Monday, April 7, 2014

Summary Justice

In English law, the term summary justice has a specific meaning, though it comes with negative connotations. The definition: court proceedings that are conducted with little or no formalities under common law. That definition was different a few centuries ago, when summary justice meant ‘done without delay.’ Nowadays, summary justice simply means proceedings conducted in the lower magistrate courts, meaning legal proceedings that: involve less-serious crimes and possible punishments, are expedited with less complex court proceedings, without involving a jury. Summary offenses, unlike indictable or Either-way offences, are cases that can only be handled in the lower courts. Indictable offences, on the other hand, are serious offenses that are handled in the higher Crown Court. While Either-way offences are cases where the defendant may request a trial by jury, a choice many, wrongly, assume is a citizen’s right in all court proceedings.
The term summary justice is also used to refer to vigilante justice, justice handed down by fellow citizens without recourse to the law (for a more, see Johnston, 1992, 1996). This type of justice is typically frowned upon, but it some cases, especially when the law is not seen as effective by citizens, it can be popular with the public. However, citizens taking justice into their hands is considered disturbing by the government (Abrams, 1998). That is one of the reasons why a third form of summary justice, with recourse to the law but not the courts, has emerged in recent times. It is called pre-court summary justice.
During this, the Crown Prosecution Service and the police are the decision makers. When concerns about increased acts of vigilantism started attracting the media during the mid-1990s (Johnston, 1996; Abrahams 1998), the New Labour Party improved their standing with the citizenry by advocating for summary powers to  be given to law enforcement and other court officials in other to appease discontent citizens who no longer saw the system as effective due to increased anti-social behavior that was threatening many communities across the nation (Labour Party, 1996).
Some say it is impossible to put a price tag on criminal justice (Mansfield, 1993: 203). However, all around the world, every system does just that since there rarely is an alternative. Police forces typically do not have enough resources to respond to every criminal act since they have to compete with other public services expenses like education and health -- which also affect social justice. Therefore, priorities must be made when creating boundaries for which cases enter the criminal justice system. Within the criminal system itself, cases are treated differently, depending on how serious/important the case is.
For any criminal justice system to achieve legitimacy, each citizen’s right to not be tricked, wrongly convicted, or treated in an undignified manner must be defended. However, it is also essential for a criminal justice system to protect the public from serious offenders that pose a threat to their safety, by effectively prosecuting and convicting them. The best way to achieve this is by sticking to the principle of proportionality of imposition (Ashworth and Redmayne, 2005: Chapter Two), meaning the level of intervention by the system, process, and punishment should be proportional to the seriousness of the offence, where the term ‘seriousness’ refers to the culpability of the accused and the degree of the ham done to the public.
Sticking to this principle means that the more serious the offence, the greater the punishment, and the more safeguards there are to ensure justice is fairly dished out. Conversely, offences that involve little harm or culpability can be diverted from the system, or treated leniently if brought into the system, following a relatively non-stigmatic procedure.
This principle is adhered to, to some degree by all criminal justice systems in advanced, democratic societies like Wales and England. Their court systems usually have two or more different levels. The higher levels typically involve lay magistrates or juries sitting next to panels of professional judges or a single professional judge for the determination of a defendant’s guilt and punishment.  The most serious cases are handled here, thus the most severe punishments are dished out. On the other hand, the lower courts have limited powers of punishment. These are often presided by lay magistrates sitting as a panel or a lone judge (Morgan and Russell, 2000). Also, most legal systems have pre-court or administrative criminal justice procedures allowing prosecution and law enforcement authorities to handle certain cases without involving the courts. These systems are typically used to deal with common minor offences that are straightforward and come with pecuniary punishments, a recorded warning, or the offender paying restitution. The severity of the crime and the likelihood of injustice determine which cases qualify for administrative criminal justice. Each level of the justice system has safeguards to prevent injustice. This review addresses whether pre-court and summary justice is appropriate, and if the safeguards are effective enough to protect citizens.
Regardless of one’s view on the growing proportion of offences and offenders handled in the pre-court system, it is clear from this review that we need more information and analysis. The HM Chief Inspector of the CPS pointed out this issue during his 2006-2007 annual report. Pointing out its introduction by the government in 2005 (CJS, 2005), abandonment in 2006, and the statute to merge the five criminal justice incorporates into a single body, the Chief inspector called the outcome, which was right given the circumstances, ‘a lost opportunity.’
Obviously, it is not necessary to have a single criminal inspectorate before the increasing reach of the pre-court justice system is scrutinized. However, the fact the Chief Inspector of the CPS himself has raised questions about the lack of scrutiny, suggesting that the decision-making process can be overzealous and inconsistent, thus reducing the public’s confidence is the system, indicates just how widespread concerns about this developing branch of the government are, and not just among those involved in the process. There is certainly a legitimate need for a thorough review.
There are multiple issues that deserve attention. Firstly, from the published statistics released by the government, it is clear the expansion of the pre-court justice system has, as intended, displaced some court business. Most of these cases tend to be minor ones, but is that always the case? Are serious cases, that are more appropriate for the higher courts, being sent to pre-court? Some have suggested this is the case, meaning justice and preventative measures are being undermined as a result. There is yet to be detailed analysis done by the Home Office researches or criminal justice inspectorates to assess these issues, but the research is certainly due. The data that is currently available does not sufficiently answer these questions, but neither does it offer support to the contrary. For example, there has been an increase in the number of convictions for violent crimes in recent years. Furthermore, the argument that cases that used to be sent to the higher courts are now being handled by pre-court is not persuasive since that was always the government’s intention. As long as those types of cases remain minor and the outcome fair according to the principles discussed in the beginning of this report, there is no valid complaint here.
In conclusion, the state’s argument for expanding the reach and scope of pre-court sanctions is a reasonable one. It makes sense, in terms of justice and the economy, that courts are not overwhelmed with minor matters that can be more efficiently dealt with in pre-court if the accused: contests the matter, admits guilt, and has the alternative of a court trial.  As long as these conditions are met, the judiciary and magistracy have no legitimate basis for complaint, especially since they have complained about minor cases being brought to them in the past. Expanding the criminal justice system as a result of the increased role of the pre-court system is also appropriate if it means offenders, who might have been able to avoid prosecution despite the fact their behavior hurts the general public prior to the expansion, are now being prosecuted and convicted. That seems to be the case so far.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Getting organic traffic to your site using area-specific directories like Bing local listings

