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One conjoined twin commits a crime, and the brother is 100% innocent. Can you punish/imprison the guilty twin at the expense of the innocent twin?

Asked by: Schicksal
One conjoined twin commits a crime, and the brother is 100% innocent. Can you punish/imprison the guilty twin at the expense of the innocent twin?
  • This is a difficult one. I think yes

    But first you will have to prove that the other is 100% inocent. After all a act of crime must be punished. It might be argue depending on the crime, which part of the body was used to comit that crime. This comment has lots of credit

    (SamStevens:
    For the one twin to be innocent, the other twin who committed a crime could have knocked the other one out or physically incapacitated the innocent party.)

    because if both are awared of the action, then one cannot be inocent. If one is indeed innocent then it must be that at one point the inocent one must have been unconsiouse of the event.
    Makeing the guilty one the only conscious mind at the crime.

    A suitable punishment will be, to drug the guilty one. Becasue you cant jailed them, for the inocent will also be punished. You cant only mentally punished them.

  • Yep, for sure.

    The question of whether or not one can do something is not a moral argument, rather an argument of capability. The justice system is surely capable of charging the innocent twin with being an accomplice or accessory. I imagine the innocent twin would be charged with the thought of mens rea in mind, regardless of the actus rea. If he is judged to contain the mens rea, meaning that the didn't stop their twin, and they committed the crime by proxy and therefore were mentally capable and willing of the crime.

    This may not be ethically right, but the question was worded in a manner that suggests the capability of the system to pin a crime on an innocent. It's definitely possible. Let's use Cameron Todd Willingham as an example. He was wrongfully charged and executed. He didn't set that fire and he was not ultimately responsible for the deaths of his children. He was still convicted and executed.

    Posted by: rip
  • No man is an island

    Substituting "is it permissible" for "can," I still agree that you can punish the guilty twin at the expense of the innocent twin. The crux here is that any kind of punishment of the guilty party will negatively affect his conjoined twin--this is unavoidable. But all punishment is similar. There are always (or very often) innocents who are damaged by the punishment of the guilty. Even in a moral system that moved beyond "punishment," the rehabilitation of the guilty twin could have immediate negative effects on the innocent twin, just as the time spent recovering from an illness affects not only the diseased but also his friends, family, co-workers, customers, and so forth. Your question brings home the fact that no man is an island, but the analysis cannot change simply because of a physical connection. There would be some limitations as to the taking of life or liberty, but the idea that punishment (or in a better world, rehabilitation) would be prohibited is incompatible with how we treat the question in general.

  • If there is some scenario where this is possible

    One has to devise a scenario where this is even possible. Let's say the one twin stabbed his wife while the other twin slept comfortably next to his until morning when he found out. But how can we say the sleeping twin was innocent? Did he not notice his twin pick up the knife, or the problems leading up to the incident, or the homicidal nature of his twin? In the end one might have to look at how innocent the other twin really is. Still if no determination is possible a mental facility might be in order. There are other scenarios, such as a bar fight or a dui that also bear this pattern in my mind. A twin should not be incarcerated for the other's crime--but he is in some sense responsible and should be considered alongside any ruling.

  • While impossible to punish one without tje other, innocent must be free

    If one twin is imprisoned, the other must be too, regardless of the innocent status,and our justice system is dedicated to protecting innocent, punishing the guilty, not punishing the innocent and guilty. As such, it would be immoral to punish the innocent for a crime they are innocent of, but they could be an accessory.


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jakemg says2014-12-24T04:15:50.727
So whats the solution.
Schicksal says2014-12-24T04:22:44.807
There is no definite answer, it depends on your own morals, and your views about freedom and punishment. Is it more important to punish the guilty at the expense of the innocent, or is it right to punish nobody even if it means the guilty person goes free?
Schicksal says2014-12-24T04:30:51.590
Although from a legal standpoint, there is a precedent for things like this, where a criminal gets a reduced sentence or even no sentence if other people, esp. Family, would be negatively affected by the punishment (like if they were the primary caregiver of a family). There was even a specific case where one conjoined twin was arrested for reckless driving, but escaped punishment because his conjoined brother would have been unlawfully incarcerated as a result.
jakemg says2014-12-24T06:52:46.783
So is that what we call a solution or is that just "servicing" the problem.
Schicksal says2014-12-24T09:07:46.817
I wouldn't exactly call it a solution, since the guilty party still escaped punishment (which means the justice system failed). I do think they made the best possible decision given the circumstances though, since it would be almost impossible to punish one twin without indirectly punishing the other in some way.

It reflects a society's belief that benefiting good people is more important than punishing bad people, that the ends (punishing the guilty) don't justify the means (harming the innocent).
jakemg says2014-12-24T09:17:50.517
I've talked about his before in a debate. The current systems in place don't actually work. The only way to truly solve this problem is't through the courts or any government system. Like I said they can only hope to service problems. The only real solution would be to medically separate the twins or for future resolutions prevent any incidents of conjoined twins. These can only be done by science. Morals and philosophies are not answers. When there used to make decisions they don't always get it right.
Schicksal I wasn't trying to bait you or insult your intelligence. I just wanted to pose a question in the comments. I Hope you haven't gotten affended.
jakemg says2014-12-24T09:18:12.447
But any way thats my opinion on this whole thing
Schicksal says2014-12-24T09:38:57.537
No offense at all, the whole point of this question was to attract different opinions. Thanks for sharing your views on the subject.
Schicksal says2014-12-24T09:57:17.453
But as far as ordering conjoined twins to be separated, some might see that as a violation of the twins' bodies, and also extremely dangerous, but I do think that what you said about science being the key is true.
I'm sure science will eventually reveal a way to deal with the criminal twin without harming the innocent one, like some kind of device that psychically rehabilitates the criminal mind, or something lake that. Then it would satisfy everyone, since the criminal is dealt with, and the innocent is spared punishment.
TheAnonymousTipster says2015-01-22T00:02:21.100
^same decriminalising procedure could be used for all sorts of mind control, haha. No more freedom to debate what should be illegal or legal, the government will just give everyone drugs so they're cool with whatever. Why must science have this dark side...
Schicksal says2015-01-24T12:00:32.503
It wouldn't be mind control any more than drug rehab or Alcoholics Anonymous is mind control. The only difference is that the rehabilitation happens in the brain rather than outside the body.
TheAnonymousTipster says2015-01-24T12:07:47.757
It's either mind control, or it simply won't work. Alcoholics anonymous is laughably pathetic.