Principles of the Legal & Justice Systems
Every crime should be described by at least three numbers: the crime’s direct cost, the crime’s indirect cost, and the sum of the crime’s direct and indirect costs. All these costs would be determined in court, through arbitration, or through some other sort of government authorized process.
A crime’s direct costs should include financial compensation equivalent to whatever theft or damage occurred (minus the value of such property returned before a verdict has been issued), compensation for lost wages, ‘pain and suffering’ (including ‘fright’, see below), etc. The value of any damaged or stolen property that has been returned to its rightful owner before a verdict or judgment has been issued would be deducted from the criminal’s bill of direct costs. After a verdict or judgment has been issued, no deductions could be made but any stolen property would still be required to be return to its rightful owner, unless the owner chooses not to take possession of it. If such stolen property is discovered to not have been offered to its rightful owner, then new charges of theft could be imposed.
Compensation for Fright
Included in this direct cost category, and more specifically under the ‘pain and suffering’ subcategory, should be a penalty levied against criminals to compensate their victims for any fright experienced during the commission of their crimes. For example, if you left your wallet on a restaurant table while you went to get some food and somebody stole your wallet while you were away, the penalty against the criminal would be a certain multiple, perhaps a multiple of 5 or 10 times (determined by the courts) the value of the wallet and its contents. However, if someone stopped you on the street and threatened to beat you up if you didn’t give him your wallet, then the penalty for the crime would still be 5 or 10 times the estimated value of the wallet and its contents plus a certain separate amount to compensate the victim for the fright he endured. The exact amount of this ‘fright factor’ penalty would be determined by the courts and would depend on the facts of each particular case, but an example may be that in a crime, such as in a wallet robbery where no weapons were threatened or used and only verbal threats made, the penalty should be at least $2,000.
A crime’s indirect costs would include all other costs associated with processing the crime through a civil process, such as investigative expenses, court costs (for both the criminal and the winning side), detention, incarceration, deportation (if applicable), any other supervisory costs associated with the criminal’s punishment, etc.
Interest Applied to Direct and Indirect Costs
Together, the sum of these direct and indirect costs would be defined as the total cost of the crime. Interest, at normal market lending rates, should be charged on the direct portion of these costs until the criminal pays them off completely. The indirect costs of a crime would also be charged interest, but only at a rate equal to the rate of inflation. All direct cost interest charges should begin to accrue on the date the crime was committed. Indirect cost interest charges should begin to accrue on the date the trial ended. Any payments made by the criminal would first go exclusively to pay off the direct costs of the crime while all subsequent payments would be applied to the indirect costs.
However, the ability of the criminal to pay should be the largest, if not the overwhelming, factor in setting the final interest rate. Criminals in possession of sufficient assets such that a liquidation of a portion of those assets to completely pay off their crime would not cause the criminals excessive hardships both for themselves and their dependents, should be required to pay a significantly higher interest rate so as to encourage the rapid payment of the fines. The ratio of the criminal’s ‘excess’ assets to total cost of the crime would be the primary determinant for setting these increased interest rate charges. The interest rates would be set at an exponential rate so that a convicted criminal with ‘excess’ assets equal to the total cost of the crime would pay an interest rate twice as high as the minimum rate, while a convicted criminal with ‘excess’ assets that are valued at twice the total penalty amount would be required to pay an interest rate that is 4 times as high as the minimum rate. If the ‘excess’ assets are valued at three times the total penalty amount, the interest rate would be set at 8 times the minimum rate.
In addition, any personal income in excess of $100,000 for an individual or $150,000 for a married couple (adding $15,000 for each dependent) would automatically be garnered to pay criminal penalties.
After the ‘costs of a crime’ have been determined by a court, an additional punitive amount should be applied which is based only on the crime’s direct cost. The courts would multiply the direct costs by a certain number, generally between 1 and 10 or higher in extreme cases, based on the particular facts of the case, such as motive, method, the nature of the fright experienced by the victim, etc.
