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Posts Tagged ‘crime’

I cannot really express how thrilled I am with this decision. The High Court, through its judgment, has given millions of Indians the right to be the way they are without facing harassment or prosecution. This is the biggest blow in favor of individual liberty that has happened in India for many, many years. In this blog, most of my political writings are about things that depress and outrage me; this one though, is pure joy.

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A new Georgia law requires anyone convicted of a sex offence in the past to hand over all their user-names and passwords to the government.

Mind you, this law isn’t aimed only at child rapists and suchlike. It will cover everyone who has ever been convicted of a sex related offence. In essence, what this law says is, if you err sexually once — however minor your crime is — you lose all  privacy rights for the rest of your life. Oh — and did I mention that past laws have already made it impossible for these people to find a home or get a job long after they have finished serving their sentences?

Actually, I think these are great laws. For they further a very important principle: offenders must never ever be allowed to reintegrate into society.

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This case may have set a worrying precedent.

I do not advocate, as some libertarians do, that we do away with all defamation laws. It does make some economic and moral sense to penalize speech that is demonstrably and objectively false, and results in specific harm. However, I am in all circumstances opposed to defamation being a criminal offence — a barbarous relic that has no place in a free society. And truth should always be a defense.

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I have criticized the Canadian government on free speech issues in the past — especially with regard to their disgraceful “Human Rights” tribunals. However, this post by Jennifer Abel deserves mention.

This is my third or fourth trip to our northern neighbor, where I like to play amateur sociologist between tourist-trap visits, and I’ve reached the following conclusion: the Canadian government trusts its people far more than the American government trusts theirs.

I’m not arguing that Canada’s some libertarian paradise. Far from it: even ignoring their high taxes and socialized medicine, there’s the fact that Canada, in lieu of a right to free speech, has an apparent “right to never have your feelings hurt” upheld by the kangaroo courts of its notorious Human Rights Commissions. (Are you a newspaper publisher who wants to reprint the notorious Danish Mohammed cartoons? Don’t do it if you’re Canadian.)

And yet, in day-to-day matters there seems far less assumption of criminal intent.

Read the whole thing.

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The judge had only one option when he sentenced Cedric Bradshaw: life in prison.

Bradshaw had not committed murder, rape or armed robbery. His offense was failing to properly register as a convicted sex offender for a second time —- even though he had repeatedly tried to follow the law.

Indeed, Georgia’s draconian (and unique) law mandates that courts must pass a sentence of life in imprisonment against any sex offender who fails to register his address properly twice.

Click here for the entire story.

(Link via The Volokh Conspiracy)

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Inflammatory rhetoric from doomsday-sayers isn’t anything new; nevertheless this statement by climatologist James Hansen strikes me as extreme.

Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated, including disguised funding to shape school textbook discussions.

CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. If their campaigns continue and “succeed” in confusing the public, I anticipate testifying against relevant CEOs in future public trials. 

Global warming is real; the science proves it. However, equating the actions of Oil company CEO’s (or tobacco CEO’s for that matter) with actual crimes against humanity displays an astonishing lack of understanding of the words involved and a terrible disregard for the freedoms we hold dear.

(Link via The Volokh Conspiracy)

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What does Ethiopia, Senegal and Turkey have that the US doesn’t?

The right to engage in consensual sex for money.

For a list of the legal status of prostitution in different countries, check this nice fact sheet. The oldest profession in the world is legal in most of South America, and virtually all of Europe. Keeping the US company, on the other hand, are countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Cuba, Uganda (and sadly, India).

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Rachel Hoffman was a college student and a bit of a hippie. She tried drugs and got caught. Police threatened her with prison time unless she agreed to become an informant and set up a meeting with the supplier to buy $10000 worth of drugs and weaponry, a purchase drastically out of character for a person used to buying a few grams of weed once in a while.

She did as the cops told her to. The suppliers, not surprisingly, smelt something very fishy. She never came back from the meeting.

Her body was found last week.

Welcome to the gruesome workings of the war on drugs, where collateral damage is normal and acceptable, where the enforcers are so steeped in morality that they would rather have people dead than high, where the only measure of success is how many people the cops arrest.

And where a young girl loses her life for daring to have a bit of fun.

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It’s the classic pitfall. The law tries to prevent a reprehensible act of fraud (in this case, obtaining sex from one’s brother near-sleeping girlfriend by impersonating the brother). However it does so by passing a law whose language is much broader than it should. The result is yet another encroachment by the law into an area it has no business being in.

Read Eugene Volokh’s excellent discussion on a potentially chilling statute that is being pushed for passage in Massachusetts. Also the comments under Volokh’s post are interesting; below are some of my favourites.

Make-up is now to be illegal in Massachusetts, as are Wonderbras and those ass-padding panties.

Did they just outlaw the greater bulk of bar-room pick up lines?

OK, let’s take a hypothetical 25 yr old Tom and 16 year old Suzy. Suzy tells Tom she is 19, and they have sex. In both Texas and Mass, this is rape. In Texas, she’s the victim, in Mass, he is. Makes sense to me!

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The TOI reports:

Nine months after Captain Megha Razdan was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her quarters, police has arrested her husband, also a captain posted near Jammu, on charges of pushing the 26-year-old engineer to commit suicide by refusing to break off with a previous lover.

Megha Razfan’s suicide was an unfortunate event. Yet, when all is said and done, the fact remains that her death was self-inflicted. The husband — if the allegation is true — is a lousy and cruel human being and deserves nothing but contempt. But should he be criminally culpable? I think not.

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As dumb wars go, this is the dumbest of them all. It involves more money than is spent on food programs, science or technology. It arrests about two million people (that’s almost 1 percent of the population) every year, most of them small users. It is responsible for about a quarter of the current inmate population in the United States. And remarkably, it has nothing to show for it, except that it has driven a business – that would have been perfectly controlled and safe if it were legitimate – underground, into the abyss of gang violence, disease and decay.

One day, people will look back at the most ill-conceived, wasteful, senseless and fruitless program in the history of civilization, and wonder- WHY?

Till then, there is the drug clock to remind us of the costs that the War on Drugs drug-users entails.

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