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  1. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #1

    Automatic life sentence?

    Hello,

    What exactly is the "automatic" life sentence? I used to think the term was self-explanatory, but I'm reading an article about honor killing and now I'm not quite sure anymore whether I accurately understand the term. In the text, a Pakistani girl is killed by her own father and brother, and the judge overseeing the case slaps them with the "automatic sentence of life" in prison.

    What I don't understand about it, though, is that the two pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, which again brings to my question: What exactly is the automatic life sentence? Is second-degree murder grave enough to warrant a life sentence?

    I did some googling and I see the "mandatory" life sentence as somewhat of a contrasting term. Are they?


    - HKB

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    Mandatory minimum is the correct legal term and automatic is its colloquial equivalent. Both carry the same meaning, namely that statute law has nearly eliminated the judge's discretion in sentencing by imposing a minimum sentence. The only discretion left to the judge is the possibility of imposing an even harsher sentence.

  3. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    Do you not think that second-degree murder is grave enough to warrant a life sentence?

  4. probus's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    I did not say so and will not express an opinion on that. But I think that restriction by legislators of the discretion of judges in sentencing is a bad thing. Leaving aside elected judges in the state courts of the United States, judges represent a good sample of the best of the legal profession. Cases are infinitely variable, and reducing judges to the level of technicians is just plain stupid in my view.

  5. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    Probus, I agree with you 100%. You did not say so and my post was directed to the OP who asked if second-degree murder was grave enough to warrant a life sentence.

  6. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    Thank you Probus for your answer. I asked the question because I read this:
    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/m...ial_sentences/

    Perhaps the U.K. has different definitions for the two?


    Riquecohen, I was just asking about the legal aspect of the second degree murder. As far as I know, it does not warrant a life imprisonment in all parts of the world.

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    Perhaps you should ask whether second-degree murder "attracts" a life sentence in particular countries, rather than "warrants". The latter seems to be asking for our opinion.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #8

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade View Post
    Perhaps the U.K. has different definitions for the two?
    In the UK, some crimes carry a life sentence but that does not mean that you spend your life in prison. You may be released, but it will be on licence and you can always be sent back to prison. Let's say that someone has served twenty ears of a life sentence and is released. If they park their car on a double yellow line, they won't be sent back to prison, but if they start committing crimes that suggest they are a danger to society even if they haven't killed or hurt anyone, then they can be locked up. A life sentence is for life, though the time served doesn't have to be that long. A judge can recommend a minimum time, and there are whole life criminals. Harry Roberts, a notorious criminal who killed two police officers in 1966 along with someone who killed a third, was just released. If he keeps his nose clean, he will die outside prison. If he does anything wrong, they'll drag him back inside. Life means life for the sentence, but not necessarily the time inside. (Not a lawyer)
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 06-Dec-2014 at 18:52. Reason: tiny typo

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    At the moment, in the UK (as far as I know) there are no full life sentences which mean the convicted person going to prison and staying there until they die, without the possibility of parole. Every time such sentences are mooted, lots of people use the Human Rights Act to say that it would be a contravention of that Act to lock someone up for the rest of their life without allowing them at least the hope of getting out one day.

    I will not give, and I hope no-one else gives, an opinion on that fact. It's far too huge a can of worms.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #10

    Re: Automatic life sentence?

    There are full life sentences, I think. There are issues with the European courts about this, bit I think they still exist.

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