Throwing away the keyWednesday, February 28, 2007 at 7:20 | Posted in crime, USA | Leave a comment
I agree that child pornography is disgusting. Abstractly speeking I may even agree that a person involved with child pornography should be put to prison and the key be thrown away. That is exactly what the state of Arizona did to Morton Berger but they took it literally.
Morton Berger was caught in possession of 20 pictures with child pornography. Had he lived elsewhere, he could have gotten a somewhat more reasonable sentence but Arizona has the toughest laws against child pornography in the US. Berger was sentenced to serve 200 years without the possibility of probation, early release or pardon. That is 10 years for each of the pictures he had.
The US Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal giving no reason to the ruling. Mr Berger’s lawyers argued that the sentence was much longer than that for rape or second degree murder which makes it cruel and unusual, thus unconstitutional. They certainly did have a point there.
I wonder what the corrections officials are going to do, assuming that Morton Berger does not survive the sentence. Are they going to put his coffin in the prison cell with instructions to coming generations that it is to be buried when the 200 years have been served?