Judging the Judges

May 6th, 2013 at 6:47 am by David Farrar

The have launched their Judge the Judges website.

I have some mixed feelings on this. I don’t like the personal focus on some individual Judges, and especially do not like the inclusion of their photos on the site. Having said that, in the age of televised trials many Judges have appeared on the TV news.

Some of the cases highlighted are worth highlighting. There have been some appallingly light sentences handed out. Many of these have been reported on in the media, and often subject to successful Crown appeal.

The website does not just highlight the cases where the sentence was too light. They have included cases where they think the Judge got it right on. I wonder if they would include cases where they think the sentence was excessive, if such a thing is possible?

One good aspect of the site is they have included full sentencing notes from the Judges for some of the cases. This is a useful service. As far as I know these are not available elsewhere online to the public. If people do use the site, I’d recommend they do more than just read the summaries but read the full sentencing notes.

As I said I have some mixed feelings on this initiative. I’d prefer the focus was on sentences, rather than Judges. I’d also suggest they try and get full sentencing notes appended to all the cases, rather than just some of them. But I do think some of the sentences out there do need a spotlight focused on them.

Some of the pressure should go on the Crown to appeal manifestly too low sentences. When Judges do get it wrong, the best response is an appeal.

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74 Responses to “Judging the Judges”

  1. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Good on the SST for trying to unmask some of the tree-huggers and do-gooders.

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  2. big bruv (13,688 comments) says:

    What a great website, all power to the SST.

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  3. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    When Judges do get it wrong, the best response is an appeal.

    When a judge commits fraud in order to assume jurisdiction, appeal is not an option.

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  4. Nigel Kearney (970 comments) says:

    The Ministry of Justice should be doing this. Since they won’t, it’s hardly reasonable to complain if someone else does. I have no problem with the SST when they are focusing on sentencing, rather than on locking people up before conviction and making it difficult for accused people to defend themselves.

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  5. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    As I said I have some mixed feelings on this initiative. I’d prefer the focus was on sentences, rather than Judges.

    I am sorry but I completely disagree with this.

    It is not the law that is at fault here. It is the interpretation of the law, and thus it is down to each individual judge.

    Let us not forget that the prime duty of every judge is to keep law abiding citizens safe from crime.

    Those who fail in this prime purpose need to be exposed to public criticism, for it is the public that they are failing.

    We need to know who the recalcitrants are and they need to be publicly named and shamed.

    They are charged with carrying out a vitally important task in our society, and when they fail to perform, our whole society becomes threatened.

    We have a right to know exactly who are the judges who are not doing their job, and they should be fired if they are not. It is too important a task and there is far too much public concern over apparent constant failure for them to be spared any scrutiny.

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  6. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    I had a twelve year close daily interaction with a Wellington entity that was headed by, and employed, retired Judges – if they ever retire that is!!. As a layman my impression of and confidence in Judges as such underwent some adjustment during those years.

    They were making decisions on disputes between members of the public and officialdom.

    Judges, I found, are human. They have biasses, they have off-days, and they are fallible in their decision making. In fairness, however, they can sometimes be briliantly perceptive.

    One thing I did quickly discover – and it was very marked indeed – was the gulf in ability and – (can I call it wisdom?) – between District Court Judges and High Court Judges. The latter really knew their stuff. The former? We-e-e-ell?

    What did I learn from this close daily interaction with the juduciary?. Judges are like everyone else. Good, bad, indifferent and equally fallible.

    I expect that Court staff, lawyers and solicitors all over NZ could tell us a tale or two, as well!!

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  7. Mobile Michael (441 comments) says:

    The SST would probably never call a sentence excessive. :-)

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  8. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “Judges are like everyone else. Good, bad, indifferent and equally fallible.”

    So what?

    Let’s get rid of the damn crim huggers among them.

    Habitual criminals with scores of conviction for violence and property offences should not be walking the streets on the basis that their rehabilitation has priority over public safety.

    All power to the SST and the people behind it.

    True heroes.

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  9. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    I meant to say-

    True heroes, and a welcome antidote to the indifference of the National Party in government.

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  10. flipper (3,947 comments) says:

    Russell Pettigrew (Sir), must be regretting that he bank rolled this useless group.
    The website is gratuitous.
    The judgments absurd.
    Do Judges FUP? Yep.

    Will this crap site help? Nope.

    Live with it you dumbasses.
    Why?
    Because there are more than adequate means of dealing with rubbish judicial decisions.

