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

garfan

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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:

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.


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.
But Faith did not consciously put a stake in the heart of a person. Her decision to swing the stake was based entirely on the belief that the target coming at her was a vampire and would not have swung if she'd known he was human

In fact I don't believe Faith either developed a taste for blood or thought she was right. I believe she acted the way she did in search for someone to tell her everything was going to be okay and she'd done nothing wrong
 

Oromous

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But Faith did not consciously put a stake in the heart of a person. Her decision to swing the stake was based entirely on the belief that the target coming at her was a vampire and would not have swung if she'd known he was human
Yep, hence the term, "manslaughter". That's what I was trying to say.

In fact I don't believe Faith either developed a taste for blood or thought she was right. I believe she acted the way she did in search for someone to tell her everything was going to be okay and she'd done nothing wrong
Agreed. Which is why she should've accepted Buffy's help in letting Giles rehabilitate her.

After Faded90 brought it up, I think rehabilitation via Giles is a more effective solution than prison.
 

garfan

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Yep, hence the term, "manslaughter". That's what I was trying to say.


Agreed. Which is why she should've accepted Buffy's help in letting Giles rehabilitate her.

After Faded90 brought it up, I think rehabilitation via Giles is a more effective solution than prison.
by the time she needed rehabilitation what she had done was bad enough that he wouldn't have done it
 

Oromous

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by the time she needed rehabilitation what she had done was bad enough that he wouldn't have done it
Yeah, I know. I was speaking in the context of the immediate time after she killed Finch. By the time she had done a lot more than manslaughter, I would advocate full-on prison, not Giles, which even Faith seems to agree.
 

garfan

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Yeah, I know. I was speaking in the context of the immediate time after she killed Finch. By the time she had done a lot more than manslaughter, I would advocate full-on prison, not Giles, which even Faith seems to agree.
except of course that prison then was just a place she was in voluntarily as we saw with her later escape easily
 
Oromous
Oromous
Yeah, I wasn't aware of that since I've only seen up 'till BtVS season 4/Angel Season 1 thus far.

Oromous

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After doing a little reading up on manslaughter laws and why people are punished in spite of the act being an inadvertent one, I kind of regret a portion of what I wrote in regards to crime and punishment because it was rather naïve of me. I think that there is definitely meaning in "punishing people" even if their acts of killing were as accidental as Faith's. Faith was reckless, and her negligence to check whether if she's staking a human or not is an irresponsible act that requires a penalty. Criminals of manslaughter aren't punished just for the sake of blaming the convict, but also to discourage others from being as negligent and irresponsible when it comes to the lives of others. The system works in this context, and punishment is essential to advocate justice for everyone.

In the context of Slayers, Faith being punished wouldn't be about whether if she could escape or not either; it would be more about upholding the principle of not recklessly taking human lives due to negligence. I still think she should be handed to Giles after accidentally killing Finch (instead of being sent to prison for life), but there's definitely grounds and good reasoning for why someone like Faith should be imprisoned: to set an example for negligence and its consequence.
 

garfan

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After doing a little reading up on manslaughter laws and why people are punished in spite of the act being an inadvertent one, I kind of regret a portion of what I wrote in regards to crime and punishment because it was rather naïve of me. I think that there is definitely meaning in "punishing people" even if their acts of killing were as accidental as Faith's. Faith was reckless, and her negligence to check whether if she's staking a human or not is an irresponsible act that requires a penalty. Criminals of manslaughter aren't punished just for the sake of blaming the convict, but also to discourage others from being as negligent and irresponsible when it comes to the lives of others. The system works in this context, and punishment is essential to advocate justice for everyone.

In the context of Slayers, Faith being punished wouldn't be about whether if she could escape or not either; it would be more about upholding the principle of not recklessly taking human lives due to negligence. I still think she should be handed to Giles after accidentally killing Finch (instead of being sent to prison for life), but there's definitely grounds and good reasoning for why someone like Faith should be imprisoned: to set an example for negligence and its consequence.
if she can escape at any time there is no legitimate consequence, the consequence is an illusion. It would be like fining someone with the understanding that the money paid will be returned when asked for. She is as contained by that jail as she would be being told to go stand in the corner

there's only one other person like herself in the world, who could go through a battle against vampires as she did and she witness what sloppiness like that fight could cause. This eliminates the need for punishment to discourage others from negligence
 

Oromous

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if she can escape at any time there is no legitimate consequence, the consequence is an illusion. It would be like fining someone with the understanding that the money paid will be returned when asked for. She is as contained by that jail as she would be being told to go stand in the corner

there's only one other person like herself in the world, who could go through a battle against vampires as she did and she witness what sloppiness like that fight could cause. This eliminates the need for punishment to discourage others from negligence
Well, yeah, that's true. I haven't seen the later seasons yet, so I don't know if there are still other Slayers out there like Kendra that need to be discouraged from negligence.
 

thrasherpix

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Killing in a rage (like road rage at someone cutting you off in traffic), voluntary manslaughter. Driving drunk when you hit and kill that responsible driver, or popping off a gun for fun only for a bullet to kill someone she didn't know what there: involuntary manslaughter.

