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Justice





ocalhoun


I'm sure we can all agree that this is wrong... The real question is, how should it be prevented?
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
I'm sure we can all agree that this is wrong... The real question is, how should it be prevented?
This is a sensitive point with me too. I just hate injustice (as you well know). Thing is where there are lawyers to the extent they are in the US which is probably one of the heaviest litigated societies in the world, those who can afford them would always get off and those who can't will do their time. I was just thinking if it had been that wealthy guy who had stolen 100$, he'd probably have got off as well. Even with trying to have it that way, no one is equal in justice and it is the one who has money to buy expensive lawyers who would get off lighter than the other. It would also be the one who has a great network of buddies, including lawyer friends along I pat your back lines, you pat my back who would be able to get hold of the best legal assistance there is.

Then there is also the superficial bit where society would give someone in a nice suit with the right lingo and education much more benefit of the doubt than someone who dresses down and obviously looks down and out.

I don't think there is a solution. Other than starting an organisation of vigilantes and taking the law in their own hands. I wonder whether that is going to happen one of these days as elsewhere in this forum there was another article about injustice in Montreal. I wonder what the verdict would have been if the murderer had been a non-professional who could hardly make ends meet?

How should it be prevented? That has to be a multi-million dollar question. Probably more checks and balances, but then bright guys who do well in scams like that always find their loop holes. I don't have the foggiest, but am looking forward to hearing people's recommendations. Very Happy
liljp617
To my knowledge, Lee B. Farkas was the mastermind behind the mortgage fraud. Last I checked (it's been a while), he was expected to get life in prison. Farkas is being pursued for $30.7 million. The CEO in question cooperated with the government against Farkas and took a plea requiring he forfeit all he gained from the fraud.

I also believe the homeless man threatened that he had a gun. The $100 isn't the most relevant factor to his sentence.

Still quite messed up, but the image has been floating around on the Internet for a while now and it's somewhat misleading.
deanhills
liljp617 wrote:
Still quite messed up, but the image has been floating around on the Internet for a while now and it's somewhat misleading.
Maybe so, if you want to go for a literal interpretation but it is a fact that the poor generally get a less "just" trial than the rich. Quite often people look at them as guilty even before they have been charged. Society just has this knack of creating its own losers and treating them as losers in the justice system. Whereas if you're from the wealthy or well connected, you seem to get a better break, most of the time.
Bikerman
There is another way to look at this.
In the first case the man looses basically everything, particularly his reputation. For someone in business that cannot be bought for any money. He also will probably loose his wealth. I would think that this is actually more important to him than an extra few years in jail, but even if it is not then we need to consider whether jail is a good punishment. Personally I would have been in favour of a nominal prison sentence (say 12 months) followed by restorative justice. In this case he should have been made to work, pro-bono, using his expertise for the public good. I'm sure he could have been set to work running a housing association or credit union. He would, of course, be supervised by the parol board to make sure he didn't do anything shady.

In the second case - that is just wrong, wrong, wrong. There appears to be no account taken of the fact that he surrendered himself and was obviously remorseful. In this case I think a prison sentence of any length would be over the top.

There are two elements to any sentence -
a) revenge for the victims/restitution for society
b) rehabilitation of the offender.

In my view prison actually abandons the second to a very large extent. The US and UK have taken the prison solution to crime, whereas other countries in Europe have taken a different route. There follows an interesting select committee report from our Parliament, looking at the justice system in the UK, Germany and Sweden.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhaff/193/19326.htm
deanhills
I don't agree with the first who defrauded billions of US dollars. Just imagine the lives that have been impacted, probably ruined as a result. It also sends a message that says that if you do commit fraud on that awesome scale that the worst that can happen is a year or two in jail. People who commit fraud like this in general are such egotists, most of them think they have been wronged and that they were great at what they had done. They may provide an apology but mostly just to save their own butts as part of counsel from their lawyers. Once he has served his time there is a good chance he will get back into the business. Even if he has been disbarred. I worked in the securities business in Vancouver, Canada for a while, these guys just can't help themselves. They are incredibly good at winning people's confidence and trust. Putting them back in society where they get to hatch schemes, especially when it is part of serving their sentence is not really a good idea. Not good for society and also not serving justice. This guy should be locked up for at least 15 years if not more.
Bikerman
So you want to spend about C$1,320,000 on him (the cost of 15 years in prison at today's price) and what you get at the end of it is an old man who the state will have to support? That seems like a very poor deal for society.

