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Iowa man sentenced to 16 years for setting LGBTQ flag on fire Rate Topic: -----

#21 User is offline   Moderator T 

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 05:00 PM

View PostDean Adam Smithee, on 22 December 2019 - 03:04 PM, said:

I agree. A cursory reading of Iowa law gets me to:

  • Stealing the flag? Assuming the flag was worth $200 or less, A 5th-degree misdemeanor worth 30 days in the county jug. What's a flag like that actually worth? Well, for example: Rainbow Waterproof Flag, 5' x 8' poly, $29.95 Iowa Code § 714.2(5).

  • Burning the flag? Assuming that, having been 'stolen', the flag was no longer attached to the church or other real property, third degree arson, an "Aggravated" Misdemeanor, max of 1 year. Iowa Code § 712.14

  • Hate Crime? Iowa Code § 716.6A bumps the underlying offense up one degree, from 3rd degree arson to 2nd degree Arson which is a class 'C' felony under Iowa Code § 712.3 with a maximum of 10 years.

  • Habitual Offender? Under Iowa Code § 902.8, that means he has to do actual "Hard Time" rather than merely probation or suspended sentence, minimum of three years before being eligible for parole:

  • 902.8 Minimum sentence-habitual offender.


An habitual offender is any person convicted of a class “C” or a class “D” felony,who has twice before been convicted of any felony in a court of this or any other state, or of the United States. An offense is a felony if, by the law under which the person is convicted, it is so classified at the time of the person’s conviction. A person sentenced as an habitual offender shall not be eligible for parole until the person has served the minimum sentence of confinement of three years.[S13,§4871-a,5091-a;C24,27,31,35,39,§13396,13400;C46,50,54,58,62,66,71,73,75,77,§747.1,747.5;C79,81,§902.8]


Okay, I can get to an ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM of 11 years, eligible for parole in three. I don't necessarily think THAT is inappropriate, given the priors and ESPECIALLY how he acted in front of the judge. Let him cool his heels for three years. If he gets his act together, fine. If he doesn't then the backstop is to do the whole 11, and I'm fine with that too.

I just don't see how to get to 16. EITHER there must be more than we're hearing, OR the judge has an 'agenda' of their own.


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ALL THAT SAID, and not that it has any bearing on the merits of THIS case, but... Just Sayin'... What in the Almighty name of Jesus H. Christ on Roller Skates is a CHURCH doing flying the "Gay Pride" flag????



I assume you mean 712.4 not 712.14. More than likely he was charged with second degree arson, a C felony which was then bumped to a B felony.

Doing some digging is hard since most articles are just copies from the AP. However one conservative site said he stole the flag, went to a strip club that looks like its front wall is all wood, set the flag on fire just outside, then went inside and told everyone he was going to burn the bar to the ground and talked about burning the flag outside. Later, when interviewed by the news he started preaching about how he was guilty, that he did it because God opposed homosexuality, talked about bringing this and that forth, and said some other nutty things. Seemed crazy to me, but apparently not crazy enough to get an insanity defense.

I do think the reckless use of fire crime is a bit of a crock though when paired with arson. That's like charging someone with both murder and assault.
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#22 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 06:19 PM

View PostModerator T, on 22 December 2019 - 05:00 PM, said:

I assume you mean 712.4 not 712.14. More than likely he was charged with second degree arson, a C felony which was then bumped to a B felony.

Doing some digging is hard since most articles are just copies from the AP. However one conservative site said he stole the flag, went to a strip club that looks like its front wall is all wood, set the flag on fire just outside, then went inside and told everyone he was going to burn the bar to the ground and talked about burning the flag outside. Later, when interviewed by the news he started preaching about how he was guilty, that he did it because God opposed homosexuality, talked about bringing this and that forth, and said some other nutty things. Seemed crazy to me, but apparently not crazy enough to get an insanity defense.

I do think the reckless use of fire crime is a bit of a crock though when paired with arson. That's like charging someone with both murder and assault.



Well, THAT certainly puts a different spin on it. WHY was this guy's Public Defender not dismissed on the spot? *I* could put up a better defense than this.

