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Faith Lehane / Alan Finch Murder: Did She Deserve Jail Time?

fauxindigo

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Does anyone else think that Faith was guilty and should've gone to jail for the murder of Alan Finch? I mean she's obviously guilty but does she really deserve jail time? What if she was remorseful from the start but unwilling to go to jail for it (understandable imo)? Would your opinion change if you knew for sure that Alan was involved in evil doings while working for the mayor? If he was completely innocent, unaware of how evil his boss was and was trying to warn the slayers (doubtful), then Faith would totally be in the wrong.. but what WAS he doing back in that alley? I'd dare say he was more likely up to something evil than good.. Not saying he deserved a stake to the heart and a slow agonizing death but I don't really feel like Faith should've had to go to jail for accidentally staking him, no matter how reckless she may have been..
 

Athene

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I think since we know the context- that Faith was a slayer and in the middle of slaying vampires when the accident happened, she didn't deserve jail for it. The police would see it definitely and wouldn't give her allowance for being a slayer.
 

thrasherpix

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Involuntary manslaughter is the worse there. And cops typically get away with innocents caught in their crossfire (though there will at least be the appearance of an inquiry--and just to be clear, sometimes I think they should be, as in if someone jumps at one while they're fighting for their lives against thugs), and in some nations, the people being shot at by police get charged for any collateral damage and friendly fire as well (that is, the vampires would be considered the guilty one in this case rather than Faith). The "heat of moment" when the adrenaline pumping is generally taken into account (which may range from extenuating circumstances to not being charged or convicted.)

Alan Finch kinda leaping out of the shadows while 2 Slayers are killing vampires all around them could also be described as a Darwin Award. That's why in this case I'm all for chalking it up to an unfortunate accident. It's what Faith did later that took her down a dark path (* disposing of a body would be something I'd say she should be charged for rather than an accidental killing under those circumstances). I should add that I did not yet see Faith as a murderer at this point (and I don't think she "deserved" jail at that point).

Many people see a difference between Law (laws and justice system) and Justice (what someone deserves) as others do between Sex and Love, btw. Great when they go together, but more often than not, they don't. Justice ethics has many schools of thought based on very different standards.

Naturally, the fact that the law doesn't even recognize vampires or the shenanigans of the Mayor as even existing complicated the issue mightily. Her age might also be a factor.
 
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Ann

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No, not for the accidental death of Alan Finch. Faith mistook him for a vampire and there was no pre-meditation. Buffy was a more experienced slayer than Faith at that point and realized Alan Finch was not a vampire. Getting rid of the body was a crime though, and everything Faith did then on was too. Faith should have been charged, tried, and if convicted sent to prison for the rest.
 
Reason: Wanted to change something.

AlphaFoxtrot

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No. It was clearly an accident that occurred during a combat situation. He was collateral damage. If they did, the Watchers were right to use their connections to cover the crime up.
 

forbuss

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I'm honestly not sure about jail time. Should she have been punished? Yes. How? Again, not sure.

There has been a lot of collateral damage simply based on proximity to the slayer (like Tara). I realize these situations are different, but both happened just from being around the Slayer.

I think the Watchers Council is partly responsible here. They failed to appropriately train Faith and essentially let her loose without a real watcher after hers was murdered by (what could be argued) one of the most powerful vampires we have saw on the show.

So why did Faith turn on the others and join the mayor? I think the answer is simple: ego and the need to survive. Faith already thought she was bad from all the stuff she lived with (her alcoholic mother). "She didn't love me enough to stop drinking'; Faith blamed herself - she also blamed herself for the death of her watcher. So she had a choice to make after accidentally murdering Finch - instead of changing her behaviour to match her values, she changed her values to match her behaviour. She had to stop looking at herself as evil - through doing evil. Normalizing it. Does this make sense? She couldn't allow the reality that she murdered someone - a human. In Faith's mind, this would have for sure made her bad and unworthy. So she found someone who (through manipulation) accepted and loved her and didn't think she was bad. You know you've had a rough life when Wilkins looks like a positive parental figure.

But yeah there needed to be some form of punishment to make sure the slayers power didn't go unchecked. I will use a quote from Charmed here that indirectly applies: "our job is to protect the innocent, not punish the guilty". Maybe they could have sent her to live with monks to become zen-Faith? A maximum security type thing though cause Faith is a runner. Plus, jail/prison is notoriously bad for any type of rehabilitation.
 

Priceless

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Yes I think she should. She was out of control and a good barrister could have formed a very good case against her. This was an accident, but it was something bound to happen based on Faith's previous actions. She is super powered and out of control, something had to be done to stop her here. Nothing was done, so she went on to do worse. She was possibly still a minor, so 6 months in a secure unit, getting psychiatric care, might have done her the world of good. I'm happy to agree it might not have done her any good either, but I think it would have put a pause on the direction her life was going.
 

