Second Thoughts...

Trial Update: We're off today and courts are closed on Monday, so I'm off for a few days--a nice and much needed breather. We'll continue tuesday and should be summing up by Friday.

Meanwhile, The Times has a great article today titled A Fallen Judge Rethinks Crime and Punishment It's about Judge Roland Amundson, a former very conservative law and order judge who was convicted and sent to prison.

Judge Roland Amundson

What is so interesting is not just his prison awakening--there's hardly a judge up there that has any idea what they're actually sentencing someone to--but rather the humanity of the other inmates, formerly just abstractions to him.

Here's a particularly nice bit:

His last night behind bars, Roland Amundson was sitting in the prison library when he felt the large shadow of someone standing over him. He looked up to see the inmate others feared the most, a former motorcycle gang leader who had been convicted of killing a man in a bar fight - a murder so violent the court doubled the standard sentence.

The man wanted to talk.

Mr. Amundson had been the appellate judge who upheld that unusually strict sentence. Now, he was just a fellow prisoner, inmate No. 209383. "He asked if I remembered him," Mr. Amundson recalled in an interview in December. "He wanted me to know he didn't hold any hard feelings against me."

The encounter in October, Mr. Amundson said, was one of a dozen times in his three and a half years in prison that he was confronted by inmates whose sentences he had ordered or upheld in 15 years as a judge. Those experiences and Mr. Amundson's other dealings as a convicted felon - at his sentencing, prosecutors turned the words of his rulings against him to justify a longer term - have shaken the world view of a man who, from the bench, thought he knew all there was to know about crime and punishment.

more here...

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