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Should Falsely Convicted Prisoners Get More Compensation?

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posted on Oct, 11 2006 @ 04:53 PM
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Here is a guy who spends 11 years in jail for a murder he did not do news.bbc.co.uk...
However he has been given £300,000 worth of compensation after taking the local South Wales Police Force to court.

1. My first question is why the police force? Why does a small local police force have to pay 300 grand to a victim of the state? How will this local police forces performance improve in light of being 300 grand short?
2. Surely if anyone in the police force did something grossly wrong then the only form of compensation should be a lawsuit mounted personally against those responsible?
3. Otherwise surely it should be handled by central government, that handles the cost of untraceable negligence’s? (not the local tax payer) (who may well have also been victims in other ways)
4. In fact surely central government should handle all compensation claims for wrongful imprisonment?
5. Is 300 thousand (despite being a record sum) really enough for loosing 11 years of your life. If I really wanted to I could make at least that much in 11 years (after tax) and still have time for family. £300,000 is little over 27 thousand pounds a year compensation per year of an 11 year sentence.




posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 02:18 PM
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Originally posted by Liberal1984
1. My first question is why the police force?


- Because they were responsible for the wrongful arrest and a flawed case presented to the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service).


Why does a small local police force have to pay 300 grand to a victim of the state?


- Because they are the ones deemed primarily responsible for the mistake.


How will this local police forces performance improve in light of being 300 grand short?


- The eternal question, do fines work?
Well, since Saxon times we know people think they do (in fact - if you want a little useless fact to consider - Saxon law preferred heavy fines to imprisonment).

I suppose there are those who simply say it is the only language these big institutions/organisations/bureaucracies understand.


2. Surely if anyone in the police force did something grossly wrong then the only form of compensation should be a lawsuit mounted personally against those responsible?


- I suppose that is because it would be pretty much impossible (not to say laughably ridiculous) to contend/pretend that all of the Officers ever connected with this case only acted independently and that the organisation itself had no responsibility for their actions.

You'd also find no-one would ever volunteer and choose to work in such a line of work if their every honest mistake was potentially utterly ruinous (and that applies everywhere, not just in the legal arena).


3. Otherwise surely it should be handled by central government, that handles the cost of untraceable negligence’s? (not the local tax payer) (who may well have also been victims in other ways)


- Given that all of the UK's Police services/forces get funds from central Gov (despite the figures set out in Council Tax bills) the question is probably moot.

Whatever method of accountancy used almost all funds ultimately get decided/come from central Gov.


4. In fact surely central government should handle all compensation claims for wrongful imprisonment?


- In effect they ultimately do (in other words if a PF was to end up with no funding Central Gov would have to bail them out).

I would hazard a guess that this kind of independent accounting is an example of the 'freedom' from central Gov local organisations are usually keen on.
As with the Health Service it appears that greater 'responsibility', 'freedom' and 'budgetary independence' doesn't prevent central Gov being blamed for shortfalls or the consequences of financial penalties like this that they incur.


5. Is 300 thousand (despite being a record sum) really enough for loosing 11 years of your life. If I really wanted to I could make at least that much in 11 years (after tax) and still have time for family. £300,000 is little over 27 thousand pounds a year compensation per year of an 11 year sentence.


- Better ask the Judge.

There are all sorts of questions as to why things work our as they do but fundamentally the central issue in this is that this man was grievously wronged over a long period by the actions of one of the 'arms' of the state.

Of course it was right he seek justice and get some sort of compensation for the injustice he suffered.
They can't give him the time back but they can compensate him in cash.

Arguing over the amount the Judge awarded is fine but IMO a lesser point.

The man was, without question, due Justice, whether he now feels he has gotten it is, in the end, only something he himself can ever say.

[edit on 12-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 07:27 PM
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The law for starters is way over stupid, and needs to be changed.

Someone is awarded over 500 thousand for stress related work. Now a guy whom was falsley imprisoned for 11 years only gets 300 thousand.

There is seriously something wrong, with the compensation bands or the law.

This guy would have gotten some compensation from the state right as well as from this police force?

No matter which way you look at it 300 thousand does not make up for 11 years lost in your life for beiong wrongfully accussed of something you did not do.



posted on Oct, 16 2006 @ 08:56 PM
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Sminkeypinkey you say fines work. Well of course they do but in my opinion only when they affect individual(s). Take a big non-government organisation like Tesco and its only because compensation for “this or that” has cost the share holders money, and therefore the bosses job-stability (or more likely just the size of their annual bonus) that anyone takes the whole thing seriously at all.

However I doubt very much that the small South Wales police force will be a stronger force for being 300 grand down (perhaps a few less patrol cars). Question is what have the local people done to make themselves relevant to ether the size or purpose of the fine?

