Humanist Perspectives: issue 164, When the Law is an Ass
When the Law is an Ass
issue 164, Spring 2008
editorial & special report
Punishing Acts of Mercy:
Robert Latimer & the Justice System
The story of Robert Latimer and his act of mercy killing, and the Canadian Justice system’s reaction, is the background for a detailed look at Latimer’s December 2007 parole hearing and its aftermath. The hearing raises serious questions about the competence of Board members and about the way they are selected.
reflections of a humanist
the Significance of Juries
- The strengths and weakness of the Jury system are looked at, along with a comparison to the European system of justice which is based upon an investigative, rather than adversarial, approach to determining guilt.
- Authority & Civil Disobedience
- Is it ever right to break the law? Bryson Brown examines the difficult issue of civil disobedience.
Drugs, Drug Policy & Crime:
100 Years of Asinine Law
Craig Jones argues that our laws and policies regarding drug abuse do more harm than good. Prohibition is based more on ideology than evidence.
columns & departments
things that go bump
Crime & Punishment
- The way in which the justice system treats victims can sometimes be more damaging than the crime itself. James Alcock argues for a greater emphasis on restorative justice and reconciliation.
letter from new york
Lawlessness in Berlin & Brooklyn
- Jonny Diamond’s experience with public celebrations in Berlin and Brooklyn leads him to wonder if personal behaviour is over-legislated in the USA.
Pressing for Remorse?
- Govier looks at problems involving the expression of regret. Should we demand remorse from those who commit crimes?
the Pot Prohibition Complex
- The “arbitrary, counterproductive and inhumane nature of drug laws”, while apparently eluding our lawmakers, has been exposed by various filmmakers.
- Why the Law is (Sometimes) an Ass
- A former legislator looks at how ideologies shape political decisions and lead to irrational laws.
Exclusive Web Supplements
- My Brother’s Keeper
Ian Johston discusses misperceptions of our justice system, and current attempts to address this ignorance.
> read article online