    The real problem is that moist folks make judgments based in crap/slanted media reports, and the uninformed lynch mob, with a blood lust.

    If this site were to be launched by the Bar Association it would be worth attention – and it would get it!.

    DECLARATION: No connection to any Judge, and never the beneficiary of any doubtful judicial decision/action.

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  11. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “If this site were to be launched by the Bar Association it would be worth attention”

    Piss off.

    It would be worthless.

    ..and they wouldn’t do it anyway.

    Too interested in preserving the status quo and their comfy ivory tower existence.

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  12. flipper (3,947 comments) says:

    Say Red, what are you on this morning?

    Were you one of the “knitters” during the French Revolution?
    Your views seem similar :)

    Just a way of my getting over Monday-morning-itis….

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  13. wreck1080 (3,864 comments) says:

    So judges need not be accountable?

    Realistically, I think most people want longer sentences especially for violent crimes.

    But, everyone knows we want longer sentences so why don’t we do it? Government is failing its people badly.

    Now that crime rates are falling to record lows, surely the pressure is easing off the prisons and we can accommodate a few more evil people.

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  14. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “Say Red, what are you on this morning?”

    The SST are just a bunch of ordinary NZers who courageously decided to do something about the appallingly low performance of the judiciary in this country.

    They need full support and they’re always going to get that from me.

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  15. Griff (7,284 comments) says:

    Flippy still haven’t had that little discussion I would like to have

    Who is your science expert you keep posting?

    Why do you think he is such a expert on science that he can attack sir Paul Nurse and the royal society

    love to know flipps

    I would like to think you have some ability to think critically.

    But your failure to justify your choice of science expert

    leaves me no option than to think of you as a wing nut fuckwit

    Who is the esteemed gentleman you keep quoting on science and what are his credentials?

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  16. kowtow (8,175 comments) says:

    flipper would have enjoyed la revolution, what with all that equality and sisterhood merde.

    This is a great citizen based initiative.

    The SST has emerged because the government was not doing one of its basic duties: protecting law biding citizens.Due to progressivism we ended up with a perversity where the state placed criminals “rights” before those of their victims and society.

    We no longer have a “rule of law” ,we have a “rule of lawyers”.

    New Zealanders voted overwhelmingly for law and order in 1999 and have been consistently ignored since then.

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  17. Graeme Edgeler (3,280 comments) says:

    I wonder if they would include cases where they think the sentence was excessive, if such a thing is possible?

    I think the Sensible Sentencing Trust considers that Bruce Emory received a sentence that was too harsh.

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  18. Elaycee (4,352 comments) says:

    Before the usual panty waists emerge and start bleating about ‘criminal rights’ (an oxymoron if ever there was one), they need to remember this from 1999:

    The other referendum held in 1999 asked “Should there be a reform of our Justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences?”. This measure passed by 91.78%.

    Judges need to reflect the views of Society as a whole (as reflected in the 91.78% in support of the question) and not just the views of the shrill, vocal minority who prefer to treat criminals with a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket followed by a hug and cuddle.

    And if the Judges don’t reflect the view of Society, they should be replaced.

    Sorted.

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  19. William of Ockham (39 comments) says:

    flipper. “No connection to any judges…”

    Not connected to Aaron Gilmore are you? And Maurice Williamson?

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  20. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Let us not forget that the prime duty of every judge is to keep law abiding citizens safe from crime.

    Utter bollocks. Their duty is to the Crown, and keeping people safe is the mantra of the state protection racket.

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  21. Harriet (4,776 comments) says:

    Anything that increases the value of the Sanctity of Life in society is great news – we should all be celebrating this.

    Society needs this so society and the victims can see if they have been denied justice.

    Justice needs to be seen to be done or we become an unjust and uncivil society, where lawlessness would rule- it’s that simple. :cool:

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  22. peterwn (3,239 comments) says:

    Cases of public interest including sentencing notes are here:
    http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/from/decisions/judgments.html

    All Supreme Court cases are here and a selection of Appeal and High Court cases and they appear same day or next day. Unfortunately it seems the selection of cases here is rather erratic.

    Other cases including sentencing notes are here:
    http://jdo.justice.govt.nz/jdo/Search.jsp

    The quality and timliness of this site here has dropped since a case was inavertantly posted where suppressed details had not been redacted. It does not give all cases – I suspect it depends on how judges feel, and whether they and their clerks are prepared to ‘clean up’ (by redacting etc) judgements and sentencing notes so they can be generally published.

