Poor advisement is no defense

In Opinion
Courtesy of MCT
Courtesy of MCT


Would it not be great to be able to commit a crime and then be able to get away from doing the time by claiming someone defrauded you? Well this is what convicted rapist Andrew Luster is trying to do at this very moment.

Luster—the son of late cosmetics company founder Max Factor—was sentenced in 2002 to 124 years in prison for his crimes, but he is now citing bad legal advice as a reason why he should have his sentence reduced. During Luster’s trial, he fled the United States for Mexico in order to escape conviction at the behest of his attorney at the time.

Even though Luster left the country, the judge in place of the trial decided to let the hearing go on in absentia, eventually leading to his sentence of 124 years in prison. Now, 11 years after the original hearing, Luster had a hearing to appeal on Feb. 27 to prove that he was given bad legal advice.

With all of this said, Luster should not be granted a hearing just because he was given bad legal advice.

Even though convicted felons do sometimes deserve a hearing for an appeal, they should not be granted one just because of poor counsel. Luster is an adult who needs to take responsibility for his actions, even if it was a mistake.

This says nothing of the severity of Luster’s alleged crimes. In his current trial, according to the Los Angeles Times, Luster said that he did not give GHB to his victims but that they did it together. By supplying the women with these mind altering drugs, the women were not able to intelligently decide what they wanted to do, thus making it qualify as rape.

Even if Luster was being truthful, he was still giving the women a drug that alters decision making.

If the judge grants Luster a new sentencing based on the reasoning that he received bad advice from his former attorney Richard Sherman, then that would set precedent and open Pandora’s box: That would mean any convicted felon would be able to use bad legal advice as an excuse to get a sentence reduced.

According to the St. Louis Beacon, both Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Samuel Alito would argue that even though Luster was given bad advice, it would not have helped him much and he would still be convicted of his offense.

Justice Stephen Breyer seems to agree with them as well about the case. When speaking about a case very similar to the Luster retrial, Justice Breyer said, “It would be too easy … to find that the lawyer after the defendant is convicted did a bad job during the plea negotiation.”

Since three Supreme Court justices seem to think that Luster would not deserve a retrial, that goes to show that his argument is a weak one. Just because Luster decided to take bad advice and do what his former lawyers told him to do, that should not make him worthy of having his sentencing reduced.

Since Luster should not be able to have his sentence reduced, his only plan of action would be to sue his former lawyer. Even if he wanted to go this route, he would not be able to. Sherman died of cancer in 2011.

Therefore Luster should take responsibility for his actions like a man.

Luster should be put back into his prison cell and not be allowed to have a retrial; he knew what he was doing was wrong and he even left the country knowing what would happen if he did. He should have been given more time for running from the law and going into hiding. Andrew Luster should be in jail for the rest of his days and should live with the guilt that he tormented women’s lives.

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  • Hadley von Haddleburg

    Some experience in the real world would help the writer of this piece. Mr. Luster has already served much more prison time than anyone else would have served for the same offense.