While I'd NEVER condone it myself, I could at least understand the anger against the "Gay Pride" flag and especially a (so-called) "CHURCH" flying it. But to then go to a strip club, which is pretty much OPPOSITE the concept of "gay", in which a person may in their own way contemplate the magnificence of the female form that the Almighty has set before us (Yeah, well, some are more 'magnificent' than others) and threaten to burn THAT down too?

"Your Honor, I offer 'Exhibit A' as to why my client needs a psychiatric exam". LOL.

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#23 User is offline   Moderator T 

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 06:57 PM

View PostDean Adam Smithee, on 22 December 2019 - 06:19 PM, said:

Well, THAT certainly puts a different spin on it. WHY was this guy's Public Defender not dismissed on the spot? *I* could put up a better defense than this.

While I'd NEVER condone it myself, I could at least understand the anger against the "Gay Pride" flag and especially a (so-called) "CHURCH" flying it. But to then go to a strip club, which is pretty much OPPOSITE the concept of "gay", in which a person may in their own way contemplate the magnificence of the female form that the Almighty has set before us (Yeah, well, some are more 'magnificent' than others) and threaten to burn THAT down too?

"Your Honor, I offer 'Exhibit A' as to why my client needs a psychiatric exam". LOL.


Despite every cop/lawyer show ever, the insanity defense is next to impossible to pull off successfully. You have to be able to prove that the defendant didn't know the difference between right and wrong at the time of the offense. That's a high bar. Just been loony toons while setting fires isn't enough. So all we're left with is a guy who admitted what he did, did similar things in the past, who promised he'd do similar things in the future.
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#24 User is offline   Taggart Transcontinental 

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 07:42 PM

View PostModerator T, on 22 December 2019 - 06:57 PM, said:

Despite every cop/lawyer show ever, the insanity defense is next to impossible to pull off successfully. You have to be able to prove that the defendant didn't know the difference between right and wrong at the time of the offense. That's a high bar. Just been loony toons while setting fires isn't enough. So all we're left with is a guy who admitted what he did, did similar things in the past, who promised he'd do similar things in the future.


That fits the description of almost every democrat running for office anywhere. They are entitled and therefore nothing they do is wrong. Isn't that the same thing?

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#25 User is offline   Buckwheat Jones 

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:51 PM

View PostLadybird, on 22 December 2019 - 01:10 AM, said:

If it's your own flag, you can do whatever you want with it. He stole the church's flag.


The story says he's an "habitual offender", but doesn't list the offenses.

Did he get 16 years for stealing the flag or 16 years forburning the flag?
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#26 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:54 PM

View PostModerator T, on 22 December 2019 - 06:57 PM, said:

Despite every cop/lawyer show ever, the insanity defense is next to impossible to pull off successfully. You have to be able to prove that the defendant didn't know the difference between right and wrong at the time of the offense. That's a high bar. Just been loony toons while setting fires isn't enough. So all we're left with is a guy who admitted what he did, did similar things in the past, who promised he'd do similar things in the future.


And Yet, It DOES work now and then. It's only invoked in about 1% of criminal trials. And, once invoked, is successful about 25% of the time. Okay, an overall success rate of 0.25%. But, still, it DOES work from time to time.

Most famously:

John Hinckley Jr, for shooting Pres Reagan. (Hey, I like Jodie Foster too. Can I start making a list of politicians?) LOL, I think I'd run out of paper.

Lorena Bobbit, for practicing unlicensed penisectomy.

Jared Loughner, for shooting congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

1/2 credit: Dan White, for shooting SF councilman Harvey Milk. The so-called "Twinkie Defense". Well, it ALMOST worked; he at least got it knocked down to manslaughter rather than murder.
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#27 User is offline   Moderator T 

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 11:55 PM

View PostDean Adam Smithee, on 22 December 2019 - 09:54 PM, said:

And Yet, It DOES work now and then. It's only invoked in about 1% of criminal trials. And, once invoked, is successful about 25% of the time. Okay, an overall success rate of 0.25%. But, still, it DOES work from time to time.

Most famously:

John Hinckley Jr, for shooting Pres Reagan. (Hey, I like Jodie Foster too. Can I start making a list of politicians?) LOL, I think I'd run out of paper.

Lorena Bobbit, for practicing unlicensed penisectomy.

Jared Loughner, for shooting congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

1/2 credit: Dan White, for shooting SF councilman Harvey Milk. The so-called "Twinkie Defense". Well, it ALMOST worked; he at least got it knocked down to manslaughter rather than murder.