Oromous

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Yes.

I can be very black and white about law and order, and to me, this is manslaughter, which means she deserved a little jail time to reflect on her recklessness. If she had turned herself in back in season 3, a lot of the other crimes she would come to be involved in (violating Buffy and Riley for one thing) wouldn't come to pass.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sympathetic to her actions, and I get why she made the mistake of killing someone at that moment. But we live in a civilized society which is kept in check by the law. No, the system isn't flawless, but you can't just go around killing people and get away with it. Buffy compromised and let Faith got away with it, and look what happened. The system of rehabilitating criminals (as flawed as it might be) exists for a reason.
 

garfan

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Yes.

I can be very black and white about law and order, and to me, this is manslaughter, which means she deserved a little jail time to reflect on her recklessness. If she had turned herself in back in season 3, a lot of the other crimes she would come to be involved in (violating Buffy and Riley for one thing) wouldn't come to pass.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sympathetic to her actions, and I get why she made the mistake of killing someone at that moment. But we live in a civilized society which is kept in check by the law. No, the system isn't flawless, but you can't just go around killing people and get away with it. Buffy compromised and let Faith got away with it, and look what happened. The system of rehabilitating criminals (as flawed as it might be) exists for a reason.
just because you think she should be charged doesn't mean a jury should convict her. Punishing her for a mistake like Finch's death harms the community so it's in no one's best interests

I think her later actions were premeditated and should have resulted in her going to jail, if she were a normal person. Unfortunately her being their is entirely voluntary so how much punishment is it really?
 

Oromous

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just because you think she should be charged doesn't mean a jury should convict her. Punishing her for a mistake like Finch's death harms the community
Yeah, it does. Doesn't make Faith's actions right.

Like I said, my viewpoint is black and white when it comes to the law. I prefer to do things the right way than compromise with the law. It wouldn't be easy to charge Finch of corruption or even stop him, but if it was me, I would've preferred to do things the right way than go down the easy path of murder. It rots the soul, and it clearly did for Faith, furthering her self-loathing and downward spiral. I'm not even defending Finch; Faith would come to suffer as well as a result of her own actions.

I think her later actions were premeditated and should have resulted in her going to jail, if she were a normal person. Unfortunately her being their is entirely voluntary so how much punishment is it really?
What later actions? Being where is voluntary?
 

garfan

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Yeah, it does. Doesn't make Faith's actions right.

Like I said, my viewpoint is black and white when it comes to the law. I prefer to do things the right way than compromise with the law. It wouldn't be easy to charge Finch of corruption or even stop him, but if it was me, I would've preferred to do things the right way than go down the easy path of murder. It rots the soul, and it clearly did for Faith, furthering her self-loathing and downward spiral. I'm not even defending Finch; Faith would come to suffer as well as a result of her own actions.


What later actions? Being where is voluntary?
Faith's actions are to strike out during a moment when to her knowledge she has one nearby ally and is otherwise surrounded by enemies. How is that wrong?

Her intentional murders and assaults while working for the mayor and being in prison is voluntary
 

Faded90

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Not for Finch but for her later actions yes

There’s a good bit of foreshadowing in Consequences where Buffy wants to talk to Giles and says if they don’t it’s only going to make things worse and Faith replies ‘worse than jail for the rest of my young life, no way’

Ironically if Faith HAD just let them help her then she wouldn’t have ended up in jail. Obviously it’s a complex situation but it’s an interesting line to look back on
 

Oromous

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Faith's actions are to strike out during a moment when to her knowledge she has one nearby ally and is otherwise surrounded by enemies. How is that wrong?
It's wrong to take a life, period; even a murderer should have a fair trial. That's how our society works. There would be chaos on the street if everyone is allowed to kill people based on their biased judgment of right and wrong, period. That fact is clear. I don't know how else to make that clearer to you.

Her intentional murders and assaults while working for the mayor and being in prison is voluntary
I'm not really understanding this point. So her actions of joining the mayor and turning herself in were voluntary; what's your point exactly? She should've turned herself in earlier. It's not even really about punishing her; it's about preventing her from causing more harm to other people like Riley and Buffy.
 

forbuss

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just because you think she should be charged doesn't mean a jury should convict her. Punishing her for a mistake like Finch's death harms the community so it's in no one's best interests

I think her later actions were premeditated and should have resulted in her going to jail, if she were a normal person. Unfortunately her being their is entirely voluntary so how much punishment is it really?
I think I fall somewhere along the same lines as you. I'm always more on the side of context than rules - plus I'm pretty punk rock and my job involves me regularly working with police and they are AWFUL. Same with parole officers.
 

Priceless

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After she hid the corpse & murdered the professor guy in Graduation Day P1, yes.
Good point. She hid Finch's body. If she'd gone straight to the police and handed herself in, then things would have gone very differently. Hiding the body it the action of someone who wants to avoid prosecution, even if it was an accident. A court would not look well on that.
 

