Norway mass murderer gets only 21 years: Update

That’s only 3.27 months for each of the 77 individuals he killed.  This is this blog’s first foray into foreign criminal law- because I missed the Amanda Knox trial by a few months, but the sentence for Anders Breivik is so contrary to what I am accustomed to with American law.  For instance, in Florida if you shoot someone, and they live, there is a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence.  And a premeditated murder carries a mandatory life sentence… it only takes one.

Anders Breivik at Sentencing

There is a caveat to that sentence, that the prosecutors can ask to lock him up longer if they feel he is still a threat to society.  That addresses my biggest concern: how do you ever let such a dangerous person to walk free?  The Norwegian justice system stresses rehabilitation over punishment, and there is some evidence to suggest their system works better than our own, but still… this guy is scary.  He remained defiant at sentencing; check out the Nazi salute he threw in court.  He is unremorseful and unrepentant.

I am fascinated by the trial, which occurred contrary to what we’d expect.  The prosecutors were trying to prove that he was insane, in order for him to be committed, while his defense was that he was aware of the wrongness of his evil acts.  I may have to read a book about this trial.

I generally have a concern with mandatory harsh sentences: more so when crimes of violence are not involved.  Any time discretion is taken away, there is likely to be in justice.  Every situation has an exception.  Conversely, when there is no discretion for the punishment to be proportional to the crime, an injustice also occurs.  I doubt this man will ever cease being a threat to society.

Update: here’s a follow up article from

One response to “Norway mass murderer gets only 21 years: Update

  1. Pingback: It’s Time to Commit to Providing Mental Health Treatment | crimcourts : A Criminal Law Blog

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