Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 87 (8994 total)
55 online now:
dwise1, ICANT, jar, kjsimons, PaulK, PsychMJC (6 members, 49 visitors)
Newest Member: Juvenissun
Post Volume: Total: 879,250 Year: 10,998/23,288 Month: 250/1,763 Week: 217/390 Day: 37/69 Hour: 0/8

Announcements: Topic abandonment warning (read and/or suffer the consequences)


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Moral issues and the Justice system or something like that
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 25 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 1 of 171 (873140)
03-10-2020 2:07 PM


This may not really deserve a new topic but it doesn't seem to belong on any other thread I can find, including the current thread on morality.

I recently watched the documentary on Netflix titled "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez" about an eight-year-old boy who died of abuse by his mother and her boyfriend. Specifically he was beaten to death but he had also suffered horrific abuse of many other kinds over the couple of years he had lived with them. (Before that he had lived with a gay uncle and his partner, then his grandparents, all off whom loved him and took good care of him. His mother had given him to the uncle when he was born and I'm not sure why the grandparetns took over at one point, but eventually the mother wanted him back, which was probably to get the welfare money.) He had two older siblings, from the same parents, who were not abused or at least not to the same extent. Their testimony in the trial brought out things nobody had known, about Gabriel's being locked in a small wooden box for long periods of time without food or bathroom breaks, being forced to eat dirty cat litter (which was found in his stomach on autopsy). His mother would hit him in the face and used the buckle end of a belt on his behind. His hair had been pulled out leaving scars on his scalp and he had cigarette burn marks on him as well as bruises and cuts all over his body.

Although there were a couple of people who saw the abuse and tried to intervene, called child protective services etc., there was no action taken to help the child. Routine checks by social workers and police responses to calls about the abuse all overlooked the actual situation, accepted what the mother told them and didn't ask to talk to the child etc. Often no report at all was written about such visits though the call was recorded in the log books.

But all that is background. What prompted me to write this was all the discussion about how "evil" the boyfriend was or wasn't. Some of the jurors and others interviewed called him "evil" but one witness at the trial said he had worker for her at her facility for elderly people and was wonderfully kind and caring toward them, and that they all loved him. She called him a "good" man. She had to admit that if he had abused the child as charged, even beaten him to the point that he died, that he was more complicated than she knew but she still had to say that he must have a "good" side to him.

All this kind of annoyed me, since to my mind the main thing was whether or not he had killed the child and how the law should deal with him for that crime. All the talk about a good side or his being totally evil just seemed irrelevant to me and something that shouldn't be muddying up the real issues. One juror kept getting hung up on these side issues and bringing him around to the criminal facts was difficult but in the end they succeeded.

The boyfriend was convicted of first degree murder and eventually sentenced to death. Although I don't think they proved actual intent to kill, the fact was clear enough that his actions had killed the boy and the conviction and sentence fit the facts of the case. (The mother was to be tried separately but she ended up pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. She gave a statement of remorse for her actions. The boyfriend never said a word through his whole trial.)

In a way it's hard to say what I want to get at here. I keep losing my own frame of reference. Something about being annoyed that issues were brought up about morality that people shouldn't have to spend so much time trying to resolve. I guess this is because I have the Christian point of view that we're all sinners, any of us could have been in circumstances that caused us to act criminally, in a way it's all God's grace if we don't. But nevertheless crimes must be punished. The Bible clearly says that if someone kills a human being he must die for it. So all the ponderings about whether or not someone is completely evil or partially evil or whatenot are just red herrings.

Maybe I'll figure out more cldearly what I'm trtrying to say if this gets discussed.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Stile, posted 03-11-2020 8:24 AM Faith has responded
 Message 24 by Hyroglyphx, posted 03-12-2020 5:30 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3976
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 2 of 171 (873187)
03-11-2020 8:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Faith
03-10-2020 2:07 PM


Faith writes:

All this kind of annoyed me, since to my mind the main thing was whether or not he had killed the child and how the law should deal with him for that crime. All the talk about a good side or his being totally evil just seemed irrelevant to me and something that shouldn't be muddying up the real issues. One juror kept getting hung up on these side issues and bringing him around to the criminal facts was difficult but in the end they succeeded.

