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Debates Forum

  1. 17 Nov '17 16:47
    By this title I mean to see if there is traction for a discussion of the justice being meted out to those who are subject to allegations of making unwelcome sexual advances, where the process is occurring outside of the formal legal system. These allegations seem generally to be warranted, and in some cases have been acknowledged as true by those accused. The penalties, so far, generally, involve loss of position and power, or at least the impending threat of same.

    What do you think of how this is unfolding? How do you think historians will look back on these times? How would you like it to go?

    I think about these things and first come up with a resolve that such sexual transgressions have got to stop. More than that, the social institutions and forces that promote and reward sexual stereotyping and beliefs that lead to abuse have to be recognized for what they are and do, and have to be changed. They are everywhere. Some say it is truly a time of social upheaval and needs to expand.

    Some say it won't happen under the current political system. They mean more than just the current cast of characters. Yes, them, but more than them. What say you?
  2. 17 Nov '17 17:02
    Originally posted by @js357
    By this title I mean to see if there is traction for a discussion of the justice being meted out to those who are subject to allegations of making unwelcome sexual advances, where the process is occurring outside of the formal legal system. These allegations seem generally to be warranted, and in some cases have been acknowledged as true by those accused. The ...[text shortened]... mean more than just the current cast of characters. Yes, them, but more than them. What say you?
    The problem with extra-judicial justice is that it isn't a fair process and thus is far less likely to give us a fair result. If there is overwhelming evidence (and generally the first cases are) then there is little objection because in everyone's mind the target is guilty so quick justice seems desirable. But presumably, as there are enough of these cases, eventually there will be cases which are less strong or where people completely lie (Duke lacrosse, Tawanna Brawley). Many people already believe that we have fake news and people who lie to promote their causes. Making it easier to do so seems like a very bad idea. There is a reason we have a judicial system with full protections and we should advocate using it and not circumventing it because we think we can get quick, and easy justice.
  3. Standard member vivify
    rain
    17 Nov '17 17:26
    Originally posted by @quackquack
    The problem with extra-judicial justice is that it isn't a fair process and thus is far less likely to give us a fair result. If there is overwhelming evidence (and generally the first cases are) then there is little objection because in everyone's mind the target is guilty so quick justice seems desirable. But presumably, as there are enough of these c ...[text shortened]... advocate using it and not circumventing it because we think we can get quick, and easy justice.
    I agree with what you say. But, it should also be pointed out that many (if not most) victims of sexual assault don't get a fair trial in the courts.

    If a woman's attacker is a rich, powerful and well-liked figure, the victim has the unfair disadvantage of having to overcome the abilities of high-priced lawyers (for example, O.J., Michael Jackson, R. Kelly...all people who went free because they could afford the best lawyers, despite overwhelming evidence against them).

    A victim must also overcome the biases of a jury; maybe the attacker is highly respected, well liked, etc. Lastly, the victim must win against a jury's personal and cultural biases (people who believe a woman is at fault for wearing certain outfits, being out a certain times, etc.).

    Sometimes, the only justice victims can get is in the court of public opinion. O.J., despite being found innocent, has spent his remaining years being shunned by the public, and being regarded as a monster. The families of Ron Goldman and Nichole Brown-Simpson, who were robbed of justice, can at least feel vindicated in that fact.

    The court of public opinion is indeed a double-edged sword.
  4. 17 Nov '17 19:19
    Originally posted by @vivify
    I agree with what you say. But, it should also be pointed out that many (if not most) victims of sexual assault don't get a fair trial in the courts.

    If a woman's attacker is a rich, powerful and well-liked figure, the victim has the unfair disadvantage of having to overcome the abilities of high-priced lawyers (for example, O.J., Michael Jackson, R. K ...[text shortened]... t feel vindicated in that fact.

