Sunday, June 30, 2019

Alabama police shot a teen dead, but his friend got 30 years for the murder



The Guardian is reporting that "Unlike in the vast majority of fatal shootings by police officers, someone is going to prison for the 2015 death of 16-year-old A’Donte Washington in Alabama. It just isn’t the police officer who shot him."

"Lakeith Smith was sentenced last week to 30 years for A’Donte’s murder, even though no one disputes it was an officer’s bullet that killed him. Smith is not even accused of having possessed a weapon. Under the state’s accomplice law, co-defendants can be guilty of murder if a death occurs when they are in the midst of committing a felony. Smith was one of five teens who were allegedly committing a burglary when responding officers opened fire, killing A’Donte. Smith, now 18, was also sentenced to another 35 years for crimes related to the the burglary, for a total of 65 years." OK now that it totally messed up. Give your head a shake.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

6 comments:

  1. It's a misapplication of the law which exists in many states which basically says, if you and your buddy go out to commit a crime and your buddy kills someone, you go down for the murder to. That application I completely agree with, but this appears to be a serious twist on otherwise defensible logic. I'm curious as to what the rest of the charges were, and curious as to his previous convictions if any.

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    1. That would make sense. This does not. Previous convictions are not relevant. He didn't shoot him a cop did.

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  2. Previous convictions are "theoretically" not relevant in a given case, but if you show up in front of a judge and have been committing felonies for a while already, or the crime you are charged with is particularly egregious, you are not going to be let off as lightly as if it was your first offense. Judges have leeway in sentencing, known as "judicial discretion".

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    1. True but this has nothing to do with that. He did not shoot his friend. If he had previous murder convictions, which he doesn't, they would not be relevant because he did not commit this murder. He was just a kid who did a B&E. Tragically his friend got shot by a cop. For him to get sentenced 65 years for that murder is absolutely ridiculous. This is another case where the US needs to take the board out of their own eye before they take the spec out of their neighbors.

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  3. I agree, 65 years is excessive for a murder conviction where the defendant personally killed nobody. For 1st degree maybe, but this is not that. Unfortunately they didn't state what other charges he had in this case (so we don't know if that's a combined sentence) nor if he had a previous record, so we are left to wonder if those were factor the judge took into account. I really wonder if we should just have set sentences for the various offenses to remove judges and their opinions from the equation, not just for here, up there as well.

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