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Author Topic: Honor student sentenced to 10 years in prison
kmbboots
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They believe that it would hurt rather than help their committment. They feel safer in their committment without marriage.

And, especially in cases where there isn't (and couldn't be) a child, why is it more responsible for the committment to be fixed rather than flexible?

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katharina
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That's the problem with fabricated examples. Now you're just making things up.
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MattB
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Scott - if the government removed all legal privileges associated with marriage (as some people are advocating as a solution to the gay marriage wars), would extramarital relationships still be irresponsible?
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katharina
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I think so, because of both reasons I stated before - it isn't fair to the possible children (although if marriage was changed radically then that whole thing requires a reconception) and the religious reason.

[ June 08, 2007, 05:24 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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kmbboots
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"Mary" is a real person. Just not me. (which I thought was your objection)

I really wouldn't try to fool someone with a fake example. That wouldn't be fair unless I said it was made up. What I tell you about her is true to the best of my knowledge.

[ June 08, 2007, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Xaposert
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quote:
Why can't both sides be correct? We've already seen how the value of romantic love differs from person to person without there being a specific correct answer that applies to everyone. What's wrong with saying that what I value in life is different than what you value in life, yet neither of us are wrong.

To suggest that one side must be wrong would be like me saying that blue is my favorite color and you saying, "nope, sorry, red is actually your favorite color."

I am making a distinction: In my opinion, what I value is different from what actually is valuable. That's why I rephrased your statement earlier. "What I value" is what I care about, and may be different from what you value. "What is valuable" is what is valuable in an objective sense. As in, it would be valuable whether or not anyone was there to value it.

I believe that "What I value" is valuable in an objective sense, precisely because I value it. Similarly, I believe that "What you value" is valuable in an objective sense, precisely because you value it. In other words, the things that people value are objectively valuable because people value them. Do you follow me?

In addition to this, I think there are other things that may be objectively valuable. Human life, for instance, I think is objectively valuable. Even if nobody in the world valued the life of someone, I think their life would still have value, independent of everyone - even if that person didn't value his own life.

Given all of this, I think "Responsibility" is concerned with "What is valuable" in the objective sense. Being responsible is NOT about doing whatever just makes me happy. That is to say that being responsible is NOT about just catering to whatever I value. Instead, being responsible is about respecting the things that are valuable in an objective sense, including not only what I care about, but also what others care about, and also other things that are valuable even if nobody cares about them at all.

Here's an example: I value red. It is my favorite color. But you hate red, and you are my neighbor. If I act in accordance only with my own values (and let's assume for this example for some reason I don't value your happiness at all) then I could paint my house entirely bright red. Would this be responsible of me? I think it would not be, no matter what my values are - because you hate red and would have to look at it every day. And even if I don't value your happiness, I should, objectively speaking. So, responsibility is not about what I feel will best serve what I value. Instead it is about what bests serves what is valuable in the objective sense. And there is only one correct answer for that, I believe, in each particular case. Does that make any sense?

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Stephan
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Why not just use the dictionary definition?
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kmbboots
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So if I value sex outside of marriage, is Scott irresponsible for judging that to be irresponsible?
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
[QB]
quote:
ScottR, you realize that the vast majority of sex throughout human history is irresponsible under your definition?
I don't think you really mean to make this particular argument.
I don't intend to make that argument. I intend to ask if you really have defined responsibility in such a way that the only people who fall under its umbrella are American citizens born in the last hundred years. And if so, how is that not prohibitively narrowing it?
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Why not just use the dictionary definition?
Because the dictionary definition is inadequate.

The difference between responsible and irresponsible is dependent upon the human condition, ones metaphysics, and cultural conditioning.

To some people, it's irresponsible for a woman to go outside showing bare arms. To others, it's irresponsible to divorce your husband, even though he has had numerous affairs. To some, it's irresponsible to have sex before marriage, to others, it's irresponsible to burden yourself with familial obligations before you've figured out right and wrong in the world, lest you end up supporting your family by perpetrating some minor evil, like selling drugs or working for a social irresponsible company, or backing a socially irresponsible doctrine.

