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Percent-based Fines.

donald.keller
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1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.
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rross
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1/18/2014 9:39:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

Yes. I so agree. They do that in Finland.

http://news.bbc.co.uk...
Khaos_Mage
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1/19/2014 8:44:55 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

That sounds awful.
First, crimes are classified by the amount of potential jail time and/or fine. Fining someone $20,000 is only available for a felony. This would turn the legal system on its head.
Second, fines are not predetermined. A speeding ticket is $X, true. But that is only if you plead not guilty and pay it. If you go to court, it can be more. In MN, a petty misdemeanor is up to $300. So, that $125 speeding ticket may cost you more.

Lastly, you are assuming too much, and might be confusing income with wealth. Also, how do you define income? How do I prove my income? Is a housewife immune from fines, since she has no income?

One more thing, are you aware that, given hardships, some people aren't fined at what other people are fined? Some people get automatic reduced sentencing, because they are poor.
My work here is, finally, done.
Stephen_Hawkins
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1/19/2014 9:01:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Just to address a couple of Khaos' points (as I agree with the first post to an extent - though I'd prefer a completely judge-based decision on fines):

1) Yes, there is a proposal of "the legal system on its head", though it is not as extreme as you've made it sound. Just a change in how people are fined.

2) Again, yes, the fine system does not work consistently at a fixed amount currently. However, if you pay different amounts depending on factors, income ought to also be a factor (to bring back punishment and deterrence into these fines). It's not a radical change.

3) Defining income is done all the time. It's how governments work out how much tax you pay. I don't understand how this could even approach being a problem.

The serious problem is the fines given to the poor. Keeping the fines at current levels would probably be fair though and would remove this problem for you, I assume - unless you believe the poor should be fined more? This would solve all your problems, I hope.
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Khaos_Mage
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1/19/2014 10:47:49 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 9:01:21 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Just to address a couple of Khaos' points (as I agree with the first post to an extent - though I'd prefer a completely judge-based decision on fines):

1) Yes, there is a proposal of "the legal system on its head", though it is not as extreme as you've made it sound. Just a change in how people are fined.
1. Laws are defined, including their designation (felony, gross mis, mis, petty mis), including any minimum/maximum penalties. So, yes, this would require a complete overhaul of the legal definitions of established crimes, unless speeding should be a felony for a CEO.
2. I, too, would prefer judge-based decisions; however, the judicial economics requires this to be reserved for special cases. (Can you imagine a trial for EVERY speeding ticket issued?)

2) Again, yes, the fine system does not work consistently at a fixed amount currently. However, if you pay different amounts depending on factors, income ought to also be a factor (to bring back punishment and deterrence into these fines). It's not a radical change.

Does this not fly against the idea that similar crimes are prosecuted and sentenced similarly? We wouldn't allow a black man to get a harsher sentence for the EXACT same situation, so why should we allow different sentences based solely on income?

I see this as quite radical.

3) Defining income is done all the time. It's how governments work out how much tax you pay. I don't understand how this could even approach being a problem.

True, but the income is different for each computation.
For example, in MN, welfare is not considered income for income tax purposes, but it is considered income for property tax purposes.
Another example: child support is not considered income for income tax purposes, but it is for welfare determination.

Remember, this is not a tax, this is punishment for breaking the law.
This means the legal system should have access to your financial documents.
Plus, answer these questions please:
How much do you fine a tourist for speeding?
How much do you fine a teen with no income for speeding?
What if someone has no taxable income, but has wealth?
Is a housewife with no income attributed to her liable for her husband's income?
What figure of income do you use? Adjusted gross income, modified adjusted gross income, taxable income?
Do you factor in welfare or gifts?
Do you factor in living expenses or other legal income reducing factors, like alimony?

The serious problem is the fines given to the poor. Keeping the fines at current levels would probably be fair though and would remove this problem for you, I assume - unless you believe the poor should be fined more? This would solve all your problems, I hope.

No it doesn't.
If we base the fine on income, then we base it on income. Which means the poor pay next to nothing for breaking the law (i.e. posing a risk to others' safety).
Also, why just fines? Why not jail time be income dependent, too?

I would rather keep the integrity of the system in place, than change the courts into an instrument for "social justice".
My work here is, finally, done.
wrichcirw
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1/19/2014 11:12:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

They could probably implement this on your 1040. Add a couple percentage points to your tax bracket for every violation. It's a reasonable suggestion, IMHO.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Stephen_Hawkins
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1/19/2014 4:53:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Khaos:

Firstly, most laws are not defined with a given min/max penalties. At least in the UK (where the law system works rather well). There would be no change in designation for crimes, except that precedent would be overhauled. This would have a much more drastic effect in the UK (overhauling precedent would have a lot of dissidents, and I'm not entirely sure that I wouldn't be one of them), but it would still be easily done. Again, it does not involve the rewriting of laws, but restating the power of a judge to the new factors they must take into account.

As the fine size depends on judge's discretion, and their discretion is not codified, then it does not create much time wasted. The system is already judge-based (which has been infringed upon by legislative branches), so there is no "judicial economics" that needs to be taken into account (I assume you mean a judge's time? If so, then getting a more just solution is not just desirable, but their job, so it is perfectly reasonable to make them decide).

