Press charges or no?


It would seem so at first glance, but a disproportionate number of American inmates are actually incarcerated for drug related charges. It’s actually quite surprising how easy it is to “get off” with an easy sentence, or even see charges dropped, when you’ve actually harmed an innocent person you’ve never met.


see and seem and seen

Psalm 51 rocked my world this week:

Miserere mei, Deus
“Have mercy on me, O God”


Wow, you are guilt-tripping the victim pretty hard in this thread. The consequences of their actions fall on them, not on the victim for going to law enforcement. Forgiveness does not mean calling for no (or minimal) consequences.

I’ve been through this on the victim’s side. My elderly mother was the victim of a violent home invasion and almost died in the process (they tried to strangle her, but she only passed out). The three perpetrators were promptly caught and pled guilty. Although I forgave them fairly easily (much to the surprise of many I know, who expected me to be angry all the time), any mercy my mother gave to them in terms of lighter sentences would probably have put future victims in harm’s way. Future innocent victims seem to have no place in your mercy calculation.

You might be surprised to learn this. but one of the three perpetrators wrote my mom a huge letter that was read at sentencing (she’d already been in jail for 4 months at that point). The gist of it was that going to jail was the best thing that had ever happened to her. She’d led a life of drug-addiction-fueled crime since age 15 and now, for the first time in her life, she was forced to get clean and had the opportunity to create an actual life for herself by availing herself of the opportunity to be forcibly clean in a place where she could get education and job training. I don’t know if she’ll come out with a shot on the other end of her sentence, but I pray for that all the time. I do know what would have happened if my mom hadn’t pressed charges: more crime and more innocent victims.

There is nothing wrong with victims going to authorities and letting the proper people (e.g. a judge) determine what punishment or mercy is called for. The victim should not have any guilty on their consciences for going to the authorities.

My Mom and I did that, three times (three different sentencings). My Mom didn’t add to it by allowing the prosecutor to push for the longest possible sentences. The defendants did it. They are responsible, not the victim. Yes, their families were devastated; ours was too. There were no winners at sentencing, but everyone (even their families, I think), realized that the fault lay with the perpetrators, not the victim for pressing charges.


I’m not “guilt-tripping” !!

That term, (or composite word, that isn’t actually a word, but an expression) holds no relation to the dialogue I held. I never spoke in terms of guilt, I spoke in terms of subjective conscience offering alternative possibilities. I gave complete freedom of conscience. In my view, less strict than some other interpretations here.

It depends. You can forgive and demand consequences or forgive and forego consequences. Nothing says you can’t extend forgiveness to reparation, by pardoning a debt. Mt 18:12-35 applies in both senses, forgiveness in heart and of debt. I don’t create an imperative to limit the scope of forgiveness that would be erroneous moral.

-Didn’t we have plenty of saints who didn’t press charges?

I’m not surprised. The root of the problem exists in practically every country. The approach in other countries is addressing the problem sooner rather then latter -clinically rather than criminally- to avoid greater consequences, for everyone.

I never said there was. But a cellphone might not be worth it.

That is for the persons conscience to decide. (unless it’s mandatory)


I find this very hard to understand. Like I said, very different cultures. Personally, I would not press charges over a Cellphone if it were mere theft.

U.S. 725
U.S. (without federal drug offenders) 693
U.S. (without all drug offenders) 625
France 100
Germany 76
Japan 49


I have never in my entire life met any such case. But when violence is involved I advocate pressing charges. I am very much against violence.


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