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  #1  
Old 11-19-2012, 06:23 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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What is the most unjust law?

1) What is the most unjust law in your jurisdiction or country? "Your country" means any country where you live or have citizenship. If you live in Los Angeles, you may list any law (Federal, State, local) in effect there or any law effective anywhere in the US, for example a Massachusetts state law. If you live in LA, you can not list a Nova Scotian law unless you have Canadian citizenship.

2) What is the most unjust law anywhere?

A few pointers:

Please interpret this question somewhat broadly. No nitpicking - if the shoe fits somehow you must acquit.

A "Law" need not be a single line item or single numbered item in a statutory code. If you want to mention State Code 3.334.4 through 3.334.9 as a single law, you may as long as the individual items arguably relate to a somewhat specific common purpose. Do not list entire books of law or large sections (e.g. "The entirety of UK motor vehicle law" or "The UCMJ"). Mention what specifically is most objectionable in it. A clearly accepted case law established by precedent counts as a law.

The law can be any type of law - criminal substantive, civil substantive, criminal procedural, civil procedural, administrative (e.g. a law regarding requirements for a Driver's License), whatever.

"Unjust" means that it, in your opinion, violates some moral, ethical, good-neighborly, or other similar principle that you deem important. A law is not unjust just because it stands in the way of something you want to do.

Citations are not per se required. If the law is well known in the English speaking world, for example the one banning people from pumping their own gas in NJ, you can just mention the law. If you claim that paperclips are illegal in Lichtenstein, please provide some type of justification (e.g. statutory cite, case citation where the law was raised, newspaper article mentioning it, etc.)

Last edited by robert_columbia; 11-19-2012 at 06:26 PM.. Reason: spelling
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:12 PM
YourAdHere YourAdHere is offline
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I assume you want laws that are still valid and enforced. (?) Massachusetts, for instance, still has laws on the books against blasphemy, adultery, sodomy, etc, but I assume they are no longer valid or enforceable, having been superseded by the constitution, Lawrence v Texas, et al.
Massachusetts has all its laws online. There is a section called morality or something and it's a pretty interesting read.
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  #3  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:24 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Just because it's topical, I'd say the most unjust law hereabouts is the one that says same-sex marriage is not allowed, being pretty much the definition of discrimination based on gender.
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  #4  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:32 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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1. Laws legalizing abortion for reasons besides if the mother's life is threatened, rape, or incest

Not sure about 2, will have to look into actual North Korean or Saudi Arabian laws a bit.
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  #5  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:38 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Originally Posted by Qin Shi Huangdi View Post
1. Laws legalizing abortion for reasons besides if the mother's life is threatened, rape, or incest.
I suppose there is no way to avoid catastrophic derailing of this thread, though I didn't expect it so early. But there is no way to call legal abortion unjust on the basis of life beginning at conception, and then turn around a terminate a fetus just because his father is a rapist. If your law against abortion is is just, your exceptions are unjust.
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:46 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is online now
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Depending on how you want to look at the ethics, I'd pick one of two things.

I think our "one man, one woman" marriage amendment is the most blatantly unfair law on our books right now. However, at this point it's not really doing that much practical harm to anyone-- except for some rare cases, it's just a minor inconvenience (and an insult) to committed same sex couples.

On the other hand, the laws that allow for draconian punishments for drug possession are frequently destroying the lives of otherwise law abiding citizens and/or drug addicts who would be better served by treatment. I don't think drug laws in general are as blatantly unfair as the marriage amendment, but I think the way they stand now are doing a lot more harm.
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:52 PM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
But there is no way to call legal abortion unjust on the basis of life beginning at conception, and then turn around a terminate a fetus just because his father is a rapist. If your law against abortion is is just, your exceptions are unjust.
Except in cases of legitimate rape, a woman can't get pregnant.

Oh wait...scratch that. I just remembered, I'm not a Republican congressman.
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:58 PM
picker picker is offline
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Laws giving self-righteous pricks the idea they can tell women what they can or can't do with their bodies.
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:00 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Ok, now that we've gotten it out of our system, I'm going to exclude laws allowing/banning abortion or allowing/banning gay marriage.

