Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What is Justice When a Parent Kills His Child's Molester?

According to this AP report, a Connecticut patent lawyer has been arrested for breaking into his neighbor's home and stabbing him to death. The accused had apparently been told by his wife that their 2-year-old daughter had indicated that the neighbor had molested her. I have heard a lot of people--even prosecutors--say that if someone molested their child, they would kill him. Although I have no children of my own, I can certainly understand that desire. But, how should the law respond to something like this? The man who was killed in this real-life situation clearly has no way to defend himself against the molestation allegations. But for the purposes of my question, let's just assume that those allegations were true. Should he be convicted of murder? Manslaughter? What should his punishment be if he has no other criminal record? I'm especially interested in what my favorite prosecutor bloggers like Tom and Sarena think about this.


Blogger Sarena said...

Hey Tex: Linked to your post and responded. Glad I found your question! As always, it was a fun one.

8/30/2006 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Roy said...

When a citizen takes the law into his own hands, usually the government will punish him, usually severely.

In contrast, when a police officer does the same thing, he keeps his job, almost without exception.

In my opinion, they are both in the wrong.

That is no consolation to the citizen who fears the government will let somebody go free for their horrible acts, hence the temptation to ensure that the government doesn't get the chance to get it wrong, a kind of pre-emptive justice.

In my opinion, I can't fault anyone for worrying the government won't get it right. When do they ever get it right?

8/31/2006 5:39 AM  
Blogger Poverty Lawyer 1 said...

I'd think this would be the perfect law school-hypothetical fact scenario for manslaughter/2nd degree murder (or whatever, depending on the jurisdiction). Other than finding your spouse in bed cheating, is there a better hypo for a less culpable killing?

9/06/2006 12:32 PM  
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