Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Not Guilty != Innocent

OK just 2 quick points about the cover story in the NZ Herald that irritated me today.
1) 250 people escaping conviction does not equal 250 innocent people. There is a big difference between being found innocent and there being insufficient evidence to convict.
2) The rise from 230 people to 500 people with life sentances is meaningless without knowing the crossover in those two sets.

5 comments:

burt said...

Scottland has a 'Not proven' outcome in it's law.

This is effectively saying that there was insufficent evidence to prove guilt and sufficient evidence or circumstances to dispell innocence.

You use of the != implies you'r familiar with C or one of it's syntatic copy cats. C++, Java etc. Therefore you'r probably familiar with the rules regarding null.

If (quilty == null && innocence == null )
{
justice = "a crock of shit";
}

iiq374 said...

I quite like the sound of that 'Not Proven' outcome. Solves some of the BS now around not being able to retry someone for a crime after a 'Not Guilty' verdict.

If (guilty == null && innocence == null )
{
return new Jury();
}

burt said...

Yes it's a pragmatic approach. Something that seems to be missing in most legal systems.

My understanding is that the case can be re-tried with existing information and/or new information if it comes to hand.

Therefore:

if (!guilty && !innocent)
{
throw new CaseNotProvenException();
}

null (inderterminate) not some arbituary value as Java gives us to make it easy to test. Afterall (is xx == null) should always return false as NULL is undefined and nothing = undefined, not even undefined. :-)

iiq374 said...

Ah yes but you are not checking if the things are the same but if they are pointing to the same place; and they're both pointing nowhere ;-)

(Doesnt matter if the hyperlink is on my blog or yours - its still the same page)

iiq374 said...

So for once heaven == hell :-p