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Who is Too Important for Prison?
March 5, 2005 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Former University of Pennsylvania professor and head of Penn's Head Injury Research Center Tracy McIntosh, a Fulbright scholar, and renowned researcher plead no contest in December to possession of a controlled substance and the sexual assault of a 25 year-old Penn student. Judge Rayford Means sentenced him to a year of house arrest and 12 years' probation, as the Judge had "factored in McIntosh's important work with stroke victims and brain injuries."

Tracy McIntosh is too important for prison.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood (68 comments total)

 
For Philly.com:
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posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:44 PM on March 5, 2005


Tracy McIntosh is too important for prison.

...and Martha Stewart isn't. Proving there is still justice in America.

Seriously, though, isn't this just more of the same? In general, white people in contrast with black people are too important for prison. Or so it would seem. Celebrities, too. They're very important.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:01 PM on March 5, 2005


Martha Stewart is white.
posted by quonsar at 9:09 PM on March 5, 2005


Celebrities, too.

it remains to be seen about white black celebrities.

posted by quonsar at 9:11 PM on March 5, 2005


"Martha Stewart is white."

Yeah, but she's obnoxious. That's why the bitch had to go to the Big House.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:13 PM on March 5, 2005


but... why are you still free?
posted by quonsar at 9:14 PM on March 5, 2005


We're at a crossroads in sentencing reform, since the Supreme Court has held that the federal sentencing guidelines and many state sentencing guideline schemes are unconstitutional. See United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005); Blakely v. Washington, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004). Professor Doug Berman's sentencing blog is a must-read for anyone interested in this issue.

Simply put, there is no truly fair way to sentence someone for a crime. If you mandate that all sentences are equal, you treat the nonrepentant drug boss the same as the kid who made a bad mistake. If you leave it wide open to court discretion, you introduce the possibility of racial imbalance and inherent bias. The middle ground may be to trust judges to do the right thing and protest the truly egregious cases.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:18 PM on March 5, 2005


"but... why are you still free?"

Who said I was? A word of advice, quonsar: you got nothin' comin' to you. (Heh, you look funny holding your pants up like that.) Is it true that you're angry modem's bitch?

Ay, Mikey! What up, dog?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:29 PM on March 5, 2005


This may seem to be a futile point, but the fact that McIntosh has been placed on probation does not mean that 'it's over' for him. It means that for the next twelve years his every move will be watched by PA's DOC and if he reoffends, or violates the terms of his probation, he could still be sentenced to the maximum penalty for the crime he plead to. The fact that he's a sex offender will more than likely attract him further attention and scrutiny by his supervisors.

This post attacks the idea that first time offenders with significant societal contributions should be spared 'hard time' and should be given a chance to rehabilitate. OMFG How dare we treat convicts like people that need help! The DA threw out accusations of a pattern of abuse, but apparently McIntosh's actions have not been serious enough to bring charges in those cases. What benefit then, does society see in confining him for the guilt attributed by "facts" alleged in an ADA's sentencing argument?

What would make you happy? A strict, no deviation, bright line sentencing requirement for each crime?
posted by greasy_skillet at 9:29 PM on March 5, 2005


Reminds me of Bill Janklow (former Governor of S.D.), who even with a history of reckless driving, received 100 days in jail for vehicular manslaughter after speeding, running a stopsign and killing a motorcyclist.
posted by Arch Stanton at 9:32 PM on March 5, 2005


OMFG How dare you treat the convict like the victim.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:39 PM on March 5, 2005


greasy_skillet: Would you perceive this case the same way if your mother, sister, daughter, wife, girlfriend was the victim?

Seriously, what does this say to the young woman who was sexually assaulted? "Hey, your rapist does other things too and they are good. Yeah, what he did to you was bad, but it does not diminish his standing or reputation in our eyes. Just to show you we care about your feelings, here's this token punishment Now run along."
posted by sillygit at 9:41 PM on March 5, 2005


An offbeat question borne of idle curiosity: can you buy/rent a new house while on house arrest? Also, what are the general rules? Martha Stewart has a 150-acre estate, it seems. Can she move all around, or is it a house arrest?
posted by Gyan at 10:08 PM on March 5, 2005


(via)
posted by Space Coyote at 10:09 PM on March 5, 2005


"Judge, all the world's my home."

