What happens if someone from the past shows up...

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Drago-Kazov, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I covered that back in post #2 with the following link:

    http://lawandthemultiverse.com/2011/02/21/time-travel-suspended-animation-statute-limitations/

    The statute of limitations is suspended if you deliberately flee from justice. So unless the time travel is accidental -- or unless the legal system you're fleeing from collapses in the interim -- it wouldn't help you escape prosecution.
     
  2. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    If a foreign national commits a crime in the United States is it fair then if they simply return to their home country?

    Properly, nobody should beam down to a newly contacted planet until matters of laws and regulation are understood. You're putting yourself under those laws the minute you set foot on the planet.

    It's not like Wesley was treated any differently than the Edo would have treated one of their own. The Mediators showed up very quickly, suggesting that there's a number of them. Apparently, justice is doled out on a regular basis on this planet. Wesley was treated the same as one of the Edo would have been. No more, no less.

    Starfleet talks a good game about respecting the rights of other cultures but they sure like doing an end run around them when it's not convient.
     
  3. Drago-Kazov

    Drago-Kazov Fleet Captain

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    Killing Wesley then and there would had been great.
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    If that foreign national is a citizen of a nation that had never contacted the United States before and if he had in no way been warned about what some of the laws of the U.S. were, and he found himself doing something he thought harmless which is common or acceptable in his culture? And if his crime is one which does not violate anyone else's rights under U.S. law?

    Then yes. It would be unjust and unfair for the United States government to prosecute a foreign national from a newly-contacted culture, especially if the U.S. government had never explained its laws to the representatives of this new culture.
     
  5. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Sorry but no. When you enter a foreign country (or set foot on a newly contacted planet) it is your responsibility to be aware of what the local laws are. As they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Now, your newly arrived status might be seen as an extenuating circumstance and perhaps allow for a lesser punishment but it's not a carte blanche. That would not apply in Wesleys case because death was the only penalty provided for.

    Their planet, their rules. Perhaps Starfleet should make first contact on board their ships until the legal details are known. This would only apply to races that are already aware of other intelligent life. For a true First Contact, Starfleet should have dedicated first contact specialists and leave the kids behind for a while.
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    But that's not the case in Justice.

    Yar, evidently, has access to their records as she states their laws are common-sense things. If the Edo provided the data and Yar missed something, its not the fault of the Edo.
     
  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    See, the problem with this statement is that you're attempting to compare a well-established set of practices and customs serving the international relationships of a group of nations who have known about each other for hundreds and hundreds of years, to a situation where alien cultures are discovering each other all the time. You can't impose the international regime of nations who haven't truly encountered new peoples in centuries on a system where new worlds are coming into contact all the time.

    There is, by definition, no system of rules that can encompass international relations between cultures that have only just discovered one-another.

    In our culture. For all we know, the Zog of Planet Zog may well believe that Zog law applies only to Zog, or that ignorance of Zog law is a perfectly acceptable defense for non-Zog. You cannot impose these assumptions on newly-contacted cultures.

    Which is why Picard got the hell out of Dodge. It's ridiculous and unjust to allow a Federation citizen to be executed because of a law of which he was never apprised on a newly-contacted world, but the Federation has no right to make the Edo change their laws. So you pick up your people and leave the Edo alone from then on out (or at least unless a later diplomatic agreement can be reached that is acceptable to the Edo will protect Federates from those aspects of Edo law).
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Or until your people are actually bright enough to follow local laws.
     
  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I think it is safe to say that, save unforeseen circumstances compelling it, no Federation Starfleet contingent or diplomatic mission is going to willingly enter the territory again of a culture whose sole punishment for all crimes is death and who classifies victimless accidents (such as falling into flowers) as a crime.
     
  10. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    "Hi, we're the Federation. We're going to come in and break your laws while telling you how much we respect your sovereignty and then bugger off before you can do anything about it. Because we're just so advanced and you're so primitive your laws don't apply to us."

    Obviously, the Edo are not the Zog since they did attempt to apply their laws to Wesley. Just saying "I'm new in town" doesn't get you a Get of of Jail Free card.

    The ship has this really cool technology that lets you talk to people from a distance. And artificially intelligent computers that could read through and summarize the laws of any culture in a matter of hours. Things like "Stepping on flowers brings death" would be flagged.

    The Feds talk a good game about non-interferance but when it comes right down to it, they are, as David Gerrold says, A Cosmic Mary Worth. Of course, if they were competent we wouldn't have about half of the episodes of any of the series.
     
  11. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    You know what? I'm sorry, but this is a bullshit line of thought. The fact that the Federation was unwilling to allow one of their citizens to be executed for falling on some flowers does not make them a trampling example of cultural imperialism and sovereignty violations.

    Except I wasn't comparing the Edo to the Zog from the Federation POV, I was comparing the Federation to the Zog from the Edo POV. The Edo should have had the foresight to consider that visitors to their world may not realize that Edo law would still apply to them, and thus should have warned visitors to their planet about how the Edo legal system works.

    By failing to do that, the Edo engaged in unjust and ethnocentric behavior.

    What makes you think the Edo provided such information in the first place? There's no indication they did.
     
  12. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    I blame Tasha Yar for not doing her job as Security Chief and learning the laws first before beaming down to the planet.

    Worf was better than Tasha all along™
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Again, what indication is there that the Edo shared any information whatsoever about what acts constitute crimes and what the punishment for all crimes is on their world?
     
  14. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If a time traveler from the past had committed an act that was legal in his own culture at the time, the Federation ought to have no jurisdiction in the matter -- assuming the Federation is at least as enlightened as the United States Constitution on the matter of ex post facto.

    And furthermore, it was on a different network.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Come to think of it, aren't we all technically "from the past?" I mean, we originated there. Everything I know, I learned in the past!
     
  16. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Except that the past is never what it used to be.

    Or is that the future? :confused:
     
  17. Garrovick

    Garrovick Commander Red Shirt

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    Wasn't there a brief conversation at the very beginning of the episode about how Yar had researched their laws and found they were basically simple, commonplace things? And then later on it was mentioned that her law research revealed nothing whatsoever about punishment? Seems to me that Tasha should have done a bit more research.

    Of course, I've always felt myself that they shouldn't have beamed down to the planet in the first place. The Edo seemed to me like a culture that wasn't yet ready for first contact and they should have been left alone under the Prime Directive.
     
  18. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Yep
     
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I wonder why that didn't raise any red-flags for Picard and Riker.
     
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Presumably because multiple people reviewed the data the Federation had on the Edo, and none of them found any major downside like "executes all criminals." Which means the Edo didn't share that information with the Federation in the first place.