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Old 04-07-2012, 02:23 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,065 posts, read 853,412 times
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Default Should unsuccessful crime be punished less severely than successful crime?

A couple of years ago as I was walking my dogs about a block from my house a car pulled up and the driver got out and pulled a gun out and asked me to empty my pockets. I did but all I had was a lighter and doggy poop bags and he wanted neither so he got in his car and took off. Because I didn't have anything of value on me and therefore nothing to take the crime was considered an attempted robbery instead of an actual robbery. The penalty for attempted robbery is less than it is for a completed robbery and I'm not so sure I think that's right. The only reason this was an attempted robbery and not an actual robbery was because I happened to not have any money on me. It had nothing to do with the robber. His actions were the exact same had I had money or not. That the crime was lesser was no thanks to him. So why should he get off easier?
If I go stab my neighbor 15 times planning to kill him and due to the skill and hard work of a team of doctors he survives why should I benefit from that when my actions were the same regardless of whether he survived or not?

I understand that how the crime is labeled has to do with the damage it caused. Of course I'm better off having nothing taken from me than I would have been had I had my rent money in my pocket. If I kill someone the damage is far greater than if I just injured someone. But is that really how we should determine the severity of a crime? Shouldn't the actions of the criminal determine the severity regardless of things that happens that is really out of his control, such as doctors saving the life of your victim? What do you think?
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:53 AM
 
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I can certainly see your point. I also think the horror and damage caused the victims go beyond whether something was taken or not. I see no reason that murder or attempted murder should have a different sentence because a lesser sentence for attempted murder just puts the person back on the street sooner so they can get it right. Let's face it, punishment isn't what it used to be anyway and the system is so unfair. We need to go back to the old ways with public beheading and hangings!
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
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I think that you are right. The fact that you had nothing the thief wanted didn't make him any less of a threat; he could just as easily have shot you out of frustration, pique, or so he could brag about it to his friends. The threat was there and it was imminent. Why should his punishment depend on his random decision to not follow through with the threat? He should be punished for making the threat as well as for having the means to make the threat happen.

Of course some defense lawyer would step up and say the criminal was a "nice guy" for not shooting you anyway. To me its like blaming the victim, though - you were there in that place and time and were a viable victim, it was your fault for being there and being an "attraction" for the crime; you should be 'grateful' that the criminal didn't shoot you just for spite or fun. After all, the fact that he didn't shoot you meant that you were never in any real danger to begin with! (Of course, you had no way of knowing that.)
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:48 AM
 
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No ;at least in my state the charge would have been aggrivated robbery. Its the intent of the crime plus the fact that a weapon was displaced that aggrivates the charge. have to wander waas this a plea? If so the prosecutor has the abilty to recommend in a plkea that the charge be lessen which often happens but realy without the victim being consulted.But even then the original charge would have been aggrivated robbery.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:52 AM
 
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Interesting point. There are many reasons that criminal statutes are written the way they are. Robbery is traditionally defined as the taking of someone else's property through force or threat of force or violence. Armed robbery would be all of the above plus the use of a weapon.

Believe it or not, many of these statutes have their roots in the old English Common Law which is several hundred years old. In Britain in the 1700's, there were many offenses including theft that could result in the offender being hanged. Judges tried to find ways to avoid sentencing hundreds of people to be hanged and one way they did this was to come up with definitions of crimes that involved proof of many separate elements. The idea is that unless every single element was proved the offender could not be convicted of a capital crime.

The problem is that many of these unwieldy statutes have been carried into the twenty-first century.

I personally think based on the situation described that the most harmful part of the crime was having a gun pointed at you by the offender. That's the part that is most worthy of serious penalty.