Malkin, eh? What kind of music is it that encourages people to cut Michelle Malkin? 'Cause I'd buy some of that.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:14 PM on March 5, 2005


sillygit: I'm not apologizing for his admitted crimes and yes, thank you, I am capable of empathy and emotion. Criminal law is prefaced on the notion that certain actions are against the public, as well as the individual. To allow victims to be the sole arbiter of punishment contravenes this notion and is unfair.

Steve_at_Linnwood: Yes, I do believe that individuals within the correctional system can be victimized and denied human rights.
posted by greasy_skillet at 10:21 PM on March 5, 2005


What if the scientist who will cure cancer is a pedofile?
posted by Balisong at 10:56 PM on March 5, 2005


Is it wrong to take civic accomplishments into account? Premeditation makes this crime much more serious, even heinous.

But I guess my question is, do we have too much pride to accept any good this guy does? Maybe it's not pride, it could be honor; does honor prevent us?

Of course, the next question is, how would I feel about his subsequent research if I were confined to a wheel chair, or some such. Is there any honor in having someone wipe one's ass? These are tough questions indeed.

Of course, there have been many times in the past where we have made the exception. A good example being the use of unethical medical research done by the Nazis, or even the employment of former Nazi's by the CIA, as we recently found out to be the case. These were war criminals and we helped them escape justice.

Maybe the judge should have imprisoned him in his lab, and ordered him to slave for the benefit of humanity.
posted by kuatto at 10:57 PM on March 5, 2005


What if instead of sexual assault, you had a researcher who'd committed crimes against humanity including terror raids resulting in the mass killing of civilians, and the use of slave labor? But what if he could build military equipment potentially necessary to preserve your nation's freedom? And make your country the first to put a man on the moon?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you Dr. Wernher von Braun of Peenemünde, Grossdeutschland, and Huntsville Alabama USA!

Brought to you by Operation Paperclip.


As far as the matter at hand, it's a rigorously Utilitarian decision: the judge apparently believes that the sum total of happiness in society will be increased with McIntosh continuing to improve the lives of brain injury victims.

That is, McIntosh's greater happiness with a more lenient sentence plus the happiness of all the brain injury victims and those who care about them or deponed on them who will be directly or indirectly affected by McIntosh's research over the next eleven years outweighs the magnitude of the victim's unhappiness plus potential unhappiness of future victims times the likelihood of McIntosh's recidivism.

Whether you accept the Utilitarian moral calculus is, of course, another question.

If you reject this however, see how you feel about upping the ante: what if you knew that the person being sentenced had a 50% likelihood of discovering, if he was not imprisoned, a way to double human life expectancy? Would you still want to imprison him?

Or, conversely, would you insist on imprisoning that hypothetical person, even if he'd committed no crimes, if he tried to quit medical research to take up, say, portrait painting? If you say you'd never agree to imprisoning someone to force them to do a job that aids society, are you also against a military draft?

As far as McIntosh's alleged other victims: regardless of what the DA says, those alleged crimes weren't proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, and therefore shouldn't factor into the sentencing. Which I believe was the gist of a recent Supreme Court decision.
posted by orthogonality at 11:19 PM on March 5, 2005


People are pissed on campus about this.
posted by moooshy at 11:44 PM on March 5, 2005


He drugged her and raped her; he should go to jail.
posted by taz at 11:56 PM on March 5, 2005


Umm, this was a plea bargin, right? Maybe the prosecution just didn't have a very strong case...
posted by kickingtheground at 11:59 PM on March 5, 2005




In Canada, this individual would be looking at a conditional sentence. Which is to say, no sentence at all. And I support that, entirely. First offenses at a late age, unless truly monstrous, should be essentially ignored as a mistake. If recidivism rates are negligible, so should be the punishment.
posted by mek at 12:42 AM on March 6, 2005


orthogonality: If you reject this however, see how you feel about upping the ante: what if you knew that the person being sentenced had a 50% likelihood of discovering, if he was not imprisoned, a way to double human life expectancy? Would you still want to imprison him?

No, in that case we should probably shoot him right away. Good god, a life expectancy of 140-150 years? What a terrible thought.
posted by sour cream at 1:07 AM on March 6, 2005


Although it might prove to be a boon for the real estate market...
But I can't even imagine what that would do to pensions and healthcare.
posted by sour cream at 1:09 AM on March 6, 2005


He drugged her and raped her; he should go to jail.

