[LMB] Crime, computers and fast-penta

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Sun Dec 4 15:59:46 GMT 2011

"What bugs me is that I see a lot of black men, and some Latinos, who were 
given more severe sentences than a white person would get."

"-The crime of being black/not-the-religion-in-power/female/etc.-"
Shyster lawyers, however, can direct/misdirect questioning to bias the 
testimony.  And fictionally, again, I point to A Conflict of Honor, and the 
essentially rigged court case with the fast-penta analogue application.

Fast penta did NOT come out of Lois' imagination without precursor.  It was 
around in SF for decades prior to Lois' authoring of Shards of Honor and The 
Warrior's Apprentice, with the "classic" SF and space opera, the Good Guys 
in White Hats applying truth serum as magickal device to get evidence and at 
The Truth, in the old black and white stuff.... Lois' work has a lot more 
gray in it and characters who aren;t cardboard.  But it does have the fast 
penta Magickal Device, except that Miles has this allergy to it....  Sharon 
Lee and Steve Miller's treatment of the stuff I find more credible as 
regards  "what would happen if this weren't to be used as a Magic Plot 

-----Original Message----- 
From: A. Marina Fournier
Sent: Sunday, December 04, 2011 4:04 AM
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
Subject: Re: [LMB] Crime, computers and fast-penta

On 3 Dec 2011, at 08:42, Gwynne Powell wrote:
>> On Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 9:25 PM, Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com> 
>> wrote:
>> [snip]
>>> Innocent bystanders can clear themselves of suspicion. Investigations
>>> could be faster.
>> That's got to be a good thing.  It's downright nasty what police and
>> investigators do to people who they believe to be guilty when they're
>> trying to get confessions or evidence.

And sometimes to people they think are witnesses with some guilt of their 
own, accessories or not.

> And DNA testing in the US (I think it's called the Innocence
> Project?) have overturned a fair percentage of old convictions.

When they're allowed to proceed, and in those situations where DNA evidence 
can be found.

> Even if there's no retrial he'll always be under a cloud. What an amazing
> gift (if you're innocent) to avoid that whole situation, years of jail and
> legal struggles, with one quick dose and a short question session.

Yes, it would be. We'd find fewer people on death row, perhaps. What bugs me 
is that I see a lot of black men, and some Latinos, who were given more 
severe sentences than a white person would get. I see them receive the death 
penalty much more often, and it bugs the daylights out of me.  I'm not 
anti-death penalty, but I am against it being used so lightly. I want 
someone to have done something truly heinous, more than once, before I 
consider a penalty greater than life (at least one life sentence) in prison, 
without possibility of parole.

It also bugs me when witnesses recant years later, but the State refuses to 
reopen the case of a person on death row for only that one crime, having 
never committed any crime before the possibly erroneous arrest. This has 
happened twice recently.

> And there's always Schapelle Corby. And so many others. Offer them
> fast-penta, and see the jails empty out!

Cheaper prosecution, too! I looked up Ms. Corby, and find that case to be 
tangled and fumbled, possibly intentionally hampered by Indonesian Law 
enforcement & judicial officials.

>> Might even cut down the deliberate wrong-person games where a
>> particularly bad crime was committed and the police feel a need to
>> bring someone in *now*, but they have no idea who did it, so they grab
>> a random criminal off the street who they believe might have done it.

Especially those who are IWB: innocent while brown.

> So true, they can't grab the first likely person. But if you do have a 
> pool
> of suspects, you can find the right one fairly quickly.

And I think that is one big bonus for everyone.

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