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Peculiar Punishments In US Courts  
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7702 posts, RR: 21
Posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1327 times:
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I saw a news item recently where as part of her punishment for a driving offence (the nature of which will be self-evident when you see the punishment) the defendant was ordered by the judge to hold up a sign in public stating that 'only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus'. Ten out of ten for originality judge, and it gets my vote. There were other more standard sanctions too.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...t-holds-up-sign-as-punishment.html

However, it got me wondering what other examples of creative sentencing you can come up with from the US. One problem with UK sentencing is that it is often very rigid, and frequently fails to fit the finer points of the crime.

So, interested to hear what you can remember. Also, where does the line get drawn between the punishment fitting the crime, and 'cruel and unusual' punishment?


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11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineQFA380 From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 2062 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1327 times:

There was this one a few months ago where they cut off the girl's hair in court.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...hacking-chunks-toddlers-locks.html

Not quite sure where I stand on unorthodox punishments, some would definitely come unusual term in the 8th Amendment. Good that judges can tailor the punishment often for a specific deterrence to others and against recidivism but these judges can abuse them, come up with a creative some good publicity just before the election often making a name for themselves rather than doing their job. The perils of having politicians as judges...


User currently offlineTheCommodore From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 2849 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1327 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Thread starter):
Also, where does the line get drawn between the punishment fitting the crime, and 'cruel and unusual' punishment?

I'd imagine, the line, would be very blurry indeed, given the high importance placed on individual rights in the US..... you know, that document called the constitution !

Quoting RussianJet (Thread starter):
One problem with UK sentencing is that it is often very rigid, and frequently fails to fit the finer points of the crime.

That's probably true in most countries, however, I think there should be "some" continuity in sentencing.



Flown 905,468 kms or 2.356 times to the moon, 1296 hrs, Longest flight 10,524 kms
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7702 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1327 times:
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Quoting QFA380 (Reply 1):
There was this one a few months ago where they cut off the girl's hair in court.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti....html

That one totally has me confused. My gut says it's wrong, but then on further reflection how do you make a 13-year-old truly understand the consequences of their actions? Perhaps stopping her allowance just wouldn't be enough.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7891 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1327 times:

Honestly, this strikes me as unprofessionalism more than anything. I don't see it as cruel, per se, but just useless. If I were the judge, I'd probably avoid this kind of drama...


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User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7702 posts, RR: 21
Reply 5, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1327 times:
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Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 4):
Honestly, this strikes me as unprofessionalism more than anything. I don't see it as cruel, per se, but just useless. If I were the judge, I'd probably avoid this kind of drama...

It is pretty tacky, but on the other hand the media attention it gets sure achieves the ultimate aim of the sentence - to humiliate the woman.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineQFA380 From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 2062 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1329 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 3):
Quoting QFA380 (Reply 1):
There was this one a few months ago where they cut off the girl's hair in court.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti....html

That one totally has me confused. My gut says it's wrong, but then on further reflection how do you make a 13-year-old truly understand the consequences of their actions? Perhaps stopping her allowance just wouldn't be enough.

The judge did give the mother a choice seeing as though he had to do her job and she chose hair then regretted it.
That's one of the problems for courts dealing with minors, hence I see creative punishments as much more effective. A kid going to juvenile detention for a month often won't mind it, no school, hang out with buddies all day; ban him from having a mobile phone or being on Facebook with an ankle bracelet on with a strict curfew (for example) and he could take it more seriously. Kids should be punished as kids, adults should be punished as adults.


User currently offlineTheCommodore From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 2849 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1327 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 5):
to humiliate the woman.

You think so ?

Doubt very much whether this woman has the capacity to be humiliated by anything.....

Thou perhaps, if you banned her from smoking (judging by the way she's sucking back on one) that may have more effect of teaching her a lesson.



Flown 905,468 kms or 2.356 times to the moon, 1296 hrs, Longest flight 10,524 kms
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7702 posts, RR: 21
Reply 8, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1327 times:
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Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 7):
You think so ?

To some extent at least, yes. I doubt she would choose to stand out in public displaying that sign.

I am surprised people haven't come up with more examples. Is the fact that I have only read about a couple of these cases in the media an indication of the fact that such creative sentencing is in fact relatively rare?



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21571 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1327 times:

Quoting QFA380 (Reply 1):
Not quite sure where I stand on unorthodox punishments, some would definitely come unusual term in the 8th Amendment.

The "unusual" in the 8th Amendment refers to punishments that are too strong for the crime committed, not just odd punishments. 10 years in prison for jaywalking, for instance, would be "unusual". So there's a lot of leeway for judges.

-Mir



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User currently offlineTheCommodore From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 2849 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1327 times:

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 8):
I am surprised people haven't come up with more examples.

Here's one. Animal cruelty, which I find abhorrent.

It's from 2005. At the end of the article, there are more examples of "unusual sentences"
Certainly a novel approach.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/LegalCenter/story?id=1322751#.UKVcWoXyBQQ



Flown 905,468 kms or 2.356 times to the moon, 1296 hrs, Longest flight 10,524 kms
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7702 posts, RR: 21
Reply 11, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 1327 times:
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Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 10):

Here's one. Animal cruelty, which I find abhorrent.

Thanks for that. Particularly interesting at the foot of the article to read about other creative punishments handed down by the judge, and his view on the subject as a whole. I would be interested to see some actual statistics on reoffending rates for the recipients of these punishments, rather than simply relying on the judge's anecdotal experiences by which to judge their effectiveness.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
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