A Beautiful Schizophrenia [was: Re: AI Eureka!]

Jim Balter jqb at exodus.net
Tue Jun 4 23:43:46 EST 2002

J Ahlstrom wrote:
> Bryan Derksen wrote:
> > On 2 Jun 2002 10:52:07 -0700, schillin at spock.usc.edu (John Schilling)
> > wrote:
> > >stremler at rohan.sdsu.edu writes:
> > >>I hear stories like this and I just wonder what people are thinking when
> > >>they admit to heinous crimes that they (allegedly) didn't do.
> >
> > >"If I tell the mean policeman what he wants to hear, he will let me go
> > >to the bathroom and then take a nap."
> >
> > And then there's always the completely rational approach; "If you
> > confess, you'll get 20 years. If we convict you, you get the chair."
> >
> > I know that the justice system is not infallable, and that many people
> > get convicted who are actually innocent. I can get a lot of books read
> > in 20 years, and then after that they'll let me go. If it looks like
> > they've got enough evidence and witnesses lined up, or I'm the wrong
> > ethnicity or whatever, then it might be a safer bet to make even if I
> > didn't really do it.
> US District Court Judge Richard Posner wrote something like:
>    Anything we do to increase the numbere of guilty
>    we convict will increase the number of innocent we convict.
>    Anything we do to increase the number of innocent we acquit
>    will increase the number of guilty we acquit.
> Posner, Richard
>     Problems of Jurisprudence,
>     Harvard Press, 1993

If he wrote that then he's an idiot; it implies that, if the number of
convictions is held constant, then the ratio of innocent to guilty
among the convicted cannot be changed -- we might as well have a quota
for the numnber of convictions, and pick who gets convicted randomly.
That would certainly reduce the cost of the court  system.

Anyone who would write such a thing is a nincompoop, and anyone who
would quote it verges on being a nincompoop.  
Of course it isn't really nincompoopery at work here,
but rather rationalizations by the mean-spirited for
why we should do nothing about injustice.

<J Q B>

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