Oscar Pistorius sentencing hearing starts tomorrow

Sunday, October, 12, 2014

Good morning:

The Oscar Pistorius sentencing hearing starts tomorrow in Pretoria at 3:30 am EDT. I say ‘starts’ tomorrow because prosecution and defense may each take up to a day or more to present evidence and argument in support of their respective recommendations.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, who found Pistorius guilty last month of culpable homicide for killing Reeva Steenkamp by mistaking her for an intruder and shooting through the door of the toilet cubicle in the bathroom of his upstairs master bedroom suite, can sentence him up to 15 years in prison.

Culpable homicide under South African law is similar to our negligent homicide or manslaughter statutes. Basically, the mental state for this offense is gross negligence, which is committing an act that creates a substantial risk of harm to another person where the failure to be aware of that risk is a gross deviation from the legal duty to exercise due care to avoid harming other people.

Shooting at someone through the closed door of a small enclosed area with no place to hide, such as toilet cubicle in your bathroom, is at least a grossly negligent act, regardless if the person on the other side of the door is an intruder or someone you know. Difficult to imagine that someone who squeezed off four shots through the door did not intend to kill the person on the other side of the door; yet, that is exactly what Judge Masipa decided when she acquitted Pistorius of murder.

Her decision was and continues to be controversial. No doubt the controversy will flare up, if she sentences Pistorius to prison for some number of years but suspends the sentence on condition that he satisfactorily complete a term of supervised probation. Terms of probation typically include no law violations and an obligation to perform community service. Counseling may also be required, if needed. In the United States, judges also can impose up to a year of confinement in a county jail.

If the defendant violates a condition of probation, the judge can revoke probation and impose the prison sentence that she suspended.

In determining what sentence to impose on Oscar Pistorius, Judge Masipa also will consider a presentence report and recommendation by an official of the court based on a review of the police investigation file and research of his past, including any prior convictions and contacts with law enforcement. In the United States, the presentence division of the probation department prepares that report and recommendation.

Only Judge Masipa knows what she is likely to do, but I imagine she will impose an 8 to 12 year prison sentence. Whether she admits it or not, she must be concerned about public criticism of her decision to acquit Pistorius, and as a black person, no one should be more aware than she of the disparity in punishment for blacks compared to privileged whites.

Tell us what sentence would you impose and why you would impose it.

Do you believe he has an alcohol and/or anger management problem?

Why or why not?

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13 Responses to Oscar Pistorius sentencing hearing starts tomorrow

  1. ay2z says:

    Bought Oscar Pistorius’s story “hook and line”, but not “sinker”.

    Does Greenland have a point here?

    The Problem with the Oscar Pistorius Judgment – For Dummies.

    28 September 2014, 15:32

    All of the supporters of the Court’s decision have relied heavily on a claimed entitlement of the Court to accept Oscar’s version as being “reasonably and possibly true” because there is much Superior Court law that says that this is the correct approach in appropriate instances.

    What they have also done is to make the jump and, in effect, apply this approach as being correct in this case with virtually no support why this should be so, except to insist that “as it is in our law, the court was entitled to, and within its rights, to apply the law in Oscar’s favour”.

    And that is really the problem here. Was the Court right to simply accept that Oscar’s story was “reasonably, possibly true”??

    The answer is No, in my respectful opinion, and quite an emphatic No.


    • Malisha says:

      Accepting Pistorius’ story was neither reasonable nor logical. Nothing he said met the smell test. Just like Fogen.

  2. ay2z says:

    What is today’s South Africa all about, anyway?

    Tonight I learned a new word– “Lickspittle”. Might come in handy here from time to time.

    What, besides submission to China, drives Pres. Jacob Zuma’s government to cancel the visa of the Dalai Lama so that he would be unable to attend this weekend’s meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town?

    With the eyes on South Africa for this trial once again, of the white priviledged, arrogant and irresponsible (and legally sane) para blade running fast-lifer, what this country is doing on an international scale might also be given a little scrutiny.

