Previous posts in this discussion:
PostCalexit, Cannabis, Gun Control; from Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA, 06/30/16 7:02 am)
Ric Mauricio writes:
And to add to John E's list of "-exits," perhaps we should mention Calexit, the 8th largest economy in the world.
Just announced is that the initiative to legalize the recreational use of cannabis is on the California ballot. Not being a smoker, of tobacco or cannabis, this does not affect me directly, but I realize that people find their pleasures in many different ways. The arguments against recreational cannabis is illogical at best, since imbibing of alcoholic beverages is very similar in nature. And one does not need to pass another law for those who abuse the substances. DUI means Driving under the influence, and that influence could be alcohol or drugs. Me, I tend to get high from great friendships and family, good music, admiring the natural wonders of the universe and man-made wonders of man (Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge at night, etc.), so never had to rely on any ingestion (or inhalation) to get high. I have been trying to garner my fifteen minutes of fame by taking prescribed medicinal marijuana as a deduction on California tax returns. I know exactly where to input it (very few tax pros know this technique), if only I can find a client gutsy enough to try.
The issue with Calexit is that the government in Sacramento is just as mired in bureaucracy as the federal government; even more so. Our Franchise Tax Board (how do they come up with the names of these agencies?) is terribly frustrating to deal with. But we have been especially lucky to limit really crazy politics to the City and County of San Francisco. My county of San Mateo does cooperate with ICE. But here's a question for WAISers. Why is it that politicians insist on fixing current laws by placing another layer of law upon the current law? For example, we had a very famous rape case involving a Stanford student/swimmer where he raped an unconscious woman. Now there is a bill to establish a minimum sentence for those who rape unconscious victims. To me, it would seem that rape is rape, whether the victim was conscious or unconscious and that a minimum sentence should encompass all those convicted of rape.
Another idea being floated, especially after the Orlando shooting, is gun control. Obviously, the shooter did pass gun control regulations; the gun store owner did his due diligence and background checks. Why do we then need more gun control? Why not execute the current gun control regulations correctly? Same idea with immigration control (or the Great Mexican Wall). Why spend countless money and energy in building a Wall, when we already have regulations that limit the work and benefit opportunities for undocumented immigrants?
Why not execute the current regulations correctly?
JE comments: Legislators can claim a "win" when they pass a new law. Enforcing an existing one doesn't garner the same press. Such is the stuff of Big Organizations. Or am I too cynical?
Fast forward ten years or so: I can imagine a world in which smoking pot is socially acceptable and legally sanctioned, but tobacco use is an absolute taboo.
California's Rape Laws and Stanford Case
(Edward Jajko, USA
07/01/16 7:53 AM)
A point of clarification in response to Ric Mauricio (30 June): While I agree in general with the proposition that there is just too much lawmaking, on the matter of the sexual assault by former Stanford student Brock Turner perpetrated upon the body of an unconscious woman, the moves in the California legislature to change the law are not because the victim was unconscious.
Turner, at the time a Stanford student and member of a fraternity which had a party at which the woman became intoxicated to the point of insensibility, was caught in the act of digitally penetrating the near-naked woman as she lay on the ground outside the frat house. Under current California law, penetration by other than the sexual organ is sexual assault, not rape. While sexual assault as described can get one put on the list of registered sexual offenders (and Brock Turner's name has been or will be added to the registry), the assault is not rape and carries a lesser jail punishment.
In this case, Turner was sentenced to six months in jail plus probation as well as becoming a Registered Sex Offender. His jail term is effectively three months.
The circumstances of this case and written statements presented to the court, notably a moving and eloquent letter by the victim, which has been published in newspapers, read on the floor of the legislature, read on cable TV by Ashley Banfield, and even read into the Congressional record by a team of members of Congress, as well as a morally obtuse letter by the perpetrator's father, and the slap on the wrist sentence have led to outcry against Santa Clara County Superior Court judge. Aaron Persky and a move to have him recalled. Jurors have refused to serve in his court in other cases and in one, the district attorney had a case withdrawn from Persky and assigned to another judge. Just yesterday, 200,000 signatures on a petition to have Judge Persky removed were delivered to the California Commission on Judicial Performance. These are in addition to the more than one million who have signed other petitions. Unfortunately Judge Persky ran unopposed in the recent primary election and will be reelected to another term on the bench.
