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  #451  
Old 03-13-2019, 10:28 PM
Krav Manga is offline
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Originally Posted by Folacin View Post
Is that the same 'blameless life' that Manafort led? What's a little little boy buggering and presumably covering up for other priests and bishops who did the same, weighed against whatever good he did (and I assume he did do good)?

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That was the first thing that popped into my mind. Blameless in not a word that should be used when discussing convicted criminals.
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Is that the same 'blameless life' that Manafort led? What's a little little boy buggering and presumably covering up for other priests and bishops who did the same, weighed against whatever good he did (and I assume he did do good)?
I was responding to Locrian who said 'Fuck the judge' in response to the judge stating that the effect of the sentence on Pell at his age was explicitly addressed by the Judge. The judge has to consider the various matters put before him by the prosecution and defence when sentencing. These will include

- the offender’s previous character (including prior criminal history, general reputation and any contributions to the community);
- the offender's age;
- whether prison will be particularly hard on the offender because of his circumstances.

I would imagine the submissions before the court about Pell's prior criminal history, reputation and community contributions would have been uncontroversial and likely unchallenged by the prosecution.

On the flip side, in terms of aggravating factors, Pell's position of trust and power would have, and did, come into account in the sentencing process.

Among other things the Judge said

"To conclude on this issue, the authority you carried within the Cathedral setting in relation to the choir boys, carried with it a significant responsibility of trust, not to do anything to the detriment of the boys.

The argument of your counsel that this offending was committed by you George Pell — the man — and not by you George Pell — the Archbishop — must be roundly rejected. I do so without any hesitation.

Your obvious status as Archbishop cast a powerful shadow over this offending. Not only do I consider that you offended in breach of your relationship of trust, and in abuse of your power and authority, I would characterise these breaches and abuses as grave.

You were the Archbishop of St Patrick's Cathedral — no less — and you sexually abused two choir boys within that Cathedral.

This connection and the depth of the breaches and abuses is self-evident.

I am conscious that the breaches of trust and abuse of power overlap here and that one informs the other. Trust may be abused by the misuse of a position of authority.

The conferral of authority and power can give rise to relationship of trust. They interrelate in this way in your case. I am mindful that I must not punish you twice"
  #452  
Old 03-13-2019, 10:53 PM
Euphonious Polemic is online now
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Originally Posted by Krav Manga View Post
...
"On the one hand I must punish and denounce you for this appalling offending. Yet on the other hand, I am conscious of the heavy reality that I am about to sentence you, a man of advanced years, who has led an otherwise blameless life, to a significant period of imprisonment, which will account for a good portion of the balance of your life"
Right. I'm sure that Pell only buggered boys under his authority once only. In his whole life. Just the one time, your honour."

"Otherwise blameless life"??? Bullshit. Otherwise not caught in blame, maybe.
  #453  
Old 03-14-2019, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
Right. I'm sure that Pell only buggered boys under his authority once only. In his whole life. Just the one time, your honour."

"Otherwise blameless life"??? Bullshit. Otherwise not caught in blame, maybe.
Do you think judges should take into account issues that aren't before them when sentencing?
  #454  
Old 03-14-2019, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
I may as well say - I'm actually really surprised by this verdict and based on what's been reported about the case, I doubt if I could have convicted on the evidence. He's never struck me as really fitting the profile of a dedicated pedophile - just a terrible human being for other reasons - and it's a one witness case.
What profile would that be? The three points in common between all the men to whom my grandfather whored out my cousin and brother were: male, adult, and heavily involved in all-male environments.
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  #455  
Old 03-14-2019, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Krav Manga View Post
Do you think judges should take into account issues that aren't before them when sentencing?
Hmmmmm Let's see. NO.

I do think you should read more carefully. I think judges should use caution, and perhaps not use words like

" who has led an otherwise blameless life,"

When referring to a convicted pedophile. It's extremely unlikely, untested and unproven that the pedophile has " led an otherwise blameless life". According to research, the majority of pedophiles don't just commit a single act of abuse.

So best if the judge does not use this unproven allegation as an excuse to let the pedophile off more lightly.

So how about if judges don't make up shit about how the poor pedophile has led a blameless life? That would be good.

Last edited by Euphonious Polemic; 03-14-2019 at 05:18 PM.
  #456  
Old 03-14-2019, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
Hmmmmm Let's see. NO.

I do think you should read more carefully. I think judges should use caution, and perhaps not use words like

" who has led an otherwise blameless life,"

When referring to a convicted pedophile. It's extremely unlikely, untested and unproven that the pedophile has " led an otherwise blameless life". According to research, the majority of pedophiles don't just commit a single act of abuse.

