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  #1  
Old 07-23-2005, 07:00 AM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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What Does "4 Life Sentences" Mean?

Why doesn't a life sentence mean exactly that? And, how can one carry out 4 life sentences? (And, don't the courts realize that's why people think the judicial system is a real joke?) - Jinx
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2005, 07:43 AM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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I think in some states it is possible to be paroled out of a life sentence after some time has passed. If you have 4 life sentences presumably you should not be eligible for parole until the minimum time x4 has passed which may in and of itself effectively mean a lif sentence (e.g. if parole would be possible after 10 years the person now cannot be paroled for 40 years minimum).

TBH I do not know the above to be the case but that is how it was explained to me once by an attorney (but I admit th attorney in question was not a criminal attorney nor would it have been beyond him to pull my leg).
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2005, 07:47 AM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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It can mean if I am accused and convicted of killing 4 people, I get 4 life sentences. If one conviction is overturned, I still have to serve 3 life sentences.
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2005, 09:31 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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It means you stay in prison for your regular life, plus if you come back as a vampire and a zombie.
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  #5  
Old 07-23-2005, 10:00 AM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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But what about spirit, hobgoblin, or demon?
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  #6  
Old 07-23-2005, 10:22 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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This is a complete WAG, but I always figured, at least to a point it was a paperwork/statistics thing. 10 people killed, 10 life sentences, 100% conviction rate as opposed to 10 people killed, 1 life sentence, 10%.
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  #7  
Old 07-23-2005, 10:32 AM
Eureka Eureka is offline
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Don't forget the matter of consecutively vs. concurrent. While I've never sentenced someone to life in jail, I was on a jury which sentenced someone who was convicted on two (or more) drug charges. We could choose to let him serve the sentences consecutively meaning 2-5 years for charge A plus 2-5 years for charge B or concurrently meaning the 2-5 years for charge A would be served at the same time as the 2-5 years for charge B.

I don't recall what we decided, since it was mostly symbolic- thanks to the KY version of a three strikes law, we decided that he was the kind of person who should stay in prison for an additional length of time.

The above paragraph makes the decision of the jury sound more capricious than it was, all that was required was three prior felonies, and he had about 6 prior felonies on his record.
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  #8  
Old 07-23-2005, 10:37 AM
Otto Otto is offline
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I'd be interested in a cite for the assertion that people think the judicial system is a joke on the basis of people being sentenced to multiple life terms.
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2005, 06:49 PM
Hombre Hombre is offline
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Also, suppose someone mudered and was sentenced ti 'life'. While in prison they killed again. What would you sentence them with if not another life sentence?

Or put this way. If youy were sentenced to, say, 15 years and killed again and got 10, your sentence would be 25 years but 'life' is not time specific.

And I am truely miffed that there is ghost bias here. No not spirit....
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2005, 07:24 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Otto, cool it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto
I'd be interested in a cite for the assertion that people think the judicial system is a joke on the basis of people being sentenced to multiple life terms.
There are many reasons people have lost faith in our judicial system. To those who share my specific opinion, multiple life sentences would only seem proper if one were a cat living out 9 lives, for one. Let's put it this way, all squares have four sides, but not all four-sided (2-D) figures are squares. In other words, there are many reasons why people think our judicial system is a joke, regardless of whether they share my specific opinion or not. Like noses, everyone has an opinion. (That's the fact, Jack!) ...And, nonetheless, the crux of my question has a factual answer.

Life should mean life...period.
- Jinx
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  #11  
Old 07-23-2005, 08:27 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
Life should mean life...period.
- Jinx
That isn't how the MI legislature thought. In MI, there are 2 possible life sentences. Life with the possibility of parole, and life without the possibility of parole. This has nothing to do with the judicial system. This was a legislative branch decision. (In some cases in MI, life without the possibility of parole is mandatory.)
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  #12  
Old 07-23-2005, 08:29 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hombre
Also, suppose someone mudered and was sentenced ti 'life'. While in prison they killed again. What would you sentence them with if not another life sentence?

Or put this way. If youy were sentenced to, say, 15 years and killed again and got 10, your sentence would be 25 years but 'life' is not time specific.

