One comment on “Maria Stubbings: Was Her Death Preventable?

  1. As in England and Wales, a life sentence is literally meant as ‘life-long’ in Germany, too. Those, as in this case, 15 years are, like in England and Wales, the minimum period before a life sentenced prisoner can appeal for clemency.

    If the prisoner is set free after 15 years already, it means that he has improved his social behaviour up to normal standards and that he has proven his ability for living in our today’s society. His ‘social prognosis’ must be positive.

    The average time, a murderer spends in a German prison, is about 19 years.

    It also means that, if he lapses back into crime, he will be imprisoned again, depending on the severity of his latest crime up to life time. In case of ex-prisoners who committed murder, a period of probation not shorter than 5 years comes along with the release on licence.

    The German criminal law only knows life sentence for murder and genocide, but 5 up to 15 years for homicide, except in really horrible cases, which do not match the conditions of murder; then life sentence is possible as well. To be a murderer, you have to act e.g. especially cruel, insidious or by base motives (there are a few other strict conditions, of which an offender must have commited at least one to become a murderer and not ‘just’ a homicide. Those optional conditions are exclusively enumerated.).

    Since M.C. had stringled his first victim, according to German criminal law he had committed a premeditated murder by acting insidious. On my personal oppinion, he committed another character of murder: cruel perpetration.

    Fulfilling more than one character usually means, that you cannot appeal for clemency after 15 years, resp. your appeal will be dismissed in most of the cases. After that, you have the chance to appeal every 2 years again.

    The fact, that M.C. was released after 15 years only, causes a bad feeling at least. The only logical reason that could have lead to this result is a phantasic social prognosis and an outstanding good behaviour during his term of imprisonment.

    But why, for heaven’s sake, did he then act like he did?

    As mentioned in your article, trans-border monitoring of ex-prisoners within their period of probation after release on licence in the entire EU area seems to be an appropriate method to protect victims against their former offenders. And not only homicides and murderers should be monitored. Especially sentenced rapists and, not to forget, cases of child abuse, have to be part of this shield.

    Including residents from countries outside the EU would be preferable. But since a long journey starts with a first step, let us hope that the EU will find a proper way for itself soon.

    Harald Klein
    Mainz, Germany

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