Which is why I said next to impossible vs impossible. One of the reasons its so hard to pull off is due to law changes after the Hinckley case.
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#28 User is online   oki 

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 02:06 PM

Good thing it was only stealing a flag and setting it on fire and not something serious like a 2nd or 3rd Armed Robbery or Felon in Possession of a firearm. That probably would have gotten him less time.
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#29 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 02:45 PM

View PostModerator T, on 22 December 2019 - 11:55 PM, said:

Which is why I said next to impossible vs impossible. One of the reasons its so hard to pull off is due to law changes after the Hinckley case.


I like that post-Hinkley some states have added a "Guilty But Mentally Ill" (GBMI) verdict. It's not a "get out of jail free" card, but rather it recognizes that there were mitigating factors to an otherwise straight-up 'guilty' verdict. It still counts as a conviction, still goes on a person's record, but with the path to reform including treatment in addition to or as part of the incarceration.

Seems like this case might fit, but I don't think Iowa has such a verdict. Georgia has it and I think Michigan has it, and maybe only a handful of other states.
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#30 User is online   zurg 

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 04:31 PM

View PostDean Adam Smithee, on 23 December 2019 - 02:45 PM, said:

I like that post-Hinkley some states have added a "Guilty But Mentally Ill" (GBMI) verdict. It's not a "get out of jail free" card, but rather it recognizes that there were mitigating factors to an otherwise straight-up 'guilty' verdict. It still counts as a conviction, still goes on a person's record, but with the path to reform including treatment in addition to or as part of the incarceration.

Seems like this case might fit, but I don't think Iowa has such a verdict. Georgia has it and I think Michigan has it, and maybe only a handful of other states.

Sometimes it shouldn’t be a mitigating factor but an express path to the firing squad.
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#31 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 08:14 PM

View Postzurg, on 23 December 2019 - 04:31 PM, said:

Sometimes it shouldn’t be a mitigating factor but an express path to the firing squad.


I agree in SOME cases. But bear in mind that, as posted before, I have a VERY high bar for death penalty.

My line in the sand is the taking of another life. Take another life with deliberate, thoughtful, malice? Yes, of course, Death Penalty. Take another life because of "Insanity"? (Hearing voices, etc, as in "Son of Sam"?). As far as I'm concerned that's even MORE reason for the death penalty.

EtA:

Case in Point: David Berkowitz aka "Son of Sam", a serial killer who (allegedly) was hearing voices from his neighbor's dog "Sam". Since the late '70s has been serving 6 consecutive life sentences. Since '02 or so gets a pro-forma 'Parole hearing' every few years because NY law requires it. But the REALITY is, He's NEVER going to get parole. I know it, you know it, even HE knows it; He hasn't even bothered to show up at several parole hearings.

Likewise, Charles Manson, who also got the requisite parole hearings, before eventually dying in prison at age 83 in 2017.

Why do we even bother 'warehousing' lunatics like Berkowitz and Manson, KNOWING FULL WELL that there's not a snowball's chance in hades that they'd ever become productive free citizens again? Couldn't the money spent 'warehousing' them be put to better purpose?

Line in the sand: killing. As a farm boy in Indiana, I've more than once heard it said that if a farm dog so much as kills a chicken, they need to be put down immediately; once they've "tasted blood" they can never EVER be trusted again. Seems to apply to the Human animal as well.



THAT SAID, I DON'T believe this applies to the case at hand. The he 'stole' the flag and THEN burned it, rather than burning down the church with the flag still attached, tells me that, however mentally ill he may be, he's at least sane enough to respect Life and Property to a point. I say he's salvageable. Yes, of course, he shouldn't get off (Dred) Scott Free, let him cool his heels for a couple of years in the state's "Walled-Off Astoria" and then let's see. I'll keep an open mind.

This post has been edited by Dean Adam Smithee: 23 December 2019 - 09:07 PM

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#32 User is offline   Hieronymous 

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 04:08 AM

View PostLadybird, on 22 December 2019 - 01:10 AM, said:

If it's your own flag, you can do whatever you want with it. He stole the church's flag.


The story says he's an "habitual offender", but doesn't list the offenses.

A big portion of that time is for the hate crime, but yeah, the guy has a history too.
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