Question for Canadians: Karla Homolka, sadistic sexual psychopath

Karla Homolka goes free in Canada today.

She’s the gal involved in multiple torture-rape-murder crimes of young girls, including her own 15 year old sister. At her trial, she pinned the blame on her spouse, saying she was coerced & abused, so only got 12 years in prison.

But at her husband’s trial a couple years later, videotapes of her showed she was not only a willing participant in the crimes, but also the primary instigator.

So, Canadians: What do you thing should be done with her now, within the framework of the law? Do you consider her a danger to your family or fellow citizens? And what do you think the justice system should have done differently, if anything?

(I got interested in this case when I began working in a prison, and began to learn about sadistic sexual psychopathy firsthand. Frankly, the only true solution I can see is to lock her away for life.)

Now this is a poll about what should be done with her within the constraints of the system, not about vengeance. Please try to keep your responses such that this thread needn’t be moved to the pit.

She made the deal based on untrue statements…when the videos were found, she should have been re-tried…

However, the purpose of prison is to keep the general public safe…they will not be safe with her out…so I think she should have to live in a halfway house, closely supervised, the rest of her life.

She’s broken…nothing can fix her.

Unfortunately, she’s been tried, convicted, and sentenced. The plea deal she got was far too lenient, but she’s served her entire sentence, and I just don’t see how, legally, we can do anything other than release her. To be honest, I’m rather mystified that the restrictions being placed on her after her release today are legal. As much as I hate to see her be freed, we have to follow our own laws.

I think she should be declared a dangerous offender and be followed and monitored for the rest of her life.

Failing that, I think she should be accidentally run over by a mack truck.

I believe that the first option is what has happened, although this may be incorrect.

I doubt there is a rock big enough for her to hide under. What community will have her? I doubt she can even leave the country. She would have been better off in jail for the rest of her life.

She has said she fears being killed at the hands of vigilantes and, frankly, I think her fears are legitimate. I don’t think she will be safe once released. If she loses her second attempt to have a ban placed on publishing details of her release, I think she will voluntarily choose to remain in prison.

Under Canadian law, would such a ban be legal? Can she be placed under a ‘sort-of’ “felon protection program”?

Well, the first judge turned her down flat. I think that a lot of people, judges included have a real “She deserves whatever she gets.” sort of mentality about the whole thing.

Since her lawyers are arguing in favour of the ban, I assume it would be legal if they can get a judge to agree. (They were unsuccessful in the first attempt.)

I’m not sure what sort of ‘protection program’ is available. It would be hard for the police to ignore the very real possibility of attacks against her. I can’t believe they would just stand aside and let it happen.

Maybe they could protect her with the same competent people that spent two months searching her house but didn’t find the videotapes.

This is a tough one. I’m usually of the opinion that if a criminal has done their time, let them get on with their lives, but Carla weaselled out of paying for her crimes, so I don’t consider her debt to society fulfilled. Yes, she fulfilled the conditions of her sentence, but her sentence wasn’t just.

She does indeed appear to be a sociopath, and as such I wouldn’t want her in my neighbourhood, I wouldn’t hire her for a job - I would stay as far away from her as possible for self-presevation.

What should be done with her? She should be declared a Dangerous Offender and jailed for life. Or maybe get Dr. Robert Hareto devise a treatment programme for her.

According to the CBC report here Homolka’s lawyers made application for an injunction prohibiting media reports on certain details of her life, which was denied. They apparently plan to make a second application. Apparently they are following with a second application today. (Couple of notes: I’m on holidays, and don’t have access to Quicklaw from home (though I do get to post on the SDMB in the middle of the day at home, so that’s something) so I can’t review the judgment to add any more details. And, I’ve always chosen not to practice criminal law, so this is not my area of expertise.)

Though alice_in_wonderland suggested that she was declared a dangerous offender, that is not what actually occurred. In fact an application was made for an order under section 810 of the Criminal Code. This “peace bond” section in part reads as follows:

  1. (1) An information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person will cause personal injury to him or her or to his or her spouse or common-law partner or child or will damage his or her property.

Duty of justice
(2) A justice who receives an information under subsection (1) shall cause the parties to appear before him or before a summary conviction court having jurisdiction in the same territorial division.

(3) The justice or the summary conviction court before which the parties appear may, if satisfied by the evidence adduced that the person on whose behalf the information was laid has reasonable grounds for his or her fears,

(a) order that the defendant enter into a recognizance, with or without sureties, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for any period that does not exceed twelve months, and comply with such other reasonable conditions prescribed in the recognizance, including the conditions set out in subsections (3.1) and (3.2), as the court considers desirable for securing the good conduct of the defendant; or

(b) commit the defendant to prison for a term not exceeding twelve months if he or she fails or refuses to enter into the recognizance.

Per section 811, breaching the order could result in conviction and a maximum sentence of not more than two years.

