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Thread: Life in Prison, for forcibly cutting men's beards?

  1. #1 Life in Prison, for forcibly cutting men's beards? 
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    Federal prosecuters are asking for LIFE IN PRISON for an Amish Bishop who organized and laughed about a series of "forced beard shearings". Seriously.

    Federal prosecutors today urged a judge to sentence Amish bishop Samuel Mullet to life in prison for coordinating a series of beard-cutting attacks on victims who shunned the bishop and his teachings.
    "Plainly stated, Samuel Mullet Sr. should be sentenced to a life term of imprisonment because, but for Samuel Mullet Sr., it is highly unlikely any of his co-defendants would have engaged in violent and obstructive behavior," wrote assistant U.S. attorneys Bridget Brennan and Kristy Parker.

    Now, to be clear, this guy was no saint:
    Prosecutors have characterized Mullet as an iron-fisted bishop who exerted total control over his flock: He censored his followers' mail, had sex with married women under the guise of marital counseling, endorsed bizarre punishments such as confinement in chicken coops and spankings, and laughed at the attacks, which were driven by a crusade to punish those who spurned his teachings, prosecutors said.
    But he is being sentenced for "hate crimes", not for being a jerk. The "hate crimes" consisted of forced haircuts. Now I believe the punishment should fit the crime. A convicted murderer deserves death. But a forced haircut? Didn't Romney forcibly give some guy a hair cut back in high school? Shave the guy's head and beard, spank him, and thow him in a chicken coop for a while, sure. But life in prison? These federal prosecuters are way off base and should probably be fired for such a lack of judgement.


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    For some groups being forced to have their hair or beard cut is as offensive and degrading as any physical attack.

    You sound very narrow-minded; you seem to think that everyone should be just like you.


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    What's the actual charge? Kidnapping?
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    Think Al Capone. Prosecuted and imprisoned for tax offences - but everybody then and now knew what his real crimes were.

    I fancy this is a bit similar. Prosecute him under federal hate crimes. Leave it up to the judge to determine whether it should be the minimum or the maximum penalty available on that charge. Does the sentencing report say he's a generally good guy but he's over the edge on this particular hate issue? Or does it say he's a vile, violent creep who's also liable to be charged with dozens of other offences in his local jurisdiction?

    Oh dear. Maximum sentence not minimum sentence.
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    Wow. I can't believe you people think it's perfectly fine to sentence someone to life in prison for 5 forced haircuts. How about a little perspective here:
    He wiped her blood off his hands and went home. Left behind, in a shallow ravine near Central Park's 102nd Street transverse, was the brutalized body of a 28-year-old woman. Matias Reyes says he had raped and beaten her so viciously that he assumed she would die. The curly-haired 17-year-old boy calmly strolled north, into the night.
    Thirteen years later, Reyes returns to the scene of the crime. This time he is in handcuffs, after a six-hour drive from the cell in a state prison near the Canadian border where he's serving 331⁄3 to life after pleading guilty, in 1991, to four rapes and the murder of a pregnant woman.

    http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/crimelaw/features/n_7836/

    4 rapes, murdering a pregnant woman, beating a woman to within an inch of her life and he gets 33 to life. Or how about Anders Breivik ? He got 21 years for murdering 77 people.
    But 5 forced haircuts? That's life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by madanthonywayne View Post
    Wow. I can't believe you people think it's perfectly fine to sentence someone to life in prison for 5 forced haircuts.
    Did anyone say that?
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    Life in prison for 5 counts of kidnapping?
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
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    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
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    Samuel Mullet
    Seriously, mullet & beards.
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    Nominative determinism!
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    Quote Originally Posted by madanthonywayne View Post
    Wow. I can't believe you people think it's perfectly fine to sentence someone to life in prison for 5 forced haircuts. How about a little perspective here:
    He wiped her blood off his hands and went home. Left behind, in a shallow ravine near Central Park's 102nd Street transverse, was the brutalized body of a 28-year-old woman. Matias Reyes says he had raped and beaten her so viciously that he assumed she would die. The curly-haired 17-year-old boy calmly strolled north, into the night.
    Thirteen years later, Reyes returns to the scene of the crime. This time he is in handcuffs, after a six-hour drive from the cell in a state prison near the Canadian border where he's serving 331⁄3 to life after pleading guilty, in 1991, to four rapes and the murder of a pregnant woman.

    Central Park Revisited

    4 rapes, murdering a pregnant woman, beating a woman to within an inch of her life and he gets 33 to life. Or how about Anders Breivik ? He got 21 years for murdering 77 people.
    But 5 forced haircuts? That's life.
    So clearly you dont actually understand the significance of breads and not shaving in Amish culture and beliefs.
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    A bit of research shows that he and a number of others have been found guilty of various crimes including assault, conspiracy, kidnapping, destroying evidence, and obstruction of justice.

