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Irish Judge Orders 13-Year-Old To Surrender Xbox 445

An anonymous reader writes "In Belfast a High Court judge has ordered a 13 year old to surrender his Xbox to the authorities. The boy was charged with a series of robberies and in the bail application the judge asked the boy what he owned that meant a lot to him. The teenager said it was his Xbox games system. The judge told the youth that the surrender of the Xbox would show him what it was like to have something he really valued taken from him."
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Irish Judge Orders 13-Year-Old To Surrender Xbox

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  • Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @11:22PM (#36619082) Homepage Journal

    I love it when a judge thinks and makes the punishment fit the crime. Having his parents pay a fine would have been pointless. Gotta make the punishment hurt for it to have any effect.

    • Re:Excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Announcer ( 816755 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @11:27PM (#36619104) Homepage

      Exactly! This might actually do something USEFUL: "Teach him a LESSON"! With proper guidance, this also could turn his life around! Kudos to a judge that actually DID use his head!

    • Yup. I wish they'd do that with vandals. Send the sheriff in with a sledgehammer into the convicted vandal's room and give him ten minutes to pulverize everything in sight.

    • Re:Excellent! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @11:34PM (#36619136)

      I wish people would get their heads out of their asses and realize that punishment and pain have basically no correlation. It's that mentality which leads to our poor recidivism rate. And a lack of appropriate rehabilitation while the convicts are still in prison.

      Unless, you've got some actual evidence to back up your assertion that this is more likely to keep the lad from getting into more trouble than his parents paying the fine.

      • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @11:52PM (#36619268)

        News Flash: You're not a behavioral psychologist either, chum, and your answer shows it. Stick with what you know.

        You're talking about Pavlov's-dogs-style behaviorism, the judge isn't. And by the way, behaviorism is out of favor "in general" as a strategy, but that doesn't mean it is discredited.

        So yeah, the judge isn't going to have the boy whipped (strict behaviorist strategy). Discomfort that encourages thinking about context is a different beast altogether, which is what the judge is proposing. This is more like putting your kid in time out and asking them to come back to you when they can explain why you are mad at them.

      • by Nursie ( 632944 )

        But this is just, right and proper! Obviously if someone does something bad, we do sometyhing bad to them and they will learn! they just will!

        They won't resent society for doing these things to them, and if they do they are clearly immature and wrong, so they need to be punished even more! Why would you even question the sense of this policy?

        I can see why people think this way. The fact is it's not helpful, but that won't change anything. Prison and other measures are seen as punishment, and people will nev

        • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

          Moronic. If punishment isn't something to be feared, then people have no reason not to commit a crime. If I could steal a car and be "punished" by spending a few months at an all-expense-paid resort, I would do that in a heart-beat. I don't even want the car, I just want the paid vacation.

          Punishment doesn't exist to "fix" transgressors. It exists to discourage more people from transgressing.

          • by bky1701 ( 979071 )
            Please then, enlighten us as to why countries with punishment-centered 'justice' systems like the US have substantially higher crime and repeat crime than countries with "all-expense-paid resorts". I'm waiting.
            • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Interesting)

              by FunkSoulBrother ( 140893 ) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @01:04AM (#36619612)

              Probably more to do with the fact that those 'resort' prison countries:

              A) Also take care of their non imprisoned citizens -- they have functioning social safety nets.

              B) Don't have America's shitty attitude towards ethnic minorities, or have very homogeneous culture.

              I mean don't get me wrong, America's brutal prison complex is horribly immoral, but if you transplanted it to Scandinavia magically without fucking up their social safety nets, I don't think it would really RAISE crime at all.

              • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Interesting)

                by simmonsjeffreya ( 2259752 ) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:39AM (#36619958)
                While you do make a few good points here, I would add one point to this:

                C) Drug use. For example, just in tenth graders, 41% of American students have tried pot, compared to 17% in Europe. Also included in this same study* is the fact that 23% of American students have used illicit drugs other than cannabis (not counting alcohol), while only 6% in Europe have.

                I hate to be the one to bring up drugs, but from what I see on a daily basis, it does play a major role. I'm not saying every drug user is going to become a criminal, but it seems from recent data collected by SAMHSA, the balance of drug abuse is changing in the US. Marijuana and alcohol are decreasing, while other more serious, dangerous drugs are increasing in use. This varies from Europe, where Alcohol and Marijuana, in that order, are the most abused, with much, much lower percentages of the population using more dangerous, serious drugs.