Yes. Maybe. No. He should be prevented from repeating his crime and punished sufficiently for the first crime.

But more crimes should be punished with ankle bracelets and house arrest. These bracelets, they should transmit (not vibrate), so, with a handy little receiver on your key chain, you would always know when you're close to a bracelet and what the crime was (including white-collar crimes and so on).

The cost of punishment would go way down, the criminal would have a chance to earn a living, and repeat offenses would go way down because you (and everyone else) would always know who you were dealing with literally as soon as he walked in the door.

I'm not sure the average rapist would live long on the average street (we know how self-policing goes), but maybe he'd rather take that chance than the chance he'd get in prison, and maybe interesting patterns would emerge, like all rapists essentially being forced for self-protection to move to the same town, where everyone including the sheriff is a rapist. I bet this is one of the eventual consequences of those public lists of sex offenders -- they will congregate where they are treated best. Like a leper colony. What better punishment for a rapist than exile to Rapist Town? Your barber's a rapist. Your bartender is a rapist. Your boss is a rapist. The entire staff at McDonalds is a mix of various kinds of sex offenders. The librarian is a rapist. Your neighbors all are rapists. And there is no one in town you'd like to rape unless you like to rape rapists. But then a lynch mob of rapists who don't like rapists who rape rapists probably would come and get you if the rapist-police didn't get you first. Otherwise, though, it's a town, with jobs and so on. They make things. They sell things. They earn money. They get old, retire, and die.

In any case, they would be their own problems from then on. The father of the victim in the current story said, "This is a dangerous man... who really needs to be taken out of society and kept a close watch on." Generally, bracelets and restricted travel (enforced by the government or shaped by social pressure) would do the job and would be cheaper and better for society than prisons are.
posted by pracowity at 2:14 AM on March 6, 2005


Maybe the judge should have imprisoned him in his lab, and ordered him to slave for the benefit of humanity.

This is good. Give him a cot and a hot plate and tell him he can come out in about five years.
posted by fixedgear at 2:53 AM on March 6, 2005


Yes, I can see across the board reforms (and pracowity, you made me laugh!), but the idea of certain privileged people getting preferential treatment sticks in my craw, and this man is someone who seems to feel that he is entitled to do whatever he wants... "above the law"... and so he is, evidently. There is some young man languishing in jail on a lesser charge, who is more brilliant than this criminal, but who never had the money or opportunity to develop his talent, and for some reason, no judge has seen fit to customize his sentencing for the greater good of humanity.
posted by taz at 3:24 AM on March 6, 2005


There are a few odd things about the case the prosecution made; for example, the fact that according to the prosecution's case scenario the girl was heavily intoxicated and drugged, and still managed to walk to the professor's office from a bar, and that after being raped there she went to the bathroom and then came back, by herself, and was then raped again.

I have no idea what might have actually happened, but this sequence of events doesn't make sense to me. He may very well have raped this girl. I doubt he drugged her, though. Sodium pentobarbital is a barbiturate, technically, but it's usually used to euthanize animals. I'm not sure someone who works with humans would even have access to it.
posted by clockzero at 3:43 AM on March 6, 2005


the judge apparently believes that the sum total of happiness in society will be increased with McIntosh continuing to improve the lives of brain injury victims.

By this logic, how can any judge be certain any number of those currently incarcerated weren't on the threshold of some life-saving, good-for-humanity discoveries before they commited their special crime? My experience in court has shown that few judges take the time to find out anything about a persons life beyond the charges against them. Obviously this mans reputation proceeded him, or he had a persistant attorney that made certain his accomplishments were well known to this judge. But should it change anything? Maybe. But then shouldn't that require all are treated thusly and works considered? This smells of yet another prominent white man receiving favor over another less fortunate committing like crimes, IMHO.
posted by LouReedsSon at 4:17 AM on March 6, 2005


i'd like to throw out the thought that no one's irreplacable, including this guy ...
posted by pyramid termite at 4:38 AM on March 6, 2005


First offenses at a late age, unless truly monstrous, should be essentially ignored as a mistake.

At the request of his old friend who wants him to help his niece, McIntosh takes the young woman out for dinner, drugs her (or plies her with drinks to the point where she vomits at the table), tells her he is taking her to get medical help, leads her back to his office instead, and rapes her, repeatedly, while she drifts in and out of consciousness. What, exactly, isn't monstrous about that?

