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Project seeks to legally define 'heinous,' 'cruel,' 'atrocious,' 'depraved or 'evil'
by Emily Sohn
Which is worse: Bombing a building or forcing a child to watch a crime? Attacking a stranger for fun or causing a car accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Murder with intent or murder by mistake?
They're complicated questions that, in the heat of a criminal trial, can get tangled up in emotion, abstract impressions and arguments about how bad a crime really was.
In an attempt to restore order that even judges and juries often can't instill, an ongoing project is working to clarify exactly what it means for a crime to be "heinous," "cruel," "atrocious," "depraved" or "evil" - words that get thrown around courtrooms but lack clear definitions.
By creating societal standards for different levels of criminal activity, the project aims to create a clear-cut "Depravity Scale" that would guide sentencing decisions. To achieve that goal, researchers are asking for input through online surveys from as many people as possible -- including you.
The public survey, located at www.depravityscale.org, asks users questions about race, gender, education level and religious beliefs. Then it plunges into the hard stuff — asking people to rank 26 features of theoretical wrongdoings on a scale from most to least depraved.
Originally posted by zroth
This is a scary idea. If this survey data is allowed in court, we are on a slippery slope to using facebook poll data in the furture.
The mob is alive and well.