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Monday, June 02, 2008

The 'cultural defense?'

This is a bad idea. Kadima MK Shlomo Mula is proposing that courts in Israel accept a 'cultural defense' as a mitigating factor in sentencing criminals.
Any possible mitigation, said Mula, could only apply to criminal offenses which are considered "acceptable" within a specific ethnic group and only if they are punishable by a three-year prison term or less.

"In legal literature and in many of the rulings abroad there is a term called 'cultural defense', which recognizes and asserts that a person's cultural background may influence their actions; thereby protecting them from certain criminal liabilities," said Mula in the bill's brief.

"The criminal statute should allow a cultural defense on principal. It should only be used, however, after the case has been thoroughly examined.

"In any case, the defense would only be available for offenses punishable by fewer than three years in jail," he told Ynet. "No one will be able to use it to justify grave offices, such as honor killings."

"In a world and a country which speak of the desire to be multi-cultural, the statute incorporates certain cultural defenses within the criminal law," he said, adding however that the future bill's implementation will have to take into consideration the rights of the victims of any such cultural customs.
Sorry, but no. At least he excluded 'honor killings' but we have enough ethnic groups in Israel in which 'petty theft' and income tax evasion are acceptable to make that sort of defense highly problematic.


At 12:25 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Such a defense negates the principle of equal treatment under the law. The latter isn't possible when groups are regarded as more equal than others. No - that won't work in Israel and it should be junked.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger wheatington said...

Another consequence of multi-culti nonsense! In Canada Jamaican Community lawyers tried to argue that rape was cultural for them. Rape wasn't as bad as whites thought it was. Of course the Jamaican lads were raping white girls, and girls is the correct word, 14 to about 17. Sanity made a rare appearence and the idea was shelved, for now.

Modern law seems to grow and is not easily contained. Again from Canada: the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that a man who had raped a disabled and mentally retarded woman wasn't guilty becasue he was drunk. In their brief the justices opined that this law would not be used to excuse crime just because a criminal was drunk. How they reached this conclusion after exonerating a criminal because he was drunk, is unknown.

The next day 100's of lawyers filed to have their drunken clients exonerated! Duh!

This idea of custom law is ridiculous. But it is a natural result of relativism. Who are we to push our values on another culture?

Is pedophilia always wrong? Shouldn't poor people be allowed to steal? Wouldn't you assault someone who was a member of the oppresser class?

One law for all. If the law is unfair, change it. But this idea of custom law must be stopped cold.

At 5:25 AM, Blogger Lydia McGrew said...

The culture defense was used in Italy to get parents and a brother off without criminal prosecution after they tied their older teenage daughter to a chair and beat her until she fainted. This was to punish her for a "Western lifestyle." You're familiar with the way that whole thing goes in the Muslim community. But the "culture defense" worked. I have no idea whether beating the tar out of your daughter gets 3 years or less in Israel, but it seems to me highly likely that this idea could apply to lessen protections from wife and child beating. Not good at all.


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