The Transition from the current Lifer regime for murderers convicted to R.M Lambs's propsed discretionary Death Sentence regime for murder and related crimes
Private paper on the transition from the current Lifer regime for murderers convicted to R.M Lamb’s proposed discretionary Death Sentence regime for murder and related crimes
1) The Crux is the perceived inequity of those convicted of murders in the pre-Restoration legislation becoming effective period - getting off lightly with life and potential release under the current Rules which would continue to apply conceivably. These may be hardened criminals and killers who would have been good candidates for Capital Punishment if such a regime had been in force when they were given “life”.
2) Where lies the solution to this dilemma? I will not backtrack on the Death Penalty I seek to restore for murder and related crimes, albeit discretionary by the Trial Judge. 3) Once the Final Penalty is re-enacted we enter the post - Lifer (only) new Death Sentence Regime. Thus those eligible for Hanging go the gallows by the Trial Judge and Appeal Judges themselves and only themselves. The Executive will be barred by statute from interfering in the Sentence of Death being carried out once confirmed by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and so upheld. The Judges by their own powers will prevent any such meddling and obstruction of their Rulings by politicians.
4) I argue those sentenced under the old regime to life for murder will be eligible for expedited, but gradually staged release once Capital Punishment is on the Statute Book. Thus on the one hand some selected offenders (murder and related crimes) will be hanged yet those serving old regime Life sentences will not be in the anomalous position of themselves serving life for equally grave murders as they will be released in a staged process under monitoring into society. They will not laugh at the Hangman and say we got away with it. The wheels of the offenders management would have released them. They would have got their just desserts in prison and now outside. They could not put “two fingers up” to the Judges. These Judges had sentence them (pre-hanging). The Parole Board released them. The Judges did not then have the power to hang them.
5.) If you leave these long term lifers (sentenced pre-Restoration of Capital Punishment) in prison with no hope of release you create an underclass of no hopers contrasted to condemned and hung murderers. Effectively the Death Sentence brings hope of release to these past Murder Convicted Defendants under the former regime. It sounds drastic but it is logical. We need a clean sheet and start with the Restoration of the Final Penalty for the greatest impact. Even those sentenced to life for murder post-Restoration will all have hope of release - they will be spared hanging by the Judges discretion.
6.) The whole point of the Death Sentence is to get away from the Lifer (prior to Restoration) policy. To leave intact the old Lifer regime in the post-Restoration epoch is hypocritical. The purest/ judicial power is the Final Penalty. Life sentences are old regime if passed pre- Restoration ie: old hat, passé and simply unworkable alongside the Death Sentence. There has to be a root and branch approach to clear the prisons of the old pre-Restoration Lifers to make way for Capital Punishment. Our Judges did not spare these pre-Restoration Lifers Capital Punishment. Parliament had abolished the Death Penalty in 1965. They don’t deserve the luxury of prison at our cost as the people say. They may not be hanged as sentenced for murder under the old regime. They are not eligible for Hanging. Give power back to our Judges and meaning to penal policy. There should be no rush to release these old regime Lifers but released they will be to make the way straight for the Death Sentence, we cannot have old Regime Lifers with no hope alongside Hanging condemned men. It does not make sense. Those have to be told their likely Release dates. Then they are no embarrassment to our criminal justice and they cannot pour scorn on the post-Restoration regime. They will be on their own two feet at large. The prisons will not give them a “cushy ride”, unlike the draconian and ultimate Sentence which leads directly to our Maker. These old Lifers derived from pre-Restoration justice may then not cock a snook at the condemned men and the new regime I seek to usher in: They cannot say we have had it cosy living off the taxpayer in prison because they will be free or going free soon. They will have “work” to do or suffer. in life. Then they must “live” as we all do. They will know if they murder again they will go to the gallows. It is not the Christian purpose of Prison to prevent offending by never releasing the offender as penologists will tell you. Such a policy is thought to satisfy the people. No, only the discretionary Death Sentence will suit the vox populis. Justice is about perception in the eyes of the people but even more importantly it concerns pure Judicial strength and essence. There can be no Justice without Senior Judges acting responsibly, powerfully, independently and directly. Judicial discretion should reflect the mood of the people. The two work together. Neither satisfies equity unless both are present and functioning properly.
7.) Those spared the Death Sentence by our Judges will have the same Release Scheduled rights as the old Lifers. They will not be detained unduly. Their crimes did not merit the Death Sentence. The seriousness determines the Judges’ Sentence at Trial in each case as a matter of principle and practice.
8. CONCLUSION There will be no place in prisons long term for Lifers pre-Restoration sentenced or post- Restoration sentenced. These Lifers will be released fairly and expediently under the Death Sentence regime I argue so that all will attain freedom in their mature lives (if spared) yet not old age eg: Harry Roberts now 80 yrs old and free, thrice police murderer. We will have to resign ourselves to this new broom if we are to bring back the Death Sentence. This new Lifer policy is not the price of the Death Penalty- it is the fruits of this Capital Punishment regime. We are pruning the branches in restoring the Death Penalty and the results are the fruits of this radically altered Lifer Regime for those sentenced men and women since Abolition (1965) and to be Life Sentenced after Hanging is brought back. It cannot be done half baked or underdone. We either proceed whole heartedly or not at all. We may not impose the Final Penalty on pre-Restoration convicted men and women, that goes without saying.
RM Lamb RM Lamb esq Saturday 27/2/16