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Yes, you could totally duplicate Jean Valjean’s sentences with modern US laws

Let’s use the state of New York for an example.

In New York, breaking into a dwelling is burglary in the second degree, which carries a minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years and a maximum of 15 (presuming Valjean did not have a former felony).

I couldn’t find an average sentence for prison escape in NY, but federal escape is five years and at least one person in NY has been given a life for (multiple) prison escapes.

So, yep, the Jean Valjean sentence is totally feasible under modern US law.

kaninchenzero:

"he deserves the presumption of innocence"

fuck that. this is not court, social opprobrium is not equivalent to the armed might of the state.

the only way to ensure every person accused of sexual violence is presumed to be innocent in every circumstance is to assume that every victim is always lying.

presuming the accused to be innocent is setting the standard for prosecution in criminal courts. the people deciding the case must begin by assuming the accused is innocent.

ONLY THE PEOPLE DECIDING THE OUTCOME OF THE CRIMINAL CASE MUST PRESUME THE ACCUSED IS INNOCENT BEFORE TRIAL BEGINS.

no one else.

we cannot apply the rules of criminal courts to every human interaction. they are designed to have artificially high standards because the state has an enormous amount of power over nearly everyone.

a victim of sexual violence does not have that kind of power over their assailant. victims of sexual violence only very rarely can invoke the armed might of the state on their behalf and risk further violence and humiliation if they do.

to move towards any kind of justice we — those of us who are not involved in criminal proceedings — must presume an assault has taken place and the victim can reliably identify their assailant.

otherwise we maintain the status quo where perpetrators of sexual violence can act in the near certainty they will never be even mildly inconvenienced for their sins.

All of this.

Though, I also want to point out that most of the issues where “presumption of innocence” applies to courts is about burden of proof.  In a criminal trial, the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor, so one is supposed to assume the defendant is innocent until proven guilty by the prosecutor to a certain legal standard of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt, for many things).

There’s a reason that it’s called a burden of proof in a court, because the side that is required to make the proof has a burden the other side does not.  The notion that it isn’t imposing on victims when you require them to meet a standard that even within the court system is called a fucking burden is absurd.

Also, presumption of innocence doesn’t apply in all US civil courts, in some events in a civil court, a defendant is presumed, say negligent, until they can prove otherwise considering the low likelihood the of the event without negligence (in this example). Certain product liability suits, where injury occurred on an international flight-there do in fact exist case circumstances in the US where the defendant may have no presumption of innocence and actually has a presumption of liability. Also, in a number of situations, when a plaintiff has shown cause, the burden of proof then shifts to the defendant.

Besides, a rape victim’s testimony is always evidence.  A rape victim asserting someone has raped them is providing some evidence-their own testimony.  In some jurisdictions a victim’s testimony is sufficient enough for it to potentially (depending on the testimony and situation) be considered as meeting any applicable burden of proof.A person saying they have been raped is always, always, always providing evidence because their word does count as evidence and, yes, a victim’s testimony is also legally evidence when given in a court of law.

cabell:

radicalfeministuprising:

home-of-amazons:

notcisjustwoman:

check out all the abusive fucks sweating bullets in the comment section.

I love her already

my hero

I’m surprised the article doesn’t present this argument, which seems more straightforward than the prisoner of war analogy: Killing an unconscious abuser is absolutely self-defense, because the only other method of getting out of the abusive situation—leaving—drastically increases the chance that the abuser will kill their victim. An unconscious abuser is only very temporarily neutralized; their victim’s life is endangered as long as they have freedom of movement, and the current system certainly can’t be depended upon to limit that freedom in any meaningful way.

Also, when a law school prof. presents a situation where woman is held captive by a man threatening to kill her and her children if she leaves the house and holds her at gunpoint before falling asleep some hours later-when that man is a stranger, students will generally agree it is self defense if she kills him in his sleep.  It’s only the domestic abuse/intimate partner situation that makes people ingrained with sexist abuse culture think it’s not when the victim is the partner of the abuser.  Most of these situations where abuse victims are told it isn’t self defense involve cases that would qualify as such in non-domestic abuse situations.

fauxmosexualtranstrender:

gaywrites:

Did you know that being LGBT is enough to have you removed from a jury? I didn’t, either.