                I attribute this change in the US being due to the availability. Alcohol, as a teenager is actually much harder to come by than say marijuana, or surprisingly prescription pain killers, for example. Teens these days have broad access to marijuana, and seem to always have a friend who can get pain killers or tranquilizers (I do not have a source for this statement, it is based on personal observation.) This leads to them just avoiding the trouble of acquiring alcohol and instead, smoking marijuana, while not really a problem in my eyes, or taking prescription pain killers, which is a much bigger issue. Marijuana isn't truly a gateway drug, many users can go their whole life without moving to something "harder", but things like prescription pain killers, tranquilizers, etc are more likely to create the need to get higher and higher, and are rising in use at an alarming rate.

                I've not known many marijuana users, or alcoholics for that matter who will harm someone to get money to acquire their drugs. Crack, Cocain, Meth, Pain Killers, Tranquilizer, etc users on the other hand, will go to great lengths to get their next high. I've seen many, many friends go down this path, and it's truly sad to see.

                Study Cited: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/21/us/study-finds-teenage-drug-use-higher-in-us-than-in-europe.html [nytimes.com]
                Older, but still accurate information with the same testing methodology used in both regions.
            • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

              First, name for me a country with an "all-expense-paid resort". Whoops, there isn't one! Because it doesn't work. Every single society throughout all of human history punishes criminals. To varying extents, yes, but always with a punishment.

              So go ahead, name me a successful society that, in the original words, "is not punitive". I'm waiting.

              • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                I don't think the GP was seriously suggesting a resort, just a much softer punishment than what the typical US prison provides. In the UK we have "open" prisons. No walls or fences, prisoners are tagged but can leave to do voluntary work or even a paid job during the day. They work quite well for reforming low level criminals and have lower re-offending rates than normal prisons. There is some debate as to how much that is due to taking in less hardened criminals, but even when the crime is more serious and

            • Re:Excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:54AM (#36620026)
              Because our system does not punish people for committing crimes. It punishes people for being an annoyance to the wrong person, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, having a penis, or not having enough money. This is one of the reasons the "unenforceable laws" are so bad. They whip them out when someone with influence wants to screw over someone without. The person the law is used against isn't being punished for breaking the law. They are being punished for annoying the wrong person.

              It isn't the harsh sentences that are the problem. It is the inconsistent punishment. And a system that is designed to make sure that everyone is always in violation of some law.
          • by Nursie ( 632944 )

            Your post brilliantly emphasises my point.

            You have decided, absent any supporting evidence, that punishment is necessary and right.

            I'm not making the assertion that it's wrong, I'm saying that the best possible outcome for society, whatever that may be, is not even investigated because of this attitude.

            • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

              I have also decided, absent supporting evidence, that society is better off with a spoken language than without one.

              When you are suggesting we try a system which no society in the entire history of human civilization has attempted, much less succeeded with, then the onus is on you to provide the supporting evidence. So please, give us your evidence that society could function with a justice system that, in your own words, "is not punitive".

              Or you could keep being smug that because your idea is fresh and ra

          • Re:Excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by YeeHaW_Jelte ( 451855 ) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @03:22AM (#36620144) Homepage

            If fear of punishment is your only reason not to transgress, you've got some pretty shady morals.

        • > Human nature says transgressors must be punished.

          It is also human nature to throw things, like rocks, at children who take our toys. We learn better.

          People used to say human nature was that women were not landowners.

          If we find things that work, and that are economically efficient, we can work on changing minds. The political system will delay the effects of that effort greatly, but that does not mean we will not learn better in another century or three.

      • Punishment and pain have no correlation? Are you kidding? What about torture and pain, are you one of those people who think those have no correlation either? I mean, the whole reason people are opposed to torture is because it hurts. If it didn't hurt, people would be waterboarding themselves at raves.
        • Punishments don't need to be physically painful or discomforting. The prospect of having to spend a few years in jail, only seeing your family once a week, losing your job, etc, is quite enough to deter most people from most crimes.

      • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki@gmai l . c om> on Thursday June 30, 2011 @12:41AM (#36619506) Homepage

        Right. And criminology is still in the dark ages, and we use leeches and blood letting as the main sources of medical treatment today. Dig your head out of your ass, there are competing theories on crime. And many criminal theories rest into two specific schools. Those being:

        Bad parenting+lifestyle+societal factors = criminal action
        Chance+opportunity+risk = criminal action

        I believe that the second is more appropriate. As even in average, society roughly 40% of people will steal if they feel they can get away with it, and 30% will steal no matter what. This is your basic material covered in your crim101 courses.