So best if the judge does not use this unproven allegation as an excuse to let the pedophile off more lightly.

So how about if judges don't make up shit about how the poor pedophile has led a blameless life? That would be good.
What evidence of prior convictions were put before the court?
  #457  
Old 03-14-2019, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
Hmmmmm Let's see. NO.

I do think you should read more carefully. I think judges should use caution, and perhaps not use words like

" who has led an otherwise blameless life,"

When referring to a convicted pedophile. It's extremely unlikely, untested and unproven that the pedophile has " led an otherwise blameless life". According to research, the majority of pedophiles don't just commit a single act of abuse.

So best if the judge does not use this unproven allegation as an excuse to let the pedophile off more lightly.

So how about if judges don't make up shit about how the poor pedophile has led a blameless life? That would be good.
So you want judges to ignore the submissions and evidence before them and rely on 'research' about what other pedophiles have done, but don't think that judges should take into account matters that aren't before them in sentencing.

This is what the judge said about the character matters before him (bolding mine)

Quote:
That brings me to consider your life's contribution and your good character.

Evidence of an offender's otherwise good character is a factor that the sentencing judge is bound to consider. You have no prior convictions. Since this offending, you have not committed other offences.

I have received a number of character references on the plea. These references come from people who have known you for many years in various professional and personal capacities.

They speak of man who dedicated his life to service, in particular to vulnerable members of the community. They describe a compassionate and generous person, especially to those experiencing difficulties in their lives; someone who has a deep commitment to social justice issues and the advancement of education for young people.

I note that these references were not challenged or contradicted by the prosecution.

In addition to not having any prior convictions, I am satisfied that the evidence before me is that you are someone who has been, in the last 22 years since the offending, of otherwise good character.


I sentence you upon the basis that these episodes (viewed together) constitute isolated offending.

I make substantial allowance for your good character and otherwise blameless life.

However, the question of your good character is also relevant to other sentencing purposes. I will return to these issues in due course.
Where has the judge erred?
  #458  
Old 03-15-2019, 04:37 PM
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What profile would that be? The three points in common between all the men to whom my grandfather whored out my cousin and brother were: male, adult, and heavily involved in all-male environments.
Well, some that I'm aware of are:

Paedophiles often specifically target children who look vulnerable (shy, looking for adult attention, compliant). They often spend long amounts of time 'grooming' potential victims. They rarely 'just stop' - they keep offending. None of those apply in the current situation.

And none of this is to say that I don't believe the surviving victim and definitely not that I'm buying the bill of goods that certain ex-PMs are trying to sell us - that he couldn't have done it because he's 'such a good person'. Clearly Pell is not, in fact (what I would call) a 'good person' - he's done some quite vile (but not illegal) abuse-victim-attacking things right out in public where everyone can see them.

But - the response to this verdict among supporters of victims has been generally along the lines of "this is so great for victims of child sex abusers - it means they can have confidence that perpetrators can be found guilty and punished, whoever they are." (either that or "he didn't get long enough"). It's only a good thing for abuse victims if he stays convicted. A conviction just like this (single accuser, historical charges) got overturned just yesterday - Christian Brother John Tyrrell. And there really are just two pieces of evidence here - the word of the surviving victim, and the fact that it was physically possible.

If the conviction is overturned on appeal, that's a worse result for absolutely everybody than if he was simply acquitted (which doesn't mean "he's innocent", just "we can't tell")
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  #459  
Old 03-16-2019, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Krav Manga View Post
So you want judges to ignore the submissions and evidence before them and rely on 'research' about what other pedophiles have done, but don't think that judges should take into account matters that aren't before them in sentencing.

This is what the judge said about the character matters before him (bolding mine)



Where has the judge erred?
He erred in calling him "blameless." Nothing you quoted in any way establishes this. All it says is that the defense did not have any proof to contradict the defense's claim. This would be true even if the guy had raped another kid at some point, and we just didn't know about it.

Calling him "blameless" is making a judgement. Not calling him "blameless" is not. He may be blameless in all other aspects. But the judge doesn't know that. The judge only knows what was stated in trial, but calling someone "otherwise blameless" is saying something far beyond what can possibly be proven at any trial.

No one knows what other crimes may have been committed that no one found out about. No one knows what bad things that aren't crimes they may have committed.

