lfnetwork.com mark read register faq members calendar

Thread: Time to start electing Judges?
Thread Tools Display Modes
Post a new thread. Add a reply to this thread. Indicate all threads in this forum as read. Subscribe to this forum. RSS feed: this forum RSS feed: all forums
Old 07-02-2006, 11:57 AM   #1
-BLaCKouT-
Clone Brutality
 
-BLaCKouT-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,535
Time to start electing Judges?

First post in the Senate for a long time, but I really don't think this belongs in the Swamp.

I was listening to the news on the radio at work the other day. For those outside the UK, Radio 1 is primarily a music station, so they tend to fire through the headlines and have a couple of 15-minute news shows a day. Anyhow, on this particular day (last Wednesday), two stories were read out in succession that stopped me in my tracks;

A hit-and-run driver, who killed a girl on a crossing and drove away, has had his sentence doubled to just over three years after an appeal hearing requested by the girl's family. >clickage<

A 49-year old female teacher was found guilty of having sex with on of her male students eleven times and has been jailed for four years. >clickage<

Now I'm aware that there are individual circumstances in every legal case, but at what point is fulfilling some schoolboy's fantasy worse than killing someone?

I realise of course that having sex with a minor is a serious crime, but eleven times? It's not like she was forcing him, surely? Had it been a male teacher and female student, the case would have been entirely different.
And I also realise that the real issue here may be the other case where the initial sentence for killing someone (albeit manslaughter) was a mere eighteen months.

So, it occurred to me that maybe it's time we started electing our judges the same way we elect politicians? (and yes, I do vote - there may not be much of a choice over here, but at least it's a choice)
That way, if a judge continues to hand out what appear to be ridiculous sentences (either way), once election time comes around, the public can have a say in their continued employment. Since they're paid by the tax-payers, I think that's only fair.

It's probably just me ranting to be honest, and it wouldn't have occurred to me if these two stories hadn't been side by side on the news, but there you go.

Any thoughts?
B. [/slowly getting more tired of life]




Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. ULCER are from Margate...
-BLaCKouT- is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-02-2006, 12:40 PM   #2
TK-8252
Get Cloned.
 
TK-8252's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 5,850
Horrible idea. Do you really want judges to become politicians? It's better that judges are just appointed, that way they don't have to play politics with their job. It'd be like DA's who are elected; look at the DA in the Duke rape hoax... he's gone on a rampage just to appeal to his constituents. The same would be true of judges.

For the most part, judges aren't handing out **** sentences. Yes there are a couple every once in a while you hear about, but just think of how bad it would be if Tom DeLay or Rick Santorum were judges. Ugh.
TK-8252 is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-02-2006, 12:57 PM   #3
toms
v0.9
 
toms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: uk swamp
Posts: 3,490
Look at the DAs in the USA going after populist targets like video games just to get press coverage and votes. I'd NEVER want elected judges in the UK.

Basically at the moment the UK tabloid press is going on an anti-judge rampage. And Tony blair is taking advantage of this by trying to foist the blame off from him and blame it on soft, liberal judges.

As far as I know there are sentancing guidelines that are set by politicians and that judges have to follow. If the politicians want to give more weight to certain crimes then they have to change those guidelines. (Though at the moment i think there are too many such guidelines and the judges hands are tied too much.)

The press went nuts over the recent sentance givn to a pedophile, but the judge followed the guidelines ot the letter.

Also, in many cases there are extenuating circumstances, and the actual sentance given takes a lot of factors into account. Plus the headline sentence very often has little to do with the actual time served. though the press does like to jump up and down based on those headline sentences.

In the examples you gave, the hit and run may have resulted in a death, but it WAS an accident and not planned. On the other hand the teacher knew she was doing wrong and continued it over a long period of time. plus, due to the press continually freaking out about sentances for pedophiles I think the government has kept boosting the minimum sentance rules... so i doubt the judge could have given less than 4 years even if he felt it was justified.

Do judges get it wrong? Of course. but they are independent and if the government or the defendant feel they have got it wrong then both can appeal.

if judges were elected then we'd get wildly irregular sentencing based on whatever the most recent headlines in the daily mail had been about. No thanks!!



