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Eric Smith - Crime & Punishment

Discussion in 'Perspectives' started by Aldredian_Sahn, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. Aldredian_Sahn On the Road of Truth again

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    Topic: Has Eric Smith been punished enough for the crime he committed 11 years ago:

    I just saw a 48 Hours special on Eric Smith. The article is below: It's quite long, my apologies, but I'll make a brief run through for you guys that have never heard of this man. Eric Smith, at the age of 13 murdered four year old Derrick Robie a half a block from his house. He was sentenced to the maximum of nine years in prison by a jury who unanimously found Smith guilty of murder in the second degree.

    Smith grew up in a small town of 970 people in the state of New York. He was intensely bullied for having red hair and freckles and ended up having absolutely no friends at all. He use to ride his bike around town for hours by himself.

    He spent the last 9 or so years in prison. He's now 24 years of age. He quotes below:
    He goes on to talk about his research with child anger and why he may have ended up the way he was. This past June, Smith was up for parole. The hearing was held at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., a maximum security prison. He was not realeased, but will be on parole again in 12 months. If released, he has made the case that he is uniquely qualified to counsel bullied children, and one day sees himself as a forensic psychologist, doing research on children who kill. "You may think I'm a threat to the well-being of society," says Smith. "And I can understand why you would feel that way. The fact is that I'm not. I'd be an asset to society."

    And finally, the issue of this thread:
    Has he been punished enough? If he isn't a threat anymore, what could any more punishment possibly do? Take into consideration all the facts before you decide: why he did the crime, was his poor childhood a cause for what he did, his current punishment, etc. I recommend that you read the full article, but it is long. I tried to summarize it the best I could here.

    -----------------------------------

    Personally I feel a little sorry for Eric. I think what he endured as a kid, although not an excuse for murder, is somewhat an excuse for his anger and hate as a child. I also think that being in prison since he was 13/14 should possibly be a long enough sentence and ought to be released. It's one thing for me to punish him for Robie's death, but in a way, Smith is also a victim and should be cured for what happened to him. That's what I think anywho. What about you?
     
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  2. Killenator Too good for a Custom Title

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    Eh... I'm going to make people spit fire methinks... Apologies beforehand if you don't agree.

    The government has no right to punish. Who gave them that right? In the end, it all comes back to the fact that they have the guns. In that case, then whoever has the most destructive ability has the right to dictate right or wrong. So, "Justice" is not real.

    Now, I agree that the government needs to protect it's people from harm, and so a known murderer should be seperated from people he can harm, but throwing him in a little cement box is not the right of the government. We should provide counseling and make it impossible for a violent criminal to commit another crime, but we have no right to punish.

    But eh... I'm little more than an anarchist anyway.
     
  3. Devonin Roaming Philosopher

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    Um...So seperate him and try to counsel him and make him see the error of his ways? What if he won't admit his wrongdoing and refuses to rehabilitate?

    Make it impossible for him to commit another crime? How do you propose to do that through means -other- than isolation or death?

    To address the Original Poster's questions: I think he should be released, and allowed to begin his work as a councillor for bullied children. The job of the justice and prison system is not to require every sentence be carried out to the fullest then let people back on the street, it's to see that they are rehabilitated and made into useful contributors of society.

    I think all prison terms should be "Until Rehabilitated"

    It chills me to see a justice system that would let a sex offender who is almost certain to offend again released just because "His term was up" and it burns me up to see people who've clearly seen the error of their ways, and are willing to move up and past their wrongdoings left to rot in cells because their sentence was longer than it needed to be.

    That so many people released from prisons re-offend is all the proof I need to see that the justice system is not working at all like it is intended to, and needs a dramatic overhaul if it is to continue being a useful societal institution.
     
  4. Scorpio3.14 mmmmm....pi

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    The people whom they govern....


    Anyways, to the actual purpose of this thread. I dont really think that the question is "Has he been punished enough". He is going to have to live with what he has done and I think he might be punished by himself for the rest of his life. The question should be is if he is safe to re enter society. He got 9 years and he should serve those 9 years unless we are extremely sure that he will not do something like this again. I cant really answer this question because I dont know the guy personally, but Im sure hes got some counselers that do. Punishment is needed, but the real purpose of the prison system is to keep people safe.
     
  5. Devonin Roaming Philosopher

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    If the purpose of the prison system was to keep non-prisoners safe, then all sentences should be execution or life imprisonment, perhaps exile to some remote place.

