Sunday, September 10, 2006

Three Strikes

The inmate is asking my legal advice. He's heard there's a "three strikes law" in the neighboring state and he wants to know how he can get one of his two previous violent felonies expunged. He has no doubt and makes no pretense that he's going to commit a third. He just wants, desperately, for there to be no more consequences than he is used to.

I ask, casually, what his previous convictions in that state were. He dismisses them: "Can you believe the judge said that kicking a guy who happened to be on the ground was a felony? I didn't use any weapons and the guy didn't even have any broken bones, just some scarring and the judge said that was a felony. Can you fuckin' believe that? No way that's a felony."

But you were convicted of a felony.

"That don't mean nothin'. The same judge gave 17 months to a guy for being too close to a school and he had a perfectly good reason."

Hmmm. Illegal to be too close to a school? Child molester or drug dealer?

"Don't matter, that judge was way out of line. No way am I gonna be in a position where I raise one little finger to defend myself I'm goin' to prison for the rest of my life. No way. I'm getting that expunged."

It's blurry, this world that lays just over or just under the top of mine- where kicking a man after you've beaten him to the ground is only a little wrong. Where society is draconian and evil because the third time you've damaged one of their citizens for either fun or to take their possessions society decides to remove you from the victim pool. Where a child molester that a prisoner would normally consider shanking is a victim and example of common cause if you can ride the coat tails of their victim-hood. Where protecting children by removing predators is "way out of line". Where stomping a man into permanent scars is "raising one little finger to defend myself".

Normally, I deal with this well. Today I want to take a shower. Partially because this human reptile can't see his own evil but even more because there are hundreds of well-meaning people waiting in the wings who would love to champion this poor and oppressed and disadvantaged man. Who will sympathize over his fear of being sent away 'forever' and ignore the human wreckage he has left in his path and all the ones he will create in the future if he can only find or manufacture an excuse.


Kai Jones said...

I certainly sympathize with his fear, but too effing bad! He has made and is making choices, nobody has abrogated his agency, and the consequences are in the chute.

He can't be *that* afraid if he's willing to do the crimes.

Anonymous said...

So I investigate a domestic dispute and find the girlfriend's already fled. The nice women who works in a local homeless shelter and who took the man in is now terrified of him. I go to talk to him. He's all mouth, profanity and threats, so I get him into cuffs by putting the taser into his back. After he leaps up off the couch and headbutts me in the chest, he goes down and to jail. DA won't go on it because I wasn't injured and it was the nice woman's fault she was terrified because she volunteered to take this d#@khead in. And now I'm being sued for a civil rights violation and my wife has to carry a gun because of the threat's he made (she'll go to jail if she ever has to shoot this guy). When he commits his next crime, people will cluck their tongues and then go back to reruns of friends. Sometimes, the baa-ing is deafening. Oh, well, just another day at the office.

The Moody Minstrel said...

People always tend to look at whatever they do with rose-colored glasses and see themselves as blameless, misunderstood, totally justified, a victim, blah blah blah.

Politicians are an even better example of that, and that's probably why so many of our laws seem so mixed up.