27 thoughts on “Justice is served”

      1. That’s as may be, and good on the police for finally catching him, but streamers in the courtroom? A cake? It smacks of gloating, and the entire procedure of the court is supposed to be impartial.

        1. Funny….? Maybe…

          Well, ok, funny, YES!

          Appropriate even? YES!

          The way our justice system should conduct itself? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

          I understand that the guy is a dirtbag who deserves the sentance and the embarassment he recieved, but this is NOT the way our justice system is supposed to, or should function.

    1. Impartiality isn’t necessary in personal attitude. Impartiality is ONLY a requirement in judgement. If the judge wanted to say something like “The jury has sentenced you to one year in prison, and fourteen years of probation, but in my opinion you should be shot”, then that’s allowed. What wouldn’t be allowed is “The jury has sentenced…….. but I’m sentencing you to the death penalty”.

      Historical precedent is clear that many judges despised the people that came into the courtroom – Roy Bean comes to mind – but that doesn’t mean they were -bad- judges. Where our justice system has failed is in the lack of understanding of it. The SYSTEM is to establish guilt or innocence, or a level in between. It’s not there to actually be impartial.

      There’s a man on trial now who has _confessed_ publicly to being a serial killer, with graphic details of what he did to his victims. His attorneys aren’t cross examining witnesses or anything else – because he’s stated straight out that he’s guilty, and he wants to be put to death.

      Instead of STOPPING the trials right there, and putting him onto immediate death row, they’re going through the asinine action of an expensive trial, feeding/housing the scum for months to years, and people are actually trying to claim that his wishes in _this_ matter aren’t important.

      My attitude? Stop the trial, let the jury hand down a guilty/innocent verdict based on the immediate evidence and his confession. If it’s guilty, don’t bother with sentencing. He’s already stated a willingness for the maximum punishment, to make sure that _he can’t do it again_; take him out back and use a firing squad. Five shooters, no waiting.

      Throwing a party to hand down a sentence is nothing.

      BTW – this isn’t the ‘sentencing’. This is handing down the sentence. Sentencing is where the sentence was established, and given to the attorneys in lieu of the defendant. This is simply where the defendant is being told before he’s hauled off to start the sentence. (and possibly given more for the skipping out on bail)


      1. Much of what you say makes sense. Now I’m trying to figure out why I’m having such a negative visceral reaction to it, and to the subject of the article Howard posted.


        Okay. I think it’s because I have always seen the judicial system as the method by which society protects itself from descending into savagery. Society cuts off its benefits from those who violate the social contract, but I have always seen it as a matter of more-in-sorrow-than-anger, except in the very worst cases. When dealing with something that skates so close to the edge of what it means to be a society, it makes me very uncomfortable when the officers of the court behave in anything but an exemplary fashion, since they stand at the border, helping to guard civilization from barbarism.

        Holy crap, I’m an idealist. Don’t tell anyone; my reputation will be ruined.

        1. It’s quite possible that the reaction is more because of our modern, softer society. We currently live in an era where lack of television, radios, and air conditioning is considered ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. 100 years ago, public hangings were still not too uncommon, public executions were common; 150 years ago, public hangings were the main form of punishment, and in some cases, entertainment. 230 years ago, the guillotine was a very popular form of public entertainment. 2000 years ago, the main form of punishment was crucifixion and exposure (at least in the “Roman” areas of the world). (I won’t get into the gladatorial games and heretic/pagan killing)

          If you suggested today that someone that performed mutiny be crucified and left to die in the sun, most people would be absolutely aghast; because we have other ways of dealing with it.

          Keelhauling isn’t performed anymore either. (put a rope under the boat. grab the other end. Tie one end to a sailor, drag him under the boat, against the barnacles)

          I don’t think we even have the sense of “let the punishment fit the crime” anymore. If we did, things would be pretty bloody, and we’d have almost noone left in jail. Once they’d performed their restitution, that would be the end of it.

          Any criminal control system is really intended to try to minimize crime, usually through terrorizing potential criminals. We’ve lost that sense of “If you get caught, something HORRIBLE is going to happen.” Some people might consider three meals a day, light labor, and someone else setting the schedule as being a vacation; welcome to our modern prison system.

