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'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:58 pm UTC
by DoctorSubmarine
http://www.sphere.com/nation/article/ba ... d/19292400

The father will be getting 90 days and the mother 20, for, and I quote, "filing a false report with emergency services", "falsely influencing authorities", and something about encouraging delinquent behavior in a minor. Also, this apparently happened.

"The parents were brought in for questioning, with Richard Heene feigning sleep during his lie-detector test and claiming his drowsiness was a diabetic reaction, Lewis said."

Okay, these two are morons. But is jail time too harsh a punishment, even if it is only 90 days?

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:00 am UTC
by BlackSails
Not at all. They wasted a ton of money, and lots of time.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:27 am UTC
by AJR
What is the point of jailing them? If the reason for prosecuting them was the amount of money that the search cost, then surely they should be made to pay back that money, rather than spending more public money locking them up (jailing people is expensive.)

Since they apparently did it in an attempt to become famous, the most significant part of the sentence is, for them, probably going to be the four years of probation during which they will not be allowed to make any money from this.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:58 am UTC
by Kyrn
AJR wrote:What is the point of jailing them? If the reason for prosecuting them was the amount of money that the search cost, then surely they should be made to pay back that money, rather than spending more public money locking them up (jailing people is expensive.)

Since they apparently did it in an attempt to become famous, the most significant part of the sentence is, for them, probably going to be the four years of probation during which they will not be allowed to make any money from this.


Not just unable to make money, but also unable to enjoy the fruits of said money. (which is the point of said money, isn't it?)

Also, it's not just about them, it's also a warning against others who might try similar stunts, that you will be punished if you do this.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:07 am UTC
by Lewton
prison seems a bit harsh, especially 90 days. 10 days each, or something like that would be more than enough
A huge fine would be way more fitting

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:14 am UTC
by J the Ninja
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8429080.stm

They apparently have to pay back the rescue costs on top of this. I'm not sure they really needed to give them jail time either, especially considering they had to pay for the rescue. Isn't that enough? Or is this more along the lines of "They can't pay, so we will have to do SOMETHING else. Meh, jail 'em"

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:26 am UTC
by TaintedDeity
I seem to recall hearing that this couple frequently seek attention and try to appear scandalous.
A stinit in jail may well convince them to stop it.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:30 am UTC
by Kyrn
It's not just about rescue costs. There are 4 potential reasons for any punishment (in general, though there is more for a judgment, but not going into that):
1) To make a point. (token punishment)
2) To recoup losses. (equal punishment)
3) To serve as a warning. (greater punishment)
4) To keep a person out of society. (life/death sentence)
[EDIT] Neglected a few. Bah, just refer to Wikipedia:
5) To rehabilitate the offender. (varies depending on severity of offense)
6) For retribution. (greater punishment)
[/EDIT]

The majority of punishments generally falls under point 3.

Not to mention you can't pay back time.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:47 am UTC
by SummerGlauFan
Yeah, these people wasted quite a bit of money from quite a few law enforcement and emergency service agencies. In addition to paying back the money, jail time (and the associated embarrassment, which I believe is even more important to them) should go a ways towards convincing them to knock it out.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:23 am UTC
by scrovak
Summer said it best. Why wouldn't you prosecute them anyway, they committed a crime. Then profitted from that crime. Therefor, they should serve the just sentence.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:20 pm UTC
by AJR
I'm not saying they shouldn't have been prosecuted, only that I'm not convinced that jail is the appropriate sentence. It doesn't help recover the costs of the search, it doesn't stop them (trying to) get publicity for themselves via the hoax (although the restrictions associated with the probation will), and short jail terms are notoriously useless, and even counterproductive, at rehabilitation - generally speaking there is not enough time to do much effective work with the offender, but there is enough time to make things harder for them once released. (Although this last point may not apply so much in this case - they will be allowed out to go to work during the day, for example.)

Which, ignoring retributive sentencing because the criminal justice system should be about justice, not retribution, leaves deterrence. And it seems to me that "we'll bankrupt you (or take all your disposable income) recovering the costs of your hoax, and won't let you profit off of it" is a pretty effective deterrent.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:44 pm UTC
by scrovak
AJR wrote:I'm not saying they shouldn't have been prosecuted, only that I'm not convinced that jail is the appropriate sentence. It doesn't help recover the costs of the search, it doesn't stop them (trying to) get publicity for themselves via the hoax (although the restrictions associated with the probation will), and short jail terms are notoriously useless, and even counterproductive, at rehabilitation - generally speaking there is not enough time to do much effective work with the offender, but there is enough time to make things harder for them once released. (Although this last point may not apply so much in this case - they will be allowed out to go to work during the day, for example.)

