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View Full Version : cruel & unusual? What do you think


bfoflcommish
04-13-2010, 01:45 PM
Me personally I think he lost all human rights at victim #1 and should count his blessings he's stil lalive.


http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=136703&catid=188

DENVER - Tommy Silverstein is serving a life sentence at Colorado's Supermax. He's a convicted robber and a murderer.



The 57 year-old has been in solitary confinement for 27 years. He says that is unconstitutional and a group of University of Denver law students agree.

Silverstein was first incarcerated in Kansas in 1978 for an armed bank robbery. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Silverstein killed four people while in various facilities, including a guard. He has been convicted of three murders. The fourth conviction was thrown out on a technicality.

He was eventually transferred to Supermax.

"Humans are humans. Prisoners are also humans," Tashana Taylor, a third-year DU law student, said. She is one of three working on the case.

According to the DU law students, Silverstein has been locked up alone longer than any other federal prisoner.

"Twenty seven years of anyone being in solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment," Taylor said.

Recently, a federal judge agreed they have a case.

That means DU law students will be able to continue Silverstein's fight.

"Having this as a learning experience is actually pretty amazing," Taylor said. "It's amazing to know that we can help Tommy and that at some point, he may end up being in the United States prison where he can have visits with his daughter, where he can hug her. He can see his sister and actually give her a hug. He hasn't been able to do these things in so many years."

The government put Silverstein in isolation after he was convicted of killing three people while in prison.

DU Law Students at the Civil Rights Clinic have been working on this case since 2007.

"We really are in this case the proverbial lawyers of last resort," said Laura Rovner, Associate Professor of Law at the Civil Rights Clinic. "I think that's an extraordinarily important responsibility."

Students Colin Enger, Kim Still and Tashana Taylor are finishing their turn working on this case. They are the 3rd group to work on it. Rovner said a new set of students will take over in August. She said she didn't know how many more groups will have to work on the case before it is resolved.

"It's really a chance for them to be able to practice law kind of with a safety net," Rovner said. "to learn to be good ethical responsible lawyers while they're in law school, to help students really feel the professional responsibility of representing people who may have unpopular causes, who may have difficulty accessing counsel and to really take on the responsibility of the profession to make sure that all people's voices are heard."

Students at the DU law clinic are not disputing Silverstein's life sentence. They say they are defending his basic human rights, and whether his punishment is cruel and unusual and goes against the 8th Amendment.

"If the Constitution isn't there for the hard cases, then the Constitution isn't there for any of the cases," Rovner said. "The use of solitary confinement is a very very significant issue and one that our courts and our justice system and our society need to decide how far is too far."

The US Attorneys office says it can't comment on the case because the litigation is on-going.

It's too early to say if a jury will actually hear this case.

oubronco
04-13-2010, 01:46 PM
He did the crime now he's paying the time

no-pseudo-fan
04-13-2010, 01:49 PM
Someone who murders more than 1 person should be put to death.

WolfpackGuy
04-13-2010, 01:50 PM
"after he was convicted of killing three people while in prison"

Don't they have capital punishment in CO?

Cases like this are why lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank.

crush17
04-13-2010, 01:51 PM
hahahaha wtf ever bro.

Silverstein was first incarcerated in Kansas in 1978 for an armed bank robbery. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Silverstein killed four people while in various facilities, including a guard. He has been convicted of three murders. The fourth conviction was thrown out on a technicality.

that's all you need to know.

Dukes
04-13-2010, 01:55 PM
"Having this as a learning experience is actually pretty amazing," Taylor said. "It's amazing to know that we can help Tommy and that at some point, he may end up being in the United States prison where he can have visits with his daughter, where he can hug her. He can see his sister and actually give her a hug. He hasn't been able to do these things in so many years."

Hey Tashana, what about his victims? I bet their families are dying for a hug. **** him.

Bronco CB40
04-13-2010, 01:58 PM
I would need to know more information about the circumstances regarding his killings in prison, but he did kill a guard, which doesn't look good. It sounds like he is a danger to other inmates and guards and the system has rightfully determined that he can't be trusted around other people. The system would look even worse if this inmate killed one more person.

crush17
04-13-2010, 02:02 PM
Hey Tashana, what about his victims? I bet their families are dying for a hug. **** him.

For real! WTF is wrong with these idiots??

gyldenlove
04-13-2010, 02:02 PM
If you can not function as part of a prison community then solitary confinement is the only way, this guy has clearly shown that he can not be trusted to exist in the normal prison population and therefore soletary confinement is the only way to keep the people around him safe. Both guards and other inmates have a right to security.

Dukes
04-13-2010, 02:04 PM
If you can not function as part of a prison community then solitary confinement is the only way, this guy has clearly shown that he can not be trusted to exist in the normal prison population and therefore soletary confinement is the only way to keep the people around him safe. Both guards and other inmates have a right to security.

