Should Oscar Pistorius Get A Lighter Sentence Because He’s A Double Amputee?
In a bid for a lighter sentence in the shooting death conviction of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, former Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius walked across at Pretoria, South Africa courtroom without his prostheses today.
Yep, he hobbled on just his stumps, in a bid by his attorneys to present him as "a vulnerable man who deserves leniency when he is sentenced," according to ESPN. In addition, he had taken off his suit and was dressed in a t-shirt and running shorts.
This is almost, but not quite, the equivalent of the old lawyers' story about a man who had been convicted of murdering both of his parents. The man's lawyer appeals to the judge for leniency, saying: "Won't you have mercy on a poor orphan?"
The demonstration drew gasps from some onlookers in the courtroom and Pistorius became tearful.
"I don't want to overplay disability," defense attorney Barry Roux said ahead of the demonstration, "but the time has come that we must just look (at Pistorius) with different eyes."
Judge Thokozile Masipa said she will announce his sentence on July 6. She adjourned the case on Wednesday after three days of testimony and arguments.
The minimum sentence for murder is 15 years in prison, but Pistorious' lawyers are lobbying for less than that.
Pistorious was convicted of shooting Steenkamp four times during an argument in their home in 2013.
Should the judge offer leniency in this case? Should the court demonstration be taken into account? I don't see how it can -- IMO it's a cheap stunt and a naked sympathy grab, especially since Pistorious has accomplished so much in life despite his handicap. The argument doesn't seem to be that he's at risk in prison because of his handicap. It's just, oh, look at the poor man with no legs. Have pity.
Well, sorry to be simplistic, but one should also look at the poor woman with no life, because Pistorious took it away.
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