Do you think everyone should be treated the same under the law? Do you think everyone should be treated the same under the law? What about people who are retarted, emotionally disturbed, or...

Do you think everyone should be treated the same under the law?

Do you think everyone should be treated the same under the law? What about people who are retarted, emotionally disturbed, or severely underprivileged? Should they always be held to the same laws? The same penalties?

Asked on by ericaal

4 Answers | Add Yours

dano7744's profile pic

dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Yes, absolutely. The 14th Amendment (1868 ) very specifically addresses this very point. In theory, we are all to be treated equally under the law and benefit from the equal protection of the laws. This is called the Equal Protection Clause of the 14 Amendment.

Due process of the law is also included in the 14th Amendment, hence it is also called the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. The doctrine of due process protects citizens from arbitrary governmental actions. The same laws and legal procedures are the same for all citizens regardless of circumstances or race or ability to hire legal counsel. Due process also specifies procedural issues that the state must follow when initiating a criminal action against a criminal defendant. Again, these procedures are the same for all citizens... the very richest and the very poorest.

One reason the state appoints counsel for indigent defendants is because of the Equal Protection Clause. All people, regardless of ability to pay, have a right to competent legal representation.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do think that people who are severely mentally disabled should be treated more leniently.  However, if they are doing things that hurt other people, they need to be institutionalized so they will not harm others.

Underprivilege would not be a good excuse for breaking laws.

hala718's profile pic

hala718 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think they already have special law when it comes to retarded or special needs. I do not think that the punishment of a mentally or emotionally damaged person would be the same for regular person. The main purpose in this case is to keep the mentally ill person from doing another crime in the future.

In "share'a" (islamic law) there are specific rules for this group and the statment includes mentally retarded and underage.

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think everyone should be held to the same laws.  Can you imagine creating an entire new set of laws with even more stipulations and addendums?  We already have way too many laws as it is.

I do not think everyone should be held to the same penalties.  Do some people deserve less harsh penalites?  Mentally retarded, yes.  Emotionally disturbed (truly disturbed), maybe.  Severly underprivileged, but otherwise in their right minds, no.

However, when it comes to the insanity plea... this one has been in the NC news very recently.  A guy who was convicted of four murders (about 20 years ago) was sentenced to Dorothea Dix (Mental) Hospital.  He was released last week when his doctors (basically) said he is no longer insane.  I think he should have to go to jail now.

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