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sunset

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Did you all see the news last night that the teacher who was with her 14 yrs old student is not getting any jail time due to being bipolar?
I dont know much about bi polar, but they say although she knew it was wrong, that she couldnt help it. Do you agree with this?

OR, maybe she "pinky promised" the judge that she would be a good girl now.
Her ex husband wasnt happy that she got off without any jail time.

Do you think if it was a male teacher, the outcome would be different?
 

David Baxter

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I don't really know much about this case other than what was in the news but the laws do allow for various mental conditions to reduce culpability or mitigate the sentence. I'm not unhappy with that - there are indeed some cases where a mental disorder or even a short-term mental condition does create the conditions where the individual is not able to make reasonable decisions.

I can't say that was true in the Lefave case but it could have been.
 

Brenda

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I read about this case on the internet. It is kind of interesting that Debra's sister was killed by a drunk driver and her sister was pregnant. The article said that Debra was traumatized after this accident. But what does that have to do with bi-polar? Debra is getting remarried or she already is by now. Her ex-husband is also remarried. She could have served 15 years in prison for each count. All she gets is house arrest and probation. You have to wonder about the system sometimes. There are people who are mentally ill who serve time in prison. I watched a show on tv about this the other night. They have their meds controlled and when they leave they are given a two weeks supply and then they have to see a doctor to follow-up.

The young gentleman who was with Debra, wouldn't testify because of the emotional state he was in. There is so much controversy over this. Some guys say that is one of the luckiest guys there is. The articles didn't comment about the boy very much.
 

sunset

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Thx for the input...

What I dont understand is, that anyone who can commit a crime is "sick" in some way already, so if thats the case then why throw anyone is jail?
I know Deb Lafave had a rough time when her sister died, and I can appreciate that, but other people who have had losses, dont go out and commit crimes. Now she is saying she is bi-polar, and while thay may be the case, is it an open invitation for anyone with bi-polar to commit crimes and get away with it?
I also understand the boy not wanting to take the stand, but is it really necessary when they KNOW it happened and they admitted it? Why do we need a trial for her to be punished?
Also, for someone with "mental" problems (enough to get her off the hook) is able to be engaged and already looking for a career in journalism, sounds like she is quite "sane" to me.
I dont know....I know people are outraged that she is getting off with only house arrest.
 

David Baxter

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Incarceration has two aims:

1. to get an offender off the streets to protect potential future victims and to at least offer that person the opportunity to participate in rehabilitative programs (including treatment) to minimize the future risk to society; and

2. to express the condemnation of society regarding what the offender has done.

Now, what do you do when #1 and #2 conflict? In other words, if I can demonstrate to you that incarcerating someone is actually contrary to the best interests of society because it may make him/her MORE of a risk to society in the future, and that the best interests of society are actually served by a noncustodial sentence, probably with some sort of rehabilitative option, what would you want to do?

Again, I don't know enough about the Lefave case to comment. I'm asking this as a general question.
 

sunset

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I guess it would depend on all the reasons and go case by case, but in the LaFave case, they are pretty much saying.. "She is too pretty to put in jail". There are other women that did the same crime, all serving jail time, so why is she the exception?

I dont really buy it that they cant do anything unless this boy testifies, as they already know what happened and it was not disputed by either one. The judge had to know there was going to be a huge problem in letting her go free, and the only thing I see now is, that people will use the bipolar excuse in future cases.

Not only that, one of the newscasters last night said, she is already engaged to her high school sweetheart, which is saying she is still in a teenage mindset. Not sure if I totally agree with that, but that is what was said.

To answer your question, I am not sure.. How would they know she would be more of a risk in the future? I think with a slap on the wrist, it is very probable that she will find herself in trouble again in the future. She should be made to pay for her crime now as she will hopefully learn you cant just do these kinds of things without facing a consequence. All the public sees is... If your pretty, you get special treatment.
In my opinion, that is dangerous and sends a bad messege.
 

