Skip to comments.SCALES OF JUSTICE Two sentences show how unbalanced our criminal justice system has become.
Posted on 09/22/2002 6:34:16 PM PDT by jack22
There is a danger in placing criminal sentences side by side to compare their appropriateness. No two crimes are the same. Factors that argue for leniency or stiffer terms must be weighed. PLus, sentencing laws have eroded judicial discretion to the point we seldom hear the monikers "maximum" or "minimum" applied to a judge's anme anymore.
Still, two sentencing decisions that came down Friday-one in New Jersey, one in Pennsylvania- seem so unbalanced, viewed together, that anyone who cares about the fairness of our criminal justice system must ask: What's going on here?
**IN Warren County, Superior Court Judge John J. Pursel sentenced Jeffery Mott, a 30 year old Army National Guard Sergeant, to up to five years in jail for shooting a 15 year old girl with a BB gun in retaliation for a Halloween prank.
**In Northampton County, Judge Jack A. Panella reduced a minimum sentence of Jason Boyce, from eight years to five years (no change in the max. of 20). Boyce had pleaded quilty to pumping three bullets in another man, who survived, at the entrance of the Big Kmart in Wilson Borough.
Similar sentences for radically different crimes. I nthe latter, Panella investigated Boyce's claim that he had been promised a minimum five-year term by the district attorney's office in return for a guilty plea. The judge, in reviewing th etranscript, decided the defendant was correct, and reduced the minimum. (Which raises the question, if an assistant district attorney secures a plea by offering a five year minimum, why does he then seek a ten year minimum at sentencing?
The five year sentence in the Mott case isn't just baffling, it defies logic. True, no one is justified in shooting at anyone under such circumstances (it was "Mischief Night" in P'burg: the kids Mott was accused of injuring damaged Mott's property), and today's BB guns are dangerous weapons, but five years for a shot that left a superficial mark on the victim? Pursel's sentence seems based more upon Mott's lack of remorse than the facts.
Bang. No parole for at least three years.
Even if Mott sabotaged any claim for leniency by his attitude or by changing his story, as the prosecution alleged, the punishment should fit the crime. Five years for a BB shot did little or no damage is an over reaction, and it more than turn a wage-earner into a ward of the taxpayers. It begs us all to second guess the workings of the criminal justice system.
Despite our restrictive sentencing laws, no judge has a mandate to shoo sensibility out of the courtroom. Ultimately, the public's confidence in the system is the bedrock upon which all our laws, and our judge's authority, reside.
In Pennsylvania you must serve 85% of the MAX number on your sentence.
If you get sentenced to 3-20 Years, it is the same as getting sentence 5-20 Years. You still must serve 85% of the 20 Years.
In addition Pennsylvania is one of only 3 or 4 states with no "Good Time" For example, in most other states you get 1.5 days for every day served. Some states make it 2 days for every day served as long as you are "Good" in prison.
Pennsylvania, Utah and one or two other states have no "Good Time".
What your sentence is, is your sentence.
I do know that you must serve 85% of the Max number of your sentence. So the 20 years is what matters. In essence he was given an 17 or 18 year sentence.
Offering a plea bargain is in fact a form of coertion in the judicial system. Plea bargains should be banned, and we should pay for then necessary courts and judges to handle the additional load.
Plea bargains are totally bogus. Charge the person/defendant for violating the law they actually violated/broke instead of filing trumped up charges only to be later plea bargained down. But that's a comparatively small problem compared to this.
One of two key factors in how and why almost no laws are repealed and so many laws get on the books in the first place -- judges.
Who sets the model example of the courts? Judges. The problem is, they are all political-agenda judges.
How Judges that Preside Over
Jury Trials Routinely Violate the Constitution.
"As a practical matter, I don't know how this is different from the beginning of a trial, when you tell the jurors you have to follow the law as I state it," Warren said. "I just won't give [the disapproved instruction]." California Supreme Court Don't Tell Jurors to Rat on Each Other
The above statement in bold told to jurors, since 1894 has been in violation of each Defendant's Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury. The Sixth Amendment reads:
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed..."
Prior to 1894 judges routinely told jurors that they were to judge the facts and the law. ...And the law. For the defendant, a jury that judges the law upholds the defendant's right to a jury that is not partial for the government. It is the defendant's right to have a jury that judges the law as well as the facts.