Which, ignoring retributive sentencing because the criminal justice system should be about justice, not retribution, leaves deterrence. And it seems to me that "we'll bankrupt you (or take all your disposable income) recovering the costs of your hoax, and won't let you profit off of it" is a pretty effective deterrent.

But I'm pretty sure I read they're doing that last part, too

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:01 pm UTC
by AJR
Yes, I know. My point is that I don't see any reason to jail them as well as doing that. The reason for jailing them seems to me to be "look, we're punishing them, see?", which I don't think is a useful basis for running a criminal justice system. But then, I think it's hard to justify jailing any non-violent offender.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:11 pm UTC
by Freakish
AJR wrote:Yes, I know. My point is that I don't see any reason to jail them as well as doing that. The reason for jailing them seems to me to be "look, we're punishing them, see?", which I don't think is a useful basis for running a criminal justice system. But then, I think it's hard to justify jailing any non-violent offender.


You skew your position when you don't clarify that you have a problem with the whole justice system not just this one situation. When you just say that you don't believe they should be jailed it sounds like your saying that they deserve special treatment.

Relative to current laws I believe they should be jailed.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:35 pm UTC
by DoctorSubmarine
Freakish wrote:
AJR wrote:Yes, I know. My point is that I don't see any reason to jail them as well as doing that. The reason for jailing them seems to me to be "look, we're punishing them, see?", which I don't think is a useful basis for running a criminal justice system. But then, I think it's hard to justify jailing any non-violent offender.


You skew your position when you don't clarify that you have a problem with the whole justice system not just this one situation. When you just say that you don't believe they should be jailed it sounds like your saying that they deserve special treatment.

Relative to current laws I believe they should be jailed.


I'm still not sure. If the point of this adventure was to make money, then wouldn't a hefty fine be more appropriate? I know that they can't make any money from it for 4 months or something, but I stand by my point.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:50 pm UTC
by Freakish
DoctorSubmarine wrote:
Freakish wrote:
AJR wrote:Yes, I know. My point is that I don't see any reason to jail them as well as doing that. The reason for jailing them seems to me to be "look, we're punishing them, see?", which I don't think is a useful basis for running a criminal justice system. But then, I think it's hard to justify jailing any non-violent offender.


You skew your position when you don't clarify that you have a problem with the whole justice system not just this one situation. When you just say that you don't believe they should be jailed it sounds like your saying that they deserve special treatment.

Relative to current laws I believe they should be jailed.


I'm still not sure. If the point of this adventure was to make money, then wouldn't a hefty fine be more appropriate? I know that they can't make any money from it for 4 months or something, but I stand by my point.


Why would a fine be more appropriate? They have to pay back the money, and they're going to jail. You need jail as a deterrent at this point imo otherwise you're leaving the door open for anyone who's willing to foot the bill.

Re: 'Balloon Boy' parents sentenced to jail

Posted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:11 am UTC
by scrovak
Freakish wrote:
DoctorSubmarine wrote:
Freakish wrote:
AJR wrote:Yes, I know. My point is that I don't see any reason to jail them as well as doing that. The reason for jailing them seems to me to be "look, we're punishing them, see?", which I don't think is a useful basis for running a criminal justice system. But then, I think it's hard to justify jailing any non-violent offender.


You skew your position when you don't clarify that you have a problem with the whole justice system not just this one situation. When you just say that you don't believe they should be jailed it sounds like your saying that they deserve special treatment.

Relative to current laws I believe they should be jailed.


I'm still not sure. If the point of this adventure was to make money, then wouldn't a hefty fine be more appropriate? I know that they can't make any money from it for 4 months or something, but I stand by my point.


Why would a fine be more appropriate? They have to pay back the money, and they're going to jail. You need jail as a deterrent at this point imo otherwise you're leaving the door open for anyone who's willing to foot the bill.


Right. Because forcing them to pay back the money would be on the same level as excusing those who steal, shoplift, or rob, as long as they return what they took. Allowing them freedom as long as they pay the cost of their little charade seems to me like excusing an embezzler from punishment as long as he forked over the money to those he swindled, no harm no foul.