David Baxter

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I'm not asking about Lefave. I'm referring to the two reasons (cited above) for incarceration and I'm asking if you think that ALL individuals who commit a crime should be incarcerated regardless of the circumstances, or if you think that the defense of "mental illness" is ever justified.
 

foghlaim

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in the case above.. i agree with sunset.. this lady appears to have used her illness to excuse her behaviour and get away with it. I think she should have been given a custodial sentence, maybe not Jail but a psychiatric hospital.. where she would have been treated, society would have been happy (and safe from danger of repeat occurence.) it appears to me that neither Aim as david outlined has been served.

i don't think.. (from what i have read here) the Aims were in conflict in this case.. they weren't applied.

as for other cases.. again case by case... and a DIFFERENT judge!


(P.S. i only know what i have read above about this case.. not in the news over here)
 

David Baxter

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NSA, that's really what I'm trying to say. I do not know very much about the Lefave case but I do think it's a mistake to assume "same crime, same punishment". Our system of law (in Canada - I won't speak for other nations) is to look at each case individually. Having been involved in a number of them professionally myself, I also know that only part of the story is ever publicized by the press and a lot of the time they get even those details wrong. Even if I were to read everything written about the Lefave case, I would have little confidence that I actually knew the facts. That's why we have judges.

But I have been involved in several cases where mental health issues were a major part of the case - either as they reflected on guilt or to mitigate sentence. The principle of reduced responsibility or sentencing appropriate to actual future risk to society and/or rehabilitation is well established in law, I think (I'm not a lawyer and I am not an expert in legal systems outside of Canada).
 

sunset

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David Baxter said:
I'm not asking about Lefave. I'm referring to the two reasons (cited above) for incarceration and I'm asking if you think that ALL individuals who commit a crime should be incarcerated regardless of the circumstances, or if you think that the defense of "mental illness" is ever justified.

I do think that mental illness could be used as a defense and can be justified, BUT, I wouldnt want these people free to roam around our streets until they have had treatment of some kind. There are no cut and dry answers, but it would depend on the person, their backround, what crime they committed, etc... I think it all plays a part.
I do agree with you that even what they say on the news, we are not getting the "whole" story, so that is why, when a judge makes a decision, we may or may not understand or see it that way.
 

foghlaim

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Sunset: I agree!! *s*
David: Our system of law is the same ( to my knowledge)

i have a q tho..
over here when a case sparks public outcry.. or the "parties involved" are not satisfied with the "verdict" and or "sentence". The D.P.P can (and does) gather all the info and can ( & does) appeal the sentence\verdict on behalf of the ppl. Sometimes this appeal results in sentencing being reduced or longer one imposed.. or as can be the case.. the person is sent to a psychiatric facility instead of jail.

Just wondering does this happen in other countries as well... Anyone??
 

Peanut

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Now, what do you do when #1 and #2 conflict? In other words, if I can demonstrate to you that incarcerating someone is actually contrary to the best interests of society because it may make him/her MORE of a risk to society in the future, and that the best interests of society are actually served by a noncustodial sentence, probably with some sort of rehabilitative option, what would you want to do?

I would go with the noncustodial sentence hands down. I think society is overly concerned with punishment and not concerned enough about rehabilitation and treatment. Furthermore, I think going to prison rarely helps a person become a better person. They lose big chunks of their life and once they get out it is very hard to become a good citizen again. Society is very unforgiving of ex-inmates...once they get out of prison they are supposed to take their "new chance" and become upstanding...they are supposed to have learned their lesson...however, the fact of the matter is that the supports are just not in place for this to happen.

Plus, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't impulse control a problem with people experiencing manias? It seems to me that that would be relevant in this case.
 

David Baxter

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I think society is overly concerned with punishment and not concerned enough about rehabilitation and treatment.

I agree. I'm not a bleeding heart liberal, by any means, and I also fully understand that some people who commit criminal offenses simply cannot be rehabilitated (psychopaths and pedophiles as two examples). And I do understand the need sometimes for the courts to deliver a message of condemnation of certain offenses on behalf of the people they represent. But... the overriding principle should be what will ultimately be the best option in terms of protecting society while also treating mentally ill offenders in a humane manner.

correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't impulse control a problem with people experiencing manias?
Definitely.
 

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