PDA

View Full Version : Here's one they DID let out...



Richard
08-15-2012, 11:27 PM
Betty Smithey Released: Nation's Longest Serving Female Inmate Free

In 1963, Betty Smithey walked into prison with a life sentence for murder. On Monday, she walked out with a cane.

America's longest serving female inmate, Smithey was released from the Arizona State Prison Complex after spending 49 years behind bars for the murder of a 15-month-old child.

"It's wonderful driving down the road and not seeing any barbed wire," Smithey said, according to the Arizona Republic. "I am lucky, so very lucky."

Smithey, with a history of mental illness, was convicted in the 1963 New Year's Day murder of toddler Sandy Gerberick, who she strangled while babysitting. The court sentenced her to life without parole.

Smithey's repeated appeals went unfulfilled for decades under an Arizona law that stipulates only an acting governor can grant clemency to an inmate. Eventually, acting-governor Jan Brewer lowered her sentence to 48-years to life.

Smithey told the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency that a letter of forgiveness from her victim's mother, sent 19 years after the murder, inspired her to turn her life around...


(Oh, how nice. Unfortunately, Sandy Gerberick, the murdered child, was not available for comment.)


LINK:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/betty-smithey-released_n_1778434.html?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-nb%7Cdl3%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D192868

Cubby
08-18-2012, 06:49 PM
I don't know that this thread is in the right area of the forum. I didn't see any evidence the victim in this case was sexually assaulted, just that she was strangled. This area of WS is for pedofiles and not every child killer is a pedofile.

Just thinking outloud. If the victims mother chose to forgive her child's killer, who are we to disapprove? Especially as a victim friendly forum. If the childs mother could forgive, personally, I think as a victim friendly forum we should support the mother's decision.

In general life sentences not being life sentences is a whole 'nother issue, and I do not want to single it out to this case.

EXIA15145
08-19-2012, 12:57 AM
I think she belongs in crimes against children, or spotlight on children, but she's not a pedophile and she's not being kept incarcerated.

Cubby
08-19-2012, 11:48 PM
I'd guess up to the minute since the crime has already been solved and the perp has done her time. The news being that she had been America's longest held female prisoner.

I am going to ask the mods to move this thread if they believe it best fits another area of WS.

Richard
12-31-2012, 10:25 AM
I don't know that this thread is in the right area of the forum. I didn't see any evidence the victim in this case was sexually assaulted, just that she was strangled. This area of WS is for pedofiles and not every child killer is a pedofile.

Just thinking outloud. If the victims mother chose to forgive her child's killer, who are we to disapprove? Especially as a victim friendly forum. If the childs mother could forgive, personally, I think as a victim friendly forum we should support the mother's decision.

In general life sentences not being life sentences is a whole 'nother issue, and I do not want to single it out to this case.

Murder is a crime against society, not just against an individual or a relative of a victim. The subjects of parole and forgiveness are two entirely separate issues.

When someone receives a life sentence (instead of a death sentence), parole is one way that the sentence can be lifted.

There are many issues and factors for a parole board to consider, including the comments and opinions of members of society and the opinions of a victim's family. However, although any person can forgive a convicted child murderer, it should not be the deciding factor regarding parole. That decision rests with the state parole board and not with a relative of the victim.

In the case of the murder of this 15 month-old child, how can you assume that no sexual assult occurred? Does it matter? This woman strangled a baby to death. Often, in cases of murder, the perpetrator is convicted of murder and not of molestation.

Following this logic (that only pedophiles be discussed here), Fred Coffey should NOT have been included in this forum topic area - because he was convicted and sentenced to life for the murder of a 10 year-old girl and NOT for sexually molesting her.

Even though Coffey is was convicted of several other incidents involving child molestation and rape, those convictions did NOT result in the life sentence for which he was up for parole.

That said, Coffey is indeed a pedophile. By his own admission he had molested over 100 children by the time of his 1986 trial, and he has multiple convictions for molesting children. He was twice sentenced to Death for murdering Amanda Ray, and because of some fancy appeal work by his lawyer, won a third trial which kept all mention of those molestations out of sentence consideration by the jury. He has been enjoying life at state expense ever since.

The question is: should any recommendations to Coffey's next Parole Board (July 2015) mention that he is a pedophile?

I do not know the specifics of whether or not Betty Smithey was ever a pedophile. I sincerely hope that she got the mental health treatment that she needed while in prison, and that she is never again allowed near any children.

When anyone who has been convicted of any crime against a child comes up for parole, the public should be alerted and allowed to weigh in.

Melanie
12-31-2012, 10:33 AM
Personally, I see a frail old woman who probably doesn't have long to live anyway. I do worry about her mental illness though, and wonder how she is going to deal with that on the outside. 49 years is a heck of a lot more than I see many men get for killing children - but that's beside the point.

At least I don't have to pay for 3 hots and a cot for her anymore, but wonder if she's eligible for Social Security?

IMHO rarely do we see life as "life" anymore. 25 years or so unless you're sentenced to death.

