Crowdsourced Sentencing

Below (at the end of the post) is a snapshot of two news stories of judicial sentencing. The first is a 3 year sentence for corporate fraud in the amount of $3 billion. The second is a 15 year sentence for theft in the amount of $100. Of course, the details of the cases are not completely clear so these serve as little more than just anecdotal evidence of flaws in our judicial system.

I’m not talking about sentencing disparity due to discrimination based on class, race, etc. Those a wider societal issues that will likely not be resolved by changing any aspect of the judicial process. I’m more concerned here with the fact that the sentencing for a case rests on the shoulders of one judge. And you don’t need to look very hard for evidence that sentencing is a subjective task with drastic variability in sentences for similar cases.

My solution: crowdsource the sentencing process. I’m not talking about a jury of 12 angry men. I’m talking about a Wikipedia-style army. It works for Wikipedia. It works for Stack Overflow. It works for Bitcoin. Why not make justice truly democratic?

Of course, the problem is the implementation of anything like that is flawed from the start. It’s very difficult to prevent people messing with the system. Nevertheless, I wish that our judicial system would enter the 21st century and make trials open to real-time discussion, debate, voting, etc.

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