    Those are all pretty serious offences. I have no view on what sentence would be appropriate as I do not know the details. But they haven't even been sentenced yet.
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    MadAnthonyWayne was not in error to react to the reporting. However, I also think certain circumstances may reveal why the prosecutor seems zealous.
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    The way I look at it is that there should not be any such thing as a hate crime. A crime committed for robbery, sexual perversion, or just plain meanness is no better than one committed for "hate." The crimes mentioned, like assault and kidnapping, carry their own penalty separate from the hate crime penalty. So this guy is being given extra punishment because he is a creepy cult leader.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    The way I look at it is that there should not be any such thing as a hate crime. A crime committed for robbery, sexual perversion, or just plain meanness is no better than one committed for "hate." The crimes mentioned, like assault and kidnapping, carry their own penalty separate from the hate crime penalty. So this guy is being given extra punishment because he is a creepy cult leader.
    Agree 100%. I find the very idea of a hate crime to be Orwellian.
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    Quote Originally Posted by madanthonywayne View Post
    But he is being sentenced for "hate crimes", not for being a jerk. The "hate crimes" consisted of forced haircuts. Now I believe the punishment should fit the crime. A convicted murderer deserves death. But a forced haircut? Didn't Romney forcibly give some guy a hair cut back in high school? Shave the guy's head and beard, spank him, and thow him in a chicken coop for a while, sure. But life in prison? These federal prosecuters are way off base and should probably be fired for such a lack of judgement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    For some groups being forced to have their hair or beard cut is as offensive and degrading as any physical attack.
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Life in prison for 5 counts of kidnapping?
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    The way I look at it is that there should not be any such thing as a hate crime. A crime committed for robbery, sexual perversion, or just plain meanness is no better than one committed for "hate." The crimes mentioned, like assault and kidnapping, carry their own penalty separate from the hate crime penalty. So this guy is being given extra punishment because he is a creepy cult leader.
    Ok we have some interesting views on this one, but what I think should all remember here is that despite any personal religious beliefs by the victims the law must act according to the law. It is wrong to take the religious concerns into consideration because it would lead to the same crime being treated in different ways, which would mean that peoples individual views are able to influence the law, which is something that I don't think is at all approriate.

    But hang on a minute some of you maybe saying, perhaps it's right that the punishment for such crimes should fit the severity attached by the people that live in the community where the crimes were committed, to this I would say no, the reason being that they can't expect the rest of the nation to adopt their views of the rights and wrongs of a particular crime and the legal system to impose their will in such a manner, if they have some how built up the perceived offence to such a degree then it's also within their ability to build up the perceived effects of the actual punishment given out for the offences involved.

    This being said the victims should be treated with the same respect and dignity of that of any other victim of a crime, regardless of the fact it was about beard shaving. If indeed the charges do relate to kidnapping then those responsible should be punished accordingly for the crimes involved, the judge should also take into consideration the effects upon the victims in guiding the sentances handed down, but also with some actual reference to the nature of the crime and a sence of proportionality. It has to be remembered that the kidnapping of an adult for the purpose of forced beard shaving can and never should considered to be anything like as serious as other forms of kidnapping such as child abduction.

    With everything taken into consideration I don't think any reasonable judge could or should realistically ever hand out life sentances in such cases, it's simply well over the top and where does that leave the legal system to go in terms of sentancing for more serious crimes?
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    Almost certainly this will not result in a life sentence, the same penalty for murder! Should the impact of the loss of a husband/father in Amish society also be considered? This is like us judging a case from some other country.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Ok we have some interesting views on this one, but what I think should all remember here is that despite any personal religious beliefs by the victims the law must act according to the law. It is wrong to take the religious concerns into consideration because it would lead to the same crime being treated in different ways, which would mean that peoples individual views are able to influence the law, which is something that I don't think is at all approriate.
    I don't see this as being a religious issue particularly. The law usually takes the impact on the victim into account. If you threw a spider at somebody then that would normally be nothing but an annoyance. If you threw a spider at someone with arachnophobia and caused them severe distress, then that is a more serious matter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Almost certainly this will not result in a life sentence, the same penalty for murder!
    I thought that in some (most?) states the penalty for kidnapping was the same as murder? I vaguely recall reading that this is a bad idea because it gives kidnappers no disincentive against killing the victim.

    Anyway, don't prosecutors normally ask for the most severe penalty as a bargaining technique?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Ok we have some interesting views on this one, but what I think should all remember here is that despite any personal religious beliefs by the victims the law must act according to the law. It is wrong to take the religious concerns into consideration because it would lead to the same crime being treated in different ways, which would mean that peoples individual views are able to influence the law, which is something that I don't think is at all approriate.
    I don't see this as being a religious issue particularly. The law usually takes the impact on the victim into account. If you threw a spider at somebody then that would normally be nothing but an annoyance. If you threw a spider at someone with arachnophobia and caused them severe distress, then that is a more serious matter.
    Well I don't disagree, but it's a question of how much of an influence the victims situation affects the overall sentancing that is at issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    , the judge should also take into consideration the effects upon the victims in guiding the sentances handed down, but also with some actual reference to the nature of the crime and a sence of proportionality
    The point being that regardless of the imagined effects on the victims the judge could never hand out the same sentance for a beard cutting as that for someone who's got their arm chopped off, it's about balance and proportionality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The point being that regardless of the imagined effects on the victims the judge could never hand out the same sentance for a beard cutting as that for someone who's got their arm chopped off, it's about balance and proportionality.
    Of course. And the judge will have a lot more information to make those decisions than we will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    A bit of research shows that he and a number of others have been found guilty of various crimes including assault, conspiracy, kidnapping, destroying evidence, and obstruction of justice.
    In connection with a different case, I just found out that the equivalent offence in the UK (perverting the course of justice) has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. I don't know about the US.
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    The sentences are now in. 15 years for good ol' bossy creepy features. 1 to 7 years for the rest of them. Considering his age that's close to a life sentence.
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    Yet, you can appeal a sentence and get a number knocked down, whereas I think it's harder to get the court to move away from "life". And, I think the prosecutor said it best that, "He is capable of controlling 15 defendants". The sentence seems appropriate. Most women received one year.

    And, you know, thinking of them in court saying "I won't do it again", etc I get the feeling they really meant it. I've never heard of a defendant saying something like that. It sounds like something a repentant child would say.

    So, where do they go from here? This is the first instance of forced and sustained contact between Amish and other Americans that I know of. You don't want them serving time with urban people. A prison farm? That would be very interesting. The Amish produce more food from an acre of land than with modern machinery/fertilizers, but it's labor intensive.

    One last point they've probably been held in jail (pre-conviction) until now, but prison (post-conviction) regulations may require them to at least trim their beards.
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    Over here you can come out of prison in less than 15 years having murdered some one, does seem somewhat excessive to say the least even for a ring leader, they should have just given him a sensible sentence and if the Amish felt it was to lenient let them shun him or impose some other form of social punishment. But I really don't think the courts are there to enforce their social rules for them, or at least they shouldn't be.
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    I think all sense of proportion has been lost. Keep in mind, we are still just talking about beard cutting.
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    "Just" beard cutting = Assault.

    Forcibly cutting someone's hair, against their will, when their hair is an expression of their faith, however misguided that faith is, is a heinous offence.

    Instead of life imprisonment, the perpetrator should be forced to walk around wearing make-up, a pink wig and a gingham dress, against his will, for the rest of his life. Or he should have to choose between the two punishments.

    The punishment does not have to fit the crime. The punishment should far outweigh the crime, as a deterrent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    But I really don't think the courts are there to enforce their social rules for them, or at least they shouldn't be.
    Whose social rules are the courts there for? Yours?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    But I really don't think the courts are there to enforce their social rules for them, or at least they shouldn't be.
    Whose social rules are the courts there for? Yours?
    The point is the Amish make up their own social rules which are different from the just about most of the rest of America, which if that is how they want to live is fine no problems there, but to expect any other Americans to live by their social rules is not acceptable, so now we come to the beard cutting, for this obviously they are attaching some great social importance that is not necessarily shared by other Americans, again for them this is fine. What is a problem though is they then expect a court to adhere to their social procivities when taking sentencing into consideration, imagine if some of the beard cutting were not of Amish or perhaps a similar crime was to come to court but happening outside of the Amish community, would the sentences still be the same? I don't think so, and for this reason alone it would be inconsistant which is wrong in law.

    Again I don't think either religious or social beliefs have any place in court when deciding on sentencing, yes the effects upon the victims is one thing, but not a whole communities particular lifestyle or beliefs.

    It's similar to situations where muslims think courts should use sentences or punishments based on sharia law should be used within muslim communities, again something I'm strongly opposed to. The law is the law and should be the same for everybody.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    But I really don't think the courts are there to enforce their social rules for them, or at least they shouldn't be.
    Whose social rules are the courts there for? Yours?
    Just as black and female defendants could rightly complain that no one on the jury was black or female if being black or female was fundamental to the case, I wonder how many on the jury were Amish. (Imagine a rape case heard by an all-man jury? I know it's happened, and I know it would be vigorously protested should it happen nowadays.)

    Because western culture has become sensitized to anti-semitism, how would we be reacting if the defendants were Hasidic Jews accused of shearing the locks and hair of other Hasidic Jews?

    Judges can't be experts in all facets of life. If the judge was smart, as I assume the judge was, he would have known that he probably couldn't gauge an appropriate punishment on his own, so he would discreetly have been in contact with people highly knowledgeable on the subject, such as high-ranking Amish not directly involved in the case, respected authors of books on the Amish, etc. Judges don't usually publicly admit to doing this, but I not doubt believe that they do.

