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December 8, 2013

Victims provide some recent historical perspectives on two worst crimes in recent American history

As regular readers may know, I am a huge believer in having criminal justice systems give special attention to victims' interests, rights and perspectives (in part because I believe actual victims, generally speaking, are often interested in a much more dynamic and sophisticated government response to wrong-doing than just the lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key attitudes too often claimed to be in their interest by politicians and prosecutors).  For that reason, I am always pleased when victim-oriented matters become big legal cases (as with the SCOTUS Paroline case concerning restitution for child porn victims), and also when the media gives special and extended attention to crime victims.

For these (and other) reasons, I am pleased and intrigued to see today's New York Times has these two extended articles discussing victims' perspectives on two of the worst crimes in recent American history:

I have long felt very fortunate that I personally have only been the victim of relatively minor property crimes (though I do have a number of family members and friends who have had their lives shattered by serious violent crimes). I also feel very fortunate to live in a society that, at least in some high-profile settings for some victims, seeks to be attentive to the unique needs and enduring challenges that all too many crime victims face.

December 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

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Some of us who do not live in the NY,CT,Jersey, triangle are sick of hearing about some schmuck named Bernie and some old town called Newtown. We are also sick of hearing the lingo: turdy, turd and a turd (33rd Street and 3rd Avenue).

Posted by: Liberty1st | Dec 8, 2013 2:20:23 PM

In both cases, thank the lawyer.

The Supreme Court took over psychiatry in 1976, requiring a trial to involuntarily commit someone for treatment. There had been no abuse to remedy. They just wanted jobs for 3 lawyers to get dangerous patients into treatment. Now, the shooter qualifies for involuntary treatment. Prior to 1976, two physicians were paid $25 to examine the patient and to attest to his need for treatment. There were already many Draconian remedies for patients against doctors acting in bad faith. Now, one needs dangerousness plus a mental illness. They got what they wanted. Paranoid schizophrenics kill about 2000 people year, all senselessly, thanks to the lawyer.

In the Madoff case, lawyers regulating his industry failed to find his crime until his son snitched, implying their services, audits and oversight were worthless, and over many years, and many thousands of victims. They harass legitimate business people for not signing and dating documents, meanwhile frauds in the $billions go undiscovered by the lawyer dumbass.

I have patience. I will wait for the public to come down on this profession. I do not expect the profession to improve on its own until the executions of its hierarchy have begun.

I reviewed the Virginia Tech shooting with the psychiatrist investigating it on behalf of the Governor and his lawyer heavy panel. The shooter was involuntarily committed by a judge. So the current system of commitment worked, something I had not realized. The clinic allowed him to not get treatment in deference to the Federal policy of the Recovery Movement. He said, he did not need any treatment. He believed the students he shot were in cahoots with the ducks in the pond which were coming after him. The clinicians said, OK, in the lawyer imposed Recovery Movement, the patient is the leader of his treatment team. So, I am a heroin addict, and I say, what will work best for me is for you to supply me with more heroin. Is there a problem with that? See the Feds and their lawyer thugs.

Here is the sick, effed up federal policy.

http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA05-4129/SMA05-4129.pdf

This lawyer driven rights oriented, litigation forced, lawyer caused philosophy mandates the patient be the leader of his treatment team, even when nothing suggest he has the capacity to lead. The worst, outrageous part of the report? The clinicians at the college clinic still believe they did nothing wrong in accordance with political correctness. After 25 died. The Twilight Zone insanity of the lawyer has infected the entire country, especially gullible young people. The older psychiatrist of the clinic should commit suicide, since he knows better. Plus the records are still missing, that being a crime.

The lack of communication factor is 100% the fault of the lawyer intimidation of ordinary people and clinicians into not breaking confidentiality, with dozens of opportunities wasted due to political correctness. All PC in the US is case and avoidance of ruinous litigation. The university community should have called the family, and made them get him into treatment, in Korea if necessary.

The panel was lawyer heavy, so the real blame was covered up, just as lawyer perfidy was covered up in the investigation of the greatest and most damaging mass murder, 9/11.

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/TempContent/techPanelReport.cfm

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 8, 2013 4:17:55 PM

"in part because I believe actual victims, generally speaking, are often interested in a much more dynamic and sophisticated government response to wrong-doing than just the lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key attitudes too often claimed to be in their interest by politicians and prosecutors"

As a victim of a violent crime that could have but did not cost me my life I agree wholeheartedly. What got me interested in sentencing law was that personal experience (as I have no professional interest in it whatsoever) and what I came to see as blatant prosecutorial grandstanding on the issue.

I'm a crime victim and I do not think anyone has a right to speak for me. That doesn't mean I believe that my view on punishment should be decisive but it does mean no one else should try to cuckold my voice.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 8, 2013 5:04:50 PM

Daniel: If you were a crime victim, where was that, where the lawyer works or where the lawyer lives? If you were where the lawyer lives, only a few miles from the worst ghettos, the chance of being a crime victim is close to nil.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 8, 2013 5:45:28 PM

"... seeks to be attentive to the unique needs and enduring challenges that all too many crime victims face."

How and where?

How about starting with reducing the fear of victims and ordinary people, and increasing the fear of criminals?

