Criminal penalties do two things, at least in theory. First, they punish the criminal and remove them from society for a spell. Second, they may also serve as a deterrence to stop people from committing crimes in the first place. After all, how many times has the punishment for something stayed your own hand or that of someone you know?
However, the deterrence effect doesn’t always seem to work. Criminals have an annoying tendency to believe they won’t be caught, often despite ample evidence to the contrary. By that, I mean their long criminal records that show they will be caught. A lot.
In Georgia, an armed robber who decided to hold up a McDonald’s was given a sentence severe enough that it might actually do some good.
On Wednesday, a Forsyth County jury returned guilty verdicts on 16 counts against Kaleem Ariff Tariq-Madyun, a 35-year-old man who was accused of robbing a north Forsyth McDonald’s at gunpoint and trapping store employees in a cooler during the robbery in October 2018.
According to Assistant District Attorney Heather N. Dunn, at trial on Wednesday, a jury found Tariq-Madyun guilty of all counts, excluding the charges for possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, which were dismissed.
Dunn said that Tariq-Madyun was sentenced under Georgia’s recidivist statute OCGA 17-10-7(a), which deals with individuals that are convicted multiple times with felonies and serious violent felonies.
With this new guilty verdict, Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David L. Dickinson sentenced Tariq-Madyun to two consecutive life sentences for the charges of armed robbery, five 20-year consecutive sentences for counts of aggravated assault, and seven 10-year consecutive sentences for counts of false imprisonment, Dunn said.
Now, let’s talk a bit about how this sentence might work to deter future crime.
For one thing, this stemmed from a single incident, yet Tariq-Madyun is looking at almost two and a half centuries. While I might be willing to do five or six years, even without parole, knowing your release date is in 2249…
We have science fiction movies and books that take place before that.
Not that Tariq-Madyun will be alive to see it. That’s something criminals may start to consider when they look at breaking the law. Recognizing that if you lived to see the end of your sentence, you could be serving it on the Mars Penal Colony may just make you rethink it.
Realistically, though, there’s a good likelihood that many criminals will continue thinking they just won’t get caught despite ample evidence to the contrary. For them, this does something else. It effectively removes them from society now and forever.
Look, I’ll be the first to joke that Tariq-Madyun was sentenced to 230 years in prison, but he’ll be out on parole in three, but the way this sentence is structured really does make that unlikely. If he were paroled after the first life sentence he’s facing–which is often a possibility at around 25 years–he still has another one to serve. That’s 50 years for a 35-year-old convict. He’d be 85 by the time that happened.
Then he still has five 20-year sentences to serve consecutively. Basically, Tariq-Madyun is never going to breathe free air again, and that’s probably for the best.
At the end of the day, this sentence does make sure crime is reduced. It’s reduced because someone like Tariq-Madyun isn’t on the streets to commit them. Do that with enough bad guys and guess what? A lot less crime.
That’s a huge win.