    It seems court registries do not like journalists and others fishing for cases – so if a journalist does not happen to be in the courtroom at the time and the victim does not bring a case to SST’s attention, it may never been known about. This has led to occasional claims that hearings have been held at odd times with the person involved entering the courthouse through a side door to avoid media attention.

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  23. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “Utter bollocks. Their duty is to the Crown, and keeping people safe is the mantra of the state protection racket.”

    The usual pointless obfuscation, pedantry and semantics that makes almost every one of your contributions off topic and a complete waste of time and bandwidth.

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  24. itstricky (1,770 comments) says:

    A bunch of nosey parkers with no formal qualifications to be in a position to do so rating the system with rumor, feeding the public paranoia and subsequently clouding the public’s understanding of the system even more. Wow I’m stoked!
    Every profession should have something like this. Let’s set up a website to judge the quality of the work done by the MOW! When you drive by works you know how they could be doing it so much more effeciently and how they never look like they are doing any work,right? We are all qualified engineers aren’t we?

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  25. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “Every profession should have something like this.”

    Why not.

    People are free to judge the quality of the information as they see fit.

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  26. itstricky (1,770 comments) says:

    Flipper. Quite right. The hilarious thing is that you will find all and sundry on here moaning about the MSM. When a sentence comes out, however, everyone of them will parrot what is reported in the media as gospel along with such gems as “can’t believe this”… “he should have got”…

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  27. RRM (9,771 comments) says:

    I like the basic idea of what they are trying to do. Justice is done on our behalf; anything that helps more of us take an interest in it is a good thing.

    :shock: Their views about some of the cases seem to be based entirely on stuff.co.nz articles… scary.

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  28. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “everyone of them will parrot what is reported in the media”

    Oh crap. As useless as “the media” is, its reporting has no bearing on the fact that if some crook has 100 convictions he shouldn’t be on the street.

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  29. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    wreck1080 (2,803) Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 8:05 am

    So judges need not be accountable?

    Accountable to whom is the question: a public that generally has no training in law and who think pitchforks are an acceptable substitute for a law degree? Perhaps we should have a website to judge the quality of work done by surgeons whenever someone dies on the operating table.

    Judges ARE accountable and that is by way of an appeals process.

    Elaycee (3,445) Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Judges need to reflect the views of Society as a whole

    If the public wishes to express itself then it does so through their representatives in Parliament who pass legislation. Judges enforce this law, they do not measure opinion polls.

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  30. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    More Power Sensible Sentencing Trust- Bloody legends!
    The ‘Hug a Crim’ Brigade can take a running jump…

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  31. itstricky (1,770 comments) says:

    No problem with providing info. Do have a problem with a bunch of unqualifed hacks summarising their personal version of events as truth and fact. Damaging.

    Re: MSM – are you denying that quite often the published facts are deliberately skewed or adjusted for a better story?

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  32. Harriet (4,776 comments) says:

    “…..A bunch of nosey parkers with no formal qualifications to be in a position to do so rating the system with rumor, feeding the public paranoia and subsequently clouding the public’s understanding of the system even more. Wow I’m stoked!…”

    The law historically has done one of three things: it has prohibited something, permitted something, or promoted something.

    This issue is just a mirror reflection of that as society is expected to value and live by all laws!

    As William F. Buckley once rightly stated:

    “I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2,000 members of the Harvard faculty.”

    Quite so. Egghead intellectuals and arrogant elites think they know so much better than we do. But it seems whenever they start to get into power, they thrive while the rest of us suffer.

    But if the elites had got it correct istricky, then the SST wouldn’t exist would they? :cool:

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  33. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    “Re: MSM – are you denying that quite often the published facts are deliberately skewed or adjusted for a better story?”

    Of course not. The media are sensation mongers, liars and political hacks for the left. That is a given.

    Anything I might read from them I take with a grain of salt.

    This does not affect the truth of my comment at 9:41 am.

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  34. Monique Angel (266 comments) says:

    Ha ha Flipper your useless softcock liberal views are on the wane in society. And the crap site will help no end. Good on them for naming and shaming the judges.
    They should do it with teachers next.

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  35. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Harriet (1,620) Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Egghead intellectuals and arrogant elites think they know so much better than we do.

    They think they know more than you because they do know more than you. Generally speaking, someone with a law degree knows more about the law than someone without just as a medical doctor knows more about surgery than you, just as a qualified pilot knows more about flying planes, just as a chartered accountant knows more about the tax code.