This week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about a gay man who was removed from the jury in a case pertaining to the price of an HIV treatment drug. When the juror in question mentioned his same-sex partner, one of the pharmaceutical companies in the case asked that he be removed, presumably because he’d be considered “biased.”

It’s a question of who constitutes “a jury of one’s peers,” and unfortunately, it’s not a new debate.

What some have viewed as a snazzy get-out-of-jury-duty-free card is actually a confusing and contested legal practice. Courts have ruled both for and against excluding gay jurors, while some have argued that the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision barring race as grounds for juror dismissal should also extend to sexual orientation.  …

This issue also draws from larger cultural debates about what an “impartial,” “normal” or “neutral” person looks like, and whether having any kind of identity marker besides those that are usually normalized into invisibility makes you inherently biased (the controversy over Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a good example). Juries are supposed to be composed of “peers;” questions about whether marginalized people belong on juries get to fundamental questions of equality and humanity, and whether the majority culture really considers marginalized groups its “peers.”

The debate over gay jurors is more than just a debate about one more instance of discrimination against gay people in a specific space; it’s about whether gay people should be allowed full access to the rights of American citizenship, about whether their identity means an inherent bias that keeps them from being able to weigh in on things meaningfully, and as the Abbott case illustrates, whether they should be allowed a legal voice on issues that affect them.

This Autostraddle piece about the case does a beautiful job of articulating why we should be doing more than just raising our eyebrows at a story like this. (It was also written by my favorite person in the world.) When a person can be deliberately left out of the judicial process simply for being gay, we’ve got a real problem.

Read the article and you’ll learn something. I definitely did.

"This issue also draws from larger cultural debates about what an ‘impartial,’ ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ person looks like, and whether having any kind of identity marker besides those that are usually normalized into invisibility makes you inherently biased (the controversy over Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a good example). Juries are supposed to be composed of ‘peers;’ questions about whether marginalized people belong on juries get to fundamental questions of equality and humanity, and whether the majority culture really considers marginalized groups its ‘peers.’”


^that’s what i really got out of this. this is about gay rights insofar as it’s about all marginalized groups. it always amazes me when people accuse marginalized groups of being “biased” toward their own humanity while those same people never turn a critical eye to wealthy white cisgender heterosexual men who DEFINITELY go out of their way to protect the power they’ve been endowed with. this is about maintaining a particular power dynamic, IMO.

girljanitor:

setfabulazerstomaximumcaptain:

masculinemeasure:

did-you-kno:

Source

^ institutionalised misandry ^
And people want to tell me we don’t live in a matriarchy.

And what did I say?
Not but 5 minutes later
We found the MRA

THIS STUDY IS FAULTY. IT’S BASED ON A MODEL, NOT ACTUAL DATA. THE PEOPLE WHO DID THIS ARE ECONOMISTS. 

Within our data set, the scarcity of observations on females and the preponderance of observations in the plea regime conspire to leave us with an insuFFicient sample size to properly apply FIML to estimate the sentencing determination model separately for females. In the decomposition developed here, we exploit an insight from Oaxaca and Ransom (1994) that allows us to decompose the male-female regime and sentencing differentials without actually estimating the model for females. Rather than comparing weights from a male only and female only model, we instead are able to compare the estimated parameters from the model for males with parameters estimated in a pooled model for males and females.

IT ALSO ONLY APPLIES WITH WHITE MALES AND WHITE FEMALES.

In order to abstract from sentencing issues associated with race and ethnicity, we have confined our attention to convicted white males and white females. (p 11)

Look at their methodology:

Lastly, they controlled for “aggravating circumstances” like “use of a weapon”, which neglects to account for this:

Only males commit beating or strangulation homicides;
women are more likely to stab or shoot their victims. This
opens women to vastly harsher sentences with legal
enhancements for use of a weapon in the commission of
the crime.

Oh, hey, guess what?

The average prison sentence of men who kill their
women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their
male partners are sentenced on average to 15 years,
despite the fact that most women who kill do so in self-
defense.