If you run a business with any sort of web presence, you’ve probably heard about search engine optimization (SEO).
This is the art of making your website visible to search engines like Bing local listings, bringing you organic traffic, thus increased sales.
Unfortunately, for many, it takes years to master how search engines work, and there are numerous unqualified SEO experts out there, selling bogus claims to customers, promising to bring in hundreds of thousands of new customers instantaneously.
Those who truly understand the inner workings of search engines know that a Bing local listing won’t instantaneously bring in multitudes of new visitors overnight. Getting your web business a consistent inflow of organic traffic doesn’t happen quickly, matter of fact, it can sometimes take up six months before the results of a successful SEO campaign start showing.
Where do I start?
For most business owners, it’s typically a good a idea to start a locally based SEO campaign. As long as the keywords are specific to your particular area, you should be able to get yourself a decent spot in local search results, especially of you don’t have that much competition to begin with.
It’s also a good idea to diligently research keywords – perhaps even hire an SEO expert – before starting a search engine optimization campaign. Generally speaking, the lower the competition a particular keyword has, the more likely you’ll be able to get a high ranking in search engine results.
While proper keyword targeting is an important part of any successful SEO campaign, having high-quality content on your website is equally as important. The more engaging your content is, the more likely readers are to share it with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media tool they prefer.
Since search engines also factor in the number of times your content is shared on social media, having content that folks will pass around to their friends and loved ones will also improve your ranking in search results.
With a solid key word targeting campaign and top-notch content on your site, you should start noticing a significant amount of traffic a few months from the start of your campaign.
Is there anything else I can do?
Isn’t there always? While working on your SEO campaign, you should submit your website’s key information to as many directories as possible. A good place to start is with a Bing local listing. Feel in all the information about your site, and, while you’re at it, you might as well work in a few keywords.
Be careful not to overdo it though, since most of the major search engines frown down upon content and listings with unusually high keyword densities.
Make sure you insert a link to your website as well, with keywords in the link if possible, since that will create a back-link for your site, raising your rankings in search engine results.
Once you’re done with your Bing local listing, repeat the entire process all over with all the other major search engines, and as many others as you can find.
As you can see, successfully bringing lots of traffic to your website with a strong SEO campaign takes a lot of work. However, if you’re willing to put in all the hard work – or pay someone else to do it for you – the end result is certainly worth it.

Why Giving Ballpark Estimates for a Remodeling Job is a Slippery Task

Why is giving ballpark estimates for a remodeling job a slippery task? Any contractor that specializes in bathroom remodeling can easily answer that question.\
It’s not so easy for clients to figure out the answer to that question though, since from their point of view, it seems like predicting how much any particular remodeling job will cost should be an easy task.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in the real world.
If you’ve ever tried to get a bathroom in your home remodeled, you’ve probably noticed that most contractors are reluctant to give you an exact figure of how much the entire process will cost.
Don’t worry, they’re not trying to scam you off a few buck, their reluctance is simply due to the fact it’s extremely difficult to accurately predict how much any particular bathroom remodeling job will cost.
So to answer the initial question, why is giving ballpark estimates for a remodeling job a slippery task?

Well, that comes down to several important factors.
Factors such as the initial condition of the bathroom, the current time of the year (since prices for materials can vary according to the season), and the location of the project are all very important. If the client wants the project expedited, that will typically lead to extra charges.
Obviously, it’s virtually impossible to figure out how much material and labor it will take to complete any particular project, so contractors are naturally hesitant to give clients an exact figure. For one, everything that needs to be repaired or replaced isn’t always visible to the contractor during the first inspection, so it’s not uncommon for more charges to be added to the initial estimate once the project begins.
That, my friends, is why giving ballpark estimates for a remodeling job is a slippery task.