Killing someone jumping out at you while you are right then fighting for your life with adrenaline pumping and knowing one wrong move will be your last: well if it's manslaughter, it shouldn't be. As far as I'm concerned, Finch may have tried the right thing, but he earned that Darwin Award. He could've easily just shouted their names, or even just shouted for help, rather than trying to grab them from hiding. (ETA: I just checked. He grabbed Buffy's throat as they turned a corner: that is he hid and essentially ambushed them "just to talk." Idiot. If I was on Faith's jury for that one killing alone which was caught on video, as I'd scarcely believe anything but video, I'd refuse to convict even for involuntary manslaughter.)

Btw, I'd say the response to Faith's killing which was drove Faith to the Mayor, rather than the more Faith fought evil, the more she liked it (the evil). That is, an actual moderate response to a soldier in the field may have turned Faith rather than the heavy handed way the Watchers took even after Angel was making progress with her.
 
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Oromous

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Killing in a rage (like road rage at someone cutting you off in traffic), voluntary manslaughter. Driving drunk when you hit and kill that responsible driver, or popping off a gun for fun only for a bullet to kill someone she didn't know what there: involuntary manslaughter.

Killing someone jumping out at you while you are right then fighting for your life with adrenaline pumping and knowing one wrong move will be your last: well if it's manslaughter, it shouldn't be. As far as I'm concerned, Finch may have tried the right thing, but he earned that Darwin Award. He could've easily just shouted their names, or even just shouted for help, rather than trying to grab them from hiding. (ETA: I just checked. He grabbed Buffy's throat as they turned a corner: that is he hid and essentially ambushed them "just to talk." Idiot. If I was on Faith's jury for that one killing alone which was caught on video, as I'd scarcely believe anything but video, I'd refuse to convict even for involuntary manslaughter.)

Btw, I'd say the response to Faith's killing which was drove Faith to the Mayor, rather than the more Faith fought evil, the more she liked it (the evil). That is, an actual moderate response to a soldier in the field may have turned Faith rather than the heavy handed way the Watchers took even after Angel was making progress with her.
I like that you bring up the analogy of a soldier in the field. You're right in that, if this was military court, and if Faith was a soldier, she would be exempted from manslaughter charges due to the way Finch acted in a battlefield. I agree.

Unfortunately, neither the Watchers nor Buffy/Giles were progressive enough at the time to associate Slayers with soldiers fighting what's essentially a war against vampires. Even a police officer in duty would certainly be let off with a slap on the wrist for far more irresponsible actions.
 
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Faded90

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I like that you bring up the analogy of a soldier in the field. You're right in that, if this was military court, and if Faith was a soldier, she would be exempted from manslaughter charges due to the way Finch acted in a battlefield. I agree.

Unfortunately, neither the Watchers nor Buffy/Giles were progressive enough at the time to associate Slayers with soldiers fighting what's essentially a war against vampires. Even a police officer in duty would certainly be let off with a slap on the wrist for far more irresponsible actions.
I think Giles talks about this. He talks about the slayer being on ‘an nightly battle’ and that accidents have happened in relation to Finch
 

Oromous

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I think Giles talks about this. He talks about the slayer being on ‘an nightly battle’ and that accidents have happened in relation to Finch
Yeah, you're right. I think it was Wesley and the Watcher Council that really pushed things in the wrong direction.

But still, that shows just how broken the system was for Slayers.
 

Priceless

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He grabbed Buffy's throat as they turned a corner
He did not grab Buffy's throat, he reached out put his hand on her shoulder. There's also a lot of victim blaming going on here. The man was trying to do the right thing, though not in the cleverest way. He was hiding in the shadows because he was terrified of Wilkins finding out what he was doing. He was a whistleblower and I think actually quite brave considering he wasn't portrayed as a brave man.
 
thrasherpix
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I stand by my "victim blaming."

