Should we offer amnesty for murder?

I was watching “Crimewatch” and the case was where about 20 years ago this familys 14 year old daughter slipped out one night to attend a party and was never seen again. The blame quickly fell on this one man but the police never had concrete evidence to convict him.

Now here is what I wonder. As much as I hate to think about it what if the man, in exchange for amnesty, either partial or full, who did it confessed to the murder and lead the family to where the body was hidden?

I know it sounds horrible but at least the family would have closure and could have a real funeral. I mean right now they are hoping for either guilt to set in bringing a confession or some new evidence would surface.

Would such a system work? Already many people do plea deals in exchange for either lighter sentencing or even all out pardons. Granted these people already were going to jail and just wanted to make their lives there easier.

Could we take this a step further? Thing is the man is homeless with no family or real life so maybe the prospect of sitting in some minimum security country club prison for life wont be so bad if offered?

Now granted, my first choice for the family would be to see the guy fried but since that isnt likely to happen I just want the family to have closure and know the man who did it is at least behind barbed wire.

What do you all think? (PS, hiring a hitman to do a drive by isnt a choice.)

While it’s often terribly terribly abused, this is one of the stronger arguments in favor of broad prosecutorial discretion.

The principle already exists - but it’s a question of what degree of lenience is acceptable in return for cooperation. Giving the family closure is not the only consideration. The prosecutor also acts for the victim and for broader society - in deterrence of future crime. Do you want to establish a principle that revealing the location of a body qualifies a future potential murderer for a huge reduction in punishment?

I think a better practice is probably for the focus to be on long-term rehabilitation and the potential for parole. Not so much that cooperation is treated as a bargaining chip at the initial sentencing stage, but that complete cooperation combined with good long term behavior and the whole picture of the criminal’s attitude and state of mind are condsiderations for parole.

Frying (i.e. revenge) doesn’t help any family. And it doesn’t involve justice. Odd that what many people call “getting justice” is precisely opposed to actual justice.

How much do we weight family wants - whether they’d prefer “closure” or “justice”? Do they have any say so, or is it just up to prosecutors/judges without any requirement to even listen to family wishes?

Also, if we count family wishes, what happens when a family member kills someone (often, but not always, it’s a child in this case) - would the resolution not apply because the family already has closure (but isn’t admitting it)? And they’re really all just fine with the victim’s murder going unpunished? Seems to mean the most vulnerable (those who’s family was hurting them and doesn’t care they are dead) will be the least likely to have their murderers face justice.

Also, would this have any impact on civil suits?

“Closure” is far overrated. It too is often co-opted into the service of revenge. “Making somebody pay”, when no kind of payment can ever restore what was lost, is not justice.

If someone steals your money, making him pay (literally pay, not punishment) is rightly the first priority. It’s a thing he took, and he CAN give it back. But a life is not a thing.

I dont know. I think I would, like to know where the remains of a lost loved one are. Imagine driving around everyday and thinking everytime you see a foundation being dug or swamp drained or whatever that they might find your loved ones remains?

Or, by the far chance, say your child was sold into something and just might still be alive?

You just never know.

I agree this would have to be in cooperation with the family.

I think this was a special case where the family is like 99.9% sure this guy did it and hate how he’s walking around a free man.

Don’t be coy. Please tell us what “actual justice” is.

Well, it does help the families of anyone else he might later have murdered.

I do know that in several cases the DA has offered to take the DP off the table in exchange for the killer confessing and leading them to the bodies. Maybe even better deals that that. But amnesty?

  1. The convicted pays back what is capable of literally being paid back. All of it, without mercy. No bankruptcy permitted. No lounging in prison for Bernie Madoff - he works his ass off until the day he dies trying to pay back 60 billion or whatever it was. Whoever inherits any of his assets also proportonally inherits his remaining debt when he dies.

  2. For that which there is no possible method for actually repaying, a sentence that goes as far as possible toward doing so - benefiting the victim or the victim’s family, but explicitly excluding the “satisfaction” of revenge or punishment - and treatment that makes the convicted a better person after getting out than before going in.

A lot of people who say they want closure, don’t want closure at all, they want “satisfaction”, which is not something you can ever get from a dead family member, no matter what is done to who afterwards.

I think that is not that rare. Most of the time the DA only does that after the victim’s family agrees to not ask for the DP. In some cases the family is strongly against the DP in all cases even when the victim is their family member. I know a guy where that is the case , his son was murdered but he asked the DA not to seek the DP .

No. Freebies are bad for business.

Sounds pretty vague to me. How do you propose this “paying back” be done, especially when the perpetrator may have had many victims? How do you pay someone back for having raped hir? Killed hir child? Who decides what is revenge or punishment? You?

Sins of the father?

If this were the law and I were him I would write my will to give my estate to the people I liked the least so they would inherit all my debt.

I think ( hope?) that the idea was that nobody would inherit anything unless somehow his assets were more than his debt, not that the "heirs would have to pay the debt out of their own funds. Like if he dies owing 60 billion, the heirs shouldn’t get one dime until all the victims are paid in full. ( But I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes anyway, at least for assets that pass through the estate)

This is meaningless without concrete examples. So, please provide one example each of ways one could repay: a. murder b. rape c. kidnapping and torture.

Perhaps we could let him start his own thread and get back to the OP?

OP, what would be the inducement to come forward? Amnesty would only be an inducement if the killer thought he was going to get arrested anyway (which seems unlikely) and amnesty was contingent on turning himself in. I suppose guilt might drive him to 'fess up, though I’m not sure how how often murderers are consumed with guilt. Also, right now he’s doesn’t have to face social ostracism and vigilante justice, which wouldn’t be the case, I presume, if he turned himself in.

How about ‘No’. Think about subsequent victims. Murderers who repeat happen because they don’t get caught. They don’t reform spontaneously.