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(Reno Gazette-Journal)   Nevada Supreme Court strikes down "Son of Sam" law, which allows victims of felonies to take any profits made by felons from books, movies, etc. about the crime   (rgj.com) divider line 106
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7151 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Dec 2004 at 5:52 AM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2004-12-23 09:33:41 AM  
Mor Beal - "Your argument is hair-splitting. Cause-and-effect: he would not have received the punishment and been able to write the book had he not committed the crime. I think it's up to the court to determine whether or not the Son of Sam law relates to profits gained solely from work directly describing or talking about the commission of the crime, or if it also applies to discussion of life that resulted from the crime (i.e., prison time)."

No it's not splitting hairs at all - he's been convicted and sent to jail - that's his punishment, pure and simple. You're talking about possibly adding to his punishment as and when it suits you - in this case, it's if he gets paid for writing his book. That's not how it works. Whether it's how it SHOULD work or not isn't up to me.
 
2004-12-23 09:42:40 AM  
Burberry Coloured Beard

The First Amendment guarantees free speech, not free/unlimited purchasing choices.

1)Kill friend by putting plastic bag on his head and choking him
2)Go to pound-me-in-the-ass prison
3)Write book
4)Fyouz buys book (which he reads once then forgets about)
7)become multi-bazillionaire
8)victims family get nothing


This is what, the fourth time in 50 posts that someone thought it was clever to put one of those lists up ("I know, all I have to do now is 1) kill people 2) write a book 3) profit!!!"). Yeah, people generally don't think about the book rights when skinning corpses they dug up to make a vest, but I'll leave that aside for the moment.

In my Boobies I explained (at least I thought I did) why laws like this, no matter how well-intentioned they are, will never provide any substantial amount of money for the victims. The reason for this is simple - if there's a large profit to be made (at least large enough where the author isn't willing to just hand over half of his profits), someone will always find a way around it.

Some examples off the top of my head: 1) judge says killer can't profit off of book, killer writes book, killer publishes it but funnels all would-be profits directly to a lobbying group which takes a stance against the "son of sam law" (e.g. probably every Libertarian lobbying group in the country). Victims lose. 2) Judge says killer can't profit off of book, killer "gives interviews" (but really dictates book) to journalist, journalist writes book, journalist profits, and as per agreement with killer distributes money to killer's lawyer/family/whomever he wanted it to go to. Victims lose. 3) Killer writes book of love poems or cookbook. It sells like hotcakes because of the ironic appeal of such a thing. Since it has nothing to do with the crime, killer profits. Victims lose.
4) Killer publishes it for free on the internet, asks people to send cartons of cigarettes to him if they like it. Killer profits (barely). Victims lose. 5) Killer writes memoirs which just skirt around directly discussing the crime ever-so-elegantly. Lawyer successfully argues that it does not constitute profiting from the crime. Killer profits. Victims lose. 6) Killer signs waiver of attorney-client privilege rights, lawyer publishes book about the crime, lawyer profits, killer profits (off the books of course), victims lose.

Noticing a pattern here? No matter what you do, the victims will get either no money, or not nearly as much money as you oh-so-generously intended with the law. Good intentions and your notions of The Way Things Ought to Be don't change economics. Sorry.
 
2004-12-23 09:45:00 AM  
HappyDaddy

The lesson to be learned here is that the family should always file a wrongful death suit against the murderer. If he later writes a book and makes money - execute on the judgment.

There. See? This guy understands that the world isn't going to conform to your desires and people are gonna buy his book no matter what. That's the way you get compensation if you're a victim. Not through some mealy-mouthed braindead legislation like the Son of Sam law.
 
2004-12-23 09:45:21 AM  
Couldn't someone get around this by just publishing a book or writing a movie that isn't about the actual crime?

I bet if Charles Manson wrote a children's book, people would be so morbidly curious he'd make some serious cash off it.
 
2004-12-23 09:46:02 AM  
Burberry - "(Does he have a "Right to Make money"?)"

Aha - that seems to be your problem with all of this, whether he has that right or not. That may or may not be a different issue, but it's not what I'm trying to argue.
 
2004-12-23 09:50:48 AM  
Yeah, it sucks.

However, the (supposed) focus of our justice system is rehabilitation in order to allow released criminals to become a contributing member of society. If he was released, then he is assumed to have 'paid' for his crime.