And I am truely miffed that there is ghost bias here. No not spirit....
In MI in that case, the person would get *consecutive* life sentences. Theoretically, they could be paroled on the first murder conviction, and then they'd *start* serving the second life term.
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  #13  
Old 07-23-2005, 08:33 PM
RandMcnally RandMcnally is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hombre
And I am truely miffed that there is ghost bias here. No not spirit....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers
But what about spirit...?
Someone did mention spirit.
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  #14  
Old 07-23-2005, 09:05 PM
Catalyst Catalyst is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
There are many reasons people have lost faith in our judicial system. To those who share my specific opinion, multiple life sentences would only seem proper if one were a cat living out 9 lives, for one. Let's put it this way, all squares have four sides, but not all four-sided (2-D) figures are squares. In other words, there are many reasons why people think our judicial system is a joke, regardless of whether they share my specific opinion or not. Like noses, everyone has an opinion. (That's the fact, Jack!) ...And, nonetheless, the crux of my question has a factual answer.

Life should mean life...period.
- Jinx
I demand a cite that all people have noses.

In any case, it seems to me that when dealing with a life sentence with the possibility of parole, multiple consecutive sentences make sense; it's just another way of saying "life with no chance of parole for twice the normal minimum time." If they're concurrent sentences or sentences without the possibility of parole, it would seem to have no meaning save perhaps a symbolic meaning, such as three life sentences as punishment for a triple homicide.
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  #15  
Old 07-23-2005, 10:03 PM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
There are many reasons people have lost faith in our judicial system.
Indeed this is true but I cannot see why multiple life sentences should be counted among the things that make people lose faith in the system.

It is simply a matter of how it is setup. If a given crime carries a mandatory life sentence (e.g. first degree murder) then if someone commits three such murders what else are you supposed to do? Beyond life imprisonment there is only the death penalty and that is a whole other debate. Heck...suppose the death penalty was mandated for a given crime and somone committed that crime three times they would get three death sentences. Sure it seems silly but again what else are you supposed to do? The State has an interest in seeing closure to a case so they prosecute a guy who committed three (say) murders three times. They do not simply figure that he is a dead man after the first case so won't bother trying him again. There may be a chance he'd be found innocent in court which might (I stress "might") indicate they need to continue looking for someone else.
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  #16  
Old 07-24-2005, 12:17 AM
The Hook The Hook is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eureka
Don't forget the matter of consecutively vs. concurrent. While I've never sentenced someone to life in jail, I was on a jury which sentenced someone who was convicted on two (or more) drug charges. We could choose to let him serve the sentences consecutively meaning 2-5 years for charge A plus 2-5 years for charge B or concurrently meaning the 2-5 years for charge A would be served at the same time as the 2-5 years for charge B.
Where was this? I was under the impression the judge was the only one who could carry out sentences. No?
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  #17  
Old 07-24-2005, 03:21 AM
casdave casdave is offline
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You are all forgetting about the victims and relatives of those killed.

Whilst it might be possible that one life sentence keeps the murderer locked up for good, each person killed deserves the right to have their own suffering judicially recognised seperately.

Imagine that one of your family was victim number four, I'm sure you would want their passing reflected and acknowledged in the final term instead of just left dangling at the back of a queue.
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  #18  
Old 07-24-2005, 04:17 AM
TheLoadedDog TheLoadedDog is offline
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In my part of the world, "life" means 20 years. This usually has possibility of parole. Some people get concurrent or consecutive sentences of this, depending on the nature of their crimes. For the most vile crimes, I think the sentence "for the term of his/her natural life" still exists. It is most definitely possible to have a prisoner's file stamped "NEVER TO BE RELEASED". I'm not sure fo the distinction here: my WAG is that in the first case, a prisoner can later apply for parole, but in the second, it requires possible approval from the relevant minister, or State Premier (like US Governor).
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Old 07-24-2005, 05:56 AM
Otto Otto is offline
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Hey, here's a thought, YOU "cool it"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
There are many reasons people have lost faith in our judicial system.
All I asked for was a cite for your assertion as fact that "people think the judicial system is a real joke" on the basis of people being sentenced to multiple life sentences. If you don't have one, that's fine, no need to get defensive and snappish about it.
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Old 07-24-2005, 06:54 AM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catalyst
I demand a cite that all people have noses.
How about a cite for the opposite? There's a regular customer at the restaurant where I work who has no nose. It was surgically removed for some reason that's probably none of my business.
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  #21  
Old 07-24-2005, 08:32 AM
Otto Otto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hook
Where was this? I was under the impression the judge was the only one who could carry out sentences. No?
The US Supreme Court has ruled that death sentences may only be imposed by juries, not judges. I don't know if SCOTUS has similarly ruled regarding lesser offenses and penalties, but in at least this instance sentencing is out of the hands of the judge.
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  #22  
Old 07-24-2005, 02:54 PM
Catalyst Catalyst is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phase42
How about a cite for the opposite? There's a regular customer at the restaurant where I work who has no nose. It was surgically removed for some reason that's probably none of my business.
My request wasn't serious, but it's still neat to learn that there are in fact people that get by without noses. Thanks.
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  #23  
Old 07-24-2005, 02:58 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
Why doesn't a life sentence mean exactly that? And, how can one carry out 4 life sentences? (And, don't the courts realize that's why people think the judicial system is a real joke?) - Jinx
If you rob somebody and subsequently get arrested with a dimebag of pot in your pocket, you've committed two crimes, a felony and a misdemeanor. If you get five years on one and six months on the other, you'll most likely serve them consecutively, but it's possible for the judge or jury (depending on who is assessing punishment) to "stack" and charges and make you serve them consecutively, meaning one after the other. It may sound foolish to be serving time on two separate crimes concurrently, but it makes sense, because the result is that you then have two criminal convictions that can be used against you if you reoffend.