She's a woman at the start of her academic career, directed by her unwitting uncle to a dominant, far older figure on campus as a source of guidance. She must then summon the courage to report his crime against her. According to their own university's health center, 84% of US rape victims don't. She doesn't either, at first. From taz's link:

The victim, now enrolled in Penn's veterinary program, went to police in November 2002 after officials at Penn dismissed her complaint, saying they could not substantiate her allegation, prosecutors said.

And as taz's link further reveals, the university did not disclose, either to her or to prosecutors later, that in the same month harassment complaints had been filed against McIntosh. Complaints that were never fully investigated, of course, since he weasled out with a no contest plea, claiming the process was "corrupt." It is worth noting that for all the hysteria that false claims of sexual harassment generate on campuses and workplaces, as with rape, most women who are harassed do not report it. Common sense also dictates that the more powerful and well connected the man is, the less likely he'll be among those accused.

It is hard to imagine a highly intelligent rapist making the decisions McIntosh made here: brutally exploiting an old, valuable relationship, taking his victim to a highly public place where she became very visibly ill, and doing these things to a student only a few weeks after being accused of harassment at his university workplace. What could have emboldened him to be so reckless and ultimately self-destructive? Here's a guess: after spending many years hurting women without punishment, he was so confident he can get away with anything that he tried to do just that. And, apparently, he was correct. He got away with quitting his job instead of being shitcanned, and he got away with brutalizing his old friend's niece, and his punishment is experience the comforts of home with his wife and daughters.

This is not a "mistake," or as McIntosh himself called it in his latest no contest plea, "inappropriate actions." This is not an academic exercise in balancing societal goods. This is a premeditated, callous crime. She will never be free of it, but after a few years of hanging around the house, he will. And it is not proportional, and it is not justice.
posted by melissa may at 5:02 AM on March 6, 2005


From the article:
"Inside the office, Smith said, McIntosh sexually assaulted the victim, who was "in and out of consciousness."
The victim walked down the hall to vomit in the bathroom and was sexually assaulted again upon her return, Smith said."


So she got raped, had a puke and went back for some more rape?

Or am I misunderstanding something?
posted by spazzm at 5:20 AM on March 6, 2005


What melissa said.
posted by dead_ at 5:28 AM on March 6, 2005


I mean, come on - doesn't that sound at least a little suspicious the way it's presented?
posted by spazzm at 5:32 AM on March 6, 2005


No matter what his past contributions were, at 52 he is unlikely to contribute any revolutionary new science to the literature. Further, 25 researchers work under him. No doubt he has some positive effect, but he is also a rapist, with all the psychological abuse of power issues which that implies.

I suppose these are the types of holes that appear in all utilitarian arguments, which might explain why I am not a utilitarian...

Personally, I am definitely not in favour of stiff mandatory sentencing. However, in this case, it looks as if the judge thought "there but for the grace of god go I", which is pretty sickening.
posted by Chuckles at 5:58 AM on March 6, 2005


doesn't that sound at least a little suspicious

No.
posted by flashboy at 6:00 AM on March 6, 2005


Ack, I take it back, I shouldn't besmirch the judge... That thought came out of a whole bunch of other stuff I was thinking, and didn't post...
posted by Chuckles at 6:11 AM on March 6, 2005


Sodium pentobarbital is a barbiturate, technically, but it's usually used to euthanize animals. I'm not sure someone who works with humans would even have access to it.

From this article:

"...had also been accused of drugging the victim with Nembutal, a hypnotic sedative. Significant amounts of the drug had been missing from the professor's lab at the time. However, McIntosh has always denied the allegation. Moreover, an audit conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration found that the drug was not used for anything other than its intended research purpose."


the Judge had "factored in McIntosh's important work with stroke victims and brain injuries."

Well, since he has resigned his research position, he won't be providing any more medical help in those areas. So, can we jail him now?
posted by Bort at 6:47 AM on March 6, 2005


So she got raped, had a puke and went back for some more rape?

Well, maybe the room she was raped in was between the bathroom and the door to her escape? I certainly hope you aren't going to suggest that she was somehow willing to be raped again because she didn't dive out the bathroom window. (what floor was this place on, anyway?)

