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Where Lies Justice?

The last thing an old dyed in the wool law and order authoritarian wants to be called is soft, and in some instances a hardy application of pragmatism can (wrongly) be confused with going soft but there is a reason why we separate the spirit from the letter of the law. Rigidity for its own sake diminishes justice, re visiting edicts with fresh eyes and periodically replacing them back on those scales for recalibration fortifies and renews our faith in its proper application.

We all understand the need for frugality and parsimony wrt government spending and the allocation of public monies. In these days of deficits everywhere, city/state and federal budgets, a proper accounting and a need to trim the fat is essential and nowhere is that more evident than in the prison system.

There is a rather unpleasant fellow that is doing a 127 year stint in the big house for a brutal rape committed 14 years ago. The courts have decided to release him early due to his personal circumstances, and I am inclined to agree with letting him go;

A California appeals court has granted the release of a quadriplegic rapist who was considered an excessive cost to the state.
Steven Martinez was convicted of several counts of violent rape in 1998 after he drove his car over a woman, assaulted her, kidnapped her and then raped her.
While serving his sentence in 2001, Martinez was attacked by two other inmates and was stabbed in the neck. The wound paralyzed him instantly. As an inmate, his caretakers say he remains an “angry, repulsive person.”
Martinez applied last year to become the first inmate freed under a medical parole law that aims to reduce prison costs. He was turned down as a public safety risk. An appeals court in San Diego rejected that decision last month and ordered his release, according to the Associated Press.

I think we are all in agreement that Martinez is a POS whose own actions have left him in a pretty sorry state of life. We can discuss the idiocy of giving thousand year prison sentences . I get that multiple crimes carrying minimums can add up to some serious time (Bernie Madoff got 150 years).

The video mentioned that it costs the state about 800 grand to care for Martinez and since they are letting violent offenders out anyway, not enough room, allowing the privilege of wiping his ass and spoon feeding him everyday to his parents seems reasonable to me. Much like yet another school bond that gets foisted on me every year, I would support building more prisons to keep those violent offenders away from me and my family, but understand that the prison system ,like everything else in this stare is operating in the red.

I don’t buy the D.A’s excuse for keeping him locked up, that somehow he could Svengali some other offender to do is criminal bidding for him. The guy is basically a vegetable. His life is shit regardless, whether he occupies space in a prison cell or in his parent’s home, nobody should think that he is getting away with anything.

Aside from the obvious financial considerations, the issue for me was compassion for his parents. No doubt they have paid a heavy price for the transgressions of the son, they want and are able to care for him now, this is a win/win for everyone.

Anybody feel differently about this, that he did the crime so now he must do the time no matter the circumstance?

12 comments

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  1. Thrill says:

    Two words: Soylent Green.

    Seriously, though. Costs and justice say to let him go, I think.

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  2. Mississippi Yankee says:

    rich, how is letting him go live with his parents going to save the state any money? I would think that unless they’re independently wealthy the state must eventually pick up the cost, and then at a potentially higher rate.
    Seems like a “Rob Peter to pay Paul” situation.

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  3. richtaylor365 says:

    It is costing the state $800,000.00 per year to care for Mr. Martinez., much of this is spent watching him 24 hours a day, wiping his ass when he shits and feeding him when he is hungry. Extra guards are required to do all this, including probably extra medical staff, all to care for him. Allowing him to live at home means that his parents will do all these chores, for free, no high paying state employees are needed to care for him and no expensive medical equipment is needed to monitor his condition. Sure, the state is not off the hook entirely, he still needs medical care, but at a fraction of the cost of what they were paying with him incarcerated.

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  4. Mississippi Yankee says:

    Extra guards are required to do all this, including probably extra medical staff, all to care for him. Allowing him to live at home means that his parents will do all these chores, for free,….
    … Sure, the state is not off the hook entirely, he still needs medical care, but at a fraction of the cost of what they were paying with him incarcerated.

    rich, I don’t doubt the intention of your post but I kinda, after watching your complete nanny state out there, sorta question the reality of exactly who will be wiping his ass and at what cost. And also which union will benefit.

    Prison guards, even union ones, cost less than health-care union workers is all I’m saying.

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  5. Kimpost says:

    I fail to see the harm in letting him go.

    One thing though.

    While serving his sentence in 2001, Martinez was attacked by two other inmates and was stabbed in the neck. The wound paralyzed him instantly.

    That happening in a prison might have consequences? Can an inmate sue the state for failing to protect him?

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  6. Thrill says:

    Can an inmate sue the state for failing to protect him?

    Yes, he can but he’ll probably wait until he’s freed to do it.

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  7. Section8 says:

    If feeding him and wiping his ass is costing 800K a year, then the real issue is what fucked up contract did the state of CA get into? Talk about over paying. If he’s hooked up to a machine to keep him breathing because he can no longer do it on his own, that is going to cost money no matter where he is and MY is correct in how those costs are simply going to be redistributed and still paid for by the state.

    To me, fuck this guy. Want to save costs? Release all non violent drug offenders, find out why wiping asses is an 800K a year job. Plenty more reasonable avenues to take here.

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  8. Thrill says:

    Well, this is California we’re talking about. The taxpayers are obviously perfectly happy to bear this burden, of course.

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  9. Kimpost says:

    Yes, he can but he’ll probably wait until he’s freed to do it.

    :)

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  10. mrblume says:

    Can an inmate sue the state for failing to protect him?

    Yes, he can but he’ll probably wait until he’s freed to do it.

    I don’t believe it. If that were a realistic option, the situation in those gulags would have improved a long time ago.

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  11. Thrill says:

    Well, it’s not the easiest case to prove and some victims simply don’t want to go through with it. But the law does allow for it.

    You may find this PDF to be helpful if you’re interested in the topic.

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  12. AlexInCT says:

    I don’t believe it. If that were a realistic option, the situation in those gulags would have improved a long time ago.

    A gulag implies that the state is the one causing all the trouble. Considering that the state provides these inmates with free housing, free food, TVs, cable and radio, exercise equipment, free education, and reams of other “free stuff” that isn’t really free, but paid by tax payers, I am disinclined to accept your premise. Let us not forget why these people are in here in the first place. They are not innocent.

    Besides, prisons tend to be hell because of their populations. The more hardcore and psychotic the inmates, the more insanely harsh the experience. As this story clearly points out, this guy got shanked by other inmates. It is one thing to want guards to be held accountable if they abuse the people under their care, but it is insane to demand that they also be responsible for the safety of the most destructive and evil sociopaths in our society, from each other. The cost to get this done is not just prohibitive, it all but guarantees we need to free even more psychopaths into the public. And we all know how well these guys are at protecting the public from the psychopaths.

    That this guy was hurt is a tragedy, well maybe it is just bad considering what he did to others, but that we are now forced to choose between paying for him to stay encarcerated or paying for him to be a free citizen is a travesty.

    [edit]: you have not seen real brutal prison till you see prisons in third world countries. Our prisons, even our max security prisons, are 5 star hotels compared to those shit holes.

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