Posts by Moz

  • Legal Beagle: The Contempt of Court Bill,

    I find your comments to the effect that "if you bill drafting geniuses can't find it..." blackly amusing because of the tremendous volume of deliberately opaque material covered by the phrase "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Legislation is bad enough, but case law? Ignorance is guaranteed whether that's a defence or not.

    Oh, you mean "contempt" as legal jargon, not the normal usage. My mistake. Back to "the judge just made stuff up and if you don't kowtow you'll be charged with contempt".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The miserable archive, in reply to steven crawford,

    “for the same level of contamination" ... That’s also bullshit. Methamphetamine is not the same as the bubling chemicals and gas, which are used to manufacture it.

    I'm not sure whether that's a reading comprehension fail or a political answer - you've responded to something I didn't say with a tangentially related diatribe. But sure, verbal me and rant, be my guest.

    "same level of contamination"... you can't get that by using different chemicals, that's not how contamination works.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The miserable archive, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    a culture that is focused on punishing people ... Somehow we've allowed our core social services to lose their raison d'etre.

    That's contested, though. The oligarchs have been vigorously pushing the idea that poor people are both worthless and must be punished. Many are Randians if not explicit eugenicists or social Darwinists. And a lot of people agree with them for various reasons.

    There was an interesting survey in Oz recently, asking "should benefits be cut below $300/wk" with about 40% support and "what's the minimum income you'd need to survive" with the average being over $600/wk. I am not entirely sure whether those questions were adjacent but the answers are revealing. There's some vicious othering going on.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The miserable archive, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Whether methamphetamine contamination in a dwelling is via use or manufacture the exposure risk is the same

    That's technically true, but elides the crucial "for the same level of contamination".

    When we were trying to buy a house we dismissed a couple because they'd clearly been long-term dens for indoor smokers. In one case the residue had been mostly painted over but the smell lingered.

    Meth use works the same - if there's a small room been used for smoking for many, many sessions it could end up badly contaminated. But that would be very rare. It might have happened... once. So we're into "as a lawyer I make this statement knowing that it is strictly correct".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The miserable archive,

    Note the US has implemented the obvious version of this policy: it applies to everyone, not just the criminally poor.

    In the USA people can (and do) lose their homes, anything they have that's worth anything, and often their freedom, merely because the police think that someone might have or have had drugs there. Their "war on drugs" works much the same as our "war on meth", with the collateral damage you'd expect. In many cases there's a "technically you're not convicted" outcome, but the Police raid still happened, as did the prosecution... those things aren't cost-free.

    It's somewhat surprising that this scare never spread to more valuable members of society, especially given the problems the rental industry was having with labs in rental properties (there was a lot of fear, I'm not sure how widespread the actual problem was). But can you imagine how much fun it would be if some decent, upstanding member of society (Pullya Benefit, or even That Nice Man {tm} John Key) was tested and discovered to have possessions that were contaminated, and thus needed to be stripped of said possessions... I'm thinking any cash they had on them, but I'm sure more would be found once testing began.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: A Word About Safety,

    At the risk of derailing into the topic of jury trials, there's been a wee outbreak of moaning in the UK about their stupid jury-protection laws. It's vaguely relevant because they refer to the Aotearoa research. That's one of the very few actual cold hard looks as how juries work. And there are horror stories...

    There was a newspaper article about a horrifying jury decision, followed by a parliamentary panic and rush to stop that ever happening again. Not the miscarriage of justice, obviously, but the revelation:

    I defended the New Statesman during the legal fallout of the 1970s scandal. But ultimately a veil of secrecy was drawn over the British jury system

    Which refers to this older article about the kiwi study:

    A new study reveals some unsettling facts about the secret world of the juror - they often feel intimidated, scared and confused.

    Secret Barrister is also good, like this case where a jury found someone guilty of "pretending to be a doctor while brown"

    (I won't be offended if you moderate this away)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We are, at last, navigating…,

    There's a whole bunch of law about parliament being paramount and courts not getting involved if possible that makes some of this stuff quite tricky to enforce. By and large it's been found useful to restrict the legal system to preying only on elected members who are actual (accused) criminals rather than getting tangled up in administrative actions. While it might be nasty if a minister violates some guideline, making the a criminal offense or otherwise subject to the courts can get ugly fast, especially if you were tempted to also mandate that the minister step aside while the process took place.

    Sadly the alternative of making the discipline happen inside parliament is hard. In a two party system it's basically impossible, as you see with impeachments in the USA. But even in democratic countries it's fraught and generally ends up being political/popularity based.

    I suspect we may have to discover better ways to make democracy effective and ministerial behaviour will fall out of those. Sadly most of the research seems to be on ways to diminish democracy and make it irrelevant. But strangely the people thus elected don't seem willing to change that (if for no other reason than that the next government can just change the rules back as Danyl wrote recently).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We are, at last, navigating…, in reply to andin,

    But the point of elected representatives is that it's explicitly a popularity contest. The alternative is a gerrymandering contest or a European-style presidential appointment process that we can see working ever so well even as we discuss it.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: A Word About Safety,

    I also can't help but wonder whether anyone involved in that trial ever considered the gender-flipped version of events. How would they have reacted if she had gone round to his place, bent him over the banister and pegged him until he bled? Somehow I have trouble imagining the legal system saying "oh yes, any reasonable person would expect him to be happy with that".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: A Word About Safety,

    Inquisitorial could be better, but as I said:

    the law should be restated to remind participants that the "typical person" and "ordinary" person are both middle-aged women not entirely of Anglo-Saxon ethnicity.

    I would also like to see experts selected similarly. Let the court of appeal bring the full weight of it's countering expertise to bear when necessary.

    Admittedly I would also prefer that the accused be better protected and automatically compensated when necessary. As the saying goes, I'd rather see 100 men compensated for their time in prison pending successful appeal than a single innocent man have his life destroyed without compensation because "we found you not guilty in the end".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1098 posts Report Reply

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