Absolutely.
Even Hitler's dog loved Hitler - because Hitler was good to his dog.

"Good and Evil" isn't a static value in people.
People are good in this stituation, and bad in that situation.
The issue, as you said, is if they were good or bad in the criminal facts/scenario that's in question.

I wouldn't say everything else is entirely irrelevant - in certain situations it may provide evidence of credibility for if the actions were "by accident" or "fully intended."
In your particular example - with "ongoing abuse" on such a large scale - I would completely agree that no level of "very nice to everyone else" matters at all.

Something about being annoyed that issues were brought up about morality that people shouldn't have to spend so much time trying to resolve. I guess this is because I have the Christian point of view that we're all sinners, any of us could have been in circumstances that caused us to act criminally, in a way it's all God's grace if we don't. But nevertheless crimes must be punished. The Bible clearly says that if someone kills a human being he must die for it. So all the ponderings about whether or not someone is completely evil or partially evil or what not are just red herrings.

Perhaps, for you, it is because of your Christian point of view.
But, in general, a Christian point of view isn't required to come to the same conclusion.

I'm atheist and my moral code does not come from the Bible.
And my conclusions are the same as yours - for other reasons - but the conclusions are the same.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Faith, posted 03-10-2020 2:07 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Faith, posted 03-11-2020 8:34 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 25 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


(1)
Message 3 of 171 (873188)
03-11-2020 8:34 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Stile
03-11-2020 8:24 AM


Thank you for responding and for your point of view. Yes we agree about this.

The man horrifically abused the little boy and eventually killed him by his beatings. What he and the boy's mother did to the child is almost beyond imagining. Hitler didn't personally hurt anyone, it was all at a distance from him, but this man caused horrible pain and suffering to a little boy, and so did the boy's mother. It is so sad that all the agencies that were formed to help a child in such a situation failed him miserably.

I WAS thinking that maybe one has to have the Christian perspective to avoid all this unnecessary pondering about a good side and so on, but I'm glad to hear that is not necessary.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Stile, posted 03-11-2020 8:24 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by ringo, posted 03-11-2020 11:57 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 32723
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 4 of 171 (873190)
03-11-2020 8:44 AM


The courts should not consider morality.
Morality is not the provenance of the Justice System. The Law and empathy are the only areas that the courts should address and empathy should only play a part in determining the extent of sanction when someone has been found guilty of breaking a specific law.

Edited by jar, : applin spallin


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 18504
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


(1)
Message 5 of 171 (873204)
03-11-2020 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Faith
03-11-2020 8:34 AM


Faith writes:

I WAS thinking that maybe one has to have the Christian perspective to avoid all this unnecessary pondering about a good side and so on....


I don't think it's a good idea to avoid pondering. The world needs more pondering, not less.

In the specific case, I don't think the good things that the culprit may have done have any relevance. The only question is, "Do we need to protect society from this guy?" and the answer is, "Yes."


"I'm Fallen and I can't get up!"

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Faith, posted 03-11-2020 8:34 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7805
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 6 of 171 (873209)
03-11-2020 1:24 PM


Generally, waffling on about what a nice guy a murderer is in other aspects of his life is a defence tactic likely to confuse few people, but that's its intent.

The defence can point to previous good character which may influence if there is any doubt as to guilt, but in such serious cases I can't see it having much effect.

Often character and background is used when mitigating for sentencing. You'll have heard the ludicrous, but he makes good films' mitigation for Weinstein - which obviously didn't work.

As for Christian, well there are two opposing messages from Christianity as far as justice goes, the first is retribution which is very old testament, the other is forgiveness which is very Jesus. The criminal justice system is pointed almost entirely towards retribution. We've got a long way to go there.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 03-11-2020 4:16 PM Tangle has responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 25 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


(1)
Message 7 of 171 (873231)
03-11-2020 4:16 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Tangle
03-11-2020 1:24 PM


As for Christian, well there are two opposing messages from Christianity as far as justice goes, the first is retribution which is very old testament, the other is forgiveness which is very Jesus. The criminal justice system is pointed almost entirely towards retribution. We've got a long way to go there.