Generally, a higher punitive multiple would be applied to the more egregious crimes. Another general rule would be that lower dollar values for a crime’s direct cost would result in higher punitive multiples, and vice versa.
This punitive penalty would constitute the actual punishment or penalty for committing the crime. Without this punitive penalty, criminals are not really being punished for their crimes; they are merely being required to give back what they have stolen and/or pay for what they have damaged. Criminals would begin to pay off their punitive judgments after, but as soon as they have paid off the direct and indirect costs associated with their crimes.
A minimum punitive penalty of $500 should be levied against any person (over the age of majority) convicted, in court, of a crime, whether it is the stealing of a $1 pen or any other more significant crime. If the criminal settled the case during arbitration, the minimum punitive penalty should be $250. These minimum punitive penalties should be reduced by half when applied to minors.
For example, a punitive multiple of ten may be imposed for the theft of a bicycle valued at $200. The direct cost of the crime could be $200 (assuming no fright penalty or other damages), but the total amount to be paid by the criminal would be $2,000 plus any court costs and other associated expenses. Stealing a $25,000 car may have earned the criminal a multiple of 3 or 4 resulting in a total fine of $75,000 or $100,000. Stealing $1,000,000 worth of jewelry may get a multiple of 2, in which case the punishment would be $2,000,000 plus any court costs and other associated expenses. Of course, if the owners of these items were frightened or harmed, or if additional property damage resulted, the crime would thus involve more than just the mere theft of the property, resulting in direct costs that are higher than merely the physical cost of the items stolen. As a result, while the multiples, which are based on the crime’s direct costs, could still be the same value, the total amount that the criminal must pay would naturally be significantly higher.
Nominal Interest on Punitive Penalties
A minimum interest rate equal to the rate of inflation would be charged on punitive penalties. Since the government is required to automatically repay the victims for all direct and punitive costs of the crime committed against them, requiring criminals to pay nominal interest rates on these punitive penalties would prevent the government from losing money as it would likely need to wait for years before the criminals are able to repay them back. As with the interest payments for both the direct and indirect costs of a crime described above, increased interest rates should be allowed on these punitive penalties based on the amount of a criminal’s ‘excess’ assets.0 Comments
The death penalty should be given to any person who, without any doubt, committed a murder. This means that the death penalty could only be issued in cases where conclusive and irrefutable evidence links the suspect to the murder. Knowingly infecting others with an incurable disease (without the victim’s knowledge, such as in consensual sex) would also be classified as murder.
Acceptable proofs would include evidences that are as conclusive as or more conclusive than finding DNA that matches the suspect to the murder, clear photo or video images, the suspect’s revealing of information that only the murderer would know, etc.
Examples of unacceptable lines of evidence include testimony or eyewitness accounts from any other person or people, confessions by the suspect without revealing information that only the murderer would know, etc.
Using the above standards, the death penalty should be applied not only in cases of premeditated murder, but also in cases where recklessness or criminal negligence is found to have directly caused the death of another human being, even the death of a bystander who is not directly involved in the crime (who is neither a perpetrator nor an intended victim).
Justice systems which do allow the death penalty, but set lower requirements for its imposition, should immediately refrain from executing any person whose death penalty sentence did not derive from such conclusive lines of evidence as listed above.
The only exception to this rule would be if the criminal who killed did so as way to defend himself from future abuse by the victim. There should be some evidence that this abuse has occurred and that it is likely to occur in the future.
All convicted murderers should be required to pay all costs associated with their crime before being executed (although they could also factor in the prices they would likely receive by selling their body parts after being executed). Even though a criminal is far more likely to suffer a natural death before all bills are paid, and thus before becoming eligible for immediate execution, execution must not occur until all bills are paid.
