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#112902 - 05/24/17 09:09 PM Due process
XiaoGui17 Offline
active member


Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
Don't get me started ... Well, I guess I did get started.

Let's get started . . . on a new thread!

So, anyone and everyone... what do you think of the justice system? What do you particularly like or dislike about it? What would you change?

 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
I also dislike the practice of plea-bargaining: an extremely unfair arm-twist.

I hear that--but on the other hand, it's simply impractical to bring every case to trial. What would you propose?

 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
I don't like grand juries where the prosecution gets to have an attorney but the accused doesn't.

I don't see the problem with this for indictment. It would be quite another thing at trial, or at sentencing. But indictment? What would he need a lawyer for?

 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
I don't like jury selection where attorneys can eliminate ones they don't think they can control.

Peremptory strikes are available to both sides, which can help eliminate biased jurors and ensure the overall jury is as neutral as can reasonably be assured. I think that's a good thing.

 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
I don't like "contempt of court" if the judge and/or attorneys deserve it.

Not even sure to what you're referring, here?

 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
 Originally Posted By: SIN3
What would you have done in Obama's position?

I don't think that was an appropriate use of Presidential pardoning. Actually I am not gruntled by that power at all, because it can't help but be used preferentially for the high-profile cases: the Bradley Mannings and Patty Hearsts. "Unknown nobodys" need not apply.

I can see point here from the perspective of fairness, but I think of the judicial system as enforcing order as much as it does (if not more than) "fairness." And in that capacity, part of its task is to put on a little dog and pony show to ensure public confidence in the justice system, to mollify them out of trying to take matters into their own hands. The grand gesture of pardoning publicly popular convicts is part of that performance art, IMO. It's not that Manning was any more deserving. It's that his case has a greater impact on social order. The same goes for "making an example of" the one bad guy they were able to catch.
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#112904 - 05/25/17 08:58 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
SIN3 Offline
stalker


Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 7064
Loc: Virginia
 Originally Posted By: V
It's not that Manning was any more deserving. It's that his case has a greater impact on social order.


Precisely, which is why many believe it sets a bad precedent in terms of the levity of his violation of that order.

If our Armed Forces continually see examples of moral objection with leniency in response, what's to stop them from giving away all of our tactics?

Americans walk around feeling 'safe' because they really believe that our military complies. Failure to comply could be revealing crucial information that leaves us wide open to attacks.

The government in England admits they've been lax in their security, lax in their awareness and lax in enforcement which is why a concert venue was easy prey.

Obama undermined our military prowess and continued to show signs of weakness to the world. The Manning situation is just another example of it.

Make no mistake, I don't support the incarceration complex. This is a matter of national security; a military matter handled very badly, in my opinion. It's just bad show.

In other news... Legal Maneuvering is just a game.
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#112907 - 05/25/17 02:21 PM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
CanisMachina42 Offline
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Registered: 08/10/13
Posts: 1242
Loc: CA
 Quote:
So, anyone and everyone... what do you think of the justice system? What do you particularly like or dislike about it? What would you change?


General thoughts on the legal and prison systems:

It seems to work just fine.

A dual system of meriticracy. If you have the money or status you can kill someone driving drunk and do 30 days for involuntary manslaughter, where as a K-Mart employee with a public defender goes down for vehicular homicide and gets 10-15 years. 

Discrediting. A good lawyer can reduce a truthful witness to inadmissible or unreliable. (ties to the above).

California's (and others) "3 strike laws", and the mandatory minimums for those that keep doing the same shit and getting caught, are a good way for those "2 strike" individuals to become more aware of their actions... as they still do the same shit.

Witch burnings - They still happen, but the pitchforks and torches are forms of media shaming and the stake is the the judge grandstanding for a promotion.

The appellate court - People (especially those on death row) can play at various angles so long as they don't appeal what has already been denied. Its a nice loophole in the name of self preservation.

Resources - There is not enough allocated to housing these individuals. The topic here is rehabilitation vs. detention.  Much of the overcrowding is drug related. Many of these are to weak to quit. As no amount of anything gives these people a chance there needs to be more prisons.

Privatization - Hate it all you want, but inmates gave up their "freedom" anyway. I propose privately run "free range" facilities. Compounds built and maintained like a private military base by a contracted company. A prison commune kept guard by a private military.

Privatization brings its own criticisms.

Human rights: Spare me, they gave up those by being a dumbshit and violating the inescapable social contract. The punishment is for getting caught. The main criticism is that these companies put capital gains ahead of anything else.  Welcome to this world?

Anyway, As long as the mandates of the contract are met people can bitch and moan all they want there is legally nothing "inhumane" happening. That it lacks oversite is idiosyncratic, the arrangements exist in the same way defense contracts do. They are insulated from public inquiry by design.

They are mandated to uphold constitutional guarantees for someone that has lost their freedom and nothing more. Value of the individual is contingent.

I'm sure I have more, but this is it for now.

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#112914 - 05/26/17 01:09 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: XiaoGui17
Plea bargaining: it's simply impractical to bring every case to trial. What would you propose?

Let's start with the story of Mrs. Wong, who gave birth to a rather Caucasian-appearing baby, causing her husband to confront the doctor. He answered, "I'll tell you one thing: two Wongs don't make a white."

Threatening someone with a much more expensive defense and harsher sentence unless he accepts a lesser crime for a lesser punishment, is wong. The fact that courts have heavy calendars is also wong. These don't make penalizing an innocent person white, get it?

If the courts cannot take the time to fairly evaluate a case, release the accused on his Constitutional presumption of innocence. If that bothers you, vote to increase court funding, etc.
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#112915 - 05/26/17 01:24 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: XiaoGui17
I don't see the problem with this for indictment. It would be quite another thing at trial, or at sentencing. But indictment? What would he need a lawyer for?

Two things:

(1) The further "validation" an accusation has, the stronger the presumption of guilt in both the trial system and the media/public opinion. The perception is that the accused has a "pre-trial trial" and the grand jurors agreed that he's guilty. Just consider the phrase "grand jury", which sounds like one more exalted than the trial one. And if the prosecution is deceiving the GJ with false or manufactured "evidence", there is no defense attorney to expose this. The result is a stacked deck for indictment. This is not a white.

(2) Criminal legal defenses are horrendously expensive for the dedendant. Causing an unjustified trial to take place exascerbates the already vast cost of retaining counsel all through the GJ process, even if he can't argue in session. The prosecution has bottomless pockets; the accused may go bankrupt before any actual trial. Again not white.

Fix? Allow discovery, deposition, and open argument at the GJ. Also have the taxpayers pay the accused's legal bills as well as the government's. And I don't mean a token, overworked public defender either.
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#112916 - 05/26/17 01:52 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
The other Wongs ...

Attorneys shouldn't be able to "dumb down" juries. Unless you have a valid reason for purging a juror, he or she has a right to stay. That means a very high bar for the attorney to overcome: for instance a juror with a historuy of mental illness, or a serious criminal record. I've been kicked off juries the moment the attorney heard "Ph.D.".

As for "contempt of court": Some judges are ethical and honest. Some are corrupt, stupid, biased, and/or bare-faced liars. But you can't call them on any of this in court, or you'll go go the slammer on that alone. At present an attorney can request that a judge recuse himself, but it's the judge's decision. And only in extremes. The judge should be on the same hot seat as the defendant, and should be subject to challenge the moment he acts to deserve it, and then everything should stop until a higher court rules on it [if the judge doesn't self-recuse]. Would this slow things down? Sure. Would it be in the service of white? U betcha.

In case you haven't noticed. I have a nigh-pathological hatred of injustice.

The military justice system - the Uniform Code of Military Justice - is strongly weighted to convict. The convening commander appoints the Board (jury). The military judge is a procedure referee only. The board "votes" the way its senior officer "recommends". The accused is almost always convicted, at least of one or more lesser offenses.

In the early 1980s I was appointed president of a general court-martial board for charges against a recuiting sergeant who was alleged to have misled possible receipts. I learned that both his captain and colonel had "expected" this of him to meet their quotas. He was a black SFC, scared to death, as was his family in the court.

I told the board that we were going to find him 100% innocent, including no bullshit lesser convictions/punishments. When I announced this verdict, both JAG officers were stunned, as was the judge. and the SFC almost fainted and his family collapsed in tears. That was a great day for justice in the U.S. Army. \:\)

I don't know if there was a connection, but that was the last time I was appointed a court martial board president ...
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#112937 - 05/27/17 01:52 PM Re: Due process [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
XiaoGui17 Offline
active member


Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
Threatening someone with a much more expensive defense and harsher sentence unless he accepts a lesser crime for a lesser punishment, is wong. The fact that courts have heavy calendars is also wong. These don't make penalizing an innocent person white, get it?

If he is, in fact, innocent. A scrupulous prosecutor won't even enter into plea bargaining in the first place unless they've got a rock-solid case that they know for certain is going to result in conviction at trial.

The theory behind plea bargaining is that the prosecutor says to the accused: "Look, this is all the evidence we have against you. We both know how this is going to end. If you make my job easier, I'll go a little easier on you." This seems much more reasonable to me than proceeding with the long, drawn out trial as a formality when everyone knows the outcome anyway.

Which is not to say that it always goes that way. People often accept plea bargains because they can't afford bail and want out now, or they can't afford to miss work, or they can't afford to mount a defense, even if they are innocent--and unscrupulous prosecutors take advantage of that. That is a problem, and it should be addressed. But I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
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#112939 - 05/27/17 02:50 PM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
stalker


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: XiaoGui17
A scrupulous prosecutor ...



You've been watching those old Perry Mason TV shows where DA Hamilton Burger never tells a fib and always congratulates Perry for exonerating his client, right?
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#112941 - 05/27/17 05:20 PM Re: Due process [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
XiaoGui17 Offline
active member


Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
 Originally Posted By: XiaoGui17
A scrupulous prosecutor ...

I consider myself scrupulous.

 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
The further "validation" an accusation has, the stronger the presumption of guilt in both the trial system and the media/public opinion. The perception is that the accused has a "pre-trial trial" and the grand jurors agreed that he's guilty. Just consider the phrase "grand jury", which sounds like one more exalted than the trial one.

Public misperceptions about the meaning and purpose of a procedure warrant overhauling that procedure, or correcting those misperceptions? I say the latter.

 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
And if the prosecution is deceiving the GJ with false or manufactured "evidence", there is no defense attorney to expose this. The result is a stacked deck for indictment. This is not a white.

If the prosecution is fabricating evidence, they're subject to serious charges. I realize the prosecution is in a great position of power, here, but that also comes with high stakes accountability.

 Quote:
The prosecution has bottomless pockets; the accused may go bankrupt before any actual trial. Again not white.

The prosecution does not have bottomless pockets. A prosecutor who pulls out all the stops over a parking ticket or a case with flimsy evidence is inevitably going to neglect the rest of his docket, and get his ass reamed for waste.

 Quote:
Fix? Allow discovery, deposition, and open argument at the GJ. Also have the taxpayers pay the accused's legal bills as well as the government's. And I don't mean a token, overworked public defender either.

Better fix: Raise the bar for the prosecution. Instead of complicating the proceeding, making the results more contingent on the quality of defense counsel, and wasting everyone's time and resources, filter out shit cases from the get-go.

How? Make objective evidence mandatory to even seek an indictment in the first place.

Good enough to present to a grand jury:

(1) Video footage of who dunnit

(2) Forensic evidence (DNA, fingerprints) that was confirmed a match in a blind test with decoys.

