Sun, Feb
11
2007

Justice Must be Blind, But it Should Still Make Sense

Sun, Feb 11, 2007

I agree with Bob Tarantino on this: our justice system could do with a bit of a spring cleaning, to ensure that our penalties, if they don’t quite conform to our perception of justice, at least make sense when compared to each other.

For instance, it makes no sense to me that a person convicted of drunk driving resulting in the death of an individual gets only a three year sentence, while a teacher who may be a victim of spyware or malware risks a forty year sentence on a case that, in my opinion, should not have gone to trial in the first place (hat tip to Quotultiousness):

Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in Norwich, Connecticut, has been convicted of impairing the morals of a child and risking injury to a minor by exposing as many as ten seventh-grade students to porn sites.

It’s a short story: On October, 19, 2004, Amero was a substitute teacher for a seventh-grade language class at Kelly Middle School. A few students were crowded around a PC; some were giggling. She investigated and saw the kids looking at a barrage of graphic, hard-core pornographic pop-ups.

The prosecution contended that she had used the computer to visit porn sites.

The defense said that wasn’t true and argued that the machine was infested with spyware and malware, and that opening the browser caused the computer to go into an endless loop of pop-ups leading to porn sites.

Amero maintains her innocence. She refused offers of a plea bargain and now faces an astounding 40 years in prison (her sentencing is on March 2).

Final word to Nicholas at Quotulatiousness:

Let’s remember the proportionality of this offence: murderers and rapists get significantly shorter sentences than this. This case is a terrible example of both judicial computer illiteracy and the modern witch-hunt whenever children’s interests are involved. One can only assume that the presiding judge has somehow never encountered an unwanted pop-up from a porn site (hard though that may be to believe).

Although an appeal is pretty much guaranteed, regardless of the sentence to be handed down on March 2nd, the case should never have gone to trial in the first place.

Indeed.


Family/Writing Update

Things have been fairly quiet on my blog, but not at home. We took a drive to Burlington yesterday, as a means of helping Erin to write. It works like this: the car driving lulls Vivian to sleep for about an hour or more, and that gives Erin time enough to work on her writing on her laptop. She’s currently hard at work finishing up her latest project, The Mongoose Diaries, chronicling Vivian’s first year in journal format. Look for it to be out in time for Mother’s Day. We’re really in the final stretch here. We had hoped to do the same this afternoon, but we ended up deciding that catching up on some of our lost sleep on the couch had higher priority. Fortunately Vivian humoured us and got some sleep herself.

Fathom Five has now been copy-edited and has been sent back to Dundurn for design. I should be getting the page proofs in a week. I also have two articles I’m working on for Business Edge, one of which needs to be filed on Tuesday, so I know what I’ll be working on this Monday.

And work continues on The Night Girl, which should pass the 25000 word mark this week. I’ll post some new material once I’m happy with it. Erin warns me that if I pass Plain Kate (now at 30000 words), she may have to take extraordinary measures to slow me down lest I make her look bad. smile I also have another school reading this week — this time in Cambridge — which I’m looking forward to.


Another Reason to Really Hate Spammers

My condolences to Andrew at Bound by Gravity who has just recovered from a remarkable act of vandalism on his blog by spammers. Alan at Gen X at 40 took a screen shot for posterity.

Andrew is investigating and I’ll be interested in seeing what he finds, as this goes beyond spam comments and trackbacks. It looks like Andrew’s blog was hacked and the spam inserted. By bypassing the security set up to prevent this sort of thing and actually defacing the site, this strikes me as something where criminal charges could, and should, be laid. Bloggers should keep an eye on their own settings and keep backups in case similar things happen to them.


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