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Senate Bill Could Set Kent Hovind Free

Kent Hovind may get an early release from prison if a bill in the Senate passes. The bill would allow for earlier release for non-violent offenders who exhibit good behavior in prison, which I’m all for. In fact, I think a lot fewer of them should be sent to prison in the first place.

Now in his eighth year in federal prison on tax-related charges, the popular Florida-based creation-science lecturer and theme-park creator known as “Dr. Dino” hopes a U.S. Senate bill will free him, perhaps even before Christmas.

Kent Hovind, incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Berlin, N.H., began serving a 10-year sentence in January 2007 after he was convicted of 12 tax offenses, one count of obstructing federal agents and 45 counts of structuring cash transactions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bill that would reduce the amount of time served for first-offense, nonviolent federal offenders who exhibit good behavior, cutting sentences by 33 percent instead of the current 12 percent.

Known as the Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act of 2013, Senate Bill 1675 is expected to pass the Senate and the House and be signed by President Obama if it survives the Judiciary Committee.

Yes, I know Hovind is loathsome, but his sentence was too long in the first place and he should be out of prison. And regardless of his personal situation, this bill is a great idea and I hope it passes. Unfortunately, Hovind seems not to have learned anything about the law from this:

While Kent Hovind has made statements over the course of his ministry that challenge the authority of the federal government to collect income taxes, he insists he has not broken any laws.

“I’ve never been anti-tax or a tax protester,” he told WND. “I have always said that everyone should obey the law, including the government. I have always paid every tax I owe.”…

As WND reported in 2009, Hovind argues he took a vow of poverty as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and, therefore, owns nothing and receives no income. All of his needs are taken care of by the ministry, he insists.

An idiotic argument then and still an idiotic argument now.

Comments

  1. Alverant says

    How much money did he steal from the federal and state government? The crook deserves hard time and if he abused the tax-exempt laws with his religion, he should serve time for terrorism too. I have to disagree, 10 years isn’t nearly enough.

  2. raven says

    Kent Hovind put himself in jail.

    The IRS just wants their money and usually if you pay up, it’s a civil offense.

    By becoming a Tax Protester and ignoring legal rulings, he turned it into a felony conviction. Well, no one ever claimed he was too bright or too honest. It’s a fundie xian thing.

  3. raven says

    I wouldn’t call Kent Hovind a nonviolent offender either.

    He once assaulted someone over a dispute of some sort, although he wasn’t convicted.

    He also had an arsenal of guns. It’s more or less legal, but why does a so called xian minister need an arsenal? Prince of Peace jesus has gone the way of Feed the Poor jesus, all but dead.

    My impression was that the feds were a bit nervous about him, afraid he was going to go all Branch Davidian on them and go out in a blaze of glory and gunfire.

    Oh well, he can get back to scamming the fundies. Two of his kids didn’t fall far from the tree. Eric is running the creationist scam while another one is running some sort of stock market and/or financial scam.

  4. says

    The crook deserves hard time and if he abused the tax-exempt laws with his religion, he should serve time for terrorism too.

    Terrorism? You’re out of your mind.

  5. matty1 says

    If you use long prison sentences for fraud, what do you use for violent crimes, or does hurting people not merit harsher punishment that taking money?

  6. daved says

    Given that Hovind doesn’t appear to have learned anything, he’ll probably do the exact same thing when he gets out, and he’ll be right back inside in a few years. The notion that this bill will reduce recividism, well, I doubt it applies in his case.

  7. raven says

    Godonomics: What the ALMIGHTY says about the almighty dollar …
    www .amazon .com/Godonomics-ALMIGHTY-about…/1584680415‎

    Godonomics is a fun, engaging, and fact-filled journey into God’s wisdom on work … 8 of 10 people found the following review helpful … This is hitting the market at a great time. … Awesome explanation of the economy based on Biblical principles …
    Chad Hovind talks about all the different kinds of government and influential …

    There you go. God is a Gibbertarian.

    PS One of Kent’s stunningly smart moves was to renounce his American citizenship and describe himself as a Sovereign citizen, not under US law. As Rocky the Flying Squirrel points out, “That trick never works”.