There is a range of what's considered responsible and irresponsible, and any objective standard is going to come down to some sort of deep myth, religion, or intuition.

The fragile ground on which these responsibilities reside is part of the wonder, and deep incomprehensibility of this world, that's why I like religion in general, even if I find distasteful many of the peculiarities of different religions. There is nothing wrong with people living by a legend, be it Jesus or MLK or Tubman. It is said that the best people live by the light of legends. The Mediocre live by ideologies. And the lowest live in fear of all the noises in the night.

[ June 09, 2007, 12:58 AM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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kmbboots
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Sooo...doing anything anybody doesn't like is "irresponsible"? Then "irresponsible" is defined in such a way as to have no useful meaning.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Responsibility and irresponsibility are not easily fixed. If I eat a cheeseburger chased by oysters, is it appropriate for a Jewish person to call me irreverent?

I have very severe ideas about responsibility, and they don't match up with Scott's severe ideas about responsibility. I don't think there is one doctrine or principle that's going to account for our sophisticated, seemingly disparate views. (Maybe, if we are lucky, there is a poem or a story that will articulate our views in a way that doesn't set them at odds, but I don't think that's going to happen, either.)

[ June 09, 2007, 02:24 AM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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Scott R
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quote:
if the government removed all legal privileges associated with marriage (as some people are advocating as a solution to the gay marriage wars), would extramarital relationships still be irresponsible?
Yes, but AGAIN-- getting married for the legal benefits alone is not part of my argument.

JT:

Each culture defines social responsibility in its own way. For example, among the Masai (I think), it is not frowned upon for teens to have sex, or for girls to get pregnant before marriage. This grows out of an actual *need* for people-- the demand for population, throughout their history, has shaped their values to set up a system for supporting unwed mothers and their children.

We don't have such a system. If we did, it would mitigate some of the social cost, and culturally, there would be less of a reason for me to consider extramarital sex irresponsible.

Still-- making babies isn't the only reason I've given for why I consider extramarital sex irresponsible.

quote:
why is it more responsible for the committment to be fixed rather than flexible?
Hmmm...I'm not sure commitment and flexibility of that commitment go together.

In our society, married partners are usually considered off-limits, sexually, by everyone else. Generally, society supports the decision of the two to be sexually exclusive. (YES, I know there are scumball exceptions-- that's why I used the words "usually" and "generally.")

There's not as much protection for the social creation "girlfriend" or "boyfriend." If someone's got a boyfriend, it's generally considered not as strong a commitment as someone who has a husband. This concept figures into the behavior of the sexually available singles that encounter the boyfriend/girlfriend; the result is that the BF/GF appears more "available" for courting than the married person.

I'm not arguing that you get married solely so you can keep your lover from dallying. But with marriage comes a socially recognized (and generally honored) commitment that does not exist for unmarried couples.

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Chris Bridges
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You know Scott, if you had said "usually" or "generally" -- or even "overwhelmingly" or "in almost all cases" in your original statement instead of "all", we could have skipped 5 pages of comments...

Following your arguments, it is possible for an unmarried couple to be together for 50 years, raising kids into healthy adults and maintaining a strong commitment throughout, and still have their actions considered irresponsible because they never got married.

Which is more responsible: sex between an unmarried but committed and financially comfortable couple, or sex between a married couple with severe money problems? Or a married couple with an abusive relationship? Or a married couple with debilitating health issues? In all those unfortunately common cases, the stability and security offered any possible children is extremely questionable. Wouldn't sex be irresponsible then?

I think that while marriage is an important component, it is not a magical switch that confers responsibility. (And no, I don't think you do, either, but that's how it's starting to come across). In these pages, "irresponsible" has implied carelessness or thoughtlessness, which is insulting to someone -- like, say, kmboots -- who rightfully objects. I think that if we define "irresponsible" here as "not as responsible as it's possible to be" then it's easier to see the balance.

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Scott R
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Chris--

Go back and look at my original statement, man.

