December 20, 2015

"There's a fine line between tough love and compassion. The victim was highly intoxicated and your failure to assist her may have risen to cruelty."

Said the judge, giving a 19 months to 15 year sentence to a man who went to bed and left his girlfriend, who was drunk, out on the porch, where she froze to death. The woman had taken a shower and gone outside, without warm clothes on, when the temperature was about 25°. The man made a video recording in which he was "berating her and belittling her." He said: "I’m sorry it happened, but I tried to help her... It hurts me."

(Key point: He pleaded guilty.)

57 comments:

campy said...

Males have a responsibility to protect Women so they can be Strong and Independent.

Owen said...

Just very sad.

clint said...

Absolutely *terrible* journalism.

Impossible to tell what happened from the article, or the article it links to. Did she pass out and freeze to death? Did he lock her out in the weather? Who can say? All we get is: "...was unable to get herself back into the house..."

This could be anything from boyfriend locked her out because he was mad to boyfriend can't get her to come inside because she's drunk and goes to bed assuming she'll come in on her own.

If it's the latter... can we consider the alternative in which he tries to make her come inside and she's screaming and the neighbors call the police and she presses assault charges?

Sammy Finkelman said...

Was she locked out or not. Was it just simply taht she was so intoxicated she would not go inside?

In any case we have asituation where he did not realize she could die.

gemma said...

didn't that judge mean there's a fine line between tough love and neglect/cruelty? I don't see the compassion being nearby

Rae said...

The thing about alcohol and drugs is that, past a certain point, intoxication means that you are no longer in control of what happens to you. You are then at the mercy of those around you. A lot of young people, and some older ones too, don't seem to understand that, or possibly care about it.

jacksonjay said...

Oh Hell No! This is white folks conspiring to lock up a brother. I wanna see a piture of that judge. I wanna see a piture of that prosecutor. I bet a public defender, probably white, convinced this poor man to plead guilty. How many Black men are bullied into pleading guilty? Wouldn't no judge lock up a woman for the same offence. This is racism, straight up.

C'mon Man! This just what our brave President is talking about. Locking up brothers for non-violent crimes.

I nominate this injustice for next years Serial podcast.

TWW said...

"He pleaded guilty": Great Moments in defense lawyering. Let me be clear: His inaction was outrageous, immoral and repugnant. But, based on what I have read, it wasn't illegal.

Fernandinande said...

“The victim[sic] was highly intoxicated

Whose fault was that?

and your failure to assist her may have risen to cruelty.”

Everybody is guilty of failing to assist her.

coupe said...

I just hope the department of corrections will be able to rehabilitate this obvious threat to female society.

Michael K said...

What campy said.

Gahrie said...

How about the woman whose husband was living on their front lawn? Surely her failure to assist him rose to cruelty?

Jupiter said...

Involuntary manslaughter? For going to bed? Did this guy have a lawyer?

Rob said...

Nineteen months to fifteen years is quite a range. That puts an awful lot of power into the hands of the parole board--more than seems desirable in my view.

Ann Althouse said...

"This could be anything from boyfriend locked her out because he was mad to boyfriend can't get her to come inside because she's drunk and goes to bed assuming she'll come in on her own. If it's the latter... can we consider the alternative in which he tries to make her come inside and she's screaming and the neighbors call the police and she presses assault charges?"

Yeah, those were my questions too, but then I saw that he pleaded guilty. I'd most like to know if he locked her out. The discussion of the lack of a phone seems to imply that she was locked out, but why do we even know that? He must have gotten up in the morning and opened the door to go out and find her. At that point he would have unlocked the door if it was locked.

campy said...

"can we consider the alternative in which he tries to make her come inside and she's screaming and the neighbors call the police and she presses assault charges?"

Certainly. In fact, if this happened at a college he'd be a fool to let her in, even if she pounded on the door and begged to be admitted. Since she was drunk, she couldn't give affirmative consent to entering the house, so letting her in could be called kidnapping and/or false imprisonment.

(IANAL, in case you were wondering.)

MayBee said...

Perhaps he pled guilty because he felt guilty about what happened, but it seems he shouldn't plead guilty in any legal sense.
I think the court took advantage of someone who blames himself.

Ann Althouse said...