Playing: Link to the Past, Astroboy, Kario Kart, Mario World (Micro) KOTOR 2: Sith Lords (Xbox) Morrowind (PC)
toms is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-02-2006, 01:30 PM   #4
-BLaCKouT-
Clone Brutality
 
-BLaCKouT-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,535
Yeah, fair play to you both; if judges were elected then it may well turn into the kind of farce we have around General Election time

Mind you,
Quote:
Originally Posted by toms
the hit and run may have resulted in a death, but it WAS an accident and not planned.
I'm aware that it was an accident, few road fatalities aren't, but it's the "and run" bit that irks me. That's the kind of action you have to take responsibility for, surely?

To put it another way; the 15yr old boy (as he is now), is going to be the centre of attention in his school at the moment. I'm almost certain it's disrupted his education for this year, at least. Most of his male peers are going to be chanting "go on, my son" to him for quite a while yet - but in time, it'll die down and be forgotten about. He'll move on.

By the time it's all but forgotten about, will Abigail Craen's family have moved on to the same extent? I doubt it somehow.

I know that these two cases are completely unrelated; I also know that they're the exception and not the norm; but it still bugs the hell out of me that, techincally, it's the same legal system that issued both sentences.
Again, I accept that every case has it's extenuating circunstances, but the fact that one victim is dead and one is probably really smug should amount to something?

B.




Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. ULCER are from Margate...
-BLaCKouT- is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-02-2006, 04:13 PM   #5
Dagobahn Eagle
First Strike Tester
 
Dagobahn Eagle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 3,513
Current Game: First Strike
Quote:
That way, if a judge continues to hand out what appear to be ridiculous sentences (either way), once election time comes around, the public can have a say in their continued employment. Since they're paid by the tax-payers, I think that's only fair.
But the public does have a say. It's called complaints, demonstrations, outrage. If you don't like a trend of decisions, start fighting it. Throughoutly research the subject, gather a group of followers, and raise Hell.

Quote:
I'm aware that it was an accident, few road fatalities aren't, but it's the "and run" bit that irks me. That's the kind of action you have to take responsibility for, surely?
And of course, it's possible (note that I say possible) that if he had stayed on the scene giving first-aid and calling for help, the kid might have survived. It depends on about a million factors such as how badly the kid was hurt, whether or not there were others at the scene, etc., I know. I'm just saying it's possible.

Huh, be glad you're not in Norway. Robbery is 21 years, rape is (on paper) 2-4 years - if the victim offers enough resistance. I say "2-4 years on paper" because there was just this case of a guy raping his girlfriend twice and getting 1 year, nine months because... [drumroll] ...he confessed . Not to mention how in the US and Norway both, rape is very, very low on the priority list for whatever barbaric reason. I had this friend once who had been sharing appartment complex with her rapist for six months after pressing charges. The cops just were not doing anything.

The world is screwed. But will elected judges change that? I think not.

Dagobahn Eagle is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-02-2006, 05:54 PM   #6
toms
v0.9
 
toms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: uk swamp
Posts: 3,490
Judges tend to take a lot of factors into account when sentencing. Motivation is a major one. Plan and then kill someone - get a big sentence. Kill someone accidentally or in the heat of the moment and get a smaller one. I suspect they felt that his not stopping was not premeditated and therefore not as serious. He did turn himself in later as well.

I do agree though that hit and run deaths aren't always treated as seriously as they should be... but i think the seriousness of the sentence should be based on the individual situation. Eg, someone driving ok who hits someone and panics should get less time than someone who steals a car to joyride and hits someone.

Rape does tend to be taken seriously in a lot of countries... when it can be proven. The problem is that it is notoriously difficult to prove.. so prosecutors often decide its not worth spending the moeny to take the case to trial if they don't think there is a good chance of winning.
I happen to think they should take as many cases to trial as possible... but then people would be complaining about them wasting money, or unfairly persecuting people for no reason.

What tends to bring down sentences is (a) guilty pleas and (b) time already served.
Which means that if a guy is supposed to get 6 years for robery... but then pleads guilty and has already been in jail a year awaiting trial then he only gets 4 years... and then the papers freak out.

Time taken to get to trial should be sped up where possible... but it isn't always. ANd this would cost more public money.