And yes, this does involve challenging the principle of similar crimes being treated similarly, which is the largest problem I have with percentage-based fines. However, flat fines end up with an outcome that discriminate more than a percentage based fine. If we are trying to treat people equally, we should treat people proportionally equally and not arithmetically. That is, everyone should receive the same real punishment, and not the same nominal punishment.

Secondly, to skip and come back later to your list of technical problems, I see no reason why in practice a fine cannot be levied against everyone that starts at the flat rate then increases with wealth. so:

Fine = X + (income * Y) + Z. where x is a flat rate, and "Y" is the income-coefficient which is proportional to income, and "Z" is the other factors we currently take into account. This equation is just a heuristic, but this means explicitly that the poor do not pay next to nothing. "Keeping the fines at current levels" means we have the same factors for fines as we do now, plus income.

With the list of problems:

1) Keep in mind I propose this at a judge's discretion. So with examples such as tourists, teenagers, and those who do not produce an income, other factors (Z) would already affect the payment, and the flat rate (X) would create a payment in itself. If the information is needed for the trial and is not provided, there are already the appropriate legal mechanisms (warrants, subpoenas, etc.) to gain this information which may be given at the judge's discretion, similar to the current system.

2) Things like welfare and gifts would reasonably be factored in, but this seems like a technical issue that may have a problem I don't currently foresee, that someone else can point out to me. I don't see why these factors would be ignored, however.

3) With regards to how one measures income, again I say the proportion tax should be up to judge's discretion (and therefore not a mathematical exercise) and similar.

And finally why should jail time not be dependent on income? Because prison is a deterrent no matter whether you are rich or poor. Keep in mind the intention is to make the fines work as a deterrent, not as rehabilitation or retribution against the rich.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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donald.keller
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1/19/2014 5:21:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 8:44:55 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

That sounds awful.
First, crimes are classified by the amount of potential jail time and/or fine. Fining someone $20,000 is only available for a felony. This would turn the legal system on its head.

Your basing whether or not this system is good by how the system works. In the old system, $20,000 is only for felonies. In this system, the amount really depends on your wealth, to ensure every punishment is equal relative to the person.

Second, fines are not predetermined. A speeding ticket is $X, true. But that is only if you plead not guilty and pay it. If you go to court, it can be more. In MN, a petty misdemeanor is up to $300. So, that $125 speeding ticket may cost you more.

If you are rich enough to pay a $500 fine, you simply will. You aren't going to go to court.

Lastly, you are assuming too much, and might be confusing income with wealth. Also, how do you define income? How do I prove my income? Is a housewife immune from fines, since she has no income?

Taxable income. Wrichicrw's system works. How else do you think they tax you? And you use household income. It doesn't matter how you fine someone, everyone related feels the fine, children,spouse, etc...In the end, the whole household loses income, So doing household income doesn't effect them any differently. In the end, all fines will come out of the household income, reguardless of who's income it comes out of.

Now if the person's unemployed and single, Stephen-Hawkins proposal is perfect.

One more thing, are you aware that, given hardships, some people aren't fined at what other people are fined? Some people get automatic reduced sentencing, because they are poor.

That's an example of a broken system with a band-aid. That band-aid hardly makes up for how unfair the system is.
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CanWeKnow
Posts: 217
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1/19/2014 5:24:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I have plenty of rich friends who aren't afraid to break the law because a $300 fine is like half of what they will spend on dinner that night.

As to the claim that it will be more lucrative for the cities in which this is enforced, I am not so sure.

Meaningless Fine = More People Accruing Fines of small amounts.

Hefty Fine = Less People Accruing Fines of large amounts.

^_^ Of course, we would have to see it in action to be sure. The above is just my guess at what might happen. The cities might make more $, less $, or the same $ haha.
donald.keller
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1/19/2014 7:02:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 5:24:05 PM, CanWeKnow wrote:
I have plenty of rich friends who aren't afraid to break the law because a $300 fine is like half of what they will spend on dinner that night.

As to the claim that it will be more lucrative for the cities in which this is enforced, I am not so sure.

Meaningless Fine = More People Accruing Fines of small amounts.

Hefty Fine = Less People Accruing Fines of large amounts.

^_^ Of course, we would have to see it in action to be sure. The above is just my guess at what might happen. The cities might make more $, less $, or the same $ haha.

Same crime rate = more money.
Less crime rate = even better.
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wrichcirw
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1/19/2014 7:43:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 7:02:15 PM, donald.keller wrote:
At 1/19/2014 5:24:05 PM, CanWeKnow wrote:
I have plenty of rich friends who aren't afraid to break the law because a $300 fine is like half of what they will spend on dinner that night.

As to the claim that it will be more lucrative for the cities in which this is enforced, I am not so sure.

Meaningless Fine = More People Accruing Fines of small amounts.

Hefty Fine = Less People Accruing Fines of large amounts.

^_^ Of course, we would have to see it in action to be sure. The above is just my guess at what might happen. The cities might make more $, less $, or the same $ haha.

