1. of or relating to Byzantium, the Byzantine Empire, or the Eastern Orthodox Church.
  2. (of a system or situation) excessively complicated, typically involving a great deal of administrative detail.
    “Byzantine insurance regulations”

I’m trying to get a handle on felony sentencing and discovering that complicated is not even close to an adequate description.  This makes it hard for me to learn, but also creates a larger societal problem.  Our criminal laws are supposed to reflect or morality.  That’s why everyone is presumed to know the law – we all know the difference between right and wrong.  But when the law has got to the point where it is in California today, no intellectually honest person could make the claim that the law reflects our morality.  Our law doesn’t even reflect a coherent system.  It resembles a hodgepodge of systems layered on top of each other.  When the law is this complex, those who know it well will be able to use its intricacies and idiosyncrasies to their own ends.  That’s why I’m taking the time to learn it.  I want to use it to protect the community and stand up for crime victims.  But what would stop an unethical person from using it for unethical ends?

My first impression of felony sentencing is that it is time for dramatic reform.  Where are the efforts to simplify and modernize these crucial laws?  We haven’t given up on this have we?

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