But there are good reasons for reducing sentences for guilty pleas. It saves court time and money (thus speeding up other trials) and it can save the victims from having to give evidence.
That said, i think that maybe in some cases victims should get the right to refuse a guilty plea.

I'd say that over the years the various laws have all been tweaked (due to whatever the press was freaking out about at the time) so much that they probably are unbalanced. Like when developers tweak games for balance in response to one issue, but then mess it up in relation to another.

Its probably time for a wholesale sentencing review... but that would be very hard work and very expensive.. and probably subject to the current whims of the press and politicians.
I think that if you worked out a detailed RPG like system with offence baselines, violent crime modifiers, victim modifiers, guilty plea modifiers, motivation modifiers, and a repeat offence multiplier then you could come up with some more consistent min-max sentencing guidelines... but then you'd still have to give the judge leeway for exceptional cases that hadn't been anticipated.

(mind you, if we are going to that amount of effort to improve things then we'd need to look at alternatives to prison as well, as it is useless as a deterent to re-offence. it only works while people are kept off the street... and they can't just throw away the key on everyone because that makes murder too attractive in a lot of cases.

I'd go for major amounts of compulsory drug treatment. Lots of compulsory community service in bright orange uniforms on the streets. Making them face the victims. Giving them vitamins. Getting them jobs. All those work better than prison alone.

But then if they contine to reoffend then make the repeat offence multiplier ratchet up the sentances pretty darn quick.)



Playing: Link to the Past, Astroboy, Kario Kart, Mario World (Micro) KOTOR 2: Sith Lords (Xbox) Morrowind (PC)
toms is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-02-2006, 06:36 PM   #7
Dagobahn Eagle
First Strike Tester
 
Dagobahn Eagle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 3,513
Current Game: First Strike
Quote:
Rape does tend to be taken seriously in a lot of countries... when it can be proven. The problem is that it is notoriously difficult to prove.. so prosecutors often decide its not worth spending the moeny to take the case to trial if they don't think there is a good chance of winning.
I happen to think they should take as many cases to trial as possible... but then people would be complaining about them wasting money, or unfairly persecuting people for no reason.
I get that, but it's just as much for the victims' sake. At least if there is a trial, it shows the State cares. And it might possibly give the perpetrator a bit of a shock, too.

And, of course, there are the cases where the law just doesn't bother. You can press charges three days after the rape was committed and have it go down the drain because the cops don't bother to call you in for a DNA test (at least that happens in Norway). You can have ******* lawyers in court hazing you until you repent (which is the case in litterally 1/2 of rape cases in the US), or have things work against you that should work for you (I've heard numerous references to this, too, both in the US and in other countries).

Quote:
But there are good reasons for reducing sentences for guilty pleas. It saves court time and money (thus speeding up other trials) and it can save the victims from having to give evidence.
Of course. I'm not advocating that pleading guilty should not help you. The problem arises when the sentence is reduced too much due to the guilty plea. Going from 2-4 yearsx2 to 1 year, nine months is ridiculous.

Quote:
(mind you, if we are going to that amount of effort to improve things then we'd need to look at alternatives to prison as well, as it is useless as a deterent to re-offence.
It depends on what happens in prison, of course. Just sitting in a cell is going to do nothing good for you. Educational programs, corrective measures, etc. are.

Quote:
I'd go for major amounts of compulsory drug treatment. Lots of compulsory community service in bright orange uniforms on the streets. Making them face the victims. Giving them vitamins. Getting them jobs. All those work better than prison alone.
It'd also free up prison space for the really dangerous offenders.

"Facing the victims" might be a very bad idea if we're talking people who did things that left the victims scared, of course. I wouldn't like a burglar who broke into my house to walk around in my neighbourhood, community service or no community service.

But nit-picking aside, community service in itself is a good idea. Helps society, improves character, and works as a punishment.

Dagobahn Eagle is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Post a new thread. Add a reply to this thread. Indicate all threads in this forum as read. Subscribe to this forum. RSS feed: this forum RSS feed: all forums
Go Back   LucasForums > Network > JediKnight Series > Community > Senate Chambers > Time to start electing Judges?

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:57 AM.

LFNetwork, LLC ©2002-2011 - All rights reserved.
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.