Friday, August 24, 2012


In Oslo Norway on Friday a court found Anders Breivik sane and guilty for killing 77 people last year in Norway's worst peacetime atrocity. Breivik was sentenced to the maximum- 21 years in prison, although the sentence can be extended at a later date if he is found to be a danger to society. 

The most unusual aspect of this trial was that prosecutors argued that Breivik was insane, not responsible for his crimes, and should be hospitalized, while his defense attorneys argued (probably at their client's insistence) that he was sane. 

Breivik will be incarcerated in isolation in a three room cell, with an exercise area and a laptop computer that does not have access to the internet. 

A few thoughts: First: how would this have been handled in the United States? Predictably, the death penalty would have been sought and no prosecutor who wanted to keep their job would ever have argued that the defendant was insane. 
Secondly, incarceration would inevitably have been for at least life in prison and the defendant would have been left to rot and go insane in a 10 x 10 cell for 23 hours a day.

Killing 77 people makes such extreme punishment easy to mete out.  But perhaps something can be learned from Norway in this case. In the worst imaginable criminal act, their justice system had prosecutors advocating for what they believed to be the truth, not what the public demanded. The sentence handed out will be served by all appearances, in a humane manner. In short, Norway resisted the almost irresistible urge to be dragged down to this killer's brutal mentality and treat him the way he treated others. Norway maintained its dignity in one of its darkest hours. 

The length of the sentence in this case is something handed out on a daily basis by US judges to petty drug dealers with lengthy criminal records. In recent times in the US, only former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was incarcerated in such a humane manner, and that was because international treaties required the United States to treat him better than it treats its own citizens. Of course the United States (federal and state governments) currently incarcerates over 2 million of its citizens, so there isn't much room in overcrowded prisons for humane treatment. 

We don't approve of the sentence in Norway. Nobody would argue that 21 years is sufficient punishment for killing 71 people. But if this is how Norway treats its worst offender, how does it treat the rest of its citizens when laws are violated? 

ISAAC: 5 AM Friday update:

Things are looking good for South Florida. However, we suggest postponing that trip to Key West this weekend. 


CAPTAIN said...


Read Roy Black's Blog on the Jared Loughner case, he called Bending The Rules .....


Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

You're right, Rumpole: something can be learned from the way Norway handled this horrific case. STAY THE HELL OUT OF NORWAY.

Anonymous said...

Cruel and unusual punishment? A laptop with no internet for 21 years calculates as follows:
21 years = 7,665 days =183,960 hours x 20 = 3,679,200. That's 20 games of Solitaire per hour over 21 years. If you are not bonkers by then, you never will be.

Anonymous said...

NY News reports Breivik did a right wing salute and smiled after the verdict was being read.

Link-- http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/anders-behring-breivik-declared-sane-sentenced-prison-bomb-gun-attacks-killed-77-people-norway-2011-article-1.1143473

Anonymous said...

We need to oppress the population with force because we are a free country.

Anonymous said...

POW! and now the empire state shooting

too many guns

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, Norway has strict gun control and so does New York City. How, then, can they have mass shootings?

Rumpole said...

Well 1:38- lets look a little bigger. How many guns in this country? How many in Norway? How many mass shootings in a year in Norway? How many in the US. It cannot be a leap of logic to accept this principle: less guns=less mass shootings.

Or look at it another way. Lots of guns in Colorado and Arizona where Congresswomen Giffords was shot and others were killed. You didn't see a bunch of cowboys pulling their six shooter and killing the bad guy. That's because outside of a war zone, people go through their lives without having a gun ready to respond at a moments notice. Or do you want to turn this entire country into Afghanistan/Iraq?

Anonymous said...

Can I get an early Shumie? Lots to do to prepare for the storm.

Fake Risivy said...

Shum it bro. Buy some beer and h20 and some plywood and batteries and candles and stay safe and dry.

PD Penelope said...

No way for the shumie. Work till five like the rest of us, then go to Aaron's retirement party at Lucky Clover.

