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Remorse, Demeanor, and Sentencing

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Should a defendant's expression of remorse get him a lesser sentence?  Even if one is inclined to say yes in the abstract, in practice how do you know if the remorse is sincere?  Dinesh Ramde reports for AP:

RACINE, Wis. (AP) -- A southeast Wisconsin man who recorded himself sexually assaulting six young children gave a slight smirk as a judge admonished him for his crimes, leaving the judge taken aback for a moment before he sentenced the Racine man to the maximum 145 years in prison.

Alexander R. Richter, 30, had just apologized for molesting a 2-year-old girl and five other young children. He also acknowledged that his words could do nothing to undo the damage he'd caused. But the corner of his mouth turned upward slightly as Judge Timothy Boyle recounted Richter's comments to a pre-sentencing investigator.

"You said you feel sorry for (the children), that you ruined their whole lives. But you smiled as you said it," Boyle noted. He paused for a moment and then noted with incredulity, "You're smiling now!"

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