Regardless of how it makes you feel, he is entitled to as many rights as the government feels he can be allowed without causing direct harm to others. No legal exercise of free speech is harmful; I say "legal exercise" because laws regarding things like slander and libel still apply.

Combine this assumption (rehabilitation) with the fact that we live in a primarily-capitalist economy, and he has the right to sell his life story. Anyone else specifically mentioned by name, without their permission, is entitled to sue for compensation. In the case of a murder victim, I think (not sure) that next-of-kin would assume that right. It doesn't entitle them to all profits, just a reasonable portion.

You need to accept that we live in a democratic republic with laws and a Constitution that apply to everyone, criminal or not. There is a balance. The very things that make it suck sometimes are, to a large extent, the same things that make it (IMHO) the best system of government I've seen on this planet.

Bottom line: he will profit because others will buy the book. Many other commenters have made this point, but it bears repeating. If we, as a society, do not want a convicted criminal to profit, then we should not buy their products. End of story.

From a moral standpoint, the "Son of Sam" law is awesome. From a realistic perspective, it is a dangerous intrusion of government into areas of free speech (yes) and commerce in which we don't want the government to intercede so strongly.

Damn. I was going to say more, but this is already way too long.
 
2004-12-23 09:51:36 AM  

Welcome to Nevada. What other states call "crime" we call "entrepreneurialism"

 
2004-12-23 10:01:48 AM  
Freedom of speech is linked to profit and marketability? WTF? It's linked to your desire to listen to it or read it? Are you sure about that?
 
2004-12-23 10:05:46 AM  
Simply put, profiting from a crime is a criminal act.

Also, this case doesn't involve a felony, this involves murder. For all of you people that think you understand the law, then you should really understand the difference between felonies and murder/manslaughter. Remember the four diliniations of crime? ANYONE? They are infractions, misdemeanors, felonies, and capital crimes (deaths of individuals). READ A LAW BOOK YOU IDIOTS. I bet you have a tough time differentiating between civil and criminal proceedings. I see a lot of budding twits out here that think they know the law. Well, if you don't, you can actually look up US Code on the, gasp, INTERNET!

When you murder and get sent to jail, the wardens and the state tells you what rights you have. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IF NECESSARY.

If they say the book isn't legal to profit off of, then he has to shut up about it.
 
2004-12-23 10:08:34 AM  
"If they say the book isn't legal to profit off of, then he has to shut up about it."

Well it looks like the book IS legal to profit off of, so I assume you'll be the one shutting up.
 
2004-12-23 10:12:26 AM  
El_Camino_SS

If they say the book isn't legal to profit off of, then he has to shut up about it.

If there is a large enough profit to be made, he will find a way around it, guaranteed. READ AN ECONOMICS BOOK YOU IDIOT.

(sorry, couldn't resist)
 
2004-12-23 10:15:14 AM  
voodoozebra: Welcome to Nevada. What other states call "crime" we call "entrepreneurialism"

Who's the nonconsenting victim in gambling?
 
2004-12-23 10:17:06 AM  
evilgreg:

Bottom line: he will profit because others will buy the book. Many other commenters have made this point, but it bears repeating. If we, as a society, do not want a convicted criminal to profit, then we should not buy their products. End of story.

From a moral standpoint, the "Son of Sam" law is awesome. From a realistic perspective, it is a dangerous intrusion of government into areas of free speech (yes) and commerce in which we don't want the government to intercede so strongly.


This is not a free commerce issue.
A person convicted of murder is not a free citizen.

When an individual is convicted of murder, then the individual's rights can be suspended wholly or in part from the government.

Tough for them. But murder is something that disallows the full restoration of rights.

By the way, judges issue gag orders all the time. This is to protect people, and they always end up gagging those that have not committed crimes. Isn't that a restriction of the First Amendmen? Then think about why we do that. Then think about why we don't let criminals profit off of murder, or let corporations sell crack.

See? This is why we have JUDGES. TO INTERPERET LAWS. So that we can use SAID LAWS to better run the daily operation of a FUNCTIONING SOCIETY. This free fire zone of law you speak of is asinine, and basically, cannot function.

A criminal can no more profit from the blabbing and glorification of crime than you can tell people falsities that lead to their death and not be held responsible. If you scream "He's got a gun!" in a football stadium, and people get trampled to death, are you not committing a criminal act that will bring the possible death of others?