    Do people lack humility to such a degree that they can no longer tolerate the notion that other people have expertise in specific areas and that it is often best practice to defer to that expertise when one lacks a firm basis to make their own judgment?

    It is interesting how the referendum has become the gold standard. No question it seems is beyond the powers of Joe Public to solve by mere offering of his opinion no matter how ill informed.

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  36. Nigel Kearney (970 comments) says:

    A medical procedure can be controlled by a private agreement between the patient and the surgeon. A flight can be controlled by a private agreement between the passengers and pilot. The justice system is not private in a similar way. It’s public and it’s ours and we get to decide how it works. We need information in order to do that. We should listen to experts to the extent that their analysis is persuasive to us.

    I think the site would be better if there were opposing points of view: one defending the actual decision and the other proposing something else. But the judge’s sentencing notes are there and ought to counterbalance the way the site is presented.

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  37. Bob R (1,358 comments) says:

    On a related note, I was disapointed to see Colin Espiner’s misleading column attacking Three Strikes in yesterdays Sunday Star Times. A few things in particular:

    1. Minimizing Whaanga’s actions as “stealing” – he was convicted of aggravated robbery.

    2. The trope about NZ having the second highest incarceration rate behind the US in the OECD. This was addressed in another thread the other day. It also overlooks that comparisons with countries with entirely different demographics are like comparing the effectiveness of ovens in baking cakes with different ingredients.

    3. Espiner cites opposition to three strikes from the Chief Justice & Tony Bouchier as evidence there is some academic consensus it is a terrible idea. However, if you look at some of the specific instances where it has been implemented you see another side to the story:

    Many police officers, corrections officers and others, both inside and outside the criminal justice system, have noted that criminals fear Three Strikes. These people have also found that some criminals have modified their behavior. For once, felons are worried about the criminal justice system and that has proven to be a deterrent factor.

    Some of the more extensive records have been kept by Detective Bob Shilling, who is in charge of the sex-offender detail of the special assault unit for the Seattle Police Department.

    Between the time when Three Strikes first made the ballot and its election-day victory, Detective Shilling recorded that 17 two-strike (or worse) sex offenders fled to other states from Seattle alone.

    In addition, more than 42 Seattle sex offenders called with questions and concerns about which crimes were listed as strikes and whether their priors counted as strikes.

    In the week following the passage of Three Strikes, Detective Shilling met with three sex offenders, all two-strikers. The first sex offender complained that it wasn’t fair that he already had two strikes against him. The other two sex offenders sought treatment for the first time in their lives and wanted Detective Shilling’s help in finding a program. Both stated their fear of a life-without-parole sentence under Three Strikes. More important, neither has re-offended to date.

    Detective Shilling is also invited quarterly to speak to sex offenders held in the Twin Rivers Correctional Center to discuss sex-offender registration and community notification. However, during his first several prison visits after Three Strikes passed, Detective Shilling found that most inmate questions were about Three Strikes. These questions have now almost disappeared.

    In a recent telephone interview, Detective Shilling reported that, “I get very few questions about Three Strikes anymore, because the inmates are now as aware of the law as I am.” Furthermore, he has been told repeatedly by career criminals that “Three Strikes made me realize it’s time to clean up my act.”

    http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/brief/three-strikes-youre-out-review

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  38. Urban Redneck (234 comments) says:

    Re: Harriet & Egghead intellectuals.

    Egghead left-wing academics gaze through the history of human civilization and understand just one thing: That there has been no religion, no philosophy, no system of governance that has ever created a society that is free from war, poverty, crime and injustice. Therefore the mantra applies that people only commit crimes because of social or economic “inequalities”, so in turn, the crims themselves are also “victims”.

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  39. Bob R (1,358 comments) says:

    ***Therefore the mantra applies that people only commit crimes because of social or economic “inequalities”, so in turn, the crims themselves are also “victims”.***

    I think that view has taken a bit of a battering with books like Steven Pinker’s ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’, Lawrence Keeley’s ‘War Before Civilization’. Violence has actually decreased substantially with the rise of modern states. Of course this in turn has lead to the populations themselves becoming less violent as those characteristics had less selective value.

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/genetic-pacification-in-medieval-europe.html

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  40. Nostalgia-NZ (5,093 comments) says:

    I wonder what the QC sitting on the HRC as Commissioner case against SST with the implication of threats and blackmail letters will get as a mark? 5 gold stars for a ‘not proved?’ Will the Minister tolerate the ‘naming and shaming’ and the prospect of named Judges and their families being targeted?

