JUSTICE FOR ALL

Return to bruessard.com

GO TO BOTTOM OF PAGE

For as long as humans have existed, they have struggled to come to terms with societal-level issues such as fostering governance and the rule of law. One way in which humans have sought to address these issues is through their various systems of justice. The end goal of various justice systems is—and has been—to foster stability, tranquility, civility, fairness, unity, and continuity within society. Naturally, on a diverse planet Earth with a culturally diverse human species, different approaches and different systems of justice have emerged over time and at different places where humans reside. Of the various justice systems on Earth, which system of justice is an ideal system?

Contemplation of Justice by James Earle Fraser. (Steve Petteway)




Themis armed with sword and balance scales (Court of Final Appeal, Victoria, Hong Kong)




Authority of Law by James Earle Fraser. (Steve Petteway)


Historians have credited certain notable humans as being the pacesetters for establishing the framework for modern-day human notions about justice and the rule of law. These notable humans include Lipit-Ishtar (circa 1860 B.C., present-day Iraq); Hammurabi (circa 1780 B.C., present-day Iraq); Moses (circa 1313 B.C. as Ramesses II the Great was believed to be the ruler of Egypt during the time of Moses, present-day Egypt/Israel/Palestine); Buddha (circa 500 B.C., present-day Nepal/India), Confucius (circa 500 B.C., present-day China); Justian (circa 535 A.D., present-day Italy); and Mohammed (circa 610 A.D., present-day Saudi Arabia). [NOTE: B.C. means Before the birth of Jesus Christ, and A.D. means After the Death of Jesus Christ. As of 2015, it is written that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross 2,015 years ago.]

The "Education for All," "Food for All," "Water for All," Prosperity for All," "Nutrition for All," and "Health for All" [Health Is Wealth] pages of this websites present some fairly straightforward discussion topics. For instance, although there might be disagreements and differences of opinion about which is the better approach for achieving universal education, almost anyone can relate to the notion of, say, education for all humans on Earth (except, in some parts of the world, there still exists opposition to education for females).

"Justice for All," on the other hand, is a much more controversial, convoluted, and atypical topic to discuss. The reason is because, much like topics such as race, religion, politics, nationalism, equity in wealth distribution, and so forth, "Justice for All" is one of those topics that breaches the comfort zones of many humans. Most humans are comfortable with a certain way of daily life. Most humans are accustomed to a certain type of lifestyle. They have comfortably assimilated this familiar way of life into their daily routines. Most humans want minimal disruptions to their daily lives. Generally speaking, humans tend to oppose and resist proposals to radically disrupt the status quo.

"Justice for All," however, demands that humans begin to think differently. "Justice for All" demands that humans begin to behave differently toward one another. "Justice for All" demands that humans vacate or abandon some of their longstanding and highly cherished beliefs, values, and traditions. "Justice for All" demands some fundamental changes in day-to-day human social relations.



"JUSTICE FOR ALL" IS CONTROVERSIAL

One source of the controversy surrounding "Justice for All" resides in the fact that Earth is a very diverse planet. There are diverse peoples of the Earth who have diverse ways of life, diverse cultural values, diverse traditions, diverse beliefs, diverse institutions, diverse stages of development, and so forth. Laws and systems of justice have evolved and continue to evolve differently at different places and at different times on Earth. For instance, in a society where it is perfectly acceptable to stone a woman to death who has been judged to be guilty of committing an act of adultery, it would be a very radical departure from tradition in that society to strike adultery from the law books as an offense worthy of any type of corporal punishment. In a society, say, that fundamentally views marriage as a union between a male and a female, it would be a very radical departure from tradition in that society to enact a law that makes same-sex marriage a legally acceptable practice and way of life.

"Justice for All" is controversial because an act of justice that is viewed as perfectly acceptable and normal by members of one society, simultaneously, is viewed as barbaric, inhumane, and abnormal in another society. In the USA, for instance, dogs and cats are treated as household pets (see, for instance, the Justin Bieber video below titled Sorry). In the USA, there are laws against the killing and eating of dogs and cats—or physically abusing dogs and cats in any manner. Depending on the circumstance, you could be imprisoned for acts of animal cruelty in the USA. In contrast, dogs and cats are considered a delicacy in other parts of the world. In other words, the point is this: How can it be deemed an unlawful and imprisonable act of animal cruelty to kill a dog or cat for food in one country when the same act is perfectly acceptable as normal in another country? The same question can be asked for the killing—and eating—of any animal.

