Farrar finally has a good idea | The Jackal

17 Aug 2012

Farrar finally has a good idea

Yesterday, Kiwibog reported:

One could record each Judge’s sentencing decisions for various crimes, and over time see which Judges tend to give heavier and lighter sentences for different types of crimes.

I suspect many lawyers know this anyway through observation.

One could also record how often a Judge gives bail, when opposed by the Police, and even what further crimes are committed on bail, when granted despite opposition.

This is all public data. We have an open justice system. I’m not suggesting the Government compile this data. It could be a crowd sourced project.

As much as I hate to admit it, this is a good idea. Of course the crowd sourcing aspect probably wouldn't work, and one or two public servants would need to be employed to collate the data to ensure accuracy.

One aspect I would be interested in is the relationship between the colour of somebodies skin and the length of their sentence. It's been observed that Maori are often given longer sentences than Pakeha when being sentenced for similar crimes.

A prime example of this is the Beast of Blenheim case, whereby Stewart Murray Wilson wasn't given preventative detention by the sentencing judge despite a multitude of serious offending. There are a many cases from back then where Maori were given preventative detention for committing a single similar crime, and some of them are still in jail.

Seeing this entrenched racism expressed in a graph might just be the impetus needed to change the system. I bet it's not sounding like such a good idea to Farrar now.