Re: Terrorist Entropy vs Extropic Liberty

Peter C. McCluskey (
Sun, 11 Aug 1996 13:07:18 -0700 ( writes:
>> IAN: And there is two sides of a trial, what the Judge allows to be
>> and what the Judge does not allow. I think the jury is the true judge
>> and should have unrestricted access to all information, anything less
>> is a sham.
>Legal structures addressing the handling and presentation of evidence are
>complex. There's no way around this: Its a subject that *very* bright minds
>devote whole careers to.

I can certainly see simple alternatives.

>But let me just offer one non-partisan "meta-value" that underlies much of
>the law of evidence. Time and judicial resources are limited and disputes
>must be resolved within a *reasonable* amount of time. Thus, there *have* to
>be at least some limits on the evidence that can be presented at a trial.

I see little evidence that a significant fraction of the current rules are
intended to speed up trials or are effective at doing so.
Complex rules are normally less just than simple rules, because those
special interests who can afford to understand complex rules will be
the only ones able to write the complex rules, whereas the average person
can choose among simple rules. I don't think it is an accident that those
who understand and influence the complex rules are also the ones to whom
power is being shifted by the rules.
A simple rule that would be more effective at avoiding absurd delays
would be to have the loser pay the costs of the winning side and of the
court system. If that isn't enough, we could add a time limit that keeps
the trial time from exceeding a specified fraction of the prison time at
risk or the trial costs from exceeding a specified fraction of the money
at stake.

Peter McCluskey |                        | The theory gives the answers, | | not the theorist. - Allen Newell |     |