posted by Bridgett on .
Do you agree or disagree with the argument that crime seriousness and prior criminal records are not legally relevant variables?
Many agree, many disagree, I would like to hear more opinions and why?
I agree. Prior crime does not equate to current crime.
If that were so, we could also say that no past record of crime means you never will commit a crime.
Once a good guy, always a good guy. Once a bad guy, always a bad guy. [Both statements are ridiculous.]
However, if a person has a prior criminal record, it is more likely she will commit another crime. When person with no record commits crime, it makes sense to give him the benefit of the doubt and give him a light sentence.
The seriousness of the crime is a factor — that's what distinguishes between most misdemeanors and felonies.
You are phrasing previous record in an all-or-nothing manner. In contrast, it is more a matter of probabilities. Past behavior is a relatively good indicator — all other things being equal — of what to expect in future behavior. However, in real life, "all other things" are not equal. This is a fact that makes prediction difficult.
There is also the intent of the perpetrator. Did s/he intend harm?
I hope this helps a little more. Thanks for asking.