Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Probation for manslaughter, a year for a beer, and other outrageous sentences

At its best, the justice system metes out a punishment that fits the crime. But lawmakers, judges, and parole boards are human. And sometimes human beings make mistakes. What follows are 10 such cases: 5 times the system may have gone overboard — and 5 where the sentence might not have been harsh enough…

30-Day Rape Sentence for Montana Teacher Will Be Extended

The Montana teacher sentenced to 30 days in prison for the rape of the one of his underage students will face a new, longer sentence.

VIDEO: Inside Ariel Castro’s Prison House

A look inside the prison Ariel Castro created for victims Michele Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. These photos were shown at Castro’s August 1, 2013, sentencing hearing. Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years, with no chance for parole, and a $100,000 fine.

New Trial Denied for Convicted Ex-Wife Killer Drew Peterson

After Drew Peterson was convicted in September of killing his third ex-wife Kathleen Savio, his legal team argued for a new trial, claiming that Peterson’s previous attorney had botched the case. Today, a judge in Joliet, Ill., denied the new trial. Now, Peterson’s case will move to the sentencing phase.

Parole for Woman Sentenced to 12 Years for Selling $31 Worth of Pot

Am Oklahoma woman who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling a small amount of cannabis has been released on parole. In 2010, Patricia Spottedcrow was sentenced to 12 years in prison after selling $31 of marijuana to an undercover officer.

Jared Lee Loughner Sentenced to Seven Consecutive Life Terms

Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and wounded 13 others, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has been sentenced to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years. On January 7, 2011, Loughner opened fire outside a Safeway grocery store where Giffords was giving a speech.

Jerry Sandusky Sentenced

Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky arrived in court today wearing a bright red jumpsuit. That prison uniform will likely be his for the rest of his life as the 68-year-old was sentenced to a minimum of 30, but not more that 60, years in prison for molesting young boys.

Mom Who Glued Daughter’s Hands to Wall Faces Life Sentence

On July 12, Elizabeth Escalona, 23, pleaded guilty to first-degree injury to a child after admitting to beating her 2-year-old daughter Jocelyn and gluing her hands to a wall in September of last year. The Dallas mom’s three other children witnessed the abuse, which resulted in bleeding of the brain, a fractured rib and severe bruising. In a sentencing hearing scheduled for today, she faces a possible life sentence.

Tow Truck Driver’s Secret Past Leads to 35 Year Prison Sentence

Tow-truck driver Donald Montanez, who was convicted of 3rd degree murder for the shooting of Glen “Chuck” Rich in March, had a sentencing hearing on Friday. The case was complicated by the fact that authorities have uncovered a web of lies showing that Donald Montanez does not legally exist.

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