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Friday, November 28, 2014

Depravity Standard: Bad to worst

(Manson Mugshot - 1971)
Almost everyone agrees that Adolph Hitler and Charles Manson are bad news.

But just how bad are they?

These days quantification rules.  A “leading forensic psychiatrist who has testified in some of America’s most infamous violent crime cases” is therefore developing a “Depravity Standard.”

This psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Weiner, is hoping that his Depravity Standard will be able to codify “the concept of evil for the justice system.”  Weiner explains that “in criminal courts today, the decision to charge a case as heinous, atrocious, cruel, depraved or vile rests with the prosecuting authority…”

Steven Edwards of Fox News reports that Weiner’s Depravity Standard will be “rooted in specific hallmarks of intent, actions, attitude and victimology…”   If it works according to plan, all crimes will then be comparable with one another, and “the level of evil in a crime” will then be determined in a more objective fashion.

Weiner’s Standard can also be applied outside the courtroom.  Correctional officers can use it to make “early release recommendations,” academics to study hate crimes, and “governors regarding
pardon requests.”  

Copyright November 28, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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