Justice and Punishment

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Wed, 25 Mar 1998 20:50:19 -0800 (PST)


"den Otter" <otter@globalxs.nl> On Tue, 24 Mar 1998 Wrote:

>Proving your innocence is done by, for example, demonstrating that
>you weren't at the scene of the crime at the time of the murder

I can't prove I wasn't at the scene of most murders, neither can you.

>Only one (or a couple in extreme cases) of all those thousands of
>murders is relevant to the case [...] these justice computers could
>be just a couple of simple PCs.

You seem to think that what's relevant and what is not is a simple matter to
determine, it's not, not in criminal investigation and not in scientific
research. In the real world when you're confronted with a puzzle you always
have far more information than you can deal with, and much of it is
contradictory. It's easy to see that part of the information must be wrong,
but what part? Knowing what data to ignore is one of the keys to creativity
and it's not easy, if it was home PC's running on DOS would be winning Nobel
Prizes. They're not.

>The central justice computer simply

There is nothing simple about finding the truth, it's hard work and it takes
a brain, that's what the organ is for.

>presents all the facts of a particular case in a comprehensive

It's a matter of opinion, some will say something is a fact, others will say
it's a fancy. And the facts are never comprehensive, the holes must be filled
in with conjecture. There is a name for this procedure, judgment, and it
takes intelligence that PC's don't have yet.

>If the points of the prosecution haven't been refuted, then the
>conclusion is simple: guilty. It's basically the same system we use

Not where I live, and not where I want to live.

>only a guilty person would be nervous if the police brought him in
>for questioning [...] like dripping water on forehead -- doesn't
>leave a mark and is extremely effective. [...] There is a clear
>limit to this process (say a week or two). If there still are no
>results the suspect is released (and monitored) while the police
>re-evaluate the case.

Guilty or innocent it makes no difference, when your police knock on my door
in the middle of the night I would feel utter terror. I would also feel
hopeless despair, because I'd know that my nightmare is only beginning and
will never end this side of the grave. If I'm lucky I will undergo two weeks
of Chinese water torture and then be released, for a while. My ordeal could be
repeated many times and at any time. If I'm unlucky I will be painfully and
horribly tortured by skilled professionals until death finally sets me free.
Do you really find it hard to understand why anybody and everybody would be
more than nervous when police bring them in?

>if you can beat the lie detector that doesn't mean you can go home

No kidding. After seeing the inside of one of your torture chambers few would
ever go home again.

>although it can be used as minor supporting evidence to your

And major supporting evidence of my guilt if I fail no doubt.

>If the servants of justice really thought you were innocent they
>wouldn't have arrested you in the first place, now would they?

Your faith in the intelligence and integrity of polatitions, the judges
they appoint, and other such servants of justice is touching but not entirely

>the slanderer should _prove beyond reasonable doubt_ in a court of
>law that the accusations (slander) are true

The court can issue any decision it likes on the truth or falsehood of a
book and it would not change my opinion of it in the slightest. The slanderer
should prove beyond reasonable doubt to the reader (not to a court) that his
statements are true, if he fails the slanderer is simply Ignored.

>Is this so unreasonable????


>Words _can_ hurt people directly

Then hurt them back the same way, with words.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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