Same crime rate = more money.
Less crime rate = even better.

Nice. =)
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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1/19/2014 9:08:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 4:53:03 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Khaos:

Firstly, most laws are not defined with a given min/max penalties. At least in the UK (where the law system works rather well). There would be no change in designation for crimes, except that precedent would be overhauled. This would have a much more drastic effect in the UK (overhauling precedent would have a lot of dissidents, and I'm not entirely sure that I wouldn't be one of them), but it would still be easily done. Again, it does not involve the rewriting of laws, but restating the power of a judge to the new factors they must take into account.

Minimums, perhaps not, although there are some, and then there are "standard" fines, like $X for speeding.
However, this is how crimes are defined in my state, so, a speeding ticket that results in a $5,000 penalty, MUST be considered a felony, by definition.
https://www.revisor.mn.gov...

Further, acts that are not crimes (petty misdemeanors) are defined as no more than $300, by law. This is a radical deviation, and would result in a massive overhaul of our system.

As the fine size depends on judge's discretion, and their discretion is not codified, then it does not create much time wasted. The system is already judge-based (which has been infringed upon by legislative branches), so there is no "judicial economics" that needs to be taken into account (I assume you mean a judge's time? If so, then getting a more just solution is not just desirable, but their job, so it is perfectly reasonable to make them decide).

I assume a trial would need to take place in order to levy a fine of $5,000 for a speeding ticket. Do you know how many speeding ticket or other petty misdemeanors appear in court each day? Every time I go, there is at least 30 people, and these are people that are either pleading not guilty or hoping the prosecution will lower the fine. 30 people in the county I live in, that have simply just paid the ticket and moved on.
Now, all of these people are going to delve into financial records, and if the fine is over a certain amount (depending on the individual), a hearing will commence. Especially, since if the fine is income based, there is no risk of losing.

Plus, how does this income based method give judges more discretion? It doesn't.

And yes, this does involve challenging the principle of similar crimes being treated similarly, which is the largest problem I have with percentage-based fines. However, flat fines end up with an outcome that discriminate more than a percentage based fine. If we are trying to treat people equally, we should treat people proportionally equally and not arithmetically. That is, everyone should receive the same real punishment, and not the same nominal punishment.

You're right.
And the elderly should be put in prison for aggravated assault for less time than a youth. It's only fair, right?

Secondly, to skip and come back later to your list of technical problems, I see no reason why in practice a fine cannot be levied against everyone that starts at the flat rate then increases with wealth. so:

Fine = X + (income * Y) + Z. where x is a flat rate, and "Y" is the income-coefficient which is proportional to income, and "Z" is the other factors we currently take into account. This equation is just a heuristic, but this means explicitly that the poor do not pay next to nothing. "Keeping the fines at current levels" means we have the same factors for fines as we do now, plus income.

With the list of problems:

1) Keep in mind I propose this at a judge's discretion. So with examples such as tourists, teenagers, and those who do not produce an income, other factors (Z) would already affect the payment, and the flat rate (X) would create a payment in itself. If the information is needed for the trial and is not provided, there are already the appropriate legal mechanisms (warrants, subpoenas, etc.) to gain this information which may be given at the judge's discretion, similar to the current system.

So, you still want to punish the zero-income people more than those that make money, eh?
No matter how you slice it, someone is hurt more than someone else.

2) Things like welfare and gifts would reasonably be factored in, but this seems like a technical issue that may have a problem I don't currently foresee, that someone else can point out to me. I don't see why these factors would be ignored, however.
The issue is that IRS forms are not proof of income then.
So, an investigation (more time, more resources) needs to be launched to ascertain the accused's income.


3) With regards to how one measures income, again I say the proportion tax should be up to judge's discretion (and therefore not a mathematical exercise) and similar.
The judge should not have discretion on how to assess one's income.

And finally why should jail time not be dependent on income? Because prison is a deterrent no matter whether you are rich or poor. Keep in mind the intention is to make the fines work as a deterrent, not as rehabilitation or retribution against the rich.

Fines are a means to fund the police and/or the state, and little else.
https://www.revisor.mn.gov... (see the special fund allocations)
The true deterrent is getting your dumba$$ sued, and the rich would be more careful, wouldn't they?
My work here is, finally, done.
Khaos_Mage
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1/19/2014 9:18:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 5:21:13 PM, donald.keller wrote:
At 1/19/2014 8:44:55 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

That sounds awful.
First, crimes are classified by the amount of potential jail time and/or fine. Fining someone $20,000 is only available for a felony. This would turn the legal system on its head.

Your basing whether or not this system is good by how the system works. In the old system, $20,000 is only for felonies. In this system, the amount really depends on your wealth, to ensure every punishment is equal relative to the person.

Is it wealth or income? Now is not the time to mix words.
And, since equal relativity, is not a man of 60 years who would otherwise be sentenced for 20 years in prison being punished MORE than a man of 20 years being sentenced for 20 years? Why is a sentence worth relative weight only when income is involved?