This is a tough debate, but I don't think anyone is in danger of her anymore.

Just my opinion of course. Thanks.

Mel

Cubby
12-31-2012, 03:16 PM
Murder is a crime against society, not just against an individual or a relative of a victim. The subjects of parole and forgiveness are two entirely separate issues.

When someone receives a life sentence (instead of a death sentence), parole is one way that the sentence can be lifted.

There are many issues and factors for a parole board to consider, including the comments and opinions of members of society and the opinions of a victim's family. However, although any person can forgive a convicted child murderer, it should not be the deciding factor regarding parole. That decision rests with the state parole board and not with a relative of the victim.

In the case of the murder of this 15 month-old child, how can you assume that no sexual assult occurred? Does it matter? This woman strangled a baby to death. Often, in cases of murder, the perpetrator is convicted of murder and not of molestation.

Following this logic (that only pedophiles be discussed here), Fred Coffey should NOT have been included in this forum topic area - because he was convicted and sentenced to life for the murder of a 10 year-old girl and NOT for sexually molesting her.

Even though Coffey is was convicted of several other incidents involving child molestation and rape, those convictions did NOT result in the life sentence for which he was up for parole.

That said, Coffey is indeed a pedophile. By his own admission he had molested over 100 children by the time of his 1986 trial, and he has multiple convictions for molesting children. He was twice sentenced to Death for murdering Amanda Ray, and because of some fancy appeal work by his lawyer, won a third trial which kept all mention of those molestations out of sentence consideration by the jury. He has been enjoying life at state expense ever since.

The question is: should any recommendations to Coffey's next Parole Board (July 2015) mention that he is a pedophile?

I do not know the specifics of whether or not Betty Smithey was ever a pedophile. I sincerely hope that she got the mental health treatment that she needed while in prison, and that she is never again allowed near any children.

When anyone who has been convicted of any crime against a child comes up for parole, the public should be alerted and allowed to weigh in.


I don't disagree with your points, Richard. However, this forum is titled Citizens Against Pedofile's Early Release. Perhaps you should suggest to the mods the forum be changed to include all prisoners? My previous comments were based on this forum being designed for Pedofile cases. I don't think it would be a bad idea to change the forum title from pedofile to prisoner.

The victims mother who forgave the prisoner, did it for herself, not the prisoner. That is what forgiveness is all about, letting go of the resentments and anger which can control one's life. That the forgiveness affected the prisoner is secondary to how it affected the victims mother.

Richard
01-01-2013, 10:22 AM
The two cases which I mentioned are both at the far end of the legal spectrum, involving life sentences for murders. They do, however, illustrate some of the complicated legal issues in trying to separate one type of crime from another in the question of parole.

Personally, I think that pedophiles and child killers should be taken out back and shot without the bother and expense of a trial. But then that is just my own opinion.

Our legal system was origionally designed to be fair and just in the protection of society and individuals. Through the years, case law and common practice in sentencing (and parole) has tended to turn things around in favor of criminals rather than victims. A death sentence means life. A life sentence can mean parole at some point. And any sentence short of life means half of whatever term is stated - or "early release".

Pedophiles are rarely convicted of "being pedophiles". They are convicted of specific crimes such as child molestation, child poronography, assult on children (or adults), kidnapping, murder, and such things as "contributing to the delinquency of a minor", stalking, etc, etc. And often plea bargaining reduces charges to such benign sounding things like, simple assult, indecent exposure, etc.

Sometimes the actual conviction charges are related to pedophilia, and sometimes not. In fact, lawyers always try to separate the two and get charges reduced to eliminate such a connection.

When it comes to early release or parole, where does one draw the line in making the pedophilia connection and recommendation to the parole board? If a known pedophile is convicted of counterfeiting, should he be kept in prison because he is a pedophile and would probably harm children if released?

Prisoners do not usually have the opportunity to commit crimes against children while in prison, so the only consideration (regarding pedophilia) on which to base a parole or early release recommendation is their past behavior with children.

It is a frustrating process - when you consider that so many offenses occur, and so few cases actually make it to trial, and so few of them lead to convictions and meaningful sentences.

Tugela
01-20-2014, 06:52 AM
49 years in prison is a long time.

Imprisonment should serve two purposes, firstly as a punishment, and secondly as a protection for society.

There is no indication that any sexual abuse was involved, so it is wrong to assume that there was simply for the purpose of keeping someone locked up.

As far as punishment is concerned, unless an act of calculated malice is involved, no one should be locked up for anything longer than a decade, no matter what the crime. Anything beyond that is disproportionate.

The second reason, protection of society, depends on if the convicted person is likely to reoffend, and if they would likely be exposed to circumstances where they might. In this particular case, even though she was mentally ill, it is unlikely that the circumstances for reoffence would likely occur, so there is no reason to keep her if she was well behaved in prison.

In any case, it sounds like the only reason she was still in prison and not paroled years ago was because of the peculiarity in state law.