    The court of public opinion is indeed a double-edged sword.
    When we feel the courts got the wrong result (OJ Simpson) the court of public opinion may be satisfying. But what protections do you have when the court of public opinion gets it wrong (Little Rock desegregation)? It is one thing to suggest that sometime we feel better because everyone knows the truth even if the court did not recognize it. However, it is quite another thing to say the court of public opinion can actually render a verdict.
  5. Standard member vivify
    rain
    17 Nov '17 20:02 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by @quackquack
    When we feel the courts got the wrong result (OJ Simpson) the court of public opinion may be satisfying. But what protections do you have when the court of public opinion gets it wrong (Little Rock desegregation)? It is one thing to suggest that sometime we feel better because everyone knows the truth even if the court did not recognize it. However, it is quite another thing to say the court of public opinion can actually render a verdict.
    That's why I said public opinion can be a double-edged sword.

    On the one hand, it administers it's own form of justice when courts fail, or be added punishment when courts do work. On the other, it can be disastrous if the accused is actually innocent, or if the sentence is lighter than desired, because the crime wasn't as heinous as what was portrayed in the media.

    But, as I pointed out, the courts are quite flawed too. Courts can be great for administering justice, or be corrupt, and full of bigotry.

    Both American judicial courts and public opinion are quite flawed. All we can do is try to improve both, via more responsible, factual and unbiased reporting, and making fundamental changes to our justice system.
  6. 17 Nov '17 20:22
    Originally posted by @vivify
    That's why I said public opinion can be a double-edged sword.

    On the one hand, it administers it's own form of justice when courts fail, or be added punishment when courts do work. On the other, it can be disastrous if the accused is actually innocent, or if the sentence is lighter than desired, because the crime wasn't as heinous as what was portrayed i ...[text shortened]... sponsible, factual and unbiased reporting, and making fundamental changes to our justice system.
    While I agree with a lot if what you say I think it isn't just journalistic standards that the court of public opinion from being accurate. A real court has real procedures and safeguards which can help gather the truth. I think to dismantle court system and simply use public opinion would be a drastic step where whims of popularity on issues would replace an objective legal standard is many cases.
  7. Standard member vivify
    rain
    17 Nov '17 22:47 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by @quackquack
    While I agree with a lot if what you say I think it isn't just journalistic standards that the court of public opinion from being accurate. A real court has real procedures and safeguards which can help gather the truth. I think to dismantle court system and simply use public opinion would be a drastic step where whims of popularity on issues would replace an objective legal standard is many cases.
    Courts can sometimes be powerless to help. For example:

    https://victimsofcrime.org/docs/DNA%20Resource%20Center/sol-for-sexual-assault-check-chart---final---copy.pdf?sfvrsn=2

    The link lists the statutes of limitation for sexual assault. In all but two states, the time to report sexual assault is 10 years or less. For some states, it's as little as 3 years.

    For some women, by the time they've gotten past the trauma and shame of sexual assault, the courts will no longer help them. Take Al Franken, who forcibly shoved his tongue down a woman's throat, and posed for a picture of his outstretched hands near her breasts while she was asleep. This happened 2006. His victim, Leeann Tweeden, said that she was too afraid of public backlash and potential harm to her career if she reported the assault and showed people the photo:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/11/al-franken-that-photo-and-trusting-the-women/545954/

    Tweeden said she's "no longer afraid". However, being just over ten years ago, it's probably too late to file charges; I say "probably", because this happened oversees rather than in a U.S. state.

    This being the case, the only justice for Tweeden is the public backlash Franken is getting, which is likely to cause him to resignation due to the backlash. Because of statutes of limitation, the justice system is powerless to help her now that she's brave enough. Here, public opinion succeeds where the courts fail.
  8. 18 Nov '17 00:04
    Originally posted by @vivify
    For example, O.J., Michael Jackson, R. Kelly...all people who went free because they could afford the best lawyers, despite overwhelming evidence against them.
    Solution to that: all lawyers should be non-profit; fees for legal representation should be set by the state; and lawyers should be randomly assigned to clients as need arises.
  9. 18 Nov '17 03:25
    Originally posted by @teinosuke
    Solution to that: all lawyers should be non-profit; fees for legal representation should be set by the state; and lawyers should be randomly assigned to clients as need arises.
    It's no accident that the American lawyers in this forum are very pro-
    capitalist and, I suspect, would abhor that proposition.

    An American doctor who posted here once implied that he believes that
    his medical degree entitles him to be a millionaire, and all government
    regulation's wrong if it would make him less wealthy.