From the Detroit News: 

"Campbell’s lawyer, James Jesse, said Hurd’s brother dropped her off at the Benton Township home. He says Hurd went in and out several times before Campbell left to go shopping. Authorities say Hurd took a shower and was wet when she went outside in temperatures between 24 and 27 degrees without a coat, hat, boots or gloves. Assistant Prosecutor Cortney O’Malley says Hurd wasn’t locked out, but Campbell knew she was too drunk to get back inside."

So: the door was not locked.

David said...

The underlying facts are murky, but it appears that he went out on the porch with her and then went inside and went to bed. Did he lock the door? If he didn't lock the door and she was too drunk to let herself in, did he know that she was that drunk? What was in the video? These unclear aspects of the facts might make a difference.

But I can tell you if he were a Rockefeller or a Kennedy or one of those, he would not have pleaded guilty and most likely would not have been convicted.

Ted Kennedy comes to mind. Of course Ted also had the inconvenient fact that he drove the car off the bridge. But I'll grant you that Teddy knew some law, despite his miserable record at UVA. He knew enough to try to convince the cops that Mary Jo was driving.

Ann Althouse said...

"Perhaps he pled guilty because he felt guilty about what happened, but it seems he shouldn't plead guilty in any legal sense."

I would guess that he pled guilty because he was offered a plea deal of involuntary manslaughter.

It seems as though his "lecturing" her (on video) was seen as especially important, but I don't really know why. What did he do? He didn't prevent her from helping herself and she was going in and out. She was doing something dangerous and maybe he told her off about what she was doing. Then he left the scene. I'm surprised that he's going to prison for this.

Fabi said...

Too drunk to get back inside? That should be an interesting standard of proof.

Original Mike said...

What kind of sentence is 19 months to 15 years?

Shahid Alam said...

Seems like he pleaded guilty because he felt sorry for what happened to her and responsible that he may have unwittingly encouraged his behavior. It's hard to see how he is criminally guilty, however. Unless he already has a felony record though, his lawyer should have strongly advised against the plea, as It is going to make life in society that much harder even after he finishes his prison sentence.

The judge gives away the game: "may have risen to cruelty". That seems pretty far from guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and a weak reason for putting someone in prison for up to 15 years (or even 9 months).

Original Mike said...

"Assistant Prosecutor Cortney O’Malley says Hurd wasn’t locked out, but Campbell knew she was too drunk to get back inside."

Was there a maze in front of the entrance? Short of her passing out, I don't believe this.

pm317 said...

Somehow, the judge's words about the thin line between tough love and compassion rings true. Bravo has a show called Real Housewives and in their Beverly Hills franchise, they showed the alcoholic Kim Richards paraded drunk in some episodes and the other HWs (including one who is her real life sister) berating and belittling her scene after scene. She had a meltdown after the season ended. But the viewers blamed the alcoholic more than the other nasty HWs for their part in breaking the fragile person. I used to wonder where is the compassion and a gentler and kinder way to help the person who is obviously in trouble. I have no experience in my life dealing with alcoholics and I would lean towards compassion but others with perhaps experience with alcoholics seem to think any reasonable accommodation and helpful attitude toward the alcoholic is enabling. Not only that, they go after the person who needs help in the most hateful and vile manner in the comments and on twitter and such. I see a parallel about what I saw in that show (something horrible could have happened to Kim Richards) and here in this case.

Michael K said...

Being drunk or having a drug overdose makes one more susceptible to hypothermia. I once had a guy come in who had taken an overdoes of narcotics and fell asleep in front of a room air conditioner in a motel. He came in with a very low body temp, around 87 as I recall, and we didn't warm him up soon enough. He had a cardiac arrest while still very cold. Not outside at all. Southern California in summer.

Eric said...

Assistant Prosecutor Cortney O’Malley says Hurd wasn’t locked out, but Campbell knew she was too drunk to get back inside.

I don't understand why there was even a prosecution here. Was he her parent or legal guardian?

Birkel said...

"I'm surprised that he's going to prison for this." -- Althouse

I cannot understand the legal duty the prosecutor thinks the boyfriend had. But I have no doubt that prosecutors are quick to overcharge, scare defendants and impose legal burdens on people who are guilty of nothing.

Therefore, I am neither surprised by this outcome nor Althouse's surprise.

campy said...

"Therefore, I am neither surprised by this outcome nor Althouse's surprise."

Well, I for one am truly, sincerely, no sarcasm at all surprised by Althouse's surprise. Something bad happened to a woman. Of course a male gets punished, somehow.