The same goes for your question about serving four life sentences. If you commit four crimes and get four life sentences on each...well, there you are. It's more common for sentences to be served concurrently, but it's possible for the sentences to be stacked, as with serial killer Juan Corona, who was sentenced to 25 life sentences to be served consecutively.

If you're asking why doesn't "life" mean that the person will definitely die in prison, it's because it's a term of art, meaning that a person was sentenced to a period of time over a certain number of years or that he won't be eligible for parole until a certain number of years has been served, or both. In Texas, a life sentence for the purposes of determining parole eligibility is a sentence of sixty years or more. Texas is one of only four states that has no option to assess a life sentence without parole. If you are assessed 99 years capital murder, you will still be eligible for parole in half of a minimum life sentence, or 30 years, if you live that long.

So "life" doesn't necessarily mean "for the remainder of your days on this planet," although that is often the effect. If that seems like a joke to you, don't blame the courts, write your congressman.
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  #24  
Old 07-24-2005, 03:05 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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Of course, the real insult to injury after being sentenced to four life sentences is your incompetent lawyer trying to console you by saying "Don't worry, you'll only serve half that."
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  #25  
Old 07-24-2005, 03:30 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers
Of course, the real insult to injury after being sentenced to four life sentences is your incompetent lawyer trying to console you by saying "Don't worry, you'll only serve half that."
Hey, if you got four but deserved eight, thank the guy.
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  #26  
Old 07-24-2005, 04:23 PM
casdave casdave is offline
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In the UK a 'life' sentence does not mean for the rest of the lifespan.

When a convicted person is sentenced to life, the presiding judge will determine the minimum tariff, which is comprised of punishment, public protection and deterrant, but this is rolled into one so Joe Public never really understands what sentencing mechanism actually is.

The minimum tariff is the term that must be served before there can be any consideration for parole, and its not that often that life sentence prisoner is succesful at the first parole hearing, and there is a set period between parole applications.

It means that the judge can set a minimum tariff of say fifteen years, but is the prisoner does not meet the parole reqirement through bad behaviour, or not making efforts to address their offending behaviour such as cooperating with various agencies, that prisoner can serve very much longer and can effectivelt end up meaning the entire remaining lifespan - though that is not the primary purpose.

Having four life sentences will usually mean the tariff being set that much higher, someone with four murders will be most unlikely to get out within 20 years, and much more probably be in excess of 30 years.

'Life' and 'whole life' are differant

'Life' means a lifetime licence, the offender may be realeased in as little as perhaps five years, but for the rest of their life they must meet the conditions of their release licence, the conditions set upon that licence will be set by the parole board, breaches of any of the terms of that licence will result in a return to prison, without any intervention from the courts, and no further offence need have taken place.
Once returned to prison following a licence breach, the offender must reapply for parole, and this could take a few years to regain.

We are now employing a system that uses the 'life' term much more readily, its for multiple seperate incidents of violence usually, or for sexual offenders, and it basically keeps the parole officers with a huge sanction to exercise against the offender, in that the latter can be returned to jail for fairly minor things, and as time passes the licence conditions may be eased.

In the UK there are only perhaps a few dozen prisoners whose sentence is 'whole life' which means exactly what is implies.
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  #27  
Old 07-24-2005, 04:29 PM
casdave casdave is offline
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Here's a useful link

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/enc...prisonment.htm
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  #28  
Old 07-24-2005, 05:12 PM
CC CC is offline
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extraneous opinion/hijack

It seems to me that those people who contend that the legal system in our country is a joke are those who are unaware of many of the protections that it provides its citizens, and who take those protections for granted. There are many reasons that it is called a justice system, not the least of which is the fundamental attempt built in to provide...justice. It is intended to be fair. It is a system that serves the greater needs of society, sometimes making individuals unhappy. And that's the price we pay for such a system. It's not perfect. So?
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