  8. John Pieret says

    What probably got him such a long sentence was his phone calls from jail while he was awaiting sentencing that showed he was not in the slightest repentant, intended to continue evading taxes and even made veiled threats against government agents. Apparently the dufus didn’t know that all jail phone calls are recorded.

    http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2007/02/kent-hovinds-bizarre-phone-calls-from.html

    They were played for the judge at Hovind’s sentencing hearing.

  9. Alverant says

    heddle if giving money to an Islamic organization that has questionable ties to someone who might have done something violent is terrorism, then so is a preacher with a boatload of guns who stole money. Crimes committed under the disguise of religion is considered terrorism by many so I see no reason not to give a free pass here.

    Also I don’t think theft should be considered a non-violent crime.

  10. Alverant says

    Thanks, John. That’s another reason why what he did should be considered terrorism and how he should not be labeled as a non-violent offender.

  11. says

    Alvarant,

    He committed tax fraud. He should serve time, whatever it is, for tax fraud. Your use of the word terrorism dilutes the term. On the other hand it’s probably inevitable. People will always reach hyperbolically. We use “communist, socialist, nazi, fascist,” etc. when we used to say Democrat or Republican or liberal or conservative. I suppose it makes sense to start calling pissant tax cheats “terrorists”, at least the ones we personally find particularly loathsome.

  12. Alverant says

    There’s a difference between stealing for your own personal profit and stealing to fund a crusade against the government.

  13. D. C. Sessions says

    He also had an arsenal of guns. It’s more or less legal, but why does a so called xian minister need an arsenal? Prince of Peace jesus has gone the way of Feed the Poor jesus, all but dead.

    Their version of “Jesus Christ, Supersoldier” is supported by Scripture [1]: “I bring you not peace but a full-auto 7.62 mm with high-capacity magazine.”

    [1] Not exactly surprising; after all, “all things are in it.” (The Wisdom of the Fathers 5:22)

  14. says

    Alverant, I have to disagree that plain theft is violent. That elevates property to status equaling that of human life. Now, robbery is a different story. I’ve been robbed, it was a really violent experience because someone used a knife to intimidate and force me to turn over a cash register to them. Theft should be punished, but is not inherently violent.

  15. Michael Heath says

    Alverant,

    Your argument here is just plain nuts. It doesn’t deserve any scrutiny beyond that, just ridicule.

  16. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Yep have to agree with Ed here. Despite the admitted schadenfreude I had when he was convicted and the frequent poking fun self entertaining aspect of bringing up his incarceration, we as a country WAY over incarcerate. He’s served a fair amount of time and if the new law allows for the release of the non-violent, he should be treated just like the others. Though i do think there are some non-violent a little more deserving, namely some drug offenders.

    And if we’re worried about the tax dollars he certainly “stole”, he’s costing that much and more being in there.

    I’d rather we reduce the prison population and save those beds for the violent and those who prey directly on people.

    Yes he preys on people with his religion and denial of reality but that’s not a crime. That’s just wrong.

    If we incarcerated people for just being wrong, Justin Beiber would be in prison right now.

    He once assaulted someone over a dispute of some sort, although he wasn’t convicted.

    There’s an important part of your statement there.

    He also had an arsenal of guns. It’s more or less legal, but why does a so called xian minister need an arsenal? Prince of Peace jesus has gone the way of Feed the Poor jesus, all but dead.

    Right sure, but also not convicted of any crime in relation to that right?

  17. says

    The bill would allow for earlier release for non-violent offenders who exhibit good behavior in prison…

    If that means big-time white-collar criminals who stole millions without having to fire a shot go free, while piss-poor small-timers spend decades in jail for threatening one person with a knife, then I’m inclined to say “no thanks.” Don’t we already have enough unequal “justice” already?

  18. Alverant says

    #16 When the banks wrongfully forclose on houses putting people out on the street and devastating their lives, that’s more than just “plain theft”. We have to consider the effects of the crime and why it was done before we label something as violent or non-violent. If someone defrauded a person of their life savings to fund a bank robbery, would the fraud be considered non-violent even though the victim lost decades of savings and now has to get help from the government for the rest of their lives?

  19. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    If that means big-time white-collar criminals who stole millions without having to fire a shot go free, while piss-poor small-timers spend decades in jail for threatening one person with a knife, then I’m inclined to say “no thanks.” Don’t we already have enough unequal “justice” already?

    If that means tens of thousands (or more) of small time drug possessors and dealers who likely had addiction issues and other factors (including being born black) get to come out a little early and unfortunately a few hundred white colar criminals get out too.