    Somebody wrote in recent years that SST loses its voice somewhat when there is a right wing Government, well they’re in full cry now – and as one may imagine a constitutional attack on the law makers and administrators.

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  41. Bob R (1,358 comments) says:

    @ Nostalgia-NZ,

    There’s no evidence that there was a suppression order in that case. Greg King summed that up nicely:

    “The late Greg King, a Wellington criminal lawyer, acted pro bono for the trust in the case…

    In his exchanges with commission director Rob Hesketh, Mr King said the trust refused to compensate the paedophile or apologise to him for the loss of his job after a campaign in which the trust had played no part.

    “It would be extremely distasteful to all involved in this organisation to pay any money whatsoever to a convicted sex offender in these circumstances,” Mr King told Mr Hesketh last year.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8516438/Prosecution-for-breaching-paedophiles-rights

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  42. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Nigel Kearney (330) Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 11:00 am

    A medical procedure can be controlled by a private agreement between the patient and the surgeon. A flight can be controlled by a private agreement between the passengers and pilot.

    Libertarian idiocy. Both are regulated because the lack of such would endanger the public. If I want a pilot’s license I sit a flight test with a testing officer with the appropriate credentials. I do not make a website showing my flying skills and ask the public to like my page if they think they are up to scratch. Similarly if I want to be a surgeon I get recognized training and examined by appropriate experts who can certify that I am properly trained. The general public does not have the capacity to judge the expertise of those providing such services. Your average person knows jack shit about surgery and flying. They do not know how to judge a person’s expertise in these areas and if something goes wrong they do not have the expertise to figure out why.

    The justice system is not private in a similar way. It’s public and it’s ours and we get to decide how it works. We need information in order to do that. We should listen to experts to the extent that their analysis is persuasive to us.

    No, the courts are not yours or “ours”. They belong to the Queen and their function is to implement the law, as it is, in an impartial manner. If the people want to change the law the avenue for that is through Parliament.

    The problem here is not the justice system. The problem here is people who seem to not understand how the system works.

    I think the site would be better if there were opposing points of view: one defending the actual decision and the other proposing something else. But the judge’s sentencing notes are there and ought to counterbalance the way the site is presented.

    It is a waste of time having people assessing something for which they lack the requisite expertise to make a meaningful assessment.

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  43. Monique Angel (266 comments) says:

    @Weihana
    You don’t have to be a fucking academic to infer that home detention is not appropriate in the case of the little cunt who bends a baby girls legs behind her head and breaks her in as many places as he can before getting sprung. Just because the abusive tosspot said he lost his temper and was in his early 20’s isn’t a good enough reason to hand him a light sentence.
    IMHO, female judges can be next to useless because they get all sooky and light weight if a young male cries hard enough and asks for another chance.
    More often than not the young men are asking for another chance to commit a heinous crime but next time get away with it.

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  44. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    The Sensible Sentencing Trust are morons. They have cherry picked cases to suit their own vigilante agenda.

    Why don’t they include some of the many cases where the High Court or Court of Appeal has found the initially imposed sentence to be too high? Because they are not about actually judging the Judges, but are rather about simply hounding judges who have imposed a sentence lower than they would have liked, while putting in the odd bit of praise to appear balanced? Were any of those sentences appealed by the prosecution authorities? Why not? And if not, why hasn’t the prosecutor been included in the ‘cards’ for obviously not doing their job properly.

    This list isn’t even truly the best or the worst. It relies on the media for its sources, something that is always risky, seeing how the MSM are also morons when it comes to Court reporting. Really, it is just a matter of the stupid being led by the ignorant.

    And could someone please tell them that Judith Potter, Mark Cooper, Mary Peters and Forrest Miller are/were judges of the High Court, and should therefore be called ‘Justice’ rather than ‘Judge’. And that Justice Potter retired at the end of December 2012, so is no longer an NZ Judge. Also that Tony Adeane and Merelina Burnett are judges of the District Court, so should not be called “Justice”. If they can’t get simple things like that right, why should we actually take notice of them?

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  45. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    Just because the abusive tosspot said he lost his temper and was in his early 20′s isn’t a good enough reason to hand him a light sentence.

    So was it appealed by the prosecution?  If not, why not?

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  46. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Monique Angel (3) Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    @Weihana
    You don’t have to be a fucking academic to infer that home detention is not appropriate…

    What you consider “appropriate” is irrelevant. Your personal opinion does not determine what the law is. If the sentence deserves to be appealed then it can be and that is the avenue for judicial oversight: having trained persons examining the legal basis for the judges decision, not having laymen offer their opinion on what is “appropriate”.

