Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Is Canada's legal system way too leniant?

I think so.

It seems almost everyday I read the paper, I hear of sexual predators getting much too light sentences.

Now today, Carmen, is only getting 7 years, as he managed to get put away for manslaughter instead of murder. He enticed a 17 year old guy to meet him in a back alley to buy drugs, but didn't have the drugs, and instead stabbed him twice in the heart and robbed him.

Now, I'm no legal expert, but isn't manslaughter when you accidentally kill someone, but are still partially to blame? His crime sure seems like cold blooded (perhaps even premeditated) murder.

The lighter sentence was given on grounds that Carmen was young when he committed the crime (21) and has a large chance for rehabilitation (they're kidding, right?)


At 8:38 p.m., Blogger James said...

You might get your wish. In the throne speech today one of the main focuses was being tougher on violent criminals, especially those which used a weapon. I'm not sure why it's worse to use a weapon though. Why should it matter if I kill you with a weapon or with my bear hands, isn't it still murder?

At 1:07 a.m., Blogger Zutroy said...

I don't know about you but my hands ARE weapons :P

At 10:48 a.m., Blogger Medieval said...

Oh no, John is going to pull a Chuck Norris! :)

I'm scared.

At 8:05 a.m., Blogger Sara said...

Yeah... manslaughter is not "accidental murder"..
Both murder and manslaughter are defined as "culpable homicide" under the CCC.

Murder, as opposed to manslaughter, has to be planned and deliberate. There needs to be intent before the act occurs, and you need to cause bodily harm that you know is likely to cause death but are reckless as to whether or not death ensues. This is the guy who says "Gee, I'm gonna go out and kill someone tonight, and here's how I'm gonna do it".

Murder which occurs with no intent before the act begins is 2nd degree murder. A good example of this is the man who walks in on his wife with another guy and beats the hell out of him, knowing that the beating could cause bodily harm that is likely to cause death.

Manslaughter, on the other hand, is defined as the abscence of murder or 2nd degree murder. This means there's no intent to cause death, or bodily harm that would lead to death, but death happens.

As for sentencing, yes, they try not to lock 21 year olds up forever... and personally I'm happy about that. We're defined as a society with how we treat our weakest, and criminals are some of the weakest. I'm glad we don't "lock them up and throw away the key", because its proven that jail doesn't solve the problem. Now maybe this guy is broken, but I would guess that he's going to finally get the help he needs... psychiatrists, doctors, vocational training, drug rehab... and if he truly is bad news they can just call him a dangerous offender and leave him there forever...

People need to keep in mind that these "sexual predators" are human beings, who although they've done a horrible thing, deserve a shot at life like the rest of us... and back to my old soapbox, maybe if we'd help people before they stab someone to death in the heart instead of putting the money into being "tough on crime" we'd avoid some of the pain victims have to go through... we need a paradigm shift. Being "tough on crime" is expensive and unproductive, and the stats are out there to show it (and seriously, why else would I try to argue myself out of a job?)

We also need to get rid of these jackasses who are funding being "tough on crime" by slashing 40% of the budget for climate change programs.


At 3:45 p.m., Blogger James said...

Heh, that's funny. In our grade 11 law class the man walking in on his wife with another man and beating him to death was taught as the prototypical example of manslaughter, not 2nd degree murder. We were taught that manslaughter was the "crime of passion", 1st degree was premeditated with intent, and 2nd degree was essentially everything in between.

No wonder so many Assumption kids had trouble with the law, the people teaching it didn't even know what they were talking about :)

At 5:00 p.m., Blogger Medieval said...

Heh. Dani was saying the same thing to me as to why it makes sense Carmen got manslaughter; I bet she had the same teacher in law at Assumption :)

"there's no intent to cause death, or bodily harm that would lead to death, but death happens"

So stabbing a guy in the heart is manslaughter? I agree in Carmen's case, there was no evidence for premeditaed murder, but why not 2nd degree, I wonder?

I'm all for rehabilitation, but the question you have to ask yourself is, what kind of gambler are you? Either way it's a gamble.

Letting out the "rehabilitated" sexual predator / murderer early does benefit society if he/she is truly rehabilitated, as they can become a productive member of society and free up the prisons.
However, there's always a chance they'll soon just repeat the crimes.
I've read about many cases where the experts said the person was rehabilitated, and they truly were not.

Perhaps it's about striking the right balance - being tough enough on crime, but not too tough. Finding that balance is probably near impossible, I bet. :)

At 5:01 p.m., Blogger Sara said...

Well, actually the man beating his wife... sometimes it could be manslaughter... my bad example..
there's some BAD caselaw out there that has placed it as manslaughter... and it could be in some occasions (ie the guy lost it and just let loose).

Manslaughter is a crime of passion... but the test is if the passion had time to cool... that's where the "I lost it" part of it comes in... the guy who says "I hit him, and I had lost it" is manslaughter, but the guy who makes the decision to beat the tar out of the guy conciously and kills him... that's second degree.. And the test is even more distinct than how I've said it... not only does the guy have to "lose control", he has to actually deprived of the power of self control... Either way its all a very fine line... and the law of murder/murder 2/manslaughter is a complicated thing.

At 5:20 p.m., Blogger Sara said...

And really it doesn't make sense that he got manslaughter...

Looking at it objectively, he brought a guy into the alley looking to rob him and stabbed him twice in the heart.. I would guess second degree is more appropriate... HOWEVER, he likely got manslaughter because he took a plea... they give you credit for not putting the family through a trial.

Again, I haven't been following the story myself, but I would guess that he got manslaughter as a result of a plea.


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