Judge Ken Crispin on drugs and justice

Former Supreme Court judge Ken Crispin is promoting his book “The Quest for Justice”. I have not read it but I enjoyed the interview he recently gave on the 7:30 Report. Calling on his experience as a judge and legal professional he shared his views on prohibition. For those that missed it the details are below.

Read the transcript

Watch the video

14 thoughts on “Judge Ken Crispin on drugs and justice

  1. That was absolutely brilliant. Spot on. I’m sure there’s going to be a backlash of conservative rage, though. Calling him an ‘elitist’ ‘soft on crime’ etc etc.

  2. i love drugs .there are good for you. And i don’t get caught eva. If you want some{drugs} email me where and when and time.

  3. In my opinion I wouldn’t legalise drugs without at the same time duplicating or triplicating the punishment for offenses commited under the influence of such drugs.

    While I strongly believe in freedom of choice, that freedom is limited by an equal right of everybody else.

    I’d say take drugs if you want but:

    1.- You do it so under the understanding that your behaviour could be altered in a way that could put someone else or someone else’s property in danger

    2.- If you do, indeed, harm someone else or someone else’s property you’ll get double or triple the normal punishment for your crime / offense

    3.- No illness directly linked to drug use or abuse should be treated using taxpayer’s money.

    At least, that’s the way I see it.

  4. “In my opinion I wouldn’t legalise drugs without at the same time duplicating or triplicating the punishment for offenses commited under the influence of such drugs.”

    This is perverse. Most murders etc are committed when someone is lucid. What’s more, they are more likely to be pre meditated when sober.

    The punishment should be the same.

  5. Kathleen, thanks for the offer, but I do not take drugs of any kind. I subscribe to the idea that drug-prohibition is even worse than allowing adults to take drugs if they want, but that doesn’t mean that I actually do take drugs. However, good luck in your efforts! An increase in the number of people undermining stupid laws means an increase in the speed at which the law will be repealed!

  6. TerjeP, yes I do.

    And I agree that duplciating or triplicating the punishment maight have been too much. That was a reaction against systems like the one existing in the country where I used to live.
    Back there the fact of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs far from being ignored was in fact an extenuating excuse, thus culprits got more lenient sentences.

    If a person freely choses to reduce their ability to control themselves and as a result something bad happens to a third party, they shuold be at least equally responsible than someone who was in full control of himself/herself.

  7. Why stop at triplicating Sergio? Why not 10X or 20X?

    The take home message is that a person should be fully responsible for their actions even if they are on drugs. This is what I think you really want. Being on drugs is no excuse for crime.
    This includes rape too. I am not sure but I think I have heard that a drunk rapist will be treated more leniently if he is deemed to have been “not of sound mind” during the crime. This is wrong in my opinion because he was the one who put himself in this unsound state.

    The idea is justice. Mandatory sentencing laws and other overly harsh sentencing are designed to be a deterrent at the expense of being just. Harsh sentencing creates it’s own problems and expenses. I think the law is primarily about achieving justice, and the deterrent function is secondary to this. (and won’t work anyway for drug offenses).

    This judge Crispin is to be commended in that he can look at reality and change his opinions over time to match his observations. He identifies that the war on drugs hasn’t worked which is more than many in his position will admit.
    However the 7:30pm report transcript seems to read as if Crispin thinks that many drug users turn to crime. It’s worth noting that this isn’t true for the majority of drug users. There are thousands and thousands of drug users in our community and most of them don’t rob old ladies and never will. There are other causal factors at play when a person decides they will commit violent crimes or robberies.

    Also the Judge seems to think that people actively try to push drugs on others. I don’t think this is as big a problem as he may think. In my experience most drug users are quite willing to experiment with drugs from the outset, although ultimately this point is of minor significance anyway because everyone is responsible for what substances they put into themselves no matter how great the peer group pressure.

  8. Trying to control the human impulse to seek pleasure is foolish. People have always taken mind altering substances from the beginning of civilisation. That will never change. It is disgraceful that our Justice system is turning people into criminals for acting on base impulses. Its even more disgraceful that by pleading drug dependance and the lack of ability to control oneself will get you a more lenient sentence. There is not a single drug in this world that will make you do something that is not already in you.

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