I'm almost surprised they didn't arrest all the males living with a five mile radius of the house. What right do they have to stay snug and warm in bed when some woman needs protection?

The Godfather said...

This story is like a Rorschach test. The image itself means nothing, so what's significant is what the patient sees in the image.

I see a blue sky with fluffy white clouds and birds. Lots of birds.

Can I go home now?

Rhythm and Balls said...

Unless he locked the door then any sentence at all is BOOOOL SHIT.

Look, the girl's a drunk. We can presume she wasn't in rehab or doing anything to help herself. Why is her own laziness not seen as the primary cause of her death? We're basically sentencing him for his own ("moral") laziness. It seems we do live in a country where personal responsibility is less important in the eyes of the law than responsibility you can demand from any close bystander that can be pointed to as an additional proximate cause - no matter how tenuous. This is a prescription for social disaster.

Rhythm and Balls said...

"Perhaps he pled guilty because he felt guilty about what happened, but it seems he shouldn't plead guilty in any legal sense."

Feeling bad about something or regretful about not doing more does not and should not mean that you are guilty of breaking any law. The word "guilt" should be reserved solely as a legal term of art, especially in a society as litigious as ours.

I'm surprised that he's going to prison for this.

Hey. As Hillary would say, "It takes a village."

Welcome to the Gynocracy.

David said...

PJM17--

It's not that an alcoholic will break your heart and not care. More than likely they won't even notice. It's a bad idea ever to count on an active alcoholic.

I understand why you find the conduct of the others on the "Housewives" show disturbing. However I would fault the producers of the show for exploiting an alcoholic for their own profit. That is reprehensible.

Rhythm and Balls said...

We are fast on our way to becoming a society in which actions befitting the Darwin Award will actually be selected for. We are seriously becoming a society that is being led into committing its own, slow suicide.

God help us.

Drago said...

Althouse: "What did he do?"

Guilty of Male Existence in the first degree.

Paco Wové said...

Note to self: do not ever hire Campbell's lawyer.

Dude1394 said...

That a prosecutor used outrageous sentencing to get a conviction is the real horrible story here.

The one thing in life I fear more than anything, is a prosecutor who has the power of the state behind them. They can do WHATEVER they want to do with your life.

Paul Ciotti said...

I see videos all the time of someone beating up someone on the sidewalk while bystanders or friends of the assailant just videotape the scene without trying to stop it but rather find the beating so hilariously funny . Then they post it on YouTube. Under the judge's theory, isn't standing around laughing while someone is getting kicked into a coma cruelty too?

pm317 said...

@David, the question is why there isn't more compassion? In the case cited in the post, if she is your girlfriend and she is out there drunk, wouldn't you bring her in, check on her and such. Why would you leave her out there to die? That is not tough love, that is idiocy at a minimum and cruelty at a maximum. But I don't think that guy thought far enough to see that she would die if left there, may be that was the problem.

{And wrt HWs show, yeah, the producers are despicable and the other HWs who used Kim Richards for their drama and paycheck are equally despicable.}

Birkel said...

Paul Ciotti,
Without identifying the genders of the people in your hypothetical, nobody can answer your question.

johnnymcguirk said...

It's obviously impossible to have an informed opinion reading a paragraph, but 19 months to 15 years ? Does that mean 19 months unless he messes up again ? Can someone who pleads guilty appeal based on poor representation ?

clint said...

I don't understand what the judge is thinking about with a sentence that long.

The prison system has a finite number of spaces. Someone else is getting early parole to make space for the minimum part of this guy's sentence. Should that make the people of Michigan feel safer?

Michael McClain said...

Absolute madness.

Mac McConnell said...

The Judge, prosecutor and defence attorney are either retarded or just fucking evil.

rcommal said...

Fascinating.

rcommal said...

Let me just share a thought of mine, especially given others' opinions:

What was going on in Campbell's mind that he didn't call for the police, didn't call for an ambulance, didn't call for a cab, didn't call any sort of crisis line, didn't even call a friend or family member related to himself, much less a friend or family member related to her, to move, or at least help to move, her from his porch.

In the face of all of those choices that he had in addition to just going to bed and being done with it[AKA her], he chose to just...go to bed?

Dang.



tim maguire said...

It's hard to see the crime in letting someone do something stupid. Unless he locked her out, he's done nothing legally wrong. But I have a hard time feeling sorry for him. There's no tough love in leaving someone exposed to physical danger from their alcohol-induced poor judgment. The tough love comes the next morning when they've sobered up.

Brando said...

If the genders were reversed and a woman left her drunk boyfriend on the porch and he died, I have a hard time imagining that the court would have found a duty for her to have helped him inside when (a) she did not cause his intoxication and (b) she did not prevent him from coming inside. This sounds like paternalism.

I mean, sure it would have been nice in this case for him to help her inside or at least give her a blanket if she couldn't be moved (and drunk people can be very difficult to move) but where did they find a legal duty for him? Did he cause her situation?

Guildofcannonballs said...

Get some medical guild to throw out the verdict, which happens by throwing money around, because the defendant isn't allowed to diagnose medical conditions; to presume he could is a slippery slope to Venezualien healthcare for all. And Venezualien wages for medical position holders.

You pit big medicine against big ego, game-playing prosecutors and the law is completely irrelevant along with all the facts save one: If there is a chance a prosecutor's ego might get bruised, they will fight tougher than mad demon dogs coked up and ballin' since six years old like Ike. But only if they have to. If they can quietly make it all go away and save face, they will cowardly do precisely that.

It is why Christie is hated by the nation. NEVER trust any ego involved with the law, just pay your attorney well and hope he trusts he can't get more by pissing your life away with drop-hat speed when his wife or lover (the Judge) refuses sex.

damikesc said...

What was going on in Campbell's mind that he didn't call for the police, didn't call for an ambulance, didn't call for a cab, didn't call any sort of crisis line, didn't even call a friend or family member related to himself, much less a friend or family member related to her, to move, or at least help to move, her from his porch.

In the face of all of those choices that he had in addition to just going to bed and being done with it[AKA her], he chose to just...go to bed?


Would you assume somebody is so incompetent that they cannot open a door? I've not seen a drunk in my life who couldn't turn a doorknob unless they were unconscious. He, I'm assuming, was going to have her sleep it off and not deal with it.

MadisonMan said...

Society is a little bit safer today with that scourge off the streets.

Mark said...

"Authorities say Campbell woke up in the morning and actually stepped over Hurd’s body as he left to go shopping. When he returned, he realized Hurd was dead."

This might have a little something to do with it.

How would a jury react to this fact?

TreeJoe said...

When I was 17, I had my first interaction with alcohol. Tequila and Goldschlager.

I reached a level of intoxication where I remember only the moments in between the non-stop black outs. I remember puckering my mouth to the cracks in the deck I was face down against so that my vomit could flow through them, because I didn't have the strength to turn my head or crawl to the edge. A few other things.

Those around me decided it was a good time to draw all over with me with marker. Someone did eventually put me inside.

Nonetheless, if I had died that evening, no one would have been charged most likely because it was a group of people surrounding me - not one individual. Seems unfair in comparison

Rick said...

Like others I don't understand the sentence unless a key fact has been omitted.

I'm contrasting the theory behind this to sexual assault cases. Men who drink retain all their responsibilities and duties even to recognize when yes means no. But in this case a woman drinks and somehow her responsibility of self-care transfers to a man. Why? The reason given is that he has a "controlling nature".

"I'm speaking on behalf of Tamika's mother," O'Malley told Judge Angela Pasula. "She's had no apology from him. We've heard no regrets or remorse. Tamika's death was due to (Campbell's) controlling nature."

Did he tell her she had to sleep on the porch? I find it difficult to believe he did so and no reports mention it. It seems like he criticized her for being fall down drunk and she became obstinate about staying away from him. So a tragedy befell a woman and the court reacted by passing judgement on her relationship?

I'm stunned his lawyer agreed to a plea bargain - and wonder if this can be set aside due to incompetent legal counsel.

Guildofcannonballs said...

We all know we are programed to say "cruel" included before "neutrality" as if.

So, Buckley didn't not know what you know.

To me. Etc. Et al.

Guildofcannonballs said...

We can shake or you can murder me. Don't murder me. pLEASE DON'all know we are programed to say "cruel" included before "neutrality" as if.

So, Buckley didn't not know what you know.

To me.DON'T MURDER ME OH PLEASE DON'T MUREtc. Et al.

Guildofcannonballs said...

We can shake or you can murder me. Don't murder me. pLEASE DON'all know we are programed to say "cruel" included before "neutrality" as if.

So, Buckley didn't not know what you know.

To me.DON'T MURDER ME OH PLEASE DON'T MUREtc. Et al.