Posts Tagged ‘ Law ’

Getting Paid for Being a Monster

This is SO sad but true.

Don’t let these evil monsters claim a penny

By Fiona McIntosh

We now know what ­serial killers do all day in jail.

They plot new ways to bleed our compensation system dry.

Some of the most vile men ever to have walked the Earth are busy planning their next loony ­compensation sting at the ­taxpayer’s expense.

The “Evil 13”, a gang of serial killers including Milly Dowler’s murderer Levi Bellfield, Soham monster Ian Huntley and the ­Suffolk strangler Steve Wright, have spent tens of thousands of taxpayers’ money lodging trivial compensation claims.

So while severely wounded soldiers are fighting to get even £50,000 for the horrendous loss of their fertility, Levi Bellfield is bunging in a claim for £30,000 because he was “given a slap” by a fellow prisoner.

This 6ft tall 18-stone ­monster has gone crying to ­personal injury lawyers over a minor assault which left him with a few cuts and bruises.

He claims it is his “human right” to be protected from the prison’s main population because of his crimes. Remind us again of those crimes?

Only the savage murder of three young women who no longer have the luxury of any human rights.

Nor do the Dowlers, as Bellfield made sure when he subjected that heartbroken ­family to the most harrowing murder trial in living memory.

It is beyond belief that monsters like Bellfield are being allowed openly to milk our compensation system.

Milly’s killer is said to sit in his prison cell, surrounded by legal papers, figuring out new ways to sue the prison service “for a bit of a laugh”.

Even if his claims are ­eventually thrown out, they still cost the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds to defend.

That’s on top of the ­£4million we’ve forked already out on legal aid at his trials.

There is something inherently wrong with a system which ­allows a child-killer like Ian Huntley to sue the prison service for £95,000 for a knife attack while ­critically injured soldiers ­returning from ­serving our country in Afghanistan are forced to fight for years to get half-decent ­compensation ­payments.

Part of the problem lies with the new breed of no-win, no-fee lawyers who will do anything to make a fast buck, even if it means screwing the taxpayer for the sake of a serial killer who will never see the light of day outside ­prison.

While even the worst offenders have the right to sue the prison service for serious assaults, this sub-culture of petty claims through personal injury lawyers must now end.

Even outside prison these legal vultures are a menace to the taxpayer, with the cost of ­personal injury claims doubling to ­£14billion in 10 years.

It now means every motorist in the country is paying exorbitant insurance premiums to fund petty claims.

Former Labour Justice Secretary Jack Straw is on a crusade to clamp down on this legal racket.

It is not only costing us dear but lining the pockets of our most heinous criminals.

From Here

*Applause*

Laws need to be changed.

 

 

Why we defend the indefensible

By Sue Carlton, Times columnist
In Print: Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How do you defend the indefensible?

This week, a lawyer in Norway named Geir Lippestad answered questions from the press about his new client, accused in a case so terrible it’s still hard to grasp.

Asked if Anders Behring Breivik showed any empathy for the young victims in the mass shooting last week, the lawyer answered: “No.”

Another reporter asked if he had hesitated to take this case.

Yes, at first, he said. But he decided, “If I said no to this job, I said no to democracy.”

Which seems like a pretty good answer.

How do you defend the indefensible? Criminal defense lawyers on the worst cases, the accused child killers, serial rapists or mass murderers, must hear that question in their sleep: How do you do what you do? How do you represent the best interests of someone like Julie Schenecker, the Tampa woman accused of shooting her own teenage son and daughter dead in their home in the suburbs?

I called Byron Hileman, who has handled many murder cases in his 35 years at it, more than 20 involving the death penalty and some “pretty bad folks.” He represents Dontae Morris, charged in the murders of Tampa police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab, as well as three other Tampa men. Yes, Hileman is familiar with the question.

Years back, he told a mentor he was tired of the system. “I’m sick of all the nastiness and so forth, the games that are played, the problems the system has,” Hileman remembers saying. “I don’t know if I want to do this kind of work.”

His mentor told him: “If you’re going to be a member of the church, you have to believe in God.” It took a minute to get it.

“You can’t have a commitment you turn on and off,” he says now.

He calls the system imperfect and also the best that exists, the cases “terribly sad.” No one wins. But without the structure of our system, “we’d have the law of the jungle, or lynch mob justice.”

