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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old January 20 2013, 11:13 PM   #1
The Overlord
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Problem with the episode "Justice"

There seems to be a huge problem with the episode Justice. In the beginning of the episode Tasha Yar describes the Edo's legal system as very straight forward and based on common sense. Later on, Wesley Crusher is sentenced to death for committing a minor tort. How did Tasha Yar not know that death was the punishment for almost every crime, if she studied their legal code, that seems like a big oversight on the part of her and the crew at large. Why was this oversight allowed to occur?
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Old January 20 2013, 11:49 PM   #2
Melakon
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

"I'm a security chief, not a lawyer!"

The discrepancy is probably due to heavy rewrites to the original script, which didn't involve Wesley as the focal point. And they missed it.
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Old January 21 2013, 12:34 AM   #3
sonak
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

Melakon wrote: View Post
"I'm a security chief, not a lawyer!"

The discrepancy is probably due to heavy rewrites to the original script, which didn't involve Wesley as the focal point. And they missed it.

yeah, it's basically just a goof that was unfortunately left in the episode, ending up making Yar look like either an incompetent idiot or a liar.("Sure captain, of course I read up on the laws and legal system, I didn't blow it off to relax in the holodeck.")
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Old January 21 2013, 02:13 AM   #4
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

I think you can explain that with, when Yar was asking questions everybody mentioned there was no crime on the planet, and no matter what she asked, they were so happy about their lifestyle that it didn't seem unusual enough to them that the punishment for any crime is death.

Now, the insinuation that the way to prevent all crime is to have really harsh punishments, is just plain silly.
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Old January 21 2013, 02:20 AM   #5
Melakon
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

Getting all the sex one wants, 29 hours a day, might make one too tired to do any crimes.
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Old January 21 2013, 03:39 AM   #6
The Overlord
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
I think you can explain that with, when Yar was asking questions everybody mentioned there was no crime on the planet, and no matter what she asked, they were so happy about their lifestyle that it didn't seem unusual enough to them that the punishment for any crime is death.

Now, the insinuation that the way to prevent all crime is to have really harsh punishments, is just plain silly.
But they never wrote that down in their legal code and Yar didn't just ask them what the punishment was for any crime was? That seems very incompetent or negligent on her part, unless she was trying to get Wesley killed on purpose, which could be a possibly.
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Old January 21 2013, 10:18 AM   #7
Trekker4747
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

It is pretty silly to research the laws of a planet but not the penalty for breaking the law. But the Edo also seemed to think the capital punishment for breaking any law was justified and reasonable so they may not have been very forth coming on punishment. Saying something simple like, "We have no crime, and when a law IS broken we're no different than anyone else when it comes to punishment."

Still sloppy for not getting specifics but the lack of crime and the fact that no one would likely do anything extreme enough to get punished probably didn't seem like it'd come up. Certainly any crime research wouldn't have gotten into "if you act like a dink and trample some flowers in the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time we'll kill you on the spot" and more into making sure that it wasn't a crime to do something that's normal or benign for humans/Starfleet but would be a illegal on the planet. (Like letting your dog pee on a tree or something. )

Sloppy research, yes. But at face value the planet seemed harmless and peaceful so the idea of a death penalty for something trivial didn't enter-in as a thought to consider.
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Old January 21 2013, 10:44 AM   #8
Zaku
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

Just my two cent.

The penalty of death is valid only in the "punishment zone".

Perhaps in the rest of the planet there are more reasonable punishments for breaking the law that are detailed in the sources consulted by Tasha. The notion of "Punishment Zone" is so deeply rooted in the Edo society that they simple don't mention it very often in their law books.
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Old January 21 2013, 12:37 PM   #9
Trekker4747
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

Zaku wrote: View Post
Just my two cent.

The penalty of death is valid only in the "punishment zone".