    Edit:

    Again, I think the 15 years was appropriate for the ring leader here. An immature 20-yo gang leader is one thing, but this guy is certainly old enough to know better, especially as a religious leader, and has probably been brewing this moral discontent that led to this behavior for some time, and yet, could not disengage himself from it. It seems his Amish Christianity was on the back burner for quite some time.
    Last edited by jrmonroe; February 9th, 2013 at 09:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Again I don't think either religious or social beliefs have any place in court when deciding on sentencing, yes the effects upon the victims is one thing, but not a whole communities particular lifestyle or beliefs.
    I think you are wrong, but I have to admit I can't put my finger on why or come up with a good counter-example. And I don't think this has anything to do with the whole community (apart from the obvious fact that they are members of that community). But there are laws to protect specific subsets of the community. Is that wrong? Is it only wrong if they are religious communities?

    How about you have two individuals who have different views on sharing their private lives. One is happy to talk about, oh I don't know, being gay or having cancer; lets call them A. The other, B, prefers to keep these things private.

    Now if both A and B are in the public eye for whatever reason, it seems to me there is a difference between the newspapers publishing details of A's sexuality of health, and publishing the same information about B. By your logic, the court should dismiss B's complaints about invasion of privacy because A doesn't mind (perhaps assuming that there are more people who think like A).

    As I say, not a great example. Maybe the "assaulting someone with a spider" example was better...

    I just wonder if you are dismissing the seriousness of "just beard cutting" because it is a religious thing?
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    As a bearded person myself, with absolutely no religious connotations to my beard whatsoever, if someone were to assault me and forcibly cut off my beard, for whatever reason, then to me they deserve to rot in jail forever. One should not interfere with other people in any way at all - full stop. It doesn't matter whether it is the cutting of a beard, the cutting off of a lock of hair or even just drawing a moustache on someone with a permanent marker. Even though all these things will fade with time, nobody has the right to do any of them in the first place and anyone who interferes with another person in such a way deserves the heaviest sanction possible.

    If we cannot trust someone to be able to live with other people in the community without interfering with them, then these people need to be removed from the community, permanently. It is the only way to show people that this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated in ANY form.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Again I don't think either religious or social beliefs have any place in court when deciding on sentencing, yes the effects upon the victims is one thing, but not a whole communities particular lifestyle or beliefs.
    I think you are wrong, but I have to admit I can't put my finger on why or come up with a good counter-example. And I don't think this has anything to do with the whole community (apart from the obvious fact that they are members of that community). But there are laws to protect specific subsets of the community. Is that wrong? Is it only wrong if they are religious communities?

    How about you have two individuals who have different views on sharing their private lives. One is happy to talk about, oh I don't know, being gay or having cancer; lets call them A. The other, B, prefers to keep these things private.

    Now if both A and B are in the public eye for whatever reason, it seems to me there is a difference between the newspapers publishing details of A's sexuality of health, and publishing the same information about B. By your logic, the court should dismiss B's complaints about invasion of privacy because A doesn't mind (perhaps assuming that there are more people who think like A).

    As I say, not a great example. Maybe the "assaulting someone with a spider" example was better...

    I just wonder if you are dismissing the seriousness of "just beard cutting" because it is a religious thing?

    Hey I've been wrong before and am sure I'll be wrong again lol, but I think we have different opinions on this and that's fine with me. But just to try and give an insight into why I'm of the opinion that the courts shouldn't respond to individual communities is that laws are set by the people chosen by or elected by the majority and this is what is deemed fair and just for everybody, no special cases, in the eyes of the law everyone is and should be equal. If people want to live their lives in different ways and attach different values to certain types of behaviour then it is for those people to enforce this by means that exist within the law, but never for the law to enforce minority values.

    The reason for this is it is a slipery slope that would otherwise eventually lead to minority groups deciding upon their own laws and that they would take presedence over the laws of the land, which is clearly a most undisirable outcome and an untenable situation legally.

    I am a firm believer in equality but that and don't feel that special exceptions should be made for anyone, whether religious or otherwise.

