Restitution-based legal system
August 2, 2009 at 1:06 pm #1029
I have added a wiki page detailing my restitution-based private legal system.
I would like your input on the discussion page and/or below.August 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm #7301
to the victims of crime is first step toward rehabilitation of the guilty…
VI.1.5 Bails shall be set at the cost of restitution and all funds collected shall be placed and/or held in the National Treasury except for capital or otherwise infamous offences where there shall be no bail.
VI.1.6 Excessive fines shall not be required, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted. Toward that end there are seven sentences for offences under the Law:
VI.1.6a) Restitution to the victim(s) for actual damages,
VI.1.6b) Fines shall be up to three times the cost of restitution and all funds collected shall be placed and/or held in the National Treasury,
VI.1.6c) Deprivation of Voting, Appointment and Electoral Rights,
VI.1.6d) Banishment for a period of time fitting the offence(s) to be determined by Law,
VI.1.6d.1) To be Banished is to be separated from the community of Citizen Captains, Subject Citizens and Subjects, to be forbidden passage through the Territory of the Republic and to be shunned on the High Seas whenever and wherever encountered.
VI.1.6e) Banishment for Life,
VI.1.6f) Banishment on Pain of Death,
VI.1.6f.1) To be Banished on Pain of Death is to be subject to execution, after due process of Law, if found at sea whether within the Territories of the Republic or on the High Seas, whenever or wherever encountered,
VI.1.6g.1) Death is the sentence for the following capital or otherwise infamous offences: Murder, Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill, Voluntary Manslaughter, Criminal Sexual Conduct, Kidnapping, Piracy or the attempt to commit any of these offences, or being an accessory before, during or after the fact of any of these offences and the sentence of Death shall be considered for any offence where the loss of life has resulted from its commission.
(O.C.R.C.)August 6, 2009 at 4:22 pm #7302
Wohl, you can’t put banishment and death sentences on there. That’s for individual Seasteads to decide. As is the fine limit, I think.
– NickAugust 6, 2009 at 9:54 pm #7307
1) There’s a reason a lot of people are opposed to the death penalty. Courts and police are extremely fallable.
2) I’ve been falsely accused of some of the things you say are capital crimes before, and my father has been falsely accused by my mother of others. As much as I hate the US legal system, atleast none of us had to worry about being put to death cause of what some other liar said (at least not by the gov., there are those self-righteous individuals who think they have some mysterious, magical ability to determine honesty in others, and the right to take matters into their own hands).
3) How can you claim the right to kill someone cause you banished them and then found them floating on the high seas? Its outside of your jurisdiction, you’re pretty much claiming partial sovereignty over all the oceans.
I was hoping to move to a more liberally minded, progressive seastead, not a floating copy of Texas.August 7, 2009 at 12:54 am #7310
I think that the death penalty should be illegal on the Steads. Banishment is fine as long as it’s only from your own Stead. You can’t tell other Steads not to take them in.
– NickAugust 7, 2009 at 2:53 am #7312
Wohl, I know it’s a rough draft to get your main ideas out there and I can sympathize with some of your thinking on many of these but I think some of them do overstep some bounds. The list of high crimes is especially harsh, given the broad range of crimes. Maybe a seastead where all crimes are punishable by death would completely erradicate all crime and prove to be the perfect system (hopefully before completely erradicating the entire population) but it’s certainly not general/free enough to apply to multiple communities.
A few examples:
- ‘Criminal Sexual Conduct’ is a catch-all category of crimes, most of which really are horrible offenses and deserving of harsh punishment. Forcibly flipping up someone else’s skirt or shirt is defined under this category in some states but that’s hardly the sort of thing that should be grouped in with rape and molestation.
- On the high seas, any and all theft is called piracy. Stealing a candy bar could be punishable by death by this definition. I think I’m probably one of the few people left that doesn’t download music (though I may have in the distant past) but I think it’s common enough that 75-90% of the population would be subject to capital punishment in this scenario.
being an accessory before, during, or after the fact opens up all sorts of problems. Especially since an ‘accessory after the fact’ is defined as someone “who knowing a felony to have been committed by another, receives, relieves, comforts, or assists the felon in order to hinder the felon’s apprehension, trial, or punishment.” I suppose you can help a known felon as long as it in no way helps them escape… like by giving them medical attention after tying them up and calling the police… but generally speaking, it would be easy for a person to fall into this category too. (especially if you combine this one and piracy)
I think banishment isn’t really a punishment, it simply pushes problem citizens from one community to the next, never correcting the behavior or preventing further offenses. That’s probably where the idea of prison came from. You want criminals out of your community but eventually they have no where else to go. I’m sure your intent is to find a punishment without resorting to prison, though, which is commendable. I don’t think there is an easy solution, however.
