I point this one out every so often…

I read The Law West Of Ealing Broadway, a magistrate’s blog, and I’m sure I’ve told you about it before, but I thought this one was worth a mention on it’s own:

Here’s a post about the way criminal justice cases are reported in this country. In it he links to a Sky news story about the sentence received by a man who has been convicted of murdering two young boys. The man received a 20 year minimum sentence. The “news” story is an interview with the parents, giving them lots of room to complain that it’s not enough, with soundbites about how the judge is supposed to serve the cause of justice, and has not done so. No counterbalancing voice is provided (and given that this is a Murdoch organ, one might suspect that one was not even sought).

As Bystander (the magistrate’s nom-de-blog) points out, that is exactly what the judge has done. He has weighed the man’s crime against the spectrum of possible offences, and come up with an appropriate punishment. That’s what justice is.

At what point did we acquire the idea that the victims should be allowed to suggest what justice is? When did we forget that however much our hearts might go out to them, they remain the worst possible arbiters of justice?

So my question is this: does anyone reading this think that a 20 year minimum sentence for murdering two children is unreasonably short? What sentence would you levy in the judge’s place? Why? (“Death” is, of course, out of the question. Please confine your answers to what the legal system allows.)

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