[Notice of corrections: This post had way too many typos, and I apologize profusely. Thanks to Crella for alerting me. I think I got all of them.]
I have a theory.
I wish I didn’t.
Therese Kozlowski got a videotape of her husband Brian poisoning her coffee with sleeping pills. Even with this evidence, the poisoner received a sentence of just 60 days in jail, which he will be allowed to serve on the weekends. The prosecutor called the sentence “a slap in the face” of the victim. Oh, it’s much worse than that.
It all started after Therese said she wanted a divorce. Then she noticed that she was feeling drowsy and tired on mornings when Brian made the coffee. She narrowly avoided an accident when she fell asleep while driving to work. So she secretly installed a small video camera by the coffee machine, and sure enough, Brian was putting the equivalent of eight sleeping pills in the morning java.
“Brian’s continuous, methodical, and calculated plot to poison me included a complete disregard for human life, including his own daughter [she also drank some of the spiked coffee], along with hundreds of other drivers who he put at risk every day for weeks,” Therese Kozlowski said in court. “I believe this was attempted murder. Once Brian realized he lost me and there was no getting me to stay in this unhealthy marriage, his goal was to eliminate me.”
This convinced Macomb County (Michigan) Circuit Court Judge Antonio Viviano , he said, to give Brian jail time instead of merely probation, which was his initial instinct.
When rapists are given slaps on the wrist, or a sociopathic kid escapes a major sentence for negligent homicide because he suffers from “Affluenza,” there is an immediate public uproar. Sometimes judges are suspended, or forced to retire. This case is getting some national publicity, but so far, not nearly enough.
I am fighting the tendency to see political forces in everything, and fighting hard, but what the hell: I think this is partially the result of judges and members of the pubic steeping in the rotten waters of the cultural rot being spread from the Left to undermine law enforcement, personal responsibility, and the rule of law.
These didn’t arise to help white middle class domestic poisoners, of course: they arose, as has much else, out of misplaced compassion and the desire not to make blacks, the poor, and, of course, illegal immigrants face the consequences of their own anti-social behavior because it’s not their fault.
I’ve noted here many times that this was the basis of Clarence Darrow’s belief that the law punishing anyone was unethical, hence his habitual use of jury nullification tactics. Darrow was a progressive pioneer, and I suspect he’d love today’s “mass incarceration” arguments. The problem, as this incident shows, is that when you poison the culture it’s like poisoning the aquarium—all the fish are affected. When they –I can say “they” because it sure isn’t me—keep pouring “all punishment is mean, cruel and vindictive” into the water, the resulting ethical blindness won’t just help blacks, the poor and illegals, it will help dangerous people like Brian Kozlowski too, because it’s hard to keep rationalizations in narrow paths.
This judge, for example, has fallen prey to Consequentialism (#3) and “No Harm No Foul!” (#8), as well as “Everybody makes mistakes!” (#19), “It’s just a small part of what I am!” (#21A, “There are worse things” (#22), “Give him/her/them/me a break!” (#38) and more. No wonder.
After all, it’s not like anyone was really hurt, right? Now, if the Mrs. had fallen asleep at the wheel and her car swerved into the lane of an oncoming semi, or maybe an SUV filled with kids resulting THEN Brain would be bad, and deserve prison, but not the way things turned out.
In related news, the Trump administration has announced that the Federal government will again begin executing those serial killers, mass murderers, lethal gang members and predatory psychopaths that Clarence Darrow believed were blameless because that’s just the way the God he didn’t believe in made them.
15 thoughts on “Why Did A Judge Let A Man Who Was Trying To Kill His Wife Get Off With A Tough, “Now, Now, Don’t Try To Poison Your Wife Again!” [Updated]”
Guess I’d better check for secret cameras in my kitchen! Serious response forthcoming…
Another dangerous sociopath gets a slap on the wrist. Now he can try it again with another woman who doesn’t know about his past.
If the judge gives a ludicrously light sentence then why doesn’t to DA appeal for a heavier sentence? Or isn’t this possible in America?
An appeal would have to address some legal defect in the sentence such as not meeting a minimum sentence.(1)
Even if the prosecutor successfully appealed, that wouldn’t excuse the judge’s grossly inappropriate ruling in the first place.
I saw this earlier and thought this is nuts.
I am beginning to wonder if judges are imposing ridiculous sentences to offset some equally ridiculous sense of injustice in their own mind.
Today , I read that a female Circuit Court judge imposed a sentence of 161 to 353 years on a male defendent for 19 counts of sexual assault – not rape – of an underage girl. She also added 40 years of supervised probation should the person get paroled. According to the article the convicted felon will not even be eligible for a parole for 151 years. He also has to register as a sex offender for life.
A bit of overkill in my estimation.
Well now. He won’t ever get out will he.
Until the judge gets reversed upon appeal. Think what a good lawyer (ethics free) could turn such egregious sentencing abuse into, like bias on the judge’s part…
The word is all topsy-turvy.
Does anyone really think that there will be some kind of intellectual awaking and these wackos rationalizing unethical and immoral behaviors will see the light?
The world is all topsy-turvy
I forgot to fully depress the letter “l” in the post above! 😦
Somehow the author was able to blame low-income Black people given excessive and disproportionate sentences in the criminal justice system for an affluent, White man getting off with an absurdly lenient sentence for attempted murder of his wife and child. The cases the author references as additional examples–the Stanford rapist getting off with nothing and the “Affluenza” kid are also affluent, White people. However, incredibly, instead of acknowledging that indeed middle and upper class White people are treated differently than impoverished, Black people in the criminal justice system, he comes to the conclusion that this appalling case is still Black people’s and liberals’ collective fault. I admire the mental gymnastics required to derive that conclusion, but I hope he takes a deep breath after reading this, and instead of responding with an inevitable angry, ad hominem attack, just thinks about the logic.
I don’t do ad hominem attacks. Your insinuation that I do is itself a cheap shot and an ad hominem attack. Shape up.
I was pretty clear about the slippery slope problem, you apparently just don’t want to think about it. A culture can’t begin accepting that law enforcement and punishment for crimes is inherently inhumane and unjust for some groups and continue to accept that it’s just for others. The nation is founded on the principle that all are equal under the law.
Here. let me repeat what I wrote, since you may not have bothered to read it carefully:
“I think this is partially the result of judges and members of the pubic steeping in the rotten waters of the cultural rot being spread from the Left to undermine law enforcement, personal responsibility, and the rule of law.
These didn’t arise to help white middle class domestic poisoners, of course: they arose, as has much else, out of misplaced compassion and the desire not to make blacks, the poor, and, of course, illegal immigrants face the consequences of their own anti-social behavior because it’s not their fault.”
Note the use of the word “partially.” Also reference to that FACT that we are bombarded by the dangerous argument that punishing certain groups for the laws they actually break is racist and cruel. It isn’t. But as long as that destructive idea is thick in the air, foolish judges will issue ridiculous sentences.
It might enlighten you to know that I worked as a prosecutor and a defense attorney. I’ve seen the rap sheets of many, many minority criminals who were released again and again, in great part because courts and prosecutors wanted to “give them a break.” You only hear about the high profile white criminals who get raps on the wrist. It’s a multi-racial problem.
We either enforce the law for all, regardless of color or class, or we have no legal system. Those who want it based on color will wreck the system.
Admittedly, I wrote my comment before I read the rules on your website, which clearly discourage ad hominem attacks and abuse. I apologize for making an assumption about your character before allowing you to respond. If a person accepts some level of validity in peer-reviewed, empirical research, it is impossible to argue that racist and discriminatory treatment in the criminal justice system is non-existent. I can share sources/articles with you if that interests you, but won’t bother to do so unsolicited.