    I’m ok with that.

  20. D. C. Sessions says

    When the banks wrongfully forclose on houses putting people out on the street and devastating their lives, that’s more than just “plain theft”.

    It only counts as “violent” if the accused was personally involved in the threatened violence. If they can get an officer of the court to do it for them, it’s at worst a minor civil offense (generally dealt with via a token fine, never remotely enough to make the practice unprofitable.)

  21. says

    Okay, I see I’m already overusing “already” already…

    …and even made veiled threats against government agents.

    Who in his right mind would call that “good behavior?” If Hovind can act like that and still go free on “good behavior,” it will only prove how deeply entrenched Christian privilege is in our “justice” “system.”

  22. says

    Capone also had a set up where he claimed to receive no income and pay no taxes. It didn’t work out too well for him, either.

    If Kent’s in the eighth year of a ten year stretch, he should been eligible for parole years ago. He’s probably still inside because he refuses to admit he broke any laws. Parole boards tend to not like cons that refuse to express remorse. Could this bill really shave the last two years off if he continues to deny gult?

  23. says

    If that means tens of thousands (or more) of small time drug possessors and dealers who likely had addiction issues and other factors (including being born black) get to come out a little early and unfortunately a few hundred white colar criminals get out too.

    Is the bill in question well enough written to make a distinction between those two classes of non-violent criminals? If not, then it should fail.

  24. says

    Has it really been 8 years already? Man, time flies. Especially when you’re in the can.

    While I generally think that prison sentences are way too lengthy, the fact that Hovind hasn’t learned a single thing seriously weighs against clemency. He’s still refuses to acknowledge that he broke the law, still claims he’s not a tax protestor (when claiming that tax laws don’t apply to you is characteristic tax protesting), and is still making that ludicrous claim that he had taken a vow of poverty, one that includes owning dozens of motorcycles, houses, and wads of cash. What exactly can you do with an idiot like this?

  25. Alverant says

    #22 And you’re OK with the people responsible for destroying thousands of lives being punished less because they didn’t have a knife? I’m not.

    The whole “let them out early if they’re not violent” meme is slanted towards the powerful who don’t have to resort to a weapon to harm others. Using a weapon shows you don’t care about the person you’re victimizing, so does sitting behind a desk trying to figure out how to pad your bank account. Do you think the guy who stole millions in a Ponzi scheme and drove some people to suicide or stress-related death deserves less punishment than a person who robbed a TV from a house?

  26. Anthony K says

    While I generally think that prison sentences are way too lengthy, the fact that Hovind hasn’t learned a single thing seriously weighs against clemency.

    Why? If anything, it shows that a lengthy prison sentence isn’t very good for rehabilitating people, if that’s at all the goal.

    How is sitting in a cell supposed to be a learning experience anyway?

  27. says

    If I did the math right, he hasn’t been in for 7 years yet.

    “I have always said that everyone should obey the law, including the government. I have always paid every tax I owe.”…

    Sure, if you change the definitions of “tax” and “income”.

  28. lordshipmayhem says

    This entire conversation might be moot. If he can’t pay his tax bill, what makes anyone think he can pay his Senate bill? :P

  29. Loqi says

    @27
    I’m ok with that, provided the one with the knife robbed the same number of people for the same amount. When you compare stealing a tv at gunpoint to stealing billions in a ponzi scheme, you’re comparing an apple and an orange to billions of apples. The punishment should always fit the crime. Stealing violently is worse than stealing non-violently, and stealing more is worse than stealing less. I’ve had a telecom steal $100 from me with a bogus charge years after I stopped using their service. I felt irritated and cheated. My mom owns a bar that has been robbed at gunpoint. He stole $50. The employee who had the gun in her face was badly traumatized beyond belief. The theft was completely trivial by comparison. The telecom was guilty of a greater theft, but the robber was certainly guilty of a greater crime.

  30. John Pieret says

    d.c.wilson @24:

    The federal prison system doesn’t have parole for defendants sentenced for offenses committed after November 1, 1987. There are some exceptions but none apply to Hovind.

  31. says

    How is sitting in a cell supposed to be a learning experience anyway?

    Well, it does make some people say, “Gosh, I really screwed up. Better not do that again.”

    Not Hovind, apparently.