Dissecting Forex Reviews: How profitable is the foreign exchange market?

Depending on which Forex reviews you stumble upon, dabbling in the foreign exchange market is either the best or the dumbest move an investor can make. As with all other things in life, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Some who have tried their hand at making a profit from the foreign exchange market have nothing but negative things to say about the ever-growing investment niche, while others can’t wait to tell the entire world just how much money they’ve been able to make.
All you have to do is pay attention to the details on any of the numerous Forex reviews on the net, and it’ll become obvious why folks tend to have vastly different experiences when trying their luck with the foreign exchange market.
It comes down to those who go into these situations armed with all the information they need to succeed, and those who are expecting to become billionaires overnight.
Obviously, if you fall into the latter category, you’ll probably be in for a rude awakening when you dive into the volatile world of Forex.
On the other hand, those who dedicate the hours it takes to truly understand how the foreign exchange market works have significantly higher chances of pulling off profitable trades. That’s because they’ve taken the time it takes to master charts, broker fees, trends, and everything it else in between, allowing them to make informed trades as opposed to simply making guesses.
That’s the reason why you’ll find so many varying opinions about how profitable the foreign exchange market is on Forex reviews all over the internet since every user’s experience is significantly different depending on the amount of time each person spent investigating and researching the particular markets they intend to dabble in.
Ideally, it’s a good idea to practice making trades with a demo account before making a sizable investment.
Attend courses hosted by reputable investors, read books about the foreign exchange market, and network with as many fellow investors as you can. By doing these things, you get to pick the brains of more experienced investors, while learning to recognize – and avoid – the mistakes others have made before you.
You also need to learn how to control your emotions while making trades. Obviously, that is a lot easier said than done, but it’s nonetheless an extremely important part of successfully trading currencies.
You don’t want to be that person lamenting about how they just lost a bunch of money on a spur of the moment trade.
Follow the recommendations above, and you’ll be on your way to having a positive experience trading currency, unlike others on popular Forex reviews who can go on for days, talking about the many mistakes they made while dabbling with the foreign exchange market.

Turtle charms

This video will teach you how to make these Turtle Charms on the Rainbow Loom.
To make these, you’ll need lots of differently colored rubber bands. For this example, we’ll use light green, dark green, and a mixture. Feel free to use other colors as well.
Your configuration should look like this when you start.
[insert picture]
Step 1: The Head
·         With the arrow pointing towards you, connect the top right and center pins, using two rubber bands at a time. Connect the center pin to the pin behind it, then connect that pin to the top right pin. That completes the head.
·         Then put the black rubber band across these two pins for the eyes, wrapping it around three times.
·         Create the neck, using the same light green color. The neck and face should look like this.
[insert picture]
Step 2: The body
Then start on the body. Begin with the middle shelf first, down the four center pins. Alternate using green, dark green, and the colorful rubber bands, putting it down four times.
Then work on the sides.
We’re going to start with the right side here, doing one rubber band at a time so it’s easier to keep the colors one on top of the other.  On the last one, you want to bring it from the side to the center. Then start again at the top. Center them all to the bottom neck pin, two rubber bands at a time, pushing it down.
The last rubber band goes where the tail is going to be.
Then put on some decorative pins. You can put these across, starting from the left to the center, then from the center to the right. We’re going to repeat it for those three sets of pins.
Step 3: The legs
For the legs you’re going to need a total of six rubber bands. The legs will be created using the pins at the back of the loom.
Two for the front legs, three for the back. We’ll use a dark green band for the toe, putting it around three times. Repeat for the other leg.
Now pull the rubber bands starting from the toe pin, creating teardrops on each pin used for the legs. Then pull it off, and stick it on the forelegs.
Then create a fourth leg repeating the entire process.
You can then place a capping rubber band on the tail.
Step 4: Putting it all together
·         Take a yellow rubber band, wrap it around your finger once, then tie a knot. That’s going to be the tail. Place that on the side, we’ll get back to it in a little bit.
·         For now, go back to the bottom. Reach under the capping rubber band for the last two bands. Pull, make a teardrop, then pull the rubber band over to the closest pin to the front. Repeat the process for the next two pins, putting the final two bands on the middle pin.
·         Put the tail back on. Stretch it to the center.
·         Pull a leg, fish out the decorative band, then pull it to the middle leg. Repeat on the other side.
·         Fish out the bottom band on each leg, this time pulling it to the pin in front of it. Repeat for the center.
·         Repeat that process for the next two rows. All three bottom-bands on the third row go on the neck.
·         Stretch the bottom two rubber bands, create a tear drop and place it on the pin in front of it.
·         Now grab the top two rubber bands, create teardrops and pull them unto one eye. Grab the lower two and pull them to the other eye.
·         Repeat the process from the eyes to the top row.
·         Bring the mouth (top row) together.
·         Now it’s time to add the hook.
·         Simply loop it though the mouth using your pin.
Now you’re ready to start pulling everything off. Hold down the pins while carefully prying the turtle off. Push out the top shell with your fingers, and adjust the limbs and neck with your pin and fingers until the desired form is reached.

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