"If anything, that's an awfully bad precedent... literal baby-killers get lesser sentences (and often get paroled far sooner than a decade later)." Precedent of a sort has been around for some time. Certain crimes involving either money or failure to "respect mah authoriteh!" of government have long been considered more heinous than murder. In Isaac Newton's time counterfeiting was certainly considered worse than murder which would merely get you hanged. Counterfeiting would get you half-hanged, drawn and quartered. Sir Isaac, as Master of the Royal Mint in later life, was rightly feared because of this.