Oromous

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Taken from the website of ACLU in regards to the death penalty for murderers:

"No one deserves to die. When the government metes out vengeance disguised as justice, it becomes complicit with killers in devaluing human life and human dignity. In civilized society, we reject the principle of literally doing to criminals what they do to their victims: The penalty for rape cannot be rape, or for arson, the burning down of the arsonist's house. We should not, therefore, punish the murderer with death."

And once again, it's not even really about the incompetence of the American justice system; it's about what the act of murder does to a murderer, in this case, Faith and her downward spiral. The cops and their awful methods don't matter in this consideration; the parole officers don't matter; Faith's self-destructive path matters.

Now, whether if Faith deserves the death penalty for her murders? That's a better, more ambiguous question, because it questions the kind of consequences Faith might face if she's given jail time. It questions the flaws of the system for criminals facing manslaughter and murder charges and whether if they'll get a fair sentence, whether if they'll be treated fairly in prison.
 
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garfan

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It's wrong to take a life, period; even a murderer should have a fair trial. That's how our society works. There would be chaos on the street if everyone is allowed to kill people based on their biased judgment of right and wrong, period. That fact is clear. I don't know how else to make that clearer to you.


I'm not really understanding this point. So her actions of joining the mayor and turning herself in were voluntary; what's your point exactly? She should've turned herself in earlier. It's not even really about punishing her; it's about preventing her from causing more harm to other people like Riley and Buffy.
so, if in a car accident someone dies there should always be a trial? At least some of the current California wildfires were started because of fireworks in a gender reveal party? Should those people go on trial for them?

Her actions with the mayor were what she should be legally punished for. Her going to prison was voluntary though. so how much of a punishment is it?

Also a Faith who wanted to cause harm would not be contained in a prison. It was only when she stopped wanting to cause harm that it could
 
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Oromous

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so, if in a car accident someone dies there should always be a trial? At least some of the current California wildfires were started because of fireworks in a gender reveal party? Should those people go on trial for them?
That's a totally different situation from consciously putting a stake into someone's heart. The lack of knowledge that she was staking a normal person doesn't take away from her intent to kill. That's why I labeled the act against Finch as "manslaughter" instead of "murder". It's like accidentally killing a person when you stab a trashbag that you thought was empty, but actually had a person hidden inside. It's still manslaughter by definition of the term, but it's done without the intent to kill a normal person. The laws charging someone for taking somebody else's life are there for a reason.

Even if I'm to pardon Faith for having made a mistake, there's still the consideration of how a murder changes your perspective. Faith might find an excuse to kill human murderers that are a harm to community. It's like what Angel said; she's had a taste of blood. Everything changes when you kill.

Vampire-slaying is a very morally grey area because there's no other way to compromise when it comes to putting down a vampire. No laws can be used against vampires; the same couldn't be said for Finch. That's why what Buffy does is the best moral compromise any one could have in her situation; Faith's actions were not.

Also, I would like to reiterate what Faded90 said:
There’s a good bit of foreshadowing in Consequences where Buffy wants to talk to Giles and says if they don’t it’s only going to make things worse and Faith replies ‘worse than jail for the rest of my young life, no way’

Ironically if Faith HAD just let them help her then she wouldn’t have ended up in jail. Obviously it’s a complex situation but it’s an interesting line to look back on
Even if she isn't imprisoned, the least she needed was to be rehabilitated by Giles and Buffy. Same path, more effective solution that leaves less room for Faith to be abused by the system.

I reemphasize once more: putting Faith either in prison or under Giles' guidance towards a less murderous path isn't about punishing Faith; it's about helping her. Faith denied both solutions because she was lost and confused at that time, but it's clear that some form of preventive measure was needed, be it prison or Giles' guardianship.

Her actions with the mayor were what she should be legally punished for. Her going to prison was voluntary though. so how much of a punishment is it?

Also a Faith who wanted to cause harm would not be contained in a prison. It was only when she stopped wanting to cause harm that it could
Faith turning herself in was after she was no longer a threat to the community. She has accepted her crimes and was ready to begin redeeming herself for her mistake. It wasn't about punishment either at that point, but about redeeming herself for killing people and becoming accomplice to the murders of Sunnydale High students in "Graduation".

In spite of what the governments of America might think about the purpose of the American justice system, I personally believe in the rehabilitation of criminals, so "punishment" is never associated with imprisonment of criminals for me. It's either about the rehabilitation of remorseful criminals or as a preventive measure against non-remorseful (and mentally ill) criminals. For Faith after she turned herself in in "Angel", it's more about the former (rehabilitation) than it is the latter (preventing her from harming people). Granted, the real world doesn't work that way and the government often abuses the system and mistreats inmates (especially female inmates), but it's the best we can do with the system for now.
 
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