For instance, the fingerprint of the suspect and a few randomly selected fingerprints should have been compared to those recovered at the scene, and the biometrician should not be told which is the suspect. Telling the biometrician which print is the suspect should be charged as tampering with evidence. Only if the biometrician confirms the suspect as a match and excludes the decoys should a match be confirmed. Same for DNA and other physical evidence submitted for scientific match/ analysis.

(3) Eyewitness identification should similarly only be admitted if it was a blind test with decoys based on the eyewitness's description of the suspect, preferably a sequential photo array.

(4) Precise stolen item that was found in the suspect's possession.

Cops are not objective, and their personal testimony should not be considered objective evidence. Leave the cameras rolling and get some footage, Sipowicz.

P.S. Maybe make indictments mandatory before plea deals can even be offered. No indictment, the defendant can walk.
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#112944 - 05/27/17 09:53 PM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: XiaoGui17
I consider myself scrupulous.

If you are prosecutor, then you also know that your career advancement is dependent upon convictions you rack up, period. The more cases you lose, the more you're regarded as ineffective, a failure. The people who hire/promote you couldn't care less about your sensitivity to "justice" in the cases you lose in court. And don't sing the old song about "the DA's responsibility is to see justice done, not to win prosecutions". That only worked for Hamilton Burger and similar Hollywood fantasy characters.

Prosecutions will not be just until prosecutors are paid and evaluated the same for cases that they lose, which obviously is never going to happen. Because a jury decides and/or a judge rules, the message sent to your superiors if you lose is simply that you weren't competent or convincing enough, not that "justice overruled you".

Understand that I am not blaming you personally for the system. It is the latter which sucks, and it sucks intentionally. The criminal justice system is designed to convict, not dispassionately evaluate. It's also designed to bankrupt the defense, while the government has unlimited $.

I experienced the federal military and civilian justice system as an innocent victim. I saw prosecutors lie repeatedly in court and manufacture "evidence", and judges who weren't the least interested in either. Defending myself and my wife cost me around $200K and an enormous amount of personal effort for several years. The summary is here, and for the entire story see my book Extreme Prejudice, linked here.

If I hadn't been that intelligent, vigilant, meticulous, and persistent, and had not had $200K to hire attorneys necessary for the court-work, my wife and I would have been "routinely destroyed" - as indeed happened to hundreds of other victims of "Satanic panic" scams who weren't as smart and proactive, and/or couldn't afford competent counsel.

And since this is the 600C, I'll add an additional word of warning: The moment your attacker, whether scam artist or prosecutor or judge, mentions the "S-word", you can kiss "fairness" goodbye. The Great Unwashed out there know "Satanism" only as a synonym for the worst possible kinds of evil, and that includes juries. Once again I survived because I have an exemplary and documented lifelong track record, but it was still a constant, uphill fight. Today, thirty years later, I still have to deal with the residual viciousness.

In other threads here one of my constant points has been: Unless you are 100% serious about being a formal Satanist, such that it is essential to your sense of integrity, don't take on the label. You may think that it's glamorous fun, but the first time you get arrested for anything, or sued, or a divorce or custody action, etc. it will be used to knife you in the back, and it is still a very big knife in today's climate of ignorance and prejudice. So think the "S-word" through very, very seriously.
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#112945 - 05/27/17 11:55 PM Re: Due process [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
XiaoGui17 Offline
active member


Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: Michael Aquino
If you are prosecutor, then you also know that your career advancement is dependent upon convictions you rack up, period.

I'm a "quasi-prosecutor." I don't do criminal law, but I am a state attorney and I do often request that people get thrown in jail.

Sorry about being vague--a term of my employment is that I not disclose my employer on any form of social media.

I am evaluated based on a series of goals defined by the state. It is primarily a numbers game, although there are qualitative checks where my supervisors pull random selected cases and check to see if I've crossed my T's.

But you're right that I don't get any extra brownie points for being "fair", and cutting people well-deserved slack is a no-no.

 Quote:
And don't sing the old song about "the DA's responsibility is to see justice done, not to win prosecutions".

I wouldn't--I'm not in the "justice" business. I am in the law enforcement business. When people bitch to me that the law is unjust, I tell them to write their legislator.

My boss did tell me, recently, that I am a starry-eyed "justice" lover. It amuses me, since I'm so much more jaded and cynical than I once was. I used to be a vegan, a Buddhist, a sappy hippy who thought peace and love were the solution to all the world's problems. Then I got burned bad by some assholes who tested my "love heals all" idealism to its breaking point, and here I am today. I don't know that the bleeding heart ever really died, but nowadays my empathy is tempered by self-preserving judgment.

Given your personal history, I'm sure you've seen some pretty gritty stuff. Yet you seem tender hearted and thirsty for justice in spite of it all. I find it intriguing--it seems like something we have in common.

 Quote:
The more cases you lose, the more you're regarded as ineffective, a failure. The people who hire/promote you couldn't care less about your sensitivity to "justice" in the cases you lose in court...Prosecutions will not be just until prosecutors are paid and evaluated the same for cases that they lose, which obviously is never going to happen. Because a jury decides and/or a judge rules, the message sent to your superiors if you lose is simply that you weren't competent or convincing enough, not that "justice overruled you."

You're seeing a binary of "win" and "lose". Of course, prosecutors also have discretion about which cases to pursue. A large part of the job is picking winners. There's "win," there's "lose"--and then there's "fold."

As with Texas Hold Em, don't invest heavily in a weak hole. Folding the losing holes is what ensures there are chips left for the winners. It's as much a contest of wills as it is about the cards, and the flop (the judge) can completely change who has the upper hand.

The substantive law and the laws of evidence are what determine the value of hands-- and in my mind, the bedrock of reform should focus on them. Shucking away junk science and tightening what gets in should be the first step. We have the technology--the law needs to catch up.

 Quote:
Understand that I am not blaming you personally for the system. It is the latter which sucks, and it sucks intentionally. The criminal justice system is designed to convict, not dispassionately evaluate.

Yes and no.

The justice system evolved over time in response to public demand. In the old world it served power primarily, and was tempered as necessary to prevent violent uprisings.

In the new world, the founders designed it to embody their enlightenment ideals, and really did try their best to implement a system to serve justice. Of course they were not without their own shortcomings, and they built off an old world template, but it was meant for justice as they understood it.

Ironically enough, in the new world the exact opposite happened as the old world. Instead of public pressure forcing a bloodthirsty, power-hungry regime to stay its hand, public pressure pushed a system designed to be rather restrained to get more heads rolling.

 Quote:
It's also designed to bankrupt the defense, while the government has unlimited $.

I don't know that it was "designed to" bankrupt the defense. It certainly has that effect. But in every walk of life, money is power. As Canis pointed out, the law is no different.

 Quote:
In other threads here one of my constant points has been: Unless you are 100% serious about being a formal Satanist, such that it is essential to your sense of integrity, don't take on the label.

My sense of integrity is not so strong that I feel compelled to wear it openly. My position is that it's none of anyone's business, save those who are so close to me I'd trust them with my life.

But I wear it, nonetheless. I am dead serious.

My husband in particular presses this point to me. He was raised among those unwashed masses (whereas I grew up comfortably upper-middle class in a liberal city), and is old enough to remember the Satanic Panic (whereas I was a very small child at the time). His warning to me: "Those people you work so passionately to help would kill you if they knew what you were."
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#112948 - 05/28/17 01:25 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
If you are in a position to accept or decline assigned prosecutions, that may let you off the ones you dislike, but it also signals to the brass that you haven't got the guts for the tough ones. Again you are unfairly penalized for your ethics to the extent they are misinterpreted as cowardice.

I am familiar with the pretty language on this side of the Pond: presumption of innocence, speedy trial, right to a defense, 5th Amendment, etc. To the extent these function, fine; but the reality is that they don't anymore, if they ever did. Anyone who's caught up in the court system is at the mercy of professional games between judges and attorneys, which he can neither understand nor influence.

The impression I get from you is that you are a professional idealist. I can grok this, since I suffer from the same malady as a military officer. After 40 years I'm still writing righteous prescriptions like MindWar. \:\)

I never paid much attention to the workings of the "justice system" until my wife and I got caught up in it in the 1980s. I still expected investigators, attorneys, and judges to be principled and honest. What I actually saw and experienced was glaringly the opposite - not in just one instance, but all of them. I emerged from the encounter with as much regard for the justice system as I would have for a rabid dog. I actually started keeping a list of all the CID and JAG law violations & violators; I stopped bothering after about 5 single-spaced pages.

To really understand this, I think you may have to wait until you get caught up in it the same way, either criminally or civilly. Not that I am wishing this on you.

As for the S-word: In your profession you are playing with fire. I'm sure you know how un-private the Internet has become, forum screen names notwithstanding. Imagine this scenario: You are now a prosecutor in court and are starting to question the defendants. His first response: "Ms. Greenapple, why have you concealed from the judge and jury that you are a Satanist committed to evil, not justice?"

See what I mean? All of the "disregards" by the judge won't make a bit of difference with the jury.

My situation was different: I didn't "wear my religion on my shoulder", but I was very much on the record about it: My dog tags in Vietnam said "Satanist", and the Security Clearance people and my chain of command were familiar with and cool about it. Nevertheless I was under a constant microscope to reassure this trust, and I accepted that and handled it. As remarked elsewhere on 600C, this meant a much higher ethical standard than that expected of Christians or Jews.

When Chaplain A-T pulled his "SRA" scam, it orgasmed the tabloid media and "SRA" opportunists, but not my chain of command, who knew it was BS from the start. So the Army was annoyed by the sensationalism, but not with me personally.

I don't know how formal your Satanism is - whether you're carrying a CoS card or etc. - and how much your bosses know about it. But if it's formal and they don't know, you're playing with professional fire as in the above scenario. You've invested a lot in your profession, and I think you should punt the S-word, at least until you retire.

My Italian-American Dad had a lot of personal aphorisms, one of which I quote here: "Never fall on your sword in the semi-finals." ;\)
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#112967 - 05/30/17 11:49 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
SIN3 Offline
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Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 7064
Loc: Virginia
I'm not convinced this is the only reason to enter into the Plea Bargain phase.

In a trial I participated in, the Commonwealth's Attorney's aim was to dismiss charges with a lesser penalty in favor of those charges with a higher one. Even though those charges were bunk. I was on record as a hostile witness because I didn't agree with the narrative being sold to the jury. I was threatened with contempt for refusing to support that narrative. The CA's tactics weren't working because I wasn't so easily intimidated with the threat of criminal charges. I wasn't there for the CA's case. I was there because I received a subpoena.
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#112969 - 05/30/17 03:24 PM Re: Due process [Re: SIN3]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: SIN3
I'm not convinced this is the only reason to enter into the Plea Bargain phase.

In a trial I participated in, the Commonwealth's Attorney's aim was to dismiss charges with a lesser penalty in favor of those charges with a higher one. Even though those charges were bunk. I was on record as a hostile witness because I didn't agree with the narrative being sold to the jury. I was threatened with contempt for refusing to support that narrative. The CA's tactics weren't working because I wasn't so easily intimidated with the threat of criminal charges. I wasn't there for the CA's case. I was there because I received a subpoena.

Good for you. \:\)

I'll add "hostile witness" to my list of justice-system bullshit. It's nothing more than an attorney/judge trick to prejudice the jury against that witness' testimony. You're either a witness to something or you aren't, and if an attorney doesn't like what you have to say, he/she can refute it with facts or other testimony - but not an ad hominem smear of you.