I won’t bother to argue against the death penalty. There are plenty of reasons for an against it. I just want to mention that such a punishment should not be taken lightly. This is especially true when you consider the falability of the system. It’s still relatively rare (though once is too many times) inmates on death row have been found innocent of the crimes they were condemned for (both before and after the justice has already been served).
In a related note, if honest judges and juries can get it wrong on something serious enough to warrant the death penalty, after the years it takes to go all the way from trial to execution (often decades), then how can anyone expect that ‘vigilante justice’ can be carried out fairly by the family members of a victim? Even if the suspect really is guilty, the punishment is unlikely to fit the crime… and given the emotional bias, it’s highly doubtful the suspects will usually be guilty. …aw crap, wrong thread for that part.
As for the original post. I think, in general, that would work for a vast majority of situations. I only see two major problems so far:
- What happens if “chances of full recoupment are deemed” unlikely?
- Wouldn’t this incentivise the company to ‘make sure’ that the incident never makes it to trial? In other words, couldn’t they find ways to get a settlement even from a likely innocent suspect?
I guess only more fully grasped the uses of this system half-way through writing these questions. I guess the answer to number 1 is that it will simply go to trial. This is a sort of filter before the legal system is even involved. So, if this doesn’t apply you’ll still need a regular legal system to handle the rest. That doesn’t entirely answer my second question, though. What methods could be employed to prevent this from being abused?
Also, if this can prevent a criminal record, might that only be a good thing for criminals? If a criminal can injure or kill someone, then simply pay enough restitution that the beneficiaries accept, it merely allows for a criminal to go unpunished, which does little to prevent further offenses… or to even track those offenses. Maybe in some cases, low-level offenses could serve as a warning and/or the restitution serves as “time served” in the court but I don’t think it would be a good idea to let any crimes go completely unrecorded.
There’s a difficult balance between reducing the burden of an overly harsh permenant record and allowing criminals the benefit of multiple “first offenses”.August 7, 2009 at 10:56 am #7316
I still say we can’t have the death penalty. I think it’s ok in superpower countries with democracies, but Steads are tiny with varied governments, so the power falls to only a few people. There has to be more people to decide if a person lives or dies.
– NickAugust 7, 2009 at 3:53 pm #7319
Here are a few answers to your objections so far:
VI.1.8 A writ of habeas corpus shall be required in all prosecutions as victimless offences or offences where no harm can be demonstrated are unconstitutional.
VI.1.8a) Only in a case of Treason can the Republic be the victim; in all other prosecutions a natural or legal person must be a victim.
VI.1.9 Perjury, the bearing of false witness against a Citizen Captain, Subject Citizen, Subject or any person, natural or legal, whether at trial, in an affidavit, oath or affirmation is an offence punishable by Banishment for Life, Banishment on Pain of Death or Death if loss of life has resulted from its commission.
VI.1.9a) Uncorroborated, unsubstantiated testimony even from an eyewitness, is not grounds for prosecution only investigation with the facts revealed being held in confidence and if no evidence is found, what facts exist shall be reviewed by the Grand Jury to determine if the crime of perjury has been committed.
VI.1.9b) The Grand Jury, having reviewed the facts that exist and believing that while no perjury has been committed, no evidence exists to prosecute an offence under Law, shall order the facts published in the Official National Publication “THE REPUBLIC” for scrutiny by the Citizen Captains, Subject Citizens, Subjects and others at large, that the People shall know and discern the truth for themselves as their conscience dictates.
As you can see, people are not going to go ’round charging other people with crimes unless they are guilty…
People who commit capital or otherwise infamous offences cannot be rehabilitated: they made a choice to do what they did! They made the wrong choice once and they may make the wrong choice again if given the chance. If they do who then is responsible? The perpetrator? No, the ‘state’ knew what he or she was when they failed in their duty to protect the people by executing them the first time! Now, every drop of innocent blood shed is on their hands as well. This Republic will not wash its hands in the blood of innocent people as the so-called ‘civilized world’ does every time they fail to do their duty to protect the people.
