Problem with the episode "Justice"

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by The Overlord, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    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?
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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

    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.
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.")
     
  4. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Getting all the sex one wants, 29 hours a day, might make one too tired to do any crimes.
     
  6. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    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. ;)
     
  7. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    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.
     
  8. Zaku

    Zaku Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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. :)
     
  9. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    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.
     
  10. Zaku

    Zaku Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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)?
     
  11. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. Flake

    Flake Commodore Commodore

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    I have a problem with this episode...

    My problem is the fact it exists!
     
  13. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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".
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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
     
  15. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    What book is that?
     
  17. The Edo god itself is an interesting being. That's the only part of the episode I like. Is the Edo god a spaceship, containing various beings, or is the Edo god one trans-dimensional being?
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The starting point would appear to be that if one of the heroes misbehaves in a way that calls for death by local rules, he dies - that's why there's a dilemma here, because Picard feels local laws must be obeyed rather than be weaseled out of. So the nature of punishment would be rather secondary, as the visitors would not need to know anything beyond what they can do and what they cannot. If they do something they are not allowed to do, despite having been provided an info sheet by Yar, they are on their own and Starfleet farts in their general direction. (In this episode at least, and until our heroes decide the local laws are so silly and foreign that they can be dismissed.)

    How does one research local customs and laws? In the usual case of a world Starfleet is allowed to visit, there would no doubt be a handshake package of some sort, provided by the locals. And that would read how the Edo want it to read. In which case, see below:

    But the whole point of the system is that the offender is not informed about the zones!

    It's an excellent way to deal with rampant crime on a global scale with minimal resources. The government might only be able to afford twenty policemen per continent - but even with fairly conventional means of transport, they could be at surprising and unexpected locations in sufficient numbers to subdue any wrongdoer, especially when they are cleared to use lethal force immediately and without any sort of hesitation (say, investigating the nature of the crime, establishing the degree of guilt, or other time-consuming, officer-endangering irrelevancies). Sure, 99.9999999% of the time, they would not be there. But that's why the deterrent needs to be based on horrible immediate death rather than something the wrongdoer might consider a price worth paying.

    After a few years of setting examples, the system can be toned down and, say, the "horrible" aspect dropped from the executions...

    If the Edo wanted their guests to behave, they would naturally keep the existence of the zones secret from them; indeed, their law would be likely to require them to do so.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "Creating The Next Generation" by noted fans Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman (writers of the famous 'Cinefantastique' magazine).

    http://www.amazon.ca/Creating-Next-Generation-Edward-Gross/dp/0752208438

    It's an excellent read IMO. :bolian:
     
  20. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    How does that work, how can you not know where the punishment zones are? The mediators were within jogging distance and they wear uniforms, how can you not spot them immediately and figure out that you're in a punishment zone? The Edo don't seem to have access to advanced especially advanced technology so I doubt a flower cam filmed Wesley's butt crushing it and alerted the mediator's office. It seems like the mediators just walk around and look for crimes ... in uniforms ... in plain sight.

    This is so stupid it almost makes me angry, are the Edo just walking around thinking "Lalala, I'm going to have a massage, then sex ... whoa, why are these people wearing mediator uniforms running through the park, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS ... ok, after sex I'll have a drink, and then I listen to some music ... Lalala, what a beautiful day, I hope I don't stumble into a punishment zone, they should really tell us where they are, maybe I'll ask one of the mediators, I'm sure they must know where they are working today. I'm so smart!":klingon: