Judge accountability
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21-10-2012, 10:10 AM
Judge accountability
So there's an interesting topic here at the moment about judge accountability.

A while back a judge let a guy out on bail after he kidnapped a girl, held her at knife point (bid deal, we don't really have guns here so knives are the next best thing for criminals) and made threats on her life etc...
Anyway, the guy killed the kidnap victim while he was on bail.

The man was found not-guilty this week on grounds of insanity. (but it's all good, he's locked up in a mental hospital for the rest of his life. The guy's only like 20 years old, so he's gonna be in there a while) And law is being proposed (or maybe it's being passed, I dunno) to tighten bail laws as a result.

So the question then is if Judges should be held accountable for their mix-ups (because letting this guy out on bail 300m from his victim after this guy swore to kill her was a weeeee bit of a blunder IMO).
Take doctors for example, if doctors fuck up they are held accountable. Judges make decisions that can be life or death and so should they have more accountability?

At the moment they have absolutely zero accountability BTW.

The problem is where do you draw the line between protecting freedoms of individuals (innocent until proven guilty), and protecting the freedoms of society?

The thing with Judges is that it's not their job to always make the right decision. They must make their decision based on what information they have and what the LAW says. In this case for example, legally the guy was under 20, I don't think he had any previous convictions etc.. so legally the right thing to do is let him out on bail. BUT common sense...
The fear of making Judges accountable is that judges may be less inclined to make the lawful decision and more inclined to make the 'popular' decision.

What do you'll think?
Should Judges be held accountable for their actions?

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21-10-2012, 10:23 AM
RE: Judge accountability
(21-10-2012 10:10 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  So there's an interesting topic here at the moment about judge accountability.

A while back a judge let a guy out on bail after he kidnapped a girl, held her at knife point (bid deal, we don't really have guns here so knives are the next best thing for criminals) and made threats on her life etc...
Anyway, the guy killed the kidnap victim while he was on bail.

The man was found not-guilty this week on grounds of insanity. (but it's all good, he's locked up in a mental hospital for the rest of his life. The guy's only like 20 years old, so he's gonna be in there a while) And law is being proposed (or maybe it's being passed, I dunno) to tighten bail laws as a result.

So the question then is if Judges should be held accountable for their mix-ups (because letting this guy out on bail 300m from his victim after this guy swore to kill her was a weeeee bit of a blunder IMO).
Take doctors for example, if doctors fuck up they are held accountable. Judges make decisions that can be life or death and so should they have more accountability?

At the moment they have absolutely zero accountability BTW.

The problem is where do you draw the line between protecting freedoms of individuals (innocent until proven guilty), and protecting the freedoms of society?

The thing with Judges is that it's not their job to always make the right decision. They must make their decision based on what information they have and what the LAW says. In this case for example, legally the guy was under 20, I don't think he had any previous convictions etc.. so legally the right thing to do is let him out on bail. BUT common sense...
The fear of making Judges accountable is that judges may be less inclined to make the lawful decision and more inclined to make the 'popular' decision.

What do you'll think?
Should Judges be held accountable for their actions?

They are "accountable" in the US. There are ethics boards, and "Boards of Judicial Responsibility". A bad outcome does not necessarily mean a "mistake" made. The judge may have correctly applied every existing law. The law can't conceive of every possible outcome. Does "accountability" presume good-faith, or bad-faith. Certainly in the US "accountability" can't be "election", as that would mean every judge who made unpopular decisions would be out, AND in the US, now, unlimited money can be anonymously poured into any race. To me "accountability" to popular opinion, (who really don't get that "opinion" is not strict adherence to judicial standards) is a slippery slope. For example, I used to assume Antonin Scallia was a dork. After I watched the Peers Morgan's interview, I 100% changed my mind. He's a man of integrity. He has a standard, and he sticks to it. (There are flaws in his reasoning, which I can point out), but at least he has a standard. "Accountability" would be fine, if if would be "to a standard" . If it's to public opinion, were all in trouble. If he can be shown to have not followed the law somehow, then he should be disciplined, and if a pattern, removed, BY LAWYERS and other judges.

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21-10-2012, 10:46 AM
RE: Judge accountability
(21-10-2012 10:23 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(21-10-2012 10:10 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  So there's an interesting topic here at the moment about judge accountability.