Currently, women are eight times more likely than
men to be killed by their intimate partner. ( Rennison and Welchans 2000 ) Estimates of the number of women killed by husbands, boyfriends or former partners range from 1,000 to 4,000 per year



As many as 90% of the women in jail today for killing men had been battered by those men.
(Allison Bass, “Women far less likely to kill than men; no one sure why,” The Boston Globe, February 24, 1992, p. 27)



Currently there are 2,000 battered women in America who are serving prison time for defending their lives against their batterers.
(Stacey Kabat, Remarks from presentation at Harvard School of Public Health)


Convicted Survivors -Elizabeth Leonard(Project Muse):

When a woman survives a deadly assault by her male abuser by using lethal self-defense, she often faces a punitive criminal justice system—one that largely failed to respond to her earlier calls for help. 

In this book, Elizabeth Dermody Leonard examines the lives and experiences of more than forty women in California who are serving lengthy prison sentences for killing their male abusers. She contrasts them with other women prisoners in the state and finds substantial differences. Leonard’s in-depth interviews reveal that the women are slow to identify themselves as battered women and continue to minimize the violence done to them, make numerous and varied attempts to end abusive relationships, and are systematically failed by the systems they look to for help.

While in jail, these women receive liberal dosages of psychotropic drugs, damaging their ability to aid in their self-defense. Moreover, trials and plea bargains feature little or no evidence of the severe intimate abuse inflicted upon them. Despite a clear lack of criminal or violent histories, the majority of women found guilty of the death of abusive men receive first- or second-degree murder convictions and serve long, harsh sentences. Leonard concludes the book with a discussion of policy implications and recommendations arising from this research.

And of course, Marissa Alexander, who was denied the protection of the Stand Your Ground law for firing a warning shot against her abuser while pregnant and fleeing for her life, and who is now serving 20 years to life.
And of course, CeCe MacDonald, who is serving prison time for surviving a hate crime, defending herself against violent attackers who cut open her face with a broken bottle.
And of course thousands of other women serving sentences who are being misrepresented by the faulty and misleading study above.

Other additional faulty models of viewing sentencing discrepancies include looking at convictions for the same charge, without taking into consideration co-charges, case facts, priors, and plea bargains/charging discrepancies.
For example, men are far, far more likely than women to torture, rape, and/or kidnap their murder victims and are not always charged separately for these additional criminal actions but may find that they play a role in sentencing.  Aggravating factors within the case are a big fucking deal because they can literally involve things like torture and rape.
Violent male offenders also have a high rate of having multiple victims, including victims that may not have seen their assaults charged, which gives them more priors and more documentation of interpersonal violence when it comes to sentencing.
Also, as a sidenote, can we talk about how men commit the vast majority of sexual assaults and how sexual assault sentences are generally far less seriously punished than nonviolent offenses that make up the majority of women’s convictions?  It’s not the same charge, but damn it is a discrepancy of major proportions where the legal system supports male violence in terms of sentencing.

girljanitor:

setfabulazerstomaximumcaptain:

masculinemeasure:

did-you-kno:

Source

^ institutionalised misandry ^

And people want to tell me we don’t live in a matriarchy.

And what did I say?

Not but 5 minutes later

We found the MRA

THIS STUDY IS FAULTY. IT’S BASED ON A MODEL, NOT ACTUAL DATA. THE PEOPLE WHO DID THIS ARE ECONOMISTS.

Within our data set, the scarcity of observations on females and the preponderance of observations in the plea regime conspire to leave us with an insuFFicient sample size to properly apply FIML to estimate the sentencing determination model separately for females. In the decomposition developed here, we exploit an insight from Oaxaca and Ransom (1994) that allows us to decompose the male-female regime and sentencing differentials without actually estimating the model for females. Rather than comparing weights from a male only and female only model, we instead are able to compare the estimated parameters from the model for males with parameters estimated in a pooled model for males and females.

IT ALSO ONLY APPLIES WITH WHITE MALES AND WHITE FEMALES.

In order to abstract from sentencing issues associated with race and ethnicity, we have confined our attention to convicted white males and white females. (p 11)

Look at their methodology:

image

Lastly, they controlled for “aggravating circumstances” like “use of a weapon”, which neglects to account for this:

Only males commit beating or strangulation homicides;
women are more likely to stab or shoot their victims. This
opens women to vastly harsher sentences with legal
enhancements for use of a weapon in the commission of
the crime.

Oh, hey, guess what?