To judge all facts in the case includes judging the most critical fact -- that a person was charged with breaking a certain and specific law or laws. Without that there can be no case to take to trial. It is the primary and most critical fact for which the government makes its case. Pressing criminal charges against a person gets the process in motion. The reason it must be the prosecution that gets the process started is because the suspect/defendant is innocent. Innocent until proven guilty in court.
Thus it was not the person's/defendant's actions that initiated force against any person or their property. For, until the defendant has received the verdict it is not known whether the arresting law enforcement officer acted in self-defense in correctly upholding the law or unknowingly acted with initiation of force while attempting to uphold the law. That is, the LEO making the arrest had reason to believe the person broke the law and then the DA (district attorney) pressed charges against the suspect. Yet the LEO/DA/government don't know for certain that the suspect/defendant broke the law. That detail will be answered by the jury.
What does it mean when the jury's verdict is an acquittal? It means the charges against the defendant were in error. That is, the defendant never broke the law he was charged with breaking. The law has been judged by the jury to have been wrongfully charged against the defendant. The jury says, "No. The law does not apply to the defendant breaking it. The law only applies in that the defendant abided the law." The law has been deemed to have been wrongfully applied -- the law does not apply to the defendant.
Guess what? That's what jury nullification is -- the jury discovers the same thing. That is, with jury nullification the jury decides that the law does not apply to the defendant -- the law had been wrongfully applied.
As per the Sixth Amendment the defendant has the right to an impartial trial wherein the jury judges the law. For there is no way the jury can avoid judging the law. The jury has only two choices, 1) the law was correctly applied/charged against the defendant, or 2) the law was wrongfully applied/charged against the defendant.
It is each judge's job responsibility to ensure that the defendant's Sixth Amendment rights are protected. The primary key to each trial is the laws that the defendant is charged to have violated. It is by way of the facts presented by the prosecution and the defense during the trial that the primary key -- law as charged -- is judged to have been correct or in error. The facts presented by the prosecution and defense are secondary. That's the nature of cause and effect relationships. When one thing cannot exist without the other first being present the first thing is primary and the effect of that is secondary.
It is accepted that the defendant acted in a manner that appeared to have broken the law and was one factor in the LEO's/DA's/government's judgment that the person's actions violated the law. It cannot be misconstrued that the defendant's actions are the primary cause. For the defendant is deemed innocent and only suspected to have broken the law. The primary cause is the LEO's/DA's/government's judgment to set the court process in motion -- not the suspect's actions.
As per the Sixth Amendment an impartial jury favors neither the government nor the defendant.
Each jury that each judge has failed to inform the jury that they are to judge the law as well as the facts as they pertain to the case/trial has caused each of those juries to favor the government over the defendant.
Since 1894 each judge that has presided over jury trials has routinely violated the constitution. Concurrently, each defendant in each of those trials has had his or her Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury violated. ....Violated by the judge presiding over the trial.
"At issue in People v. Engelman, 02 C.D.O.S. 6411, was California Jury Instruction 17.41.1, which judges give before deliberations. It directs jurors to advise the court if they suspect someone is refusing to discuss the evidence or plans to disregard the law." California Supreme Court Don't Tell Jurors to Rat on Each Other
As shown earlier the jury cannot disregard the law for it is the law that is the primary key being judged.
"Unless jurors are informed of their solemn responsibility to report misconduct, I predict that many judgments will be reversed simply because the trial judge never had the opportunity to cure the problem." California Supreme Court Don't Tell Jurors to Rat on Each Other
That is absurdly trivial compared to the fact that virtually every judge presiding over jury trials routinely violates defendants' Sixth Amendment rights. That's a valid reason why many judgments will be reversed. ...Reversed simply because the judge violated the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury when he or she instructed the jury to favor the government over the defendant. The misconduct originates with the judges violation of each defendant's right to an impartial jury.
There was at least one case of a kid from out of state having a couple of shotgun shells rolling around the floor of his car when he got stopped by the Mass. Gestapo for a traffic violation (probably atonal horn quality or uneven windshield wiper parking angle or taillight spectral emissions not matching) - and ended up doing a year in jail.
But in the mind of liberals (oops... oxymoron, there...) the guy with the shotgun shells is a MURDERER, where as the guy who cut his children up with an axe is "Sick" and it's just his "Cry for "Help"...
Usually based on who your daddy is and how much cash you have.
What you say is likely true. However, what is your message in this case? Are you suggesting this family cannot expect anything beyond what's been handed down in this case?