A while back a judge let a guy out on bail after he kidnapped a girl, held her at knife point (bid deal, we don't really have guns here so knives are the next best thing for criminals) and made threats on her life etc...
Anyway, the guy killed the kidnap victim while he was on bail.

The man was found not-guilty this week on grounds of insanity. (but it's all good, he's locked up in a mental hospital for the rest of his life. The guy's only like 20 years old, so he's gonna be in there a while) And law is being proposed (or maybe it's being passed, I dunno) to tighten bail laws as a result.

So the question then is if Judges should be held accountable for their mix-ups (because letting this guy out on bail 300m from his victim after this guy swore to kill her was a weeeee bit of a blunder IMO).
Take doctors for example, if doctors fuck up they are held accountable. Judges make decisions that can be life or death and so should they have more accountability?

At the moment they have absolutely zero accountability BTW.

The problem is where do you draw the line between protecting freedoms of individuals (innocent until proven guilty), and protecting the freedoms of society?

The thing with Judges is that it's not their job to always make the right decision. They must make their decision based on what information they have and what the LAW says. In this case for example, legally the guy was under 20, I don't think he had any previous convictions etc.. so legally the right thing to do is let him out on bail. BUT common sense...
The fear of making Judges accountable is that judges may be less inclined to make the lawful decision and more inclined to make the 'popular' decision.

What do you'll think?
Should Judges be held accountable for their actions?

They are "accountable" in the US. There are ethics boards, and "Boards of Judicial Responsibility". A bad outcome does not necessarily mean a "mistake" made. The judge may have correctly applied every existing law. The law can't conceive of every possible outcome. Does "accountability" presume good-faith, or bad-faith. Certainly in the US "accountability" can't be "election", as that would mean every judge who made unpopular decisions would be out, AND in the US, now, unlimited money can be anonymously poured into any race. To me "accountability" to popular opinion, (who really don't get that "opinion" is not strict adherence to judicial standards) is a slippery slope. For example, I used to assume Antonin Scallia was a dork. After I watched the Peers Morgan's interview, I 100% changed my mind. He's a man of integrity. He has a standard, and he sticks to it. (There are flaws in his reasoning, which I can point out), but at least he has a standard. "Accountability" would be fine, if if would be "to a standard" . If it's to public opinion, were all in trouble. If he can be shown to have not followed the law somehow, then he should be disciplined, and if a pattern, removed, BY LAWYERS and other judges.

Yea that's exactly what happened here, the Judge applied the law as it stands and came out with that this guy should be released on bail. From a legal stand point, and even the family of the victim who are pushing for stricter bail laws recognize this, the judge made the right decision.
But the problem, and thinking about it now the real problem (as opposed to accountability) is the level at which Judges should.. "forget" the law and instead apply common sense.
This case for example, the guy kidnapped this girl, he held her at knife point, he made threats on her life. He was then released on bail to a property only 300m from the victim. The victim wrote several letters to court pleading to not let this man out on jail that she feared for her life.
Common sense from anyone's point of view would say "don't release this man on bail".
I think that is the real issue people here are really looking at. That at what point do you sacrifice "innocent until proven guilty", "public liberty" etc.. for common sense.
I mean it's not like the judge didn't know of any of this, this is all the stuff he had in front of him.

I agree that Judges shouldn't be held accountable simply because they made an unpopular decision. I think you might be right with the slippery slope. BUT, you have to ask what is the law for? to protect the public right? Well it just seems, here at least, that at times you have decisions that are not in the interest of public safety simply because of "innocent until proven guilty" etc.. Such as this case.
The line between what's legal, and what's right.

Though in saying that last line, it's not up to judges to make law. If law say's one thing that is because elected parliament has made that law and because parliament represents the people that is seen as "that's what the people want".

I dunno, it's almost 6am. I'll comment more later.