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Scott R
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quote:
Which is more responsible: sex between an unmarried but committed and financially comfortable couple, or sex between a married couple with severe money problems? Or a married couple with an abusive relationship? Or a married couple with debilitating health issues? In all those unfortunately common cases, the stability and security offered any possible children is extremely questionable. Wouldn't sex be irresponsible then?

If you'll go back and read through my statements on this subject, you'll note I spoke to these circumstances.
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Scott R
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And for my THIRD consecutive post:

I think everyone would appreciate a little common understanding in regards to this topic. Heck, all topics. I've felt, recently, that Hatrack has become a place where EVERY little quirk must be addressed-- that's the reason for all of the qualifiers ('still,' 'again,' 'NOTE,' etc). They become necessary in order to head off truly silly attacks, that if people would assume the best intentions of their opponents, would not need to be brought to light.

Oh, and actually responding to what people write, instead of arguing based on what one thinks one knows of another's personal history-- that'd be nice, too.

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kmbboots
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As children are not always a possibility for people - say an older couple, or a couple for whom it is medically impossible* - what would be the need for legal protection?

I am getting the idea that, for some,
responsible" necessarily includes "conforming to the expectations of society". I don't agree with this. I believe that I have many obligations to people - even people in general - but those obligations do not include making my life fit a particular model. In fact, I believe that I sometimes have an obligation to change society in my small way.

Sometimes, rocking the boat is the responsible thing to do.

*hypothetically examples, lest I mislead anyone.

[ June 09, 2007, 09:07 AM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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kmbboots
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Scott, I am responding to this statement:

"I'm going to go so far as to say that all sex outside of marriage is irresponsible, and that lots of married people have sex irresponsibly."

I really know very little about your personal history. I know that you write, but that isn't really relevelant. (I probably should know more, but I don't pay breyerchic level attention). I do know that you are LDS, but, as you have you weren't referring to religion, I have not addressed that.

If you are talking to me in that last post, please know that any references I've made to your personal life have been inadvertant.

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Chris Bridges
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" I'm going to go so far as to say that all sex outside of marriage is irresponsible, and that lots of married people have sex irresponsibly."

You did indeed address my comments on sex inside marriage (before I made them:) ) and I apologize for forgetting them.

I still stand by my statement that had it been "virtually all sex outside of marriage" or "in almost every case", etc, most of this thread would not have happened. I'm not suggesting you change your position. But where I think you're saying "you're not being as responsible as it's possible to be" (which is true) it's sounding like "you're being careless, selfish, and foolhardy." For someone who has been as careful and committed as they can but does not place the same value on a marriage certificate, that can come across as insulting. I submit that there are degrees to responsibility, as in every other human endeavor, and someone who is only 99% responsible might still have a long and happy life.

If I've still misunderstood you, I apologize.

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Scott R
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How do you want to "rock the boat" here, kmboots?

quote:
I believe that I have many obligations to people - even people in general - but those obligations do not include making my life fit a particular model.
Everyone believes this.

quote:
what would be the need for legal protection?
In my last post, I outlined a benefit of marriage that was not physical, emotional, or legal.
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Scott R
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quote:
But where I think you're saying "you're not being as responsible as it's possible to be" (which is true) it's sounding like "you're being careless, selfish, and foolhardy."
I've said twice now, EXPLICITLY, that I believe there are degrees of irresponsibility in this matter.

I'm going to use the Tom Davidson defense and say that I have no control over how you choose to interpret my words, after I've been so exact, with so many qualifiers.

I mean, sheesh.

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kmbboots
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Sorry, I should have separated those to make it more clear. Legal issues are one thing that was mentioned.

You also mentioned a societal and cultural cost. I tried to address that in my post separately. If I understand you, you are saying that it is a cost to society when people don't conform to cultural norms. I disagree. I think it is sometimes good for society to have norms challenged.

I am not trying very hard to rock the boat in this instance except to point out that there are other responsible ways to have relationships.