Your superior childish attitude about your freedoms is comical. Why have courts at all with your attitudes? Why interperet anything?
 
2004-12-23 10:22:58 AM  
kyouzo:

If there is a large enough profit to be made, he will find a way around it, guaranteed. READ AN ECONOMICS BOOK YOU IDIOT.

NOT WHILE IN STATE CUSTODY.

Your specious argument can be said about drug dealers that kill people to keep their high profits. Economics is not a religion. Nor should an economics book be a barometer of morality.

Simply put, we can build atomic bombs in this world, just because we can doesn't mean we should.

Most modern interperetations of economic theory miss a lot of points. It is too complicated for most people beyond suppy and demand.
 
2004-12-23 10:24:56 AM  
Sloth_DC:

voodoozebra: Welcome to Nevada. What other states call "crime" we call "entrepreneurialism"

Who's the nonconsenting victim in gambling?



I think he was making a joke about Nevada being a morality free-fire zone.
 
2004-12-23 10:30:20 AM  
El_Camino_SS
NOT WHILE IN STATE CUSTODY.

Oh? He can't give an interview and then the interviewee will publish a book and give a portion of the profits to people the killer wants (e.g. his lawyers, his family, strippers, whoever)? His lawyer can't write a book with the killers help and then give the profits to people the killer wants? (the lawyer isn't in state custody, after all) His family can't write a book about growing up/raising a murderer and make profits/pay his legal fees off with it?

but hey, when you typed "not in state custody" it was in all-caps. You must be right.
 
2004-12-23 10:31:43 AM  
kyouzo:

Oh? He can't give an interview and then the interviewee will publish a book and give a portion of the profits to people the killer wants (e.g. his lawyers, his family, strippers, whoever)? His lawyer can't write a book with the killers help and then give the profits to people the killer wants? (the lawyer isn't in state custody, after all) His family can't write a book about growing up/raising a murderer and make profits/pay his legal fees off with it?

but hey, when you typed "not in state custody" it was in all-caps. You must be right.


That is up to interperetation from the courts.

I won't speculate any further than that.
 
2004-12-23 10:31:55 AM  
El_Camino_SS: Also, this case doesn't involve a felony, this involves murder.

I think you need to stop reading law books and start reading the articles. He pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, a felony - not murder. There's a difference between murder and homicide.

From your tone, something tells me you're not an actual lawyer. Or even a law student.

Let's engage in little legal analysis, shall we?

Here's the original U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down New York's "Son of Sam" law.

Here's the opinion currently in controversy, Seres v. Lerner.

Please describe for me, in plain English, what each decision says. Why did the courts rule the way they did? Were the laws sufficiently narrow in scope to serve a compelling state interest? Why or why not?
 
2004-12-23 10:36:11 AM  
There comes a time when what good, decent, and RIGHT, and the law must part company. This is one of those times.

He's in prison. His "rights" are limited in the extreme.

Dukefluke, I put this to you:

If (a) kills, say, your daughter, who is several months pregnant, and then slices the fetus from her womb to use in some twisted ritual or another, what then? If he were sentenced to 40 years in prison, and wrote a book about the whole affair from within prison, you'd be okay with said sicko becoming obscenely rich when said tome reaches the inevitable top of Hollywierd's best-seller list?

No, you wouldn't regardless of how you posture.

Law and free speech bedamned. Committing some heinous crime should not be a free ticket to profit from a book and a movie of the week. As far as I am concerned, what is right is for said criminals to surrender any and all possessions and properties to the victim(s) (or their surviving families) up to and including any and all past and future profits derived from any work, artistic, literary, or otherwise, related to said crime.

..But then, that's just me. I'm one of those "right wing wackos" you are all screaming about so much.
 
2004-12-23 10:36:47 AM  
kyouzo:

Oh, forgot one more thing.

Often those that insist in the commission of a crime can be barred from completing it, charged fully with the crime, or given infractions for assisting in it.

Once again, you are not totally free in this country. Your actions at any given moment can be called upon in a court of law.

Assisting someone in commmitting a barred act is often a grey area crime, from buying beer for minors, to anything you described above.

Once again, providing a "vehicle" to skirt or break the law is within itself, often a crime.
 
2004-12-23 10:40:37 AM  
I'm sorry, but if someone murdered someone I love I do NOT want them basically profitting off it later.