    Came across an article, which updates the story of last summer, about SA’s refusal to give the Dalai Lama a visa for the conference. (link below)


    “… meeting organizers said the peace laureates had requested that it be relocated if the Dalai Lama was not granted a visa, and that South African President Jacob Zuma had not responded to their appeals on behalf of the Dalai Lama.”

    “…..A total of 14 peace laureates and representatives of 11 organizations that have been awarded the prize were scheduled to attend the Cape Town conference.”


    Tutu said it was shameful that the Dalai Lama cannot attend the Oct. 13-15 meeting to honor Mandela, who died last year. Tutu is a friend of the Dalai Lama and, like the Dalai Lama and Mandela, is also a fellow Nobel peace laureate. Tutu also accused the South African government of “kowtowing to the Chinese” and preventing the Dalai Lama from traveling to South Africa in 2011 to attend his 80th birthday party.”

    “I warned them then that just as we had prayed for the downfall of the apartheid government, so we would pray for the demise of a government that could be so spineless,” Tutu said in a statement.

    Tutu said Mandela’s own “comrades have spat in his face,” and he concluded: “I am ashamed to call this lickspittle bunch my government.”

    Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his nonviolent campaign against white racist rule, which ended when South Africa held its first all-race elections a decade later.”



    And what of the alleged apprehension and detainment of a Canadian citizen now allegedly held for over 900 days WITHOUT CHARGE and WITHOUT BAIL. (I haven’t any first hand info, but followed a lead from the detainee’s brother’s comment on a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Co.) story about Pistorius.

    This may well be true. If so, why hasn’t the Canadian Government supported it’s citizen held without charge, who is holding the strings of this ‘arrest’ of
    Taniku Abaza?

    What other government bodies does Zuma align himself with to take a visiting Ethiopian born Canadian citizen into it’s prison system and leave him there so long without charge?

    The detainee’s supporter wrote:

    “wolde abza
    I need justice for my brother a Canadian citizen Abza who is in pre-trial detention for more than 900 days. which is before pistrous killed his girl friend. He never been convicted of any crime nor given a bail. This is how the world works. Justice for all! justice for Tariku Abza now!
    1 month ago”

    I’ve since followed a few links to see what might be credible in support of this detainment claim and found this article published one year ago this month. The author “is the News Director at the University of Winnipeg-based radio station CKUW 95.9FM.

    Canada a highly selective nation when supporting nationals locked up abroad”

    OCTOBER 16, 2013


    If the Zuma government is bowing to China to block a visa of the Dalai Lama, and if it is holding Canadian citizen’s without charge for what is now almost 3 years, will it do the same for American’s who find themselves arrested and held?

    What IS the relationship between Zuma and the wealth of the Pistorius polo set? The answer to this may give some insight into the appointment of one high court judge over another for Pistorius, or the connections that influenced the handling of this high profile defendant’s case.

  3. ay2z says:

    Some think that although everyone is equal in jail with respect to being wealthy or poor, it seems that there may be ‘wealthy time’ in jail and there is ‘poor time’ in jail.

    At least this is implied in a story from down under, the video is limited to a small portion of the screen, but the audio works just fine.

    Oscar and his family, are indeed, the wealthy class in South Africa.

    (will be interesting to know if the state will apply to bring further evidence for sentencing considerations in the form of the apparently hidden phone conversation between Oscar and ‘Babyshoes’, his on again-off again girlfriend. That call (said to have occurred as Oscar was returning into his home to meet Reeva that fateful night) was not noticed by the state, apparently because the number was that of the woman’s father, and it is also alleged in relation to Oscar’s phones, that brother Carl, did some ‘cleaning’ before they were taken by police).


  4. lyn says:

    He did take her life and should get years in jail, although I think the Judge will let him off on probation.