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Scott R
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quote:
As children are not always a possibility for people - say an older couple, or a couple for whom it is medically impossible* - what would be the need for legal protection?

More explicitly:

In terms of what I think the legal advantages of marriage are: Legal jurisdiction over the spouse's affairs tops the list. Joint property ownership, which can help ease their economic situation.

I don't know that a couple "needs" these things.

quote:
there are other responsible ways to have relationships.
Within our society, I disagree. But that's not news.
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kmbboots
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Do I at least (finally) understand why you disagree? (the conforming to norms outlined above)
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Megan
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Scott, I'm still curious about the whys of your position. These are the questions I asked on the previous page. You may feel you've answered them already; if so, just point me to the post(s) and I'll re-read.

  • what, exactly, do you think makes all extra-marital sex irresponsible, for example, if you're not talking about possible consequences (I believe in the last page you've alluded to not following societal norms as being irresponsible; are there reasons beyond that?)
  • what makes the risks of extra-marital sex so much worse than, say, the risks of driving a car or walking near a busy street,
  • and what is it about marriage that makes those risks suddenly acceptable (aside from the fact that it fulfills societal norms)

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kmbboots
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Good questions, Megan. I think that would help and I look forward to more discussion. But now I am off...to a wedding!
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MattP
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quote:
But now I am off...to a wedding!
AKA a Responsibility Conference Ceremony [Wink]
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Scott R
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quote:
what, exactly, do you think makes all extra-marital sex irresponsible, for example, if you're not talking about possible consequences (I believe in the last page you've alluded to not following societal norms as being irresponsible; are there reasons beyond that?)
I've given those reasons in the preceding pages, Megan. The term 'social norms' is misleading-- we're not talking about niceties or politeness, here, but things that are culturally necessary. That's what I meant when I said:

quote:
We don't have such a system. If we did, it would mitigate some of the social cost, and culturally, there would be less of a reason for me to consider extramarital sex irresponsible.
When I say social cost, I'm talking about things like supporting single, teenage mothers-- as the Masai, do. That was part of the reason I used that example: to tie social costs into cultural norms.

(FYI--I DO support stronger social programs to help single parents)

Responsibility DOES encompass consequences. It also begins before the action resulting in those consequences takes place.

quote:
what makes the risks of extra-marital sex so much worse than, say, the risks of driving a car or walking near a busy street,
Again I've explained the risks I feel are associated with extramarital sex. The risks of these are, for me, beyond the threshold of mitigating actions (with the exception of abstinence).

I understand that some people are willing to take those risks, and while I'm not going to encourage legislating against them, I can hardly call them 'responsible' within my POV, now, can I?

**You'll also note that not just anyone is allowed to drive a car. The government restricts driver's licenses to those who meet specific, culturally informed levels of emotional, physical, and mental maturity. And they have classes on how to drive, tests to make sure you know the basic safety rules, and severe penalties when you break the law-- whether or not any harm was done when the law is broken. [Smile]

quote:
what is it about marriage that makes those risks suddenly acceptable (aside from the fact that it fulfills societal norms)
I've also explained on both this page and the last, the benefits of marriage as opposed to single life.
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
if the government removed all legal privileges associated with marriage (as some people are advocating as a solution to the gay marriage wars), would extramarital relationships still be irresponsible?
Yes, but AGAIN-- getting married for the legal benefits alone is not part of my argument.

JT:

Each culture defines social responsibility in its own way. For example, among the Masai (I think), it is not frowned upon for teens to have sex, or for girls to get pregnant before marriage. This grows out of an actual *need* for people-- the demand for population, throughout their history, has shaped their values to set up a system for supporting unwed mothers and their children.

We don't have such a system. If we did, it would mitigate some of the social cost, and culturally, there would be less of a reason for me to consider extramarital sex irresponsible.

Still-- making babies isn't the only reason I've given for why I consider extramarital sex irresponsible.

quote:
why is it more responsible for the committment to be fixed rather than flexible?
Hmmm...I'm not sure commitment and flexibility of that commitment go together.

