Robert Latimer

Said1
#1
Wow. Here's a name I haven't heard in a long time. For those who might forget, he killed his disabled daughter, in order to ease her suffering. Anyho, he was recently denied parole. He's currently serving a life sentence.


Quote:

Observers divided over Latimer parole decision

Updated Thu. Dec. 6 2007 9:22 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Robert Latimer's continued refusal to show contrition or feel guilt for killing his 12-year-old daughter in 1993 is upsetting to one advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
Latimer, currently serving a life sentence for killing his severely disabled daughter, was denied day parole on Wednesday.
The chair of the National Parole Board panel at B.C.'s minimum-security William Head prison, located near Victoria, told Latimer "we were left with a feeling that you have not developed the kind of sufficient insight and understanding of your actions."
Grant Mitchell, the lawyer who represented a coalition of disabled groups for seven years on the case, told CTV's Canada AM he is disappointed Latimer hasn't changed his position.
"I think it's really sad that he's still maintaining that he committed no crime ... that killing a member of his family was a private matter that the public had no business getting involved in," Mitchell said on Thursday.
"And I think it's particularly concerning that when he was asked by the Parole Board whether he would do the same thing if another member of his family were in distress, he said he wasn't sure what he would do."
Latimer chose not to appear before the Parole Board with a lawyer.
The Saskatchewan farmer's daughter, Tracy, was born with cerebral palsy and in 1993 was facing another operation to fix a permanently dislocated hip.
While his wife and kids were at church, Latimer put Tracy in the cab of his pickup and pumped exhaust fumes into the vehicle.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew...hub=TopStories
 
darkbeaver
+1
#2
I heard this on radio this morning, they'll punish him for ever I think, about an issue that must be addressed. I can remember when he put his daughter to sleep forever, I believe he committed an act of supreme compassion. I ony hope someone will do it for me if it comes to that.
 
iARTthere4iam
+1
#3
I hope he continues to keep his resolve. To suffer the penalty that society has deemed just is the best thing that he can do now. To change his position now would be an insult to the decision that he made for his daughter. He needs only to know that what he did was right. I do not care what the parole board thinks.
 
#juan
+1
#4
I wouldn't have jailed Latimer at all. He admitted he did it. He told why he did it. His daughter was in terrible pain. His daughter couldn't be cured. He was emotionally distraught and at the end of his rope.. All she could look forward to in the short time left to her, if she could look forward at all, which I doubt, was pain. Latimer comitted an act of supreme kindness. We wouldn't do less for our dog.
 
earth_as_one
+1
#5
Latimer is no threat to public safety. Murder motivated by compassion should have its own classification and penalties.
 
Colpy
+1
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by earth_as_oneView Post

Latimer is no threat to public safety. Murder motivated by compassion should have its own classification and penalties.

I agree, with reservations EAO. Certainly Latimer should be released at once, he poses no threat to anyone; the mere fact that he refuses to pretend he believes he did something wrong is no reason to keep him in prison, in fact it smacks of thought control.

At the same time, he killed. Not acceptable except in self-defense. His motives need to be taken into consideration, as does his method (as merciful as anyone could imagine).

I think a sentence of 5 to 10 years, with the usual release after 1/3 is served, would have been more than sufficient.

I have a serious problem with mandatory sentencing, and the Latimore case is the perfect example of why mandatory sentencing is a problem.
 
Walter
#7
If he was a black gang-banger he would never have done time.
 
Zan
#8
What a terribly unfortunate situation. I don't personally see how anyone could find fault with his decision, but I do see the conundrum this poses for the courts. If only common sense could be legislated. But since it can't, ruling any differently on this case might have set a horrific precedent for folks who use this means as an out to an unjustifiable 'euthanasia'.
Nonetheless, it still galls that a man who had the courage to step up and commit the worst act any parent would dread facing should bear the punishment imposed on him - and his family.
 
Said1
#9
I agree that he isn't a threat to society. He has to live with what he did. That and time served should be sufficient.
 
lone wolf
#10
The only reason they won't let him out is their brainwash isn't taking. Can they not understand what Latimer did was free a daughter he dearly loved from the prison that was her life. I'm sure if she could testify from the beyond, she would speak for her father.

