Friday, December 01, 2006

Hard Time

Tonight I was on wagon duty (transporting arrestees from my police precinct to the county jail). I take delight in learning about the jailbound and often ask questions about their history. Most of the other officers I work with couldn't care less about prisoners and wouldn't dream of actually talking to them (other than interrogating for arrest purposes).

Perhaps my attitude will sour with tenure but for this rookie, the novelty has not yet worn off. As I readied a young for transport, I asked him what he was arrested for. He admitted he had a felony warrant out of California for a probation violation.
"What did you serve time for?", I asked.
"Murder? How much time did you serve for that?"
"One year."
"One year? You served just one year?"

For comparison purposes, here are some things that could earn you a 1 year prison term in Arizona:
Possession of Burglary Tools
Shoplifting property valued over $250
Bribery of a public servant
Betting and Wagering
Possession of Marijuana
Bigamy (Marrying a second person, or marrying someone you know is already married)

It's reassuring to know you could serve more time in prison for making chickens fight in your backyard or stealing a bottle of wine from Costco than for taking the life of another human being.

Also, hard times ahead for employees (and CEO) of a local internet search company. One of my squadmates was asked to assist the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) as they seized computers, files, and other property of a company called He was told to stand by in case any employees came looking for a paycheck and became upset upon learning of the firm's frozen assets. The company billed itself as 'the fastest growing search engine in the world' but appears to have been involved in some kind of scamming/fraudulent activity judging by the FTC's surprise visit. I took a report at this company a few months ago and noticed the CEO's office was furnished with plush leather couches and a plasma TV with Xbox 360 installed. Perhaps he should have spent more time on his business plan than on Call of Duty 3. Just last week I saw the CEO of this firm showcasing his convertible sports car in a ritzy part of the city with his personalized company license plate.


At December 01, 2006 7:22 AM, Blogger Thomas Vickers said...

See, Arizona isn't such a bad place. If cockfighting gets you serious jail time, then it is my kind of place.

California is strange and not in a good way. I have been there way too often to think that what happens in California is sane.

There needs to be a really good Lifetime Movie made about Enron. Then all the scumbag CEO's can watch it as they rot in a cell for ripping off the stockholders.


At December 01, 2006 8:23 AM, Blogger jLow said...

Yeah - apparently murder in California is comparable to $1,500 worth of hot checks in Texas.

See here -

At December 01, 2006 1:18 PM, Blogger Meander said...

wow...only a year? this is hard to imagine.

At December 01, 2006 7:28 PM, Blogger The Corporal said...

And I thought some of Canada's laws were a little light!

I gotta transfer to the states.

At December 01, 2006 7:29 PM, Blogger The Corporal said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At December 02, 2006 1:17 PM, Blogger pecunium said...

Sigh. Is it possible to get only a year for murder? Yes. Is that limited to Calif.? No.

Is it typical? No. I have a friend who's son ought to be out now, 15-25 for 2nd degree. Tried to cut a deal for 1st degree manslaughter, but the L.A. DA wasn't having any.

There are a number of things which are lesser offences, which can get you more time in Calif. Anything committed with weapon, for example, adds one year to the sentence.

But any jurisdiction may decide there are reasons for the lesser charge, or the lighter sentence. If the case isn't strong, and the jury likely to be sympathetic, then a deal will get cut.

If the offense is mitigated, or extenuated (say, in this case, it was a fight which got out of hand, and he grabbed a rock/bottle etc., and the guy; who had attacked him, died; in which case it would be manslaughter, and probably 2nd Degree) a lighter sentence wouldn't be completely out of order.

And we don't know what the specific conviction was, most people don't differentiate between manslaughter, and murder. Dead is dead.

At December 04, 2006 8:46 AM, Blogger Jason said...

I would have asked that guy who did he kill.


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