Anonymous said...

3:07, the theater in Colorado did not allow guns, so law-abiding people respected the sign and did not bring their weapons with them. Of course, murderers and other lawbreakers ignore gun control laws so they will be the only armed people in "gun-free zones".

I went to the movies recently and saw a sign taped to the box office glass saying that weapons were not allowed. The kids that work at the theater were commenting, rather commonsensically, that the sign was stupid and was an invitation for mass-murderers to "safely" kill movie goers without fear of getting shot by one of them.

Anonymous said...

Again, 3:08, 3:37 and 4:57 all the same, pathetic guy.

Only one person in the world ever uses the word "Shumie": the guy still trying to attract hits to his site and cigar shop.

Anonymous said...

WE incarcerate ourselves more than other country, it's big business. The US loves big business.

"American Minority" said...

Only white people can kill that number of people and live to speak about it, much more receive 21 years in return with the exception of Timothy McVeigh.

Alabama and Texas are filled with death row inmates who on average have one to two murder counts.
To the Assholes who are going to attack me save your nuclear brain power and read the Baldus Study, then we can talk.

It's also sad to see America increasingly more and more addicted to prison's revenue. Our justice system is practically a Social Economic conveyer belt that rolls people into prison's at a low per capita rate. eg. L.R.,

"American Minority" said...

Jared Loughner killed a Federal Judge, a nine year Old little girl, several other innocent attendees including congresswoman Kathy Giffords. Yet he is deemed mentally ill. Same with the Colorado Movie theater shooter. "Mentally Ill"

The D.C.Sniper=D-E-A-D.
Troy Davis(Including Eye Witness Testimony Rebuttal)=D-E-A-D.
Kenneth "Tookie" Williams=D-E-A-D.

Charles "Son of Sam" Manson=Alive and eligible for parole.
Shawn Berry James Byrd Killer=Alive
Dennis Radar/BTK Killer=Alive with a Life sentence with ten confirmed killings.

Naw, maybe I'm just a crazy black guy who doesn't knows shit.

"American Minority" said...

Oh yeah, John Hinckley, the perpetrator who shot you Redumblicans Icon Ronald Regan is soon to be up for parole.

Yet again, is there a pattern here?

DS said...

Charles Manson is not the Son of Sam.

Its John Lennon's murderer that is up for parol not Reagan's shooter.

We all see the truth in the courthouse. Minorities are in the box. It aint fair . But it aint fair that Pork & Beans and Miami Gardens are the wild west either.

Today, go put up your shutters

Anonymous said...

American Minority is correct with respect to the prison system being a profit-making industry.

Besides looking tough on crime to constituents, that is the reason why legislatures are overcriminalizing behavior, felonizing misdemeanors and creating more minimum mandatory sentences.

In Louisiana, for example, the prison population is burgeoning n low-budget, high-profit private prisons and more and more defendants are being fed to the prison business machine.

At the federal level, the crackdown on illegal immigrants and the policy change from catch-and-release to continued detention came about through the intense lobbying of the private prison companies, CCA and G5S (formerly Wackenhut) who build and operate immigration detention centers and make enormous profits.

Anonymous said...

AM......the system is far from perfect, but you really ought to check your facts before you make an argument.

Radar COULD NOT be sentenced to death for the murders he committed under Kansas law.

Manson and his co-conspirators WERE sentenced to death in California. The sentences were vacated when the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty.

As for the Byrd killing, three men were involved. One WAS executed and another SITS ON DEAHT ROW while appeals are pendidng. The third, Shawn Berry, was given life (by a jury) because the jurors felt there was insufficient evidence proving he was a racist or that he was anything more than the getaway driver.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI). I don't recall any of the guys you cited even arguing that they were NGI at trial(Muhammad's appellate lawyers tried to claim that he had brain damage, but he himself argued against that and further appeals).

As for the more recent cases, it remains to be seen what happens though it sure as hell seems that they were nuts as well.


"American Minority" said...

BTDT, You don't get it.