Norwegian Mass Murderer Faces 21 Year Sentencing Cap

According to international news reports Anders Behring Breivik, the 32 year old suspect in the Norway mass murder killings, is only facing a maximum of 21 years. This is even though he is charged with being directly responsible for at least 76 deaths.

In general European countries do not impose sentences comparable to those imposed in America. The maximum penalty that an individual can be sentenced to in Norway is 21 years. The country also has completely abandoned the death penalty. This compares in stark contrast to criminal sentencing in America. Here in South Carolina South Carolina someone charged with a single murder will face a sentence of 30 years to life. If there are aggravating factors the defendant can face the possibility of the death penalty.

I know of criminal defendants in South Carolina that have been sentenced to 21 years or more for crimes such as selling $20 worth of drugs to a police informant, robbing a drug dealer with a water pistol or stealing a pair of hedge clippers from a garage. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world and South Carolina's incarceration rate is among the highest in the Country. All the while our State struggles to keep up with basic infastructure spending.

Although I would agree with most people that Norway's sentencing laws are inadequate to handle this level of violent crime - are South Carolina's own sentencing laws also inadequate?

Categories: Criminal Law & Policy

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