      • Unless, you've got some actual evidence to back up your assertion that this is more likely to keep the lad from getting into more trouble than his parents paying the fine.

        I know this is a bit anecdotal, but spoiled brats everywhere? We've all seen parents that dote on their kids far too much and refuse to punish them appropriately. The kids grow up to the brats. It's just what happens.

        And pain can be one means of punishment, but it's by no means the only one. The OP was talking about the punishment fitting the crime, which is what's really important. Jail time is rarely a fitting punishment for the crimes that are committed. There are alternatives, such as what this judge di

      • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @01:42AM (#36619774) Homepage

        I've got no belief that throwing people in a hole will set them straight. On the other hand, I'd be pretty scared of a prison system that didn't discourage crime. A legal system where you get convicted but the punishment is a raised finger and "Please don't do that again" won't do much good. Yes, perhaps in some cases you can take away the reason for their crimes like making them kick the drug habit, but far from all criminals are junkies. A lot of them steal simply because they can and you can't cure that by giving them free things.

        We did try that with some of the roaming thieves for a while, the result was they acted like legal squatters. They kept stealing from all the neighbors, they trashed their own place and before they left they stole everything that wasn't nailed down. It was like pure consumption, not a care in the world for preserving anything. We just threw them a free party and when they were done they moved on to trash somewhere else. Fines are of course a joke because they have no income and anything they steal won't be used to pay fines.

        Largely the crime itself is risk free, because almost anything that can bring that burglar to harm is illegal unless your life is in immediate danger which is interpreted very strictly. As long as he turns and runs you'd better let him run or else you might end up on charges for injuring him. While he's likely to get a minimal penalty for any injury he causes you while trying to flee. My country is pretty much the direct opposite of Texas, they have all the rights even when in the middle of robbing me blind.

        The "catch-and-release" here in Norway means that we have people who are convicted of 25+ crimes a year (not 25+ trials, we gather them up) and that's just what they're caught for. The overall solve rate is 43% so probably well over 50 crimes a year. I don't know what is working, but the all too lenient system here also isn't working very well. Each of those crimes have victims, but it doesn't seem stopping more people from becoming victims is a priority at all. Why should I risk being assaulted to give you another chance?

    • So you think a punishment should be enacted before found guilty eh? He was forced to give over his xbox as bail, not given any monetary option for bail. Meaning he was punished before he was even found guilty.

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      > I love it when a judge thinks and makes the punishment fit the crime

      I love it even better when people RTFA to see that the xbox was not removed as a punishment but as a condition for the bail, which is different. Punishment is usually for people who are convicted, which occurs at the end of the trial, not at the time of discussing bail conditions.

      Sounds like this judge has a serious bias against the accused.

      • by Seumas ( 6865 )

        And it's a stupid condition for bail. The purpose of bail is to ensure that the accused will not flee and will actually show up to court. Since the kid is . . . you know, a kid . . . I'm pretty sure that isn't going to be a concern. Unless he is an orphan and living on the streets.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 ) *

          It's probably the kids parents' Xbox anyways that they bought for him to use. Nice "lesson".... steal something, and something of your parents' that they allowed you to use gets seized, so they have to buy a new one (the latest Xbox model no less) .....

        • Huh, what? You think just because he's a kid he's going to show up?

          What, pray tell, makes you so sure? The parents? Well, they let their kid get into a situation in which he was charged with burglary, what makes you think they'll watch him enough to make sure he goes to court?

    • by Seumas ( 6865 )

      To the contrary. There's nothing stupider than when a judge tries to be cute and orders someone to, say, wear a sandwich board in public. The correct punishment would be to repay the victims for any theft and damages as well as actual punishment for the crime itself.

    • Doesn't mean it'll work any better.

      I read a case in criminal law about a judge who sentenced a mail thief to an unorthodox sentence. He thought that his crime was a victimless crime, i mean, what in the mail couldn't be replaced? After all, HE never saw the victims. He was sentenced to (and held to perform on appeal) stand outside the post office on a certain number of times with a sandwichboard that said "I am a mail thief. This is my punishment." He was also to shadow the clerk at the lost letter office,

      • That's not unexpected. If you already believe that you owe nothing to society, a public humiliation by an authority figure (who you can't touch) will only reinforce that idea. Public debasements only work as a forgiveness ritual, and even then only within your own social group. Which is where they came from in tribal law, since there were no prisons.
    • by Nyder ( 754090 )

      I love it when a judge thinks and makes the punishment fit the crime. Having his parents pay a fine would have been pointless. Gotta make the punishment hurt for it to have any effect.