Second, fines are not predetermined. A speeding ticket is $X, true. But that is only if you plead not guilty and pay it. If you go to court, it can be more. In MN, a petty misdemeanor is up to $300. So, that $125 speeding ticket may cost you more.

If you are rich enough to pay a $500 fine, you simply will. You aren't going to go to court.
If it is $5,000, they sure as hell might. Especially if there is no risk in being sentenced to MORE. The current system is up to $300 for a speeding ticket, so if I waste the court's time, I may pay more.

Lastly, you are assuming too much, and might be confusing income with wealth. Also, how do you define income? How do I prove my income? Is a housewife immune from fines, since she has no income?

Taxable income. Wrichicrw's system works. How else do you think they tax you? And you use household income. It doesn't matter how you fine someone, everyone related feels the fine, children,spouse, etc...In the end, the whole household loses income, So doing household income doesn't effect them any differently. In the end, all fines will come out of the household income, reguardless of who's income it comes out of.

LOL
Income tax forms =/= household income
And, if that is the case, I'll just file a non-joint return and my wife, who has zero taxable income since her business runs a loss, will then pay the minimum, even if I make $500,000.

And, again, we are not talking about taxation.
Should welfare or child support be taken into account for income-based offenses?
Do I get a deduction for alimony or social security?

Now if the person's unemployed and single, Stephen-Hawkins proposal is perfect.

One more thing, are you aware that, given hardships, some people aren't fined at what other people are fined? Some people get automatic reduced sentencing, because they are poor.

That's an example of a broken system with a band-aid. That band-aid hardly makes up for how unfair the system is.

1. I am actually not sure if what I said is true. I know it is true for court proceedings, like filing a civil suit, but I am not sure if it applies to criminal fines.
2. Are you aware if this is even a problem? Can you cite any evidence that suggests that the rich break petty laws at higher rates than the poor?
My work here is, finally, done.
donald.keller
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1/19/2014 11:09:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
That sounds awful.
First, crimes are classified by the amount of potential jail time and/or fine. Fining someone $20,000 is only available for a felony. This would turn the legal system on its head.

Your basing whether or not this system is good by how the system works. In the old system, $20,000 is only for felonies. In this system, the amount really depends on your wealth, to ensure every punishment is equal relative to the person.

Is it wealth or income? Now is not the time to mix words.

Income.

And, since equal relativity, is not a man of 60 years who would otherwise be sentenced for 20 years in prison being punished MORE than a man of 20 years being sentenced for 20 years? Why is a sentence worth relative weight only when income is involved?

The value of a year is the same for everyone. Regardless of how many they have left. Two people earn the same amount of money in one year, it's not the governments concern how much of it is left over when tax season comes. Likewise, it doesn't matter how much time you have left when the sentencing begins.

Besides, the number of days are all the same, and one year in prison is punishment to any man, even the young. $500 is only punishment to the poor, while the rich get off free.

If you are rich enough to pay a $500 fine, you simply will. You aren't going to go to court.
If it is $5,000, they sure as hell might. Especially if there is no risk in being sentenced to MORE. The current system is up to $300 for a speeding ticket, so if I waste the court's time, I may pay more.

Who said you wouldn't still be sentenced more? Copy/paste where you got that idea from. Whether or not they do go to court isn't really important here... At all.

Lastly, you are assuming too much, and might be confusing income with wealth. Also, how do you define income? How do I prove my income? Is a housewife immune from fines, since she has no income?

Taxable income. Wrichicrw's system works. How else do you think they tax you? And you use household income. It doesn't matter how you fine someone, everyone related feels the fine, children,spouse, etc...In the end, the whole household loses income, So doing household income doesn't effect them any differently. In the end, all fines will come out of the household income, reguardless of who's income it comes out of.

LOL
Income tax forms =/= household income

Household income is all taxable income in a household.

And, if that is the case, I'll just file a non-joint return and my wife, who has zero taxable income since her business runs a loss, will then pay the minimum, even if I make $500,000.

Now you're bringing up easily fixed problems... Fine through both adults, so you pay anyways. Through Wrichcirw's system, percents can be added onto both of your incomes. Easy fix.

And, again, we are not talking about taxation.

We are now.

Should welfare or child support be taken into account for income-based offenses?
Do I get a deduction for alimony or social security?

That question could be answered either way. It's not like the system is preset and completely defined. Whoever implements the system could literally decide either one. Of course they would, or maybe they won't.

I would like to think no. Children are not scapegoats. Parents are not suddenly above the same punishments as everyone else.

Now if the person's unemployed and single, Stephen-Hawkins proposal is perfect.

One more thing, are you aware that, given hardships, some people aren't fined at what other people are fined? Some people get automatic reduced sentencing, because they are poor.

That's an example of a broken system with a band-aid. That band-aid hardly makes up for how unfair the system is.

1. I am actually not sure if what I said is true. I know it is true for court proceedings, like filing a civil suit, but I am not sure if it applies to criminal fines.
2. Are you aware if this is even a problem? Can you cite any evidence that suggests that the rich break petty laws at higher rates than the poor?

