Crimes go beyond what methods of punishment work

How / could a legal system whose punishment was based on the "certainty" that crimes were committed work?

Monty Wild

A system I developed for a nation in an RPG that I ran was very similar to this one.

In the system I came up with, a criminal case had a jury of 13 people, with 4 judges being the defendant's peers, 4 the victim's peers, and 5 none (where possible). A peer is seen as a person of equal socio-economic status and not as “any responsible adult”. The trial was conducted, evidence was presented, and then the jury was given a specified amount of time to deliberate based on the amount of testimony and evidence presented. Early or late return is only allowed due to illness among the jury. This consultation time was usually 1/8 of the time spent in court, ie 1 hour per day in court.

When the jury returns, the judges individually fill out a secret ballot of their verdict. The conviction requires 7 or more guilty votes, and the penalty is proportional to the number of guilty votes over 6, from a relative slap on the wrist at +1 to the maximum penalty at +6, depending on the offense. The maximum penalty for many crimes is death, but since it is difficult to get 13 guilty votes, this penalty is seldom imposed, typically only for the most egregious and indisputable cases.

If only 1 or 2 jurors are guilty, the prosecutor will be liable for the costs of the accused, and the prosecutor could be censored for wasting public money on a prosecution where there is insufficient evidence of guilt and which is sufficiently high Career at fault and could be ruled out. If no If a jury is found guilty, the prosecution pays the defendant's legal fees, the defendant is compensated for loss of income and perceived defamation through arrest and prosecution, and the Prosecutor could be prosecuted even for malicious persecution. and face immediate lockdown and possible jail time.

This system encourages prosecutors to be absolutely certain of their cases before wasting public money on court time and putting defendants, who usually have to pay for legal representation, at the expense of a defense as a literal lack of law enforcement efforts could be punished. This parallels the ancient Roman legal system where a prosecutor could (literally) be branded a slanderer if his prosecution fails.

This also takes into account the fact that there are often jurors who disagree with the majority just to work out the deliberations, or who vote impulsively or "with the crowd" to be released from their duties in as little time as possible. The odd number of jurors ensures that there are no separate decisions - there will always be a majority one way or another as abstentions will be considered a not guilty verdict.

Conviction is not left to the judge, who is merely a procedural arbitrator, eliminating the possibility of allegations of judicial bias or lack of community understanding that have plagued the judiciary in many other jurisdictions.


I like this, although I would say that the amount of punishment shouldn't be based solely on certainty. Imagine a situation where one battered woman kills her abuser and another where someone kills a child for sexual thrills. I would argue the latter is worse and deserves a longer punishment if proven. It seems unfair that the abused woman can face death if the court proves her conviction, but not the child murderer if only one person has been made to vote innocent. I think a second means of further adapting to the "abomination" of crime would be useful. I still like the idea.

Monty Wild ♦

@doll, the two cases would be prosecuted differently and would have different maximum penalties, ie murder with self-defense against aggravated murder. There is no blanket charge of murder. The prosecutor would need to look into the facts and determine the likelihood of successful prosecution, as his career, or even his freedom, could depend on a successful case and the first case may not even make it to court.


To do this, you would have to give up some basics of case law. Most importantly, you are likely to give up on the two most adored ones:

  • Presumption of innocence . Usually phrased as "innocent to proven guilty". This is usually a binary state with very clearly defined boundaries. Either we see you as guilty or we see you as not guilty. Here you've made that a huge gray area. "Was he guilty of this murder?", "Eh ... well ... kind of ... a little ... not much ... but some".

  • Proportionality . The principle that the punishment must match the crime. Here you toss that out the window and say that the exact same acts will be punished differently depending on the level of evidence.

If you(*) make people think these things are not very important, you can have such a system.

But why do you want to do that? We have these things for a reason and that is that ...

  • Nobody likes to be judged for something they didn't do , not even a little. Acting illegally is shameful. No one will submit to judgment as if he has done something unless he must do it, that is, it is proven that he did it. And then you are back to what we have now: innocent to demonstrably guilty.

  • Nobody likes unfair treatment . If I have to suffer at someone else's hands, I should at least receive the same punishment as the next one who did the same. Self Animals adhere to this principle (the segment starts at 12m 45s). Unfair treatment leads to violent resentment and a lack of respect for the legal system.

So sure you could possibly do ... but I very much doubt you can make people like it or think it is a good idea.

(*) iff = if and only if ...