Woof!
 
Kreskin
#11
The parole board should consider a "don't ask don't tell" policy in this kind of situation. What he did was out of compassion, not hate. Asking him if he would do it again is irrelevant since there isn't another person in his family in that situation. Let him move on with his life.
 
darkbeaver
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

The only reason they won't let him out is their brainwash isn't taking. Can they not understand what Latimer did was free a daughter he dearly loved from the prison that was her life. I'm sure if she could testify from the beyond, she would speak for her father.

Woof!

I was thinking the same thing earlier toninght Wolf. I sure hope she's not aware somehow.
 
Unforgiven
#13
This bothered me right from the get go. There should be some legislation to address the issue of dying with dignity and bringing an end if "clearly asked for" to uncontrollable and incurable suffering. While respect for life must be paramount, there has to be a resolve to find a solution even if it is limited only to those who choose to end their own life and are able to do so. Those who assist should never be accused of anything other than a deep compassion for those loved one's who are suffering.

I don't think anyone knows better than a parent of their dearest child's excruciating pain because they live with it too. Anyone who's kid has suffered sever pain knows they would do anything they could to alleviate that suffering and I suggest only a few have the intestinal fortitude to do what Latimer himself did.

I don't think anyone in their right mind could draw the conclusion that should Latimer be freed that it sends a message that killing the disabled is now ok. To suggest this to be the case is just plain stupid in my opinion.

We are foolish to work so hard to see what's right that we miss what's good.
 
Kreskin
#14
Will the parole board release him if he becomes extremely guit ridden and suicidal? Is that what they need to make things safer for his family?
 
Dexter Sinister
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

Will the parole board release him if he becomes extremely guit ridden and suicidal? Is that what they need to make things safer for his family?

Probably. They were looking for contrition and confession, didn't get it, so it's back to the slammer for not thinking correctly. I don't think that should be the Parole Board's business. Its only business is, does he pose a threat to society and is he likely to re-offend. Those are clearly both no in Latimer's case and no amount of counseling is going to change his thinking, because he doesn't think he did anything wrong. Neither do I. I think what he did was the supreme act of compassionate self-sacrifice. The doctors were going to break his daughter's legs, remove some of the bone, and leave her legs attached to her hips only by muscles and ligaments, to relieve the tightness, and presumably the associated pain, in her leg muscles. The doctors were just experimenting on her. That's what put him over the edge, another damn useless and painful surgical procedure.

Let the man go.
 
tracy
#16
I thought parole boards were supposed to look for remorse. The rationale is that people should regret breaking the law, since that regret is supposed to be something that might help stop them from doing it again.

I realize this case is unusual. I don't know how I feel about it though. I don't know enough about this child and her life and it's hard for me to pass judgement on them. They say she had the mentality of a three month old. My nephew just hit the three month mark last week. It's hard for me to say that he doesn't deserve protection under the law because of his limited level of development. On the other side, I work with babies whose parents often don't understand their prognosis and we cause them horrible unecessary suffering. I've often thought it would be kinder to let them die, and sometimes we do. But, we don't actively kill them. There is a line there I wouldn't be comfortable in crossing. I've taken babies off ventilators and let them die. I have never injected them with a lethal overdose.
 
Dexter Sinister
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by tracyView Post

I thought parole boards were supposed to look for remorse. The rationale is that people should regret breaking the law...

I think you can regret breaking the law, in the sense of wishing you hadn't felt you had to do it, without feeling any remorse over the deed itself. I'm sure he does regret breaking the law in that sense, considering the consequences it's had for him, but the law--and the Parole Board--isn't equipped to deal with a situation like Latimer's. I don't really see how it could be either, there are so many complex issues in a case like this the law can't hope to specify an appropriate response for every imaginable circumstance.

I think the real question is the same one that's at the heart of debates over things like capital punishment and abortion: under what circumstances is it permissible to kill another human being? The law has always recognized certain circumstances, like self-defense, but it's a tough question in general. I don't know the answer either, and I'm not sure a detailed one is possible.
 
