ALL criminals commit crimes out of desperation. The only ones I can see doing that are those who are strung out on crack or some other illegal drug. But a great majority of people who commit property crimes are NOT desperate. There isn't a lot I will say about that online but believe me I know. People commit crimes of opportunity, just because they can. Teens committing such crimes most often are not hungry, or needy. They do it for fun or acceptance from the rest of the hoodlum crowd. Think about people who steal from their jobs, the school secretary that stole ~ $15K comes to mind. She already HAD a job, wasn't homeless, etc. She just stole because she could get away with it for some time. People robbing and burglarizing are doing the same thing. They don't think they'll get caught, and if they do there is basically NO punishment from the justice system. Easy money basically.

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