June 16, 2010

"Killing and culpability" sentences handed down

You readers who completed the "Killing and Culpability" exercise a while back may be interested in the sentences that were handed down:

"Avenging a Wrong"

Remember Aaron Vargas? He was the man who went to the home of the older man whom he said had molested him as a child, shot the man once in the chest, and then waited half an hour to be sure he died. The Northern California community of Fort Bragg had rallied around Vargas, and he was expecting a lenient sentence after his guilty plea to manslaughter.

The judge said no dice; the fact that the victim was a child molester was largely irrelevant. "To grant probation in this case would put a stamp of approval on the defendant's actions, which I cannot do," he told a courtroom packed with Vargas supporters. "The use of violence to correct a wrong only encourages more violence."

The sentence: 9 years in the state pen.

"Street Brawl"

The other case featured in the exercise was that of Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield, age 20, who stabbed a University of California at Berkeley fraternity man to death during a drunken street brawl. A jury had rejected his plea of self defense, and convicted him of second-degree murder. Although he cried and pleaded for leniency, the judge noted that he fled from the scene after the stabbing, discarded his knife and hid out at a friend's house.

The sentence: 16 years of hard time.

Reactions, readers? Were either of the sentences surprising? Were they just?

The "Killing and Culpability Exercise" is HERE


Anonymous said...

premeditation vs circumstances... at least the first guy knew what he was up to, regarding the second one it s somewhat sad having to spend that time in jail starting at 20

Anonymous said...

"Urbanite" again.

Pretty much as expected, for our system of injustice. The vigillante got 9 years. He'll be out in 3 or 4.

The drunk kid got 16, and... as intially posted: "He is guilty. In a sane system of justice, he would undergo rehabilitation and perform restitution to the community he injured. In ours, he’ll go to jail for a while, and come out not able to get a job, but still having access to knives and alcohol. Then he can get his second strike…"

For a justice system based on retribution and punishment, things worked out just peachy.