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Posts Tagged ‘crime’

I am against the death penalty. In all circumstances.

Ohio is planning to execute Kenneth Biros by way of an experimental lethal injection.

Currently, where a US state executes a person by lethal injection, three drugs are given. This is supposed to be a humane and painless way to die. Research has been done that suggests that it is not. (The Guardian article also recounts the attempted execution of Romell Broom, which sounds psychologically traumatising.) Death row itself is an additional form of psychological punishment.

I’m against the death penalty in all circumstances. If it’s going to be carried out anyway (and it will be, for some time to come, unfortunately), I’d like to know that it’s being done in as painless a way as possible. So in that sense, a recognition that the current three-injection procedure is or may be broken is good. (Personally, I’d like to hope that such recognition helps lead towards abolition.)

However, funnily enough, I’m also against experimenting on the people you’re trying to put to death as you put them to death. It seems to me that that can only add to the punishment.

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It’s a radical* notion: when someone is on trial for rape, their actions, and not those of the complainant, should be the focus of attention. In other words, the accused should be the one on trial, not the complainant.

This has been obvious to, say, feminists for quite some time. Now that it’s been said by someone with power and credibility (ie a man who is in charge of the sex crime taskforce in Scotland), maybe people will actually start to listen.

Look, I don’t mean to sound bitter. I’m really, really glad that the taskforce is headed by someone who understands that the accused is the one who should be on trial, not the complainant.

I’m also really, really angry that it needs to be said at all, and that, given it does need to be said, more people aren’t shouting it from the rooftops.

* Yes, that’s sarcasm. Just in case you weren’t sure.

h/t: Justinian

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Demonisation (from answers.com – the OED definition was too literal): “to represent as diabolically evil”.

Lauredhel has written this morning about some of the public discussion about the Churchill arsonist – specifically, about the way everyone is attributing his arsonist behaviour to the fact he was once jilted by a woman.

I agree with her on that, but I don’t think that all the public discourse is about trying to find someone else to blame (and I don’t think Lauredhel is saying that it is).

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su’s comment on tigtog’s Emma Thompson post alerted me to a case that the High Court heard in May:

Transcript Day 1
Transcript Day 2

su’s comment inspired me to go and read the transcripts, which are linked above. Now, a note about High Court transcripts: remember that the parties have to put in written submissions before the case is heard, along with a list of authorities (cases, legislation and so on). They don’t usually go through their whole argument in the hearing itself, generally just the contentious bits.

A note about High Court cases generally: the High Court will usually hear cases on a particular point of law (or maybe two or three of them) – but it’s about the law. It’s not meant to be about the facts of the case. Sometimes, the narrowness of the discussion can make it seem very strange (especially given the written/oral combination) – even if you’re sitting in court, you get a very small piece of the story, and it’s fairly acontextual anyway.

Sometimes, the outcome will seem extremely unfair – perhaps it’s a new piece of legislation that’s being tested, and the High Court’s interpretation is different from the interpretation that’s been being used in the courts below; maybe someone’s just found a new loophole; maybe someone’s brought a case on the basis that the law is unfair and the court disagrees. It’s not necessarily a good thing that cases that come out of the High Court sometimes appear to have unfair results (although on the positive side, it can force a review of the legislation). But it’s a fact that has to be acknowledged.

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