4 responses

  1. I agree with Judge Livingston. I agree with the sentence, too: even were the death penalty allowed for this sort of crime, that would be a too-early release from the punishment of existing in a jail where he’ll (likely) be thoroughly hated by his fellow inmates.

    I can form no sympathy for this…person. Abused as a child? It’s certainly true that abused children tend to be abusive adults, but there’s nothing inevitable about this. My mother-in-law was a third generation abused child, but she made a conscious decision not to do that to her children. She went to her death disliking sex, but she bore, and raised, and delivered into adulthood three wonderful children, children who knew their mother loved them. Children who were unhesitatingly disciplined by their mother, and father, when warranted, but who never knew an instant’s abuse.

    This person has no excuse for his behavior.

    Separately, a question: the state sentences will be served after his federal sentence has been completed. What is “completed” in this context–released and on parole, so he serves his Federal parole in a state jail? After his parole has been completed? Something else?

    Eric Hines

  2. With all due respect, this post is utter nonsense. You start by talking about sentencing in federal child pornography prosecutions, and then you link to a story about a brutal kidnapping and rape, as if the connection between the two is self-evident.

    Let me give you a different hypothetical. Imagine a similar kidnapping in which the child was tortured and ultimately murdered, but not raped or otherwise sexually abused. How should thinking about this crime affect a judge who is sentencing a defendant convicted of possessing photographs of someone being (non-sexually) tortured and murdered? Oh, wait — no such prosecution would occur, because it’s not illegal to possess photos of someone being tortured or murdered — never mind.

    Okay, now let’s turn it around. Imagine a parent giving a bath to a two-year-old child — a completely innocent, commonplace event characterized by smiles and laughter. Now imagine a defendant convicted of possession of numerous videos of parents bathing small children. How should your awareness of the first scenario affect your sentencing for the second?

    Sometimes the possession of photos or video is perfectly legal even when the acts captured are highly criminal. Other times, possession of photos or video is criminalized even when it depicts perfectly legal acts. The point is, the two are not the same. The harms of each need to be considered and evaluated independently.

    Okay, so let’s think about the specific example you linked to in this post. Clearly, Abraham Richardson is an evil and despicable person, deserving of severe criminal punishment. But how does this story relate to child pornography? One argument sometimes made for laws against possession of child pornography is that the market demand for child pornography creates an incentive for producers to create more, thus victimizing more children. But there is absolutely nothing in the linked story to suggest that anything he did was motivated by a desire to feed the market for child pornography. So what’s the relevance?

    Your meaning is not entirely transparent, but you seem to be saying: Judges have to sentence defendants convicted of crime X. Horrific crime Y angers and disgusts me. Crime X and crime Y are superficially related. Therefore, judges should reject calls for leniency in sentencing for crime X. I hope I’m misinterpreting you, because, frankly, I expect better from a federal judge.

  3. Michael,

    You are right, my meaning was not transparent. So, look for a post this weekend that will be more clear.

    All the best.


  4. Pingback: A clarification and an apology « Hercules and the umpire.

%d bloggers like this: