Equitable justice? Paris Hilton buys her freedom, the rich avoid punishment
June 8, 2007 1:28am CST
Clearly Paris has bought her way out of jail. But consider this also that fines for crimes are inequitable. Here in UK you can be fined £100 for a number of offences. Now someone on the minimum wage might take home under £200 a week, take off housing and food, transport to work, etc and £100 might be 10 time or more of their disposable income. So, perhaps that is the intention of the law to fine people a figure of 10 times their disposable income, after all fines are meant to hurt. Follow the logic through and a person a higher income should be fined considerably more. For someone on the average wage (Take home of app £350)this fine may represent only a small multiple of their weekly disposable income and to keep the relative level of the fine equitable should be proportionately higher. For the the wealthy, £100 a week will be only a tiny proportion of their disposable income and therefore not an effective deterrent. Disposable incomes should therefore be taken into account when setting fines to do otherwise is unjust. all the best urban
1 person likes this
• New Zealand
8 Jun 07
Urban - that sounds quite reasonable. After all there has been the theory of "from each according to his ability - to each according to his need". Having said that, deterrence is the fundamental objective of fines. When Joe Bloggs on the minimum wage commits an offence, he gets told off by the police or judge and a fine imposed. But when someone rich and famous gets it - the resulting publicity (often negative) costs them a lot more than the monetary aspect of the fine itself. Driving offences which are dangerous to other road users are subject to a points system that eventually takes away your license whether you are rich or poor. With modern systems, it has become possible to track repeated offences, and regardless of the financial pain suffered, the deterrence lies in the cumulation of offences. So for one at the margin of income, breaching rules have a financial deterrent it may be less so for a wealthy person. But the real deterrent is the legal deterrent and the fact that as a member of society one must abide by the rules or face consequences.
• United States
8 Jun 07
It is outright disgusting that law differs from person to person. While one expects that a celebrity or anyone rich will not have the sam treatment in jail, hospital etc. one does not expect that they are exempt from punishment; especially when she drove without her permit and drunk. I meant, she could have killed someone and then, what - she would pay for that person's life? Anyway, it looks like she may go back to jail after all; let's see for how long...
8 Jun 07
Yes life is very sweet for the rich, they get away with a lot, its almost like they get treated like gods and godesses, I don't think they are doing her any favours, she should serve her term and possibly learn a lesson in life...the only thing that makes me at peace with all the rich getting away with what they do...none of them are happy with their lot....