Do I have to for this to still be the right thing to do? Who cares if they don't, they should still pay a proportionate amount if one does do it. They could break laws at a tenth the rate, and still should have to pay more.
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Stephen_Hawkins
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1/20/2014 4:55:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
1) simply put, I've only problem overhauling a system (though we are not doing this, but changing how a judge decides fines) which is unjust to make it more e equitable.

2) A fine is a punishment used to deter unjust activity. Therefore, to be effective, it must punish similar people similarly, and different people differently. As income is a major factor to the damage a fine can cause to one's personal life, larger fines for the rich is an effective judicial measure. The elderly do not fit in this maxim anywhere, and do you're misrepresenting my case.

3) this is not the be-all and end-all of judicial problems solved. This merely ameliorates some of the problems that is faced by judges trying to punish those who are rich and commit repeated crimes.
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Khaos_Mage
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1/20/2014 10:09:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/20/2014 4:55:57 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
1) simply put, I've only problem overhauling a system (though we are not doing this, but changing how a judge decides fines) which is unjust to make it more e equitable.

2) A fine is a punishment used to deter unjust activity. Therefore, to be effective, it must punish similar people similarly, and different people differently. As income is a major factor to the damage a fine can cause to one's personal life, larger fines for the rich is an effective judicial measure. The elderly do not fit in this maxim anywhere, and do you're misrepresenting my case.

UNJUST?!?
Me driving without a seatbelt is unjust?
Me driving 3 miles over the speed limit is unjust?
Not coming to a complete stop, burned out taillight, or failure to signal are unjust activity?

3) this is not the be-all and end-all of judicial problems solved. This merely ameliorates some of the problems that is faced by judges trying to punish those who are rich and commit repeated crimes.

Petty misdemeanors are not considered crimes.
There is no jail time.
There is no right to council.
There is no right to a jury trial.
There is no allocution.

Fines for these may act as deterrents, but really the cause is revenue raising, especially of late. These petty misdemeanors are often regulatory in nature, like speeding.
Now, if you are concerned about truly unjust activity, like assault and other misdemeanors, then, a judge could impose the maximum fine to a rich punk, and a minor fine to an impoverished one under the current system... if it ever goes to trial.

Of course, this is all moot, since most crimes of this caliber are resolved by the district attorney, and not the judge in the form of a plea (i.e. judicial economics).
Again, a reason why this reform is indeed radical.
My work here is, finally, done.
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1/20/2014 10:36:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Speeding causes death and the faster it is the larger the exponential increase. Just because you're upset with the sorites problem, doesn't stop it being illegal. Call it illegal if that makes it better. Call them civil offences. Call them your grandmother, if you want! It does't affect the argument: fines ought to be an effective deterrent. Fines are more effective deterrents when they take a proportion of your money and not a flat amount. Therefore fines ought to take a proportion of your money.
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1/20/2014 10:43:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 11:09:54 PM, donald.keller wrote:

And, since equal relativity, is not a man of 60 years who would otherwise be sentenced for 20 years in prison being punished MORE than a man of 20 years being sentenced for 20 years? Why is a sentence worth relative weight only when income is involved?

The value of a year is the same for everyone. Regardless of how many they have left. Two people earn the same amount of money in one year, it's not the governments concern how much of it is left over when tax season comes. Likewise, it doesn't matter how much time you have left when the sentencing begins.

And the value of a dollar is the same for everyone, regardless how many they have left.

Besides, the number of days are all the same, and one year in prison is punishment to any man, even the young. $500 is only punishment to the poor, while the rich get off free.

Ahhh, but the effect is more severe for some men than others, isn't it?
A rich man may lose their company if away for a year, and an old man may die.
Hardly the same punishment, is it?

You cannot argue that the effect of money needs to be considered but not the effect of time in reference to a punishment. If one should be considered, so should the other.

If you are rich enough to pay a $500 fine, you simply will. You aren't going to go to court.
If it is $5,000, they sure as hell might. Especially if there is no risk in being sentenced to MORE. The current system is up to $300 for a speeding ticket, so if I waste the court's time, I may pay more.

Who said you wouldn't still be sentenced more? Copy/paste where you got that idea from. Whether or not they do go to court isn't really important here... At all.

How does this work then?
Let's say I make $1 million/yr and I have a speeding ticket.
What is the summons going to say I can pay?
What is the DA going to charge me?
What, if and only if I go to trial, is the judge able to fine me as a maximum?


Lastly, you are assuming too much, and might be confusing income with wealth. Also, how do you define income? How do I prove my income? Is a housewife immune from fines, since she has no income?

Taxable income. Wrichicrw's system works. How else do you think they tax you? And you use household income. It doesn't matter how you fine someone, everyone related feels the fine, children,spouse, etc...In the end, the whole household loses income, So doing household income doesn't effect them any differently. In the end, all fines will come out of the household income, reguardless of who's income it comes out of.

LOL
Income tax forms =/= household income

Household income is all taxable income in a household.
Define household.
If I rent a room from my parents, am I part of their household?
Is my roommate?
Is my girlfriend?

And, if that is the case, I'll just file a non-joint return and my wife, who has zero taxable income since her business runs a loss, will then pay the minimum, even if I make $500,000.

