I recently read a good article about sentencing concerning ‘sex crimes’ in Washington state.
The article noted two men recently convicted of actual sex crimes with a victim:
One man was convicted of repeatedly raping a girl. He received a minimum of 11 years in prison.
A man found guilty of repeatedly molesting a girl got a minimum of five years.
However, a man caught in a pro active police sting, with a criminal history, but
NO PRIOR SEX OFFENSES, RECEIVED 19.5 YEARS!
When asked about the disproportionate sentence, the reporter was told:
“That’s really how the law was written,” said Chief Deputy Prosecutor Chad Enright. “It’s toward people’s intent, and the crime they were intending to commit, as opposed to the damage that they do.”
Intentions. If you walk into a bank waving a gun… your intentions are pretty clear.
Thus I can see attempted robbery vs robbery. You are there, with a gun, asking for money.
But lets look at murder. Attempted murder is actually much harder to prove than murder. We all know that the penalty for murder is greater than attempted murder. Just watch a law and order episode and you’ll hear them say
‘you better hope he doesn’t die!’
The penalty varies from state to state, but without ‘intent’ in attempted murder, the punishment is significantly less.
For instance: as a general matter, if you are convicted of an attempted crime in California, you will face a prison/jail sentence that is half as long as the sentence you would have received if you had been convicted of the underlying offense.3
But in these proactive sex stings – there is no way to prove intent. Jace talked to someone on an adult website. He was sent the picture of a woman. He went to meet the woman for agreed upon sex thus he brought condoms. He met a 26 year old woman at the door. He entered and somehow they proved he INTENDED to have sex with a child. How is it even possible to prove such a thing?
A young man up here recently received 10 years on a proactive sting. He has NO criminal record, there was NO victim, there was NO proof that he INTENDED to do any such thing. Only illegally obtained, ambiguous emails and cell messages.
Where is the justice in that?