    • Malisha says:

      Yeah, I don’t know how to “call” this one. I think the judge held Pistorius guilty of the extra gun charge (here, two unrelated crimes could not be prosecuted together) so she could justify the idea that it was carelessness and not intention that caused Pistorius to kill GF. But it is really contrary to the evidence to attribute his conduct to carelessness; it flies in the face of both physical evidence and logic.

      If she believes it was carelessness (as she says) she could just as easily let him walk. A great disgrace.

    • You may be right, but I think that would be an unwise decision that would unleash a torrent of criticism.

      I imagine she knows that. She already is being protected by police 24/7 from death threats.

  5. bettykath says:

    OT, http://conservativetribune.com/black-teen-shoots-newlyweds/

    He was convicted of both murders. Writeup takes swipes at Jesse Jackson because he didn’t show up.

    • bettykath says:

      Questions about race briefly crept into the trial of Macyo Joelle January on Friday, three days after defense attorneys successfully argued a man back onto the jury panel amid concerns he was being dismissed because he is black.

      The issue first arose Tuesday, when 4th Judicial District Court Judge Deborah Grohs struck down prosecutor Jeff Lindsey’s attempt to remove the panel’s lone black juror during jury selection.

      Read more at http://gazette.com/question-of-race-creeps-into-macyo-january-trial/article/1537905#YuGDLVkkRpIpAwil.99

    • bettykath says:

      Sounds like it might be a gang involvement.

      Told to decide between immunity or contempt of court, Eric Wilson chose silence.

      Called as a witness for prosecutors, Wilson chose not to testify Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of Macyo Joelle January, who is accused of killing newlyweds David Dunlap and his pregnant wife, Whitney Butler, while breaking into their house in early 2013.

      Wilson’s reasoning ran along the lines of other statements offered this week: Taking the stand bore risks.

      “I feel safer, with all due respect, holding my peace,” Wilson said. “I have nothing to say.”

      On Monday, Jerel Couch, a childhood friend who admitted hiding January after the killings, also claimed fear of reprisals for his decision not to take the stand. Nowhere in Couch’s plea agreement for accessory to burglary did it say he must testify, his lawyer said.

      Still, lead prosecutor Jeff Lindsey said he plans to file paperwork seeking a contempt of court finding, as well as a jail sentence longer than six months.

      The topic arose again Wednesday as Tamara Gary – another childhood friend of January from their days in Stratmoor Valley – briefly spoke of fear when questioned about an alleged murder confession the night before January’s arrest.

      At least three people said they heard Gary recount the alleged confession, but Gary either denied hearing January’s statement or said “I don’t remember” when pressed.

      When asked by jurors, Gary said she feared for her safety due to this case and another unrelated incident. But she also testified not being afraid of January or his family.

      In Wilson’s case, prosecutors offered him immunity for his actions involving January from Jan. 14-17 2013 – a span running from the killings at 222 Bassett Drive through the date police jailed January.

      Ordered to testify by 4th Judicial District Court Judge Deborah Grohs, Wilson – appearing in an orange jumpsuit from the El Paso County jail – chose contempt of court. As in Couch’s case, prosecutors plan to seek a jail sentence longer than six months.

      Also on Thursday, a forensic firearms expert testified that shell casings found in the house of Dunlap, a Fort Carson staff sergeant and Butler, came from a Walther .40-caliber handgun. Though not certain it came from that specific firearm, the analyst also said bullets at the scene possibly came from the pistol, which was found near a second handgun behind the house following a police chase.

      In reviewing gun registration data, neither firearm had been purchased by Dunlap, Butler, January or anyone mentioned before jurors thus far, a police detective testified.

      Read more at http://gazette.com/witnesses-choose-contempt-over-testimony-in-january-trial/article/1538278#75sB7R5M1jlqgkxX.99

  6. bettykath says:

    I believe he has both an anger management problem and an alcohol problem. Given all the circumstances of which I know, I’d sentence him to 12-15 years. He got a gift in the conviction. He shouldn’t get one in the sentencing as well.

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