      Since he's 13, I'm pretty sure he's parents probably bought it for him anyways. Of course, he could be a hard worker and do odd jobs to afford one. But seeing as he's a thief, that probably isn't the case.

      Ya, he could of stolen the Xbox, but I'm thinking he didn't, unless he's breaking into peoples houses, they aren't that easy to steal (reserve the right to be wrong).

      Anyways, he's getting it back once the charges are all taken care of. lol, if i was the judge, i'd make it so he didn't get it back till

  • I'm interested and scared to think what the result would have been if this happened in America today and the response had been, "My constitutional right to avoid being a witness against myself in a criminal case".

    • When it hit slashdot, half the comments would be "and nothing existent was lost?"
    • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

      Judge: "What's something of value to you?"
      Defendant: "I plead the fifth!"
      Judge: "What are you talking about? This is a bail hearing!"
      Defendant: "I refuse to answer!"
      Judge: "Fine. Bail is set at $1000. Next case."

      • You missed the fine point wherein he did answer, and the answer was "the thing I value most are my Constitutional rights".

      • No, no, no. It'd go like this:

        Judge: "What's something of value to you?"
        Defendant: "Yo' mama"
        Judge: *facepalm* Bail is a grand, take him to lockup..."
  • . . .how many new X-Boxes he will buy with the money he stole.

  • Let me get this straight? He was accused of stealing and when asked for bail he had his xbox taken away? While I agree if he was found guilty that would be an excellent punishment, but that should not be the cost of his bail.

    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      Why not?

      It's reasonable bail if you factor in the cost of the Xbox. It's not like that there aren't any Xboxes that can be bought to replace it. And it's not like it's gone forever, he will get it back if he shows up to court.

      Show me your work in how you figured that this was unreasonable bail.


      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by theNetImp ( 190602 )

        While it may or may not be "unreasonable bail". It still seems to me like he is being punished before he is even found guilty. He should have been told to pay a normal bail like any other person and if he couldn't afford to pay bail then the xbox would have been a reasonable means for him to secure his bail. The Judge out right gave punishment before a trial. Forcing the child who was yet to be found guilty to be punished. It was IMO unreasonable.

        • In your logic, being "arrested" is "punishment" before being found guilty. Do you really think that we should not arrest people, set bail, for people accused of crimes? What kind of liberal utopia do you live in?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Maybe a liberal* utopia where the punishment follows, rather than precedes, the guilty verdict? But some people are just old fashioned that way I guess. Pre 9/11 mentality. (That being said, if it was done after he was found guilty, a punishment like this seems far more just than having a child serve a sentence or have his parents burdened with a hefty fine. Even better, have the kid meet the people he stole from. Nothing changes perspective like removing the "otherness".)

            *Sadly, maybe that is a libe
            • by msobkow ( 48369 )

              How do you get that it's punishment before conviction? Is it not then punishment before conviction if someone has to sell their car or other property to post bail?

          • No in my logic, a person should be allowed to pay bail by the same means as every one else that walks into a court. If I were to steal a car in the US and was brought before a judge he wouldn't ask me what my most prized possession was. He'd set a monitory bail, if I couldn't pay it I then have the option to put my most prized possession up as collateral with a bail agent, or remain in jail. If the child is found innocent, he loses out on his most prized possession for X amount of time that the trial goe

        • Bail is applied to people as monetary value means something to people. Monetary value forced to be paid for by parents (when I was 13 I got a whole $10 weekly allowance) has no intrinsic value to the accused.

          Bail is set on value, the kid gave up something that was valued. While I don't agree with this I don't see this as being any better or worse than any other bail system.

        • by bmo ( 77928 )

          >He should have been told to pay a normal bail like any other person and if he couldn't afford to pay bail then the xbox would have been a reasonable means for him to secure his bail. The Judge out right gave punishment before a trial. Forcing the child who was yet to be found guilty to be punished. It was IMO unreasonable.


          The judge did not punish the boy. Taking your argument and applying it to adults in similar situations means that any bail at all is punishment because the adult is out of mo

          • How do you know the child has no money? No where in the article did it say he had no money. No where in the article did it say he was give the option to pay a normal bail. For all you know he could have hundreds of dollars bank (or country of origin equivilent). I know when I was a kid we had some pretty well off kids who stole for the thrill of it. I myself made $15 a week on a paper route in one year I earned over $100, today it'd probably be closer to $250 with inflation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mysidia ( 191772 ) *

        . And it's not like it's gone forever, he will get it back if he shows up to court.

