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Judging by the Entertainment....Follow

#1 Jun 26 2012 at 7:20 AM Rating: Good
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There have been a couple news stories recently about judges using non-standardized sentencing in court cases.

Yesterday this story hit my local paper: A 3-year old Utah girl was left in the hands of two older girls that she had just met at a McDonalds. The little girls new friends were 11 and 13. The 13 year old decided to give the 3 year old a new haircut. The three year olds mother pressed charges. The 13 year old was sentenced to community service and to have her mother cut off her hair - in the courtroom.

Another judge in Texas gave a man the option of 30 days in jail or 30 days sleeping in a dog house for abusive behavior towards his family.

The article I was reading calls these 'shame' punishments. The first case cited above sounds more like an eye-for-an-eye type punishment.

How stupid is it for a judge to sentence a girl to having her hair cut for the crime of cutting hair? Why does this even belong in a real live courtroom?

Here's a few more cited in the article:

ap wrote:
In an Ohio case, a municipal judge sentenced two teens found guilty of breaking into a church on Christmas Eve to march through town with a donkey and a sign reading, "Sorry for the Jackass Offense." The same judge later ordered a woman to be taken to a remote location to sleep outside for abandoning kittens in parks.

Turley said Texas Judge Ted Poe made people shovel manure to degrade them. Poe parlayed his "poetic justice" into a congressional seat, while Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has faced complaints over orders that male inmates wear pink underwear.


Turley, the expert commenting in this story is a prof. at George Washington U:

Quote:
"To some extent, we've seen the merging of law and entertainment in the last 10 years," Turley said, noting that citizens are being given a steady diet with television programs such as Judge Judy and Judge Brown.

He said he has seen no evidence that shame sentences have any more impact than conventional ones and thought society had "turned back the door" on such primitive sentences in the 18th century.

Turley said very few judges end up being disciplined.


Are we further watering down our justice system by allowing judges pick non-traditional rather arbitrary punishment?

Edit - The Article Smiley: blush


Edited, Jun 26th 2012 3:21pm by Elinda
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#2 Jun 26 2012 at 7:38 AM Rating: Excellent
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I had thought (and I'll admit error if I'm wrong) that these sorts of punishments are given as an alternative to traditional sentencing. You could refuse to have your hair cut or carry a sign around but you'll be spending 25 days in the county jail. In that case, I'm not really opposed on a gut level since it's voluntary and beats another warm body crammed into an overcrowded prison. But I'm not sure how effective it is either. I suppose crimes like the hair thing (such as it's a crime Smiley: rolleyes) are a one-off without any real chance that the girl will be a serial hair-cutter. Breaking & entering is another matter.
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#3 Jun 26 2012 at 7:48 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
I had thought (and I'll admit error if I'm wrong) that these sorts of punishments are given as an alternative to traditional sentencing. You could refuse to have your hair cut or carry a sign around but you'll be spending 25 days in the county jail. In that case, I'm not really opposed on a gut level since it's voluntary and beats another warm body crammed into an overcrowded prison. But I'm not sure how effective it is either. I suppose crimes like the hair thing (such as it's a crime Smiley: rolleyes) are a one-off without any real chance that the girl will be a serial hair-cutter. Breaking & entering is another matter.

In the hair-cutting case the judge ordered that the girl have her hair cut. He also ordered that the criminal-girls mother do the cutting, and in fact after the first cut was completed, ordered that she cut it shorter.

In the case of the dog house guy, indeed, he choose the dog house over jail so he could still work.
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#4 Jun 26 2012 at 8:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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Looking at the article, the girl agreed to the hair cutting in lieu of more community service time. The mother of the girl now charges that the judge harassed her into making the choice but that's a separate issue from the overall idea of unorthodox punishments.

Given that putting the girl into jail wasn't the issue here, I would have rather seen her serving the community than getting a haircut as punishment.

Edited, Jun 26th 2012 9:01am by Jophiel
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#5 Jun 26 2012 at 8:03 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Looking at the article, the girl agreed to the hair cutting in lieu of more community service time. The mother of the girl now charges that the judge harassed her into making the choice but that's a separate issue from the overall idea of unorthodox punishments.
Yeah, I just re-read that.

Regardless, I'm still really unclear why a judge would order someone to have their hair cut in punishment for cutting someone's hair. Though judging from the responses in in my local paper, people were all for it - mostly giving kudos for the judge.


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#6 Jun 26 2012 at 8:10 AM Rating: Excellent
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I suppose for me it boils down to: While I'm not opposed on moral grounds (provided it's an alternative to traditional sentencing), practically I would rather see these people performing some sort of public service than wandering around wearing scarlet letters.
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#7 Jun 26 2012 at 8:21 AM Rating: Excellent
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How are the children getting punished? I thought that when a minor commits a crime, it's the adult who is technically held responsible. Maybe I am misunderstanding.
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#8 Jun 26 2012 at 8:43 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
Are we further watering down our justice system by allowing judges pick non-traditional rather arbitrary punishment?
I've never really seen or heard of judges just picking random non-traditional punishments so much as giving a choice between traditional and non-traditional. I'm okay with that.
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#9 Jun 26 2012 at 8:51 AM Rating: Good
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I think making mom cut her hair was the punishment for mom. I feel like there's a whole lot of sexism going on. We shouldn't be teaching children that the way their hair looks is a crime or punishment.
#10 Jun 26 2012 at 8:54 AM Rating: Excellent
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Sez you. I think the look of many a kid these days is a crime.

And get off my lawn! Smiley: mad
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#11 Jun 26 2012 at 8:56 AM Rating: Excellent
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Elinda wrote:
A 3-year old Utah girl was left in the hands of two older girls that she had just met at a McDonalds. The little girls new friends were 11 and 13.


Wait... what the? Smiley: confused

How is this not a thing while the cutting hair is a thing? Or maybe I'm missing something. It doesn't sound right at least. Smiley: rolleyes

Anyway, I'm not categorically opposed to non-traditional punishment as our current system seems to have it's fair share of issues. There's certainly the potential for abuse, and we should keep our eyes on it, but I'm not going to outright condemn it. It's probably not going to work if it's not voluntary though. The whole cruel and unusual angle opening the state up to liability or something.
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#12 Jun 26 2012 at 8:58 AM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
How is this not a thing while the cutting hair is a thing? Or maybe I'm missing something.
Had to pay for the McNuggets somehow, and it'd be awkward if there was a three year old watching.
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#13 Jun 26 2012 at 8:59 AM Rating: Excellent
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What would be the male equivalent? Making them get a mullet?
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#14 Jun 26 2012 at 9:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
What would be the male equivalent? Making them get a mullet?


You have to grow a rat tail. Smiley: nod
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#15 Jun 26 2012 at 9:02 AM Rating: Good
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That would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Unless they're in Jersey. Then he probably already has a mullet or rat tail.
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#16 Jun 26 2012 at 9:57 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Yesterday this story hit my local paper: A 3-year old Utah girl was left in the hands of two older girls that she had just met at a McDonalds. The little girls new friends were 11 and 13. The 13 year old decided to give the 3 year old a new haircut.
Who were the 11 and 13 year old in relation to the 3 year old? You said that she had just met them, but were they the kids of the mother's friend or something like that, or were they strangers to the mother as well? I'd be more concerned about reprimanding the mother or other caregiver if she passed off the responsibility of watching her 3 year old onto two kids she didn't know.

Edited, Jun 26th 2012 11:57am by Spoonless
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#17 Jun 26 2012 at 9:58 AM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
Atomicflea wrote:
What would be the male equivalent? Making them get a mullet?


You have to grow a rat tail. Smiley: nod
I always wanted to grow one as a kid, and every time I look at old pictures I thank my mom for her and my dad not letting me.
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#18 Jun 26 2012 at 11:31 AM Rating: Good
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This kind of novelty punishment is sadistic; whatever you might say about the usual system of sanctions, these are clearly aimed at making a mockery of the guilty party. It encourages this attitude in the general populace - though I'm sure the eternal Daily Mail reader that reads about it in their ****** newspaper needs little help. More than that, it makes the law into a pantomime and thus strips it of the respect it has acquired. I would be very surprised if this reduces, rather than increases, crime.
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#19 Jun 26 2012 at 5:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
How are the children getting punished? I thought that when a minor commits a crime, it's the adult who is technically held responsible. Maybe I am misunderstanding.



My first thought was, where was the 3-year-old's mom? From the article:

Quote:
The older girls had apparently befriended the toddler while playing at a McDonald's, then used a pair of scissors purchased from a nearby dollar store to cut off several inches of her hair. KSL said surveillance video at the McDonald's helped identify the 13-year-old. She was ordered to serve 30 days in detention and to perform 276 hours of community service – which Johansen said he would reduce by 150 hours if the ponytail was cut in his courtroom


I dunno, maybe it was a real fast hair cut; but somehow I don't think mom was as vigilant as she might have been. Whatever, it's hair, it grows back.

Shaming is just theater, as far as I'm concerned. Not as pernicious as DHS's security theater, but not exactly blind justice, either.
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#20 Jun 26 2012 at 5:37 PM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
Are we further watering down our justice system by allowing judges pick non-traditional rather arbitrary punishment?

"Watering down?"

I was under the impression that you were one of those arguing that our justice system was far too harsh on (relatively) minor offenses (e.g. marijuana possession), which contributed to prison over-crowding.
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#21 Jun 27 2012 at 1:52 AM Rating: Good
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Kavekk wrote:
This kind of novelty punishment is sadistic; whatever you might say about the usual system of sanctions, these are clearly aimed at making a mockery of the guilty party. It encourages this attitude in the general populace - though I'm sure the eternal Daily Mail reader that reads about it in their sh*tty newspaper needs little help. More than that, it makes the law into a pantomime and thus strips it of the respect it has acquired. I would be very surprised if this reduces, rather than increases, crime.
This and the fact that the bit with the girls comes way too close to "eye for an eye" style punishment for my liking.
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#22 Jun 27 2012 at 6:11 AM Rating: Good
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Demea wrote:
Elinda wrote:
Are we further watering down our justice system by allowing judges pick non-traditional rather arbitrary punishment?

"Watering down?"

I was under the impression that you were one of those arguing that our justice system was far too harsh on (relatively) minor offenses (e.g. marijuana possession), which contributed to prison over-crowding.

I've never really expressed an opinion about 'harshness' I don't think. By watering down, I guess I was more talking about effectiveness and standardization (which directly impacts equality and fairness).

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#23 Jun 27 2012 at 7:26 AM Rating: Excellent
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Kavekk wrote:
This kind of novelty punishment is sadistic; whatever you might say about the usual system of sanctions, these are clearly aimed at making a mockery of the guilty party.
I have no problem with people committing minor offenses being mocked and humiliated.
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#24 Jun 27 2012 at 8:16 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
Kavekk wrote:
This kind of novelty punishment is sadistic; whatever you might say about the usual system of sanctions, these are clearly aimed at making a mockery of the guilty party.
I have no problem with people committing minor offenses being mocked and humiliated.

Do you think it's effective in modifying behavior?

If it does modify behavior is the new behavior more or less acceptable than the old?

As a parent would you use it to change your child's behavior?
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#25 Jun 27 2012 at 8:24 AM Rating: Good
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I don't think it's any less effective than putting them in orange vests and picking up trash on the side of the highway or in parks.
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#26 Jun 27 2012 at 8:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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It's less effective at getting the trash picked up. We already have plenty of roadside trash and no need for more goofs with bad haircuts.
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