Now you're bringing up easily fixed problems... Fine through both adults, so you pay anyways. Through Wrichcirw's system, percents can be added onto both of your incomes. Easy fix.

I don't see any problem with the judicial branch having access to my financial documents. /saracasm

And, this doesn't fix the problem.
You are suggesting that I pay a surtax for my wife's conviction on MY tax return, because her tax return is not required to be filed.

What do you do for people who are not required to file tax returns, hmmmm?

And, again, we are not talking about taxation.

We are now.

Should welfare or child support be taken into account for income-based offenses?
Do I get a deduction for alimony or social security?

That question could be answered either way. It's not like the system is preset and completely defined. Whoever implements the system could literally decide either one. Of course they would, or maybe they won't.

I would like to think no. Children are not scapegoats. Parents are not suddenly above the same punishments as everyone else.
So, you have income, but it shouldn't be considered for fines...
By that logic, if I give half of my income in child support, that misleads the judge into thinking my income is twice what is really is, doesn't it?

If you can't see this is a convoluted mess, ripe with potential for abuse, costing much, much more to process non-crimes, you need glasses.

Now if the person's unemployed and single, Stephen-Hawkins proposal is perfect.

2. Are you aware if this is even a problem? Can you cite any evidence that suggests that the rich break petty laws at higher rates than the poor?

Do I have to for this to still be the right thing to do? Who cares if they don't, they should still pay a proportionate amount if one does do it. They could break laws at a tenth the rate, and still should have to pay more.

You haven't established this is the right thing to do.
And, yes, a massive overhaul of the legal system needs to have a reason.

Have you ever been to court for a traffic ticket, since you want the judge to fine someone? This is how it works, in MN:
1. I am pulled over and issued a ticket.
2. I have the option to mail the ticket in with a pre-set fine established, thus pleading guilty and ending the ordeal. For a seatbelt violation, I think it is $110. (under your system, this is not possible)
3. Or, I can go to court on the day listed (usually 4-6 weeks later) and talk with the prosecutor, who often lowers the fine in a plea bargain due to judicial economics. With seatbelts, he knocks off $25. (again, under your system, this is not possible)
4. If I do not accept the plea offer and instead go to court, I set a trial date (usually 4-8 weeks out). On that date, I must be ready to proceed with my case, in front of the judge only, without council (unless I paid for it). The judge has, I believe, has 1 week to respond.

This is a massive overhaul, if you want the judge to hear every case and determine the fine.
Plus, you must also redefine the criminal code. Since a speeding ticket is a petty misdemeanor, there is a maximum fine of $300. Yet, somehow, under you plan, I am offered a lessor amount to avoid trial, but can still be fined a higher amount, but what is that amount?
Also, let's say that amount is $5,000. That is a felony fine. Does that mean I get a jury trial? Does that mean I get council? Does that mean it will go on my record?
The classification of crimes will go out the window.

These are questions you must answer for you system to work.
It is not as simple of a fix as you seem to think, nor have you established there is a need for it.

As I have said, the biggest deterrent for the rich to avoid breaking the law is to avoid being sued. If I am speeding and cause an accident, I am at fault, and can be sued.

One more thing, since fines largely go to government funds (police, courthouse, etc.), what is to stop the police from profiling? Why not focus on the BMWs and Lincolns out there, and let the little fish get away with not wearing a seatbelt? This is what they do now... they have campaigns to ticket seatbelt violators, which means they let speeders and other potentially dangerous drivers get away.
My work here is, finally, done.
Khaos_Mage
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1/20/2014 10:49:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/20/2014 10:36:23 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Speeding causes death and the faster it is the larger the exponential increase. Just because you're upset with the sorites problem, doesn't stop it being illegal. Call it illegal if that makes it better. Call them civil offences. Call them your grandmother, if you want! It does't affect the argument: fines ought to be an effective deterrent. Fines are more effective deterrents when they take a proportion of your money and not a flat amount. Therefore fines ought to take a proportion of your money.

Then they should also take a proportion of your life, your wealth, and your money.
I don't see how you can pick and choose; it seems dishonest.

Also, if it is a proportion of your money, then it should be a proportion of your money, otherwise you aren't fixing the problem. The poor, with a flat bottom line, pay affected more than the poor + $1,000.

For the record, I understand your point. However, I don't see this as a problem. Is it? Are the rich committing these acts en masse, simply because the fine is a joke?

Regardless, I disagree that the government should do this.
I also disagree that this will be anything short of a radical change, and as such, will have many unintended consequences.

The factors of a sentence should be related to the crime, not the individual's pocketbook.
My work here is, finally, done.
Khaos_Mage
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1/20/2014 10:53:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/20/2014 10:36:23 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Speeding causes death and the faster it is the larger the exponential increase.