It's not rocket science. Judges should not make claims beyond that which has been proven in court. And you literally cannot prove someone is "otherwise blameless."
  #460  
Old 03-16-2019, 04:19 PM
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Calling him "blameless" is making a judgement. Not calling him "blameless" is not. He may be blameless in all other aspects. But the judge doesn't know that. The judge only knows what was stated in trial, but calling someone "otherwise blameless" is saying something far beyond what can possibly be proven at any trial.
It's almost as if a judge's job is to....make judgments. Who would have thought?

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No one knows what other crimes may have been committed that no one found out about. No one knows what bad things that aren't crimes they may have committed.

It's not rocket science. Judges should not make claims beyond that which has been proven in court. And you literally cannot prove someone is "otherwise blameless."
So judges should not do what they are literally required to do under sentencing guidelines and regulations.
  #461  
Old 03-16-2019, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Krav Manga View Post
It's almost as if a judge's job is to....make judgments. Who would have thought?



So judges should not do what they are literally required to do under sentencing guidelines and regulations.
Do you think the Cardinal has indeed led a blameless life, except perhaps for this one small lapse in judgment?

If so, what’s the basis for that conclusion? Simply that you’ve never heard anything to the contrary?
  #462  
Old 03-16-2019, 08:49 PM
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Do you think the Cardinal has indeed led a blameless life, except perhaps for this one small lapse in judgment?

If so, what’s the basis for that conclusion? Simply that you’ve never heard anything to the contrary?
I wasn't the judge, so it doesn't matter what I think in the context of whether the judge erred in sentencing Pell.

In terms of the factors that the judge has to consider when sentencing, the judge could not conclude otherwise. A judge has to take into account the offender's previous character, including prior criminal history, general reputation and any
contributions to the community. If literally the only submissions before the court are that Pell has no prior criminal history, has a good reputation and made significant contributions to the community, and those submissions are unchallenged by the prosecution, then the only conclusion the judge can reach on this issue is the one he did.

If you want to argue that factors such as character, prior offending, the victim's circumstances and all of those other issues that judges take into account when sentencing should not be relevant you are starting to get very close to arguing for mandatory sentencing, which I suspect most on this board would be opposed to.

My argument has always been that the judge's comments regarding Pell are not unusual or out of line in the context of sentencing. Lest you think that the judge went easy on Pell, you should read the entire sentence for context.
  #463  
Old 03-17-2019, 02:38 PM
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What's wrong, then, with "a life that otherwise appears blameless"? Or "you have done much good in this world..."? For the prosecution not to challenge the "character references" does not imply that Pell never behaved in ways that were unethical or illegal. No one knows that. And people are complicated. Even cardinals.

Maybe it's my journalistic background, which says you hedge your bets unless you have verification of a statement, but it seems bizarre to say "otherwise blameless" as if it is God's own unvarnished truth when we have no idea whether this is the case. And when, as mentioned above, what we do know about child sexual abusers strongly suggests that they are seldom "blameless" beyond a single episode of abuse.

I'm not saying that the sentence was too harsh or too light; I don't know nearly enough about how sentencing works in Australia, don't know enough about what happened at the trial. I AM saying that the judge's decision to say "otherwise blameless," as though the abuse of these two boys was obviously the only blemish on Pell's report card, was unwise and unfortunate.
  #464  
Old 03-17-2019, 03:55 PM
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What's wrong, then, with "a life that otherwise appears blameless"? Or "you have done much good in this world..."? For the prosecution not to challenge the "character references" does not imply that Pell never behaved in ways that were unethical or illegal. No one knows that. And people are complicated. Even cardinals.

Maybe it's my journalistic background, which says you hedge your bets unless you have verification of a statement, but it seems bizarre to say "otherwise blameless" as if it is God's own unvarnished truth when we have no idea whether this is the case. And when, as mentioned above, what we do know about child sexual abusers strongly suggests that they are seldom "blameless" beyond a single episode of abuse.

I'm not saying that the sentence was too harsh or too light; I don't know nearly enough about how sentencing works in Australia, don't know enough about what happened at the trial. I AM saying that the judge's decision to say "otherwise blameless," as though the abuse of these two boys was obviously the only blemish on Pell's report card, was unwise and unfortunate.
Had the judge done any of the things you suggest he should have, he would have handed Pell a pretty good basis for an appeal. That would have been unwise and unfortunate.
  #465  
Old 03-17-2019, 04:28 PM
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Had the judge done any of the things you suggest he should have, he would have handed Pell a pretty good basis for an appeal. That would have been unwise and unfortunate.
For the record, I suggested two alternate ways of phrasing the comment. So we're clear, I'm not suggesting that the judge should be saying "You're probably guilty of other crimes..."

So: To say "a life that otherwise appears blameless" is grounds for appeal? Or "you have done much good in the world"--that increases the likelihood of an appeal and an overturned verdict? Seriously?