Death Penalty for Extra Long Prison Sentences
There should be no such things as life sentences, multiple life sentences, or 400 year sentences. Perhaps 100 years should be the maximum prison sentence and anything over that amount should automatically require the death penalty. Most crimes should be denominated in terms of monetary fines anyway (reducing the amount of prison time a criminal is likely to rack up). For crimes which do require cumulative prison sentences of over 100 years, the criminal must first be required to work to pay off all the debts incurred, including the costs of incarceration, and then he may be executed.
Executions should occur in the least expensive and most humane way, namely, putting someone into permanent sleep using a gas, such as carbon monoxide. Even shooting by firing squad would be more humane than the electric chair or lethal injection.0 Comments
People who are arrested or charged with committing a crime should be considered neutral by the criminal justice system, not innocent until proven guilty.
Considering an accused person as innocent until proven guilty is ludicrous because an individual is obviously guilty the moment he commits a crime, not when a jury finds out that he committed a crime. If the accused never committed the crime, the accused was always innocent, even before the jury discovered this innocence. However, after a person is arrested or charged with committing a crime all the way up to the point that the jury comes back with its decision, nobody knows whether the accused is guilty or innocent. Therefore, during this time the accused should be treated under this special category of neutrality. This means that the accused may lose some of their privacy protections offered to innocent people in order to facilitate and speed up an investigation of the crime.
Upon a declaration of innocence by the jury, the individual who was once neutral would now be an innocent individual and would be entitled to compensation for any hardships, inconveniences, or extra expenses incurred throughout the investigation.
In the event that the accused refuses to answer a charge with either a guilty or not guilty (innocent) plea, the court should automatically enter a plea of neutrality. Regardless of whatever plea is entered, the suspect should always be treated as neutral until the conclusion of the trial.0 Comments
Several loopholes that can be collectively referred to as legal illogicalities should be closed. They are the following: probation, parole, plea-bargaining, bail, clemency, commutation, pardon, reduced sentence for good behavior, concurrent prison sentence, suspended sentence, etc.
These loopholes should be closed for several reasons. First, it is wrong for punishments to be in any way dependent on the behavior of the convicted individuals after their criminal offenses. In addition, parole and probation require that punishments granted for the commission of crimes during the period of conditional release or provisional freedom be far higher than would otherwise be the case.
Each crime must be treated separately. One crime should not be given a greater penalty just because it was preceded by another crime. The punishment for one crime cannot be served at the same time as the punishment for another crime. Criminals should serve their entire punishments handed to them by the justice system at the time of their conviction. Furthermore, since each crime has its own punishment associated with it, it is extremely illogical to use concepts like concurrent prison sentences, suspended sentences, etc. To defend such concepts and remain consistent, one would need to argue that the same dollar can be used to purchase several different goods, simultaneously.
Plea-bargaining borders and probably even crosses into immoral behavior because it is too much like bribing. Bail is wrong because suspects should not have to make a promise to show up in court by paying a security deposit which would be refunded upon their showing up at the appropriate court date. Instead, the government should issue a court date and then tell the suspect that if he does not show up, he will have wished he had because the penalty for not showing up to court should be several thousand dollars or equal to what the bail amount would have been, the exact amount being dependent on the particular crime and perhaps nature of the suspect.
Pardons are just plain wrong. No single person, regardless of how powerful they may be, should have the power to forgive another person for any crime and drop the associated penalties without first proving that the convicted criminal is innocent.0 Comments
Transactional immunity and use immunity (both related to the constitutionally protected right against self-incrimination) should be prohibited. If somebody did something wrong, there should be no way out of punishment.
Diplomatic immunity (such as for tax avoidance and evading prosecution of foreign government personnel) usually granted to a diplomat should also be prohibited.