    Personally I don’t consider it appropriate to put people in prison for drug offences. But my opinion is irrelevant as far as the courts are concerned. Judges are there to enforce the law and the law provides for such penalties to be given. If it is to be changed it must be changed through Parliament.

    Your complete lack of any legal argument reinforces the point that the general public generally have no ability to review these decisions. You do not reference a single law or precedent in support of your analysis and yet you demand to be taken seriously as a legal analyst.

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  47. Harriet (4,776 comments) says:

    “…..It is a waste of time having people assessing something for which they lack the requisite expertise to make a meaningful assessment….”

    Then why do we have elections?

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  48. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    If the sentence deserves to be appealed then it can be and that is the avenue for judicial oversight: having trained persons examining the legal basis for the judges decision, not having laymen offer their opinion on what is “appropriate”.

    Exactly.  Well said, Weihana.

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  49. RRM (9,771 comments) says:

    Then why do we have elections?

    Banging on at length in some sort of House about what the laws “should” be is not hard… as kiwiblog shows, even you can do that.

    What you can’t do is spell my three-letter username correctly the same way from one post to the next.. I think that is all the illustration needed as to why the precise technical matter of applying the law correctly is not crowd sourced…?

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  50. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Harriet,

    Because democracy is the worst form of government except all the others?

    The public votes on broad issues which speak to their values and attitudes. But they do not vote on whether a judge is doing their job properly and they shouldn’t just as they shouldn’t vote on whether a particular restaurant deserves a food hygiene certificate.

    Why do you believe that everything must be subject to a vote?

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  51. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    One thing that people should realise is that the judges do not do their job in a vacuum. When it comes to sentencing for the sorts of offences the SST has put up on that website, there is always a prosecutor, and generally a Crown prosecutor at that, as well as a defence lawyer. Submissions are made in writing, as well as orally on the day of the sentencing. Generally, none of what is said by either lawyer gets reported. It should be, because what they say is often important in the context of the sentence.

    The judge does not represent the people of NZ. That is the role that the Crown prosecutor takes. If the Crown does not appeal a sentence, then they are saying that the sentence was within the correct range for that particular case.

    Also, we should not be blind to the effect that a well presented plea-in-mitigation can have on a sentence. A good mitigation can make a significant difference to the sentence.

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  52. Bob R (1,358 comments) says:

    ***The general public does not have the capacity to judge the expertise of those providing such services. Your average person knows jack sh8t about surgery and flying. ***

    tbf, there isn’t as much scope for subjective interpretation & liberal/conservative bias in those matters. If a plane lands safely it doesn’t matter whether or not the pilot is a Communist.

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  53. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    I totally disagree with what the SST is doing here, and especially their cheap

    oppps

    SHAKE !

    especiall their cheap format.

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  54. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    Ok, now we’ve stopped shaking… I shall finish.

    There is a hell of a lot more to the sentencing of offenders than what is revealed by SST on their site. Sentencing reports provide (or are meant to provide) a complex investigation of not only the offence, the offender but also others involved, including co-offender, family and friends.

    With this sort of stupid nonsense it is highly unlikely those that used to willingly provide information will no longer do so, as their privacy is at risk.

    Without the full and complete details, including background etc, no one can make an adequate assessment.

    Nothing but popularity politics by this group that should damn well know better.

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  55. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    Bob R (1,008) Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 1:56 pm
    ————————–

    A man is molested as a child and later in life meets his abuser again, attacks him and almost kills him.

    He goes before the courts but due to the stigma involved in male/male abuse he does not bring it up in the court case.

    He appears for sentencing – he looks like any ordinary thug, but there is more to the story.

    A decent sentencing report prepared by trained experts is able to get to the cause of the attack and so the sentencing recommendations would be appropriate to the situation.

    Tell me, how will you deal with that sort of matter of SST?

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  56. BlairM (2,317 comments) says:

    Put these Judges up for the vote and you will find their performance improves exponentially.

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  57. Nostalgia-NZ (5,093 comments) says:

    Bob R 11.50

    I’ve have read those comments attributed to Greg King. As it transpires the charges were apparently laid under S130 which would attract a automatic suppression. One of the SST personnel confirmed that on here, while at the same time pointing out that the victim didn’t want suppression. If that’s accurate, and gleaning a little from the recent hearing that’s from where the claims about threats and blackmail likely arise. It also seems that a ‘take down’ notice or instruction of some sort was complied with for a time, then ignored by SST.

