Experiences with the criminal justice system

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Experiences with the criminal justice system

Post  Chris on Wed May 11, 2011 12:46 am

For years I've been having the same conversations with people around how the legal system views and judges violence.

Everyone has a story or knows of someone who has had a brush with the law. Often these events can lead to confusion around how the system works or how decisions were made.

To better understand how the system works let's use this thread as a series of case studies. Let's hear your experiences and we can use them as discussion points about what to expect from the Criminal Justice System. Tell us your experience and I'll try and fit it into the bigger picture while explaining what you can expect from the parties involved.


Bring 'em on! Let's see if the system really is the second enemy!! Very Happy

cheers
Chris
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Re: Experiences with the criminal justice system

Post  Wayne Harrison on Tue May 31, 2011 11:45 am

This is a great topic.

I was involved in gangs & crime for approx. 13 years in Northern Ireland. Idiot i was, i'd lots of exposure to paying my debts to society, rightly so. Coming from a perspective where i'm passionate about helping others not get into trouble, or come a cropper by criminals, i can safely say that the huge majority of people that do get convicted, should be convicted. I lived among convicted criminals for very long times, and although there were people who shouldn't have been convicted, most were meant to be there. My view will be pro-courts, pro-police.

Re: using personal experiences as case studies. I might, i'll see how i feel after my class tonight. It'll be with the caveat i was an idiot for 13 years. Smile

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An experience

Post  Wayne Harrison on Tue May 31, 2011 3:06 pm

Ok. This is an event that's about 9 or 10 years old now. I'm airing it as it can give some insight into the complexities of self defence law.

I was driving up the road in my home town in Northern Ireland. I heard some bangs, and smashing. A guy was outside his house throwing bottles at my car. I stopped my car, and went over to him. He pulled out a baseball bat in his garden and attacked me. I pulled out a knife (please bear in mind throughout this i was known to police). He hit me with the bat, and i feel to the ground. I told him "i'll kill you you bastard". He went into his house, and i left. 20 minutes later i was arrested for threat to kill.

In my interviews i explained what happened, i was claiming self defence. I was told by police that i was on his property, so he had a right to defend himself. Knowing UK self defence law now, i know i have protection under law to go to someones house to speak with them, but not to cause a fight.

I was injured by the bat, he wasn't injured by me.

I got charged with threat to kill ( a scheduled offence). It's usually a hard charge to convict, by neccessity it is verbal often. I got convicted.

It was the proper result. Although the facts are outlined as above, what is added into the mix is my background in gangs, and the actual hypothetical threat i posed to this person had i have came into close proximity.

Being on his property (irrespective of who started it), with my background in gangs, and the perceived propensity for my lifestyle, coupled with the threat, it painted another possible outcome according to police. Yes this person started hassle, by throwing bottles at me and came at me with a bat, however, this would not excuse the threat i gave and the knife in my hand, and the will behind it, alongside the possibility of attempting to enact it. Unless i was undergoing an prolonged attack (which i wasn't) At that point, there was a possible threat to life, started by bottles thrown at my car, and me being hit once with a bat. So this was clear vigilante actions on my part, as my subsequent actions were showing the intention to be more extreme.

For me, it shows, that although a conflict can start off with you minding your own business, how you react to that conflict, on a moment by moment basis, is key. The law is here to keep everyone safe, and self defence law. if understood, is a pretty solid law that we are able to use to protect us, when we really are innocent. And not when we attempt to manipulate.

In my experience, it's of course not 100% fool proof, the right result is usually arrived at. If we are man enough to be honest about it.

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Wayne
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Re: Experiences with the criminal justice system

Post  Chris on Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:26 am

The hardest hurdle to overcome in a discussion around self protection and the law is self awareness and objectivity. Every person I ever spoke to who was charged with a violent crime was convinced of the moral "rightness" of their action.

If the participants are truly honest and self aware as regards their motivation and action we see that the VAST majority of violent action is either "recreational violence" or vigilante action.

The criminal justice system understandably takes a dim view of such behaviour. The participants in the violence understandably rant a rail against a system which dares to disagree with their behaviour.

Now, the law DOES protect the innocent. It DOES allow violent action in defense of self, others or property. Just be prepared to be questioned about your actions when another person has be injured because of your actions.

The police officers attending WILL form an opinion about you. They WILL attempt to have to make comments in your recorded statements which show the elements of the crime they believe may have been committed. That's just how the system works so be prepared for it. Understand how statements will be interpreted and understand the law so you can represent yourself accurately and efficiently.

One thing I will say, the police do not decide who goes to trial and who does not. That's down to the CPS and the police. The police do not convict, that's down to the judge and or jury. The police don't decide what's legal and illegal behaviour, they just gather the evidence and pass it on.

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Re: Experiences with the criminal justice system

Post  RichardZ on Thu May 03, 2012 9:24 pm

Great thread. This (laws) is almost the same in the US

However, in the US, there is debate over the "Castle Law" (Castle Doctrine Defense of Habitation Law) (Wiki or Google it)

It is a law which gives a person the legal right to use deadly force to defend their residence

Recently, in the US, it has been a great cause for a debate
(Ref The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. The National News Media had a field day with this and had vague pictures of both people, projecting them in a profile far beyond what their current profile was held upon the incident)

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Re: Experiences with the criminal justice system

Post  Nick Hughes on Sat May 05, 2012 1:01 pm

Richard,

I concur. I saw one magazine while at the supermarket. All the pics of Trayvon were when he was a young child, very cute in graduation costumes, band uniforms and so on...every single one. The pic of Zimmerman looked like he was in a jumpsuit. Despite being hispanic the media is hell bent on pushing white v black of course. Anything those arseholes can do to stir up trouble they will.

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Re: Experiences with the criminal justice system

Post  Chris on Sun May 06, 2012 10:52 am

All of the recent furore in the US would have been resolved if they had simply charged Zimmerman with involuntary manslaughter and let the process take its course.

The mess was made by a failure to act quickly and in accordance with due process.
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Re: Experiences with the criminal justice system

Post  RichardZ on Sun May 06, 2012 12:35 pm

Chris wrote:All of the recent furore in the US would have been resolved if they had simply charged Zimmerman with involuntary manslaughter and let the process take its course.

The mess was made by a failure to act quickly and in accordance with due process.
I agree. After a shooting such as that, a charge should have been made. He should have not first been released seemingly "scott free".


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