Unintended consequences

A screen capture of this mornings paper.

By increasing the penalty, what our state has done is guarantee anyone arrested under the new law has a right to a jury trial.  Well-meaning advocates  often make the mistake that increased potential penalties equal increased punishment. Far from the truth.

Think for a moment about the “Excessive Speeding” type cases and how they were going to make the streets safer by increasing the penalties.  If the cop could show, by using the speed gun or pacing you with his car, that you were going 80 mph or more, or driving more than 30 miles over the legal limit, you would be eligible for jail.

But, by making the charge jailable, many people charged with this case got an attorney.  A few of these attorneys, working hard and working together, figured out how to throw out the cop’s testimony: first the speed gun, and then the “pacing” (that’s when the cop follows you at a certain speed for a certain distance).

So, not only did increasing the penalty not get excessive speeders off the road, it actually made it easier for regular ordinary speeders to get away with a much smaller penalty.  Unintended consequences.

A few years ago I explained a similar concept, except DUI related, to a volunteer from MADD, who just happened to be sitting in the courtroom.  He told me after “How come no one ever explained it like this to me before.” Well, I guess I never had a blog back then.


More importantly, think for a minute how this law will be enforced. According to the article, it is only the Johns who have their punishment increased.  So what you’re going to see is the Morals Division of the Police Department doing undercover stings of men looking for prostitutes.

Your taxes will pay for a police officer to dress in prostitute clothes and hang out in front of our schools.

Well meaning advocates.  Unintended consequences.

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