You can point out that personally bringing the individual(s) responsible for the systems failure is probably “laughably ridiculous”.
This entails that (by supporting the fine) (in this case) you are arguing for its properties as a collective punishment. And I agree that (in the absence of individual justice) there is a case for it.

So by all means go ahead, work out what difference a 300 grand fine would make to the South Wales Polices wage packets-quality of life (and it’s likely to be a joke if things like patrol cars and other local police services end up paying for it the most).)

But whatever this “joke figure” is, it is the only collective punishment issued against police force. This is because the (entirely innocent) local population is paying the rest of the collective punishment (i.e. fine).

So why don’t you agree with me that central government should pick up the “collective punishment” fine bill of the local population; whilst the police force (as a paid police force) should pick up the rest?
Of course some would say there is no need to collectively punish the police force. I don’t completely agree; but if I did it would simply entail the fine serves no purpose (as a collective punishment). If that’s the case surely no one in South Wales Police should be collectively punished (i.e. central government should pick up the bill in its entirety)?

Point aside surely central government should pick up the bill of the entirely innocent local people?

P.S This “Liberal1984” method could have a place in all government departments which face the prospect of being sued or fined (by anyone). It would be particularly useful for whenever central government fines local NHS trusts (as it distinguishes between local service, and local staff).



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 09:48 AM
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Lib you might find it hard to see why but there are many people here in the UK who very much prefer our system of local Police forces/services that are based on county or region.

That is why the identifiable 'body' concerned in the legal case here is the Police force/service named and not a national force or our central gov
(even tho it is quite obvious that the funding will, ultimately, come from central gov) .

You might find that questionable but that is the legal situation.

Now, whether we should have an entirely 'national' Police (yes I know we have just begun elements of this in the new national crime squad/form of CID) and not a more locally based Police is another debate entirely, but that is the crux of why this case was taken against the people it was taken against.

As for you inferring that there was personal negligence in this case?
I'm not expert in law or in this case (and I presume you aren't either?)
but
I am quite certain that if there was an appropriate personal case to bring here it would have been considered and brought if it was appropriate (and presumably that could have been brought by any of the sides in this.....or maybe it is still possible that it come later).

As for the amounts of compensation?
I know that they have various tables and assessments done to help them gauge what *it* is worth.

The reason for some apparent discrepancies with other high-profile cases is that there are other considerations when it comes to compensation in respect of cases involving large companies or famous people etc - and sometimes the compensation is set by a jury and not a Judge, which usually makes a huge difference.

I'm not defending some-one's hurt feelings getting £500k verses this guy losing 11yrs and getting £300k.
I would just point out that I don't know the full ins and outs and I suspect few of those who would rush to snap and easy judgements about these things do either.

You can be sure that for every case that makes the headlines and looks outrageously OTT there are a huge number of equally deserving and worthy, if much less well publicised cases, that reach nothing like the same stratospheric levels of compensation.

But you're better off asking a lawyer this kind of stuff.


[edit on 17-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 07:27 PM
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your saying in effect, the person found guilty in the court & jury process
should get carte blanche if a technicality results in overturning the conviction?

whoa there, you & i know that if it is ever proven that the police & prosecutors took extreme liberties in both exaggerating their evidence and not permitting
the defendant's evidence (so as to get a conviction by surreptious means)
the police forces and the prosecutors would not suffer any convictions for their actions... and that is why monetary compensations are awarded.

If the courts awarded larger monetary compensations, there would be no changes in the system, the status-quo system would merely award larger sums (at taxpayer expense) with no change of the system or problem.

I suggest that the convicted person who is later proven to not be 'guilty'
because of new evidence or whatever, get the appropriate 'compensation'
...but without the 33 1/3% deduction that his defender lawer team is entitled to...

that cost/expense (as it were) should be a burden on the prosecuting body which includes the police/detectives & the State which developed the case that led to the innocents' conviction...the state collectively & the prosecuting team individually should bear the burden of re-compensating the wrongfully conviced person and compensating the courts -->and the defendants lawyer(s) for all expenses!!

[[as an example, this man was awarded 300,000 Pounds (@$1.90 a Pound)
his lawyer fees were 100,000 Pounds---> ?Why should he have to pay his defense team 1/3rd of his award?? because his lawyers were only righting a wrong!
the length of engaging the court (maybe 6 months-1 year) should also be the burden of the prosecutors....]]

end here before it gets too unwieldy, but ya'll get my drift...ay?



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 08:28 AM
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Lib you might find it hard to see why but there are many people here in the UK who very much prefer our system of local Police forces/services that are based on county or region.


