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Howard Ross
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Mar 15, 2010
Thanks for the comments, Lucie. The nature of this bill, in my opinion, was not about unequal treatment in the judicial system. I think it is more important to look at outcomes in many cases when non-dominant groups are assaulted by dominant groups. The result many times when the question of a sentence reaches the courts is disparate. Disparate in that if a victim had been a member of a dominant group or a "privileged" group where justice is concerned, like the police their outcome might have been different. There are countless examples where this is the case (i.e. cops assaulting a gay, lesbian, and transgendered person or person of color) results caught on tape, the world sees the video, the cops get suspended with pay and maybe suspended indefinitely from their jobs; however, they are not prosected equally. This of course is not just the case with the police. However, if a cop or other person had done the same thing to a prominent heterosexual white man or woman, or someone from any group that has significant power, would the court have been influenced and might have the results been different either from the weight on the jury or the swaying of the judge? I don't know. My point is, historically, people have been able to get away with things. Putting a bill on the record that discourages this behavior let's people with a mindset to harm those with a lifestyle, phenotype, etc. with which they disagree know they will not have a snowball's chance in a steel mill of getting off with a hand slap, sends a message that it won't be tolerated. It also says that even though someone may have gotten off before, this is not the case now. The bill won't create inequity, rather it will help those who think that it is possible to get exonerated understand that they will get equal time for equal crimes with no ifs ands or buts considered.