Steven Green gets lifetime imprisonment

21 05 2009

Steven Green (for the background story, see here and here), former US soldier guilty of gang raping 14 year old Iraqi girl Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi and then massacring her family in March 2006, was spared the death penalty but was given a life sentence after jurors couldn’t reach a consensus on a proper punishment.  Via The New York Times (on a side note, I love how the article title makes no mention of rape; it just mentions murder):

Former Pfc. Steven Dale Green of Midland, Texas, will be formally sentenced Sept. 4 by U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell. Jurors who convicted Green on May 7 told Russell they couldn’t agree on the appropriate sentence after deliberating more than 10 hours over two days.

Green’s attorneys did not deny that Green was guilty, but argued that Green did not deserve the death penalty because of emotional/mental problems that he suffered with.  Meanwhile, the other guilty soldiers who were involved in the brutal attack have received long sentences in military prison.

I am glad that Green was not given the death penalty because I am opposed to the death penalty and do not find it an appropriate form of punishment (for reasons, see here).  Life imprisonment is acceptable because not only does it cost less than capital punishment does, but it also guarantees that the criminal will be in jail and therefore unable to commit further harm to civilians.

Other appropriate action, in addition to life imprisonment, would include restitution (meaning that Green would be put to work, with the money made going to the victims’ family/relatives) or rehabilitation (not merely punishment, but also having some compassion – clearly Green was and is not in a proper state of mind or heart and needs guidance).


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