In the USA and in most Western countries, for instance, it is not unusual to see public expressions of intimacy and public displays of affection between (unmarried) males and females. In contrast, in some other parts of the world, very strict rules have been enacted to govern how males and females interact with one another in public; there can be severe punishment for breaches of those rules.

Who is right and who is wrong in adopting these laws? Does a thing exist such as right and wrong when it comes to crime and punishment? How will all humans be guaranteed to be treated the same for the same "offense" against society no matter where those humans happen to reside on Earth? How are humans to harmonize these varying standards of justice both across regional borders within a given country and across national borders between countries? These are some difficult, gut-wrenching, and controversial questions, and they have no simple answers or solutions.



"JUSTICE FOR ALL" IS CONVOLUTED

"Justice for All" is convoluted because there are so many layers of justice and so many standards of justice. While it is commonplace and routine for humans to speak of law enforcement, crime, and punishment, in reality, there exists a wide array of societal offenses. Following is a list of some of these societal dispute/offense categories:

These varying offense categories require varying approaches. For instance, commercial malfeasance and malpractice offenses generally seek monetary awards as penalties for the offense with no jail time served. For criminal offenses such as theft or robbery, jail time or imprisonment usually is sought as the penalty—and sometimes restitution for the victim(s) and restitution for the court is sought in addition to imprisonment. It should be noted that the discussion on this page mainly relates to criminal-related offenses and criminal-related rule of law.

Within the criminal category alone, there are all kinds of crimes and all kinds of punishments for those crimes at the local, state, and federal or national levels of government. In the USA, for instance, the topic of "Justice for All" is convoluted because federal, state, and local laws sometimes have conflicting standards of justice especially when it comes to sentencing. There are sentencing disparities for the same crime from judge to judge, from court to court, and from state to state. There are disparate court outcomes based on race. There are disparate court outcomes based on wealth. There also is a lot of plea bargaining occurring within the USA justice system. The dual effect of plea bargaining is this: On the one hand, plea bargains tend to free up court resources and relieve case backlogs by not having to conduct full-blown trials. On the other hand, plea bargains tend to circumvent the judicial process by way of taking shortcuts to dispensing justice. It can prove to be quite a challenge for anyone to circumnavigate the legal morass of USA laws and regulations especially in view of the attendant gobbledygook or legalese text that sometimes accompanies these laws and regulations.

Take the USA's federal or national level of government, for instance. There is a bewildering array of laws and regulations that have been promulgated at the national level ideally to benefit society. They include:

Title 18 (Crimes And Criminal Procedure) of the United States Code addresses the matter of criminal offenses. Numerous types of crimes are outlined under Title 18.

"Justice for All" is convoluted because there are some members of society who strongly think that a degree of discretionary leeway should be incorporated into the justice system based on both aggravating and mitigating factors. For instance, should age, gender, mental impairment, physical impairment, rate of recidivism, and so forth, be taken into consideration in the sentencing process? The opposing argument is that judicial discretion leads to capricious sentencing outcomes because preferential treatment might be given to certain offenders thereby making a mockery of justice. For instance, it has been documented that, when it comes to criminal offenses in the USA, blacks tend to receive harsher treatment from the justice system than whites:



MEASURING THE STATE OF GLOBAL JUSTICE

A notable, commendable, and ongoing attempt to gauge the state of world justice has been launched by the World Justice Project (WJP). Each year the WJP releases its Rule of Law Index. As of this writing, the World Justice Project's latest Rule of Law Index was released in 2015. In the WJP's 2015 index, 102 countries were scored and ranked based on 8 primary rule-of-law indicators and 44 sub-factors. [Note: Click on the plus sign (+) in the table below to see these underlying indicators and factors.] The 8 indicators were:

  1. Constraints on Government Powers
  2. Absence of Corruption
  3. Open Government
  4. Fundamental Rights
  5. Order and Security
  6. Regulatory Enforcement
  7. Civil Justice
  8. Criminal Justice

There are excellent graphics on the WJP's website which summarize its 2015 findings. The table and graphic below are presented to enable you to more conveniently view the key findings in the WJP's 2015 report on the global state of justice.