Don't worry, he pinkie promised Tashana he would be nice.

bfoflcommish
04-13-2010, 02:09 PM
agree with everyone! I thought for sure it would be a little closer since there are alot of people against death penalty etc...

since we all agree, I guess my question is for asso wilson...why do you think its cruel and unusual?

Hercules Rockefeller
04-13-2010, 02:25 PM
He killed a guard, he's lucky he's not on death row.

Hercules Rockefeller
04-13-2010, 02:26 PM
"after he was convicted of killing three people while in prison"

Don't they have capital punishment in CO?


He's in federal custody, ask the DOJ why they never sought death.

broncocalijohn
04-13-2010, 02:36 PM
He is incarcerated because of an armed robbery. He is in life for murder......3 murders in prison. He is a danger to the population of the prison. Should he be with others again so he can make it four (or is it really 5?)? Big difference of murder outside of prison and murders while in prison. Maybe being locked up will protect him from the inmates that want revenge on him.

Doggcow
04-13-2010, 02:59 PM
The law students are obviously trying to just get their names out there on some big case with a relatively low-risk to high-reward potential.

ColoradoDarin
04-13-2010, 03:00 PM
No question this idiot should have been put down a long time ago. But what's worse is these supposed productive members of society (not really, they're going to be blood sucking lawyers :) ) are helping him. I take one look at his case and tell him to kill one more person in jail and offer him some shoelaces.

Mogulseeker
04-13-2010, 03:02 PM
As an undergraduate studying International Law at DU, who has taken a couple of Law classes at DU law...

The death penalty in general is a violation of the ICC, but the US doesn't participate in the ICC. In fact, it's the only developed country that is. Even most of South America and Asia and a lot of Africa has banned the death penalty. The US is more on par with Saudi Arabia and Sudan in it's death penalty laws than it is with the rest of the world.

It would have to be analyzed from an individual case. I don't like the idea of incarceration as a retributive policy. The whole concept of prison should be 1. Preventative and 2. Rehabilitative

From a human rights perspective, it is cruel and unusual.

bfoflcommish
04-13-2010, 03:07 PM
As an undergraduate studying International Law at DU, who has taking a couple of Law classes at DU law...

The death penalty in general is a violation of the ICC, but the US doesn't participate in the ICC. In fact, it's the only developed country that is. Even most of South America and Asia and a lot of Africa has banned the death penalty. The US is more on par with Saudi Arabia and Sudan in it's death penalty laws than it is with the rest of the world.

It would have to be analyzed from an individual case. I don't like the idea of incarceration as a retributive policy. The whole concept of prison should be 1. Preventative and 2. Rehabilitative

From a human rights perspective, it is cruel and unusual.

and what do you do with the ones who cant be rehabilitated or prevented from further actions?

ColoradoDarin
04-13-2010, 03:09 PM
As an undergraduate studying International Law at DU, who has taking a couple of Law classes at DU law...

The death penalty in general is a violation of the ICC, but the US doesn't participate in the ICC. In fact, it's the only developed country that is. Even most of South America and Asia and a lot of Africa has banned the death penalty. The US is more on par with Saudi Arabia and Sudan in it's death penalty laws than it is with the rest of the world.

It would have to be analyzed from an individual case. I don't like the idea of incarceration as a retributive policy. The whole concept of prison should be 1. Preventative and 2. Rehabilitative

From a human rights perspective, it is cruel and unusual.

What about the human rights of the 3 people he murdered in prison?

Mogulseeker
04-13-2010, 03:15 PM
That's precisely why he needs a life sentence.

Hercules Rockefeller
04-13-2010, 03:16 PM
As an undergraduate studying International Law at DU, who has taking a couple of Law classes at DU law...

The death penalty in general is a violation of the ICC, but the US doesn't participate in the ICC. In fact, it's the only developed country that is. Even most of South America and Asia and a lot of Africa has banned the death penalty. The US is more on par with Saudi Arabia and Sudan in it's death penalty laws than it is with the rest of the world.

It would have to be analyzed from an individual case. I don't like the idea of incarceration as a retributive policy. The whole concept of prison should be 1. Preventative and 2. Rehabilitative

From a human rights perspective, it is cruel and unusual.

That's great, you've taken a few classes and can discuss theory with the group. My substantial writing requirement in my 3rd year of law school was a death penalty seminar and I'm a prosecutor.

Join the real world, see actual criminal cases on a daily basis and then come back and tell me that incaceration should not have a retributive effect on the person who committed the crime. There are absolutely people who need rehabilitative help, and just about every single person like that receives a sentence that will them that opportunity. Whether or not that person can take advantage of the rehabilitative opportunities afforded them is up to them.

It takes work to get sent to prison, and if you're sent, you absolutely deserve it. The people going to prison are: violent criminal, habitual criminals who can't stop committing crimes, or people who are given multiple opportunities on probation and due their own noncompliance, there is no where else they can be sent.

