Archive for justice

abolish the death penalty

Posted in Kids with tags , , , on January 12, 2021 by xi'an

It is irreversible and mistakes happen. Execution is the ultimate, irrevocable punishment: the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated. Since 1973, for example, more than 160 prisoners sent to death row in the USA have later been exonerated or released from death row on grounds of innocence. Others have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt.

It does not deter crime. Countries who execute commonly cite the death penalty as a way to deter people from committing crime. This claim has been repeatedly discredited, and there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective in reducing crime than life imprisonment.

It is often used within skewed justice systems. In many cases recorded by Amnesty International, people were executed after being convicted in grossly unfair trials, on the basis of torture-tainted evidence and with inadequate legal representation. In some countries death sentences are imposed as the mandatory punishment for certain offences, meaning that judges are not able to consider the circumstances of the crime or of the defendant before sentencing.

It is discriminatory. The weight of the death penalty is disproportionately carried by those with less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds or belonging to a racial, ethnic or religious minority. This includes having limited access to legal representation, for example, or being at greater disadvantage in their experience of the criminal justice system.

It is used as a political tool. The authorities in some countries, for example Iran and Sudan, use the death penalty to punish political opponents.

Je ne plaide pas pour l’Histoire, Je n’en ai rien à faire, de l’Histoire. Je veux plaider pour aujourd’hui, pas pour demain.

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2020 by xi'an

Here are some excerpts from the final argument of the Charlie Hebdo lawyer, Richard Malka (as I presume that publishing the integral plaidoirie would be a breach of copyright):

Le sens de ce procès c’est évidemment, et d’abord, de juger ces accusés. C’est de démontrer que le droit prime la force. Tout cela est déjà énorme, et dans n’importe quel procès ce serait suffisant. Mais pas là. Pas au regard des crimes commis. Les attentats de l’Hyper Cacher et de Charlie ne sont pas que des crimes. Ils ont une portée politique, philosophique, métaphysique. Ils convergent vers la même idée, ils ont le même but. Quand Coulibaly tue des juifs, il ne tue pas que des juifs, il tue l’autre. Charlie Hebdo aussi, c’est l’autre. Le sens de ces crimes, c’est l’annihilation de l’autre, de la différence. Si l’on ne répond pas à cela, on se sera arrêté en chemin.

Je ne plaide pas pour l’Histoire. Je n’en ai rien à faire, de l’Histoire. Je veux plaider pour aujourd’hui, pas pour demain. Pour les hommes d’ici et maintenant, pas pour les historiens du futur. Le futur, c’est comme le ciel, c’est virtuel. C’est à nous, et à nous seuls, qu’il revient de s’engager, de réfléchir, et parfois de prendre des risques pour rester libres d’être ce que nous voulons. C’est à nous, et à personne d’autre, de trouver les mots, de les prononcer pour recouvrir le son des couteaux sous nos gorges. A nous de rire, de dessiner, de jouir de nos libertés, face à des fanatiques qui voudront nous imposer leur monde de névroses et de frustrations. C’est à nous de nous battre pour rester libres. C’est ça qui se joue aujourd’hui.

Alors vous voyez, on n’a pas le choix. Renoncer à la libre critique des religions, renoncer aux caricatures de Mahomet, ce serait renoncer à notre histoire, à l’Encyclopédie, aux grandes lois de la République. Renoncer à enseigner que l’homme descend du singe et pas d’un songe. Renoncer à l’égalité pour les femmes, qui ne sont pas la moitié des hommes, à l’égalité pour les homosexuels, alors que, bizarrement, dans 72 pays au monde, les mêmes ou à peu près que ceux qui ont encore une législation contre le blasphème, l’homosexualité est encore une abomination.

an interview with Sartre

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2019 by xi'an

I came by chance upon this interview of Jean-Paul Sartre in a student journal and found some quotations worth (?) posting as illustrative of his countertop philosophy talents:

“…certains acteurs, même très bons, se donnent tout entiers, et lorsqu’ils jouent, sont en train de croire à ce qu’ils jouent. Ils vivent leurs rôles. Ils oublient que le théâtre, ce n’est jamais la vie.”

“Dans L’Etre et le Néant, j’ai expliqué qu’être un garçon de café, c’était jouer à l’être, que les deux ne se distinguaient pas.”

“Il n’y a pas de vérité absolue. L’Histoire est si brouillée qu’il n’y a pas de références absolues, à moins d’être communiste ou croyant.”

“…je ne suis pas sûr que la notion de justice soit indispensable à la société. Je suppose qu’elle vient elle-même d’une vieille couche théologique. Si vous n’avez pas de Dieu, elle n’a plus de sens, sauf comme protection contre une certaine catégorie d’individus. La notion de justice est vraiment inutile.”

and it only gets worse [verbatim]

Posted in Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2019 by xi'an

““We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem.” DT, 25 July

“The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.” William Barr, Attorney General, 25 July

“And you had the Nobel Prize? That’s incredible. They gave it to you for what reason?” DT, 17 July

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” DT, 14 July

“Donald Trump is responsible for this. He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry. He is responsible because he is failing to condemn white supremacy, and seeing it as it is.” Corry Booker, 4 August

and it only gets worse…

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2017 by xi'an

“You know, the saddest thing is that because I’m the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” Mr. Trump said in a radio interview on Thursday on the “Larry O’Connor Show.” “I am not supposed to be involved with the F.B.I. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I’m very frustrated by it.” NYT, Nov 03, 2017

“Two former US intelligence chiefs have said Donald Trump poses “a peril” to the US because he is vulnerable to being “played” by Russia, after the president said on Saturday he believed Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election.” The Guardian, Nov 12, 2017

“As a result [of the 44% of vacant seats in the appeal courts], Mr. Trump is poised to bring the conservative legal movement, which took shape in the 1980s in reaction to decades of liberal rulings on issues like the rights of criminal suspects and of women who want abortions, to a new peak of influence over American law and society.” NYT, Nov 11, 2017

“Hunting interests have scored a major victory with the Trump administration’s decision to allow Americans to bring home body parts of elephants shot for sport in Africa. Another totemic species now looks set to follow suit – lions.”  The Guardian, Nov 16, 2017

“Like everything else Trump touches, he hijacks it with his chronic dishonesty and childishness,” said Mark Salter, a longtime adviser to Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “The intense, angry and largely ignorant tribalism afflicting our politics predates Trump’s arrival on the scene. But he has infused it with a psychopath’s inability to accept that social norms apply to him.” NYT, November  18, 2017

“We represent a much larger number of concerned mental health professionals who have come forward to warn against the president’s psychological instability and the dangers it poses. We now number in the thousands.” NYT, November 31, 2017