I have read that California law without regard to logic adjudges sexual assault on an unconscious person as a lesser offense than if the victim is conscious. There is obvious need to rectify this. But the movements in the legislature to change the law are not because the victim was unconscious. Rather, their intent is to define actions like those committed by Turner as rape rather than sexual assault. Punishment would include time in a state prison rather than county jail.
Curiously, there are those who oppose this on the grounds that California prisons are full to the point of overflowing and can't take the additional convicts.
JE comments: Wikipedia has an extremely detailed article on People v. Turner. It is interesting how Turner originally benefited from privilege, but now the public outrage seems to stem precisely because of how he benefited from privilege. In other words, People v. Turner would not be such a high-profile case if the incident had happened at a second- or third-tier institution.
And why did no one run to unseat Judge Persky?
Update on Stanford Rape Case and Judge Persky
(Edward Jajko, USA
08/29/16 2:13 PM)
Further to my posting of July 16 on the rape laws of California and the notorious slap-on-the-wrist penalty imposed by Judge Aaron Persky. Today's San Francisco Chronicle reports that some 200 proposed laws await Governor Brown's signature. One is AB701, which defines rape as unlawful penetration by any object. The matter of relative gravity, of an act on an unconscious person being not as serious as one on a conscious person, seems not to have been addressed.
Recent newspapers have reported that Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Brock Turner to six months in county jail for his crime, remains a target of a recall vote. He is unopposed on the Nov. 8 ballot, so even if there were a fairly successful protest against him and if the voters of Santa Clara County managed to withhold their votes from him, if even one sympathizer voted for him he would be elected. However, the recent news is that Judge Persky asked the presiding judge to reassign him to civil cases only. Potential jurors had refused to serve in his court, a prosecutor had pulled a case out and taken it to another judge, and Persky had made the headlines again with his treatment of another student athlete.
More on this when Brown acts.
JE comments: I'm still baffled. Why didn't anyone run against Persky?
Stanford Rape Case
(Bienvenido Macario, USA
08/31/16 4:57 AM)
My understanding of the Stanford case is that the victim was "sexually assaulted digitally" while unconscious. There was no sexual intercourse involving male and female sex organs. The legal definition of rape is sexual intercourse without consent. I read that by law the accused should be charged with sexual assault, not rape. But the community wanted a sentence more than just six months in jail. A pound of flesh?
In meantime, US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte lost his lucrative endorsement deal(s) when it was revealed he lied about being robbed in Rio de Janeiro by men posing as policemen. However, security footage revealed Ryan and three other men were questioned by security for vandalizing a restroom in a petrol alley.
Why can US politicians get away with, and even prosper, in their careers while lying, conniving and misrepresenting their constituents, while Olympians are ruined for doing a bit of exaggeration? Maybe Ryan Lochte should go to Washington DC.
Finally, congratulations to our esteemed editor on the start of his 11th year as WAIS editor.
JE comments: The answer to Bienvenido's question is that politicians don't get fat endorsement deals. Gotta protect the brand. I'm confident that Speedo would revoke its contract with Anthony Weiner too, if it had one in the first place. (!)
Thank you, Bienvenido, for the anniversary wishes. Ever since we met in 2001, I've considered you a good friend and one of WAISworld's most loyal citizens. I wouldn't be here without your support.
California Rape Laws: No Means No
(Deborah Dupire-Nelson , USA
09/01/16 4:21 AM)
In response to Bienvenido Macario (31 August), sexual intercourse is most certainly not required as an element of rape. Any vaginal or anal penetration, with any object whatsoever, in the absent of consent constitutes rape. (Only "yes" means "yes." When in doubt, don't.) Oral penetration without consent by a sexual body part also constitutes rape.
While I write from California, it should be noted that rape laws may vary somewhat from state to state.
JE comments: Greetings to WAISer Debbie Dupire-Nelson. It's always a treat to hear from her--although I'm sorry the context here is so disturbing.
The debate in California is centered on changing the legal definition of rape, so that there won't be a repeat of the lenient six-month sentence imposed on the Stanford student. The case has met with so much public outrage because of the belief that the elite often go unpunished for their crimes. Would Brock Turner have received a longer sentence if he went to Foothill College?
Here's WAIS Synchronicity II for September 1st: Guess who is scheduled to leave jail tomorrow?
- California Rape Laws: No Means No (Deborah Dupire-Nelson , USA 09/01/16 4:21 AM)
- Stanford Rape Case (Bienvenido Macario, USA 08/31/16 4:57 AM)
- Update on Stanford Rape Case and Judge Persky (Edward Jajko, USA 08/29/16 2:13 PM)