RussianJet
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Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:14 pm

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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QFA380
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:23 pm

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...
 
TheCommodore
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:40 pm

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.
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RussianJet
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:55 pm

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.
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DeltaMD90
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:09 am

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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RussianJet
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:12 am

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.
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QFA380
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:30 am

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.
 
TheCommodore
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:33 am

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.
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RussianJet
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:30 pm

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?
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Mir
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:10 pm

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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TheCommodore
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:24 pm

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
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RussianJet
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RE: Peculiar Punishments In US Courts

Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:46 pm

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.
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