  32. Alverant says

    @31
    That’s why we should judge crimes by how the victims were affected and not by whether or not it was violent. Having a gun shoved in your face is traumatic but so can having decades of your life wiped away leaving you unable to recover. If we’re going to talk about letting “non-violent” offenders free then we need to be sure their crimes were “victim-free” as well. You’re proving my point. Sure the telecom stole more but the robber harmed his victim more.

  33. Loqi says

    In other words, think of a crime in terms of severity and scope. The banker who steals billions is committing a less severe crime (theft) on a humongous scale. A mugger is committing a more serious crime (theft and violence) on a tiny scale. The justice system should weigh both and react accordingly so bankers don’t get off as if they pickpocketed a lone tourist and crack addicts don’t get locked up as if they beat up a granny and threw her grandkids off a balcony.

  34. raven says

    How is sitting in a cell supposed to be a learning experience anyway?

    A lot of people make the connection. If you don’t commit crimes, you don’t sit in a cell for a few or many years. This is not a hard thing to figure out.

    It’s not the best idea but we don’t have many better ones for a certain type of person.

  35. DaveL says

    He also had an arsenal of guns. It’s more or less legal,

    No. It’s not “more or less legal”. It’s legal, or it was at the time. Otherwise charge him with it and be done.

    I am not ok with labeling the failure to send the government a check, or making bank deposits in amounts calculated to avoid automatic reporting, as “violent crimes” because he happened to have guns legally sitting in a safe at his home at the time. That way lies madness.

    I agree with Ed – the original sentence was too long. I think 3-5 should be sufficient for tax evasion on a scale like Hovind’s.

  36. Anthony K says

    Well, it does make some people say, “Gosh, I really screwed up. Better not do thatagain.”

    I think that if I’m locked in a cell, I might say all sorts of things, especially to parole boards, to not be locked in a cell.

    If I’m locked in a cell, and believe I haven’t done anything wrong, I might not say “Gosh, I really screwed up. Better not do thatagain”, at least initially. Having been briefly in such a situation (I was released on bail and acquitted a year later), I can at least say with certainty that those four grey walls weren’t particularly enlightening. Maybe seven years within those walls would have changed my perception of my own innocence, but I doubt it. It might have changed what I said to people, though, especially people who seemed particularly gullible. Hovind might well be made of sterner stuff than I.

  37. Anthony K says

    A lot of people make the connection. If you don’t commit crimes, you don’t sit in a cell for a few or many years. This is not a hard thing to figure out.

    Your statement is objectively wrong. And it’s particularly not compelling to someone who spent a year (and a shitload of familial connections)* trying to stay out of jail, despite having not committed any crimes.

    *Thank Hovind’s God I came from a family with the means to retain a better lawyer than the one I was given through legal aid.

  38. Synfandel says

    …and if he abused the tax-exempt laws with his religion, he should serve time for terrorism too.

    I highly doubt that Mr. Hovind failed to pay his taxes in order to engender ‘terror’ in the name of a political cause?

  39. raven says

    No. It’s not “more or less legal”. It’s legal, or it was at the time.

    It depends.

    What sort of guns. How many and what type of previous criminal history. What sort of mental health history.

    I don’t pay close attention to Hovinds. It’s like watching the banana slugs in my garden. They simply aren’t that cute or interesting.

    A guy near my house recently threatened to shoot up the university. The police put him in a point of sale database. He was arrested a few days later while trying to buy a rifle. Last I heard, he is still locked up in a mental hospital.

    He’s going to have a hard time collecting another arsenal. In most states, convicted felons can’t own firearms.

  40. Nathair says

    Why? If anything, it shows that a lengthy prison sentence isn’t very good for rehabilitating people, if that’s at all the goal.

    Reading comments here it’s pretty clear that that is not universally seen as the goal.

    e.g.

    The crook deserves hard time
    does hurting people not merit harsher punishment
    Theft should be punished

    Punishment, yeah, that’s the ticket!

  41. DaveL says

    He wasn’t charged with anything related to the guns. At the time he wasn’t a convicted felon. There is absolutely ZERO reason to suppose he owned the guns illegally, and excellent reason (namely, the lack of any weapons charges) to believe they were legal.

    There are laws about everything from driving cars to getting married. Are you in the habit of referring to any of those activities as “more or less legal” just because there exist circumstances under which each of them could potentially be unlawful?