          The worst punishments in prison aren’t performed by society, or ‘the authorities’. They’re done by the other prisoners, which lends itself to feeding the ego of the more vicious of humanity, rather than rehabilitation.

          Hope that helps. I’m not expecting people to like the idea of going back to a harsher time – hopefully we’ve learned enough to not _need_ it. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that most people haven’t learned the difference between _want_ and _need_, at least when it comes to punishment. We _want_ to be gentle, but some people _need_ rough. (Spare the rod, spoil the child, is the trite phrase. We’re still children, in many ways)


          1. I wish I could remember the name of the book.

            It is a philosophical and sociological examination of penology from pre-french revolution times up until the present.

            The sad conclusion is, no prison ever fixes (many) people. Occasionally, it will place someone in nasty circumstances and they’ll independently decide to change their ways, but these are the outliers. Prisons chiefly ‘institutionalize’ people. That in turn either drives them crazy or teaches them how to be nastier criminals.

            Just about the only thing prisons do is lock away people so they can’t hurt society for a few years. (Death penalty stuff and French revolution maiming didn’t have much more success. It was more about society getting revenge against the criminal than about deterrent.)

            I’m not saying we don’t need prisons, just that they don’t serve their original function. (Correction of people).

            Honestly, I’d say we need better schools… preventative maintenance.

          2. No arguments on the subject of prisons reforming few. The point of punishment, however, is not necessarily to keep the person being punished from doing it again (although that is a hope), but to keep someone else from performing the same crime. We put too many people in prison that don’t harm anyone else, so they can be harmed. (Pot users, for example)

            Schools won’t help much, when the main point of our school system is to generate as much cannon fodders as possible (obey authority, don’t question, and so forth. We don’t concentrate on teaching people to think. We concentrate on teaching people to regurgitate, and punish people that ask questions, or think for themselves – I know this personally)

            Personal responsibility and restitution are the keys. If someone performs burglary, come up with a _reasonable_ amount for what they cost the business, and force them to pay that back – and then don’t allow them to declare bankruptcy. You can’t pay someone back for what you destroyed/stole/whatever in prison. The ultimate restitution is your life. If your destruction towards someone else is so henious that it cannot be repaired at all, then what’s left? (rape, murder) It’s to make the effort, and keep it from happening again.

            Personal responsibility is what truly needs to be driven home, but it’s a direct threat to our current government – all of them (city, county, state, federal..) Truly pushing personal responsibility would force people to realize that the government can’t do things for them, or shouldn’t – which removes power from a politician’s hands, and puts it back where it belongs.

            “Let the government do it. Let social security take care of my parents” “Blame someone else for my lack of a job”… and so forth.

            You know, the longest period of unemployment I’ve ever suffered was six months – and that’s because I refused to go to work at a fast food restaurant or grocery store (basically, retail). If I’d been willing to work retail, I could have been working immediately after losing my prior job. I’ve worked at wheelchair repair, cleaning stables, technical work, theatrical work, and all sorts of various short jobs. I take personal responsibility for paying my bills – I don’t try to complain that I can’t find work – I find work 🙂


          3. side issue..last (only) time I was out of work was 3½ years, 1993-6…
            did all govt required, sending off (plenty of) applications every week…
            kept getting “overqualified” ie too old …
            also if you are a qualified professional, stacking shelves makes the next tech. employer think that’s all you’re good for. I had enough problems with GEC in my history.

            FWIW I got my current job 1. from evening newspaper (Jobcentres are for the desperate minimum wagers) 2. by offering to go temp so they could try before they bought. Been here 8+ years now, longest time ever.
            But age is definitely an issue, they think you’ll take any crap, that’s what you get offered.

          4. Better opportunities would help but there are those that need treated as toxic waste and warehoused. There are people who cannot or will not fit into society.

  1. The problem with doing that is, it helps the guy in his appeal.

    He can say “She was thrilled to see me punished, she clearly wasn’t impartial.” (or rather, his lawyers can.)

    1. They can try, but what the article doesn’t mention is that he skipped bail right before the jury handed down a decision. He was judged guilty in absentia. *shrug*

  2. Very true. In matters of discipline and money everything MUST be BY THE BOOK. No loopholes….except the one at the end of the rope.

    From an agency, on an ancestor who had been hanged for theft in the market square “Subject was attending a public meeting, and was killed when the platform on which he was standing collapsed unexpectedly”

  3. We need more of this!

    “The whole purpose of it was to mock him, to make him feel bad. I guess she could have put him in the stockade, in the pillory, in front of the town square and let people mock him,” Willing said.

    Can I get a “hell yeah!”? He OUGHT to feel bad! He committed a felony and skipped bail before the verdict (guilty) was handed down. Prison doesn’t seem to deter some people. Maybe a return to traditional punishment… pillory and stocks, rotten tomatos, etc… would be more of a deterrent to those whose feelings are so easily hurt.

    “It seems like everyone wants to have a party, and it’s fun for you people, but not for me,” Williams told reporters as he was led away in handcuffs.

    I didn’t realize that being sent up the river was supposed to be fun. He had a whole year of fun before they caught him. The judge gets one day (one hour?) of fun, and people are concerned with her behavior??? That’s just not right. People need to get some perspective.

    1. Re: We need more of this!

      Yeah, the only thing that really worries me about this is the huge breach in judicial impartiality. What happens if, next time, she’s so excited about sending another convict to jail (“Whee, can’t wait until the next party!”) that she doesn’t even give the defendant a fair chance?

      So, yeah. I don’t feel sorry for the convict, but I worry about it in general… I know it’s going overboard to expect a judge to be completely dispassionate about everything that comes through the courts, but there’s a line somewhere, and I’m pretty sure she left it far behind.

      And yeah, the other part that I find bothersome is the possibility of letting a convict back on the streets because of a challenge to the fairness of the court that results in that sort of thing.

      I do find it incredibly amusing that they decorated the courtroom and had a cake, though. Wonder if the convict got a piece.

      1. Re: We need more of this!

        Yeah, the only thing that really worries me about this is the huge breach in judicial impartiality.

        Impartiality comes before the verdict. This was after. A whole year after. I think judges are allowed to have a personal feeling a whole year after the verdict was handed down.

        1. Re: We need more of this!

          If she wants to throw a party afterwards, on her own time, when she is not representing the freakin’ law of the land, fine. Impartiality is part of being a judge. When she’s sitting on the bench, wearing the black robes, she represents the judicial system and the soveignty of the people. Throwing a party to taunt a convict is hardly appropriate.

          And this was during the sentencing phase of the trial, which, unless there are mandatory sentencing laws, is still a part of the trial, during which the judge would have to exercise her discretion.

          (Side note: Am I the only person who finds a trial in absentia to be incredibly shady?)

          1. Re: We need more of this!

            from what I saw, he was there for every part of the trial up until sentancing. It was when the virdict was handed down and the sentance decided that he was absent…. but because he ditched, the scentance couldn’t be carried out, which in itself is an aspect of the trial.

            It could be argued that she was less pleased to see him punished than she was to finally have this trial conclueded after a forced recess of a full year. A recess which must have been taxing for the attourneys, court officials, and jurors who were left dangling because this man didn’t want to face the music.

            Naturally, the only reasonable out for this judge is if she make it a policy to throw a party at the end of every trial, regardless of virdict.

          2. Re: We need more of this!

            Rereading the article, it seems to me that he was tried in absentia:

            “… Billy Wayne Williams, who had been convicted in absentia of aggravated assault after he disappeared a year ago. … He failed to appear for his trial last November and was captured Thursday at a gas station in suburban Arlington.”

            Regardless, I am still unimpressed by the whole affair.

          3. Re: We need more of this!

            And this was during the sentencing phase of the trial, which, unless there are mandatory sentencing laws, is still a part of the trial, during which the judge would have to exercise her discretion.

            Right. Discretion. Not impartiality. Sentencing is the part of the trial where the judge is expected to exercise her personal feelings. Unless, of course, there is some mandatory sentencing…

            Side note: Am I the only person who finds a trial in absentia to be incredibly shady?

            It would be incredibly shady, if the defendant wasn’t absent by his own choice and against the court’s wishes. If you skip bail in the middle of your own trial, you deserve whatever you get.

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