Section 810 has continued to grow over the years giving expanded areas of application. However, the taking of this approach to dealing with Homolka was novel, forced by the deal made with her, and the fact that she has completed her entire sentence. Under section 810 the order that can be made can impose conditions that do not exceed a period of one year, as were the conditions applied to Homolka. My understanding is that recognizances under section 810 are not renewable, leaving a dilemma of how to deal with Homolka once the recognizance expires (assuming she does not breach it).

In contrast, the dangerous offender provisions of the Code in Part XXIV allow indefinite detention of convicted persons found to be dangerous offenders if the requirements are met. Per clauses 753(1)(a) and (b) the court may declare an offender as a dangerous offender if:

(a) that the offence for which the offender has been convicted is a serious personal injury offence described in paragraph (a) of the definition of that expression in section 752 and the offender constitutes a threat to the life, safety or physical or mental well-being of other persons on the basis of evidence establishing

(i) a pattern of repetitive behaviour by the offender, of which the offence for which he or she has been convicted forms a part, showing a failure to restrain his or her behaviour and a likelihood of causing death or injury to other persons, or inflicting severe psychological damage on other persons, through failure in the future to restrain his or her behaviour,

(ii) a pattern of persistent aggressive behaviour by the offender, of which the offence for which he or she has been convicted forms a part, showing a substantial degree of indifference on the part of the offender respecting the reasonably foreseeable consequences to other persons of his or her behaviour, or

(iii) any behaviour by the offender, associated with the offence for which he or she has been convicted, that is of such a brutal nature as to compel the conclusion that the offender’s behaviour in the future is unlikely to be inhibited by normal standards of behavioural restraint; or

(b) that the offence for which the offender has been convicted is a serious personal injury offence described in paragraph (b) of the definition of that expression in section 752 and the offender, by his or her conduct in any sexual matter including that involved in the commission of the offence for which he or she has been convicted, has shown a failure to control his or her sexual impulses and a likelihood of causing injury, pain or other evil to other persons through failure in the future to control his or her sexual impulses.

Unlike his ex-spouse, Homolka, Paul Bernardo has been declared a dangerous offender. I find it a toss up as to who is the more disturbing.

featherlou, I don’t disagree with the sentiment about indefinite detention by any means, but my reading of the Code is that there are time limitations on when applications for dangerous offender status may be made, and that that time has long since elapsed.

I hate to say it–really, really hate–but she served her sentence within the constraints of the justice system. It’s over.

I definitely think she should be closely monitored at regular intervals, though, that’s only sensible.

Most Canadians clearly think that Karla’s punishment for her crimes was too lenient, that prosecution was too quick to make a deal before her involvement was made more clear, that she should not have been allowed to get a university degree in jail at the expense of the taxpayer when law-abiding citizens cannot, and that she remains a danger to the public.

I agree with the first two points. I think prisoners should be allowed to study and gain skills in jail, but in Karla’s case she could have been given textbooks and not a formal degree. I do not know if she has been rehabillitated to any degree, but it is quite possible she remains a danger to the public and vice versa. However, she has paid her dues according to the legal system. If the system deems she is safe to leave jail, it bears some responsibility if she reoffends. None of the Canadians I know feel personally endangered by her release – few of us live near Joliette or think they will ever cause a car accident.

She paid her debt to society. She should be freed without any restrictions except those normally applied to those who’s completed prison sentences.

Sure, she’s evil, blah blah blah. Being evil isn’t a crime; I’m not even convinced she’s likely to reoffend (at least with respect to violent sex crimes.) That ship sailed twelve years ago. The cops blew it; shit happens. I guess the cops were spending their time framing Guy-Paul Morin instead of searching Karla’s bathroom. That’s the way the cookie crumbled.

Yeah, I reluctantly agree with RickJay. What I would have liked to see happen and what did happen are two different things, and it’s over for now.

One thing that really needs to happen is Karla needs to not profit in any way, shape or form from her crimes. Not one red cent.

Have I mentioned that she’s stated she wants to move into my neighborhood?

I was too young to really grasp what was going on during the trial, but I’m not so happy about it now. Nothing I can do other than be not-so-happy about it, though.

Is there any way for the Canadian gov’t to prevent this?

I’m reluctantly with RickJay, too. Being evil is not a crime, and she’s served her sentence. I’m not precisely comfortable that she’s moved up the hill from me, and I’d hardly go to any barbecues she held, but she should be allowed to get a job and support herself.

And LaurAnge, take heart – even if she is planning to re-offend, I doubt she’s stupid enough to do it in NDG. If anyone goes missing in NDG in the next ten years, her house will be probably be burnt to the ground by an angry mob within 24 hours and she knows it.

I’m exagerrating slightly, but I think she’s probably smart enough to know she’d never get away with it close to home.

Yeah, I’m sure. Heck, I’ve looked up some pictures of her just so I could recognize her if I saw her. Still - it’s oogy.