A theoretical question.

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by Uiaad, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Uiaad
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    Uiaad GBATemp's resident guinea pig

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    A woman is found dead next to a man passed out with a bruise on his head.
    The woman has been stabbed and the man has her blood all over his hands.
    Later in hospital the man wakes up but has lost 2 years worth of his memories.
    The woman turns out to be his wife and he is devastated to have lost her.
    The fingerprints on the knife come back to only his.

    The question is : should this man be punished ?
     
  2. VinsCool

    VinsCool Cattus Incerta Tacitusque

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    Ow man, that's a really tough one there.

    How could one be punished when they don't remember, and yet have all the evidences point towards them?
    That's some insomnia material right there.

    I would say, the man cannot really punished if he doesn't remember any of this, and is devastated. Though, under the circumstances, he is the one who did it.

    Probably ending up on Indirect Murder case.
     
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  3. B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N

    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N I'm better than you I think

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    A philosophical question, huh? I remember seeing something about this on the Philosophy subreddit. I believe this was the article that was posted. The question was, apparently, originally posed by John Locke.

    Personally, I believe that memory is a crucial part of a person's sense of identity; to lose your memories would be equivalent to a mental death/rebirth. That's not to say that memories are the only factor, as genetics and natural disposition might also play a role in establishing one's sense of self. While your question is ambiguous as to whether or not the man actually killed his wife (intentionally or not), from a moral standpoint, I don't believe he should be punished, as his mental state at the time of the murder has disappeared from his head. Legally, however, the question is less cut and dry, and many would be skeptical of the man, suspecting him of feigning amnesia.

    Maybe a middle ground between the two would be probation and mental evaluation? The man has shown himself to be capable of murder, so a mental health checkup and surveillance would be preferable to ensure that another such situation doesn't happen again.
     
  4. Uiaad
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    Uiaad GBATemp's resident guinea pig

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    Thank you @B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N and @VinsCool you have restored my faith in humanity by not instantly saying he should be bangged up and the key thrown away. I have been asking people for MONTHS this exact question and you are the only two who haven't instantly said he should be punished
     
  5. B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N

    B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N I'm better than you I think

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    Maybe a lot of people you know are approaching the problem from a more pragmatic standpoint; again, the man could be faking memory loss to avoid the consequences, and, in real life, random memory loss isn't that simple, like the flip of a switch or something impossibly convenient or contrived. It's a fun thought-experiment, however.
     
    Last edited by B_E_P_I_S_M_A_N, Sep 8, 2018 - Reason: grammer
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  6. AmandaRose

    AmandaRose The Fallen Angel

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    Oh seen this before going to bed. Something like that actually happened in Scotland and the guy legally could not be charged as he had no recollection of the event or of his previous life.
     
  7. osaka35

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    I'd say if we're talking only about punishment...it comes down to what you see as the purpose of punishment.

    Is it to correct bad behaviour? Or is it to give consequence to a severe action? Or is it for vengeance or vindication?

    Of those three, the first one can be thrown out. Without memory of the bad behaviour, there's no real way to correct it. That leaves #2 and #3. #3 is just an act of retaliation and not really something that should be overly approved of. So, #2 then. Should we punish one person to make an example of them for everyone else? Consequentialism, essentially. I'd imagine some form of consequences should happen, but they should take into account the loss of memory.

    This is of course, assuming the person actually did it. Could easily been a third person who attacked them both, with the husband trying to save the wife, but ultimately failing. Could be faking the memory thing, but that's why we have innocent until proven guilty. it's worth protecting the innocent to let some guilty folks slip through.

    Personally I'd say lots and lots of therapy.
     
    Last edited by osaka35, Sep 8, 2018
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  8. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    I'll go with "more investigation needed ". How did he get that bruise? What do relatives say of their relationship Did they have issues between them? What does the household say?

    The latter probably sounds weird, but there are clues if you know how to look at them. In any case : as it stands, it's unclear how the fight started. The knife is obviously strong evidence against him, but it could have been used in defense as well. Not likely, but still : everyone is innocent until proven otherwise.
     
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  9. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    Personally I would argue him to prove that he actually did lose his memory. Just because he claims he lost his memory doesn't mean it's not for show in an attempt to plead innocent through fake brain damage.
     
  10. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    You can't personally prove amnesia. A criminal psychologist though would be able to weigh in. Has such a person done an assessment* would be my first question. I would presume it for the hypothetical there but were I on a jury I would want that to be asked. The results of that and a medical workup might also have some bearing -- suppressing a traumatic memory is one thing, a stroke is another, some kind of tumour pressing on fun parts of the body is another still.
    Second question. Prints and blood transfer say something, however forensics goes far further than that -- any cuts on hands, blood cast off, blood patterns/spatter analysis to indicate the course of events? Any other forensics or witnesses? Anybody that might testify as to the state of their relationship or some medical history? 2 years is a long time after all.

    *I would push for a criminal psychologist rather than just a treatment psychologist testifying.

    osaka35's points about the nature and intentions of punishments would be where I head next.

    The more interesting ethical problem for me is what gets to be done to restore their memory. You also have the question of what happens if they do get their memory back, a question possibly tweaked by the nature of the amnesia?
    Assuming they have not got their memory back then I would push for a court order for a battery of tests and/including a risk assessment for returning them to the community.
     
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  11. Ringotaker

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    All of the evidence points toward him being guilty, however we lack the detailed information about what happened, as someone stated before, maybe he was doing it on self-defense.
    Usually those kinds of violent behavior comes from way back in the living of every individual, so if he actually commited the crime he'd most likely do it again againts someone else...
    I don't think you can punish him now given the circumstances, however it'd be a good starting point to keep an eye on the man.
     
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