"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I Was Wrong

On second thought, I think that the dude who stole my shit should not go to jail. I mean, his freedom will be restricted. He might get threatened by gangs. He'll probably have to sleep in some wretched little cell. He'll have to eat the gross prison food.

None of this would have happened if the cops would have left him alone. He could eat (and probably live) very well on all of his stolen cash and checks and credit cards.

Why are we so mean???

9 comments:

Jim Kober said...

One day this and of course the other...

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
andy mr. said...

Tony is my friend too, and I'm sorry for what he went through. But 12 years in prison for a non-violent crime seems pretty harsh to me. And then for multiple people who were not "victims" to be so happy that a person is going to jail for 12 years for a non-violent crime, that also seems pretty fucked.

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tony said...

Can't we all just get along!?? Sheesh.

Please comment on my American Idol observations or something!

Thanks guys!

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz said...

Sorry, everyone. I was overreacting.

Panch said...

Bu tyou have to understand that if it's a non-violent crime, and the person who committed the crime is really looking for rehabilitation, then they will be out of prison in probably four to five years. If it was a violent crime then you have mandatory sentencing where they do almost all the time. I agree with you Tony. I have plenty of relatives and friends in prison who know that they screwed up and have to do the time. Some of them are sorry and try to do what they can to get out early and others don't give a shit and stay in and become bitter and angry. It's al in what you make of it.

Seth Abramson said...

Tony,

I'm so glad you've gotten some closure here and that, as you said, this horrific episode in your life is over. I can't even imagine what you went through.

I think what folks have to remember is that most first-degree/highest-class felonies (each state titles them differently) carry, at least apart from rape and murder, a maximum of somewhere between 10 and 20 years in prison. If this guy committed, say, three separate felonies (e.g., identity theft, theft, and forgery) against each victim, that's 66 felonies--and a maximum sentence of close to 1000 years in prison. Moreover, Tony says the guy had a long rap-sheet; under those circumstances, I'm not sure that 12 years isn't perfectly in keeping with what you'd expect to see in this sort of case, in large part because the amount of restitution owed is so high (I'd guess, well over $100,000) that there's virtually no chance this guy will be able to pay more than a fraction of it back--yet another aggravating factor (pragmatically, if not legally) which may, in some instances, militate for a higher sentence in light of the fact that the victims can't be made "whole."

I guess my point is, Andy's right--every criminal case is something of a tragedy, both for the victim (who has suffered physical or emotional or financial distress) and for the offender, who has typically blown his/her entire life on bullshit, and thereby wasted an entirely functioning heart and lungs and 60-to-70 otherwise meaningful years on Earth. It's always sad. I've been working in the system for five years, and it never gets any less depressing in this regard.

But that doesn't mean we can expect victims to feel sympathy for their abusers/offenders, and it doesn't mean we don't/can't/should't punish people for what they do, so long as (except in rare instances) we acknowledge that rehabilitation is at least an imaginable result: particularly for substance abusers, those with mental health issues (including anger management problems), and in many instances thieves--only because, in my experience at least, more than 50% of thieves (actually, more than 75% of thieves) are drug-users who trade what they steal for junk which is gone in a matter of hours.

If 12 was this guy's minimum sentence (e.g., a 12-to-24 sentence), then that's his earliest parole date, assuming you have truth-in-sentencing as most states now do. So I'm not sure why folks assume he'll be back on the streets (on parole) in four years. It certainly doesn't work that way in NH. And while I agree that most prisons don't really do anything for people except make them more violent (by forcing them to interact with sociopaths), I also think a civil society needs to punish and protect as well as rehabilitate (I leave out deterrence, which is mostly bullshit beyond a certain point, anyway).

In any event, the most important thing is that Tony's gotten through this, and that as a victim of crime (which I've been, myself, too) he oughtn't be expected to be thinking too much about criminal justice policy. This is a personal tragedy for him and no one has any right to expect him to be "objective" about it. I wouldn't be, either! So: my thoughts and prayers are with you, Tony.

S.

3LeggedCat said...

I'm still pissed that someone stole my $10 sunglasses at the beach when I was 16. I hope bad things happend to him or her.