Third Party & Independents: Archives

August 10, 2007

How We Could Make America Better Instantly

We can make America better instantly by publishing an easy access online encyclopedia of the laws which govern our criminal justice system for all states and the federal government.

Tell the public about the criminal justice system. Is this such a radical idea? It must be because I have never heard it asked before, in this manner. Why don't we publish a online encyclopedia, for each state and for the federal level, of the punishment's for each crime?

Your probably thinking, how would this make America better? Well it would allow the public to see the extreme stupidity in our criminal justice system. You will see states, from my previous research I can guarantee Georgia will be the extreme of the extreme, where cannabis dealers have harsher maximum sentences than rapists or child abusers.

You will see that someone with just a few grams of crack cocaine has a much harsher maximum sentence than a person whom has been convicted for several dozen more grams of powder cocaine. You will see heroin dealers which must suffer under more harsher maximum sentences than those convicted of manslaughter.

Cocaine dealers getting harsher sentences than rapists. Sexual predators getting eighteen months, as some of those convicted on Dateline's report got, where the man with ten or fifteen plants in his backyard or basement of cannabis gets several years.

If the sentencing guidelines for each state and for our federal government were published in one easy access site you would be amazed.

An example:
1. In Georgia the first offense of cannabis possession, of any amount, within 1,000 feet of a school can be incarcarated for up to twenty years. If that person uses a radio or cell phone within that crime the maximum sentence can be up to twenty four years. (1)

2. In Georgia "A person who knowingly commits the offense of aggravated battery upon a peace officer while the officer is engaged in, or on account of the performance of, his or her official duties shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years." (2)

3. In Georgia "Any person who commits the offense of aggravated battery against a person who is 65 years of age or older shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years." (2)

Thus in Georgia the mere crime of cannabis possession, of any amount, within 1,000 feet of a school while using a radio or cell phone can get you more time than aggravated battery of a cop or a senior citizen. This is merely one example, there are crazy discrepancies in each and every state. An easy access online encyclopedia of the punishment's for each crime for each state and of the federal level would inform the citizens and hopefully change some of these discrepancies.


1. http://norml.org/index.cfm?
wtm_view=&Group_ID=4531

2. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-24 (2007)


Posted by Richard Rhodes at August 10, 2007 06:40 PM
Comments
Comment #228994

Richard,

Not only do I agree, I don’t know why this isn’t required already. Don’t we want a ‘transparent’ government? How are we suppose to know what the laws are, how to keep ourselves out of jail?

I’ve always said we have too many laws, just like we have too many taxes. We need to have them both listed out and available in an easy to locate list like you suggest so people can see just exactly what we mean when we say ‘mindless bureaucracy’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 10, 2007 09:57 PM
Comment #228998


Convincing the people that they should know the law of the land is a noble and worthwhile cause but, it would be even greater to convince them to learn their Congressperson’s voting record.

Perhaps the government considers cannabis a greater threat to society than rapists, thieves, murderers and child molesters. For instance, the state of Massachusetts considers Manhattan-style clam chouder a grave threat and have made it illegal in the state.

Posted by: jlw at August 10, 2007 10:40 PM
Comment #229017

While this is a noble idea, the “user-friendly” idea is the hard part. As Rhinehold brings up, there are way too many laws on the books, and trying to codify them all in layman’s terms, as well as putting together a website capable of filing it all in an easy-to-use way would be a monstrous undertaking. Still worthwhile, mind you, but trying to find the political will to make it happen, that would be the hard part, especially since this would expose all the pork around the edges of our government.

On the other hand, how many people watch C-Span now? You can lead horse to water, and so forth. We could make all the information in the world avaliable, but would people care enought to check? I hate to be pessimistic, but one has to doubt a bit.

As far as ridiculous laws, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that weed is brought up. Did you know that Cannabis is a Schedule I drug (the highest penalties) while heroin is a Schedue II? The federal government refuses to acknowledge any medical or industrial uses for marijuana, despite all the good it could do, from glaucoma medication to paper products. All in the name of scoring a few kudos with their constituents.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at August 11, 2007 10:42 AM
Comment #229023
trying to codify them all in layman’s terms

Why are we writing laws that AREN’T in layman’s terms to begin with, since it is the ‘layman’ who is going to have to follow them?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 11, 2007 01:14 PM
Comment #229024

Rhinehold:

Because we elect mostly lawyers? :)

Posted by: womanmarine at August 11, 2007 01:24 PM
Comment #229277

Richard:

A great example of what you are talking about is taking place right now in Texas. http://ksoze.newsvine.com/_news/2007/08/13/893280-sentenced-to-death-for-a-crime-even-the-state-admits-he-didnt-commit

Posted by: Jarandhel at August 13, 2007 08:32 PM
Comment #229525

Here’s a website you may find useful. http://www.addicted.com is a site for friends, families, and those who suffer from various addictions.

Posted by: Addiction Recovery at August 15, 2007 04:53 PM
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