What if the judge hadn't mentioned anything about Pell's record beyond the event for which he was being tried? Is that grounds for appeal? I guess you're saying that the judges have to say "otherwise blameless" about every defendant in an Australian courtroom who has character references. Is that the case? How much leeway does a judge have in this "script"? Could the judge say "otherwise exemplary," or "otherwise beneficial," or is "otherwise blameless" the only acceptable wording? And if so, why on earth...?

I'd really love to hear the reasoning here. I know nothing about Australian rules in court cases, so for all I know you're exactly right; but speaking as an American I find it completely astonishing to think that the judge risks being overturned on appeal if s/he throws in an "apparent" or only talks about the good the defendant did without using words such as "blameless." Can this really be true?

Last edited by Ulf the Unwashed; 03-17-2019 at 04:30 PM.
  #466  
Old 03-17-2019, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post
For the record, I suggested two alternate ways of phrasing the comment. So we're clear, I'm not suggesting that the judge should be saying "You're probably guilty of other crimes..."

So: To say "a life that otherwise appears blameless" is grounds for appeal? Or "you have done much good in the world"--that increases the likelihood of an appeal and an overturned verdict? Seriously?
It's not the use of apparent that I have a problem with. For the record, you also indicated that "what we do know about child sexual abusers strongly suggests that they are seldom "blameless" beyond a single episode of abuse.". This is not a matter that can be taken into account when sentencing in the absence of any evidence that suggest the offender has committed any other offences.

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What if the judge hadn't mentioned anything about Pell's record beyond the event for which he was being tried? Is that grounds for appeal?
Absolutely. Section 5(2)(f) of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) says that in sentencing an offender a court must have regard to the offender's previous character.

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I guess you're saying that the judges have to say "otherwise blameless" about every defendant in an Australian courtroom who has character references. Is that the case?
Of course not. Plenty of offenders have committed offences previously, which is evidence of previous character.

Quote:
How much leeway does a judge have in this "script"? Could the judge say "otherwise exemplary," or "otherwise beneficial," or is "otherwise blameless" the only acceptable wording? And if so, why on earth...?

I'd really love to hear the reasoning here. I know nothing about Australian rules in court cases, so for all I know you're exactly right; but speaking as an American I find it completely astonishing to think that the judge risks being overturned on appeal if s/he throws in an "apparent" or only talks about the good the defendant did without using words such as "blameless." Can this really be true?
A judge judges. A judge cannot and should not have regard to anything other than the material put before them. If the character material only points to otherwise good character (eg. no prior offences, character references from appropriate members of the public, evidence of good works) that is the only thing a judge should take into account when sentencing. I would be extremely surprised if the US process was substantially different.

Here's some preliminary comments by the judge that may help:

Quote:
First, I am required to sentence you today in accordance with the rule of law. This is a critical feature of our criminal justice system. The rule of law demands that when I sentence you, I must do so independently of any outside influences, only upon the evidence before me, and upon established legal principles. This means sentencing without fear or favour.
Further, you are to be punished only for the particular wrongdoing you have been convicted of on this Indictment, of sexually abusing two boys in the 1990’s, and only of that wrongdoing.
I again urge you to read the sentencing remarks in their entirety before attacking the judge for being unwise or unfortunate. They will give you a better understanding of how the sentencing process operates.

https://content.countycourt.vic.gov....19-vcc-260.pdf
  #467  
Old 03-18-2019, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Krav Manga View Post
A judge judges. A judge cannot and should not have regard to anything other than the material put before them. If the character material only points to otherwise good character (eg. no prior offences, character references from appropriate members of the public, evidence of good works) that is the only thing a judge should take into account when sentencing. I would be extremely surprised if the US process was substantially different.
About the last sentence : I remember being surprised by how strict the rules regarding sentencing were in the UK, limiting a lot the freedom of appreciation of the judge, wrt what element should be taken into account and to what extent they should result in a more severe or lighter sentence. I don't know about Australia, but it could be that the process is substantially different, in fact.

Besides that, I agree that the judge shouldn't assume the existence of other offenses or even keep this possibility in mind, ideally, let alone use a language that would imply this. If he writes something even as seemingly innocuous as "appears" blameless, it implies that he suspects that he probably has committed other crimes hence isn't ruling with the assumption that he didn't (and in fact, it's exactly for this reason that people here insist that he should use this wording : they don't believe it's the only crime he committed and they don't want a wording that assumes innocence).