Are there any jurisdictions where the requirements to get a high school diploma are so discriminatory it's a travesty? Are there any jurisdictions where the protections a common person has against being placed in a mental institution against their will are so minimal that police can just throw people in the madhouse for anything and everything that they don't like but that doesn't technically constitute a crime?
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:14 PM
AaronX AaronX is offline
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You mean like banning chewing gum?
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  #11  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:25 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is offline
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Driver-responsibility fee laws. These laws are responsible for DRASTICALLY increasing the numbers of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the road, by unfairly impacting thoose who have no means by which to pay these large, ofen-times multiple fees.
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  #12  
Old 11-19-2012, 09:26 PM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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Eminent Domain that allows the state to make a seizure for a private entity, e.g., Kelo vs. New London. Terribly unjust.
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2012, 09:43 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Statutory rape: Someone has sex with a horny, eager teen and the law considers them indistinguishable from someone who rapes babies.

Laws making people even peripherally involved in a felony full accomplices. As in you let your worthless trash boyfriend spend the night, he deals out of your apartment and gets busted, and now congratulations YOU're a narcotics dealer.
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  #14  
Old 11-19-2012, 09:55 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Zero tolerance without context.
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2012, 10:02 PM
Jas09 Jas09 is offline
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A lot of drug sentencing laws (including the ones Lumpy described) are extremely unjust.

World-wide, I'd include various rape laws in fundamentalist Muslim jurisdictions where the only testimony accepted is a male's.
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  #16  
Old 11-19-2012, 11:37 PM
Blackberry Blackberry is offline
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Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
Statutory rape: Someone has sex with a horny, eager teen and the law considers them indistinguishable from someone who rapes babies.
What law?
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  #17  
Old 11-20-2012, 02:33 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Many sorts of forfeiture laws are seriously capricious and crappy.
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  #18  
Old 11-20-2012, 08:19 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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I always thought the Second Law of Thermodynamics was particularly unjust.
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  #19  
Old 11-20-2012, 09:00 AM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Many sorts of forfeiture laws are seriously capricious and crappy.
Especially civil forfeiture, as used by law enforcement to summarily seize property, often even before any conviction for a crime has happened.
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  #20  
Old 11-20-2012, 09:02 AM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
Statutory rape: Someone has sex with a horny, eager teen and the law considers them indistinguishable from someone who rapes babies.

Laws making people even peripherally involved in a felony full accomplices. As in you let your worthless trash boyfriend spend the night, he deals out of your apartment and gets busted, and now congratulations YOU're a narcotics dealer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackberry View Post
What law?
Especially "sex offender" scarlet-lettering.
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  #21  
Old 11-20-2012, 09:18 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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The Law of Gravity kills the innocent as readily as the guilty. It foments inequality, since it enables the rich to hold more stuff down against the earth. It discriminates on the basis of sex, since ideals of female beauty are much more vulnerable to its pull. It stifles discovery and innovation, by raising the cost and difficulty of seeing what is on top of things.

Free Fall At Last!
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  #22  
Old 11-20-2012, 09:21 AM
Procrustus Procrustus is offline
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Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
Especially civil forfeiture, as used by law enforcement to summarily seize property, often even before any conviction for a crime has happened.
Yep, giving police a profit motive is a terrible idea and invites abuse. (these laws often give the local police department a percentage of what they recover) And the owner of the property has the burden to prove it was not purchased with illegal funds.

It's hard to say this is the most unjust, however. Five years in prison for growing a plant would probably be worse than having your house and cars taken. Then again, sometimes they do both.
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  #23  
Old 11-20-2012, 11:00 AM
solosam solosam is offline
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http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_ra...ion_water.html

In many states it is illegal to collect rainwater.