The murderer is alive and now getting money for writing a book, while his victim will never again have any rights.

So, the victims family should get most of the profit from any book written by the murderer. It won't bring their loved one back, but it should go to them anyway.
 
2004-12-23 10:43:01 AM  
"Dukefluke, I put this to you:

If (a) kills, say, your daughter, who is several months pregnant, and then slices the fetus from her womb to use in some twisted ritual or another, what then? If he were sentenced to 40 years in prison, and wrote a book about the whole affair from within prison, you'd be okay with said sicko becoming obscenely rich when said tome reaches the inevitable top of Hollywierd's best-seller list?"

You seriously think I'm going to waste time thinking about this, you sick, sad little bastard? This is where the adults are talking, go indulge your truly farked imagination elsewhere, troll.
 
2004-12-23 10:43:50 AM  
Mordaris
As far as I am concerned, what is right is for said criminals to surrender any and all possessions and properties to the victim(s) (or their surviving families) up to and including any and all past and future profits derived from any work, artistic, literary, or otherwise, related to said crime.

Then he will NOT WRITE THE BOOK AND THUS THE VICTIMS WILL NOT MAKE ANY MONEY. What about that is so flipping hard to understand?

Let him write his book(s) and make millions - then the victims will get compensated through the civil case. With the Son of Sam law, the victims get nothing. So, ironically, it appears that I (and everyone else who thinks the Son of Sam law is dumb) are in favor of the victims' families receiving money, whereas your position results in the victims' families receiving nothing.
 
2004-12-23 10:54:22 AM  
What I am wondering is if this ruling can be "grandfathered" to apply to prisoners who have already produced works. (Charles Manson wrote a book called: "Manson in His Own Words"), (John Wayne Gacey sold a buttload of paintings) In both instances neither was allowed to profit from the sale of these works. Can they (in the case of Gacey his estate) now sue for the monies they were prohibited from receiving?
 
2004-12-23 11:13:14 AM  
*sigh*

I don't know why I even bother trying. I wash my hands of this.
 
2004-12-23 11:13:17 AM  
kyouzo:

So, ironically, it appears that I (and everyone else who thinks the Son of Sam law is dumb) are in favor of the victims' families receiving money, whereas your position results in the victims' families receiving nothing.

This is the bottom line. Thread over.
 
2004-12-23 11:16:48 AM  
Bullshiat, this has nothing to do with free speech. No one is trying to say the book can't be sold. Blocking him from receiving profit is in no way unconstitutional and does not interfere with his free speech rights. No one should ever be able to profit from the commission of a felony, especially a murder.
 
2004-12-23 11:20:46 AM  
Vengeful idiots in 3, 2, 1...

/oops, looks like i'm late again
 
2004-12-23 11:21:19 AM  
Also, I'm not sure the victims' families should profit from the sale of the book. It would set up a scenario which would be fairly easy to exploit.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2004-12-23 11:46:13 AM  
"Felons lose rights as punishment" is a red herring. Suppose the law read "felons may not publish books critical of President Bush." Can the felon be punished for backing Kerry? No. That is unconstitutional discrimination regardless of whether the state has the right to prevent felons from publishing books.

When free speech is regulated the regulation must be content-neutral and reasonable -- like prohibiting prisoners from holding press conferences in their cells -- or any discrimination must be as limited as possible to promote a "compelling" state interest. The "Son of Sam" law was declared unconstitutional because the law was far too broad to be justified as preventing profit from crime.

In the case of free speech, economic penalties are wrong just as outright censorship is wrong. "We'll take your royalties if you write a book about petunias instead of marigolds" is still viewpoint discrimination.
 
2004-12-23 12:07:06 PM  
He's served his time. What the hell else do you expect?


God forbid anyone actually fark UP sometime.
 
2004-12-23 12:17:28 PM  
This isn't about 1st amendment rights. He can write the book and have it published, but he doesn't have the right to profit from it(I agree with this). There is a difference.

It looks like what got struck down was the part about the profits going to the victim's family. I don't think thats right either. The money should go to charity....I'd almost say give it to the state, but Nevada doesn't really need it.
 
2004-12-23 01:05:52 PM  
ebell

I disagree with the court's overbreadth analysis in Seres. The language "person who committed the felony" implies that the law is only invoked upon criminal conviction and is therefore not overinclusive as described by Simon & Schuster.