Oh yeah, and what melissa may said.
posted by beth at 7:40 AM on March 6, 2005


Consequences.

Good on her for reporting it to the police. You can see why most girls don't bother, the system is not very good at securing sentences for rapists. In the UK I think about 10% of cases result in custodial sentences. That is 10% of the 1-10% of rapes that are reported to the police.

Why would someone in his position feel the need to drug and rape a young woman? Work not challenging enough? Life not interesting enough?
Plenty of men do it, they must be very unhappy and 'emotionally challenged', IMHO. Impotent, lonely and incabable of expressing such emotions / cod psychology.

He denies drugging her, so he thought he was simply raping a woman incapacitated by alcohol he had bought her. That's not drugging then? I am sure he has used this modus operandi in the past.

spazzm - Maybe she left her hand bag (containing her house keys) in the room and went back. Maybe her shoes. Maybe she thought he would stop raping her.

I don't think that mandatory sentences have much to offer. As usual, it is the culture of the society that need to be examined.

Can you imagine saying 'I was raped' in polite company?
But you'd say 'I was mugged', 'my house was robbed', 'I shot a man', 'I was run over' or 'my car was stolen'.
posted by asok at 7:54 AM on March 6, 2005


Seriously, what does this say to the young woman who was sexually assaulted? ... Just to show you we care about your feelings, here's this token punishment Now run along."
posted by sillygit at 12:41 AM


Considering the fact that most rapes don't get reported, that the rapes that do get reported don't always make it to trial and those that do make it to trial don't always end in conviction, I, for one, would be happy with some sort of punishment. At least his victim can take satisfaction in knowing that he has been nationally branded as a rapist, and she was spared the ordeal of a trial.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:09 AM on March 6, 2005


Maybe she thought he would stop raping her.

posted by asok at 10:54 AM


I think you are onto something there. I can only imagine myself in her place, but if he spoke to her in a normal tone, reassured her he had never done this sort of thing before, blah, blah, blah, she might be so shocked by what happened that she assumed it was a one time only event. That, OK, he desired her and now he got it out of his system. "Let me drive you home."

I blame Viagra.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:17 AM on March 6, 2005


Gyan: An offbeat question borne of idle curiosity: can you buy/rent a new house while on house arrest? Also, what are the general rules? Martha Stewart has a 150-acre estate, it seems. Can she move all around, or is it a house arrest?

I can tell you how it works in Canada. You have to wear a transmitter around your ankle that communicates with a base station attached to your phone line. The the base station polls the transmitter at regular intervals and if it can't contact the bracelet it alerts your case officer. If you were to move you'd have your case officer transfer the base station to the new location. Finding a new place to live would be challenging though as you wouldn't be allowed to go looking.

Generally those on house arrest are permitted to be away from their house to go to work and shop for food. So for example a person who works from 9-5 with a 30 minute commute would be allowed to be away from their house M-F from 8:15-5:45 for work and from 10-2 on Saturday to go shopping/banking/bill paying. If you have been ordered to do community service or attend councilling sessions or 12 step meetings you'll be given time for that as well. A person who has livestock like Martha does will also be given time to feed and care for the animals. Also you can go off monitoring for limited periods of time with your case officer's approval. Usually allowed if you need to go to a doctors appointment or funeral, that kind of thing.

The range of the transmitters is a couple hundred feet. This gives most people, even those with gargantuan McMansions full range of their house plus their yard. Those in more modest domiciles can even visit the neighbours. The scene in _2 Fast 2 Furious_ is fairly realistic if pushing the limits to the max.

There are other things that are done to ensure compliance. The base station is called by the monitor centre at irregular intervals to make sure it's still connected. Arrestees are not permitted to have call forwarding features enable on their phone line. They aren't allowed to put extensions on the phone line or move the base station. Case officers perform physical spot checks. The penalty for been caught is having to serve out the rest of your sentence in actual prison so most people follow the rules and generally house arrest is only offered to those they think will obey the rules.
posted by Mitheral at 8:38 AM on March 6, 2005


So she got raped, had a puke and went back for some more rape?

