Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, January 10, 2005

Kidnap a Child -
Get Six Months, maximum

A woman in Red Deer, Alberta, has been found guilty of kidnapping her son 18 years ago, just before her husband was about to be granted sole custody. She took the child to Mexico, then California, where he was raised for 15 years before she was caught. The end came when the U.S. did a background check after she applied for U.S. citizenship. She will return to court "...for sentencing on Feb. 9. She could face up to six months in jail or a $2,000 fine."

WHAT?? six months? for kidnapping?
It seems the father did not file a victim-impact statement; also, according to the on-air CBC report, the son has had a happy, healthy life.

But if the law is to provide signals and incentives, this is an outrageous sentence. It says to parents in the midst of a custody battle: go ahead, take the kid if you think might lose custody. And if you can stay in hiding for 15 years or so, and if the kid turns out okay, you'll get by with it.

If this woman gets off this lightly (or with a complete discharge, as seems most likely), imagine how many more Carline Vandenelsons there are likely to be.

Maybe the CBC report missed something, but on the face of it, this seems outrageous.
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