Granted the state could have drafted the statute more carefully, but I think the statute is clear enough on its face to avoid the Simon concerns. More importantly, by restricting the law to felony convictions and by limiting its application to only the victims of said felonies, the law effectively addresses the primary concerns (MLK) laid out in Simon.

I appreciate the court's concern with respect to overbroad prohibitions on First Amendment rights, but I think said concern was applied incorrectly in this decision.
 
2004-12-23 01:14:46 PM  
Geez!

What a bunch of morons! Several serial killers, confined for life, have basked in notoriety and fame by being the subjects of many studies, books, films and interviews. One (I can't recall his name, but he went on a killing spree for decades) boasted that the best sex he ever had was in prison and promptly made himself at home, getting access to drugs and a camcorder not to mention the inevitable booze.

OK, if this is a violation of Constitutional rights, how about the practice of publishing the names of johns in the local newspapers who get caught soliciting prostitutes? (West Palm Beach, FL.) What about the massive spread of information about anyone convicted of a sexual offense including where they live, work, full name and so on, even if all they did was have sex with a 16 year old that said she was 21 and looked it?

I thought when you became a felon, you pretty well lost your civil rights, including the right to vote, hold public office or work in government or law enforcement.

Well, one way around this decision is for the survivors of the victim to file a damage suit against the felon, claiming all and future profits of anything he makes in such a way, as compensation for the loss of a loved one. (Which means, another dragged out, court clogging case.)
 
2004-12-23 01:25:53 PM  
"This is where the adults are talking"

Heh. Nope, this is Fark.

Anyway ... a profitable penance is an oxymoron.

Moneys received should pay for the convict's incarceration and legal costs. Any left over should be dispersed through charity.
 
2004-12-23 01:36:08 PM  
Where is the "ASININE" tag?

I agree that it may result in a deadweight loss for both parties (victim and felon) by discouraging the creation of any money-making endeavour by the criminal, which would then not be a juicy target for a civil suit. But, this does yank away one ipso facto control the victims (or state acting on behalf of the victims) have on the remaining life of the case in which they were wronged.

Not going to digress into an "if I had my way" argument, but there are such a great many laws that exist not for their utilitarian value, but their greater symbolic, ethical, etc. reasons

I am all for victims' discretion wherever humanly possible in a criminal case, where there is a legally established criminally responsible party and victim.

Come to think of it, couldn't we resolve that whole pesky death penalty debate by victims' discretion?

-Just sayin'
 
2004-12-23 02:00:20 PM  
Agh!_My_brain!
Not going to digress into an "if I had my way" argument, but there are such a great many laws that exist not for their utilitarian value, but their greater symbolic, ethical, etc. reasons

Care to name one? I'm not a legal scholar, but I can't think of a time when I've been reading the rules to set up a board game and said "That rule makes no sense whatsoever, but you know what? It's just so damn well-written!"

We make laws for the results we anticipate they will have; the closer those laws' anticipated consequences come to approximating the ideal society we want to see, the more valuable they are to us.

"Son of Sam" law = murky free-speech issue, but regardless of how you feel about that, there's no argument over the fact that the victims will get at most very little money and in almost all cases no money whatsoever (either killer just won't write a book/give interviews because he won't get anything in return, or he will just find a crafty lawyer to skirt around the restrictions. Not might, will.)

No "Son of Sam" law = no free-speech issue, and the victims can potentially get money in the civil case (or even the profit rights to a book that's already been written)

Perhaps it would behoove those people who are so up in arms about profits coming from items describing or retelling a brutal act of murder to look in a mirror? Or do you people who are so offended by the fact that these guys make money off of this think that they somehow force people to be interested in reading about their grisly crimes?

Why not have one of the victims' parents passionately plea on the news for people not to buy I.M. Crazy's new book, I Killed a Dozen People and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt? Oh, wait. I know why. Because even if everybody in the country saw the news conference and sympathized with the parent, people don't generally care enough about other people to do a seemingly negligible act of good if it will inconvenience themselves to a relatively greater extent. Michael Moore can harp all he wants about Nike and Starbucks and Wal-Mart and McDonalds, but I'll bet you anything he patronizes those places somewhat regularly. Let the public decide whether or not they want to send their money to someone they know is a madman; just because you don't like some of the more unpleasant truths about human behavior doesn't mean you can change them.
 
