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August 25th, 2012, 13:17
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
I'm a little surprised that he was declared "sane". From everything that I have read about the background of Breivik and his behavior throughout the crime and the subsequent trial I would personally judge him to be completely bonkers.
Criminally sane in the sense not being psychotic. He's still considered a very disturbed person, what we prevously would call a psychopath ("psychopathy" has been replaced by several more specific descriptions, but for practical purposes I'll be using the "original" term). Psychopaths are in general not considered criminally insane.

The sentence, which is 90 pages long, examines the observations of the forensic psychiatric teams thoroughly and in detail. The conclusion seems to be very well founded.
I don't know enough about Norwegian law but if Norwegian law is as lax as our German law (here in Germany even the worst terrorists of the 1970s/1980s era have been released from jail in the meantime) then my guess is that they declared him sane because it might facilitate keeping him locked up once the 21 years are up.
At least I hope so. I'd hate to see this guy walk free again. In Germany he would have a very high chance to get out one day. I sincerely hope that the Norwegian verdict is making it impossible for him to be released from jail - ever.
Basically he could have got 3 different sentences:

1. He would not be punished if he was declared insane. Technically, he could then be acquitted, if he wasn't considered dangerous, but obviously, that does not apply in this case. In stead he would be committed to psychiatric ward for an unspecified period, reevaluated every 3 years, based on his mental state and prognosis. This way he could be kept in detention for the rest of his life, but he could also be released fairly early, if responding well to treatment.

2. If considered sane, but not particularly dangerous (like in most murder cases), he would receive an ordinary prison sentence, up to 21 years, which is the longest possible term under Norwegian law. After that, he would be released.

3. Breivik was found to be sane, but very dangerous, and was predicted to remain so for a very long time (in general psychopaths respond poorly to treatment). Therefore he was sentenced to preventive detention for up to 21 years. After 21 years, if they still consider him dangerous, the prosecution can go to court, asking for his detention to be prolonged by 5 more years at the time. The court's decision will mostly be based on his dangerousness, not the severity of the crime. Thus he can be kept behind bars forever, and as such, this is the most severe penalty possible in Norway (commitment to psychiatric ward is not considered punishment)

After 10 years, Breiivik can appeal to court asking to be released, and if denied, again after 5 more years. Technically, he could therefore set free long before his 21 year term runs out, but no one believes that would happen. His potential of improvement is almost non existing, and it's not likely the court would take the risk of releasing him even if he appeared to have seen the light and the error of his ways.

We don''t know what decisions will be made 30, 40 or 50 years from now, of course, but the general impression is that he will remain in detention for many decades, quite possibly the rest of his life.

In a poll obtained just after his sentence, 85% of Norwegians agree with his sentence.

pibbur who regrets that he's too old to start a third university education.

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Last edited by pibbur who; August 25th, 2012 at 13:36.
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