Crime and Punishment

Perry E. Metzger (
Mon, 23 Jun 1997 12:04:24 -0400

> From: "Tony B. Csoka" <>
> Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> >What *do* I believe in? Torts. I don't see why there should be any
> >real distinction between what happens if you break a contract, break
> >a piece of my personal property, or break my leg -- I should sue you
> >for damages, and get restitution. This is essentially a return to the
> >early legal systems much of Europe had, before kings discovered that
> >declaring certain offenses to be violations of the *KING'S* peace and
> >not torts was a way to earn a buck by collecting the fines for the
> >crown instead of for the victim.
> Yeah, but at the present time it's difficult to sue someone when you're
> dead.

I see you haven't been paying attention. "Dead People" are
participants in lawsuits every day even in our current legal
system. Ever notice those words "The Estate Of" in a lawsuit?

Even if you have no family to sue on your behalf, under a suitable
legal regime your executors or others may be enlisted to do so for

> From: "E. Shaun Russell" <>
> Perry wrote:
> >The issue is restitution, pure and simple. This might, of course,
> >effectively result in most murderers being effectively enslaved for
> >decades or even their entire lives making restitution to their victims,
> >but I see nothing inherently wrong with that. If you cause damage, you
> >have an obligation to make good on it.
> But what is to hold them to it? What keeps a murderer from
> murdering the family of the victims in the time that he is
> supposedly making restitution?

Leg irons and guys with upleasant weapons, presumably.

There are other mechanisms available, too. See "Njal's Saga".