As for Banishment as a sentence for crime, since the Republic doesn’t collect taxes, we couldn’t’t support a jail. More to the point, jail is a cruel, if usual, punishment for offences under the law. To lock a person up for X many years is a waste of a life and to add insult to injury to compel other people pay to support these criminals in the form of taxes is criminal in se. Worse yet, it’s willful fraud on the part of government. In the civilized countries of the world jails and prisons are not there to punish criminals but to rehabilitate them, so they say. Rehabilitation implies that people who choose to commit crimes were functional members of a society to begin with and that jail or prison will rehabilitate them. I can say with the conviction gained by personal experience that most criminals are not functional members of society or are only marginally so. Those few exceptions to the rule will not, would not and could not benefit from going to jail, not them, not their victims nor society in general.
And even more to the point: The kind of people who are going to live on seasteads, free, independent self-reliant people, aren’t going to do these sorts of things…August 7, 2009 at 7:23 pm #7323
But aren’t you guys going a bit toooooooooooooooooooo far w/all the legal system? If a seastead is going to be built in the near future it might have 500 people (or less) to start with. It seems to me that they will all be cops, attorneys, prosecutors, paralegals, judges, jurors, jailers, law makers, etc….It looks like 1984, man. How much LAW is needed for 500 people? Or, are these 500 the scum of the Earth? Or, these 500 had gathered on the seastead to commit crimes 1000 miles offshore?
But I guess it has something to do w/how we perceive life on a seastead on a individual level. My vision is that I will wake up in the morning and jump on my skiff to go fishing. Come back around 4 pm w/ some nice tuna and grouper and throw it on the grill. (unless somebody will rob me @ gun point of my catch,…). If Wohl, DM, Thief, JL, etc wanna bring some rice, bean, beers, few joints, etc, to the feast then come on down. Will chow, drink, smoke and watch the sunset and the stars toghether, and bullshit a bit, crack some jokes, and maybe plan a bit for tomorrow…..August 8, 2009 at 2:22 am #7330wohl1917 wrote:
People who commit capital or otherwise infamous offences cannot be rehabilitated
That’s an opinion, mate. I happen to agree, but you can’t force it on other people, no matter how much you want to. I will not sign a constitution that allows murder. Premeditated killing is always murder. It may be justifiable to some, but it’s still murder. Many people would say it’s ok to kill a man who slept with his wife, but that doesn’t mean it should be allowed.
Ocean, I’d be honoured to join your feast. I’ll bring the smokables. ^.^
– NickAugust 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm #7340
Overall it sounds like a surprisingly (to me) good system, but I’m not sure how threat of a destroyed reputation is going to prevent corruption among RTR groups. It would seem that an RTR group could easily become a sort of extortion agency. A non-victimized “victim” claims damages against someone else, RTR gains rights to restitution, then uses the threat of its resources (for example, an army of lawyers ready to prosecute them or bring evidence against them in court) to coerce innocent people into payment. I don’t really have faith in free market dynamics to do away with such behavior, actually I’d think it would encourage it, since the RTR group effectively makes more money by convincing people to claim damages. How would a competing honest RTR agency put the other out of business (or is there another explanation)?
On the note of groups encouraging people to claim damages, we already have enough of that in the US. I’ve actually met a person who tried to sue a store because he slipped in the parking lot in the rain and broke his elbow (although I don’t think it got very far). That kind of liability is just absurd.August 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm #7331
Q: As for the original post. I think, in general, that would work for a vast majority of situations. I only see two major problems so far:
What happens if “chances of full recoupment are deemed” unlikely?
A: For cases in which recoupment by the RTR agency is unlikely,
1) it would be better for the victim to have insurance. While the Master Lease (http://wiki.seasteading.org/index.php/ClubStead_Master_Lease) requires residents to have insurance for most situations, RTR provides an alternative for the uninsured.
2)The victim still has the option of selecting an arbitrator on the open market for unsettled cases.
One example of unlikely recoupment is when a state is the aggressor. In this case, aggression insurance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aggression_insurance) will be an available option. Underwriters of the stead will see to it that even the most aggressive states will find it difficult to justify an attack against their stead (in order that they don’t lose substantial claims for such aggressions).
Q: Wouldn’t this incentivise the company to ‘make sure’ that the incident never makes it to trial? In other words, couldn’t they find ways to get a settlement even from a likely innocent suspect?
A: An innocent suspect would not be interested in participating in an RTR package if an RTR agency didn’t have a good case. In an open market such as that of Aquia (http://wiki.seasteading.org/index.php/Constitution_of_the_Autonomous_Freezone_of_Aquia), an RTR agency that engages in such reckless behavior will quickly destroy its own reputation. Simple market dynamics.