Nuggler
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

Will the parole board release him if he becomes extremely guit ridden and suicidal? Is that what they need to make things safer for his family?

Most likely the only thing that will help.

Glad my future (so far) is not in the hands of those naval-gazing numbnuts.

He's not going to change his opinion, and will likely have to do his full time.

 
tracy
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter SinisterView Post

I think the real question is the same one that's at the heart of debates over things like capital punishment and abortion: under what circumstances is it permissible to kill another human being? The law has always recognized certain circumstances, like self-defense, but it's a tough question in general. I don't know the answer either, and I'm not sure a detailed one is possible.

I don't know either. I do know that there are no grey areas with mercy killings. They're clearly against the law. I feel horrible for those families, but I don't know that changing the law would be a good idea.
 
earth_as_one
#20
There should be a law which addresses people who kill out of mercy and compassion. The current laws don't fit this case. Judges and parole boards are expected to use judgement. That's why I'm also against mandatory sentencing. It takes away the ability of these people whose judgement we trust, to use common sense.
 
Kreskin
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by tracyView Post

I don't know either. I do know that there are no grey areas with mercy killings. They're clearly against the law. I feel horrible for those families, but I don't know that changing the law would be a good idea.

They are clearly against the law but he already paid a hefty personal price for his actions. In the common law there is a term called 'mens rea', which means an act does not make someone guilty unless the mind is guilty, or something like it. He did not conduct his actions with a criminal mind. That should be taken into account. No law needs to be changed in this case. He has served the minimum sentence required under the existing law.
 
#juan
#22
This is something that should be read by all who are interested in this sad case.

WOMEN: THE FORGOTTEN CHILD MURDERERS
by David MacRae


After six years of searching for compassion from Canadian legal system, Robert Latimer must finally, as the statists like to put it, « pay his debt to society » for the crime of killing a vegetable in human form. After three trials, the Supreme Court of Canada has delivered its verdict. There will be no more appeals. He will spend at least ten years in prison. Almost forgotten in the national debate over this case is the fact Latimer's case has finally established the principle in Canadian law that if the Crown doesn't like a jury's verdict, it simply has to appeal to one of its own in order to get it changed. Formerly, the most an appeal court could do was to order a new trial. Yet another limit on state power has been erased.

Equally forgotten is the fact that Mr. Latimer had an accomplice. He did not make the decision to terminate the existence of his misbegotten daughter on his own. He discussed it beforehand with his wife Laura and they both agreed that it was time for Tracy to die.

A simple error

Why would apparently-loving parents decide to terminate the life of their only daughter?

Well, advocates for the disabled may applaud the court decision, claiming that it demonstrates respect for their rights, but the fact remains that Tracy Latimer was not handicapped. As I said, she was a vegetable.

A vegetable who knew nothing of life except excruciating pain. She couldn't walk, talk or feed herself. She functioned at the level of a three-month-old. She had already endured several major operations and would certainly have needed many more.

After twelve years, her parents decided to end the life of this travesty. No one will ever know whether they did this to end her pain or because they needed to move on in their own lives. Probably they cannot even sort out their motives themselves.

Whatever you think about the ethics of their decision, Robert and Laura Latimer made a simple error which would have prevented the Canadian legal system from hounding them for six years, destroying their family, slandering their reputation and committing him to prison.

They chose the wrong person to perform the deed.

Had Laura killed their daughter, it is almost certain that no one would have gone to prison. The system would have been sympathetic and sentenced her to « treatment », not prison. This assumes that case would ever have reached trial. This is far from certain.

There is a vast difference in the way that women and men are treated for the crime of killing their children.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Consider.

Female compassion

In the time between Latimer's first and second trials, Danielle Blais of Montreal drowned her six-year-oldson Charles-Antoine in a bathtub. Like Tracy Latimer, Charles-Antoine had a handicap, in his case autism. Unlike Tracy, he had a life. He could get out of his bed. He attended school. He had the hope of one day becoming independent, perhaps even productive.