Read that again: Water, the most common substance on the face of the planet, is literally falling from the sky, and guess what.... the government says you can't have any.
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  #24  
Old 11-20-2012, 11:11 AM
DMark DMark is offline
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Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
I think our "one man, one woman" marriage amendment is the most blatantly unfair law on our books right now. However, at this point it's not really doing that much practical harm to anyone-- except for some rare cases, it's just a minor inconvenience (and an insult) to committed same sex couples.
Regarding no practical harm?
How about the same sex couple who created a business from scratch - one partner dies and the estranged family of the other swoops in to take "their" inheritance - house, business, savings, insurance policies, heirlooms, etc. I have seen this happen in real life, all too often.
Even if they had iron-clad contracts, the government will charge very high taxes on any inheritance of the surviving (non-legal) spouse.
Or the couple who have been together for years, but one is deported because their visa expired or their Green Card application is denied or they can't even move into the USA? (But a hetero guy can order a bride online, from Russia, sight unseen, and get married and that is just fine with Immigration and she can become an American citizen in short order...)
Adoptions laws vary by state, making family issues a huge problem.
Filing for taxes is much different and more costly.
Social security benefits and many private business retirement accounts for surviving spouse from deceased spouse are non-existent - causing many surviving spouses to have to sell their homes/businesses.
Some hospitals in some states do not allow the same sex spouse any rights - only "immediate family" in times of health crisis.
I am sure there are other things I am forgetting off the top of my head, but let's just say "you don't know what you've got til it's gone..." and if you were in a same-sex relationship, you would very quickly learn what is gone.
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  #25  
Old 11-20-2012, 03:11 PM
Lanzy Lanzy is offline
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Laws that throw you in prison for smoking pot.
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  #26  
Old 11-20-2012, 03:21 PM
Cryptic C62 Cryptic C62 is offline
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Historical top 5:

1. Slavery.
2. Red scare.
3. Heteronly marriage.
4. Solitary confinement.
5. Japanese internment in WWII.

Honorable mention: Legality of cigarettes vs. illegality of other drugs, shrooms and weed in particular. Perhaps not unjust, but certainly inconsistent.
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  #27  
Old 11-20-2012, 05:35 PM
Drain Bead Drain Bead is offline
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Sex offender registry for juveniles--a bad decision at 14-15 could affect you for decades.

Also, the disparity in laws (and sentencing) between crack and powder cocaine.
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  #28  
Old 11-20-2012, 06:40 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
I suppose there is no way to avoid catastrophic derailing of this thread, though I didn't expect it so early. But there is no way to call legal abortion unjust on the basis of life beginning at conception, and then turn around a terminate a fetus just because his father is a rapist. If your law against abortion is is just, your exceptions are unjust.
Without derailing it, to a certain extent this is a head vs. heart issue for me-reason and justice dictates indeed that the child not be punished for the sins of their fathers especially in this country where the Supreme Court has ruled that it is cruel and unusual punishment to put child rapists to death yet at the same time my gut reaction is against unwillingly forcing women to carry children impregnated by rapists to term.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryptic C62 View Post
Historical top 5:

1. Slavery.
2. Red scare.
3. Heteronly marriage.
4. Solitary confinement.
5. Japanese internment in WWII.

Honorable mention: Legality of cigarettes vs. illegality of other drugs, shrooms and weed in particular. Perhaps not unjust, but certainly inconsistent.
Indian removal probably should near the top , rivalling only perhaps slavery while the internment of Japanese-Americans should be above the Red Scare.
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  #29  
Old 11-20-2012, 06:52 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMark View Post
Regarding no practical harm?
How about the same sex couple who created a business from scratch - one partner dies and the estranged family of the other swoops in to take "their" inheritance - house, business, savings, insurance policies, heirlooms, etc. I have seen this happen in real life, all too often.
Even if they had iron-clad contracts, the government will charge very high taxes on any inheritance of the surviving (non-legal) spouse.
Or the couple who have been together for years, but one is deported because their visa expired or their Green Card application is denied or they can't even move into the USA? (But a hetero guy can order a bride online, from Russia, sight unseen, and get married and that is just fine with Immigration and she can become an American citizen in short order...)
Adoptions laws vary by state, making family issues a huge problem.
Filing for taxes is much different and more costly.
Social security benefits and many private business retirement accounts for surviving spouse from deceased spouse are non-existent - causing many surviving spouses to have to sell their homes/businesses.
Some hospitals in some states do not allow the same sex spouse any rights - only "immediate family" in times of health crisis.
I am sure there are other things I am forgetting off the top of my head, but let's just say "you don't know what you've got til it's gone..." and if you were in a same-sex relationship, you would very quickly learn what is gone.
I didn't say no practical harm. However, other than the immigration and hospital visits (which I would throw into those "rare cases") those other things are just financial nuisances and/or can be worked around through other legal arrangements. I agree it's flagrantly unfair that same sex couples have to put up with those nuisances and workarounds while hetero couples don't, but I think the number of lives destroyed by marriage inequality pales in comparison to the number destroyed by draconian drug laws.
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  #30  
Old 11-20-2012, 06:53 PM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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Making it illegal to own or handle a firearm if you have been convicted of domestic violence.
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  #31  
Old 11-20-2012, 06:58 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Making it illegal to own or handle a firearm if you have been convicted of domestic violence.
Or worse, under a court order alleging domestic violence.
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  #32  
Old 11-20-2012, 07:37 PM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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In Cayman we've got the criminal offense of Insulting the modesty of a woman. And it is still enforced. It is illegal to state an unmarried woman is not chaste... even if she is a mother and never married!?! Obviously you cannot insult the modesty of a man. Boys will be boys.

We occasionally have Cuban refugees pass through our waters on the way to Honduras. Cayman's government has an agreement with Cuba that absolutely no aid will be offered by the government of Cayman Islands. In practice officials also prohibit private citizens to offer basic assistance including food and water. The one boat referred to in this link got lucky or got some good information, and arrived right at the cruise ship pier on a busy cruise day. They got help.

Last edited by Iggy; 11-20-2012 at 07:40 PM..
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  #33  
Old 11-20-2012, 07:53 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is offline
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Laws that throw you in prison for smoking pot.
Which laws would those be?
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  #34  
Old 11-20-2012, 08:03 PM
ducati ducati is offline
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Although I thought the Georgia SC struck this down long ago, it's still in the codes as of today...


16-6-18. Fornication

An unmarried person commits the offense of fornication when he voluntarily has sexual intercourse with another person and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.
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  #35  
Old 11-21-2012, 08:31 AM
Lanzy Lanzy is offline
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Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
Which laws would those be?
I don't smoke an do not know "which" laws apply because there are numerous ones that apply, but here is something for you although you seem to imply there arn't any by your silly arse question.

here
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  #36  
Old 11-21-2012, 01:20 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is offline
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Originally Posted by Lanzy View Post
I don't smoke an do not know "which" laws apply because there are numerous ones that apply, but here is something for you although you seem to imply there arn't any by your silly arse question.

here
Are there any statistics on just how many people actually receive prison sentences for simple possession convictions? I can tell you for me personally, it didn't amount to anything more than a small fine.
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  #37  
Old 11-21-2012, 01:38 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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My vote is for contributory negligence. It means if you're involved in an incident and you contributed to it in any way through negligence, you can't get any compensation. So if you get hit by a car and injured, and you're deemed to be 10% at fault, you don't get any compensation from the car driver who is 90% at fault.
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  #38  
Old 11-21-2012, 08:00 PM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
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In Japan, the police can question you without your attorney present. They can hold you for 23 days after being arrested without charging you and without allowing you to access to an attorney. The police can and often do rearrest suspects of second and third charges to extend the time they have until they break someone. Interrogations are not recorded.

Yes, and unsurprisingly, there are a fair number of false confessions is Japan. Quite a coincidence.
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  #39  
Old 11-21-2012, 08:25 PM
lisiate lisiate is offline
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My nomination for New Zealand. The Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982. This act retrospectively stripped New Zealand citizenship from anyone born in Western Samoa before 1924 and 1949, when Western Samoa was administered as a mandate territory of New Zealand, as well as their spouses and descendants.

Falema'i Lesa, who had been born in Western Samoa but resided in New Zealand, was about to be deported. She claimed she was entitled to be a New Zealand citizen, as she was born a British subject, and became a New Zealand citizen in 1949 when the new status of New Zealand citizen was created. The Privy Council (then the highest court in the NZ court system) agreed with her.

Disliking the prospect of having thousands of new citizens (and not be able to deport Western Samoan overstayers), the New Zealand Parliament passed this act to strip all but Ms Lesa of their NZ citizenship. Seems pretty unjust to me.
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  #40  
Old 11-21-2012, 08:40 PM
Procrustus Procrustus is offline
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Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
My vote is for contributory negligence. It means if you're involved in an incident and you contributed to it in any way through negligence, you can't get any compensation. So if you get hit by a car and injured, and you're deemed to be 10% at fault, you don't get any compensation from the car driver who is 90% at fault.
True. In most (all?) U.S. jurisdictions, however, the contributory negligence rule has been replaced with comparitave fault.
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  #41  
Old 11-21-2012, 09:08 PM
lisiate lisiate is offline
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The same is true in all commonwealth jurisdicitons, AFAIK.

Which goes to show how just unjust the pure common law comparative negligence rule is/was.
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  #42  
Old 11-21-2012, 09:13 PM
Cold Dish Cold Dish is offline
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That you can tried in civil court for a crime you have been found not guilty of in criminal court.
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  #43  
Old 11-21-2012, 09:18 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Originally Posted by Cold Dish View Post
That you can tried in civil court for a crime you have been found not guilty of in criminal court.
I know what you're saying, but technically you are not being "tried" for a "crime" in civil court: you're being sued for damages, and a finding of fact there (by the lesser standard of "preponderance of evidence") isn't the same as a finding of fact in criminal court. Yes in common sense terms it's absurd but there is a logic at work.
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  #44  
Old 11-21-2012, 10:39 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
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2nd law of thermodynamics. Proof that there is no justice in an unforgiving universe.
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  #45  
Old 11-21-2012, 11:09 PM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
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2nd law of thermodynamics. Proof that there is no justice in an unforgiving universe.
Or credit for Cal's good ideas.
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  #46  
Old 11-21-2012, 11:19 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
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Damn.
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  #47  
Old 11-21-2012, 11:31 PM
listedmia listedmia is offline
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My personal vote is for laws that exist to make it easier for police to mess with homeless people. "No sit, no lie" ordinances spring to mind. Also, tangentially related, a couple of cities in Illinois have passed laws banning sales of half-pint or smaller bottles of liquor and 40-ounce beers; they don't have a problem with people getting drunk unless they're poor, apparently.
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  #48  
Old 11-21-2012, 11:56 PM
zoid zoid is offline
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While not really egregious and no where near the top of the list, banning "paraphernalia" is just plain stupid and I can't see how it's constitutional.
Got bong? You're in trouble mister. What's that? It's clean as a whistle? You've never smoked put out of it? We didn't find any pot on you? Tough shit.
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  #49  
Old 11-23-2012, 08:06 PM
matt_mcl matt_mcl is offline
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Bill 78, the Quebec law this year that among other things banned any gathering of more than 50 people without advance warning, tried to impose an end to the student strike by force, and gave the education minister the ability to make laws by herself, was pretty damned unjust. However, it's since been abrogated (after the government was dumped and replaced after months of protest).

Seriously, it got my little brother, who is distinctly not a pinko like me, out for his first protest march since 1995.

I hesitate to call this the most unjust law, as there are some doozies, but it was right up there.

Last edited by matt_mcl; 11-23-2012 at 08:08 PM..
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  #50  
Old 11-23-2012, 08:29 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
I know what you're saying, but technically you are not being "tried" for a "crime" in civil court: you're being sued for damages, and a finding of fact there (by the lesser standard of "preponderance of evidence") isn't the same as a finding of fact in criminal court. Yes in common sense terms it's absurd but there is a logic at work.
It doesn't seem absurd to me at all.
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