Sminkey; I'm not arguing against a local police force. I'm arguing that fines should be directed against ether individuals or central government; not local police forces. And I argue this because I do not see why the local polices quality of service should be punished-diluted at the expense of the local people. I do not understand what purpose this serves (when even if there is an argument for collective punishment against the staff of South Wales Police Force; this could be issued directly against their pay-job quality directly; rather than the whole of the local authorities resources). I'm proposing that fines make a distinction between local staff and local services. Local staff cause mistakes and its right that they (as now) should not be able to turn to central government for bail outs. Local services on the other hand are the victims of c**p staff even when litigation does not take place, so its entirely wrong these same local services should foot the litigation bills caused by such staff (at least without substantial-total government help).

I also agree with St Udio compensation should not be reduced by legal bills.
In fact my attitude has always been that the guilty should always cover the costs of the prosecution, just as the prosecution should always cover the costs of the innocent. I believe the only excerption to this should be when a judge-jury specifically rules otherwise.

As for the size of the compensation I think everyone can see spencerjohnstone made an excellent point by noting how you can get £550,000 for stress related work, but only £300,000 for a miscarriage of justice costing you 11 years of freedom, of your life. The law is an ass; but it’s far worse inside the divorce courts (this is a legal institution people should fear, like they fear crime).



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 11:11 AM
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Originally posted by Liberal1984
Sminkey; I'm not arguing against a local police force. I'm arguing that fines should be directed against ether individuals or central government; not local police forces.


- Well as I said lib they are the responsible 'bodies' because that is how the law sees their responsibility due to the manner in which the 'system' is organised.

It has obvious benefits (the 'local' element which people prefer) and I suppose one of the drawbacks is they get directly involved in this kind of thing
(but then again it'd be hard to see how they wouldn't to a large degree in any other 'system').

It's an entirely legal and technical matter though.


I argue this because I do not see why the local polices quality of service should be punished-diluted at the expense of the local people.


- I think you are making a mountain out of a mole-hill and running around in circles over a highly unlikely hypothetical scenario.

In theory a local Police force/service might suffer financially but in practise this is unlikely in the extreme.

It's merely about what method of accountancy you use, ultimately all of this type of funding comes from central Gov.


Local staff cause mistakes and its right that they (as now) should not be able to turn to central government for bail outs.


- This seems to contradict your original idea/claim that local forces/services suffer cos it looks to me like you are agreeing here that central Gov does pay out.


Local services on the other hand are the victims of c**p staff even when litigation does not take place, so its entirely wrong these same local services should foot the litigation bills caused by such staff (at least without substantial-total government help).


- You're simply ignoring points I raised earlier.

Like I said if it is appropriate that some local staff be charged for criminal malpractice, acting illegally or negligently then charges may well be brought; the present 'system' does not rule that out at all.

But often it is simply not appropriate and the main 'body' is the one that has to face the litigation.


I also agree with St Udio compensation should not be reduced by legal bills.


- The issue of costs is one that is considered at every Court case.
It is not just automatic or ignored.

However Courts also take account of circumstances leading up to the case ie if reasonable offers were made to settle out of Court and refused by the plaintiff.

In a case like that the Court might well decide in the Plaintiff's favour but award some share of costs to the defendant.
It might well decide that the case was perfectly capable of being settled perfectly reasonably out of Court and that by not settling the Plaintiff was acting - wholly or partially - unreasonably, leading to an unwarranted escalation in costs and ultimately wasting the Courts time (with an issue that could and should have been settled with going to Court in the first place).

The Courts (quite rightly) do not look favourably at those who act unreasonably and take up their limited time with frivolous or vindictive cases; that's the gamble people take by not settling out of court and pursuing cases to the bitter end.
You might even 'win' in terms of the verdict given but find costs awarded substantially or even entirely against you and financially lose, very very heavily (cos Court costs are usually enormous......and the higher the Court and the longer the case the greater the costs)


In fact my attitude has always been that the guilty should always cover the costs of the prosecution, just as the prosecution should always cover the costs of the innocent.


- Lib read the above, learn a little about the matter and think again.

It's not very often so black and white and simplistic.

Liability is rarely a cut and dried case of 100% 'either or', like real life itself it is usually complicated.


I believe the only excerption to this should be when a judge-jury specifically rules otherwise.


- !?
How is that in the slightest bit different to any case decided in Court now?

Costs are always decided in a British court by the Judge (and juries can express their own view on the award of costs when passing their verdicts).


As for the size of the compensation I think everyone can see spencerjohnstone made an excellent point by noting how you can get £550,000 for stress related work, but only £300,000 for a miscarriage of justice costing you 11 years of freedom, of your life.


- Each case is different but when you don't know anything beyond what a tabloid has to say on a particular matter well, as I said, it's not much of a basis for thinking you know the full facts in any of these matters and
making such sweeping judgements and such definite statements.


The law is an ass; but it’s far worse inside the divorce courts (this is a legal institution people should fear, like they fear crime).


- .......and I'd say people who obviously really don't really understand or know much about how the present system works are probably not the best qualified to make definite strong sweeping comments on how defective, useless or incompetent out legal system is.