No immunity of any kind should ever be allowed to protect any person from punishment for any crime or wrong for which that person can be proven to have intentionally done. Since immunity is often granted to an individual in an attempt to get them to divulge some important information about a larger case, what can be done instead is pay or compensate that person for the information provided, but still prosecute him/her on the usually smaller crime that he/she committed and for which they commonly seek immunity. In the end, the person seeking immunity may still get much what they originally wanted – a reduced punishment for their own crime.
If some decision or action committed by a person turned out to be wrong after the fact, and no intentional wrongdoing, recklessness, or criminal negligence can be proven on the part of that person taking part in the decision or action, such events should usually just be regarded as a mistake, and the offended party should just acknowledge and assume the losses.0 Comments
Non-disclosure agreements and ‘gag-orders’ should be prohibited from being used to keep any individual or entity quite about the contents unless there is a court justified reason to keep such information private. Examples of valid reasons could be to keep trade secrets secret, to keep legitimate national security information or criminal investigations secret, to ensure the physical protection of any legitimate person, to keep personal information private (bank account numbers, etc.), etc.). However, such agreements should never be used to hide any criminal or illegal behavior on the part of any party. It should be illegal for such agreements to be used to prevent one party from disclosing the fact that another party either agreed or did not agree to certain facts or payments regarding the case and settlement.
These non-disclosure agreements are a fundamental violation of the concept of free speech. Exception should be made, of course, but these types of agreements are use far too often to hide behavior which should be made public.0 Comments
A person’s health or mental status should have no bearing on whether that person should stand trial for any accused crime. The degree or severity of the punishment issued should also not be influenced by a person’s health, age, or mental status unless there is a clear risk of unintended harm to the criminal or others due to the degree or severity of the punishment. In such cases, the punishment should be less intensive, but prolonged accordingly.0 Comments
Courts should allow the placement of disclaimer notices in very visible places such as at the entrances of homes or residences of people (especially the elderly) who are not able to think and reason clearly enough to avoid being scammed by criminals. These disclaimers would exempt the named parties from being bound by the terms and condition of any contracts or agreements they have signed and would declare such documents automatically null and void. A notice of this disclaimer protection should also be present on all important documents such as driver’s licenses, SS cards, checks, and other documents used for identification, financial transactions, important business, etc.
However, there should be a way for any individual to contact the responsible parties who are authorized to make decisions on behalf of the person covered under the disclaimer. Perhaps one way would be to have the telephone number or website of a government agency keeping track of these authorized parties stated on the disclaimers themselves. People could then contact this agency, type in the name of the person protected by this disclaimer and see who is authorized to speak on their behalf. Or perhaps the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the people authorized to speak on behalf of the protected parties could be listed on the disclaimer notices themselves.0 Comments
All jurisdictions should be required to extradite any individual to another jurisdiction which is requesting the extradition for purposes of trial or completion of punishment. Unless the requesting jurisdiction’s courts or punishment system is deemed likely to be unfair to the accused or if its methods of punishment are deemed to violate human rights standards, extradition of the individual should proceed. Citizenship, differing laws, or decisions made by politicians (except for national security reasons) should not be factors considered during the processing of an extradition request.0 Comments
Companies should not be punished for the illegal use of their products. For example, grocery stores should not be fined for shopping carts which are taken off their premises, gun manufacturers should not be held liable for any crime costs associated with crimes in which one of their guns was used, etc.0 Comments
Foreigners in a country should be subject to all laws of that country, and if foreigners break those laws, then the country in which those laws are broken should have the authority to punish and/or expel the offender.
Affirmative action, as originally defined could be summarized as “action taken to provide equal opportunity, as in admissions or employment, for minority groups and women”. Affirmative action does not mean any type of special treatment or preferences towards any minority group, it does not mean the use of any kind of quota system, even if only to create a tendency for proportional representation, it does not mandate or imply the use of any alternative criteria specifically used for minorities or women, and it is not reverse discrimination. Affirmative action only refers to actively changing and correcting policies that are inherently unfair to any group or person because of factors other than qualification. It means that everyone with an equal qualification should get an equal opportunity at being selected.