As such, while it is true the US was founded on ideas of equal treatment under the law, that has never existed and still does not fully exist. I also want to address your other point about your experiences as a prosecutor. First, I am not a lawyer and am not trying to invalidate your lived experiences. Nonetheless, I will point out some contextual facts. The recidivism rate in the US is extremely high compared to other high-income democracies, meaning it’s not only Blacks re-offending, it’s literally 70% of all people leaving prison within 3 years of release. Other countries, including certain ones with more rehabilitative approaches to incarceration, also tend to have lower recidivism rates. Hence, when a criminal justice system focuses on re-socializing criminal offenders, I believe that they are less likely to leave and perpetuate criminal behavior, victimizing other people. In essence, I accept your observation as a reality, but I would attribute the constant re-offenses that you witnessed not to lenience itself, but to the violent, dehumanizing conditions of American-style incarceration and the barriers to successful re-entry employment, housing, and integration. In the case of this judge and case, I would not support treating repeated, pre-meditated attempts to kill one’s spouse and child with this level of lenience, which is traumatic and disrespectful to the man’s victims.
But cross-cultural comparisons are invalid. The US has a culture that emphasizes liberty, which means the culture encourages defiance of authority. It is a violent culture. It is a materialistic society and success conscious, which increases dissatisfaction. It is also the most risk-taking society on earth. No other nation has the equivalent of the US African American population, a damaged culture with many crime-producing pathologies. You cannot isolate a single factor, like the penal system or residual racial bias in the law enforcement system, and regard it as the sole or even the major cause of recidivism, crime rates, or the prison population.
I respectfully disagree about cross-cultural comparisons being invalid. There are some limitations to the generalizability of insights from other countries, but that does not mean they are irrelevant and can be so easily dismissed. I also disagree about the outsized role you are attributing to culture, in general. I would accept some of your claims as at least partially true, but there is also profound geographical variation in cultural norms and beliefs within the US. Also, do you really think culture is stagnant? In your own lifetime, have you not seen evolution, disruption, and deviance in American culture? If so, then how could you argue that it determines so much of the current state of the US, and determines relatively more than other factors, such as legal/political infrastructure or institutions.
On the other note, the US was not the only country that received African slaves. Brazil, for example, received more slaves than the US numerically. Brazil similarly has pronounced socio-economic marginalization, residential segregation, and empirically-studied bias against African and indigenous members of society, as well as disproportionate representation of descendants of slaves in its criminal justice system. On the other hand, there are nations where ethnic minorities have been better integrated. Although, studies of juries around the world almost always indicate some level of bias of jury members against members of society who have accents and/or are phenotypically different than the majority. Why? Because bias is a natural human tendency. We can legitimately disagree about the magnitude of the role of bias in the criminal justice system (and housing system, lending practices, law enforcement, employment market, etc.), but one can’t deny the bias exists and has, at various times, been codified and perpetuated through American political institutions/laws.
Lastly, we are also both subject to our own sampling biases in how we perceive the world through our lived experiences and interpret these phenomena. If you had been a prosecutor in a severely impoverished, majority White part of the country, I bet you’d have a different perception.
The consensus in the ethics field, and one I am part of, is that culture is crucial, stronger than most people think (the analogy is a fish being unaware of the water it is in), and evolves (like ethics) but slowly, and US culture, unlike most nations, is inextricably linked to law and government.
US culture is US culture. There are groups, ideologies and areas that are working hard to reject the culture, but that doesn’t mean those individuals are not still influenced by it constantly and significantly. Our culture was chosen by the Founders in the Declaration and the Constitution. It is the culture of a people forged by the frontier, and by a shared experience. Part of the culture is that “everybody does it” is not persuasive to Americans at a macro level. People came here—and come here—to get away from the methods and cultures of other nations. The argument that the US is the only first world nation that does X is essentially an assertion that that right and wrong are determined by majority rule. That’s not true; it’s never been true.
If you read here regularly, you would know that bias is a constant theme, and in general, a constant challenge and impediment to ethics. Your last paragraph is essentially an appeal to bias. It is every citizen’s duty to educate themselves, understand their nation as well as their region, and to be able to interpret the world as objectively as possible, meaning without bias.
How familiar are you with the American Western genre, for example? Nobody who isn’t familiar with it and how the Western experience influences this nation uniquely—no other country has a similar experience—can cite the use of guns in other nations as relevant to the US out of anything but pure ignorance.