    To some point that is all a side issue at the moment at least until further hearings. But what does surprise me is that although Judges (or Justices as F E Smith points out the difference) are public figures I think that there are mechanisms of the Privacy Act that still apply to them, if that is the case SST might be going down the wrong track of procedure as the HRC is claiming about the case that has already been actioned.

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  58. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    NZ has one of the highest crime rates in the western world.

    Liberal judges are a big part of the problem.

    If they’re pissed off by this website then GOOD..

    Fuck em.

    What does it take for the judicial system to wake up to the fact that NZers are fed up with high levels of crime and very little being done about it?

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  59. Bob R (1,358 comments) says:

    ***What does it take for the judicial system to wake up to the fact that NZers are fed up with high levels of crime and very little being done about it?***

    @ Redbaiter,

    I think they realise that, but many probably see liberal solutions as the most effective approach. I’d recommend James Burnham’s old classic ‘The Suicide of the West’. Burnham was a professor of philosophy at NYU. He started out as a Trotskyite, but became a conservative. Anyway, his book is excellent at outlining the features of modern liberalism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Burnham

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  60. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    Thanks for the link Bob.

    Maybe SST should nominate the Most Useless Judge of the Month and send him that book as a prize.

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  61. itstricky (1,770 comments) says:

    Oh crap. As useless as “the media” is, its reporting has no bearing on the fact that if some crook has 100 convictions he shouldn’t be on the street.

    This does not affect the truth of my comment at 9:41 am.

    As long as you didn’t read that the crook had 100 convictions in the paper, then, yes.

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  62. Paul Marsden (991 comments) says:

    Weihana (3,122) Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 10:24 am
    Harriet (1,620) Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 9:59 am

    “Egghead intellectuals and arrogant elites think they know so much better than we do.

    They think they know more than you because they do know more than you. Generally speaking, someone with a law degree knows more about the law than someone without just as a medical doctor knows more about surgery than you, just as a qualified pilot knows more about flying planes, just as a chartered accountant knows more about the tax code”

    Bad analogy Weihana. Judges are not trained to be judges, whereby airline pilots and surgeons are. Judges are usually drawn from the ranks of defence lawyers. Lawyers are nothing more than wordsmiths who can string a good argument together. Any layperson with a functioning neurone, can reference the statutes and understand what the ‘law’ is. Applying the law and appropriate sanctions, is a different matter altogether. It would also be interesting to see some stats regarding the number of appeals by the Crown nowadays vs a decade or, two ago, where appeals appeared to be much more frequent. It is rare to hear of an appeal by the Crown nowadays against sentence and one is left to wonder why??

    Judges are human too and suffer from all the human biases and fragilities that we all do. As such, I’d rather be judged by a panel of worldly peers with life experiences, than be judged by someone who has spent most of his or, her life driving a desk and pushing a pen.

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  63. Griff (7,284 comments) says:

    Lawyers are nothing more than wordsmiths who can string a good argument together. Any layperson with a functioning neurone, can reference the statutes and understand what the ‘law’ is.
    http://www.law.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/home/for/current-students/current-undergraduate-students/cs-course-planning/cs-degrees-and-diplomas/the-llb-degree
    The LLB degree is a four-year (8-semester) degree. The degree consists of courses with a total value of 480 points. The degree can be studied full-time or part-time and can be studied as part of a conjoint combination with many degrees described under ‘Conjoint Degrees’.

    If you meet the standard for the limited entry.

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  64. Nostalgia-NZ (5,093 comments) says:

    ‘Judges are not trained to be judges, whereby airline pilots and surgeons are.’

    That’s a good start, we should have pilots and surgeons as judges. How bloody obvious.

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  65. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    If you find a good lawyer then hang on to him/ her.

    They’re as rare as rocking horse shit.

    Most are incompetent poorly skilled buffoons.

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  66. Paul Marsden (991 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (2,828) Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 9:32 pm
    If you find a good lawyer then hang on to him/ her.

    They’re as rare as rocking horse shit.

    Most are incompetent poorly skilled buffoons.

    Vote: 1 0

    Yes, many/most are poorly skilled, but the majority are good people with good intent. But like any sector of society, they also have their fair share of rogues, scoundrels, thieves, pornographers and convicted perjurers in their midst (and I’m just talking the Judges)

    Who was it that said “To err is human..?”