In our society, married partners are usually considered off-limits, sexually, by everyone else. Generally, society supports the decision of the two to be sexually exclusive. (YES, I know there are scumball exceptions-- that's why I used the words "usually" and "generally.")

There's not as much protection for the social creation "girlfriend" or "boyfriend." If someone's got a boyfriend, it's generally considered not as strong a commitment as someone who has a husband. This concept figures into the behavior of the sexually available singles that encounter the boyfriend/girlfriend; the result is that the BF/GF appears more "available" for courting than the married person.

I'm not arguing that you get married solely so you can keep your lover from dallying. But with marriage comes a socially recognized (and generally honored) commitment that does not exist for unmarried couples.

Thanks for clarifying your position, Scott. I see where you're coming from now. Still don't agree, of course, but I understand your thinking.

Thanks for being so patient and calm in this thread, too.

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Morbo
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A judge threw out the 10 year sentence today:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/06/11/teen.sex.case.ap/index.html

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Scott R
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I cannot figure out the prosecutor's line of attack here. The original ruling is enormously unpopular; going after it the way they are makes me think that there's information that isn't being conveyed to the public.

By the same token, I'm a little tired of the line, "He was a good kid: honor roll, football hero, prom king, homecoming king..." Those things do not a good kid make. An *active* kid maybe, but there's nothing inherently morally complete about having a 4.0, and being able to run the 100 yard dash in 10 seconds flat...

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Leonide
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I, too, am sick to death of the "good kid" label. I don't see how being busy = being good.
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El JT de Spang
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You've never heard the 'idle hands' proverb?

Scott, 10 seconds flat would make him a great kid. [Wink]

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Leonide:
I, too, am sick to death of the "good kid" label. I don't see how being busy = being good.

Perhaps it is emphasised to combat the stereotype, "Punk 17 year old African American kid, he MUST be guilty." Or, "If he is a poor student he probably did it."
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kmbboots
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It probably does mean that he shows up to school, does his homework, is motivated to do well (which is not a given). All those things speak to character.
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Lyrhawn
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If I were him, I'd have seriously considered taking the more recent plea deals offered to him. No criminal record, probably out for time served, and no registering on the sex offender registry?

Who knows if that will still be an option if the AG wins his appeal?

He should still consider it.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Morbo:
A judge threw out the 10 year sentence today:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/06/11/teen.sex.case.ap/index.html

woot.
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mr_porteiro_head
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An appeal, saying that the judge didn't have the authority to change the sentence, keeps him in prison for the time being:
http://us.cnn.com/2007/US/06/11/teen.sex.case/index.html

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Dagonee
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Georgia Supreme Court Orders Release of Teen Sentenced for Oral Sex With Another Teen

I will read the decisions when I get a chance. This directly contradicts a decision from a couple of years ago on the same issue, so I'll be interested to see how they distinguished the old and new case.

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BlueWizard
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Quoted from Dagonee's link above-

"The court ruled 4-3 that the 10-year sentence Genarlow Wilson received was cruel and unusual punishment, and it directed a lower court to reverse the conviction and release him."

This person engaged in a wider range of criminal activity, and he did so knowing it was wrong and knowing that he risked in doing so.

The fact that many teens are doing the same thing is irrelevant, they are all taking the same risk and gambling away their futures. The only saving grace is that the odds are in their favor; most get away with it. But to quote the old TV show 'Beretta'; 'Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time'.

This person gambled and lost, and deserves to be punished, but the 10 year sentence was completely out of proportion to the events.

Of the new ruling, here is what bothers me, the '...court to reverse the conviction...'. I think they should have reduce the conviction to the new misdemeanor standard for this type of crime. That is, I think he should still have a conviction, but that misdemeanor conviction should be under the new law, and the sentence should be 'time served'.

While I don't in any way consider two years in prison 'getting off easy'. I do fear that completely reversing his conviction hints of getting off too easy. It sends the message that action don't have consequences, that you can do anything and get away with it. But again acknowledging that two years in prison is hardly getting away with it.