Actually, accidents cause death.
Reckless speeding can actually be misdemeanor in MN, so can repeat offenses.
My work here is, finally, done.
Khaos_Mage
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1/20/2014 10:55:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
If the issue is that a fine isn't all that much of a deterrent, then why not just throw them in jail if they make too much money? That would be the better deterrent, wouldn't it?
My work here is, finally, done.
Stephen_Hawkins
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1/20/2014 11:05:52 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
You aren't better off in prison if you're rich, you're still in prison. Let's focus on this for a moment. If you make $20,000 a year and you get a $1000 fine thrown at you, the damage will last an astonishingly long period of time, and will cause difficulties even feeding and paying rent. By contrast, if you earn $200,000 a year, the same fine means nothing.

Now let's say the fine is of 2.5% + a flat $500 of your income that year. The first person pays $1000, while the second pays $5,500. The extra money goes to improving the police service, and there is a more effective deterrent on the richer person.

Now, if you are rich and you spend 6 months in prison, that is as effective a deterrent as being poor and spending six months in prison. There is no difference, except in opportunity costs. It is fairer.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

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Khaos_Mage
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1/20/2014 11:12:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/20/2014 11:05:52 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
You aren't better off in prison if you're rich, you're still in prison. Let's focus on this for a moment. If you make $20,000 a year and you get a $1000 fine thrown at you, the damage will last an astonishingly long period of time, and will cause difficulties even feeding and paying rent. By contrast, if you earn $200,000 a year, the same fine means nothing.
Exactly my point.
Throw the rich man in jail for a month, instead of fining him.
That is a deterrent.

Now let's say the fine is of 2.5% + a flat $500 of your income that year. The first person pays $1000, while the second pays $5,500. The extra money goes to improving the police service, and there is a more effective deterrent on the richer person.

And yet, still not much of one, since all he loses is discretionary income, while the poor person loses money for necessities.

Now, if you are rich and you spend 6 months in prison, that is as effective a deterrent as being poor and spending six months in prison. There is no difference, except in opportunity costs. It is fairer.

Oh, and opportunity costs don't count, I see.
So, the rich should be taxed more because the effect of the punishment needs to be more, but jailed the same, because the effect of the punishment is irrelevant, even though it is more.

Yep, seems fair.
My work here is, finally, done.
wrichcirw
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1/21/2014 3:56:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/20/2014 11:12:07 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 1/20/2014 11:05:52 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
You aren't better off in prison if you're rich, you're still in prison. Let's focus on this for a moment. If you make $20,000 a year and you get a $1000 fine thrown at you, the damage will last an astonishingly long period of time, and will cause difficulties even feeding and paying rent. By contrast, if you earn $200,000 a year, the same fine means nothing.
Exactly my point.
Throw the rich man in jail for a month, instead of fining him.
That is a deterrent.

Now let's say the fine is of 2.5% + a flat $500 of your income that year. The first person pays $1000, while the second pays $5,500. The extra money goes to improving the police service, and there is a more effective deterrent on the richer person.

And yet, still not much of one, since all he loses is discretionary income, while the poor person loses money for necessities.

Now, if you are rich and you spend 6 months in prison, that is as effective a deterrent as being poor and spending six months in prison. There is no difference, except in opportunity costs. It is fairer.

Oh, and opportunity costs don't count, I see.
So, the rich should be taxed more because the effect of the punishment needs to be more, but jailed the same, because the effect of the punishment is irrelevant, even though it is more.

Yep, seems fair.

Would you see a problem of having a ticket "cost" a percentage of income for that year? So, for example, 3 traffic tickets would cost 1% of your annual income per your 1040 from either that year or the prior year?

That would be "fair" in that it would hit people's income the same, rich or poor. It would also still provide all of the benefits to revenue that an expensive ticket charged to the rich would provide.

So, a person earning $50,000 would pay $500 for 3 traffic tickets, whereas a person earning $500,000 would pay $5,000. It doesn't have to be crippling to either of them...it just has to be make a point.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Juris_Naturalis
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1/23/2014 5:54:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

I don't think it's possible to survive on 1k a year""""".
drhead
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1/23/2014 11:31:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/23/2014 5:54:24 PM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

I don't think it's possible to survive on 1k a year""""".

It might be half of their monthly paycheck, though. That could be crippling to someone who lives on the poverty line, since they would most likely be unable to pay their bills that month. Sure, a point needs to be made with any fine, but no utilities for a month and threat of foreclosure is not a good way to make it.
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Juris_Naturalis
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1/24/2014 7:58:33 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/23/2014 11:31:52 PM, drhead wrote:
At 1/23/2014 5:54:24 PM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

I don't think it's possible to survive on 1k a year""""".

It might be half of their monthly paycheck, though. That could be crippling to someone who lives on the poverty line, since they would most likely be unable to pay their bills that month. Sure, a point needs to be made with any fine, but no utilities for a month and threat of foreclosure is not a good way to make it.

Ok, but that's not the governments problem and that doesn't mean they should pay less just because they have less.
drhead
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1/24/2014 9:35:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/24/2014 7:58:33 AM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/23/2014 11:31:52 PM, drhead wrote:
At 1/23/2014 5:54:24 PM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

I don't think it's possible to survive on 1k a year""""".

It might be half of their monthly paycheck, though. That could be crippling to someone who lives on the poverty line, since they would most likely be unable to pay their bills that month. Sure, a point needs to be made with any fine, but no utilities for a month and threat of foreclosure is not a good way to make it.

