Moving Farther Backwards in Pennsylvania

I wrote last month about a 12yo boy who was being charged as an adult for killing his father’s pregnant girlfriend. The kid was eleven at the time. I said at the time that he should be charged as a juvenile, because what’s the point of having a juvenile system if you can toss it aside when it makes you uncomfortable.

Well, the judge in PA who is overseeing the case doesn’t agree with that, not surprisingly. Said judge has ruled that the case can be tried in adult court where the kid faces a possible life sentence.

How quaintly barbaric.

Why not just try him as a kid, since, you know, he is. He was eleven when he supposedly pulled the trigger, and twelve now. If he were found guilty in juvenile court he’d probably stay in prison until he was 18 or 21 (depending), and then be released with an extensive amount of court ordered probation and monitoring. It’s possible he might even be able to rebuild his life and become a contributing member of society.

But tried in adult court? No, in that case he’d probably spend the next twenty or thirty years behind bars and eventually be released to be a burden on society for the next sixty years or so. This serves no purpose and is astonishingly wasteful.

The one bright spot here is that this makes a perfect situation for the kid’s lawyers to file an appeal down the line. Of course if that happens and the appeal is upheld, then it’s possible the kid might skate with no real consequences at all. Yes, in trying to punish the kid as much as possible and wreak as much revenge as we can, we might actually end up with only a year or two while the appeals sort themselves out.

Like I said before, either we have a juvenile system or we don’t. Trying a kid as an adult because we really don’t like what the kid allegedly did is not right, not proper and doesn’t serve justice or society.


And He Plead… *gasp!* Not Guilty!

For those of you who haven’t heard, the Undiebomber has entered a “not guilty” plea in federal court in Michigan. This fact is reported on in breathless, endless detail by the media.

In fact just about any time there’s a major situation where someone is charged with a crime the media talks about them pleading “not guilty” as though it were something really major, important and significant.

Well, sit back and let Uncle Badger clear this up for you.

When someone is charged with a crime in a court in the United States they almost always enter a “not guilty” plea. This is vital and essential if you want to have one of those things called “a trial”. If you don’t enter that plea, you go straight to sentencing. That can be somewhat inconvenient if you want to explain the circumstances behind your guilt or if you want to strike up a plea bargain.

It’s also worth noting that a finding of “not guilty” in court is not the same as saying someone is innocent. All it means is that the jury/judge didn’t find sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s an important finding, but it’s not the same as saying someone didn’t do the crime in question.

So next time you hear the news salivating over how someone plead “not guilty” remember that it only means that person wants a plea bargain or a trail. It’s standard, it’s routine and it’s nothing to get your underpants in a bunch over, especially if they’re wired to explode.

Bicycles and the Law

'It's just an ordinary bicycle, Number Six.'

'It's just an ordinary bicycle, Number Six.'

I ride a bicycle just about everywhere I go. I don’t have a driver’s liscence, at least not yet, so biking is the only way to get around (well, except if a friend of mine schleps me somewhere). So’s article on cycling and the law really caught my attention.

The author brings up several good points, but none of them really apply to me. I don’t ride in bike lanes because there simply aren’t any, and I’m not suicidal enough to ride in Phoenix traffic on the roads. As a result, I simply ride on the sidewalks when I have to go places. As a result of that, I basically end up obeying the traffic laws as a pedestrian would (besides, the last time I rode on a bike lane, something nasty happened).

If we had good bike lanes or bike paths in Phoenix, though, I’d ride on them and I’d obey all applicable laws. I do think it’s best to have bikes seperated from cars as much as possible, but where they meet, clearly the bikes should follow the same laws as cars do. Otherwise it’s a forumula for nasty things happening.

More on Sex Offender Laws

From the blog Classically Liberal comes an article all about the damage sex offender laws (not sex offenders themselves), do to society… particularly when the offenders are under eighteen.

Our sex offender registration laws, as well as many laws governing sex in this country, are foolish, dangerous and wrong. They do nothing to help people and everything to hurt. They need to be changed. Hopefully with articles like that one, articles like the ones I’ve written on the topic, and ones by larger media outlets like The Economist will help to finally bring change.

Leave it to Hitch

On Christopher Hitchens makes some interesting, intelligent points about Gatesgate that should’ve crossed my mind, but didn’t. Basically he said that it doesn’t matter what color anyone involved in the situation happened to be; the important thing is Gates’ rights under the Constitution.

He basically points out that under the law a man’s home is his castle and the police cannot remove you from it without probable cause. You shouting abuse at a police office inside your home does not rise to the level of an arrestable offense.

I said in my article on the topic that I didn’t think the problem was the skin colors involved; I thought it was Gates overreacting and being a jerk and the cop overreacting and arresting him (and also being a jerk in the process). I’m changing my mind now. The fault here is entirely the fault of the officer who did, in fact, act stupidly, as a speaker far better than myself put it recently.

This is not about race; this is about the Constitution and your rights under it.

And Now New Hampshire

It’s almost not news anymore when another state allows gay marriage. Almost. It’s still only six states, but on the plus side, with the addition of New Hampshire, it’s now six states!

Gay marriage is now legal in all of New England except Rhode Island. Get moving on that, guys!

Cancer Patient Goes Missing

I think most of us, if we had cancer, would be smart and do the intelligent thing by getting medical treatment. I think we’d especially do that if the medical treatment in question gave us a 90% chance of survival versus no-treatment odds of 5%.

Sadly, some people are fucking morons who don’t believe in science or medicine. They’re free to remove themselves from the gene pool as far as I’m concerned, but they are not free to make martyrs of their children.

I wrote about this a few days ago in the context of a thirteen-year-old boy with an easily treatable form of cancer and his batshit nuts mother who wants to kill him treat him with “alternative” “medicine”.

A judge in that case ordered the boy to go into cancer treatment. His mother got cranky about this and has now kidnapped the boy and fled with him. So now this boy isn’t getting medical treatment and is on the run with no access to any kind of real medical care.

Why, oh why, are morons like this even allowed to have children? I’m sure she’s doing what she thinks is best, but if I thought what was best was shooting her in the head to prevent her from breeding again, I’d be arrested for murder. She’s metaphorically shooting her son in the head by not allowing him to get medical care and if he dies, she should, perhaps, be arrested for muder.

Either way, I hope she turns herself in soon. This boy needs help!