As for scary divorce Courts?
Pppppfffff.

Why should 'everyday people' be scared of them?

Just because some very high-profile rich people end up with what appear at face value (ie in tabloid reports) weird settlements (and almost always, again, the rest of us 'everyday people' know nothing about the full ins and outs) that is not how it is for most.


[edit on 18-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 12:15 PM
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As you might imagine, America has faced this problem many times. We still have not worked out a rational plan to deal with it. Until the liberalization of access to our courts after World War Two, the American version of the English doctrine of sovereign immunity prevented claims. The only recourse was a private bill in the appropriate legislative body. Not a likely thing to happen. Further, there is our separation of powers doctrine which the Executive Branch is the investigative, prosecutor and jailer, but the Judiciary Branch is the trier of accused persons, and the Legislative Branch would have to make laws and provide funds for compensation.

Three are good reasons to believe 15% of persons in American prisons have been wrongfully convicted. Governor George Ryan of Illinois halted the further imposition of the death penalty when a Northwestern University Law School project found 11 innocent men on death row over a 13 years period. That amounted to 9% of those on death row. He commuted all the remaining death sentences to life in prison. California has the most on death row, over 600. California however uses the DP sparingly. It has imposed the sentence only 8 times since it’s re-introduction in 1978. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger lost his Austrian citizenship and the stadium in his home town took down his name when he authorized an execution last year. While governor of Texas in less than 6 years, George Bush approved and authorized 154 executions. One dead man every 2 weeks, on average. An American record. (Do you think the stress of putting so many men to death could have affected him?)

One huge hurdle to cross for fair and prompt compensation is this: many people (here) don’t care about anyone who is in prison, innocent or not. There is no “constituency” for prisoners, innocent or otherwise. Prisoners do not vote. They have no money.

It seems to me the right thing to do is to set a daily rate, over here I’d suggest about $150 a day, but COLA’d, - cost of living adjusted - to avoid revisiting it every so often. Prisoners should collect a check on their way out of the institution. Provisions ought to be made for a person to recoup monies expended on his defense, should that have been the case. The national government should be liable for payment because it is, in the final analysis, a national problem.



[edit on 10/18/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 05:30 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite
Three are good reasons to believe 15% of persons in American prisons have been wrongfully convicted.


- I recall there is a British lawyer who has been out in the USA for many years working for the public defendant's office and those incapable of affording a decent legal defence.

He was on British TV a while back and he reckoned at least 10 - 15% of those he saw on death row shouldn't be there, based on his own work.

It's tragic, pitiable and a pure sin.


George Bush approved and authorized 154 executions. One dead man every 2 weeks, on average. An American record.


- I find the theatrical pride that US Presidential candidates take (or seem to have to take) in their zest to condemn men to death (and being seen to refuse appeals) absolutely appalling.
......and it's not just Bush, Clinton did it too, they all seem to feel they have to to prove their nerve/will/'toughness' etc.
Bush certainly took it to new (vile) levels.


(Do you think the stress of putting so many men to death could have affected him?)


- Some it does and sadly some sleep as soundly as any man ever did no matter what awful things they've done.


One huge hurdle to cross for fair and prompt compensation is this: many people (here) don’t care about anyone who is in prison, innocent or not. There is no “constituency” for prisoners, innocent or otherwise. Prisoners do not vote. They have no money.


- That's true.
I know that here in the UK we certainly do have charitable groups speaking up for and out for prisoners rights.

You may imagine that it is an uphill struggle at the best of times......and even well known or publicised cases like this one rarely impact on that sentiment.

It reaches the most outrageous levels, in the case of the Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 (famous cases where Irish people were wrongly imprisoned for very very long periods) we even had rags like the Telegraph (a supposedly respectable, if very right-wing, broadsheet here) after their release trying to spin the story that they had not really been found innocent at all, they were just released on technicalities
(which was absolutely and totally untrue).


It seems to me the right thing to do is to set a daily rate, over here I’d suggest about $150 a day, but COLA’d, - cost of living adjusted - to avoid revisiting it every so often.


- That's what I was meaning by the 'tables' I mentioned earlier.
Here at least they do have all sorts of calculations and assessments to help work such things out.


Prisoners should collect a check on their way out of the institution.


- You might have thought so don but I don't know of a case of that ever happening here.

Even the most long-term and high-profile cases always seem to result in a fight for release first and then a fight for compensation after.


The national government should be liable for payment because it is, in the final analysis, a national problem.


- I don't disagree with this but I can see that our methods of organisation force certain legal technicalities and procedures when it comes to the nuts and bolts of how this is actually done.

It must suck mightily to be on the end of such complex official-dom and legalese as it moves through it's own bureaucracy and procedures in it's own time tho, I do agree.



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