Louder Fenn

Monday, February 18, 2002

Sgt. Stryker says that a fine should be commensurate with a person's income. While he makes a good point about making the fine hurt -- a $10 fine is nothing to a billionaire and therefore would have no deterrent effect -- I have two problems with this:

# I'm not so sure that the purpose of a fine is deterrence (anymore, that is, than the purpose of any punishment is deterrence). I should think, rather, that a fine is to punish -- that is, to proclaim the badness of an act: It should be commensurate with the crime, not the criminal.

# While I would never call Andy Griffith a Godless Commie, I daresay he was a Democrat; and that sort (however otherwise virtuous) do tend to undermine something very American: Equal protection of the laws. When, as a matter of course, a punishment is changed due to your income -- due to your status; due to your class; due, say, to your race -- the laws become unequal. In practice, yes, the law always seems to be unequal; but at least our principles should not embrace this.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?