I also think that any witness should be able to expose an attorney for a stacked-deck question, not be threatened into yes/no responses.

I've also been kicked off more than one jury because I told the questioning attorneys that if either of them failed to ask a material question, or asked it in a way to distort the answer, I wanted to be able to interrupt from the jury box and pursue it until it was fully exposed. In short, I would not vote to convict anyone of anything on a "presented package". Both attorneys couldn't purge me off the jury fast enough.

Again re;ating this thread to 600C generally: One of Anton LaVey's principal motives for the Church of Satan was anti-hypocrisy, and anti-BS generally, That's one of the aspects that made the Church so wonderfully refreshing. I am reminded of one of our earliest rituals, "The Madness of Andelsprutz". It's one of the Appendices in my The Church of Satan, but let's celebrate it here:

Der Wahnsinn von Andelsprutz
(The Madness of Andelsprutz) *
- by Anton Szandor LaVey, 1968-1969

Ten minutes of darkness precede the ritual, during which time the music will consist of dissonances played on the organ with eccentric rhythmic backing. During the entire ceremony a 10,000-cycle B.C.U. will be activated, and there will be short periods of silence, allowing the B.C.U. to be heard, along with the sound of a flute piping a monotonous melody, accompanied by strokes on the gong, played softly. The usual complement of ritual participants will be present, having taken their proper places in the darkness.

The standard opening invocation is given, with the Infernal Names, Benediction, presentation of the Chalice, etc. The candles are lighted in the usual manner. Next follows the reading of the 17th Enochian Key and then of the opening litany (Cassilda’s Song from Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow):

 Originally Posted By: Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow
Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink behind the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies,
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead,
Die though, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa.

The Game is proclaimed. Herr Doktor Andelsprutz is brought into the chamber. He is the head of the lunatic asylum in which the Game is held. He is crazier than any of the inmates, hence he is qualified to pass judgment on their respective sanity. The Doktor’s appearance is accompanied by the incorporation of a high-frequency oscillator which is quite audible. The oscillator sounds throughout this entire portion of the ritual. Andelsprutz is wild-eyed and clad in a tightly-strapped straitjacket. He announces himself audaciously upon entering the chamber. He is seated in an austere, straight-backed chair and faces the congregation. A Janus-figure takes its place immediately behind him and turns periodically during this part of the ritual, exposing first one face and then the other to the congregation. One face depicts a voluptuary with a lewd, brazen expression. The other face is that of a debauched old man.

Andelsprutz announces that he has appeared before his peers and his patients in order that he may ascertain who is to be his emissary - who will go into the world of lunatics and guide them in accordance with the will of Satan. The person who is chosen must be sufficiently mad to deal with the follies of the masses. He must be material for a great leader or outrageous hero and sympathetically insane enough for the identification necessary for the multitudes.
Andelsprutz begins the interrogation by giving audience to his peers, the staff (the participants in the ceremony). He then moves on to the patients (the congregation). He is arbitrary to the fullest degree, establishing no set standard of insanity or folly. He criticizes, praises, studies, analyzes, and makes suggestions - all without rhyme or reason. He becomes angry and childish at times, stamping his feet and shouting. At other times he becomes morose and sullen, appearing to not even hear his audience. He may coo and babble, breaking into a falsetto crooning while smiling beatifically. He might change voices as though he were carrying on a three-way conversation with the person standing before him. He calls forth the members of the congregation as he sees fit and, after all he wishes to question have been heard, arrives at his decision - based solely upon his whim.

Herr Doktor Andelsprutz makes his proclamation and grandiosely announces who will be capable of doing the Devil’s work. The chosen one is asked to make a statement. Then the officiating Priest, representing His Infernal Majesty, presents the emissary with a battered suitcase which contains the articles which will be needed in his work. The Priest opens the valise and removes the articles contained therein individually, explaining their purpose to all present. The contents of the case are revealed to be:

• Books on occult subjects (astrology, card reading, spiritualism, flying saucers, witchcraft, etc.) for the new believers.
• A Holy Bible for the vanishing race of old believers.
• A severed human head for the sensation-seekers.
• A harmless bomb for the revolutionary.
• A vial of drugs for the disenchanted non-materialist.
• A dehydrated android for the sex-starved.
• A portfolio of peace talks to inspire trust.
• A pistol to protect man from other men.
• A microscope with which to detect imperfections.
• A spray can of black paint with which to cover up any inconvenient imperfections.
• A mirror in which to gaze, to be certain of presenting the proper image for the occasion.
• Birth control pills for those whose only attributes are their sex organs.
• A book of threats, doomsdays, and convenient crises with which to retain man’s need for misery.
• A praise machine which will automatically tell anyone what he wishes to hear.
• A Satanic Bible for those who would appear to be likely candidates for the asylum.

The Priest then utters the final proclamation:

Omnipotens eterne Satanas, spes unica mundi!
Qui Infernum fabricator ades, qui conditor orbis:
Tu populi memor esto tui! sic mitis ab alto
Prospice, ne gressum faciat, ubi regnat Erinis,
Imperat Allecto, leges dictante Megera;
Sed potius virtute tui, quem diligis, huius
Cæsaris insignis Satanas, infame ministra,
Ut valeat ductore pio per amena virecta
Imperium Satanas semper nemorum sedesque beatas
Ad latices intrare infame, ubi semina vite
Infernis animantur aquis et fonte Superno
Letificata seges spinas mundatur ademptis,
Ut messis queat esse Satanæ benedicte future
Maxima centenum per horrea fructum.

___________________________________________

* MA: This ritual takes its title from Lord Dunsany’s fantasy story of the same name, but otherwise has nothing in common with it. In the Dunsany story, Andelsprutz is not a person, but a city whose soul abandons it, leaving the city itself merely a lifeless residence for human beings. An obvious inspiration for this ritual’s contents is the German Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, in which the keeper of the asylum is ultimately revealed to be himself insane.