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21-10-2012, 04:35 PM
RE: Judge accountability
(21-10-2012 10:46 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Yea that's exactly what happened here, the Judge applied the law as it stands and came out with that this guy should be released on bail. From a legal stand point, and even the family of the victim who are pushing for stricter bail laws recognize this, the judge made the right decision.
But the problem, and thinking about it now the real problem (as opposed to accountability) is the level at which Judges should.. "forget" the law and instead apply common sense.
This case for example, the guy kidnapped this girl, he held her at knife point, he made threats on her life. He was then released on bail to a property only 300m from the victim. The victim wrote several letters to court pleading to not let this man out on jail that she feared for her life.
Common sense from anyone's point of view would say "don't release this man on bail".
I think that is the real issue people here are really looking at. That at what point do you sacrifice "innocent until proven guilty", "public liberty" etc.. for common sense.
I mean it's not like the judge didn't know of any of this, this is all the stuff he had in front of him.

I agree that Judges shouldn't be held accountable simply because they made an unpopular decision. I think you might be right with the slippery slope. BUT, you have to ask what is the law for? to protect the public right? Well it just seems, here at least, that at times you have decisions that are not in the interest of public safety simply because of "innocent until proven guilty" etc.. Such as this case.
The line between what's legal, and what's right.

Though in saying that last line, it's not up to judges to make law. If law say's one thing that is because elected parliament has made that law and because parliament represents the people that is seen as "that's what the people want".

I dunno, it's almost 6am. I'll comment more later.

I don't think that you an allow judges to start working off common-sense. That's just another way of saying 'make shit up as you go'. Besides, if there were no legal grounds to do something and a judge did it anyway you can bet it wouldn't withstand an appeal.

In situations like this it's the law that needs looking at, not the people enforcing it.

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21-10-2012, 09:10 PM
RE: Judge accountability
(21-10-2012 04:35 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  
(21-10-2012 10:46 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Yea that's exactly what happened here, the Judge applied the law as it stands and came out with that this guy should be released on bail. From a legal stand point, and even the family of the victim who are pushing for stricter bail laws recognize this, the judge made the right decision.
But the problem, and thinking about it now the real problem (as opposed to accountability) is the level at which Judges should.. "forget" the law and instead apply common sense.
This case for example, the guy kidnapped this girl, he held her at knife point, he made threats on her life. He was then released on bail to a property only 300m from the victim. The victim wrote several letters to court pleading to not let this man out on jail that she feared for her life.
Common sense from anyone's point of view would say "don't release this man on bail".
I think that is the real issue people here are really looking at. That at what point do you sacrifice "innocent until proven guilty", "public liberty" etc.. for common sense.
I mean it's not like the judge didn't know of any of this, this is all the stuff he had in front of him.

I agree that Judges shouldn't be held accountable simply because they made an unpopular decision. I think you might be right with the slippery slope. BUT, you have to ask what is the law for? to protect the public right? Well it just seems, here at least, that at times you have decisions that are not in the interest of public safety simply because of "innocent until proven guilty" etc.. Such as this case.
The line between what's legal, and what's right.

Though in saying that last line, it's not up to judges to make law. If law say's one thing that is because elected parliament has made that law and because parliament represents the people that is seen as "that's what the people want".

I dunno, it's almost 6am. I'll comment more later.

I don't think that you an allow judges to start working off common-sense. That's just another way of saying 'make shit up as you go'. Besides, if there were no legal grounds to do something and a judge did it anyway you can bet it wouldn't withstand an appeal.

In situations like this it's the law that needs looking at, not the people enforcing it.

Obviously it wouldn't be anything radical. Common sense, but within the confines of the law. ish.
I think you're right though. Judges are only there to interpret the law and hand down sentencing. They are not elected by the public and they certainly don't represent the public (considering most are old white males). So when you get them making laws it's not usually a good thing. It's handy for small things, but not so flash for bigger things.

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21-10-2012, 10:23 PM
RE: Judge accountability
They already make their own choices outside the law. Every time someone filthy rich gets caught doing something. Also when there is a young offender and the judge owns a piece of a company that runs a prison or juvenile work center, guess where he sends the offender for a very long time. Nobody cares about people like you earmuffs, don't get caught doing anything wrong.
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21-10-2012, 10:31 PM
RE: Judge accountability
(21-10-2012 10:10 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  What do you'll think?
Should Judges be held accountable for their actions?
Yes, to a limited extent. Judges shouldn't be held accountable if their decision was, for example, based on evidence that turned out to be incomplete/forged post-sententia.
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21-10-2012, 11:56 PM
RE: Judge accountability
They are held accountable to a limited extent.
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