Ok, but that's not the governments problem

It is the direct result of the government's actions (or inaction, if you take the more charitable view that they did not consider the impact on the poor in favor of simplicity). It might not directly and immediately affect the government, but it is a problem they created regardless.

and that doesn't mean they should pay less just because they have less.

That depends on the purpose of the fine. If it is for reimbursement for an objective amount of damages, then a proportional fine would not be possible. If it only exists as a penalty and is only there to discourage an act, then without a proportional fine, the punishment is a slap on the wrist for people with high incomes, and is a life-destroying burden for people with low incomes. It has either a degraded or overkill level of effectiveness on everyone but the average person, and thus fails to accomplish its purpose.
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"You reject religion... calling it a sickness, to what ends??? Are you a Homosexual??" - Dogknox
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Juris_Naturalis
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1/24/2014 10:05:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/24/2014 9:35:10 AM, drhead wrote:
At 1/24/2014 7:58:33 AM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/23/2014 11:31:52 PM, drhead wrote:
At 1/23/2014 5:54:24 PM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

I don't think it's possible to survive on 1k a year""""".

It might be half of their monthly paycheck, though. That could be crippling to someone who lives on the poverty line, since they would most likely be unable to pay their bills that month. Sure, a point needs to be made with any fine, but no utilities for a month and threat of foreclosure is not a good way to make it.

Ok, but that's not the governments problem

It is the direct result of the government's actions (or inaction, if you take the more charitable view that they did not consider the impact on the poor in favor of simplicity). It might not directly and immediately affect the government, but it is a problem they created regardless.

and that doesn't mean they should pay less just because they have less.

That depends on the purpose of the fine. If it is for reimbursement for an objective amount of damages, then a proportional fine would not be possible. If it only exists as a penalty and is only there to discourage an act, then without a proportional fine, the punishment is a slap on the wrist for people with high incomes, and is a life-destroying burden for people with low incomes. It has either a degraded or overkill level of effectiveness on everyone but the average person, and thus fails to accomplish its purpose.

Last I checked, fines weren't "punishment". Fines are collectings funds to potentially replace things that you may have damaged with your reckless behaviour. Seriously. Big deal if the rich guys only pays $500 bucks. If he does it 3 time he can have his license taken. Rich people aren't going to speed just because they know they can get out of it.
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1/24/2014 10:26:20 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/24/2014 10:05:50 AM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/24/2014 9:35:10 AM, drhead wrote:
At 1/24/2014 7:58:33 AM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/23/2014 11:31:52 PM, drhead wrote:
At 1/23/2014 5:54:24 PM, Juris_Naturalis wrote:
At 1/18/2014 6:28:47 PM, donald.keller wrote:
Fines are definite in size. Drive above the speed limit, $500. Loitering, $25 - $100... Fines are preset, while taxes and bail are proportionate.

This is a problem because a man making $500,000+ a year doesn't care about a $500 fine. It's literally a pat on the wrist. He isn't really punished. That same amount of money is painful for everyone else. While the rich guy isn't punished, the poor guy gets half his money took away.

The system would be better if fines worked like everything else, proportionately. A fine is a financial punishment, but unless it's proportionate, it's only a punishment to the poor. If proportionate, wealthier people would be equally punished, and city/state governments could earn a reasonably larger sum of money. A $500 fine just is not a punishment to, say, a celebrity.

The system would be fairer for people and more economic for cities.

I don't think it's possible to survive on 1k a year""""".

It might be half of their monthly paycheck, though. That could be crippling to someone who lives on the poverty line, since they would most likely be unable to pay their bills that month. Sure, a point needs to be made with any fine, but no utilities for a month and threat of foreclosure is not a good way to make it.

Ok, but that's not the governments problem

It is the direct result of the government's actions (or inaction, if you take the more charitable view that they did not consider the impact on the poor in favor of simplicity). It might not directly and immediately affect the government, but it is a problem they created regardless.

and that doesn't mean they should pay less just because they have less.

That depends on the purpose of the fine. If it is for reimbursement for an objective amount of damages, then a proportional fine would not be possible. If it only exists as a penalty and is only there to discourage an act, then without a proportional fine, the punishment is a slap on the wrist for people with high incomes, and is a life-destroying burden for people with low incomes. It has either a degraded or overkill level of effectiveness on everyone but the average person, and thus fails to accomplish its purpose.

Last I checked, fines weren't "punishment". Fines are collectings funds to potentially replace things that you may have damaged with your reckless behaviour. Seriously. Big deal if the rich guys only pays $500 bucks. If he does it 3 time he can have his license taken. Rich people aren't going to speed just because they know they can get out of it.

What damage have I done by speeding?
By not wearing a seatbelt?
Talking on my cell phone?
Driving drunk?
[assume no accidents have been caused by these actions]

These are punishments, if anything.
However, I would like to point out that to most people, $150 is a big deal.
The people who would be like, "pfft, whatever, I guess I'll only buy 6 cans of caviar tonight", are in such low numbers, this would likely run afoul with the Constitution (i.e. bill of attainder).
My work here is, finally, done.