    Lets for example look at this situation in reverse, imagine someone had murdered someone but the community in which they lived only considered such a crime a very small offence, should then the courts only impose a a small fine to go along with the wishes of the community? Again I think not.
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    Everyone here is talking about whether beard cutting is so bad. This tends to ignore the kidnapping, assault, and conspiracy aspects of this case.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Everyone here is talking about whether beard cutting is so bad. This tends to ignore the kidnapping, assault, and conspiracy aspects of this case.
    As nearly as I can tell, kidnapping means holding somebody down and cutting their beard, assault means attacking them and cutting their beard, and conspiracy means conspiring to cut their beards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    As nearly as I can tell, kidnapping means holding somebody down and cutting their beard, assault means attacking them and cutting their beard, and conspiracy means conspiring to cut their beards.
    Even without the beard cutting, those sound like pretty serious offences to me. But maybe you see it as just a bit of fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Everyone here is talking about whether beard cutting is so bad. This tends to ignore the kidnapping, assault, and conspiracy aspects of this case.
    As nearly as I can tell, kidnapping means holding somebody down and cutting their beard, assault means attacking them and cutting their beard, and conspiracy means conspiring to cut their beards.
    So I take it that as long as beards are being cut, it's just a light hearted lark?
    Its the way nature is!
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Everyone here is talking about whether beard cutting is so bad. This tends to ignore the kidnapping, assault, and conspiracy aspects of this case.
    As nearly as I can tell, kidnapping means holding somebody down and cutting their beard, assault means attacking them and cutting their beard, and conspiracy means conspiring to cut their beards.
    So I take it that as long as beards are being cut, it's just a light hearted lark?
    But alex if you are talking about the intent then yes I would agree with you and strange etc... that maybe based on intent the sentences might have been justified, but the courts should and have to judge on what's actually happened not the intent, meaning that if someone tries to murder someone by stabbing them then if they die it's murder, but if for example they had already been poisoned then it'snot murder because they were already dead, but it was still the same intent to commit murder. It's the same principle here, I don't care how you put it, a beard cutting isn't and cannot be anything like as serious as violently physically injuring someone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Even without the beard cutting, those sound like pretty serious offences to me. But maybe you see it as just a bit of fun.
    No, just not 15 years of prison worth. That would be more appropriate if somebody had broken bones, serious internal injuries, or something of that nature. Here's a story about a guy who got 15 years for breaking his wife's nose and jaw. That makes a little more sense but is still probably on the high side of what I'm used to seeing.
    Ex-Marine sentenced in beating of wife | News - Home
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    As I say, I am not going to speculate about the appropriate sentence based on comments in a few tabloids and a forum like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Even without the beard cutting, those sound like pretty serious offences to me. But maybe you see it as just a bit of fun.
    No, just not 15 years of prison worth. That would be more appropriate if somebody had broken bones, serious internal injuries, or something of that nature. Here's a story about a guy who got 15 years for breaking his wife's nose and jaw. That makes a little more sense but is still probably on the high side of what I'm used to seeing.
    Ex-Marine sentenced in beating of wife | News - Home
    I agree that seems pretty bad, but again also a bit high imho. Couldn't believe this though, they reckon that nut job in Norway who killed like 70 odd people could get out in as little as 7 years with a possible maximum of 21, I just wonder how this sits in context with 15 years for beard cutting.

    Norway Massacre: Anders Behring Breivik will get 21 years in jail at the most | Mail Online
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    That is rather ridiculous by comparison, but then Norway is a different country. Surely the Norway massacre would have been classified a "hate crime," if there is such thing in Norway.
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    Most people would agree that cutting off a person's legs would merit a significant punishment because we place a high value on legs. Using this logic, and keeping in mind the Amish place great value on their beards (arguably similar to legs), I don't see a problem with the sentence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by markashley View Post
    Most people would agree that cutting off a person's legs would merit a significant punishment because we place a high value on legs. Using this logic, and keeping in mind the Amish place great value on their beards (arguably similar to legs), I don't see a problem with the sentence.
    Well just thinking about it those terms I might also conclude the same as you, but there are two little flaws to this way of thinking, firstly I would imagine cutting off somebodies legs would be excruciatingly painful and also that legs don't generally grow back, so is cutting somebodies beard really quite the same thing as cutting off someones legs?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Well just thinking about it those terms I might also conclude the same as you, but there are two little flaws to this way of thinking, firstly I would imagine cutting off somebodies legs would be excruciatingly painful and also that legs don't generally grow back, so is cutting somebodies beard really quite the same thing as cutting off someones legs?
    For you and me: No. But for an Amish person, being even a few months without a beard is quite serious. Although I think there is some merit to your point.

    I would argue against the point about pain by considering a hypothetical scenario in which a person's legs were cut off while they were unconscious. I would not think the punishment would be much different.
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    Quote Originally Posted by markashley View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Well just thinking about it those terms I might also conclude the same as you, but there are two little flaws to this way of thinking, firstly I would imagine cutting off somebodies legs would be excruciatingly painful and also that legs don't generally grow back, so is cutting somebodies beard really quite the same thing as cutting off someones legs?
    For you and me: No. But for an Amish person, being even a few months without a beard is quite serious. Although I think there is some merit to your point.

    I would argue against the point about pain by considering a hypothetical scenario in which a person's legs were cut off while they were unconscious. I would not think the punishment would be much different.

    The issue is whether society in general should accept the same values as the people that it is judging within the legal system and how a crime may have affected the victim, in the first case society cannot, should not and must not change or be changed by the individual values of small social groups, society as a whole is responsible for setting the correct standards for everybody, this is the concept of democracy and majority rule, the law as such then acts on behalf of everybody to enforce the rules set out and created by democracy to ensure that all should be treated equally and without prejudice, this is one of the core values of living within a democracy.

    The second part of the issue is about the overall affects of crime upon the victims in involved and this is somewhat more complicated by the affects of the Amish's social rules upon the individual's themselves. In this respect it would certainly appear to be the case the psychological affects upon the Amish victims would have been greater because of the great store they put on their beards, so in this respect the sentencing might reasonably have expected to be higher than would have ordinarily have been usual. However though also it must be noted and taken into consideration that the actual real physical affects weren't permanent or serious by any reasonable national scale, meaning that they could never have been considered on a par as a serious physical injury.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    The issue is whether society in general should accept the same values as the people that it is judging within the legal system and how a crime may have affected the victim, in the first case society cannot, should not and must not change or be changed by the individual values of small social groups, society as a whole is responsible for setting the correct standards for everybody, this is the concept of democracy and majority rule, the law as such then acts on behalf of everybody to enforce the rules set out and created by democracy to ensure that all should be treated equally and without prejudice, this is one of the core values of living within a democracy.