This is a common but totally wrong current idea. People are always taking Jesus' teachings which were meant only for individuals and usually only believers for that matter, and wrongly applying them to governments. Jesus clearly said "My Kingdom is not of this world." He NEVER addressed the kingdoms of this world, He only addressed the people he was making into citizens of HIS Kingdom which is not of this world.

His teachihngs do not apply to governments. Earthly governments have the responsibility to protect their citizens for one thing so you can't have a government "turning the other cheecki" but people absurdly try to apply it to governments. And with the death penalty, Jesus did not contradict Old Testament law on such points at all. He never said one thing to abrogate the death penalty. He taught individuals individually not to seek vengeance FOR PERSONAL OFFENSES, he never said one thing about punishment by the government of capital crimes. In general He upheld the Old Testament on everything it teaches, merely made the law against diveroce stricter and taught INDIVIDUALS not to exact vengeance. The state MUST exact vengeance, that's its job you could say. People so completely misunderstand all this it's hard to talk about it, but the death penalty is RIGHT for murderers and it is in fact a violation of God's law to spare their lives.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Tangle, posted 03-11-2020 1:24 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Tangle, posted 03-11-2020 5:19 PM Faith has responded
 Message 9 by RAZD, posted 03-12-2020 12:28 AM Faith has responded
 Message 19 by ramoss, posted 03-12-2020 10:45 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7805
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


(11)
Message 8 of 171 (873242)
03-11-2020 5:19 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
03-11-2020 4:16 PM


Faith writes:

The state MUST exact vengeance, that's its job you could say. People so completely misunderstand all this it's hard to talk about it, but the death penalty is RIGHT for murderers and it is in fact a violation of God's law to spare their lives.

I'm not touching your corrupted view of Jesus's message, it's disgraceful. But what the state must or must not do is secular so we can leave your primitive views out of it.

The deal we have with the state is that we hand over the personal right to put right wrongs against us - in your disgracefully unChristian words, vengeance - in return for the state honouring the deal.

I personally, being a real Christian, albeit an atheistic one, detest the idea of retribution - ie revenge. I can live with the need for deterrence and the need to protect the public but revenge? No. It has no place in a moral world.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 03-11-2020 4:16 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Faith, posted 03-12-2020 7:49 AM Tangle has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(4)
Message 9 of 171 (873244)
03-12-2020 12:28 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
03-11-2020 4:16 PM


Nathanial Woods - state sanctioned murder.
... The state MUST exact vengeance, that's its job you could say. People so completely misunderstand all this it's hard to talk about it, but the death penalty is RIGHT for murderers and it is in fact a violation of God's law to spare their lives.

Alabama prisoner Nathaniel Woods dies by execution-

quote:
However, less than four hours later, the Supreme Court denied to review Woods’s case and lifted the stay.

His death came after a storm of legal appeals and protests, including family members of the deceased officers. They argued that Woods, who did not actually kill the officers, and according to the trigger man had no part in the crime, is innocent.


This was neither justice nor vengeance, it was the unnecessary murder of a man not guilty of the crime he was executed for.

This death serves no purpose except to show that the death penalty is barbaric in a purportedly civilized country.

Everyone who condones the death penalty is an accessory to this murder.

You can have morality without justice, but you cannot have justice without morality.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel•American•Zen•Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 03-11-2020 4:16 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by vimesey, posted 03-12-2020 2:45 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
 Message 13 by Faith, posted 03-12-2020 8:15 AM RAZD has responded

  
vimesey
Member
Posts: 1152
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 3.5


(1)
Message 10 of 171 (873246)
03-12-2020 2:45 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
03-12-2020 12:28 AM


Re: Nathanial Woods - state sanctioned murder.
Everyone who condones the death penalty is an accessory to this murder.