She was just drugged and raped. How rationally to you expect her to act?
posted by dirigibleman at 9:16 AM on March 6, 2005


Actually Space Coyote, via Volokh

There you go making assumptions, again.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:31 AM on March 6, 2005


Fuck the judge, fuck McIntosh, and fuck the fucking system that lets sentences like this occur. Rape is horrible and life-altering, and one year of house arrest and twelve years of probation don't even begin to constitute a fair punishment. That woman will have to bear the memory of her first rape for the rest of her life, to which she can add being raped by the school and then by the law, as well. This judge has sent the message that some people are too good for prison, and I don't see any way that this can be construed as a good thing.
posted by LiliaNic at 9:42 AM on March 6, 2005


This judge has sent the message that some people are too good for prison, and I don't see any way that this can be construed as a good thing.

Agreed. One of the central principles of justice is that no one is above the law. Wealth, notoriety, even brilliance can not be made into a liscence to commit criminal acts.
posted by jonmc at 9:59 AM on March 6, 2005


This was not a rape prosecution, it was sexual assault. Very, very different. RTFA. Even if YOU think it was rape, it is clear that there was not enough evidence to convict the man of it. Thus his sentence will reflect the lesser charge.

melissa, its telling that you argue from the premise that this man did a stupid, obviously unplanned thing, and conclude that, essentially, hes a psychopath. I would be much more worried about the highly intelligent rapist you hypothesize than this guy. At any rate, this guy has no priors other than the freeperesque smears of the possibility of previous accusations which werent, and the charge was not rape, but assault. Finally, whatever punishment the judge deals will pale in comparison to his now ruined career and reputation.
posted by mek at 10:13 AM on March 6, 2005


Finally, whatever punishment the judge deals will pale in comparison to his now ruined career and reputation.

Boo. Fucking. Hoo.
posted by jonmc at 10:22 AM on March 6, 2005


First offenses at a late age, unless truly monstrous, should be essentially ignored as a mistake.

whatever punishment the judge deals will pale in comparison to his now ruined career and reputation.

the fact that McIntosh has been placed on probation does not mean that 'it's over' for him...for the next twelve years his every move will be watched by PA's DOC ... The fact that he's a sex offender will more than likely attract him further attention and scrutiny by his supervisors...
OMFG How dare we treat convicts like people that need help!


I will never cease to be amazed at the inability of some people to put themselves in the place of the *victim.* Is it that some men simply cannot understand the terror, the shock, all the emotions a rape victim will have to deal with - how her life has been forever altered.
And we're supposed to feel sorry for HIM?
To think it's punishment to never spend a day in jail after your conviction, to get to go to your own home, with your TV and computer and bed and refrigerator and phone and everything? To still be able to go to work and shop, and perhaps as the person above noted, even visit your neighbor's house?
So basically his punishment is that he doesn't get to go to bars and concerts and baseball games?
What jonmc said.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:59 AM on March 6, 2005


Are we to believe that this attack was so unplanned that he took her back to his office, rather than to where she was staying or to a hospital, and then assaulted her more than once? Even if the first assault was not what he had initially intended, a belief that seems naive at best and absolutely moronic at worst, why did it happen more than once? This guy did a despicable thing, and I don't see how one bloody year of house arrest followed by probation even begins to amount to the tremendous societal debt this guy has racked up.

I don't care about the loss of his reputation, or standing in the eyes of the world; the man is scum, and deserves to spend time behind bars with the rest of the criminals.
posted by LiliaNic at 11:20 AM on March 6, 2005


Mitheral - How do they handle people who have no landline? Do they force you to acquire one solely to attach to the monitor station, or do they provide one for you?

Not that I'm planning to be sentenced to house arrest in Canada.. or anywhere else... ahem.
posted by socratic at 11:40 AM on March 6, 2005


I'd imagine they'd require you to have a landline installed at your expense. Most house arrest is an option the inmate peruses. If you don't have a home or a phone line you don't qualify. Also if the nature of your crime contraindicates house arrest you won't get it.
posted by Mitheral at 12:28 PM on March 6, 2005


Loss of reputation? You say it like it's a bad thing that people find out he's a monster. Y'know, the victim suffers a loss of reputation, too--she's labeled a slut, and all too often people prefer to blame her and ask her why she "put herself in that situation". "Why did you go back a second time? Oh, you were drugged and confused? A likely excuse. You probably wanted to be raped, right?" "Why are you complaining about this? Don't you know all the good things this man has done? Isn't he wonderful? You're so selfish for attacking him and ruining his reputation!"