  42. hoku says

    My concern with this program has been mentioned above. I’m in favor of it if it means that a bunch of harmless low level drug users and such get out. In reality, I assume it’s going to be the white collar criminals who go free.

    People have talked about the violence of theft, and the rehabilitation of jail (or lack thereof). I think the problem is the nature of the crime. Drug use is often about a little temporary fun or escape, theft is usually about need or poverty, white collar crime is almost always simply about greed. I have much more sympathy for the guy who gets drunk and hurts someone than I do for the person who plans out a scheme to cheat or defraud people. It’s the dispassion that worries me.

    This does make it suitable for prison as a deterrent. Since it’s motivated primarily by greed and desire, changing the potential outcomes changes the equation. These cases aren’t like someone smashing a window to steal a TV, they plan and think things through. Look at wall street, no one ever goes to jail, so they continue to break the law and write it off.

    Long story short: don’t care about Hovind, concerned that this will just be another way to let the rich skate on crimes that ruin lives.

  43. says

    If I’m locked in a cell, and believe I haven’t done anything wrong, I might not say “Gosh, I really screwed up. Better not do that again”, at least initially.

    I’m sorry about your personal ordeal, but the key difference is that Hovind actually did do something wrong. Even if he refuses to believe the law, he knows precisely what behavior caused all this and how to avoid it from happening in the future. And therefore, he can in principle be deterred from doing it again, as can others of like mind. It’s precisely because he refused to accept responsibility for his law-breaking that the sentence had to be harsh. If he won’t respect the law, then the only recourse is to his own self-interest.

    I don’t know if Hovind will go back to law breaking when he gets out, but I can tell you that a slap on the wrist would have done nothing to deter him. We know this because it’s already happened. Hovind spent years evading taxes and playing games with the justice system until a judge finally decided that hard time was the only thing that would make him take them seriously. Maybe it still won’t work, but if you know of a better way, please share.

  44. Anthony K says

    I’m sorry about your personal ordeal, but the key difference is that Hovind actually did do something wrong.

    I know that, and you know that, but his four grey walls were apparently ineffective in getting that through to him.

    Even if he refuses to believe the law, he knows precisely what behavior caused all this and how to avoid it from happening in the future.

    But that’s not the same thing as believing he was wrong, though. He’s claiming to see his incarceration as injust persecution. A lengthier sentence isn’t likely to change that, no matter how much schadenfreude it might accord us nonbelievers.

    And therefore, he can in principle be deterred from doing it again, as can others of like mind.

    Others of like mind being people who might think their stand is just and principled, even if it results in further incarceration?

    It’s precisely because he refused to accept responsibility for his law-breaking that the sentence had to be harsh.

    Is that the reason? Boy, you’d think the recidivism rate would be way lower if that were actually an effective approach, rather than one that simply allows us to point and laugh.

    If he won’t respect the law, then the only recourse is to his own self-interest.

    Unless, of course, one’s self-interest is in breaking the law while avoiding prosecution.

    I don’t know if Hovind will go back to law breaking when he gets out, but I can tell you that a slap on the wrist would have done nothing to deter him.

    Looks like a harsh penalty was just as ineffective, wouldn’t you say? We know this because it’s already happened.

    Hovind spent years evading taxes and playing games with the justice system until a judge finally decided that hard time was the only thing that would make him take them seriously.

    And did he even then? “Not Hovind, apparently.” Whoops. Should I just leave and allow you to continue to argue against yourself?

    Maybe it still won’t work, but if you know of a better way, please share.

    Sorry, is that a thing people are supposed to respond to as if it makes any sense whatsoever? You know that’s exactly what alt med people say when the medical community fails to find cures for things like lupus, right?

    Come the fuck on.

    Look, just admit that you enjoy seeing him in jail and leave it at that.

  45. Anthony K says

    @#43: Yeah, looks that way, Nathair.

    “We still hate the fucker. Is there anyway we can charge him with something to keep him in there? Terrorism? Guns? The guy prolly owned a Ford once. That’s gotta be some kind of crime, right?”

  46. says

    Anthony,

    Do you believe that people are capable of thinking that their incarceration is unjust, and yet will still take steps to avoid it? (And I don’t mean trying merely not to get caught.) If so, that’s what we call deterrence.

    From what you’re saying however, you don’t seem to believe that punishment has any relationship to people’s behavior, which is just bizarre. Or maybe it’s just certain people who have principled objections or odd beliefs about the law. But as it turns out, most people with tax protestor beliefs actually do pay their taxes because they don’t want to go to jail. I hope we can at least agree that this much is good.

    We can argue over the degree to which punishment has an effect, or whether one or two extra years makes a significant difference, but I along with most people maintain that the threat of lengthy jail time makes people less likely to commit crimes. And for people who are especially recalcitrant, the threat of harsher punishment is more of a deterrent. Maybe some people are undeterrable no matter what, and maybe Hovind is one of them, but so what? We don’t make special exceptions for the stupid.

    Looks like a harsh penalty was just as ineffective, wouldn’t you say? We know this because it’s already happened.

    He’s already gone back to tax evasion before he’s even gotten out? What the hell are you talking about?

    Sorry, is that a thing people are supposed to respond to as if it makes any sense whatsoever?

    What part of, “if you know of a better way, please share” did not make sense to you? That was not intended to be a rhetorical question. I don’t like incarceration as a method of deterrence, but until we come up with a better way, we’re stuck with it. Your evasiveness doesn’t help.

    Look, just admit that you enjoy seeing him in jail and leave it at that.

    You have no clue what I do and don’t enjoy, so stop being an ass.

  47. Anthony K says

    This is all out of order, but I hope that’s okay. I’m also going to use quotation marks around some of your terminology, but I don’t mean them as scare quotes, but rather to highlight that it’s an important concept, and pretty much what I’ve been referring to all this time, since I’ve obviously been unclear.

    Looks like a harsh penalty was just as ineffective, wouldn’t you say? We know this because it’s already happened.

    He’s already gone back to tax evasion before he’s even gotten out? What the hell are you talking about?

    Whether or not he’s “learned anything” from his incarceration, obviously, since that’s the topic of this particular conversation. In the same way you were when you suggested he had not learned with your comment “Not Hovind, apparently.”

    If you weren’t referring to future crimes that haven’t yet happened with “Not Hovind, apparently”, then it would only make sense that I wasn’t either.

    From what you’re saying however, you don’t seem to believe that punishment has any relationship to people’s behavior, which is just bizarre.

    I’ve still only been talking about “learning anything’. Did Kent Hovind learn? No, according to what he says, but we actually have no idea whether or not this learning or lack thereof will translate into different behaviour.

    We can argue over the degree to which punishment has an effect, or whether one or two extra years makes a significant difference, but I along with most people maintain that the threat of lengthy jail time makes people less likely to commit crimes.

    There are a whole number of aspects of the justice system we can discuss, and we’re probably on the same page on a lot (if not most) of them, but for the most part, I’ve only been talking about his having learned anything and how that’s supposed to happen, which is distinctly different than whether or not he will commit future crimes, since we can’t know that.

    But if it’s the case that most people are deterred without ever having set foot in an actual jail, and Kent Hovind has spent eight years and not having learned, then again I ask how four grey walls are an instrument of teaching?

    And for people who are especially recalcitrant, the threat of harsher punishment is more of a deterrent.

    I think you’d need some numbers to actually claim this with any authority, but it’s not that important, since we’re actually really discussing whether or not he’s learned anything, not whether or not he is actually deterred from committing future tax fraud. The thing is, if seven or eight years isn’t a learning experience, then why presume that another seven or eight is going to do the trick?

    What part of, “if you know of a better way, please share” did not make sense to you?

    I dealt with this in my previous comment. A non-effective solution (which you acknowledged it may well be when you said “Maybe it still won’t work”) is not better than no solution, and pointing out failures in existing interventions does not require one to provide better ones. I don’t know. Acupuncture doesn’t work either, so should we try that in conjunction with the incarceration of Hovind? Obviously not.

    Maybe the Swedes have some solution that would work on Hovind.

    You have no clue what I do and don’t enjoy, so stop being an ass.

    I’m sorry about that.

    Presumably though, if you’ve been arguing in good faith, I do have some clue as to what you want. You initially wrote “While I generally think that prison sentences are way too lengthy, the fact that Hovind hasn’t learned a single thing seriously weighs against clemency”, which strongly suggests you desire he do something that he hasn’t yet done in order to merit fewer days of incarceration. I apologize for suggesting that you enjoy seeing him in jail, but you clearly desire him to spend more jail time than he already has served.