I of course wouldn't know if it could be enough to justify an appeal, but if I were the defendant or his lawyer, it would make me suspect that the judge was in fact assuming the existence of other crimes, and probably gave a more severe sentence than he would have otherwise. If this kind of "passive-agressive" wording is repeated through the ruling, it wouldn't bother me that the ruling would be overturned on appeal.

On top of it, I'm not convinced that :

1) It can be safely assumed that pedophiles in general are more likely to have committed other offenses than people who speed on the road, burglars or rapists. Should judges pronounce sentences systematically using a wording that implies the defendant is likely to be guilty of more offenses?

2) He, specifically, committed other crimes, in fact. In most similar cases during the recent years, when a first accusation surfaced, many other victims soon came out. The fact that it didn't happen in this case, despite it having had so much coverage, let me suspect that there weren't other victims. There has been also many cases when only one crime was prosecuted because the others were covered by a statute of limitations. Even though guilt can't be assumed in these cases, either, it would be a situation where a more prudent wording could be warranted.
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  #468  
Old 03-18-2019, 05:49 AM
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) He, specifically, committed other crimes, in fact. In most similar cases during the recent years, when a first accusation surfaced, many other victims soon came out. The fact that it didn't happen in this case, despite it having had so much coverage, let me suspect that there weren't other victims. There has been also many cases when only one crime was prosecuted because the others were covered by a statute of limitations. Even though guilt can't be assumed in these cases, either, it would be a situation where a more prudent wording could be warranted.
There actually have been other allegations and charges against Pell, however the charges were ultimately dropped.
  #469  
Old 03-18-2019, 10:39 AM
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Well, some that I'm aware of are:

Paedophiles often specifically target children who look vulnerable (shy, looking for adult attention, compliant). They often spend long amounts of time 'grooming' potential victims. They rarely 'just stop' - they keep offending. None of those apply in the current situation.
That's not "some", that's "one": that he didn't keep offending. The rest do apply to the case: two kids with full rides to an expensive school (vulnerable, well-behaved, eager to please) getting to spend extra time with Pell on several occasions before he attacked them (so, groomed). And that he did stop is not something we know for sure.
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Last edited by Nava; 03-18-2019 at 10:42 AM.
  #470  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:25 AM
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That's certainly true.

But my underlying contention here is that I understand, far better than you, the rules under which such processes operate. I don't say that my words here CHANGE the result: I say that my words here are a more accurate DESCRIPTION of the result.

To that end, I say that the Royal Commission will NOT charge Cardinal Pell with a single criminal offense.

What do you say?
Some time ago, as the quoted post above highlights, I confidently predicted Cardinal George Pell would not be criminally charged in Australia.

My best recollection is that at the time, the discussion was whether Pell had vicarious criminal liability for aiding abusers by means various. I said, stridently, that Pell would NOT be charged, much less convicted.

Since then, I had for unrelated reasons left regular posting here.

I checked back to the SDMB today for yet other unrelated reasons and found a PM reminding me of my failed prediction.

So, to be clear: yes, I failed utterly to correctly predict that outcome, and I was completely wrong. Those that predicted Pell's arrest and conviction were right.
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  #471  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:30 AM
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Are you planning to stick around, Bricker?
  #472  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:31 AM
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Chin up, you'll find some liberal hypocrisy somewhere to expose to the world.
  #473  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:52 AM
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Are you planning to stick around, Bricker?

I'm the escrow for a bet between two other posters that will resolve January 1, 2020. I stopped back in to check PMs that contained those details.

Almost certainly not returning full time, so to speak. Sorry.
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  #474  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:56 AM
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I'm the escrow for a bet between two other posters that will resolve January 1, 2020. I stopped back in to check PMs that contained those details.

Almost certainly not returning full time, so to speak. Sorry.
Sorry to hear that; you are missed! Best wishes.
  #475  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:07 PM
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What iiandyiiii said.
  #476  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:31 PM
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Holy crap Bricker was back for a second!
  #477  
Old 08-13-2019, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Euphonious Polemic View Post
Hmmmmm Let's see. NO.

I do think you should read more carefully. I think judges should use caution, and perhaps not use words like

" who has led an otherwise blameless life,"

When referring to a convicted pedophile. It's extremely unlikely, untested and unproven that the pedophile has " led an otherwise blameless life". According to research, the majority of pedophiles don't just commit a single act of abuse.

So best if the judge does not use this unproven allegation as an excuse to let the pedophile off more lightly.

So how about if judges don't make up shit about how the poor pedophile has led a blameless life? That would be good.
Not to minimize it in any way, but it's like drunk drivers. Or dope addicts.

They can do it hundreds of times before they finally get caught.
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