    The -prime- purpose of the prison system is to rehabilitate. Or at least, that's what the prime purpose is -supposed- to be. You take the dangerous people away, and try to make them not dangerous anymore, and you keep them isolated until they die of old age, or they manage to rehabilitate and become contributin members of society.
     
  6. vampiresstaunt Butterfly

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    Release

    I think he should be released. He was only 13. Yes he was old enough to know that it was wrong, but at 13 your emotions and impulses rule your actions. I do not believe that persons under the age of 16 should have prison as a crime. They should be removed from society of course but not prison. They need therapy and help. Also I believe that he is paying each and every day for what he did. Its a heavy weight to bear. Now that he is older and more mature and control of himself he probably feels great pain for what he did.
     
  7. Diamed seeker of the ineffable flame

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    the purpose of jail is to prevent bad guys from doing any more harm to anyone. Punishing people is pointless, it just causes more pain. If he's no longer a threat of course he should be freed, though I don't see why you could conclude he's no longer a threat by just his say-so. It would take a psychic or something to know if a murderer was a threat anymore, so I say screw it just execute them and better safe than sorry.
     
  8. Einstein Time for a Change?

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    Execute him? Sorry, but vengance is a crime, and an eye for an eye solves aboslutely nothing. Killing someone doesn't solve any problems- in his case or yours.

    Jails are meant to rehabilitate, and prisoners should not be let out until they have recovered. Determining if a man has put his past behind him is a common ense thing. Obviously pedophiles don't quit after a year in jail, but this guy had most of his childhood stripped away from him. It was way more serious than it should have been, especially considering his background. I do think it's about time he got out of that hellhole. With his record, his next offense will land him in jail for life anyways.
     
  9. Diamed seeker of the ineffable flame

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    See I can understand a guy killing his cheating wife and getting out cuz he's only a threat to cheating wives, none of whom any longer exist. Or a gang fight killer cuz meh, gang members knew what they were getting into. But killing a 4 year old randomly? Fuck that. That guy could kill anyone at any time for any reason. that's not a safe person to have on the streets.
     
  10. Fojos Lick

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    Are you stupid? Gang members have killed random people too. A guy killing his wife is just as much of a threat, because he's capable of killing people he thinks are hurting him.

    This is another case of bullied kids becoming crazy. Bullies should be the ones who deserve to die.
     
  11. Einstein Time for a Change?

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    Diamed:
    The boy was 13. 13 year olds don't have the ability to prioritize like older people. If anyone should go to jail to be executed, it should be the man with the cheating wife. He very wells knows right from wrong and his age gives him no excuse, he knew what he was doing with possibly no mental problems, and he wanted revenge. Once again, vegence is a crime. Gang members shouldn't get out because they are very well a threat to innocent lives, and you can argue until you go blue in the face but there is no way you will convince me otherwise.

    And anybody can kill again, so you go nowhere with that statement. The gang members can and probably will kill again, the man with the cheating wife might kill again if he wants revenge again. Just because someone killed a certain person does not mean they are going to kill only that person. Eric is not the only man who has the ability to kill twice-anybody that has been to jail can go again. Several people who haven't even been to jail aren't safe on the street. They just haven't been caught yet.

    Eirc aught to be let out, because, having experienced prison at an age that young can undoubtidly change someone. If he was 24 years old and jut going to jail, I'd have a hard time wanted to picture him out on the streets, but that's not the case. If you learn it while you're young, you'll probably recover. With a 30 year old man, it's too late to change.
     
  12. AbnormallyNormal 1 + 2 + 3 = 1 * 2 * 3

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    i dont believe in punishment.... it doenst erase the past and it only does more damage
     
  13. Aldrick Concentrated Yeast Extract

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    Stops him from doign bad things.

    Which is good.

    Eric Smith should be let out now. He's smart enough to know what he did.
     
  14. Einstein Time for a Change?

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    You killing him doesn't make you any better, is what I'm saying. Because when it all pans out, you are just as much of a killer as he is.
     
  15. Scud .

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    This is one of the few times where I think a person who has committed a murder should be released.

    He was 13 at the time, which in itself can be an emotionally hard time. Factor in the abuse from other kids, and you've got someone who's clearly not in the right state of mine. After growing out of puberty, becoming a man and spending eleven years in prison, he's changed all that's humanly possible. Keeping him in jail at this point accomplishes nothing.

    It's time to let him out.
     
  16. Aldrick Concentrated Yeast Extract

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    Except he's (not talking about anyone specificly) a burden on society and probably a dickhead as well.

    The death penalty is too often handed out inappropriately. I still support the basic idea though.

    Eric Smith should now be let out.
     
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