Country Count Country Country Code Region Income Group 2015 WJP Rule of Law Index: Overall Score 2015 WJP Rule of Law Index: Overall Rank
Country Count Country Country Code Region Income Group 2015 WJP Rule of Law Index: Overall Score 2015 WJP Rule of Law Index: Overall Rank

The WJP Rule of Law Index 2015


To summarize the World Justice Project's 2015 findings, on a scale of 0 to 1 with 0.000 being the lowest score and 1.000 being the highest score, Venezuela received the lowest rule-of-law score of 0.319. Denmark received the highest score of 0.870. The Philippines received the median (or middle-of-the-data) score of 0.525. Senegal received the average score of 0.568.

What is happening in Venezuela such that it received the lowest score on the World Justice Project's global rule-of-law scale in 2015? The next two videos attempt to shed some light on this question.

Watch (From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself 1/9


Watch (The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on RAI 7/9)

At the opposite end of the rule-of-law spectrum is Denmark, which scored the highest. What is different or unique about Denmark such that it received the highest score on the World Justice Project's rule-of-law scale in 2015? The following video attempts to answer this question:

Watch (Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen - Why the Danes Are the World's Happiest People)

On the "Democracy" page of this website, I previously provided a general overview of the 2013 Global Slavery Index. In many respects, the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index is similar to the Global Slavery Index in terms of both indices' scoring methodologies.



"DON'T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CAN'T DO THE TIME"

It's been said, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." It's also been said, "A hard head makes a soft behind." In other words, your (unlawful) misdeeds eventually will catch up to you, and eventually there will be a price to be paid for those misdeeds. If you abuse your freedoms in a very irresponsible way (hence, a hard head), then the consequence could be spending time in jail (hence, a soft behind) as illustrated in the next two videos.

Watch (DUI Arrest)


Watch (Alcohol-Related Violence)


In an open and free society, humans occasionally have to be reminded that there are consequences for breaking the law. Sometimes humans begin to take their openness and freedom privileges for granted. They begin to lose their sense of purpose and self-discipline in life. They begin to engage in self-destructive and counterproductive activities. They begin to take their freedoms to the negative extreme. As a result, sometimes these same humans find themselves on the wrong side of the law where penalties are leveled. One of the most severe societal penalties is a loss of freedom due to incarceration. From the accounts that I have viewed and based on what I have read, prison is not the place where you want to be in life. Here are four accounts of the incarceration experience:

Watch (National Geographic - America's Hardest Prisons)


Watch [National Geographic - Hardest Prisons (Female Jail)]


Watch (Life In Prison: A Project Envision Documentary)


Watch (What Prison Is REALLY Like)


For those who have indulged in a life of crime and who have had a taste of prison life, here is one account of why a counterproductive lifestyle is not worth having:

Watch (Anti-Gang Message from Actual Bangers)

For those who are contemplating engaging in criminal pursuits, before committing the [federal] crime, the following calculator gives you a rough estimate of how much time you can expect to spend in jail if you are caught and if you are found guilty of the crime in a court of law.

Watch (Sentencing Calculator)


TOWARDS GLOBAL "JUSTICE FOR ALL"

The USA recognizes that its system of justice is not perfect. The USA recognizes that its system of justice faces challenges that must be surmounted. The USA has begun taking positive steps to improve the way in which justice is administered throughout the country (at least on the federal level). To be sure, the USA is in a unique position to be a global pacesetter or a shining example of how "justice for all" can be codified and implemented. In addition to its Constitutional guarantees including its Bill of Rights, there are two contemporary guiding documents that the USA has adopted in its effort to realize "justice for all" USA residents when it comes to court proceedings and dispensing penalties.

  1. Model Penal Code
  2. U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) Guidelines Manual

The USSC's Guidelines Manual contains a sentencing table and a fine table. Both tables are tools to help court officials dispense equal justice under the law. Suffice it to say that the contents of these two documents are merely recommendations and are not compulsory or binding upon the USA legal system. However, many court officials rely on and consult these two documents for guidance in their decision making.



"JUSTICE FOR ALL" CONCLUSIONS

Popular confrontational television programs, reality television programs, court television programs, and so forth, tend to encourage humans to behave badly simply for the sake of achieving dramatic television effects and high television ratings. However, humans should resist the temptation to trivialize justice. Humans should resist the temptation to make a mockery of justice. Humans should resist the temptation to succumb to a gangster-type mentality of endless raw aggression and counter-aggression with little regard for human life.

