Year-end sentences

With the holidays and some holiday travel coming up, in case I don’t get to write here again until 2012, here are some year-end sentences for you:

Sentence #1:  Robert Ward — Remember him, the Florida guy who got convicted of shooting his wife in the face after claiming she did it to herself?  He got 30 years last week.

Sentence #2:  Brad McInerney — Remember him, the California 17-year-old who shot a gay classmate three years ago after the classmate repeated sexually harassed him with full knowledge of school personnel?  He just got 21 years.  No, the victim isn’t to blame for his own homicide, and yes, McInerney deserves to be punished severely for shooting him, but school district officials should also be held accountable for not stopping the sexual harassment that escalated to homicide when they had plenty of chances to do so.

Sentence #3:  Barry Bonds — Remember him, the baseball “star” who lied about his steroid use?  He just got…are you ready for this?…a whopping one month…yes, month…under house arrest.  A year behind bars would’ve been a much better example for the kids around the country who still probably want this low-life’s cards, jerseys, etc. for Christmas and Hanukkah this year.

Sentence #4:  Colton Harris-Moore — Remember him, the 20-year-old “Barefoot Bandit” who committed a string of burglaries, thefts, and identity thefts in the United States before fleeing to the Caribbean in…a stolen plane?  He just got seven years from a state court judge after writing a 10-page sob story to the judge about how awful his childhood was.  Soon, a federal judge will sentence this creep for his federal crimes, which should add six years to his time behind bars but could be allowed to run concurrently, effectively adding nothing to the state sentence.  Hopefully, the federal judge won’t be swayed by the sob story and will add the full six years to run consecutively with the state sentence.  That’ll give producers time to hopefully rethink the $1.3 million movie deal they’ve reportedly offered Harris-Moore (and when/if that money materializes, every dime of it should go to reimburse the victims for their losses and inconveniences and the state and country for the expenses incurred apprehending and prosecuting him)!

And here are a few late-breaking lawpsyc news stories that may continue to develop as we head into 2012, along with the “Baby Lisa” case here in the Kansas City area, which has gone relatively “dormant” for the moment (I predict, just as the Anthony case went relatively dormant for several months before Caylee’s remains were found, this case will heat back up in 2012):

An employee of Southern California Edison burst into that company’s offices and shot four co-workers, killing two, before turning the gun on himself.  As we learn more, there will almost certainly have been unnoticed/unheeded warning signs, which reinforces the importance of having someone like me do generalized violence risk identification training and individualized violence risk assessments in work settings where there’s known or reasonably-foreseeable risk.

In another murder-suicide, a mother, her three children, and the children’s father were found dead in an Illinois home, and in an unusual twist on an all-t00-familiar story, it appears that the mother was the shooter.  So far, people who knew the deceased are expressing total surprise, but it’ll probably turn out that there were warning signs there, too.

A New York man is in custody, thankfully, after allegedly murdering an elderly woman by dousing her with flammable liquid and lighting her on fire in an elevator.  Cops are saying this guy doesn’t have a criminal history, but the callous, conscious psychopathy of the act (allegedly motivated by unpaid wages for odd jobs performed by the accused in the victim’s home) suggests to me that we probably don’t know the full story on him yet either.

Last on this rundown of late-breaking lawpsyc stories, another body, that of an adult female, has been found on Gilgo Beach on Long Island, bringing the current tally to 11.  I still say there’s more than just one serial killer involved here, but we’ll be talking about this one well into 2012 for sure.

And here may be the last lawpsyc-related research that I’ll report on in 2011:  New data on teen substance abuse indicate that teens are using less alcohol and tobacco but more marijuana.  Nobody should be surprised by the pot part.  It’s tough to get kids to look at all of the serious potential damage that pot can do to their lives when adults, including legislators, across the country are trying to make it easier and easier to get.  In my opinion, the risks associated with marijuana generally outweigh the perceived “benefits,” whether the user is a teen looking for a good time or an adult with supposed “chronic pain” (i.e. everyone ought to be able to have a good time clean and sober, and nobody “needs” pot for pain).

Finally tonight, two more sentences:

Thanks to everyone who read my articles, watched the shows that I was on, attended a lecture that I gave, booked me for a show or lecture, and/or retained me for a case in 2011!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANUKKAH, AND THE VERY BEST OF THE SEASON AND THE NEW YEAR TO ALL!

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