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#112976 - 05/31/17 12:04 PM Re: Due process [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
SIN3 Offline
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 Originally Posted By: MA
I also think that any witness should be able to expose an attorney for a stacked-deck question, not be threatened into yes/no responses.


The judge was also very frustrated because that's precisely what I did. Even though the jury was ordered to strike my statements from the record, they heard them.

In no uncertain terms did I tell them that the CA's tactics were to keep asking the same question in a number of ways until I gave a specific answer. One he would not get because it didn't happen, that he was looking for the Win, not the facts.
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#113002 - 06/02/17 08:40 PM Re: Due process [Re: SIN3]
XiaoGui17 Offline
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Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: MA
I also think that any witness should be able to expose an attorney for a stacked-deck question, not be threatened into yes/no responses.

That's opposing counsel's job, not the witness's.

If a question is loaded ("Is it true that you stopped beating your wife?"), opposing counsel had better object to the underlying assumption built in.

A witness can honestly answer that they don't know, can't remember, or don't understand the question without being cornered into yes/ no, and should have been coached by counsel (if they're a witness for that side) or the judge (if they're here on a subpoena) to know this.

If a question strings together many different details, some of which may be true and some of which may be false, opposing counsel should object that the question is compound. Yes/ no questions have to be in a "one at a time" format.

If the answer to a yes/no question is anything other than "yes" ("maybe," "it depends", "sometimes", "not really", "kinda"), say the opposite of what you know they want you to say ("yes" if they want a "no", "no" if they want a "yes"). (Again: should have been coached for this.) This will force counsel to back up and ask more specific, detailed questions in an attempt to build a foundation for the answer they were seeking, and in so doing contextualize and qualify the facts.

And finally, opposing counsel's job on redirect is to ask further questions to qualify and contextualize what was raised in cross. They should know the facts well enough to know the context they're digging for, but it is possible to do on the fly when surprised.

For instance, from a hearing (in which my side prevailed):

Opposing counsel (OC): Is it true that you were fired for "not showing up to work"? (I was not expecting this.)

My poor witness kept trying to qualify his answer and got browbeaten into a "yes."

On redirect:
"Did you ever fail to show up when you were scheduled to work?" No.
"Were you ever late to work?" No.
"What did you mean when you said you were fired for not showing up?" They got sick of me asking for time off, so fired me.

 Quote:
In no uncertain terms did I tell them that the CA's tactics were to keep asking the same question in a number of ways until I gave a specific answer. One he would not get because it didn't happen, that he was looking for the Win, not the facts.

You don't think the jury could figure that out without you announcing it?
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#113018 - 06/04/17 01:59 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Creatura Noptii Offline
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Registered: 01/02/16
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Loc: Oregon
*

But what about religion and the legal process? How much does religion play into it? I wonder how much is rooted in dogma.


Edited by Creatura Noptii (06/04/17 02:04 AM)
Edit Reason: *
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#113028 - 06/05/17 10:53 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
SIN3 Offline
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Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 7064
Loc: Virginia
 Originally Posted By: XiaoGui17

You don't think the jury could figure that out without you announcing it?


I set the bar low. The CA's other strategy was to demonize me as a witness, even though I was summoned for the Commonwealth. My statements further explained this to the jury.

This was shortly after the Patriot Act passed and the 'acts of terrorism' such as "Threaten to Bomb or Burn..." carried harsher penalties. I wasn't there because the defendant was mad and said "I'll burn your fucking house down bitch!" That was a charge added later. I was there for an attempted manslaughter case. Those charges were dropped in favor of the 'Act of Terrorism' charge.
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#113055 - 06/06/17 09:30 AM Re: Due process [Re: Creatura Noptii]
XiaoGui17 Offline
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Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: Creatura Noptii
But what about religion and the legal process? How much does religion play into it? I wonder how much is rooted in dogma.

When it comes to procedure, there's of example that comes to mind for me.

There's an exception to the hearsay rule where a person's last words (if they knew they were dying) can be admitted. The theory was that, in order to ensure salvation/ grace, a person wouldn't lie on their deathbed. Theoretically the immediacy of death made the threat of damnation as compelling as the threat of perjury charges would be, were the person under oath.

Personally, I would think that the sheer impracticality of subpoena'ing a corpse would warrant that exception.
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#113105 - 06/08/17 07:57 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: XiaoGui17
That's opposing counsel's job, not the witness's.

That's a nice textbook answer, but in effect limits the argument to how the attorneys want to manipulate it. And when [not "if"] attorneys lie and the judge ignores it, the witness and/or plaintiff and/or defendant is screwed.

Legal proceedings are choreographed ballet dances between the attorneys and the judge, in which "justice" is irrelevant.

As a kid I watched Perry Mason and thought that the legal profession and process were admirable. It didn't take much observation of and exposure to the reality to puncture that balloon. I could even have made reasonable allowance for honest error and imperfection; Perry is obviously an idealization.

But what I have seen, as the overwhelming rule, not the exception, is flagrant unconcern with "justice" and "truth" as long as the ballet dance is performed.

I don't tell or laugh at lawyer jokes any more. I fear and loathe the institution as a rabid animal to be avoided, period.

That said, the overall problem is that truth and justice are rarely if ever cut and dried. Even if everyone is sincerely trying. And the USA is not a Platonic philosopher-king state; it is, as Nietzsche observed, the tyranny of the stupid, venal, and gullible. I suppose we should be grateful that the ballet dance has discarded the rack and the iron maiden.
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#113107 - 06/08/17 08:31 AM Re: Due process [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
samowens84 Offline
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Registered: 09/29/16
Posts: 198
 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
I suppose we should be grateful that the ballet dance has discarded the rack and the iron maiden.


