So, contrary to that press release, what would have been the man's incentive to plead guilty?
It is barbaric and contrary to the expectations of a liberal democracy that a judge is required to impose a seven-year sentence for a crime that he or she determines should receive a one year sentence.
It is also of note that there is no incentive for a person charged with a 3rd strike offence to plead guilty because the sentence will be exactly the same after a costly and pointless trial which exposes victims unnecessarily to the trauma of being in court. Criminal lawyers are already seeing a reluctance on persons charged with 2nd strike offences to plead guilty because they must serve the whole of the sentence imposed without parole and that tendency is likely to increase as 3rd strike offenders come before the court.
The number of prisoners has been increasing each year along with the cost which is likely to be $900 million dollars this year. That cost will continue to increase because of inappropriate sentences that judges will be required to impose as a result of the three-strikes legislation. There is an additional cost both financially and to society in excessive prison sentences because the longer a person spends in prison the more likely it is that he or she will reoffend when released.
The NZ Criminal Bar Association would prefer to see the additional money that will be required to keep 3rd strike offenders in prison spent on rehabilitation with the object of keeping the New Zealand population out of prison. It calls upon the government to repeal the three-strikes legislation before judges are required to impose further inappropriate sentences on third strike offenders.
Replacing Scalia with another hard liner is a given, but if two more of the elderly liberal-leaning judges are succeeded by conservative appointees under Trump.. that would make the Court a conservative, regressive institution for decades.
Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I still really struggle to get my head around how much politics and the political system seems intertwined with expected normality of wider government in the USA, right from levels as low as arranging how elections and voting works, and all the way up to the top levels of appointments in the courts.
I mean in the sense of how it's standard, sometimes effectively required, for people to register a political allegiance. That allegiance seems to follow people around in media and in future appointments as if everything about that person, and everything they do and why, is somehow tied to political ideology... and that the declared allegiance is at least as an appropriate way of judging them as their actual actions.
Would it be acceptable in any other modern democracy if top level judges were appointed not specifically on their qualifications and experience, but on a political leader's assessment of the appointee's consistency with that leaders' ideology?
Maybe that stuff happens in New Zealand and we just don't talk about it so openly, but I think what I find least comforting with seeing the USA is not that it's talked about so openly as that it's treated as completely normal and acceptable. What's the argument for that being a good way for things to work?
Readers of BBC News, the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald will also be very relieved.
I'll happily submit to a consensus of geophysicists, but I think there needs to be much caution when discerning between "the Moon influences earthquakes" and "the Moon is any use for predicting earthquakes".
Arguably me jumping up and down probably influences earthquakes (probably less than the Moon to be fair), but it's meaningless knowledge without knowing, understanding and measuring the far more significant influences of the tensions and states of things happening underground. Measuring that stuff is what geophysicists really struggle with right now.
A possible link between earthquakes and the phase of the moon & its tidal effects was one of the very first explanations for quakes, but it wasn't long before they could see no pattern in the distribution of the two events.
My wife, who earned a geophysics PhD a few years back, was ranting about this particular story from NewsHub, which she decided must have largely misrepresented the GNS comments.
Not to suggest that forces between the Earth and Moon have zero effect on earthquakes, but there's so much other stuff happening underground, which is almost entirely unknown, and also far more significant. Knowing where the Moon happens to be at any given time is effectively meaningless when it comes to trying to predict anything.
(technically elections are optional, if it was state law that the state legislator appointed them, then that is what that state could do)
Well that would be a fascinating adjustment to the election process.
People not voting is "good", in the eyes of many who are supposedly charged with enabling the election Depending on the jurisdiction, there are obstacles to voting threat we would not tolerate - or perhaps we would
Would it require much constitutional change in the USA for the Federal Government to take control of running its own national elections, or at least setting and enforcing stricter standards?
I get that each state likes to do its own thing, and I guess it may also have historic roots back to when it'd not be logistically practical to run a combined process over an entire country that size, but to me it's often seem a very outdated way of running an election.
I can see logic in blocking other types of advances (like electronic voting), but I can't see logic in enforcing a system that causes voters to be treated overtly differently depending on where they are within the Federal jurisdiction whilst voting for a Federal government.