Steal a Snickers bar ---> Get 16 years in jail
April 7, 2000 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Steal a Snickers bar ---> Get 16 years in jail This Texan appears to be extremely unfortunate, even when you read his past criminal record. How can stealing a Snickers equate to 16 years in prison? However, the audacious comment from the assistant attorney is worth noting:
"If it was a Milky Way, we probably wouldn't have even tried him on it".
posted by williamtry (11 comments total)
Interesting. I think someone just misinterpreted the slogan on the home page: "Hungry? Grab a Snickers".

Clearly American stupidity has sunk to a new low that this slogan needs to be: "Hungry? Grab a Snickers, pay for it, leave the store, carefully tear open the wrapper and eat only the contents by taking moderate-sized bites of candy into your mouth and chewing them thoroughly before swallowing. Digestion is typically automatic and consumer should not attempt to accelerate the process without qualified medical assistance."
posted by plinth at 6:27 AM on April 7, 2000

Hahaha, exactly. Marvelous commentary. Anyway, yet again another example of "Ugly Americanism," this being a BBC story. The Japanese think we're all gun toting rednecks, most of Europe thinks we are barbaric fools (although, who cares what France thinks?).
posted by Dean_Paxton at 6:41 AM on April 7, 2000

I think an excellent case can be made that this violates the "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibition of the 8th amendment.

This is clearly completely out of proportion, "habitual offendor" status notwithstanding.

There's no way this would stand on appeal.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:42 AM on April 7, 2000

How can stealing a Snickers equate to 16 years in prison?

Appeals. Reduction of sentence.
posted by EngineBeak at 9:34 AM on April 7, 2000

I have to admit, before I started acually interacting with Americans on a regular basis, all I had to go on were news reports and the type of American who comes over to England on holiday. Living near to Windsor I once heard this from an American at Windsor castle as a plane from Heathrow took off over our heads - 'You'd think they'd have built the castle further from the airport wouldn't you'...
Thus, I formed an opinion of Americans which lasted a long time.
Things only changed when I started working for a US company and started to meet *real* Americans. I now think you're just gun-toting rednecks, you're not really that foolish after all. ;-)
posted by Markb at 9:43 AM on April 7, 2000

Texas does a lot of things that are out of proportion. A number of states have so-called "three-time loser" or "three strikes you're out" (baseball reference) laws that have led to disproportionate sentencing. As the article says, the multiple convictions meant that even a misdemeanor is treated as a felony.

Anyway, overseas readers, realize that Texas is a special case that gives even most Americans pause.
posted by dhartung at 9:44 AM on April 7, 2000

I agree with Dan about Texas. Also ignore any news that comes out of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North or South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North or South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington state, Oregon, California, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska, Alaska, or Hawaii.

Oh yeah, and particularly ignore any news out of Washington, D.C.
posted by daveadams at 10:20 AM on April 7, 2000

Since none of us were at the trial, it seems a bit silly to decide that Texas is at fault here. It was a jury trial. I admit that juries can be imperfect, but the prosecutor and 12 jurors thought this was the right punishment.

How do we know that this wasn't the type of person we would all agree should be locked up. The article is trying to poke fun. There is no attempt to be balanced. A journalist wrote this purely to make people feel outraged.

I'm sure some people believe that he shouldn't get 16 years no matter how much he stole, but I disagree. At some point people need to be held accountable for their actions.

Maybe this was an outrageous decision, maybe it wasn't. From the article there is no way to tell.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:40 PM on April 7, 2000

This is a lot like the guy in California, who under the "3 Strikes You're Out" law, recieved 25 years for stealing a slice of pizza from a 7 year old.

(Maybe I should mention that the previous two strikes were something like armed robery and grand theft auto)
posted by Mark at 4:52 PM on April 7, 2000

No-one should be sent to jail "because he seemed like the kind of person that should be locked up". Last time I heard, that kind of thing was DEFINITELY against the constitution.

Seems like the Fifth amendment requires an actual charge, and a real trial, and real witnesses, and things like that.

Now in England you can be locked up just because the state wants to. There is no constitution and no constitutional rights. You have no right to a speedy trial, no right to a formal indictment, indeed you have no rights at all, in the sense that we Americans mean the term. What you have there is privileges which the government has decided not to take from you this week.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:17 PM on April 7, 2000

You know, if it had been a Nestle's 100 Grand bar, I could understand - but SNICKERS? The worst I could see would be prosecuting him for solicitation (because, you know, Snickers really satisfies)... The worst part is that now he's going to get dumped back into the system, where he'll have to explain to the other guys on the yard just exactly *why* he violated his parole (and the "want some candy, little boy?" offers that will follow). I'd say that the response sounds way over the top, but ol' Kenny just can't possibly be the sharpest knife in the drawer, IYKWIM,AIKYD.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:28 PM on April 10, 2000

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