[ExI] ex post fucto

Dan danust2012 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 6 16:58:12 UTC 2014

In your initial example, ex post facto is not about detection as such but whether it's a crime at the time. Murder, e.g., is the crime -- not leaving DNA at the crime scene.


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> On Oct 6, 2014, at 9:39 AM, "spike" <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> In the US legal system (and probably all the others that matter) if the penalty for a crime increases after the crime has been committed, the perp is penalized under the previous system, when the crime was actually committed.  This legal concept is known by the Latin phrase ex post facto, after the fact.
> What if some technology is invented which causes a crime to be detectable, long after it is committed, such that the probability of being caught rises dramatically?
> Do avoid the temptation to jump to easy cases; murderer or rapist leaves DNA at the scene, we later track the bastard.  That one is easy because we have zero point zero sympathy for murderers and rapists.  Too easy, no moral dilemma.  Catch ‘em!
> But consider a case where a harlot gets pregnant.  There has never been a penalty because there is no way to know who dunnit where there may be hundreds of candidates.  But now the harlot’s daughter grows up, and can spend a hundred bucks and figure out who is her father with some persistence.  The client is fucked after the fact.  The potential for harmful wordplay is great (and welcomed) but do give this some thought please.  The harlot’s daughter can sue the client for child support long after the fact, she could blackmail or extort payments, she could claim (in court) he loved her mother, made her all kinds of promises, broke her heart and so forth, when the client has exactly no memories of ever having met this perhaps now-expired woman.  The harlot’s daughter isn’t carrying the burden of proof; she is a DNA match.  Is not the client on the hook for child-support payments?
> After all this time, it is just now occurring to me that DNA testing may enable crime or cause enormous disruption.  I think I overlooked that because I lived such a tragically G-rated life throughout my misspent youth (dammit.) 
> Ethics hipsters, do offer me some guidance here, or share your thoughts and ideas. 
> spike
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