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A notion with which I cannot concur

Earlier today, I mentioned in passing the notion of "concurrent sentencing." That's the legal idea that if one is convicted of more than one charge, one can serve your sentences at the same time. Say one kills three people, and is sentenced to 15 years per charge. Logically, one would think the felon here would be locked up for 45 years. But under "concurrent sentencing," one can serve all at once, essentially "triple-counting" one's time.


Comments (12)

You might note that the vas... (Below threshold)

You might note that the vast majority of concurrent sentences are for, essentially, one crime. We see way too many cases where someone does something bad (robs a bank, for example), and they get charged for the bank robbery, conspiracy to commit the robbery, pointing a gun at a dog, endangering the fleas, startling an elk, and whatever else some enterprising prosecutor can come up with, making the case ten times more complicated and much, much more expensive. Concurrent sentences, in a lot of cases, breaks down to the criminal not getting punished for all of the silly crap that got tacked on because the prosecutor decided they might not get a conviction for the real crime, so they covered their bases.

I had no problem with it un... (Below threshold)

I had no problem with it until just now when you mentioned it. We need to give judges discretion, but I would like to see the defense of it

cirbyYou were corr... (Below threshold)

cirby

You were correct until you started in on the "real crime" slam.

One criminal instance might have several elements, each a crime in itself. It doesn't make those lesser things "pretend" crimes.

Conspiracy to commit a crime IS a crime.
Or would you like the gang leader who makes all the plans and sends his crew to DO the deed walk free because his masterminding wasn't a "real" crime?

Current sentencing makes sense in some context, not in others.

er... CONcurrent sentencing... (Below threshold)

er... CONcurrent sentencing...

Darleen-I never li... (Below threshold)

Darleen-

I never liked the "criminal conspiracy" laws, since they make people's thoughts and words crimes in and of themselves. Planning a crime needs a criminal act outside of just talking about it to make it truly criminal, or pretty much everyone on the planet needs to be in jail for "planning" all sorts of crimes they never actually did.

Conspiracy is part of the crime itself, and need not be punished if the person is actually convicted of the crime.

If Bob plans on shooting Martha, points the gun at martha, fires the gun at Martha, and pretends he didn't do it, he didn't commit conspiracy, assault, firing a weapon in city limits, and deceiving a police officer, he just killed Martha, and should be sentenced for that one crime.

If the prosecutor can't prove he did that one crime, then they shouldn't have the rest of the weaker crimes to fall back on to excuse their failure.

Concurrent sentencing is mo... (Below threshold)

Concurrent sentencing is most often a plea bargain tool. I wouldn't rush to handcuff the prosecutor's office.

Concurrent sentencing doesn... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Concurrent sentencing doesn't bother me too much, if the actual sentence still seems fair.

It is a tool that can be abused, but it is one that I think judges and prosecutors should be able to keep in their tool belt.

However, I wouldn't be upset if its use was limited to crimes that didn't involve violence against other people (ie if you write 15 bad checks, I am not going to be too upset if you serve the sentence for each check concurrently, but if you raped 10 children, I would very much prefer you serve the sentences consecutively).

cirbySo when Sue a... (Below threshold)

cirby

So when Sue and Bob spend weeks planning on robbing Old Man Williams, --watching his home, tracking who visits him and when, making notes on the layout of his house -- and then Bob breaks in, beats the snot out of Williams, locks him in the bathroom and robs the house..and Sue and Bob flee and no one finds Williams' body until 3 days later..

Sue walks? I mean, she didn't do ANYTHING but help Bob plan the crime.

(based on a real case I'm familiar with)

In Canada concurrent senten... (Below threshold)
Marty:

In Canada concurrent sentencing is the rule rather than the exception. People here are regularly given concurrent life sentences for multiple murder. Add to that the other happy (and common) practice of making parole possible after 15 years served (under the "faint hope" clause), and you see people walk away from jail a mere decade and a half after murdering their whole family. Subject, of course, to the politically correct supervision of Corrections Canada.

Concurrent sentencing is th... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

Concurrent sentencing is the rule, usually. There are certain crimes which when convicted of make the sentences run consecutively, i.e., in Michigan using a firearm in the commission of a felony will have that sentence run first, then any other sentence will run consecutive to the felony firearm. Consecutive sentences are specifically spelled out in the statutes that enact them. It isn't anything new, actually.

I do approve, however, making more crimes run consecutive to other felonies, as an encouragement to not commit those crimes in the same act. I'm a little fuzzy on which ones are such as it has been over four years since I have done any criminal law.

Typically, a valid conspira... (Below threshold)

Typically, a valid conspiracy charge requires at least one 'overt act', so there has to be some tangible involvement on the part of a conspirator.

The usual example is that you can talk about hanging someone, think about it, and even plan it - but it is not a conspiracy until you buy a rope...

And solicitation is a speci... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

And solicitation is a specific crime, encouaging others to commit a criminal act. Think incitement to riot as an example. Again, it has been a while since I've dealt with criminal law and my memory is a little fuzzy on it.

Certainly solicitation is an impediment to free speech, but as has been said, the constitution is not a suicide pact. Those who seek to undermine the criminal law and the peace through active encouragement of criminal acts do not deserve the protection of the First Amendment.

Please remember, the elements of these crimes are very specifically laid out in their respective stautes and are constitutional.




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