Indeed. And in that vein, here’s an interesting thought experiment for Faith to consider:

It is pretty much inevitable that with the death penalty, innocent people will be executed from time to time. We have an irrefutable and heavy line of evidence from numerous examples of miscarriages of justice. It will happen.

So a society which wants the death penalty should have a referendum every 5 years or so as to whether they want the death penalty. But in this referendum, your choice is recorded with your identity.

If the referendum chooses the death penalty, (in the sure and certain knowledge that at some point an innocent person will be wrongfully put to death), then a murder will have been committed by that society - or more pertinently, by the people in that society who voted for the death penalty, knowing that this would happen.

So at that point, we have a lottery from amongst those people who voted for the death penalty, and we put one of them to death, as a punishment for that murder having been committed by society.

It’s fair that this should be the case.

I wonder how many people would vote yes, knowing that this could be the consequence for them.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by RAZD, posted 03-12-2020 12:28 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Faith, posted 03-12-2020 7:53 AM vimesey has responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 25 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 11 of 171 (873250)
03-12-2020 7:49 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Tangle
03-11-2020 5:19 PM


Sorry, you're wrong. The death penalty is entirely Christian. I'm sorry Catholics are too liberal to understand that, and like many others misread the Bible.

There are always going to be mistakes, people who were wrongly convicted. We should do everything possible to prevent that, even curtailing executions until the system is more reliable at identifying miscarriages of justice. But not because there's something wrong with the death penalty as the just sentence for certain crimes, because there isn't.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Tangle, posted 03-11-2020 5:19 PM Tangle has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by jar, posted 03-12-2020 9:37 AM Faith has not yet responded
 Message 20 by ringo, posted 03-12-2020 11:44 AM Faith has not yet responded
 Message 25 by Hyroglyphx, posted 03-12-2020 5:59 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 25 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 12 of 171 (873251)
03-12-2020 7:53 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by vimesey
03-12-2020 2:45 AM


Re: Nathanial Woods - state sanctioned murder.
All this is just the confusion society has fallen into over the last few decades or so, the confusion between crimes and justice. Justice is not murder, the death penalty is justice, not murder. Confusing these things is just one symptom of the insanity that has been overtaking society.

This is a PRINCIPLE I'm talking about. When there are many wrongly judged cases then executions should be stopped until only the truly guilty are executed.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by vimesey, posted 03-12-2020 2:45 AM vimesey has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by vimesey, posted 03-12-2020 9:16 AM Faith has responded
 Message 21 by Aware Wolf, posted 03-12-2020 12:13 PM Faith has not yet responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 25 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 13 of 171 (873253)
03-12-2020 8:15 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
03-12-2020 12:28 AM


Re: Nathanial Woods - state sanctioned murder.
This is a spurious argument. The validity of the death penalty is a completely separate issue from the fact that mistakes in judgment of particular cases may be made.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by RAZD, posted 03-12-2020 12:28 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by RAZD, posted 03-13-2020 11:10 AM Faith has not yet responded

  
vimesey
Member
Posts: 1152
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 14 of 171 (873260)
03-12-2020 9:16 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Faith
03-12-2020 7:53 AM


Re: Nathanial Woods - state sanctioned murder.
the death penalty is justice, not murder.

It’s murder, not justice, when it’s carried out against an innocent person. That was very much the point of my post.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Faith, posted 03-12-2020 7:53 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Faith, posted 03-12-2020 9:24 AM vimesey has responded

  
Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 25 days)
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 15 of 171 (873261)
03-12-2020 9:24 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by vimesey
03-12-2020 9:16 AM


Re: Nathanial Woods - state sanctioned murder.
It's not even murder if it's carried out by mistake against an innocent person. We don't charge people with murder when it was an accident that killed a person. Murder takes criminal intent.

Since we still have too many cases of unjust convictions, I'm for putting a hold on executions for that reason although in principle executing murderers is justice.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by vimesey, posted 03-12-2020 9:16 AM vimesey has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by PaulK, posted 03-12-2020 9:32 AM Faith has not yet responded
 Message 17 by vimesey, posted 03-12-2020 9:33 AM Faith has responded

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2020