FINALLY – A just punishment for dog fighting

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Kudos to U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins, who handed down a record $2 million fine this week on participants in a major dog-fighting operation – to serve as restitution to help cover the care of the dogs involved.

The same judge also imposed the longest sentence ever in a federal dog-fighting case.

The Star-Telegram reports the money will go to two animal-welfare groups who cared for the 451 dogs rescued in the case.

The key, evil organizer in the operation received eight years in prison and fined $580,000. Another individual was ordered to pay to pay $627,389 and spend four years behind ball. And another got five years and $458,752.

This sort of justice needs to happen much more often – especially when the crimes involve acts of cruelty involving animals and people.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Florida has one really messed up criminal justice system

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A news story concerning a convicted dog fighter appeared this week on the Pack News Wire. The Highlands Today article reported on the recent conviction of a man charged with dogfighting.

What he did to the dogs is horrible and the soft punishment he will receive makes matters far more atrocious. It seems a criminal in Florida must amass 22 so-called points on their record before they are sentenced to prison time.

The story notes the man had only 4.5 points last year when he was convicted of a felonly for attending a dog fight (which could have led to a maximum of five years behind bars) and resisting arrest. He also has a drunk-driving conviction on his record, along with other crimes.

So he is a long way from going to prison. What does it take to get major points in Florida? What does it take the court system there to decide the safety of the innocent comes first?

The courts and the state legislature has announced to the nation’s criminals that – “if you want get-out-of-jail free points, just come on down to Florida, where you are welcome to commit multiple major crimes with impunity. And we’ll gladly let you know when you’re close to amassing too many points.

“Hey, we’ve even got a phone app called ‘Crime Points,’ where you’ll receive a free text message when you reach 18.

“Want to fight dogs here? – Well don’t worry. It’s gonna take you at least a good six convictions or more in criminal-friendly Florida, before you have to actually serve time. And that’s just if you’re caught.

“We have a host of criminals on staff who have been let off free and clear by juries. They will counsel you on how to beat your rap. We want to be the customer-friendly criminal justice system.

“So come on down to Florida. We’re not really the sunshine state.”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

DumbStuff: The attempted murder charge

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One of the dumbest aspects of our US court system is the attempted murder charge. It’s the Get Out of Jail Free card for murderers.

So an individual can go after a target, with the full intent to kill them – after all, it’s attempted murder – and just because the victim somehow manages to survive the attack, the punishment can be much less severe.

Maybe the murderer is a merely a bad shot, so he gets off easier. Maybe the victim just happened to turn away in just the right way, as to have the bullet or knife slip by a vital area. Maybe the victim was just lucky.

And because of any and all of that, the criminal, who was out to kill, gets a lesser sentence.

I agree that the charge should be classified as attempted murder, but the punishment should equal that of a murder charge.

Letting a killer off easy is just idiotic.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wacky Mentality Award: Judge G. Todd Baugh

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It’s a bit off the beaten path for this blog, but I have to award a Wacky Mentality Award to Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh.

He is the judge who sentenced a rapist to 30 days in prison for an act perpetrated against a 14-year-old girl. Baugh’s initial statement suggested the girl had as much control over the situation as the rapist. It is beyond belief that a judge, who should be on bench to protect the innocent, would make such an asinine statement.

And of course, handing down such as weak sentence is a slap in the face to victims of sexual violence everywhere.

But now, Baugh is backtracking and is calling for a new sentencing hearing. He suddenly suggests that state law requires a two-year mandatory minimum prison term in cases such as this.

So he’s a judge and didn’t know this during  the initial sentencing. Was he so quick to let the rapist off the hook with a slap on the wrist that he failed to look up basic sentencing guidelines? – Really? At least we might see justice better served in the coming days.

Our criminal justice system needs a big overall, with a mission to protect the innocent.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic