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Commentary

Maxwell Monty: When Objectivity is not the Objective

When objectivity is not the objective, the ultimate judgment is anyone’s guess. For those who have traveled down a lengthy rabbit hole doubling as a discussion on social media, it is known that more times than not the net result is a lot of subjective thinking; a lot of hyperbolic venting; and a lot of deconstructive fulminating. For each assertion of rational thought there are myriad baseless proclamations. (Read Lisa Anne Zilney’s article, “Guilt by Association: Labeling Research-Based Policy Suggestions as ‘Pro-Offender” for proof of that.) And while that can be frustrating, it’s tolerable because the objective (and expectation) of posting online is to unpack cathartic contemplation and knee-jerk vitriol; hence the prevailing comment that social media posts tend to transform into a cesspool of unmitigated tantrums. But fundamentality there is no tangible infection of society born out of that sump because laws and judgments are not rendered from that ultra-impassioned platform.
Politicians and judges, because of the significance of their decisions, are trusted to demonstrate limited emotion when making determinations that are intended to provide fairness for everyone. That does not mean that those individuals need to be robots; but they must utilize a rational line of thinking when legislating and judging. To do otherwise is a violation of the very order they intend to create and uphold.

There is certainly a place for visceral orations: electrifying pregame exhortations, compelling religious sermons and dynamic motivational speeches serve an invaluable function and certainly can promote inspiration and achievement. But emotional energy on its own becomes dangerous when it is repeatedly stoked back to life. Endurance is the ultimate catalyst in the pursuit of victory; and endurance is a combination of intrinsic energy with unflagging logic. My high school baseball coach advised me “to fight every battle with passion and reason; and when you find the proper balance between those two ingredients the final product will be credible, and worthy of distinction.” And credibility is sought from those that create the laws and those that uphold them.

Unfortunately, of late, there is evidence that flagrant emotions from social media are dictating the verdicts asserted by supposed objective arbiters. And when findings are delivered with demonstrative and detached zeal, they are quickly digested by the salivating media and general population. And when comments that go beyond the appropriate scope are so obviously personal, it shifts that decision from the necessarily innocuous objective to the potentially harmful subjective. And suddenly social media commentary is fueled and becomes a tail-wagger of the dog. This is particularly toxic regarding the treatment of sex crimes and those accused and/or convicted of those offenses.

In a sexual assault case involving a gymnastics coach, the judge rendered a sentence of 40-175 years. But the vindictive fashion in which the sentence was revealed possibly paved the way for future judgments to be swayed towards onerous retributions that are unreasonable. The judge said, “I do not think that you should ever leave jail and do not believe that you can be rehabilitated. It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. I just signed your death warrant.” At the completion of the judge’s extended and fiery commentary, most of the individuals in the courtroom exploded with applause.

Regardless of the elements of a case, no matter the nature of the acts that were committed by the convicted individual, the judge must maintain decorum and provide an objective decision that is devoid of fomenting emotion. Failing that, the judge is no better than the individual who unleashes a feverish and unfounded post on social media.

It is unquestionably important in a democracy that judges and politicians, as a whole, are impartial and independent of all external influences; this conduct provides a calm sense of reason and a longstanding degree of trust with society. And for those principles it is imperative upon us to fight with unrelenting stamina and unwavering rationale while demanding uncompromised fairness. For when Objectivity is ushered out and Subjectivity grabs the reins, welcome to the Wild, Wild “Guess.”

– Maxwell Monty

Join the discussion

  1. Laura

    I always believed that a judge was to be fair and impartial. In being so that would level the playing field and give a defendant a fair trial. It is sad when I judge takes a side which the judge in the above sexual assault case clearly did. It should put doubt in minds as to whether or not the defendant received a fair trial. Unfortunately, as so many times have shown will lead to applause which I also thought was not allowed in a court of law.

  2. New Person

    Until the courts accept the truthfulness of their use of false data with respect to recidivism rates was from a Psychology Today magazine, then objectiveness will never be seen through registrant eyes. It is within the “frightening and high” recidivism rates of 80% or more which deemed all who registry as irredeemable. No other convict class is subjected to involuntary servitude beyond their custodial term.

    For most of the convict class the ideology is people make mistakes. For the sex convict class the ideology is only monsters make these mistakes. Thus, the dichotomy of objectivity by the courts.

    In my felony charge reduction court case, probation gave their recommendation to reduce my charge due to the fact that I have been clean for several years on their background check. Yet, the judge made sure the court reporter recorded that the drop in charge will not change the fact that I am on the registry and that being on the registry is why I need to remain on the registry.

    The courts do not care about monsters. Human beings, the courts will care and give life lines to help rehabilitate or shorten your term because you only have one life to live. Monsters do not deserve a life, hence the lifetime registration scheme that disables an individual’s liberty.

    Until the courts admits their wrongfulness, then they will always believe their objectivity towards monsters. Sure, there are bad people, but not all people who make mistakes are always bad people.