You might contact your state legislator and explain this situation to him. Ask him if the robbery statute could be rewritten to reflect twenty-first century realities.
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:14 PM
 
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Normally all that separates theft from robbery is the use of force or threat of. Force is defined as bodily injury meaning physcial pain( as little as a shove to ground0. Then from robbery to aggrivated robbery is serious bodily injury or use of a weapon.Its easy to see that a theft where the robber uses force to escape turns the charge into robbery with some state rewuiring to maintain fruits of crime others not..Most times when the charge is reduced it thur plea baragining after the charge origanlly was higher.Most penal codes were been rewrtten many times by the mid 70's in most states. Then of course the changes needed by legislation;additions and by case law mean penal codes issued new every year by states.Same with traffic codes to reflect additons and changes in uniform code.So I think most reflect the reality of 21st century quite well ;really.The same thing applies to codes of criminal procedure by the way.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:40 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Good point. I think it comes down to the purpose of punishment: what do we see the purpose of punishment as? As a deterrant to crime, as a punitive measure (i.e. it's what they deserve?). Again, it comes down to intent vs action. While someone who is convicted of attempted murder but fails through say, some means out of their control is no doubt capable of going through with it, what of someone who plots out every small detail of the murder but pulls out at the very last moment, perhaps as they point a gun at their victim's head?

The whole arena of law and order and it's relationship with ethics and morals is far from straightforward. There's still a lot of grey areas when it comes to things like this. My personal feeling is that damage definitely SHOULD be a factor - I don't believe someone who pulls out at the last minute, maybe from a change of heart, deserves the same punishment as if they'd actually gone through with it. The robbery case might've been different, though.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:29 PM
 
Location: West Egg
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So someone who is pulled over driving while intoxicated should be subject to the same penalties as someone who drives while intoxicated and kills someone in a resulting collision?

Okay, so what's the plan:
*To sentence those DUIs who harm nobody with a few years in prison, or
*To sentence those DUIs who kill someone to a substantial fine and the loss of their license?

The crime is DUI -- the resulting effect does not matter, correct?

Or, consider:
*An attempted murder fails. But since attempted murder and murder have the same penalty, the would-be murder has no incentive not to commit a murder. The police have the suspect surrounded. Where the suspect's incentive not to try and kill an LEO before being apprehended?
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:56 PM
 
40,871 posts, read 42,078,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Onions View Post
So someone who is pulled over driving while intoxicated should be subject to the same penalties as someone who drives while intoxicated and kills someone in a resulting collision?

Okay, so what's the plan:
*To sentence those DUIs who harm nobody with a few years in prison, or
*To sentence those DUIs who kill someone to a substantial fine and the loss of their license?

The crime is DUI -- the resulting effect does not matter, correct?

Or, consider:
*An attempted murder fails. But since attempted murder and murder have the same penalty, the would-be murder has no incentive not to commit a murder. The police have the suspect surrounded. Where the suspect's incentive not to try and kill an LEO before being apprehended?
They already are not.DWI verus Voluntary man slaughter is quite a different charge. Most thefts are based on amount ;assults as to injury caused;degree of murder as to mental state and the list goes on. Even sentencing is often a range depending severity of crime and the record of the defendent. Attrempted capital murder does not carry the same sentence really. Never seen a death penalty for attempted capital murder; for instance.In most states attempt is different than not sucessful with most crime as it should be. Attempt in most cases is one degree less than the crime itself. Of course ;habitual criminal makes them more serious as to sentence. Always two trails ;one o charge and the other on sentencing.in fact when lookig at DWI the second incidence after one conviction in most state laws is a felony but rarely actually prosecutued as such and the sentence is less than prison sentence. That is the difference you know i na felony i sentencing in most states. Felonyrison sentence is part of the sentencing possiblities.Often sadly mnay times those who eventaully kill someone by DWI are repeat offenders
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:56 PM
 
2,534 posts, read 911,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Onions View Post
So someone who is pulled over driving while intoxicated should be subject to the same penalties as someone who drives while intoxicated and kills someone in a resulting collision?
Not an accurate comparison.

DUI and DUI Manslaughter are two different crimes. Of course it begs the question of should DUI, of itself, even be a crime if nobody has been harmed. I think if we knew the true statistics of how many times people drive while legally intoxicated with nothing bad happen, we might just be forced to rethink our policies.
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