Like Robert Latimer, Danielle Blais was charged with murder for her act. Like Latimer, Blais was initially sentenced to two years in prison. Thereafter, the stories differ.

The Latimer verdict provoked a national outcry. The Crown appealed with the result, as we have already noted, that he will spend at least ten years in prison.

And Blais? Her sentence was suspended. Few people, even in Montreal, have ever heard of her. There was no appeal. Did disabled activists react with outrage at this travesty of justice? Well, not exactly. The Quebec Society for Autistic Children hired her as a spokesperson – to explain how difficult it is to live with autism.

Want more?

While the Latimer case waited to be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada, in British Columbia Cheryl Baker let her ten-year-old daughter Katie Lynn die from starvation. At the end Katie Lynn weighed 20 pounds. Yes, you read that right. She was ten years old and weighed 20 pounds.

In mommy's defence, Katie Lynn had Rett's Syndrome, a severe form of autism and one of the symptoms of this disorder is a lack of the desire to eat. Still, like Charles-Antoine Blais, Katie-Lynn Baker was well enough to attend school. Her mother has never been charged for criminal negligence, let alone murder. Nor have any of the numerous social workers and school officials who watched her die. In all likelihood, no one ever will be charged.

« Women who kill their children are given sympathy and sentenced to "treatment" while men who do the same thing are charged with murder and sentenced to life. »

At the same time as the Supreme Court rendered its verdict on the Latimer case, an inquest in Toronto tried to make sense of the death of Jordan Heikamp. Like Katie Lynn Baker, Jordan died of starvation under the watch of social workers and women's shelter bureaucrats. As in her case, society's protectors did nothing.

Unlike Katie Lynn, Jordan Heikamp was not handicapped. He suffered simply from the misfortune of being born to the wrong woman. She never provided him with any sustenance and he therefore died. Renee Heikamp was charged with criminal negligence, as was a social worker. Still… the result was the same. When the case went to court, the judge threw out the case, absolving both women of all blame. And yes, there was no appeal.

Parenting skills

All of this points to one conclusion: women who kill their children are given sympathy and sentenced to « treatment » while men who do the same thing are charged with murder and sentenced to life.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that women are many times more likely to murder their offspring than men.

A hospital in Great Britain installed hidden cameras to survey children who they feared to be at risk of abuse by their parents. They found dozens of cases and made headlines about abuse by « parents » and « step-parents ». The Life Channel chronicled the story (this version was translated and ran on Canal Vie as well).

What all the commentators carefully hid was who these « parents » were: there was one grandmother, one father... and thirty-seven mothers. Judging from the references to « step-parents », I suspect that the man wasn't really a father either.

How did the hospital choose the people to watch? Every case involved previous children who had died in mysterious circumstances. To be more precise, 37 killer moms murdered 40 children. Total jail sentences imposed: 0, even though some of the women confessed when confronted afterwards.

About 1300 child murders took place in the US last year. About 500 perpetrators were non-parents, roughly divided between men and women. Of the rest, only 30 (!) were fathers. In other words, mothers were more than 25 times more likely to kill their progeny than fathers. Yet somehow, men are viewed as being more dangerous to their children than women.

In Canada, many crime statistics are presented in such a way as to hide female malevolence. As an example, we do not break down statistics on child murder by sex of the offender. Consequently, this information is not available here. However, there is no reason to assume that things are any different north of the border.

This favoured treatment of women is not limited to child murder. Rose Cece and Mary Taylor, a lesbian couple in Toronto, decided on a lark to kill a police officer. Had a man done so, he would have been convicted with first-degree murder almost without regard to the facts. If not, police associations across the country would have been outraged. In fact, Cece and Taylor were convicted of manslaughter and no one commented.

At least they went to jail. Women are often let off with suspended sentences. As the Ottawa Citizen said in one case, « husband-killer Lilian Getkate's sentence of two years less a day at home is an insult to our sense of natural justice. » The murderer herself reacted by saying: « I was startled. I took someone's life and I'm not going to jail. Of course I'm surprised by that. » Once again, the Crown did not appeal.

