Saturday, February 22, 2014
10 years for murder
Here is yet another case people are upset about. The Surrey Leader is reporting that "On Wednesday (Feb. 19) in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, Jonathan Michael Kishimoto, who was charged with second-degree murder, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in connection to the May 2012 death of Noel Jackson." He received a 10 year sentence. Less time served there are eight years, four months remaining on Kishimoto's sentence.
Here are the concerns people are expressing: Since when does first degree murder turn into manslaughter? How does statutory release apply to murder? Normally, statutory release doesn't apply to first degree or second degree murder. However, manslaughter carries no minimum sentence, except when it is committed with a firearm, in which case the minimum sentence is four years in prison. Sentences vary from probation to life in prison.
It would appear that in this case, since a firearms was used there is no parole eligibility for 4 years. Which is baffling all in itself. 4 years for murder with a firearm? There is something wrong with that picture. I don't think the US prison system is a good example for us to follow. However, neither is this other extreme. Four years for murder with a firearm is absolutely insane. Something needs to change. People can even apply for full parole after one third of their sentence.
This also raises the issue of minimum sentences. Some lunatics are arguing that minimum sentences don't work and are a violation of the Charter of Rights. False. Minimum sentences are already applied to murder. Committing murder is not a Charter Right. Neither is selling crack.
Then we have the issue of turning first degree murder into manslaughter. Previously the Huffington Post reported that a disagreement between Jackson and a small group of people occurred on May 3, 2012, in a Surrey suite. Two men left the suite but returned a short time later with a third man and, while the acquaintance waited outside, the men burst into the apartment and fired at Jackson, who died at the scene. Coming back with a gun to shoot someone dead is first degree murder not manslaughter. It carries intent.
Kishimoto, 23, was originally charged with second-degree murder alongside Michael Alexander Ross in November 2012. Ross's charge, however, was downgraded to accessory after the fact following a preliminary hearing last April, and was dropped entirely on Wednesday. Tell me again we don't need judicial reform in British Columbia. I'm not the only one that disagrees.