21 years for 91 murders?

It seems almost impossible to believe, but Norway’s homegrown terrorist Anders Behring Breivik may only be jailed for 21 years:

The alleged mass murderer who killed nearly 100 people in Norway on Friday may be facing just 21 years in prison if convicted. Norway does not have the death penalty.

Oslo police chief of staff Roger Andresen told the San Francisco Chronicle that the maximum prison term suspected killer Anders Behring Breivik could face is 21 years under Norwegian law.

Two law professors at the University of Oslo confirmed Andresen’s assessment.

“21 years in prison is the maximum,” Professor Per Ole Johansen told The Daily Caller.

“The max punishment may — theoretically — be increased, but not for crimes which are already committed,” he said, when asked whether it was possible for the punishment to be increased considering the scale of this specific mass crime.

“[I]f the prisoner behaves, he or she will probably be released several years earlier,” Professor Nils Christie told TheDC while also confirming that 21 years is the maximum penalty in Norway.

Christie, however, said it is theoretically possible for the perpetrator to be held in prison longer than 21 years, though it almost never happens.

“If, however, the person is seen as a particular danger to society, the person might receive a sentence that authorize prison authorities to keep him or her even longer when the 21 years are coming close to the end,” he added. “This wish must again be brought up for a court. As far as I know, such a situation nearly never appear.”

We’re all familiar with the argument against mandatory minimum sentences.  The Breivik case makes a good case against mandatory maximum sentences.

8 thoughts on “21 years for 91 murders?

  1. Bruce says:

    Given the nature of his acts and his delusional beliefs. I suspect that Mr. Breivik is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, or a related illness. I’m more interested in how Norwegian law deals with persons with severe mental disease who constitute a demonstrated danger to society.

  2. ebt says:

    I wish I could see some sign of delusion in his beliefs. He is scary because he is all too rational. I’d really like to think that he wasn’t right to do what he did, but it’s very hard to see how he wasn’t. Should I keep trying, or is it safer just to assume that he was wrong and never again dare think about it?

    In any event, he’ll be killed. He pretty clearly dealt a real blow to the left, and they care nothing for law, and a great deal for vengeance. They well may kill a few thousand entirely innocent people as well just to work off steam. Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to care about them.

  3. Bruce says:

    Are you serious? Apart from his 1500 page manifesto, at least partially derived from the Unibomber, Mr. Breivik believes that by killing dozens of his own countrymen he will cause Norway to rise up and drive the Muslims from Europe.

  4. David L. says:

    It may be possible to give Breivik life imprisonment on the installment plan, or at least something more than 21 years. A Norwegian member of a Yahoo! group to which I belong noted that Norway has “something called Forvaring (protective custody?) that means he can be sentenced to 21 years, then a review board is assembled to review his case. If still deemed dangerous to society he can be held further terms of max 10 years. (I.E. after 21, he can have 10 more. After those ten, a new board can give him 10 more etc)”

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