Q: Also, if this can prevent a criminal record, might that only be a good thing for criminals? If a criminal can injure or kill someone, then simply pay enough restitution that the beneficiaries accept, it merely allows for a criminal to go unpunished, which does little to prevent further offenses… or to even track those offenses. Maybe in some cases, low-level offenses could serve as a warning and/or the restitution serves as “time served” in the court but I don’t think it would be a good idea to let any crimes go completely unrecorded.
There’s a difficult balance between reducing the burden of an overly harsh permenant record and allowing criminals the benefit of multiple “first offenses”.
A: The penalty is directly proportionate to the aggression. Arbitrary punitive damages are unnecessary because the financial burden for the costs of containment and restoration (along with any other costs for the RTR process) are passed directly to the aggressor. Major aggressions would be extremely costly, and aggressors would not find it in their financial self interest to repeat such practices. For further reading see “The Market for Liberty” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Market_for_Liberty).
Also, it would be in the interest of both the community and the RTR industry for some settled aggressions to be kept public. Case by case negotiations would take all factors into consideration. A provision could be added that would require both the victim and the RTR agency to agree to an expungement of any record of a settled aggression. The real bargaining point is in the alternative sentence for the aggressor (long-term containment and supervision for which he is financially responsible). Until the case is fully certified as settled, the aggressor is a debtor. Certification of settlement would be attached to any public record for the benefit of the former aggressor.August 10, 2009 at 4:17 am #7345
Melllvar, you greatly underestimate the self-corrective power of a competitive marketplace.
First of all, the aggressor is under no obligation to cooperate with the RTR agency. If the RTR package offered to him is not more attractive than the alternative, the RTR agency will need to prove his guilt to a neutral arbitrator. If the RTR agency fails to do so, it will be required to pay all expenses including the cost of arbitration. If the RTR agency has held the falsely accused aggressor against his will (or is shown to have taken anything that rightly belongs to him – including his time, property, &c), then the roles will be reversed. The RTR agency will have become an aggressor. Obviously an aggressor RTR agency would be a prized target by a competing RTR agency.
In a free market, RTR agencies will be rated in the same way that insurance companies are today. They will work in concert with insurance companies, arbitration agencies, security companies, investigators, and bonding agencies, among others. It would be suicidal for any of these industries to associate with a fraudulent company in any of these industries.
RTR agencies will also likely have insurance against mistaken debt allocations. If an RTR agency were to make false accusations, it would clearly lose its insurance coverage. Such careless agencies would be most hard hit by the loss of coverage, because their volume of misallocations would be greater.
Regarding excessive lawsuits, these will be much less likely in an environment of competitive arbitration agencies than they are today. If debt payments exceed the damages, the responsible party (arbitrator, insurer, RTR agency, &c) becomes the aggressor, and is treated as such – especially by his competitors. Such “errors” are rampant in a judicial system that has been monopolized by the state. Criminal law (as opposed to tort and contract law) is arbitrary, has no respect for the victims, is not interested in restorative justice, loss prevention, &c.
A restitution-based legal system in a competitive marketplace environment is a gigantic step toward civilization and away from statism.August 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm #7347
I’d love to drop by bearing gifts for a party like that!
JLM, while I agree with you that the CRIMINAL Justice System IS arbitrary, has NO respect for the victims [and if I might add here no REAL respect for the accused either] and is NOT interested in restorative Justice [or any other kind] I think you greatly OVERESTIMATE the self-corrective power of a competitive marketplace and the Tort and Contract Laws…
Thief, if I understand your point you’re saying that: if someone walks up and kills you and they are arrested, charged, tried, convicted, sentenced in accordance with and after due process of law, executed that those who did the arresting, charging, trying, convicting, sentencing, and executing would, in your opinion, be guilty of ‘murder’? If so, you’re not the first person I’ve known to believe that…
Melllvar, ‘Tort Reform’ here in the US would absolutely SOLVE a lot the the problems we have across the board from inflation to medical care but lawyers (most of Congress are lawyers) won’t allow it.August 11, 2009 at 1:40 am #7367
No, of course not everyone involved can be blamed. The entire system of government is at fault, but no one individual.
I’m not talking about who should be blamed for executions, but stating that they just shouldn’t happen. If they were to happen, I’d want a completely different system to determine, through a very very thorough psyche examination, whether or not that person should be killed. Factors such as their age (and thus how much it would cost to keep the incarcerated for life), the danger they pose to other inmates, to other guards, to people outside if they do escape, the chances of them escaping, their suitability for forced labour (taking into account all of the above) would all have to be considered. Only after this organisation has dubbed the person completely, inarguably useless and irredeemable can they be executed.
Of course a system so complex and large could barely fit on a Seastead, never mind how much it would cost. So the death penalty should be outlawed.
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