Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sentencing Stupidity

"Judges are looking skeptically at prosecutors' requests to give 15- to 25-year sentences for viewing sexual images of minors, handing down more sentences of five to 10 years, or in some cases probation. The movement has been gaining steam over the past two years even as the Justice Department has made child pornography and other child-exploitation prosecutions a top priority, leading to more than 2,300 cases last year, the highest figure since the department began tracking the statistic. ... The shift has upset advocates of abused children who say the sentences won't deter future misconduct. ... Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Misisng & Exploited Children ... says the dissemination of such images encourages behavior that hurts children, not least the production of those images. Some child-porn viewers still get sentences of 15 or 20 years from judges who follow the guidelines. That's greater than punishments meted out to some child molesters and other violent criminals", my emphasis, Amir Efrati at the WSJ, 20 January 2010, link:

Absurd! 15+-year sentences for viewing child pornography? Hasn't the DOJ anything important to do? AUSAs love these cases. Why? They almost invariably result from sting operations, true no-brainers. I would repeal the laws against child pornography. Viewing an existing film is not making it, disagreeing with the DOJ. Making the film would almost invariably be criminal. California penal code (PC) section 266j provides 15-years to life for sexual battery on a child. California PC section 311.11 gives up to one year for child porn possession. Federal law is absurb! Allen, get lost. Grow up. No judge should sentence anyone to prison for viewing child porn. The more time the DOJ spends on these cases, the less time it has to prosecute the Vampire Squid. Even if reading about murders "encourages" committing them, doesn't the First Amendment say read?

Who do I blame for this? Those who brought us: prohibition and the drug laws, i.e., groups like the Women's Christian Temperance Union. After all, the Master said, ""You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment", Matt 5:21-22 (NIV). He also said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery,' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart'." Matt 5:27-28 (NIV). Here's the Christian-Jewish rub. Judaism focuses on acts; Christianity on thoughts. Jesus may have meant: since the thought preceeds the act, guard your thoughts. If so, much Christian doctrine collapses.


Anonymous said...

"...prosecutors' requests to give 15- to 25-year sentences for viewing sexual images of minors, handing down more sentences of five to 10 years, or in some cases probation..."

Child porn is low rent stuff. People that make it are really gross and should be prosecuted. Those that view it I feel sorry for. I don't think they are criminals.

In Christianity there is a lot of room for examination of the institution of the church... look at the Nag Hamdi and other gnostic texts... why were they considered "heresy"?

Krupo said...

This helps elaborate more on why somewhere over 1% of the US population is imprisoned - beyond just blaming strict drug laws.

Anonymous said...

It takes an inferential leap--a leap of faith--but the point Jesus makes, with later explication by Paul, is that he came to free us from the Law by adherence to the Spirit. Those who pervert this back into thought-crime legalism are not following Christ's teaching.