Human beings being what they are, injustice is in my mind an immutable fact of life from the top down. I suppose the best that can be hoped for is the other Nietzchian thought, which is that as societies get wealthier, the old harsh world is deemed barbaric in favor of a new "enlightened" age. We just live in the privilege of wealth and technical progress that allows society to pretend they have "evolved" ethically. Human beings are just as stupid as theyve always been. Its just that the privilege of wealth and power makes "goodness" easier to accept. https://youtu.be/SHta0rUBBxw

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#113110 - 06/08/17 03:28 PM Re: Due process [Re: samowens84]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2706
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
Point well-taken.

I try to relate 600C topics to Satanism generally, and to the 1966-75 Church of Satan where applicable.

In this regard Anton LaVey's concept of Satanism included a very strong and harsh sense of social cynicism, such that being a Satanist was more a personal program for survival despite it than a rosy reform of it.

 Originally Posted By: James Ellroy, Fallen Angels
Inside of seventy years ago some writers hatched a revisionist notion that, contrary to commonly-held gospel, America was the wrong place at the wrong time, led by the wrong leaders, feeding a wronged population a line of jive that sounded good but had to go wrong because the entire American venture was a freak curve ball arcing the wrong way; gathering power and veering out of control, held temporarily aloft by a pervasive corruption intrinsic to its momentum, but bound to hit the gutter anyway.

 Originally Posted By: William Burroughs, Naked Lunch
America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting.
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#113112 - 06/08/17 04:24 PM Re: Due process [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
XiaoGui17 Offline
active member


Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: Michael A.Aquino
 Originally Posted By: XiaoGui17
That's opposing counsel's job, not the witness's.

That's a nice textbook answer, but in effect limits the argument to how the attorneys want to manipulate it. And when [not "if"] attorneys lie and the judge ignores it, the witness and/or plaintiff and/or defendant is screwed.

Whoa-- we're talking apples and oranges. An attorney trying to pigeonhole an answer out of a witness and an attorney lying to the court are two very different things.

If attorney A pigeonholed a witness into a certain answer to party B's detriment, and attorney B (representing party B) just let it slide instead of addressing it as above, B has a malpractice/ ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

If an attorney lies to a judge, he can be disbarred for it. (I offer Texas as an example; most states have adopted the MPRC.) The witness's/ plaintiff's/ defendant's remedy is to file an ethical complaint.

I'm not saying the system is perfect and everyone always does what they ought. I could tell a number of horror stories about gross miscarriage of justice. What I'm saying is the solution is more robust enforcement of existing law, not alteration of the law.
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#113166 - 06/11/17 01:03 PM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
XiaoGui17 Offline
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Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
A note about witnesses, yes/no questions, and telling them to STFU:

A lot of times, witnesses feel the need to tell their life story or explain themselves when it isn't relevant, and cutting them off is literally the only way to get things going so they won't delay everything by LiveJournaling from the stand.

For instance, in a simple indigence hearing (i.e. does the defendant qualify for a court appointed attorney?), I asked him if he was working.

There is no wrong answer to this. He's free to say no. Nothing horrible is going to happen if he says no. He's not going to be in trouble if he's not working. I just need a yes or no so I can proceed with follow up questions.

And immediately, he began to ramble about why it wasn't his fault that he wasn't working, why his former bosses were all unreasonable tyrants, why the economy and personal issues and blah blah blah. (Spoiler: the answer was no.)

Or opposing parties often want to ramble on about each other. You're just trying to establish when (on what date) the spouses separated and you get a tirade about what a bitch the ex is, which legally has nothing to do with anything.
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#113177 - 06/12/17 05:19 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Knievel74 Offline
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Registered: 05/18/10
Posts: 149
Loc: NY
My opinion on the justice system...

I would get rid of mandatory jury duty. I know the question becomes, "then, who will serve"? My answer is, that problem can be solved if it really needed to be. There are plenty of people who are willing to serve on a jury. Let them have it.

I would abolish private prisons. A lot of people are going to prison on bullshit charges just to pay the prison's bills, which in turn, leads to even more judicial corruption.
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#113201 - 06/14/17 11:29 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
SIN3 Offline
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Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 7064
Loc: Virginia
 Originally Posted By: V
The witness's/ plaintiff's/ defendant's remedy is to file an ethical complaint.


Telling lies is a given, the idea that any person involved in a proceeding has a civic duty to tell the truth is a farce. People tend to serve their own needs first before any ethical concern.

Keeping answers yes/no also has a tendency to omit information which is still a false sense of events.

 Originally Posted By: V
What I'm saying is the solution is more robust enforcement of existing law, not alteration of the law.


Swearing to tell the whole truth, has nothing to do with law.
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#113204 - 06/14/17 12:38 PM Re: Due process [Re: SIN3]
XiaoGui17 Offline
active member


Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: SIN3
Telling lies is a given, the idea that any person involved in a proceeding has a civic duty to tell the truth is a farce. People tend to serve their own needs first before any ethical concern.

I'm not talking about ethical complaints as a means of stinging the conscience of the liar. I'm talking about imposing sanctions for violating the law.

 Quote:
Keeping answers yes/no also has a tendency to omit information which is still a false sense of events.

As I said above, the opposing side has the chance to put things in context.

 Quote:
 Originally Posted By: V
What I'm saying is the solution is more robust enforcement of existing law, not alteration of the law.

Swearing to tell the whole truth, has nothing to do with law.

Yes it does. Lying under oath is perjury, even if it's an irrelevant lie. If the lie affects the outcome, it's aggravated perjury, a felony, punishable by ten years in prison. Swearing to tell the truth isn't just a spooky ceremony meant to psych out the witness: it does, in fact, have legal teeth.

If a lawyer knowingly allows a witness to commit perjury, he can be disbarred for it.

Lying in court is like driving drunk. People do it all the time, but that doesn't mean it's legal.