Watch [What A Knockout! (The Jerry Springer Show)]

Humans should resist the temptation to transform justice into one big confrontation-style reality television program. Justice and the rule of law are very serious human endeavors. I know that emotions tend to be raw and passions tend to run high when violent crimes occur. There occasionally are times when members of society are tempted to submit to vigilante or mob justice where they take matters into their own hands and where they take it upon themselves to dole out their own brand of justice against the alleged perpetrator of the criminal offense. Members of society must contain their emotions. Members of society must treat justice and the rule of law with utmost reverence, respect, and care.

Watch (Justice - Son Attacks His Moms Killer In Court!!)

For humans who live in countries which operate a fairly decent system of justice, they should embrace it. Obviously, because humans are not perfect, no system of justice is perfect. There will instances where injustices occur. It seems to me that the appropriate response to injustice is for an informed citizenry to take steps to peacefully but promptly reform and improve the system. One way to peacefully reform the system is for citizens to support and to vote for reform-minded electoral candidates. The same peaceful pursuit of change applies to abuses of justice. There also are instances when some citizens seek to abuse the judicial process such as with the filing of frivolous, meritless lawsuits. Justice systems should be reformed with the same vigor for noted abuses of justice as is the case for noted instances of injustice.

Watch (Magna Carta Conservation Treatment)

In the final analysis, as controversial as it seems and as difficult as it might be to implement on a global scale, "Justice for All" is about the rule of law and the punishments/fines/reprimands of those who breach the rule of law. "Justice for All" is about civility prevailing over barbarity, anarchy, and mob justice in daily societal living. "Justice for All" demands uniform and universal application of justice across all nations. Much like the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "Justice for All" is all about devising and implementing legal standards that treat all humans equally no matter where they happen to reside on Earth. "Justice for All" is all about establishing and implementing cross-national standards of justice. In the USA, there is ongoing discussion and debate about federalism versus states' rights. One advantage of federalism is this: Federalism allows for the establishment of uniform standards and rights under the law for all citizens regardless of the states in which those citizens reside. Federalism is conducive to the equal treatment of all citizens under the law.



APOLOGETIC FEELINGS

It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to conclude each page of this website on a somewhat positive and upbeat note through music. I wish to conclude this particular page with an apologetic theme. For, in the book titled Social Psychology by Sharon Brehm, Saul Kassin, and Steven Fein, among other things, the authors discussed violence and aggression. In their list of ways to reduce aggression, one of their suggestions was for humans to "Apologize when you've angered someone..."

Watch (Anita Baker, I Apologize)


Watch (Donell Jones, Where I Wanna Be)


Watch (Sade, Is It A Crime)


Watch (Ruben Studdard, Sorry For 2004)


Watch (Adele, Hello)


Watch (Justin Bieber, Sorry)


Watch (Lady Antebellum, Need You Now)

The 10 OCTOBER 2015 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Ankara, Turkey; the 13 NOVEMBER 2015 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Paris, France; the 7 JANUARY 2016 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Zliten, Libya; the 26 JANUARY 2016 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Homs, Syria; the 9 FEBRUARY 2016 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Dikwa, Nigeria; the 17 FEBRUARY 2016 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Aden, Yemen; the 28 FEBRUARY 2016 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Sadr City Baghdad, Iraq; the 28 FEBRUARY 2016 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Baidoa, Somalia; the 22 March 2016 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Brussels, Belgium; the 27 March 2016 cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in Lahore, Pakistan—and on and on—serve at reminders that humans urgently have got to find a way to stop their hatred, violence, gunplay, and murder. The acts of human carnage and barbarism mentioned in this paragraph are but a handful of the many, many acts of terrorism occurring across Earth each year.

Another sad and misfortunate aspect of the Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium terrorist attacks is this: The terrorist attacks were carried out amid a Middle East—namely, Syrian civil war—refugee crisis. It is very important not to lose perspective. The reality is that a handful of Islamic fanatics are committing these acts of terrorism. Yet, the abhorrent, despicable, reprehensible, detestable, repulsive, murderous activities of a misguided few are causing an entire religion—in this case, Islam—to be cast under a veil of suspicion. The terrorist activities of a misguided few Islamic fanatics are causing an entire people—in this case, the Muslim people of Islamic faith—to be prejudged, stigmatized, and ostracized.