        You know what would be 'gone forever'?

        His save game files. And any artistic or other creative work or game progress saved to the console's memory. (He he....<eg>)

  • by tloh ( 451585 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @11:35PM (#36619144)

    It amuses me what this judge would have ordered for the following if such should ever appear before him.

    Kenneth Lay
    Lindsey Lohan
    Lori Drew
    The intruder who victimized the "hide your kids, hide your wife" guy.

  • So we are supposed to cheer from seizing property from someone who has been accused but not yet convicted?

    If this happened in America, would the 14th Amendment stop this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Uhmm if you READ, this was the boy's BAIL HEARING. So this was not at all simply 'siezing property', it was determining what of value the potential offender had that could be used to ensure he would make his trial.

      Honestly this seems to me like a pretty well thought out decision on the judge's part. Most kids don't have a lot of financial assets that could be held for bail, but many have some posession that would be treated as such. Asking the KID what it was seems like it could backfire though...

      • by Seumas ( 6865 )

        Exactly, because I'm sure a thirteen year old is likely to run away from his family and go start a new life in whatever their version of "south of the border" is, to avoid a hearing.

        • by zill ( 1690130 )

          Are you aware that each year there are between 1.3 and 1.5 million teenage runaways in the US?

          I'd say a thirteen year old is much more likely to skip bail than an adult because he's has no job, no outstanding financial obligations, and next to no material possessions.


          • Are you aware that each year there are between 1.3 and 1.5 million teenage runaways in the US?

            ... in which case such "bail" would be useless. Or do you really think runaway kids would take all their computing and gaming gear with them?

    • It seems to be used in place of money for bail. The kid is free to stay in jail (or wherever they are keeping him), so it's not seizing of property any more than other bail is.
    • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @11:44PM (#36619210)

      ITT: everyone on slashdot but a few misunderstands what bail is.

      It's a guarantee of showing up to court. He gets his xbox back if he shows up to court. If he doesn't, it becomes property of the government. Explain how this is unreasonable.


      • by metacell ( 523607 ) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @06:37AM (#36620912)

        ITT: everyone on slashdot but a few misunderstands what bail is.

        It's a guarantee of showing up to court. He gets his xbox back if he shows up to court. If he doesn't, it becomes property of the government. Explain how this is unreasonable.

        *sigh* No, people here are not misunderstanding what bail is. They're misunderstanding what the issue is. From the fine article:

        The judge told the youth it would show him what it was like to have something he valued taken from him.

        That's clearly using bail as a form of punishment, not as a way to ensure the person returns to face trial. It's a misuse of the bail system.

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @11:47PM (#36619228)

      So we are supposed to cheer from seizing property from someone who has been accused but not yet convicted?


      and applied to be released on bail...
      The judge then ordered him to give the XBOX to the authorities, saying it would be returned to him when the charges were disposed of.

      Not a seizure, but a bail. As the kid wouldn't have had enough money, punishing the parents to pay the bail would be worse. Putting the kid in jail for not paying the bail... even worse.

  • This isn't really newsworthy... except to alert us there's one less swill-spitting high-pitched teenager playing Modern Warfare.
    I bet those Irish boys know a few words.

  • The Scene (Score:5, Funny)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @12:01AM (#36619332)

    Judge: "Kid, I order you to hand over your... XBox!!!"

    Kid: "Whatever" (makes mental note of which houses he had broke into that had xboxes)

    Judge: "And... your Live account password. Your gamer tag is now mine".

    Kid: "NOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooo!".

    • More like:

      Judge: "Kid, I order you to hand over your... XBox!!!"
      Kid: "Cool! It worked! I get to keep my Wii!"

  • ...his sister rather than his Xbox.
  • Sure your honour! You can have my xbox and now im sad....

    *goes back to his 360*

  • ...who is smart enough to let the kid keep Xbox, take the games and leave him with just Duke Nukem Forever.
  • In America, it would turn out that this somehow violates his human rights and thus the punishment would go back to the standard massive fine for his parents, who would proceed to not pay the fine or go out and rob a liquor store to pay off the fine.
  • When an adult asks you "what do you own that means a lot to you", answer "my schoolbooks"...

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson