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Burglars hand over child pornography discovered in burgled home: Should criminals receive reduced sentences for helping police with unrelated crimes?

Burglars hand over child pornography discovered in burgled home: Should criminals receive reduced sentences for helping police with unrelated crimes?
  • We should incentivize desirable outcomes.

    Others have argued that this incident may have demonstrated some strength of character on the part of the burglars or that they have done society a service by exposing a more serious crime and therefore deserve to be rewarded. While these arguments are not without merit, I would like to set aside these more individualized arguments and instead advocate a reduced punishment, or even no punishment at all, due to the incentives such a precedent would have in future cases. Burglary is a serious crime but it pales in comparison to the crime of sexual assault, let alone the sexual exploitation of a minor and the distribution of such content. It is a benefit to society that these individuals came forward with the evidence despite the repercussions this act may have upon them. After all, they felt so morally repulsed by the content that they were willing to subject themselves to punishment in order to put an end to the more heinous crime. How many others in that same situation would have had the same moral fortitude? Society is therefore better off letting the less dangerous crimes go unpunished or under-punished if this action will lead to the apprehension of those involved in more serious crimes. This practice is not without precedent as lighter sentences have been given to criminals who cooperated with law enforcement and provided information. I see no reason not to apply such a practice to this situation and many reasons supporting its application.

  • Yes, this is hilarious.

    Thieves with a conscience. Wow, this is a fabulous story. I think these guys should get consideration for exposing a sex offender. This is a really tough morality question, but it comes down to the greater good. Sex offenders are among the most heinous criminals in existence and they really need to be stopped.

  • Maybe possibly so

    In Spain, a burglar discovered child abuse on tapes he stole during a break in, and turned those over to police. I do think that if he showed enough concern for the child or children involved to come forward to police, he should get a bit of a break on his sentence.

  • Depending on the crime

    I think in a case like this, they should be given a reduced sentence/lighter punishment. They helped to uncover a much darker, more sinister crime by turning over the evidence they found. I think that needs to be taken into account. However, I don't think it should always be the case. I believe it would have to depend on the crimes that were committed and their severities in comparison.

  • They Still Did the Crime

    Burglars should not receive a reduced sentence for finding child pornography at a home they burgled. They still did the crime, the intent of their crime was still the same. Just because they discovered something illegal doesn't change they they did in the first place. The sentence must remain the same regardless.


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