    The disconnect I’m seeing is in the aspect of prison sentences being too lengthy and yet not lengthy enough for Kent Hovind because he hasn’t indicated that he’s “learned anything.” If the sentence for some amount of crime is 10 years, but we agree that’s too much, and a more reasonable sentence would be 7.5 years, then can we say someone who has served 7.5 years has served a sufficient amount of time, regardless of whether or not they’re contrite about it? And what if he ups and tomorrow says “I’m sorry I did it and I won’t do it again”? Did he learn? How would we know? We can only release him and see if he does or not and re-arrest him if he does. What makes tax evasion especially problematic is that it punishes both the perpetrator and the state because, unless I’m wrong about convicts paying taxes, he’s costing the state while he’s being punished for not paying the state its share. So we’re punishing him for failing to follow the law, not to redress a particular wrong, which is mostly the point of criminal law, so it’s just how incarceration goes, I guess.

    What I’m not so okay with is this aspect of his “having learned” anything, and how incarceration is supposed to do that. And what happens if convicts figure this out and simply claim they’ve converted to Jesus and see the error of their ways and they’ve learned their lesson in order to get out?

    Does that make where I’m coming from clearer to you, Area Man? And again, I apologise for the “just admit you like seeing him in jail” comment. Uncalled for, unfair, and wrong.

    I won’t have time to check this thread until tomorrow, so note I won’t have any response until then, if there’s something to respond to.

  48. stubby says

    Kent Hovind is a wonderful man of god and the evil IRS went after him because he’s a christian. If you don’t believe me just read the comments on wnd. I almost forgot, evolution is a lie and jebus is teh ahwsum!!1

  49. Steven says

    Really? In an age of rampant Wall Street criminality and lack of accountability you think that it’s time to go easier on white collar criminals?

  50. Michael Heath says

    Steven [to Ed?]:

    Really? In an age of rampant Wall Street criminality and lack of accountability you think that it’s time to go easier on white collar criminals?

    You’re defectively conflating sentencing convicted people versus a notable lack of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of one type of criminal.

  51. DaveL says

    @52,

    I don’t see how imposing draconian and disproportionate punishment on a small-time tax evader is any sort of appropriate stand-in for prosecuting criminal Wall Street fatcats.

  52. uncephalized says

    Guys, come on. Kent Hovind is a psycopath con man who whelped some little psychopath con man spawn. He is not going to learn his lesson and go home and be a good boy now. His utter denial of any wrongdoing, complete disregard for reality in favor of grandiose delusions, and total lack of remorse for his crimes make that quite obvious. He will be back to conning, extorting and thieving just as soon as he’s out. He likely doesn’t feel or understand guilt or shame, except insofar as he can use them in others to get them to do what he wants, while convincing them it was their own idea.

    Which is not to say he should be kept in jail any longer than the law says he should. But can we stop pretending that inveterate predators are “reformable”? Psycopathy is not a mental condition that can be cured or treated. It’s an evolved personality constellation, preserved by natural selection because it’s evolutionarily stable for the population to sustain a small population of parasitic predators (1-2%; any more and they’d run into each other too often, instead of their prey, which is self-defeating), and because the bigger population of “low” or “functional” psycopaths, who are largely not violent criminals (although many of them are liars and cheats), do very well in corporate business, financial trading, the special forces, surgery, politics, law enforcement, and other fields where their lack of emotional distractions, strong ability to focus, magnetic charisma, ability to read and manipulate people, and total ruthlessness make them more effective than us “mere mortals”.

    It’s a strong argument for any reforms that make psychopathic criminal behavior less profitable for the psycopaths; since personal advantage is their main calculus, when they see less upside in crime they will pursue it less. But harsher punishment will do very little; they’re often unafraid of pain, discomfort or death (their mental “danger alarms” are switched off), so these threats have little deterrent effect on them. They might hate jail, but they won’t learn not to commit crimes to avoid going there—if they learn anything it will be how to avoid getting caught, or how to manipulate a jury or a parole board better next time.

  53. Nathair says

    Kent Hovind is a psycopath con man who whelped some little psychopath con man spawn.

    So he’s not just a douchebag, he’s actually a psychopath. Thanks for the cavalier armchair diagnosis of mental illness, they always help keep a discussion grounded.

    He will be back to conning, extorting and thieving just as soon as he’s out.

