Prisons

Piling on Georgia

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Apropos of Kerry Howley's post below, Georgia's Supreme Court today encouragingly ruled that once convicted felons have done their time and have been released from prison, judges can't banish them from the state.

However, the court did rule that judges may exile said criminals to a single county.

Seems like a great way to encourage recidivism.

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  1. Wait, let me get this straight: being banished from Georgia is a punishment?

  2. Just stick ’em on a large island… like Australia.

  3. judge’s?

  4. One way of fixing rural flight.

  5. Ah, so they adopted a modified version of the Montag Plan!

    I do not like the modification. Just stick with the plan, please.

  6. That’s sort of nuts.

    I wonder how people in Tooms County feel about this.

  7. How about a single town, or neighborhood? It seems like a reverse Sex Offender Registry.

    Whatever happened to the notion of having paid one’s debt to society? If the sentence isn’t enough, make it longer. If it is, the slate should be clean upon completion.

  8. Here’s the decision:

    http://www.gasupreme.us/pdf/s08a0170.pdf

    The dispute involved a clause in the state Constitution which is not parallelled in the federal contitution: “Neither banishment beyond the limits of the state nor whipping shall be allowed as a punishment for crime.”

    The case involved a charming defendant who, defying a restraining order, went to his ex-wife’s place, took her into his car, threatened her, and seemed to be suggesting some kind of murder/suicide – which fortunately he didn’t go through with, so both he and the ex-wife are still alive. The court found that the guy had a standing obsession with the ex-wife, and obviously restraining orders were no good. So in addition to a prison sentence, the judge gave him a probation sentence: Ten years suspended on condition that the only part of Georgia he could live in was Toombs County – far from his old haunts and (as the court found) far from his ex-wife.

    He hasn’t been banished “beyond the limits” of Georgia, he’s been limited to a specific portion of Georgia. Lots of people in Georgia serve such sentences – they’re called prisoners. They can only live in that part of Georgia in which the prison is located. The probation terms are more generous than that because he wouldn’t be behind prison walls under the probation terms – only within the Toombs County line. How has he been banished “beyond the limits” of the state, unless we’re talking some kind of Clintonian interpretation of “beyond the limits” as meaning “*not* beyond the limits.”

    The state legislature (albeit too late to benefit this particular defendant) has acted to curb abuses of the one-county banishment system. Residence restrictions imposed as part of probation have to at least give the defendant a judicial district in which to live, and a judicial district consists of many counties. See how the legislature has addressed the problem without being bossed around by activist judges.

  9. disclaimer:

    This might not be the best sentence, but the Georgia court’s decision was about constitutionality, not whether the sentence was ideal.

  10. This man was lucky. They usually banish ’em to Echols County, which makes Toombs look cosmopolitan.

  11. I guess it’s fortunate that the judges didn’t rule that convicted felons could subsequently be banished to Orly or Hazzard counties.

  12. Wow, 20 years for scaring your ex-wife with a pair of scissors. Followed by in-state exile on the Soviet model.

    This brings up a topic I wonder about from time to time: as our legislatures and courts continue to raise the bar on sentencing, will we ever reach a point where sentences start acting as reverse deterrents? For example, if I had an ex-wife and lost my temper and waved my scissors at her in a moment of extreme anger, I might say to myself, “Well, shit. That’s 20 years plus in-state exile. I may as well kill her and try to flee the jurisdiction now.”

  13. Whatever happened to the notion of having paid one’s debt to society? If the sentence isn’t enough, make it longer. If it is, the slate should be clean upon completion.

    Fuckin’ bleeding heart liberal.

    Just prepping you for the O’Reilly Factor appearance in your future. I’m in total agreement. We seem to have given up on the concept of rehabilitation.

  14. Wow! I didn’t know you could be exiled. Really cool actually. Was it like King’s novel “The Gunslinger”? That would be bitchin’ to see . . . sent into the west . . . broken by the wheel of Ka. SWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTT.

  15. Yet another example where zoning is not an effective solution.

  16. will we ever reach a point where sentences start acting as reverse deterrents?

    My guess is “three strikes” laws already do this. If you are about to commit #3, go for the whole hog, because you’re going away for a long time no matter what if you get caught.

  17. Epi beat me to it, but that is exactly the rationale of the 3rd strike. If I rob you, and you identify me and I know I’m going away for life, why wouldn’t I kill you so you can’t identify me later? This is built in violent escalation.

  18. that should be “the rationale of the 3rd strike offender.”

  19. “Georgia’s Supreme Court today encouragingly ruled that once convicted felons have done their time and have been released from prison, judges can’t banish them from the state.”

    Not exactly. The Georgia Constitution itself bans banishment from the state. The question the GSC had to resolve (among others) was whether banishment from all but one county constituted “de facto banishment.”

  20. Yeah, well, so much for that. What about the fact that Jesus and the Governor of Georgia (Sonny Perdue) won’t let me buy a beer on Sunday?

  21. Eugene,

    If you were banished to Echols county you could walk/wade across the FLA line and buy one on sunday, or any other day of the week, last time I passed through Echols they didn’t have any stores.

  22. http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/

    I want to first start off with saying I am NOT pro-pedophile or pro-sex offender but pro-Constitution. I am totally against any form of abuse to any animal or human being. Anybody who commits any crime should be punished. But, once that person has done the time they were convicted under, via contract, and is off parole and/or probation, they should be able to get on with their lives without all the rules and regulations. No other criminal has to live by such draconian laws, so why sex offenders? If we must do this for sex offenders, then I think, to be fair, all criminals must be under similar rules and regulations.

    When an ex-offender is forced to move from his/her home, thus having to sell it, cannot find another home within the law due to the residency “buffer” zones, get fired from their jobs due to being on the registry, cannot find a new job due to being on the registry, their husband/wife lose their jobs due to a significant other being on the registry, their children lose their friends and are harassed and bullied in school due to a family member being on the registry, thus destroying the children’s lives, ex-offenders are forced into homelessness and to live under bridges, harassed by police, neighbors and probation/parole officers, have to wear “I’m a sex offender T-shirt” or have a neon green license plate on ALL their cars, have “sex offender” on their drivers license and forced to renew their licenses every year, forced from shelters during tornadoes or hurricanes, cannot give blood at some places due to being discriminated against for being on the sex offender registry, denied housing due to being on the registry, signs placed in their yards inviting harassment and ridicule from the neighbors, forced to move when the neighbors start picketing outside the ex-offenders home, the list is endless.

    I THINK THIS IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, BEYOND THE EXTREME!

  23. @Z-Man: non-sex-offender offenders also suffer punishment beyond their regular sentence. it’s called a background check

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