Monday, March 28, 2011

Proper punishment or abuse of discretion?

At the end of 2009, I posted a comment on the issue of whether humiliation is a proper punishment in our criminal justice system or whether it should be considered an abuse of prosecutorial or judicial discretion. A few days later I posted an editorial on the subject by Prof. Jonathan Turley published by USA Today (here)

Now comes news that a judge and prosecutor have demanded that Willy Nelson sing a song in court as part of a plea agreement in a simple marijuana possession case. Prof. Turley, consistent with his position in the article cited above, wrote today "I hate to be a cold blanket, but find this neither funny nor tolerable for a legal system. Both the judge and the prosecutor appear to be intoxicated by celebrity crime. . . . If these facts are correct as widely reported, there should be an investigation by the bar of both the role of the prosecutor and the court. Dean-Walker can still redeem herself by treating Nelson like other defendants and sanctioning the prosecutor if he did in fact demand this condition for a settlement." You can read his comment here.

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