Getting away with murder

This reluctance to convict women murderers goes back a long way. In fact, it is the reason for the invention of the crime of infanticide at the turn of the last century. Juries refused to convict women of murdering their own children.

Or their parents, it would appear.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
Gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

What the ditty doesn't mention is that the 1892 Boston jury let Lizzie off. One of the main reasons for this is that her judge, like the one in the Getkate case, practically directed the jury to acquit. Plus ça change...

One difference between women who are committed to jail and those who are not appears to be familial relationships. Only two women have ever been convicted of first-degree murder in this country. Yvonne Johnson killed a man she barely knew. Sarabjit Kaur Minhas strangled her nephew. In other words, women are given greater latitude when they kill their husbands, parents or children. Of course, they always get some slack – Cece and Taylor are proof enough of that.

The discrimination of the courts in favour of women is not limited to murder. It is true of all crimes. Officially, women commit 15% of serious crimes in Canada, almost certainly an understatement of the facts. Whatever the real number, they form approximately 1% of the people in our prisons. Texas statistics indicate that women are actually more likely to commit fraud than men. Despite this, men are ten times more likely to serve time for the offence.

There seems to be a fundamental refusal to admit that women are capable of committing crimes. When they do, we tend to downplay the act and to view her as the victim, not as the victimizer. A book has been written about the Johnson case. Its title is Stolen Life. Guess whose life the author feels was robbed. It isn't the man she killed.

While feminism may be partially responsible for this, the answer appears to be more profound. Lizzy Borden's parents died long before the appearance of this form of collective insanity. The reality is that people, in all societies, assume that the female of the species must be protected, even from the consequences of her own actions.

Whatever. The bottom line is that male misbehaviour, however you to define this word, is treated far more severely than equivalent female crimes.

Robert Latimer would be free today had he insisted that his wife take responsibility for her decisions instead of doing it for her. So would she. After all, she was never even investigated for her part in the killing, let alone charged, convicted or sentenced.
 
Kreskin
#23
Very interesting Wayne. Good article.
 
darkbeaver
#24
Wow, that's primal stuff Jaun, the universe is female, propagation is #1, men are sperm bags. How we going to correct a primal directive? Can we?
 
darkbeaver
#25
Wow, that's primal stuff Jaun, the universe is female, propagation is #1, men are sperm bags. How we going to correct a primal directive? Can we?They not only get on the lifebaot first they are the life boat.
 
Said1
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

They are clearly against the law but he already paid a hefty personal price for his actions. In the common law there is a term called 'mens rea', which means an act does not make someone guilty unless the mind is guilty, or something like it. He did not conduct his actions with a criminal mind. That should be taken into account. No law needs to be changed in this case. He has served the minimum sentence required under the existing law.


There is both men (sit) re and actus reus to consider. One is the state of mind (as you stated above) and the other is the culpability factor - actus reus. Latimer didn't have a guilty mind, but he still responsible for his actions. In other words, he's not a violent maniac, but he's not insane, either.

I think he should be paroled. People have done worse and served a lesser (full) sentence.
 
tracy
#27
That article is incorrect in stating that she was a vegetable. That comes from the term vegetative state, and she wasn't in a vegetative state. Terry Schiavo was in a vegetative state, Tracy Latimer was severely retarded. Those are two different things.

It does make me wonder though, was the mother consulted before this happened?
 
darkbeaver
#28
How can his act of compassion which I assume meant he did not have a guilty mind enter retroactively to forgive a crime which he must have considered as a crime as evidenced by his planning the murder and executing. I don't understand. Did you already explain it? The end sometimes justifys the means?
 
Said1
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaverView Post

How can his act of compassion which I assume meant he did not have a guilty mind enter retroactively to forgive a crime which he must have considered as a crime as evidenced by his planning the murder and executing. I don't understand. Did you already explain it? The end sometimes justifys the means?


I don't understand your question.
 
darkbeaver
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by Said1View Post

I don't understand your question.

I don't think I have one after thinking about it again. I'm just a little confused about the dual states
guilty and not guilty, or guilty but forgiven, I guess I'm bothered by "guilty compassion" there it is
was he guilty of compassion?
 

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