The average prison sentence of men who kill their
women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their
male partners are sentenced on average to 15 years,
despite the fact that most women who kill do so in self-
defense.
Currently, women are eight times more likely than
men to be killed by their intimate partner. ( Rennison and Welchans 2000 ) Estimates of the number of women killed by husbands, boyfriends or former partners range from 1,000 to 4,000 per year
As many as 90% of the women in jail today for killing men had been battered by those men.
(Allison Bass, “Women far less likely to kill than men; no one sure why,” The Boston Globe, February 24, 1992, p. 27)
Currently there are 2,000 battered women in America who are serving prison time for defending their lives against their batterers.
(Stacey Kabat, Remarks from presentation at Harvard School of Public Health)
Convicted Survivors -Elizabeth Leonard(Project Muse):
When a woman survives a deadly assault by her male abuser by using lethal self-defense, she often faces a punitive criminal justice system—one that largely failed to respond to her earlier calls for help.
In this book, Elizabeth Dermody Leonard examines the lives and experiences of more than forty women in California who are serving lengthy prison sentences for killing their male abusers. She contrasts them with other women prisoners in the state and finds substantial differences. Leonard’s in-depth interviews reveal that the women are slow to identify themselves as battered women and continue to minimize the violence done to them, make numerous and varied attempts to end abusive relationships, and are systematically failed by the systems they look to for help.
While in jail, these women receive liberal dosages of psychotropic drugs, damaging their ability to aid in their self-defense. Moreover, trials and plea bargains feature little or no evidence of the severe intimate abuse inflicted upon them. Despite a clear lack of criminal or violent histories, the majority of women found guilty of the death of abusive men receive first- or second-degree murder convictions and serve long, harsh sentences. Leonard concludes the book with a discussion of policy implications and recommendations arising from this research.
And of course, Marissa Alexander, who was denied the protection of the Stand Your Ground law for firing a warning shot against her abuser while pregnant and fleeing for her life, and who is now serving 20 years to life.
And of course, CeCe MacDonald, who is serving prison time for surviving a hate crime, defending herself against violent attackers who cut open her face with a broken bottle.
And of course thousands of other women serving sentences who are being misrepresented by the faulty and misleading study above.

Other additional faulty models of viewing sentencing discrepancies include looking at convictions for the same charge, without taking into consideration co-charges, case facts, priors, and plea bargains/charging discrepancies.

For example, men are far, far more likely than women to torture, rape, and/or kidnap their murder victims and are not always charged separately for these additional criminal actions but may find that they play a role in sentencing.  Aggravating factors within the case are a big fucking deal because they can literally involve things like torture and rape.

Violent male offenders also have a high rate of having multiple victims, including victims that may not have seen their assaults charged, which gives them more priors and more documentation of interpersonal violence when it comes to sentencing.

Also, as a sidenote, can we talk about how men commit the vast majority of sexual assaults and how sexual assault sentences are generally far less seriously punished than nonviolent offenses that make up the majority of women’s convictions?  It’s not the same charge, but damn it is a discrepancy of major proportions where the legal system supports male violence in terms of sentencing.

ihaveabsolutelynoidea:

queercorn:

babiesinatrenchcoat:

prayforprada:

rovakovanova:

lanactrlaltdelrey:

so my mom needed a dress for a wedding so she went to neiman marcus and tried this on and sneaked some pictures

image

image

then she showed them to my grandmother and with almost a 50 year…

Fuck the designer and their bougie nerd ass, a few scraps of fabric shouldn’t cost a kidney

You can’t copyright clothing designs is the US (there are a couple rules about speed of production of knockoffs for other chains, but they’re not super strict either) and US law has never included general copyright protection for fashion design.

That there is a long, long tradition of people in the US reproducing/modifying designs at home is typically seen as a strong argument against copyright protection of clothing.

Also, smaller designers argued against bills that would introduce copyrighting on the grounds that litigating the costly lawsuits involved in many other forms of copyright cases would be a brutal burden on smaller, less well funded design firms and on students.  It has also been argued that lack of copyright encourages innovations, by pushing bigger designers to not rely forever on old pieces and by allowing students/smaller scale designers to modify pieces in novel and interesting ways.

I’m just saying, what one commenter said was “extremely disrespectful” to the designer is the cultural and legal norm for fashion in the US, especially in low income women’s spaces where self made clothes has traditionally been an important feature.  Why the shock and scandalized response?  It tends to be rich ass people in the US who think fashion copyrighting would be a good idea…largely because they want to make damned sure they can have nicer things than poor people.