Edited by XiaoGui17 (06/14/17 01:32 PM)
Edit Reason: Typo
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#113209 - 06/14/17 04:31 PM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
SIN3 Offline
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Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 7064
Loc: Virginia
 Originally Posted By: V
but that doesn't mean it's legal.


My point was, criminality is rarely a deterrent nor is it effective.

Legal Teeth that aren't really that scary which is why so many do lie whether on the stand or on the bench. Harsher punishment wouldn't stop them either because it's about self-interest.
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#113212 - 06/14/17 09:35 PM Re: Due process [Re: SIN3]
XiaoGui17 Offline
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Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Quote:
Harsher punishment wouldn't stop them either because it's about self-interest.

I'd hardly think a felony conviction with a ten-year sentence would be worth the self interest I could serve by committing perjury. I'm struggling to think of a civil case where the payout would be big enough and the odds of me being caught would be low enough to be worth risking that.

But concerning deterrence...

 Originally Posted By: SIN3
My point was, criminality is rarely a deterrent nor is it effective.

Legal Teeth that aren't really that scary...

Well, it depends. There's a bit of an availability heuristic, here: we know about the cases where deterrence didn't work (because we see the violation), but we don't know about the cases where deterrence did work (because it's hard to tell what people would have done otherwise).

The way I see it, there are three types: the impulsive, the principled, and the pragmatic.

The impulsive do what they want, either with the hubris that they'll get away with it, or the short-sighted failure to anticipate and account for consequences at all. They have poor gratification-deferral skills, and generally cannot be controlled (since they lack self control) in the absence of immediate restraint. The law only stops them after they get caught, but does not stop them before.

The principled will do what they think is "right" regardless of what the law says, which is helpful to the law when their values and the law happen to coincide, but nothing will stop them when they are convinced they are fighting for righteousness against power.

And then there are the calculating cowards--like me--who act in accordance with practicality in lieu of principle or impulse, who look to the law not as a guide for right and wrong, but as part of their cost-benefit analysis. To us, the law is a powerful deterrent indeed.

And it's not hard and fast categories. I imagine we're all a certain amalgamation of these traits in different ratios. And I imagine the severity and immediacy of the threat do have some effect on who deterrence reaches. There are those who break "little laws" but won't touch big ones. There are people who will speed and run stop signs, but not when there's a cop visibly sitting at the corner. For them, a little more making examples of perjurers, a little more stern warning about the potential consequences, may indeed help drive home deterrence.
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#113215 - 06/15/17 02:38 AM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
Creatura Noptii Offline
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Registered: 01/02/16
Posts: 922
Loc: Oregon
Justice system:

Whoever pays the most.

Fuck You.

Adjourned.
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#113217 - 06/15/17 02:48 AM Re: Due process [Re: Creatura Noptii]
samowens84 Offline
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Registered: 09/29/16
Posts: 198
Know a case for a friend of mine in Mississippi where my friends niece was shot by her boyfriend. This boy is well connected and my friend has been told it is likely he will get away from it because of the family's wealth and political connections.

Wealthy people can commit vehicular manslaughter and provide a defense called "afluenza", essentially that being rich means youre not responsible for your actions and when a well to do white guy can rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and only get three months in prison because he looks like the kid next door. Justice does not exist. "Strong will inherit the earth and the weak shall inherit the yoke." Funny that the legal system seems to provide the literal truth of this statement.


Edited by samowens84 (06/15/17 02:55 AM)

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#113221 - 06/15/17 11:22 AM Re: Due process [Re: samowens84]
SIN3 Offline
stalker


Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 7064
Loc: Virginia
You don't even have to be wealthy, just well connected. It's not what you've done, it's who you know. Relationships between judges, lawyers and cops can often work in your favor; if you find yourself charged with a crime. Anyone with these connections know how thins actually work, vs. how they should ideally work.
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#113222 - 06/15/17 12:10 PM Re: Due process [Re: SIN3]
samowens84 Offline
member


Registered: 09/29/16
Posts: 198
 Originally Posted By: SIN3
You don't even have to be wealthy, just well connected. It's not what you've done, it's who you know. Relationships between judges, lawyers and cops can often work in your favor; if you find yourself charged with a crime. Anyone with these connections know how thins actually work, vs. how they should ideally work.


Absolutely, and thats true anywhere. Ive gotten around the medical industry because of some of my relationships. Same thing with school. Had a professor tell me that I can get away with murder because people like me! Lol I guess in some instances that could be a literal truth. And more to your point, I'm not particularly wealthy.

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#113225 - 06/15/17 02:10 PM Re: Due process [Re: Creatura Noptii]
XiaoGui17 Offline
active member


Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 1185
Loc: Austin, TX
 Originally Posted By: Creatura Noptii
Justice system:

Whoever pays the most.

Fuck You.

Adjourned.

You'd be surprised.

I've dealt with a lot of high-grossing, hot-shot lawyers. And often, they're incompetent goobers. They try to intimidate based on their status, but a lot of the time they're shooting from the hip and haven't the foggiest what they're actually doing. It's more a game of chicken than a battle of wits. Just because you can shell out several grand for a lawyer doesn't mean he's worth it.

I've also worked cases with really brilliant attorneys whose client was a lost cause and just couldn't be saved no matter how sharp their lawyer was, and the absolute best their lawyer could do for them was damage control.

Money helps, and lawyers help, to be sure. But it's no guarantee. It's like cancer. Even if you can afford the best treatment money can buy, sometimes you're still fucked.
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#113227 - 06/15/17 02:51 PM Re: Due process [Re: XiaoGui17]
SIN3 Offline
stalker


Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 7064
Loc: Virginia
 Originally Posted By: V
Just because you can shell out several grand for a lawyer doesn't mean he's worth it.


Also, depending on the charge - you don't even need a lawyer at all. I've seen dolts spend upwards of $1500 a pop for a simple traffic violation. A sheep with backup is still a fucking sheep.
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