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  67. Scott1 (504 comments) says:

    I think this sort of site would be best done in an impartial way. But since it won’t get done in that way by the legal brotherhood without a lot of pressure – I can see the SST as being the incentive for that to happen. Create a website which has all the negatives that a properly done website (that highlighted apparent patterns of sentencing including over-sentencing and under-sentencing) would create and prove that you won’t go away and then maybe the better website will get made anyway.

    In the end I think rehabilitation is more important than punishment because you can’t undo a crime by punishing the offender but you can prevent new crimes occurring with rehabilitation. But despite not being in alignment with SST philosophically I can see the transparency argument and the consistency one…. Does it not seem inappropriate for there to be a huge difference in your sentence depending on which judge you get?

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  68. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    Judges are usually drawn from the ranks of defence lawyers.

    That is an interesting assertion, Paul.  Would you mind telling me where you got that information?

     Lawyers are nothing more than wordsmiths who can string a good argument together. Any layperson with a functioning neurone, can reference the statutes and understand what the ‘law’ is.

    Actually, that isn’t true.  One thing about going to law school is that the school actually changes the way in which you think about a subject so that you think about it ‘legally’.  It is because understanding the law is not quite as straightforward as it should be. 

    Moreover, we are not all ‘wordsmiths’.  Some of us aren’t that great at written submissions, but are outstanding advocates.  Others are poor advocates but very good with words.  Like any profession, we have varying degrees of aptitude.

    Most are incompetent poorly skilled buffoons.

    many/most are poorly skilled

    Well, that is just plain malice.

    I haven’t forgotten about the pathology, Rex, just reading through the examination in chief at the moment.

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  69. Paul Marsden (991 comments) says:

    F E Smith (2,505) Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 12:15 pm
    Judges are usually drawn from the ranks of defence lawyers.

    That is an interesting assertion, Paul. Would you mind telling me where you got that information?”

    Actually, from you, et al. If my memory serves me correct, I believe you yourself once commented to that affect on this matter (on this very blog), a year or two ago. (Or, am I mistaken..??)

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  70. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    Actually, from you, et al. If my memory serves me correct, I believe you yourself once commented to that affect on this matter (on this very blog), a year or two ago. (Or, am I mistaken..??)

    Nope, you are indeed mistaken.  ‘Twas the opposite that I said.  But thanks for replying, I thought that there might be some resource that I had missed!

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  71. Paul Marsden (991 comments) says:

    Nope, you are indeed mistaken. ‘Twas the opposite that I said. But thanks for replying, I thought that there might be some resource that I had missed!”

    That’s interesting, as I know very well that it was a member of the legal profession who opined on that very point here (on this bog). You claim the opposite. Are there any readily available stats that support your opinion or, does one have to research the backgrounds of the various Judges, and come to their own conclusions? Thanks. (Always enjoy reading your contributions here)

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  72. Nostalgia-NZ (5,093 comments) says:

    Would be interesting to prove what you claim about Judges arising from the rank of defence lawyers, rather than ‘requiring’ others to prove that they didn’t say something. I guess there’s not much else you can say when you get sprung Paul Marsden. Another point is that whether Judges have practised privately, for the Crown or for both they’ve all graduated law school and considerable experience in practice, unlike you – ‘deflowered wordsmiths,’ they are not.

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  73. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    does one have to research the backgrounds of the various Judges, and come to their own conclusions?

    Yep, exactly that.  You can start with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court ones here.

    Someone from a commercial background might be able to comment better than I on many of them, but a quick look suggests:

    SC: 5 Judges, 5 former commercial/civil lawyers.   McGrath was S-G, so that made him the Country’s top prosecutor.

    CofA: 10 Judges, 7 civil/commercial, 2 ex-prosecutors, 1 Academic.  One of the civil/commercial was also S-G, so may also have defence experience.

    High Court: 36 or so Judges, A quick reading gives me 27 or so civil/commerical, 8 or 9 ex-prosecutors, with one of the ex-prosecutors also having significant defence experience (Justice Collins, the former S-G).  Some of those civil/commercial might have done some defence work in their early days, but it was probably low level stuff. 

    I am more than happy for others to correct me if they have a better knowledge of the background of the High Court judges.

    There are some defence lawyers sitting as judges of the District Court, but there are still more ex-prosecutors and civil/commercial/family than defence lawyers.

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  74. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    To be fair, some of those ex-prosecutors also dabbled in civil/commercial work. Panckhurst also defended for a short time after leaving his position as Crown Solicitor for Christchurch.

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