My way you spend about $50,000 (parole officers salary) and get back much more than that from his work.
I doubt there is much chance of him 'getting back' into the business - I think you need to be a member of CAAMP to be a mortgage broker in Canada, and they are hardly likely to license him.

The idea that community sentencing or restorative justice is a soft option really needs to be challenged. Old lags will tell you that they quite look forward to going back into prison - they have regular meals, no hard decisions to make, no responsibilities. The idea that prison works to rehabilitate is disproved by the statistics. The UK has the highest prison population in Europe, and we are way behind the US.

As has already been said, Allen was not the main player in the fraud, and he co-operated with the authorities to bring that person (Farkas) to justice. This would typically have reduced his sentence by about half - so without the help he would have got a sentence of 80 months rather than 40.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/mortgage-fraud-ceo-prison-paul-allen_n_881946.html
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
So you want to spend about C$1,320,000 on him (the cost of 15 years in prison at today's price) and what you get at the end of it is an old man who the state will have to support? That seems like a very poor deal for society.
You mean, you'd rather that he gets back into society and defraud people of more millions? Which is quite a realistic possibility. And no, he doesn't have to go back to Mortgage Broking, he can go for completely different businesses. He can move to a different community, change his name maybe and ingratiate himself with society. These guys are pretty good with that.

I'm all for restorative justice when it is for people who have broken the law, however are not a threat to society. I consider guys like these a threat. Particularly since they are confidence tricksters. Imagine all the lies he would have had to have told to have got to defrauding BILLIONS and not millions or thousands of US Dollars. That guile and ability to get people to trust the person is what makes him a threat. Committing fraud can be like addiction to gambling. Once he gets out and he moves around society he would not be able to help himself with thinking up the next "innocent" scam, that he no doubt would regard as his contribution to society to redeem himself. These guys are incredibly good at deluding themselves at the expense of innocents.
jwellsy
The OP forgot to post the original source of the copy/paste. It's probably this story of the Roy Brown hoax story.

Quote:
Friday, June 24, 2011
Injustice in America or Clever Hoax?

This story about the homeless man who was sent to prison for 15 years after stealing $100 has been passed around thousands of times on the internet. Roy Brown, the homeless man, even has his own Facebook page. However, there is one little problem. If you try to find out the name of the sick judge, who sentenced Mr. Brown to 15 years for stealing the $100, or other details about the case you come up empty. So is the story true or is it a clever hoax?

Moral: Never forget, you can't believe everything you read on the internet!
Sample of blogs passing along the "injustice" against Roy Brown story:
Slope of Hope
The Angry Black Tumblr
Digital Journal
democratic underground
we saw that... blog:
shreveport man gets 15 years for stealing $100.00 --
apparently, still smarting from that whole "cut 'em loose carmouche" nonsense that was used against him in his recent unsuccessful bid for the fourth congressional district seat, caddo parish, la. district attorney, paul carmouche asked for and received an astounding fifteen year prison sentence for roy brown...
----
Please note that DA Paul Carmouche's Wikipedia page does not mention this case. So was this story originally fabricated to discredit Mr. Carmouche? Additionally, none of the online stories seems able to report the year and month the sentence was given to Mr. Brown. So there is no judge, no date, no relatives of Roy Brown speaking out about the injustice, no real "free Roy Brown" movement. Believe it or not, and apparently many people have believed this story without question.
----
Update: more discussion

Theology Forum:
"Justice" in America -- [discussion of the Roy Brown story]

Slowtwitch Forums
can you guess which one could afford a lawyer? -- [discussion of the Roy Brown story]
----
2d Update: This story seems to have had a couple of surges of interest. One in 2009 and one recently in June 2011. Exactly the same verbatim write-up caused both surges. It's amazing that people will continue to discuss the issue of injustice regarding the case when it's pointed out to them that the case is probably bogus. Killing an internet myth is not easy.

If this story were true don't you think 60 Minutes, or Dateline, or some other news show would have shown an interest in reporting on it? If you were a producer for one of these shows wouldn't you want to get Roy Brown on camera ASAP to tell his story to America. How do you spell Emmy?