^ look everyone I did get something out of my unfinished law school education…though profs at my law school had serious issues understanding my response of “I’m a Marxist” to questions about what the status of property law should ideally be.

The owners of a modest home near Twentynine Palms lost their cherished possessions after a bank mistakenly foreclosed their residence. A crew broke into Alvin and Pat Tjosaas’ desert home and took everything after being directed by Wells Fargo to secure the structure. The couple, however, didn’t have a mortgage on the home. Alvin said the deputy sheriff said, “Good news, we know who took (your possessions)…Wells Fargo. Bad news, your stuff is all gone.”

Owners Lose Possessions After Home Near Twentynine Palms Is Mistakenly Foreclosed « CBS Los Angeles

via atrios: who notes, “Normally this would be a crime, but for some reason it isn’t. Nobody has any concern about prosecutions. The article doesn’t even raise the possibility.

(via sexartandpolitics)

Only corporations are people, human beings aren’t.

knowhomo:

LGBTQ* Infographic / Law Graphics You Should See

This protection applies to Federal jobs/employments. One can still be fired in 34 states by private/state jobs for being Trans*.
Want to know more? Read Cornell Journal of Law’s article HERE.

Mia Macy and her wife, Trish (via MetroWeekly.com) 

knowhomo:

LGBTQ* Infographic / Law Graphics You Should See


This protection applies to Federal jobs/employments. One can still be fired in 34 states by private/state jobs for being Trans*.


Want to know more? Read Cornell Journal of Law’s article HERE.

Mia Macy and her wife, Trish (via MetroWeekly.com) 

Legally Speaking:

Fleeing police is not probable cause by itself for arrest or being taken into custody.  Fleeing the police is not sufficient justification by itself for use of lethal force.

Unless cops have evidence of other crimes or other probable cause, they are breaking the law when they arrest people. When cops kill people for running, they are breaking the law, they are committing murder.

It’s a failure of the criminal law system whenever this is not dealt with properly and seriously. 

Cops are the ones committing crimes, breaking the law, and murdering people in these situations.  We shouldn’t let them reframe the situation by trying to claim that the people they chase, illegally detain, assault, and murder should not have protections because they are “criminals” when the police are engaging in blatant lawbreaking in most of these cases.  The courts are failing to hold cops accountable for their lawbreaking, cops are the criminals getting away with violence with impunity, not the people trying to run away from them.

If you live in the US, go take a look at your state’s laws about probable cause and justification of lethal force by law enforcement.  There are huge gaps here between what the law says (and must say due to Constitutional law in some cases) and what cops and most lower level courts say and do in regards to it.

(TW: rape) Dr. Menachiam Amir, an Israeli criminologist, and the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice studied rapists in Philadelphia between 1958 and 1960. He found the median age of the Philadelphia rapist was 23 but the largest age group among rapists was the 15-19 year olds. Amir found most rapists were unmarried, however that could be due to their young age. He also found that the older the rapist the younger the victim. According to Amir most rapists were at the lower end of the economic scale and about half had previous arrest records. However, few of their prior arrests were for sex offenses. Amir also found that more than half the rapes took place on the weekends with Saturday being the peak day. Again almost half were committed between 8:00 P.M. and 2:00 A.M. Further, approximately 71% of the rapes were planned. The choice of victim was often left to chance and circumstance, but the rapist set out to rape someone. Planning is even more prevalent in pair or gang rapes.

Cohen, Marcia & McKenna H. Sherrie. Rape: Psychology, Prevention & Impact.Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.

71% of rapes were planed.

Even for the circumstantial ones, the rapist set out already having it in mind to rape some one.

IT IS NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT! EVER!

(via gynocraticgrrlonqueue)

Pennsylvania law exempted married and cohabitating women from legal protection against their partners who raped them into the 80s.  I don’t know how this study defined rape, but if it used the then current legal definitions, this would explain the low levels of married rapists.  Partner rape against women was legal in Pennsylvania at the time this study took place and for several decades afterwards (this isn’t PA specific, fyi, a number of states had marital rape and partner rape legal into the 80s here’s a law review piece from ‘81 arguing that marital rape/partner rape exceptions were a constitutional violation that has a good summary of the marital/partner rape laws at the time http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1248&context=ggulrev).