It certainly is not at all helpful to the plight of the millions of war refugees—mainly Syrians who also mainly are Muslims—who are seeking refuge and resettlement in various European countries when these Islamic fanatics are murdering and injuring the innocent within these European host countries. What sense does it make for Islamic fanatics to go around blowing up—or plotting to blow up—the very people who are taking the lead in extending helpful and friendly hands to the Islamic refugees who are in dire need of assistance? In some cases, these Islamic refugees are attempting to escape the Islamic fanatics.

I have said it elsewhere, and I will repeat it here: Allah (God) is All-Mighty and does not require the help of humans to fight His battles for Him by humans taking it upon themselves to murder and injure others in Allah's name. Allah (God) is perfectly capable of fighting His own battles without any (terrorist) assistance from humans, and Allah (God) will deal with humans in His own time. Humans do not need to fight Allah's battles. I also have said it elsewhere, and I will repeat it here again: You should never take religious worship so seriously to the point that you feel compelled to murder and injure others in the name of a given religious faith. I am inclined to think that anyone who goes around murdering and injuring others in the name of religion either has been brainwashed by that religion or suffers from an extreme case of mental illness. Rhetorically, how do you un-brainwash someone? Rhetorically, how do you reason with someone who thinks that murdering others—and himself or herself—in the name of religion is something acceptable, normal, commendable, and admirable?

These observations about the treacherous and deplorable activities of fringe Islamic fanatics and extremists is not to say that other religions do not harbor fanatics and extremists, too. It is not to say that Islam holds a monopoly on extremist followers. In the USA, for instance, there are fringe Christian fanatics who engage in the cold-blooded murders of and the cold-hearted injuries to the innocent in their violent opposition to abortions. Also, in the USA, violent, hateful, delusional, and deranged individuals occasionally do engage in nefarious activities such as mass shootings. It must be admitted, however, that sordid, hateful, and murderous activities such as suicidal bombings do appear to occur most frequently within the Islamic religious faith.

I acknowledge and concede the terrorists' argument that the coalition (namely, Western) powers are flying high overhead in airplanes and dropping bombs on terrorist targets. In the process, sometimes innocent family members and acquaintances of the terrorists are injured and murdered by these bombs. Other than the nuclear, bilogical, chemical, and radiological threats to human existence, perhaps there is no greater terror than to fly overhead in an airplane and drop bombs on unsuspecting humans in surprise attacks—or counterattacks. Looked at from the perspective of the terrorists, they do not the possess the sophisticated military machinery on par with the Western powers; therefore, they are forced to used whatever crude methods at their disposal to strike back (namely, to strike back at the West) including the use of suicide bombing method. This concession to the terrorists' perspective does not excuse the terrorists for killing innocent humans for no other reason than others do not believe the same things as the terrorists believe or think the same way as the terrorists think. The larger point, however, is this: Someway, somehow, the cycle of human hatred, violence, and murder must be broken and surmounted. Humans all across Earth must find a way to convert their swords into plowshares. What is to terrible about being friends?

While humans did succeed in finding a way to break free from the force of gravity, they are yet to find a way break free from their daily cycle of aggression, retribution, and murder. The cycle somehow must be broken. Humans must learn to treat one another with courtesy and respect regardless of race, nationality, religion, politics, income, age, gender, tribe, and so forth.

Watch (Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, We Need Love To Live)


Additional Resources for "Justice for All":
  1. LII / Legal Information Institute | Cornell University Law School
  2. Justia Legal Answers - Free Answers from Lawyers to Your Legal Questions
  3. Mainstreet Attorney Locator System Search
  4. HeinOnline | A Product of the William S. Hein & Co., Inc. | Original Publications and Reprints of Law and Law-Related Periodicals
  5. The World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems
  6. United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS)
  7. Inside Prison | Inmate Search | Prison Stories
  8. The Sentencing Project
  9. Wiki Law School




FLATTR THIS SITE:






SEARCH THIS SITE:





Intellectual Property Disclosures: All videos and songs (as well as many of the images) referenced or spotlighted throughout this website are the legal and intellectual properties of others. All content and opinions on this website (bruessard.com) are those of the author (Edward Bruessard) exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The author holds no legal interest or financial stake in any of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images played no role at all regarding the appearance of said videos, songs, and images throughout this website; they had no clue that this website would be spotlighting their works.



Return to bruessard.com