Better yet, why hasn't Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton taken up the Roy Brown cause?

http://johnsville.blogspot.com/2011/06/injustice-in-america-or-clever-hoax.html
Afaceinthematrix
liljp617 wrote:

I also believe the homeless man threatened that he had a gun. The $100 isn't the most relevant factor to his sentence.


Yes it is. The reason it is a very relevant factor is that since he only stole $100, then it is petty theft - which must be a misdomeanor - whereas if he had stolen a significant amount of money then it would be a felony. The only loophole would be if the prosecutor could prove that he had intent to take more than that. However, that isn't the case - according to the article (which I am questioning the integrity of). Going to prison for petty theft of this magnitude is bullshit - especially since he turned himself in and felt remorseful. Yes he did rob a bank and deserves some sort of punishment. But a 90 day jail sentence with community service hours seems reasonable to me.

The only thing that I can think of which would have made his sentence ridiculous is if he had a long history of priors. Realistically (if this story is even true), he won't serve this sentence. There will either be a repeal and/or he will be let out early for good behavior.
Bikerman
The thing that went through my mind is '3 strikes' legislation. This is just supposition, of course, but I do remember seeing something about a law in some states that made a third offence an automatic 'life' sentence....
liljp617
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
liljp617 wrote:

I also believe the homeless man threatened that he had a gun. The $100 isn't the most relevant factor to his sentence.


Yes it is. The reason it is a very relevant factor is that since he only stole $100, then it is petty theft - which must be a misdomeanor - whereas if he had stolen a significant amount of money then it would be a felony. The only loophole would be if the prosecutor could prove that he had intent to take more than that. However, that isn't the case - according to the article (which I am questioning the integrity of). Going to prison for petty theft of this magnitude is bullshit - especially since he turned himself in and felt remorseful. Yes he did rob a bank and deserves some sort of punishment. But a 90 day jail sentence with community service hours seems reasonable to me.

The only thing that I can think of which would have made his sentence ridiculous is if he had a long history of priors. Realistically (if this story is even true), he won't serve this sentence. There will either be a repeal and/or he will be let out early for good behavior.


I don't know how much I trust the story as a whole, but if he threatened to have a gun, that makes it first-degree robbery in many states. Second-degree at the least. That's a pretty relevant factor of sentencing in the majority of states. The primary issue in a case like that would be the threat of using violent/deadly force in the robbery if the victim didn't follow orders, would it not?
Afaceinthematrix
It would be if he threatened the use of a gun... But this story really doesn't say much. He said that he had his hand under his jacket - which probably implies that he wanted the idea to be there. But the story really doesn't say much more and the fact that he willingly only took $100 makes it petty theft. So either way, he doesn't deserve 15 years (on top of the remorse and surrender). The only thing that really could have impacted this sentence is a long list of priors - which the article doesn't talk about.

But like I already said, I am doubting the integrity of this story. I even doubted it more when I googled the guy's name, Roy Brown, and the first thing that came up was a similar but very different story. Both stories involved someone going to jail wrongly for 15 years.

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/roy_brown_a_free_man_now_back.html

I find it really hard to trust most websites online. If anyone really wanted to, they could look into this farther. I think cases like this are public information and can be accessed if you know where to go. However, I really don't feel like doing that.
Hello_World
If it were just the $100 he should have got a good talking to and sent home. However...

When threatening with a gun, it is irrelevant whether or not there is an actual gun, a fake gun, a gun without bullets etc. I mean, it shows there was no intention to actually harm anyone, but it doesn't make a difference to the person it is supposedly aimed at, which is why under law it is treated as the one and same thing.

Regardless, given the man's sorrow for the crime, pleading guily, and 'mitigating circumstances' (ie, homeless etc) and low value of theft, and no intention of causing real harm, this should have been a sort sentence or community service.

What would be an ordinary penalty for armed robbery in US?

I did find a Roy Brown in the Lousiana prison system:
https://www.vinelink.com/vinelink/detailsAction.do?siteId=19000&agency=900&id=94441&searchType=offender

Someone legal savvy should be able to find the case in a book at a univerisity library in US. But that ain't me.
ocalhoun
CovyUnit wrote:
anarchy

Do you mean that anarchy would be a solution to such problems... or are you just posting 'anarchy' in a thread as an amusing self-reference... ie, creating anarchy in the thread?
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