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Meanwhile in T-American Courts ... - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Meanwhile in T-American Courts ...
Talking with [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, I stumbled across one reason why Terramagne-America has a legal system so much better than ours. They use rubrics. For each crime, there's a checklist of things that constitute that crime and steps required to prove it. That means everyone can check off completed items as they go along, and at the end, there's an interpretation note to show how much is required for probable cause to charge someone with the crime or to convict them of doing it. That's so much easier than trying to do it all in your head and hoping you haven't missed something. For official purposes, you then list references after each item leading to supporting evidence of it. Because it's much easier to prove crimes with physical evidence than without it, a key area of improvement lies with nonphysical crimes such as abuse or discrimination, where the rubric makes it easy to show a consistent pattern of misbehavior.

There's an oblique reference to this in "Disorientation and Reorientation." Also, "Ruts in the Road" has a description in the footnotes about how the National Hate Crimes Office works, and this fits right into their practice of gathering information about bigots. If anyone wants to prompt for a more detailed presentation, go for it.

The closest thing I've seen in the legal system here is the much simpler "motive, means, and opportunity" set for murder. Mostly, legal workers just do the evaluations in their heads, it's the proof part that they document more thoroughly, but that's rarely gathered into a concise form. Outside of that, there are checklists for abuse, although it's hard to find ones with an actual scoring system at the bottom. Checklists for alcoholism more often contain a scoring system; this time I actually found one that's pretty accurate. So you can see how the concept works. It's a little more work to set up in advance, but when you get to the end, the solution is straightforward instead of requiring you to do a massive amount of intuitive weighing to make a decision.

While it's not possible to change the legal system quickly, there are other places it can be applied as soon as someone thinks of it. Any therapist, domestic shelter, etc. can work up an abuse checklist with scoring levels like "think about whether you want to keep this relationship," "talk with a trusted person," and "legal action would be advisable." Any school, employer, etc. could do one for things like discrimination or harassment with levels along the lines of "ask the person to stop doing it," "speak to a supervisor," "HR sanctions," "termination and/or legal action indicated." Any lawyer, community court volunteer, mediator, etc. can work up a checklist to help people figure out if their problem is trivial and should be handled at home, is moderate and needs quasi-formal intervention, or is a severe police matter. Lawyers, with their access to legal documents, could fancy it up to justify their fees by including statistics: if you check 5 of these items your chance of winning in court is 10%, if you check 12 it's 50%, if you check them all it's 90%. Anyone having a problem with another person can do the research to find or create a checklist and cross-reference it with professional materials, then fill it out and take it to meetings or attach it to complaint forms. It's about collating information so that it can be assessed en masse, which makes it much easier to gauge the severity of a problem.

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