Sunday, August 24, 2014

Villain parole and rehabilitation

Though it's not a topic I hope most readers of this guide will need to know, I want to talk about villain parole & rehabilitation. There was an earlier topic on breaking into the movie industry, and several people asked me to expand on this topic.

In general, villains don't get offered parole unless there's somebody external pulling strings or advocating for their release. Usually this comes with a set of conditions (gainful employment, on-the-job monitoring, ACTION poking its nose into your business) that makes getting out an onerous burden. Extraordinary acts of good behavior - and I mean more than just "not breaking out with the rest of the guys", I mean things like actively putting down a prison break or riot - can sometimes lead the way to a reduced sentence for newbie villains. For us old-timers, nothing short of flashing serious money at the judge and/or the DA will get the wheels of justice sufficiently greasy.

The old trick of a villain lawyering up and walking that you'd see on shows like S.W.A.T. and Supercop in the 1970s don't work any more. From the late 70's to the 90's, the American justice system had a concept called the "rolling conviction", which was meant to fix the problem of supervillains breaking out of jail with ease. The villain Floodwater's legal team came up with a great workaround which effectively killed the usefulness of the rolling conviction, which neatly coincided with the rise of newer villain incarceration technology from companies like TRS and Johnson & Johnson. Plus, there's decades of precedent that have redefined fundamental terms like "assault" and "deadly force" when a superhuman is involved.

Law firms will work for anyone. However, because any or all of your legal holdings will probably long since have a lien on them (to pay for the damage you did), you usually won't have a legal source of funds to retain a good firm, and a bad firm won't be able to spring you. You'll need to have laundered your money into some legitimate holding arrangement not tied to you, or have a wealthy patron (like a movie studio). A rare few villains, like the Scarab Guardian, effectively had this done for them by the government.

Your conviction as a villain - along with everything that went with it, like blood draws, DNA evidence, power weaknesses, testimony, and so on - will always stay on the books. Once a villain, always a villain, as far as the justice system is concerned.