    It took about 8 years to get my charge reduced, but on that same day, the judge made me fell as though I never improved who I was and that I was the same person eight years ago. I have been denied job opportunities due to the registry. I could not be allowed on any military installation due to the registry, despite the job offer was inside the military installation. I cannot be reintegrated into society when the courts have made sure monsters are not allowed to be human.

    Centuries ago, it was heresy to think the sun was the center of the solar system despite a few having scientific proof that reveal it was the sun was the center, not the Earth. How long will the courts continue to perpetuate this lie about registrants can never be rehabilitated? Courts need monsters to battle. Monsters aren’t allowed at shelters, even during global catastrophe. Human decency is only given grace to humans. Monsters have no civil liberties.

  3. Saddles

    @ New Person. Actually myself I wasn’t not into all that statistic’s and percentages of all this recidivism rates in this in much of sex offender game/issue. I even studied that in criminal justice classes with many other issues of that time when I was in my studies, I took the course at a two year community when dad was still living. Didn’t like Marshall University and couldn’t get into that scene.

    Had to go thru all or a lot of that stuff when I got busted a little bit myself back in that 70’s period and it is sort of drab in this sex offender issue in many cases that people go thru. Its as if the sex registry is a sudo science of human understanding. If one can’t even understand their sister who can understand the human mind. That was growing up everything changes.
    Nothing wrong with striving or getting a degree in penology or human understanding as all of this may come in handy someday. I was even in jail with murderers that they sent from prison to go back to court on their issue of their ordeal.

    Even learning this computer stuff today has learning curves. Kids today know more about computers than older generations.

    So you have biblical factors, Computer factors, and human factors all rolled intro one in many or much of these sex offender ordeals. And of course you have this penalty issue all scrambled into one so who is justifying who… theirs where your who factor comes in in many issues in this registry discrimination. Look how they treat the black person back than in many issues. Hey I even went to jail for my training for booking procedures training. The jailor sees me and says you already know all about this and they send you from your college course.

    Hey Marshall even lost a football team back in those years or who can put the blame on who in many of these statistics or situations. Much of this registry needs to go and pardon’s for many or something has to break in much of this confusion.. Maybe I should ask for Will Allen’s brain… nah..

  4. Brandon

    Brock Turner’s judge followed the Law and got recalled; while Larry Nassar’s judge ran a circus and got praised. Government wins, Constitution loses!!

  5. Saddles

    You know dads in all have their work cut out for them Dad came from a family of 12. He was always interested in football. Played a bit in high school. Are things with this sex registry like a football scrimmage line or defense tackle or a government/uncommon kind. Yes he was also into boxing and yes I can understand the sport of boxing more than football. and yes I have no room to talk when it comes to politics as I didn’t sign up to vote in the first place and if I did at the time nobody would of liked me for my pick between Wallace or even Mcgovern at that time.

    Yes all of this registry is a challenge for many. Different issues, you all are starting to talk about percentages or recidivism rates things of that nature but much of this comes down to truth and true values and yes their have to be some balance even who sets in the penilty box at times but this 288 ordeal from what i gather from you all is a bit way out of line in California.

    Sure we can all seek justice, ask for pardons or apply for early release but governments in many ways have or seem to have closed the door or this close-door policies which is not good to in this democracy of errors or any real justice in many ways.

    See to keep much of this registry in prospective one could look at it as an object lesson in this for or against registry escapade that is effecting thousands all over the states. Hey we or many are not in this ourselves.

    Sure mom’s and dads will scramble to get their son’s or daughters out of jail or prison which ever the case may be. This issue we all face is a bit too much on anyone’s line of thought or viewpoint.

  6. Saddles

    The white man did it!………Objectivity? A word seldom used in comon everyday words Yes getting to the truthmeans a whole lot. I think I mentioned a case my dad was actidently involved in on here way back when. Actually he was not involved in but still it has meaning even today for the truth and all types of criminal matters or issues even with this registry issue we are all going thru. Janice you chance and the team correct me if I am wrong.

    I mention I believe on ACSOL about the famous Mamie Thurman trial a part of Appalachian History. And yes it was a true story and yes the murder has never been solved. Thats were my dad came in. See they railroad that black man and yes dad told us that growing up Now thats true history of a government context.

    Sure you guys can read about it. Yes I was going to school in Logan county even knew the guy that did a 50 year follow up on the story that was in the papers, went to school with him and yes they did frame that black guy.

    One can talk about actions speak lower than words or who is traveling down to meet some teenager type picture in much of this ruse. Myself I have two counts.. Traveling to meet a teenager and talking to a teenager. So in this object less what would cancel out what.

    Some might of had some pictures that might of been provacotive that is not for me to judge, some may have been more induced to travel down to meet this person or is that like leading a person or is this a badger type of internet ordeal?

  7. totally against public registry

    I also thought that was such a vindictive sermon/sentence on the part of that judge- courtroom is not a circus and the judge not a clown or a lion-tamer!

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