Oromous

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He did not grab Buffy's throat, he reached out put his hand on her shoulder. There's also a lot of victim blaming going on here. The man was trying to do the right thing, though not in the cleverest way. He was hiding in the shadows because he was terrified of Wilkins finding out what he was doing. He was a whistleblower and I think actually quite brave considering he wasn't portrayed as a brave man.
Priceless' right here:


It's quite fast to tell, but it's not really a throat-grab, but a shoulder-grab.

That said, Faith acted in a defensive way out of reflex, seemingly to protect Buffy. So again, I side with thrash on this one: Faith was acting on instinct.

If only real trials have video evidence like this to prove a person's guilt (or innocence). 😆
 

Priceless

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Faith was acting on instinct.
Maybe so, but then her instinct is poor and a man is dead. Not only that, but she goes on to hide the body, which is not going to look good to the police if they ever caught up to her.
 

Oromous

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Maybe so, but then her instinct is poor and a man is dead. Not only that, but she goes on to hide the body, which is not going to look good to the police if they ever caught up to her.
The hiding of the body was irresponsible, I agree... but then this goes back to the murky laws of vampire-slaying. Which court of law is going to exempt Faith for killing a man out of instinct? None. She was forced to hide the body because the jury isn't going to accept that she's essentially a soldier fighting in a battlefield.

Also, regarding her instinct, poor or not, it's the same reason why you don't tap on the shoulder of a war veteran suffering from PTSD. More likely than not, the soldier retaliating would not be charged with manslaughter. Faith might not have been the one who had her shoulder tapped here, but she's just as emotionally unstable due to her troubled upbringing. There's grounds for exempting her from charges too.
 

garfan

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Maybe so, but then her instinct is poor and a man is dead. Not only that, but she goes on to hide the body, which is not going to look good to the police if they ever caught up to her.
not in the middle of battle it wasn't. Her behavior afterwards is wrong not what led to it

The hiding of the body was irresponsible, I agree... but then this goes back to the murky laws of vampire-slaying. Which court of law is going to exempt Faith for killing a man out of instinct? None. She was forced to hide the body because the jury isn't going to accept that she's essentially a soldier fighting in a battlefield.

Also, regarding her instinct, poor or not, it's the same reason why you don't tap on the shoulder of a war veteran suffering from PTSD. More likely than not, the soldier retaliating would not be charged with manslaughter. Faith might not have been the one who had her shoulder tapped here, but she's just as emotionally unstable due to her troubled upbringing. There's grounds for exempting her from charges too.
the soldier with PTSD would not be charged if it happened on a battlefield

I think part of why the Watcher's Council reacted like they did was because she killed a man, lied to a Watcher about it and hid the body. If she had gone to them, I wouldn't be surprised if they disposed of the body
 

Oromous

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I think part of why the Watcher's Council reacted like they did was because she killed a man, lied to a Watcher about it and hid the body. If she had gone to them, I wouldn't be surprised if they disposed of the body
The Council's methods have always been problematic, even beyond their treatment of Faith. Their horribly outdated "trial" given to Buffy, their lack of funding for the Slayers' living expenses, etc.
 

Faded90

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Priceless' right here:


It's quite fast to tell, but it's not really a throat-grab, but a shoulder-grab.

That said, Faith acted in a defensive way out of reflex, seemingly to protect Buffy. So again, I side with thrash on this one: Faith was acting on instinct.

If only real trials have video evidence like this to prove a person's guilt (or innocence). 😆
I agree it’s definitely a defensive action taken on instinct. Their adrenalines going and all she see’s is someone grab Buffy and she stakes him

The shooting script for this episode is interesting because they cut a scene where Faith walks into Buffy’s house (right before the scene where she comes upstairs when Willow is in Buffy’s room) and Joyce is asking her about the longbow and Faith says she’d use it if someone hurt Buffy ‘because then I’d just kill them’. It’s a shame they cut this scene because it kind of puts into context that Faith has bloodlust as we know but also feels protective of Buffy (at this time anyway 😂)
 
Athene
Athene
What shooting script is that scene in

Faded90

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I agree it’s definitely a defensive action taken on instinct. Their adrenalines going and all she see’s is someone grab Buffy and she stakes him

The shooting script for this episode is interesting because they cut a scene where Faith walks into Buffy’s house (right before the scene where she comes upstairs when Willow is in Buffy’s room) and Joyce is asking her about the longbow and Faith says she’d use it if someone hurt Buffy ‘because then I’d just kill them’. It’s a shame they cut this scene because it kind of puts into context that Faith has bloodlust as we know but also feels protective of Buffy (at this time anyway 😂)
@Athene Sorry Athene I don’t know how to reply to comments on posts! It’s in the shooting script for Bad Girls
 
Athene
Athene
Oh okay! Thank you
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