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Topic: Criminals with amnesia, should they still be punished?

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theblackdragon

@k8sMum: it's one thing to justify an argument, it's another to ride off into the sunset on a tangent that has little to do with what's being asked in the original post.

Edited on by theblackdragon

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Meta-Rift

@TeeJay & @the_shpydar: I agree, the question has too many variables. I tried to answer it philosophically so that the situation would be more concrete. In real life this wouldn't happen, and it wouldn't matter. Under the assumption that they did lose their memory, they won't get it back, and all of that has been proven, I don't think it's fair to punish them. I understand why they would be, but it's still not right. For example,

the_shpydar wrote:

General Deterrence, which is to dole out punishment in an effort to deter others from committing a same or similar crime.

If they can't remember it and never will, then that's not fair to them, even if it's beneficial for society.

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the_shpydar

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@Rift
Sadly, as i've said to many MANY clients, the law isn't ever about what's "fair". "Fairness" is an abstract concept that the law is not able to capture. The nature of our society requires that crimes result in punishment, so whether the individual actually remembers committing the crime — via amnesia or otherwise — can only be one of several factors to be considered when punishment is considered.

Edited on by the_shpydar

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k8sMum

Rift wrote:

@TeeJay & @the_shpydar: I agree, the question has too many variables. I tried to answer it philosophically so that the situation would be more concrete. In real life this wouldn't happen, and it wouldn't matter. Under the assumption that they did lose their memory, they won't get it back, and all of that has been proven, I don't think it's fair to punish them. I understand why they would be, but it's still not right. For example,

the_shpydar wrote:

General Deterrence, which is to dole out punishment in an effort to deter others from committing a same or similar crime.

If they can't remember it and never will, then that's not fair to them, even if it's beneficial for society.

but then it gets into the whole 'which is more important: the rights of the individual or society as a whole' scenario.

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theblackdragon

@Rift: we don't know that they 'never will' regain their memory, and therein lies the problem with leaving them to their own devices. not all forms of amnesia are permanent, and there's no way of knowing whether or not an amnesiac will ever regain what they lost — if that person were to spontaneously recover, who knows how many more people they'd wind up killing before they were captured.

regarding what's 'fair' to the individual — i think at this point in the scenario the rights of the individuals around this hypothetical person take precedence over the rights of the hypothetical person — they had their chance at a normal life and blew it. potentially putting more people at risk out of 'fairness' would be ridiculous. they lost their memory from a blow struck during the raid that brought them to justice, and they wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place had they chosen to not commit whatever murders or other heinous crimes they'd committed beforehand. they brought it on themselves, it's on their own head. can't remember? that's okay, we'll do our best to help you (so that we can put you on trial).

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[16:44] LztheBlehBird: James doesn't know the rules? For shame!!!
[16:44] Vintage: We have ...

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Meta-Rift

theblackdragon wrote:

@Rift: we don't know that they 'never will' regain their memory, and therein lies the problem with leaving them to their own devices. not all forms of amnesia are permanent, and there's no way of knowing whether or not an amnesiac will ever regain what they lost — if that person were to spontaneously recover, who knows how many more people they'd wind up killing before they were captured.

That's exactly why I'm answering the question as if we do, otherwise there's to much going into the equation. In real life, we wouldn't know any of that, so there would be no reason to treat this as a special case.

theblackdragon wrote:

regarding what's 'fair' to the individual — i think at this point in the scenario the rights of the individuals around this hypothetical person take precedence over the rights of the hypothetical person — they had their chance at a normal life and blew it. potentially putting more people at risk out of 'fairness' would be ridiculous. they lost their memory from a blow struck during the raid that brought them to justice, and they wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place had they chosen to not commit whatever murders or other heinous crimes they'd committed beforehand. they brought it on themselves, it's on their own head. can't remember? that's okay, we'll do our best to help you (so that we can put you on trial).

If we knew their memories were completely wiped and gone for good, then no one would be at risk.

If the question was "Would they still be punished?", the answer would be whatever the law decides. Asking whether they should be punished is an abstract idea that has no definite answer. My answer assumes that we are 100% certain that their memory is completely gone and will never return, which is purely philosophical. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

Meta-Rift

Kingbuilder

Rift wrote:

theblackdragon wrote:

regarding what's 'fair' to the individual — i think at this point in the scenario the rights of the individuals around this hypothetical person take precedence over the rights of the hypothetical person — they had their chance at a normal life and blew it. potentially putting more people at risk out of 'fairness' would be ridiculous. they lost their memory from a blow struck during the raid that brought them to justice, and they wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place had they chosen to not commit whatever murders or other heinous crimes they'd committed beforehand. they brought it on themselves, it's on their own head. can't remember? that's okay, we'll do our best to help you (so that we can put you on trial).

If we knew their memories were completely wiped and gone for good, then no one would be at risk.

That's not entirely true, though. If a person had some form of mentally instability before they lost their memories that instability isn't just going to magically vanish once they do. The people, even without their memories, are going to have some sort of psychological problem that, at the end of the day, is still going to make them a potential danger to society

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