    The second part of the issue is about the overall affects of crime upon the victims in involved and this is somewhat more complicated by the affects of the Amish's social rules upon the individual's themselves. In this respect it would certainly appear to be the case the psychological affects upon the Amish victims would have been greater because of the great store they put on their beards, so in this respect the sentencing might reasonably have expected to be higher than would have ordinarily have been usual. However though also it must be noted and taken into consideration that the actual real physical affects weren't permanent or serious by any reasonable national scale, meaning that they could never have been considered on a par as a serious physical injury.
    That is a fair argument and I do not really disagree. Although when victim and aggressor both share (and live within a community that shares) the same value system, I don't have an issue with the legal system adapting somewhat to those values.
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    I'm sorry, but I take issue with all this wishy-washy nonsense!

    It doesn't matter WHAT you do to another individual, be it hold them down and shave off their beard against their will, hold them down and cut off their legs against their will or hold them down and draw a comedy moustache on them using a magic marker, against their will. It is the act of forcibly interfering with another individual, against their will, that needs to be addressed.

    Interfering with another person, against their will, in such a way that might cause then ANY distress, should be an offence punishable by life imprisonment. This might seem harsh if you only drew on them with a pen whose marks will eventually fade, or if you shaved off a beard that will eventually regrow, but it is what needs to be done to TEACH PEOPLE that no form of subjugation is acceptable. Nobody has the right to lay their hands on another or assault them in any way shape or form.

    Using incredibly harsh sanctions for the smallest forms of subjugation is the only way we will ever rid ourselves of the more serious crimes. We need to make examples of people, in order to shock society as a whole into understanding that people need to live together peacefully. Forcefully cutting off someone's hair is a heinous crime against the person (regardless of religious views on the sanctity of beards) and the perpetrator needs to be permanently removed from society, as an example to others of how unacceptable this form of behaviour is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    For some groups being forced to have their hair or beard cut is as offensive and degrading as any physical attack.

    You sound very narrow-minded; you seem to think that everyone should be just like you.
    I find this post compelling. I agree that different cultures have different ideals about crime (throwing your shoe at someone in Indiana vs. Baghdad).

    However, this leads me to wonder whether we tailor the punishment to fit the crime or how the crime is interpreted by the victim. Do we claim the men who had their beards cut are wrong for finding it so offensive? Do we let anyone who has this kind of attack committed upon them dictate the punishment based upon how they view the act? How do we allow for these interpretations of acts which can be viewed with varying severity?
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    Courts do already (and should) take into account the effect on the victim. If someone pushed a burly soldier out of the way, they would get a more lenient sentence than if they did the same to a timid librarian (*) who was then afraid to leave their house.

    (*) Stereotype to be used with caution. External use only. Not valid in all jurisdictions. Does not apply to any librarians of my acquaintance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post

    So clearly you dont actually understand the significance of breads and not shaving in Amish culture and beliefs.
    I met an Amish guy recently and asked him if he'd heard about this case. He told me he had. I then asked him what he thought would be an appropriate punishment. At first he said he didn't know. Sometime later, he said he'd thought about it and decided that if the offender apologized, that should be sufficient because Jesus said:
    `
    And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

    So, assuming this man's opinion is representative, seeking life in prison was not really showing respect for Amish culture.
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    Quote Originally Posted by madanthonywayne View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post

    So clearly you dont actually understand the significance of breads and not shaving in Amish culture and beliefs.
    I met an Amish guy recently and asked him if he'd heard about this case. He told me he had. I then asked him what he thought would be an appropriate punishment. At first he said he didn't know. Sometime later, he said he'd thought about it and decided that if the offender apologized, that should be sufficient because Jesus said:
    `
    And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

    So, assuming this man's opinion is representative, seeking life in prison was not really showing respect for Amish culture.
    So by that logic, if a Muslim victim of a crime said the thief should have his hands cut off, or be stoned to death, you think the courts should respect that. And if some angry redneck wants the n-word who looked at him all funny to be lynched, then dang-it, that is what the courts should do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by madanthonywayne View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post

    So clearly you dont actually understand the significance of breads and not shaving in Amish culture and beliefs.
    I met an Amish guy recently and asked him if he'd heard about this case. He told me he had. I then asked him what he thought would be an appropriate punishment. At first he said he didn't know. Sometime later, he said he'd thought about it and decided that if the offender apologized, that should be sufficient because Jesus said:
    `
    And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

    So, assuming this man's opinion is representative, seeking life in prison was not really showing respect for Amish culture.
    So by that logic, if a Muslim victim of a crime said the thief should have his hands cut off, or be stoned to death, you think the courts should respect that. And if some angry redneck wants the n-word who looked at him all funny to be lynched, then dang-it, that is what the courts should do.
    You're taking my statement completely out of context.

    In the OP I expressed shock that anyone would seek life in prison for the crime of shaving someone's beard. Paleoichneum responded by saying that in questioning the severity of such a sentence, I was betraying my lack of understanding of the importance of beards in Amish culture thus implying that a more severe sentence was justified based solely on the cultural practices of the victim.

    I actually agree with you that we should not impose different sentences for the same act based upon the cultural differences of those involved. We are all Americans, and should live under one set of laws.

    However, my interaction with the Amish gentleman demonstrates that even if we were to take such cultural sensitivities into account when imposing a sentence, imposing such a harsh sentence may actually be the exact opposite of what the Amish themselves would desire.
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    That's what modern prosecutors do. They slam the worst possible sentence imaginable at the beginning while the defence does the opposite. Justice is a game.
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    In the OP I expressed shock that anyone would seek life in prison for the crime of shaving someone's beard.
    But the crime wasn't shaving somebodies beard. The crimes were assault, battery, and kidnapping.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    In the OP I expressed shock that anyone would seek life in prison for the crime of shaving someone's beard.
    But the crime wasn't shaving somebodies beard. The crimes were assault, battery, and kidnapping.
    So, assault, shave and beat them up, too. Fair is fair. Why bother with the costly imprisonment?
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    I know you should only concentrate on the case at hand and there should be no evidence introduced about a person's penchant for mayhem from their past but for shit's sake this Mullet guy was an asshole. He didn't get life for shaving a guy's beard off, he got life because he was an asshole.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I know you should only concentrate on the case at hand and there should be no evidence introduced about a person's penchant for mayhem from their past but for shit's sake this Mullet guy was an asshole. He didn't get life for shaving a guy's beard off, he got life because he was an asshole.
    Not your best argument, ever. If being an asshole was all it took to get life in prison- what would I get? The death penalty?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I know you should only concentrate on the case at hand and there should be no evidence introduced about a person's penchant for mayhem from their past but for shit's sake this Mullet guy was an asshole. He didn't get life for shaving a guy's beard off, he got life because he was an asshole.
    Not your best argument, ever. If being an asshole was all it took to get life in prison- what would I get? The death penalty?
    Imagine if you will, you are at home, asleep in your bed with your wife.

    Next thing you know, a group of people forcefully enter your home, drag you outside and shave your head and cut off all of your wife's hair for punishment for not following a cult leader.

    One bishop told jurors his chest-length beard was chopped to within 1 inches of his chin when four or five men dragged him out of his farmhouse in a late-night home invasion.
    This is essentially what Mullet is accused of orchestrating. Not only that, some were also kidnapped and imprisoned in chicken coops until they repented.

    And the reason behind these attacks is that his victims did not wish to follow his particular rules and instead preferred the more standard belief system of the Amish. Other leaders within the religious organisation also felt he was acting badly prior to these attacks.

    The hate crime component comes into it because he was targeting people because of their religious beliefs (in other words, they did not match his own).

    This was not just a case of beard cutting or cutting of women's hair. It was a case of violent home invasions, kidnapping, assault, threats against others, false imprisonment in his attempt to terrorise them into believing as he believed and to recognise him as their leader.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquille View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I know you should only concentrate on the case at hand and there should be no evidence introduced about a person's penchant for mayhem from their past but for shit's sake this Mullet guy was an asshole. He didn't get life for shaving a guy's beard off, he got life because he was an asshole.
    Not your best argument, ever. If being an asshole was all it took to get life in prison- what would I get? The death penalty?
    Imagine if you will, you are at home, asleep in your bed with your wife.

    Next thing you know, a group of people forcefully enter your home, drag you outside and shave your head and cut off all of your wife's hair for punishment for not following a cult leader.
    Well, then they would be dead. Problem solved, see?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquille View Post
    This was not just a case of beard cutting or cutting of women's hair. It was a case of violent home invasions, kidnapping, assault, threats against others, false imprisonment in his attempt to terrorise them into believing as he believed and to recognise him as their leader.
    Well that certainly seems a lot worse than on the surface just the idea of sending out someone to cut off someone elses beard. I think the problem that people are finding so hard to understand with this case though is the idea of proportionality. What we have is a sentence that could be dished out for murder in some cases for something that doesn't really seem to have had any lasting physical effect on the victims. How much phycholigical damage was done is very hard to say and even hard to equate with say that of physical injury,
    but the problem is how do people not help but compare the sentences given for crimes when justice needs to be seen to be done. It is really difficult not to have an opinion one way or the other, to me I can't help but equate it to say someone sentenced for blinding or crippling somebody and in this context it seems absurdly high, yet I read and try and understand the positions of other people who think it is wholey justified because of the torment it has actually caused to the victims. After considering all of this there seems to me only one real conclusion, and this is that there simply is a 'right' sentence in any case where someone has gone out and attacked or caused misery to someone else, there is no such thing as too much or enough, there is only retribution and punishment, and even if someone is sent to prison it doesn't and can't take the pain away from their victim.
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    In law, assault is a crime that involves causing a victim to apprehend violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact.