And, of course, along with her loss of reputation comes lifelong psychological scars and years of trauma counseling. She may never be able to heal from this experience. But no, no, let's feel sorry for that poor ol' man who's reputation was ruined just because he made the "mistake" of luring a young woman back to his office and assaulting her.

Mek, do ya actually reread your arguments and think "Holy shit, I sure am writing some good stuff today"? I mean, do they actually seem reasonable and humane to you?
posted by schroedinger at 12:35 PM on March 6, 2005


mek, it was a rape prosecution. It's very common for someone to plead to a lesser included offense. And there are plenty of reasons to allow a plea other than a weak case by the prosecution, like maybe a rape victim not wanting to relive the entire experience in the freaking courtroom. Maybe she thought the typical 5-11 year sentence for the lesser offense was sufficient punishment.

BTW, some states (although not Penn.) now do not have separate "rape" prosecutions--everything is called sexual assualt, albeit in varying degrees. Please don't think something's not a violent rape just because it's not labelled as such by the legal system.
posted by amber_dale at 12:38 PM on March 6, 2005


So, I'm gettin' the idea from all the hypothesizing going on here that not a damn one of us really knows what happened (either in court or offices) but we're all up for gettin' our panties in a bunch anyway? Fine, pass the pitchfork.
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:55 PM on March 6, 2005


Free Torch with every Pitchfork purchase!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:03 PM on March 6, 2005


Fact: McIntosh pleaded guilty to sexual assualt.

Fact: McIntosh's victim pleaded for the judge to sentence the good prof to jail time.

Fact: He received one year of house arrest and twelve of probation.

Fact: The judge took into account McIntosh's previous work and used it as a mitigating factor in determining a sentence.

What exactly are you finding unclear, Wulfar!?
posted by LiliaNic at 1:07 PM on March 6, 2005


Finally, whatever punishment the judge deals will pale in comparison to his now ruined career and reputation.

So are you saying that the judicial system should also take into account how badly one feels about getting caught for an ugly crime and how it affects him when they decide the sentencing?

For instance:

standard sentence= 12 years
wife leaves the convicted- minus 4 year
daughter disowns him- minus 5 years
loses his standing in the community- minus 3 years
equals:
prison sentence negated, probation for the poor guy because he has suffered so much already
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:23 PM on March 6, 2005


LiliaNic, you mistake my meaning. It's not about what I find unclear; it's about what is patently clear. I've never been at all comfortable with judging people in the court of public opinion, and that is indeed what's happening here, and elsewhere on the internets. But please enjoy the outrage. If nothing else, it makes for an interesting read.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:26 PM on March 6, 2005


Actually Space Coyote, via Volokh

I notice every blog entry I find on this story all contains the phrase "too important for prison", which doesn't appear in the philly.com article. Anyway, volokh got it from

Your links links to this post with the headline "rapist too important for prison", which links to Malkin.

There you go making assumptions, again.

You're right, I assumed you were a second-degree propagator instead of a 3rd or 4th. My bad.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:05 PM on March 6, 2005


This is why we have judges instead of lynch mobs.
posted by mek at 5:41 PM on March 6, 2005


I notice every blog entry I find on this story all contains the phrase "too important for prison"

The Daily News broke the story with its page-one headline "He's Too Important For Jail." The next day, the DA vowed to try to have him resentenced, and said "No one is too important for prison." So whether the phrase appears in all the follow-up articles or not, and whichever bloggers have picked it up, it certainly didn't originate with Malkin.
posted by soyjoy at 8:23 PM on March 6, 2005


Not much does, soyjoy.
posted by breezeway at 7:54 AM on March 7, 2005


Its a disturbing sentiment, this too important for prison phrase. Should all individuals receive the same punishment for the same crime, regardless of their circumstances, history, and likely recidivism rate? Furthermore, in determining recidivism, what factors are appropriate to consider or not? If a judge acknowledges that a homeless drug addict is extremely likely to steal again, and that say, the mother of four is much less likely - is giving the mother a lesser sentence claiming she is too important for prison?
posted by mek at 8:02 AM on March 7, 2005


There's a difference between basing a sentence on future dangerousness or likelihood of recidivism and basing it on past actions that do not bear on those issues. Whether he does great work for brain injury patients is not indicative of whether he will rape again.
posted by amber_dale at 8:26 AM on March 7, 2005


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