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 :confused:

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).

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.

It means you stay in prison for your regular life, plus if you come back as a vampire and a zombie.

But what about spirit, hobgoblin, or demon?

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%.

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.

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.

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…

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

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.)

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.

Someone did mention spirit.

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.

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.

Where was this? I was under the impression the judge was the only one who could carry out sentences. No? :confused:

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.

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).

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.

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.