    ..........
    edit: also, after ww2, treatment of women in the occupied territories who had had german boyfriends included shaving their heads and forcing them to walk through the streets 1/2 naked
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    Thats too lenient

    He should have a forced colonoscopy to start, just to be sure all is ok, have his tonsils and appendix surgically removed to prevent infections, an extra short cold cut circumcision for his own good, have his nipples tongue ears and %%% pierced and nice tatoos all over, that would look nice on him just in time for 3 rounds of involuntary chemo therapy with full body acupuncture the ease the discomfort, then you force him to dress up as strawberry shortcake with a red wig, and then you send him off to a 4-inmates-per-m-square tuberculosis-infested Russian prison with a tube of sand-in-the-lube.
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  64. #63  
    who sees through things
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    What website was the original news story from? I have a feeling that the way the source focuses on the haircuts rather than kidnapping etc. signifies that it is not the most impartial source you could find.
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  65. #64  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquille View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I know you should only concentrate on the case at hand and there should be no evidence introduced about a person's penchant for mayhem from their past but for shit's sake this Mullet guy was an asshole. He didn't get life for shaving a guy's beard off, he got life because he was an asshole.
    Not your best argument, ever. If being an asshole was all it took to get life in prison- what would I get? The death penalty?
    Imagine if you will, you are at home, asleep in your bed with your wife.

    Next thing you know, a group of people forcefully enter your home, drag you outside and shave your head and cut off all of your wife's hair for punishment for not following a cult leader.

    One bishop told jurors his chest-length beard was chopped to within 1 inches of his chin when four or five men dragged him out of his farmhouse in a late-night home invasion.
    This is essentially what Mullet is accused of orchestrating. Not only that, some were also kidnapped and imprisoned in chicken coops until they repented.

    And the reason behind these attacks is that his victims did not wish to follow his particular rules and instead preferred the more standard belief system of the Amish. Other leaders within the religious organisation also felt he was acting badly prior to these attacks.

    The hate crime component comes into it because he was targeting people because of their religious beliefs (in other words, they did not match his own).

    This was not just a case of beard cutting or cutting of women's hair. It was a case of violent home invasions, kidnapping, assault, threats against others, false imprisonment in his attempt to terrorise them into believing as he believed and to recognise him as their leader.
    First I would be happy knowing that they are just a bunch of assholes not bent on murdering me. My hair would grow back or I could buy a fake beard (toupee). I could wash off chicken shit and be any religion you want if it meant staying alive. I would not feel sorry one bit if my assailants were given the death penalty. In fact I'd be relieved to have them on the other side of the grass.

    Not your best argument, ever. If being an asshole was all it took to get life in prison- what would I get? The death penalty?
    I've been away. I think knowing you're an asshole is quite different from not knowing. Gee, if you know you're an asshole is the tendency to be meek and passive. Does asshole self-awareness make one less likely to commit a crime?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  66. #65  
    Forum Masters Degree Tranquille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Well that certainly seems a lot worse than on the surface just the idea of sending out someone to cut off someone elses beard. I think the problem that people are finding so hard to understand with this case though is the idea of proportionality. What we have is a sentence that could be dished out for murder in some cases for something that doesn't really seem to have had any lasting physical effect on the victims. How much phycholigical damage was done is very hard to say and even hard to equate with say that of physical injury,
    The Amish religiously value their beards (for men) and long hair (for women), especially after they are married. It is a status within that community.

    But it isn't hard to imagine what kind of damage it would do to someone's psyche to have people invade your home at night, drag you outside and lop off your facial hair or your hair. The very notion of someone invading your home would cause psychological damage.

    He knew they would not be able to defend themselves or call for help (since they are so isolated in their refusing to use any forms of modern technology).

    but the problem is how do people not help but compare the sentences given for crimes when justice needs to be seen to be done.
    What people need to determine is whether waging a campaign of threats and intimidation, culminating with violent home invasions, assault and battery is a crime?

    Because this is what they did.

    They terrorised the Amish community, threatened them and then attacked anyone within that community who was deemed to have disagreed with them and with Mullet.


    It is really difficult not to have an opinion one way or the other, to me I can't help but equate it to say someone sentenced for blinding or crippling somebody and in this context it seems absurdly high, yet I read and try and understand the positions of other people who think it is wholey justified because of the torment it has actually caused to the victims. After considering all of this there seems to me only one real conclusion, and this is that there simply is a 'right' sentence in any case where someone has gone out and attacked or caused misery to someone else, there is no such thing as too much or enough, there is only retribution and punishment, and even if someone is sent to prison it doesn't and can't take the pain away from their victim.
    No it wont.

    And this will have altered the Amish community quite a bit. It will have made them feel that little bit more isolated and unprotected.
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  67. #66  
    Cool Dude ostkef's Avatar
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    I should get life in prison for forcing someone to grow a beard.
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