How about stopping the crushing prosecution of victims who fight back, both in criminal and tort litigation? The system is totally biased in favor of the criminal.

Yes, victim impact statements, preferably with lawyer representation. These are worthless, lawless, despite the support of the Supreme Court. That is to provide the appearance of virtue for the total betrayal of victims by lawyers in the criminal law.

If the lawyer were sincere the following would be enacted or ruled:

1) Duty to kill violent criminal at the scene with everyone made to carry a weapon.

2) Victims can sue the city for security liability, police for failure to protect, parole boards for releasing dangerous people, prosecutors for failure to prosecute, judges for coddling, juries for releasing dangerous people.

3) Immunity of crime victims in criminal and tort law for injuries to violent criminals, indeed, hurting the violent criminal should be rewarded with cash payments. Traps in homes should be legalized and encouraged. No criminal should be allowed to file any tort claim for injuries suffered during the commission of a crime.

4) Cheap and immediate punishments such as lashing, should be legalized and encourage. This would include empowering painful immediate punishment such as a caning during student assembly, to deter.

5) Stop the war on the family, including the black family. End any policy that would promote bastardy. Purge all feminists from all institutions, as one might active members of the KKK or the Nazi party. Stop the overreaching abuse laws that undermine parental authority and teacher authority, emboldening horrid child behavior and entitlement.

6) Violent criminals should be executed at the earliest age palatable to the public, such as age 14 to 18, after the start of adulthood in real life. If the criminals are missing, there will be no crime, assuming no deterrent effect.

7) The crime rate (nil) where the lawyer lives should become the standard of practice for all municipalities. How is that done? Response time is 2 minutes. Death penalty is at the scene, with no excessive force litigation. Plenty of room in the jails.

None of that will happen while the lawyer makes all criminal law policy because the lawyer's loyalty is to the CCE above that to all others. The lawyer is an internal traitor. Nothing will happen until the entire hierarchy is arrested, and executed for treason after an hour's fair trial.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 9, 2013 6:41:06 AM

Doug B stated: "(in part because I believe actual victims, generally speaking, are often interested in a much more dynamic and sophisticated government response to wrong-doing than just the lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key attitudes too often claimed to be in their interest by politicians and prosecutors)."

Do you have any empirical evidence of this? To use your phrase, "generally speaking", I suspect that victims of crime want sentences at least as harsh as the general public, probably harsher.

Is that true in very case? Of course not, which is why I believe that you meant to say more than the obvious, that no group that large is going to be 100% monolithic. What you are really implying is that crime victims "generally speaking" are less ground and pound when it comes to criminal sentencing than overall society. I would love to see evidence of this.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 9, 2013 9:04:48 AM

Some empirical research in this area, TarlsQtr, is subject to the usual (justified) attacks on research done by those with an underlying normative interest in a particular result. Nevertheless, here are just a few pieces of evidence from the research literature to support my "generally speaking" claim:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/news/press-releases/victims-com/victims-views-court-sentencing1011.pdf
http://www.academia.edu/3164252/Secondary_victimization_of_crime_victims_by_criminal_proceedings
http://irv.sagepub.com/content/10/2/117.full.pdf+html
http://regnet.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/Strang_Repairing_the_harm.pdf

I have not comprehensively read all these piece and other like literature --- thus the basis for my "generally speaking" disclaimer as part of my claim.

There still is, sadly in my view, not nearly as much systematic research on victim interests as I think there should be. But lots of anecdotal cases involving economic crimes and/or involving more well-to-do defendants suggest that some crime victims would readily advocate for shorter prison terms if/when they could be significantly economically compensated as a result. This is one of many reasons I often endorse use of economic punishments, especially if/when crime victims can enjoy the financial benefits.

In addition, though, we could debate whether it is right to describe drug and vice crimes as victimless, it is usually those most likely to suffer the ill neighborhood impacts of these crimes that tend to advocate for lower prison terms (because they know well the perps as well as the victims, I assume).

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 9, 2013 10:29:11 AM

Daniel:

I think you've hit on something important that gets overlooked a great deal of the time. I think that a lot of politicians and prosecutors who speak the loudest about punishing criminals care less about victims and more about either advancing their own careers, and they see caring about victims (or at least making the right noises when it comes to victims) as a means to that end.

I've had the opportunity to be able to discuss this idea with a few other people who have been the victims of various crimes, and that's the sensation that they've had as well: that the "system" doesn't really give a shit about victims. It cares very much about power, and about ways to sustain and nourish that power. Victims, and wrapping oneself in that flag, is more of a means to that end, than an end in and of itself.

Which is really unfortunate. I think there's a much subtler notion of justice and fairness that gets lost in the race-to-see-who-cares-about-vicitms-the-most. A notion which I think would be of much greater benefit to both victims and perpetrators than what we currently have.

Of course, anyone who suggests otherwise gets blasted as not having either the requisite respect for victims / vitriol for offenders, and any hope of having a productive dialogue is lost entirely.

Posted by: Guy | Dec 9, 2013 11:19:01 AM

I sincerely appreciate that Doug. I am bookmarking those links and will take a look at them.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 9, 2013 1:13:43 PM

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