2004-12-23 02:03:45 PM  
I forgot to add, based on the majority position in this thread, I am now advocating to my congressmen A Modest Proposal: New legislation that will make the act of slowing down and staring at a car accident as you pass it punishable by law.

Rubberneckers beware! You'll do time if you stare!

hehe. Catchy, innit?
 
2004-12-23 02:46:13 PM  
It's just Nevada; it would be different if this had happened in, say, a real place.
 
2004-12-23 02:47:31 PM  
I can't believe how mean-spirited and plain evil so many of your thought processes are. So if someone commits a crime they have to continue paying for it their whole life? They have to never be successful, never make money, never become a respected member of society?

Why don't we just brand a giant letter into his cheek? Would that appease you Puritan bastards?

He's not profiting from a crime, he's profiting from WRITING A BOOK! Do you know how hard it is to write a book? How many have you written? And his book is critically acclaimed to boot.

As far as I know, it's not a crime to write a book.

So what he uses his life experience when writing the book. EVERYONE DOES!

What if he wrote a fictional account regarding events that were suspiciously similar to the crimes he committed. What then, geniuses? He's not writing about the specific crime, now is he?

I think the vast majority of people in this society WANT ex-cons to fail when they reenter society. You want ex-cons to re-offend. You want them to become drunks and drug addicts. You want them to wander the streets homeless, unable to get work.

I know, just to appease you Puritans, let's make it against the law for any ex-con to live in a dwelling! They have to be homeless the rest of their lives! Sounds fair.

/Troll
 
2004-12-23 02:57:20 PM  
El_Camino_SS
Also, this case doesn't involve a felony, this involves murder. For all of you people that think you understand the law, then you should really understand the difference between felonies and murder/manslaughter. Remember the four diliniations of crime? ANYONE? They are infractions, misdemeanors, felonies, and capital crimes (deaths of individuals)

Um, no. A capital offense, by its very nature, warrants the possibility of the death penalty. Only first degree murder, with special circumstances, is a capital offense (well, technically treason can be, as well, but to the best of my knowledge nobody's been executed for it in the past 50 years). All other forms of homicide do not include death as a possible punishment.

/Some Idiot picked up a book about law, and it wasn't El_Camino
 
2004-12-23 03:05:31 PM  
And another thing, people profit from crime all the time, just not neccessarily ones they committed. The TV show "Cops", newspapers, TV news, etc.

But no, many of you are arguing that the perpetrator of the crime shouldn't profit. Oh, but everyone else can? How is that fair? "Because it was his fault the heinous act happened in the first place." Yeah, we're all just voyers getting turned on by the blood (and profiting from it in some cases). We're innocent.

If a rape victim writes a bestseller about her experience, can the rapist get a share of the profits? Why don't all you Puritans elect a dictator and be done with it. Oh wait, you already have.

/Troll: Part II
 
2004-12-23 03:09:51 PM  
FARKers using the "the book will not be written if the author can't make money" argument are, I believe, ignoring one very important factor: Many of the authors of which you speak are not economists, they're nutjobs...nutjobs with a LOT of time on their hands, now that the state is feeding and clothing and housing them. They would gladly write their books and have them published if it COST them money - they are that narcissistic and detached from reality, that desirous of being heard. Such psychology is often a large part of the reason for commission of such sensational crimes as generate this kind of interest.

/longest post ever - shutting up now
 
2004-12-23 03:23:33 PM  
kyuozo,

Well, I guess I will digress into an "if I had my way" argument:

Victims' discretion...period.

Hell, for all I care, they can agree to collaborate on a mini-series and split the proceeds (yes, hyperbole). The way I see it is far less humane than most of the people who understand why this law ever existed: the victim is the one who has/should have the right to the story itself, as an article of property.

I heartily agree with letting the people's opinion be heard at the cash register. But, somewhere in this cold little hunk of granite I used to call a heart, a warm little pocket seems to whisper to me that the victims should be protected, at least a little bit, from their assailant continuing to profiteer on the object of their grief.

As for what I said about a law having no "utilitarian" value, I mean deterrence, which is the only utilitarian purpose that a system of crime-and-punishment can have to the general public. You get into a whole different ball o' wax when you start talking about victims' rights and rights of the accused, i.e. - those directly involved. Heck, the death penalty probably doesn't have a real deterrent bone in its causal body. But, it is there at least partially, for good or ill, to make the victims feel a little bit better. That ain't so bad.

Now. Please, for the love of Peter, let's not get into it about the death penalty.

Is the "Son of Sam" law good or bad? Don't know. Probably not terribly great for the ACLU or felons who are in need of a buck. Probably pretty good for the victims of these felons. In my book, their comfort comes before the felons' right to a million-dollar movie deal.

Now. Where I might have a problem, is if some Boy Scout legislator or judge tries to muzzle such a felon from writing his book, without the victims' objection! I am well aware that this could be killing the goose that laid the golden civil suit. As far as civil suits go, I'm not sure how easy it is for the victims of a convicted felon to get his last buck, but if it is too arduous a task for the typical victim, then there isn't much point.

But...

Perhaps the crux of the matter lies in the thought that nobody involved in the case should benefit financially from the sick practice of profiting off of such a crime. If the victim were to, through some rubber-stamp policy of splitting the proceeds, then that would be a conflict of interest, wouldn't it? I don't know. But once again, I digress.

It is my ideal society, and probably the vision of the people who enacted this law, to stop criminals from profiting from their misdeeds. Or they could only do so with their victims receiving a substantial amount as well, I guess that would be OK, as long as the victims have their say.

PS, you don't just throw up your hands and say a law is worthless because a "crafty lawyer" will "skirt around the restrictions."

Anyway, take your pick, either guarantee that the victims will receive at least something from the criminal's sick act of re-telling his experiences, or do away with his profits, period.

My gut instinct, despite the potential can o' worms of "conflict of interest" being opened, is that victims' discretion should be the order of the day. NOT doing away with limitations on this practice completely.

That is all.
 
BHK
2004-12-23 03:28:16 PM  
We need to outlaw all freedom of speech for prisoners. After all, when we start locking up people for political reasons we don't want them writing about it and being heard while in prison or even after they leave it!
 
2004-12-23 03:29:05 PM  
Oh, by the way:

Yes, shopping at Wal-Mart or... (dare I say) buying gasoline is quite different than unloading a double-barrel of buckshot into someone's head.

"I REFUSE TO USE PETROLEUM!"

and

"You're the Hitler!"

/obscure?
//probably not.
 
2004-12-23 03:41:08 PM  
Argh_my_brain!
PS, you don't just throw up your hands and say a law is worthless because a "crafty lawyer" will "skirt around the restrictions."

Within about five minutes' time, I came up with six different viable ways that someone could skirt around the restrictions (see my post somewhere way, way above). I am neither crafty nor a lawyer. The law is worthless.
 
2004-12-23 03:48:09 PM  
Perhaps the crux of the matter lies in the thought that nobody involved in the case should benefit financially from the sick practice of profiting off of such a crime.

Tons of people profit off of crime - defense attorneys, police officers, judges, court stenographers, forensics detectives, coroners, funeral home directors, newspaper editors, television reporters, documentary filmmakers, the company that produces that yellow "POLICE LINE - DO NOT CROSS" tape, home security companies, companies that produce DNA testing kits, the publishers and producers of those "America's Dumbest Criminals" books and shows, hell suit and tie manfuacturers' profit off of crime because I can pretty well guarantee that someone hiding a half-dozen corpses under their floorboards wouldnt have worn one if he hadnt gotten caught and had to go to court.

Lots of people profit off of crime - if you want it to stop, don't buy their wares and remind other people that they are supporting crime when they buy I.M. Crazy's tell-all book. But don't tell me what I can and can't buy by telling me what can and cannot be on the market (especially if it would have been a legal product if it were produced by anybody else in the world).
 
2004-12-23 03:56:34 PM  
kyouzo,

::sigh::

There is a difference between shooting someone in the face and making a million clams off of the book deal, and being employed in the justice system.

If you ARE a criminal, you do not deserve to make money off of your CRIME.

I'm not telling you you can't buy something. Nor am I telling you (passive "you") to go out and purchase irresponsibly.

It is just simply wrong wrong wrong to call something a felony and then let the FELON make money off of it.

That is all.
 
2004-12-23 04:44:23 PM  
El_Camino_SS

Your superior childish attitude about your freedoms is comical. Why have courts at all with your attitudes? Why interperet anything?

I'm glad I amuse you. Also, if I understand this statement, it contains an implication that I consider the court system unnecessary simply because I have an opinion. That is an incredibly stupid assumption on your part.
 
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