Perhaps in the rest of the planet there are more reasonable punishments for breaking the law that are detailed in the sources consulted by Tasha. The notion of "Punishment Zone" is so deeply rooted in the Edo society that they simple don't mention it very often in their law books.
How I took it is that there's only on place on the entire planet every day where these "mediators" are. And it's only in this one place where breaking a law causes the death penalty. People do not commit crimes simply because you never know where these mediators are that day. Wesley was in the exact wrong spot at the exact wrong time.
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Old January 21 2013, 01:20 PM   #10
Zaku
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
How I took it is that there's only on place on the entire planet every day where these "mediators" are. And it's only in this one place where breaking a law causes the death penalty. People do not commit crimes simply because you never know where these mediators are that day. Wesley was in the exact wrong spot at the exact wrong time.
You can unwittingly break the law (like Wesley).

So, what's the penalty in these cases if you are outside the Penalty Zone (but near a mediator)?
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Old January 21 2013, 01:47 PM   #11
USS KG5
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

Zaku wrote: View Post
So, what's the penalty in these cases if you are outside the Penalty Zone (but near a mediator)?
What, on his day off?

It seems the rule is that the planet is divided into zones, at any one time all but one of these have no law enforcement. The one that does has 100% surveillance and any crime is punishable 100% by death.

There is a massive problem with it, it is bluddy stupid. It is dependent on existing purely on the blind obedience of the Edo (or they would just club the mediators to death), and if you have blind obedience then why kill anyone, the most anyone would need is a quiet reminder?

Like most early TNG however the show doesn't really tackle the issues it raises (an entire planet that exists purely as a moral problem is hardly unusual for Trek) but just sort of meanders along. It is clear that Picard will not let Wesley die, and he never seems to really consider it.
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Old January 21 2013, 02:01 PM   #12
Flake
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

I have a problem with this episode...

My problem is the fact it exists!
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Old January 21 2013, 04:15 PM   #13
Lance
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

Melakon wrote: View Post
The discrepancy is probably due to heavy rewrites to the original script, which didn't involve Wesley as the focal point. And they missed it.
I've actually got a book which contains full synopses of every early draft script from TNG's first season. John Black's original version of "Justice" seems like it could have been one of the most intriguing, even if it does riff very much on the TOS episode "Return of the Archons".
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Old January 21 2013, 05:21 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

It is pretty silly to research the laws of a planet but not the penalty for breaking the law.
How so?

"Law" is typically incomprehensible gobbledigook even to the trained policeman, and of no interest to the layman. "What is allowed and what is forbidden" is the relevant thing, and that is only a teeny weeny fraction of the broader concept of law. Surely Yar would have been studying the local rules of what can and cannot be done, and not wasting her time with meaningless studies of the law that is written around the subject in a language not intended to be comprehended.

A list of dos and don'ts would not necessarily include an attached list of sanctions. Tasha Yar never studied any "legal systems" - she studied relevant things which she defined as "customs and laws".

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 22 2013, 02:41 AM   #15
sonak
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Re: Problem with the episode "Justice"

Timo wrote: View Post
It is pretty silly to research the laws of a planet but not the penalty for breaking the law.
How so?

"Law" is typically incomprehensible gobbledigook even to the trained policeman, and of no interest to the layman. "What is allowed and what is forbidden" is the relevant thing, and that is only a teeny weeny fraction of the broader concept of law. Surely Yar would have been studying the local rules of what can and cannot be done, and not wasting her time with meaningless studies of the law that is written around the subject in a language not intended to be comprehended.

A list of dos and don'ts would not necessarily include an attached list of sanctions. Tasha Yar never studied any "legal systems" - she studied relevant things which she defined as "customs and laws".

Timo Saloniemi

the existence of a death penalty NOW is often a major issue when dealing with other countries and things like extradition. Are you seriously suggesting that it will become LESS of an issue in the far future? Asking about a death penalty would be one of the first things Yar asked about, at which point she would have discovered that it was the ONLY penalty for crimes there. That's hardly a meaningless technicality of the law.


At any rate, even if she didn't study punishments, which is just a silly notion, they still didn't seem to know about penalty zones.
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