Contra Mozilla

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Minimum Sentencing and No Child Left Behind

I like Mark Shea, I really do. I preface this post with this statement because sometimes he gets the facts wrong (or doesn't have all of the facts), and bad conclusions follow. This is such a case. Perils of blogging quantity and all that--it can't all be high quality (as he wryly admits in the tagline to his own blog).

His commenters are largely pointing out to him where he's gone wrong: minimum sentencing requirements for Florida, the woman left the house after her husband allegedly got violent, got a gun, then came back and fired a shot in the general direction of her husband (and children), which is a bit different from what Zimmerman did. That warning shot missed the husband's head by mere inches, by the way. The woman also had a history of assault, which Zimmerman does not, thus triggering the minimum sentencing; and also, Zimmerman never invoked Stand Your Ground Laws, whereas this woman (who definitely was not just "standing her ground") attempted to do so. In neither case was the law really applicable (in the woman's case, she had already "escaped" and then returned; in Zimmerman's, there was no chance to escape once the confrontation became actually violent enough to warrant running away). And neither case has anything to do with race, but both are being used by the race baiters (and to bad effect elsewhere), into whose hands Shea is unfortunately playing.

Here is the court document in Mrs. Alexander's case, and her is the "relevant part" quoted by Ace:
[Gray] moved to the living room where his children were. Subsequently, [Alexander] emerged from the master bedroom and went into the garage where her car was parked. [Alexander] testified she was trying to leave the residence but could not get the garage door to open. (The Court notes that despite [Alexander's] claim she was in fear for her life at that point and trying to get away from [Gray], she did not leave the house through the back or front doors which were unobstructed. Additionally, the garage door had worked previously and there was no evidence to support her claim.) [Alexander] then retrieved her firearm from the glove box of the vehicle. [Alexander] returned to the kitchen with the firearm in her hand and pointed it in the direction of all three victims. [Gray] put his hands in the air. [Alexander] shot at [Gray], barely missing his head. The bullet traveled through the kitchen wall and into the ceiling in the living room. The victims fled the residence and immediately called 911. [Alexander] stayed in the marital home and at no point called 911.

Ace also notes that Mrs. Alexander wasn't even actually living in the home at the time, for what that's worth. With this bit of ranting out of the way, I noticed an interesting comment on Shea's blog, comparing minimum sentencing (a fad in the 1980's) with No Child Left Behind (from President George W. Bush's Administration):
I heard she had been in trouble with the law before for assault and that's what triggered the mandatory sentencing. And also that it wasn't stand your ground because she went out of the house and came back and shot the gun off endangering the children present. The real problem here is the mandatory sentencing which was a big movement back in the 1980s. To me it is like No Child Left Behind in that it takes the authority away from the judge (or teacher) on how to, you know, judge or teach. So instead they have to follow guidelines that may or may not make sense in an individual's case.

Both would rather appear to strike at the idea of subsidiary, at least.

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