    And yet he is not in jail for “conning, extorting and thieving”.

  54. uncephalized says

    @Nathair yes, that’s my best unprofessional guess for what is wrong with him. No, I’m not a psychologist; and no, it’s not a stretch to say that someone who behaves like an antisocial narcissist with delusions of grandeur and an impaired set of moral senses is likely a psychopath, either—they’re hardly uncommon and this kind of behavior is totally characteristic.

    In no way am I implying that I think he is a serial killer-type clinical case or anything, but he clearly has personality traits that put him in the same ballpark, even if he’s not a big enough talent to play the majors. As I said before, I don’t think low-grade psychopathy is actually a disease or disorder. It’s a personality difference that sometimes leads to extreme success and sometimes lands you in jail. It’s only after the fact that we can sort out who is “sick” because we caught them doing bad things and thus justify labeling them. The ones that stay within the law, or never get caught, or lie and charm their way out of blame and punishment, go down in history as captains of industry and great military strategists. The stupid ones like Ken go to jail.

    And yes he is in jail for thieving. Tax evasion is theft of tax revenue, which by US law is the property of the government. What category of crime would you place it in, pray tell?

    As for conning and extortion—you’re right, I don’t have any evidence there. Consider those two words provisionally retracted. Provisionally because I fully expect someone like Hovind to do anything he thinks will make him a buck or give him power or influence, regardless of future consequences.

  55. Nathair says

    This is how it works; if he is released and subsequently re-offends then the law will re-address him. After release he will be subjected to a few years of special scrutiny lest he does re-offend. At what point or in what manner is that insufficient for you?

  56. uncephalized says

    This is how it works; if he is released and subsequently re-offends then the law will re-address him. After release he will be subjected to a few years of special scrutiny lest he does re-offend. At what point or in what manner is that insufficient for you?

    How many ways and times do I need to say it? I don’t think he should be in jail or on probation one day longer than the law specifies. In no way do I propose treating him differently under the law because I suspect he would score quite high on the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (so would most Fortune 500 executives). My entire point was simply that we shouldn’t expect prison to do a bit of good in rehabilitating or reforming psychopathic criminals (of whom I believe Hovind is one), because there’s nothing to fix. It’s just their personality. I am not proposing a better solution. I am trying to point out that according to my understanding of the world, people like Kent Hovind do not become better people through prison, and we should expect nothing other than continuation of his previous antics as soon as he is released—in which case, as you rightly point out, he will most likely end up right back where he is now.

    So could you quit assuming I am saying anything other than, you know, what I said?

  57. uncephalized says

    I should emphasize that if he is actually mentally ill (like, just paranoid and delusional), then I would like to see him get help, even at taxpayer expense. But listening to those prison phone call recordings, just—the constant blame shifting; the continual focus on winning even when he has clearly lost, according to normal people’s idea of “losing”; repeated claims that he “just wants to be left alone”, while also issuing constant threats; the total verbal domination of the conversation; the calculated appeals to his compatriots’ emotions along with peppering his speech with pious buzzwords; the total override of his wife, who sounds tired of his bullshit but hesitant to disagree with him openly; the frequent allusions to violent retribution, along with hasty assurances that “I would never do that, BUT…” immediately followed by more rhetoric involving building walls and waving swords; the continual pressing of his lawyer and his wife to come up with some way to get back at those who have “broken the law” and unjustly taken away all his fun toys (which he “earned” through decades of profitably Lying for Jesus under the auspices of his fraudulent “non-profit”); the promise to pursue his enemies for life, if necessary, to ensure he defeats them. I heard all of that listening to him speak for precisely 5 minutes.

    And then there’s this gem:

    In the first clip you will find yourself actually feeling sorry for his wife, listening to her say, with a notable tone of despair, that “I’m just hearing things [from you] that sound all the same.” Hovind’s cold reply, “Well, maybe I need to change…or maybe you need to change and accept it…Your hope is always that I will change. Maybe the hope ought to be that you will advance.”

    …Which is such a classically psychopathic thing to say it gave me shivers just reading it.

    So yeah, I’m still pretty confident in my “diagnosis”.

  58. Nathair says

    So could you quit assuming I am saying anything other than, you know, what I said?

    My mistake. I just assumed that there must have been some kind of point you were trying to make with your inaptly addressed “Guys, come on…” post.

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