Longtime defense lawyer Robert Fraser, defending Julie Schenecker, says the question speaks to how little we’re taught in American civics about how the criminal court system is supposed to work.

Lawyers new to the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender’s Office are given an analogy about a different profession: “Trauma surgeons are highly trained and have a specific skill,” says Public Defender Bob Dillinger. “When someone is wheeled in on a gurney, no one says, ‘This is a good person — work hard’ or ‘This is a bad person — don’t do so much.’ ”

“We’re defending the Constitution,” Dillinger says. “They don’t let you pick and choose what part of the Constitution you want to defend.”

Dillinger was once on the defense team for Oba Chandler, convicted of killing an Ohio mother and her two daughters and dumping their bodies in Tampa Bay. But the heaviest disapproval Dillinger remembers was when he represented a man charged with the triple murder of a grandmother, mother and an 11-year-old.

When people ask how he sleeps at night, representing guilty people, he always tells them it’s the innocent ones that keep you up.

Which seems like a pretty good answer, too. Why defend the indefensible? Because for you or me to be innocent until proven guilty, somebody has to.

Link

Some inmates may have early parole

A new bill signed into law could mean that senior citizens fitting a certain criteria could be eligible to appear before the parole board and possibly released from prison.

House Bill 138, signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal, allows for certain inmates who are at least 60 years old and who have served at least 10 years of their prison term to apply for consideration from the board.

Angela Whitaker, spokeswoman and confidential assistant to state Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary James Leblanc, said the bill will affect eight men and one woman.

“It is an eligibility bill so they can go before the parole board,” Whitaker said. “We have looked at the state facilities, and we don’t think it will have a huge impact.”

Of the nine, only one is housed at a prison (Wade Correctional in Homer) in northern Louisiana. However, the Department of Corrections currently houses more than 1,200 inmates who are older than 60. The DOC estimates it costs $20,000 per year to house a prisoner, and that figure could go up to $80,000 to house a sick or ailing inmate.

The new bill has strict stipulations. Criteria include that the offender has not been convicted of a violent crime or a sex offense, the offender has not had any disciplinary offenses in the 12 months prior to the parole eligibility date, the offender has completed mandatory minimum of 100 hours of pre-release programming and completed a substance abuse program if applicable.

Other criteria include that the offender has obtained a GED unless the offender has previously obtained a high school diploma or is deemed by a certified educator as being incapable of obtaining a GED. In this case, the offender must complete a literacy program, an adult basic education program, or a job-skills training program.

The offender also must have a low-risk level designation approved by LeBlanc.

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Jerry Jones said he has some reservations about the bill and doesn’t want to see habitual offenders fall through the cracks and be released into society.

He said a prime example would be the case of Anthony Glen Wilson of Monroe.Wilson was convicted in July 2007 of simple burglary that netted him a bottle of cologne and 58 cents. Based on the habitual offender law, Wilson was later handed a life sentence for the burglary.

But, Ouachita Parish sheriff’s deputies linked Wilson’s DNA to the 1981 murder of Kathy Whorton of Bastrop, and authorities believe he may have committed two other murders around that time. Although authorities matched his DNA to the crime scene, he was never tried for the murder because the autopsy report and other evidence were lost over the years.

“We convicted a person believed to be a serial killer for stealing a bottle of cologne,” Jones said. “I don’t care if he is 100 years old, he should not be eligible for parole. Certain criminals should not be eligible.”

Officials said Wilson, who is 52 years old and housed at Louisiana State Penitentiary, is a sex offender and will not be eligible. But, other habitual offenders might be.

Local defense attorney Charles Kincade said the law could save the DOC money.

“I think it is a great thing,” Kincade said. “It is compassionate and humane. It makes common sense from a financial standpoint. It is going to cease spending scarce public money on housing and essentially release harmless people.”

Link 

On paper this sounds great, I just worry that it is going to be done by procedure without thought and actual investigation.

Also, even with a GED and job training most of these older prisoners are going to have a hard time finding a job just due tojob availability (especially now) and the health concerns will make employment after incarceration even harder.  So then it will be out of prison, on to the streets and onto welfare.

It might relieve the prison finace numbers but I do not think it is actually going to help the state much overall.

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