Part of what I worry about is that if the conviction is reversed, then that opens the door to a law suit. This person can claim he was wrongfully imprisoned, which he was not, and thereby claim substantial damages. He committed a crime, and should acknowledge that crime. I think, based on my limited knowledge, that the new misdemeanor law is more in line with the nature of the actual crime.

And here us a news flash to any would be law breakers, don't be stupid enough to video tape yourself committing a crime. If you are that stupid, then maybe a few years in prison will smarten you up a bit.

Not worth much, but there it is.

Steve/bluewizard

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Morbo
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quote:
Originally posted by BlueWizard:
Of the new ruling, here is what bothers me, the '...court to reverse the conviction...'. I think they should have reduce the conviction to the new misdemeanor standard for this type of crime. That is, I think he should still have a conviction, but that misdemeanor conviction should be under the new law, and the sentence should be 'time served'.

I don't think that's an option. You can't convict someone by a law that was not in effect at the time they committed the act.
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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At that age, it's not really a good time to have a kid, it's unhealthy and unwise to be sucking on sexual organs, and emotional trauma can be severe for rape victims.
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Morbo
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C3PO, the sex was consensual, according to the jury anyway.
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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Whoops, I had missed that. And to think I had read everything up to Page 6...
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I Am The War Chief
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Once again Canada has it right! Ontario laws make it legal for a female over the age of 15 to have sex with a male within 5 years her own age. I have always thought this is fair as it gives the individual the right to choose and keeps the perverts accountable.
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I Am The War Chief
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Slight revision of above post here is the law as it sits in the legislative books as of now

The Criminal Code does not now criminalize consensual sexual activity with or between persons 14 or over, unless it takes place in a relationship of trust or dependency, in which case sexual activity with persons over 14 but under 18 can constitute an offence, notwithstanding their consent. Even consensual activity with those under 14 but over 12 may not be an offence if the accused is under 16 and less than two years older than the complainant. The exception, of course, is anal intercourse, to which unmarried persons under 18 cannot legally consent, although both the Ontario Court of Appeal(3) and the Quebec Court of Appeal(4) have struck down the relevant section of the Criminal Code.

I didnt actually know any of this till the issue arose

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Rakeesh
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His conviction should be completely reversed (morally) because the state owes him a large debt for their totally over-the-top sentence, and for their behavior regarding that since then.

As for him engaging in a wider range of criminal activity, that means nothing since the charge under contention isn't about those things.

quote:
The fact that many teens are doing the same thing is irrelevant, they are all taking the same risk and gambling away their futures.
It's extremely relevant. It calls into question the law itself, the state's approach to that law, and whether or not it should be in place as it exists if lots of people are routinely violating that law.

quote:
While I don't in any way consider two years in prison 'getting off easy'. I do fear that completely reversing his conviction hints of getting off too easy. It sends the message that action don't have consequences, that you can do anything and get away with it. But again acknowledging that two years in prison is hardly getting away with it.
You're contradicting yourself. On the one hand you 'fear' sending a message about this activity which you already admit lots of teens engage in, but on the other hand you 'acknowledge' that he's hardly gotten away with it.

But you don't want to...send the message that he's gotten away with it?

quote:
If you are that stupid, then maybe a few years in prison will smarten you up a bit.
Hey, yeah! Maybe a couple of years facing daily threats of rape and beatings will 'smarten you up a bit'! How many days have you spent in jail, BlueWizard, or how many years in prison?

Perhaps you shouldn't be so casual throwing them around, then, for consentual teenage sexual activity. Or at least throw them both in jail, because damnit, if that girl had murdered someone she'd face a strong chance of being tried as an adult.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Hey, yeah! Maybe a couple of years facing daily threats of rape and beatings will 'smarten you up a bit'! How many days have you spent in jail, BlueWizard, or how many years in prison?
Um... isn't this a recommendation then to fix the prison system rather then not use prisons?
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Strider
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BlueWizard, I'm stunned at how hard you want to come down on two teenagers engaging in consensual sexual acts. How can you morally agree with those acts being *criminal*?
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