Meritocracy should be the primary system by which the great majority of employment and admissions decisions are made. Since every employment or admissions decision cannot be based solely on an objective meritocracy test, some latitude should be allowed for subjective judgments being made by employers or administrators.
Also, there should be a fair amount of leeway for employers to make their decisions based on factors other than meritocracy, so long as such exceptions do not become commonplace or severely neglect the merits of a competing candidate.0 Comments
Nobody should be discriminated against based on involuntary factors such as race, gender, national origin, etc., unless there is a compelling reason to do so. However, all other ‘chosen’ characteristics should be amenable to discrimination for various purposes.
Religion could be a valid factor to consider in the discrimination of people because it is a chosen characteristic. However, race, sex, national origin, etc., should not be discriminated against.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Unlike race, ethnicity, nationality and gender, sexual orientation may be a factor eligible for discrimination in some areas such as employment in the private sector because there may be a significant element of choice involved. Though sexual orientation is likely heavily influenced by genetics, it may still be considered, to some extent, as a notable defect equivalent to alcoholism, problem gambling, general criminal behavior, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADD/ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) and other character traits which have also been shown to have significant (though perhaps not as significant as homosexuality) genetic influences. Homosexuality may be considered a genetic defect, and any available treatments and counseling should be made available, as would be the case for the attempted removal of any other undesirable characteristic, genetically influenced or not.
These traits, in which choice is a significant factor, should be allowed to be used for only certain discriminatory purposes, such as hiring for employment by a private employer, choosing a tenant for occupation of rental properties, and other long-term, close contact or otherwise relatively close relationships. All private organizations ought to have the right to discriminate, using these allowable traits, in the hiring, firing, membership, and attendance within their organizations. Refusing to provide any goods or services to homosexuals should be banned. Public sector organizations should be prohibited from using homosexuality as a characteristic for discrimination.
Nobody should be discriminated against solely on the basis of age. For example, mandatory retirement for firefighters or police officers, etc., over a certain age should be prohibited. Other factors that are age-related could be used as disqualifying criteria, such as loss of physical strength, endurance, etc., but discriminating against age alone should be unjustified.
Seniority and Job Security
Seniority should not be a factor for anything in government neither should it mean anything meaningful in the private sector. Seniority should especially not be a factor in determining job security or pay raises.
Neither place of birth (native or foreign born) nor age should be deciding or influencing factors determining whether or not a person is qualified to hold any elected public office, including the US Presidency.0 Comments
All businesses doing business in the US whether they are based in the US or not, must make readily available, within a reasonable amount of time, the names of the owners and top level management to investigators for questioning upon the request of any court or state or federal governments agency.
Furthermore, no businesses conducting business in the US should be allowed to hide, in any way, its assets, domestic or foreign, so as to prevent them from being confiscated as a result of lawsuits or in order to pay for any other obligations. Violations of these rules would result in the revocation of US business operating licenses and possible forfeiture of all company assets within the ability of the United States to obtain them, to pay off any liability or obligation.0 Comments
Companies who have engaged in certain activities in the past which were legal at the time, but which are now illegal, should not be required to rectify or provide compensation for their past actions, unless these actions were immoral or blatant violations of acceptable practices at the time. The proper governing authorities should bear the responsibility for rectifying or providing compensation, if necessary, for past actions which were not considered illegal at the time. In most cases, however, the costs (or benefits) of any previously legal activity would not be levied on any entity. Instead, the burden of dealing with these costs should just be accepted as the costs of living in a society which reviews and revises its laws.0 Comments
All permanent newcomers (residential or business) to any political jurisdiction should be informed of all relevant laws pertaining to their location and property. They would be required to abide by these laws immediately, but some laws may have various grace periods. After all grace periods have expired, no excuses, especially claims of ignorance, will be accepted for non-compliance. Visitors may be exempted from many of these laws.0 Comments