Rohirrim
04-13-2010, 03:20 PM
I suggest everbody do a name search on this guy and read up on him. He is a savage animal, and that's an insult to animals everywhere. If we're not going to put him down, we can at least protect everybody else from coming in contact with him.

bfoflcommish
04-13-2010, 03:23 PM
That's precisely why he needs a life sentence.

right, he had that! and still killed prisoners and a guard...so whats next step to apply safety to other prisoners and guards????

Arkie
04-13-2010, 03:41 PM
He killed a guard, he's lucky he's not on death row.

The death penalty is a preventive measure. It's the same as putting down a bad dog. It doesn't deter the other dogs (or crazies) from killing. He should have been executed after his first murder, and that would have prevented him from killing the guard and others. Execute him now, or throw him back into the general prison population and let the violent criminals kill each other. Solitary confinement (in some cases for decades) has to be more expensive for the taxpayers.

Dukes
04-13-2010, 03:51 PM
right, he had that! and still killed prisoners and a guard...so whats next step to apply safety to other prisoners and guards????

This.

521 1N5
04-13-2010, 05:35 PM
Law students bored looking for attention. Hey kinda like scientists.

521 1N5
04-13-2010, 05:36 PM
The only thing that's cruel is that they didn't kill him 27 years ago.

strafen
04-13-2010, 07:22 PM
Oops!
I meant to vote no. The guy is a nutcase.
He's a risk to others. He doesn't belong in the general population area...

Los Broncos
04-13-2010, 07:24 PM
Nope, eye for an eye.

Steve Sewell
04-13-2010, 08:05 PM
He kills people when he's around them. So why should he be allowed to be around other people?

I have an idea...lets ask some of these DU law students if they will volunteer to spend some time in a cell with the guy. Think there would be any takers? That's what I thought...

maher_tyler
04-13-2010, 09:56 PM
Someone who murders more than 1 person should be put to death.

I agree 110%..he's lucky to be breathing right now, he should thank god for confinement!! I guarantee had he killed one of these kids family members, they wouldn't be so willing to stand up for this guy! Its not cruel when he should have gotten the death penalty to begin with!

extralife
04-13-2010, 10:31 PM
The law students are obviously trying to just get their names out there on some big case with a relatively low-risk to high-reward potential.

This. It's a PR move. A couple kids that think they're big time.

kappys
04-13-2010, 10:40 PM
While I theoretically agree with the death penalty given numerous examples of misuse in the past I can currently favor a moratorium on the death penalty as I believe our system has too many flaws in it.

However if it were reserved for cases like this then I would happily sign on. Hannibal Lecter style containment is really the only option at this point - there is no rehabilitation for this type of offender.

broncocalijohn
04-13-2010, 11:45 PM
As an undergraduate studying International Law at DU, who has taken a couple of Law classes at DU law...

The death penalty in general is a violation of the ICC, but the US doesn't participate in the ICC. In fact, it's the only developed country that is. Even most of South America and Asia and a lot of Africa has banned the death penalty. The US is more on par with Saudi Arabia and Sudan in it's death penalty laws than it is with the rest of the world.

It would have to be analyzed from an individual case. I don't like the idea of incarceration as a retributive policy. The whole concept of prison should be 1. Preventative and 2. Rehabilitative

From a human rights perspective, it is cruel and unusual.

Smurf, use your brain before posting (or at least read the article). I bolded the parts that you were worried about and you forgot that it is Preventing him from harming others. Prison is for preventing a prisoner from doing more crime and one in for life doesnt need to be rehabilitated. If you keep thinking this way, the Natural Party might have their new and young spokesman.

strafen
04-14-2010, 12:34 AM
Smurf, use your brain before posting (or at least read the article). I bolded the parts that you were worried about and you forgot that it is Preventing him from harming others. Prison is for preventing a prisoner from doing more crime and one in for life doesnt need to be rehabilitated. If you keep thinking this way, the Natural Party might have their new and young spokesman.You saved me some words there.
There's no rehab for that guy. He'll never see daylight again!

BroncoBuff
04-14-2010, 12:43 AM
Someone who murders more than 1 person should be put to death.

Are you Christian? Because Jesus is against the death penalty.

Archer81
04-14-2010, 12:49 AM
Two things.

1. Using Africa as a comparitive model for how the US should operate is always a joke.

2. I suppose murdering people is not cruel and unusual, either?


:Broncos:

extralife
04-14-2010, 03:00 AM
I believe you're forgetting the term "punishment," which implies an authority and an idea of transgression that is not applicable to the "crime" itself. Without a state, there are no crimes, and a state that exists merely to reciprocate perceived injustice is repressive on the highest order. The state is morally obligated to behave in a manner contingent upon human ideals, not human failures. It is designed to promote, not constrain. I suppose you could advocate eye-for-an-eye, but you'd be a couple thousand years behind the curve on that one.