Rethinking Juvenile Justice Policies

Youth violence reached a peak more than 20 years ago. In response, legislatures passed laws at the time allowing more young offenders to be tried as adults.

However, violent crime arrest rates decreased for all age groups between 1994 and 2010, and more so for juveniles than for adults. The rates dropped an average of 54 percent for teenagers ages 15 to 17, compared to 38 percent for those between 18 and 39.

Although the arrest rates were higher in 2010 than in 1980 for those over 24, the rates for juveniles ages 15 to 17 has steadily decreased over time.

Recent brain and behavioral science research, furthermore, has revealed new insights on how brain development shapes adolescents’ behavior that has helped play a role in policy changes around the country.

According to the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, teens’ brains do not fully develop until about age 25. Social science and behavioral sciences show, moreover, that teens focus on short-term gains rather than long-term consequences of their actions and more likely to engage in immature, emotional, risky, aggressive and impulsive behavior – including delinquent acts.

“It doesn’t mean adolescents can’t make rational decisions or appreciate the difference between right and wrong,” said Dr. David Fassler, a psychiatry professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, who testified before legislative committees on brain development. “But it does mean that, particularly when confronted with stressful or emotional circumstances, they are more likely to act impulsively, on instinct, without fully understanding or considering the consequences of their actions.”

Violence toward others usually peaks in adolescence, usually beginning around age 16, said Emory University psychiatrist Peter Ash. If a teenager has not committed a violent crime by age 19, they are unlikely to become violent later, and 66 percent to 75 percent of violent young people grow out of it, Ash explained.

In light of the research, Legislatures across the country are working on revising their juvenile justice policies – increasing the age at which teenagers can be tried as adults; protecting the confidentiality of juvenile records for future educational and employment opportunities; increasing due process protections for young offenders; and enacting laws to determine competency of juvenile offenders to stand trial.

At least 16 states now address competency specifically in statute. The new policies focus on providing more effective evaluations and interventions, including proper screening, assessment and treatment services for youth offenders. Some states provide special mental health courts to ensure intensive case management for these individuals as well.

Many states have passed comprehensive juvenile mental health reform laws, and programs which include families in the treatments of young offenders are now being used in at least 10 states.

States are also working to shorten the time juveniles are confined in detention centers, usually while waiting for a court appearance or disposition, and are working to address the safety challenges within these facilities.

In 2006, for example, Texas passed laws in response to reports of physical and sexual abuse by staff at juvenile detention facilities. The Legislature created the Independent Ombudsman’s office to investigate and review allegations of misconduct, required monitoring of detention facilities with cameras and on-site officials, and barred juveniles from serving time in detention facilities for committing misdemeanors. The state has since closed nine facilities; from 2008 to 2011, verified complaints of abuse have dropped 69.5 percent.

However, safety is still a major concern. The Independent Ombudsman, in fact, reported incidents of youth-on-youth violence in the state’s largest detention facility just last year. Executive Director Mike Griffiths stated that “there needs to be a foundation of safety and security to be effective. We are light years ahead of where we were in 2007, and the success of the community-based programs is encouraging, but safety needs to be a continued focus.”

Many states are also looking at policies that divert young offenders from correctional facilities and into community programs. According to the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, incarceration is more costly and ineffective at keeping delinquent juveniles from committing more serious crimes and re-entering the system. Researchers suggest investing in more cost-effective, and often more successful, community programs instead.

RECLAIM Ohio is one such program that has reduced juvenile commitments to detention facilities and cut down on the number of young people re-entering the justice system. On top of this, the cost of housing 10 young people in a Department of Youth Services’ facility is $571,940 a year, compared to $85,390 a year for RECLAIM Ohio programs.

Illinois lawmakers also created the program Redeploy Illinois in 2004, which encourages their counties to develop community programs for juveniles rather than confine them in state correctional facilities.

The program gives counties financial support to provide services in their home communities to delinquent youths who might otherwise be sent to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. This program has been so successful, in fact, that it is expanding statewide and is becoming a model for other states.

“Getting kids out of the correctional centers and treated in the community is obviously the best practice,” says Georgia Representative Wendell Willard. “You have to close these large infrastructures and the overhead that goes with it, so you can redirect that money to treating youth in the community. When you go about such an exercise in your own communities, you will accomplish the goal of saving money.”

Texas lawmakers passed laws in 2009 that strengthened support and funding for local and county programs that monitored juveniles closer to their homes.

And it appears to be making a difference. The number of juveniles in Texas detention facilities dropped from nearly 5,000 in 2006 to around 1,200 in 2012.

Rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court have also reshaped juvenile justice policies. The court abolished the death penalty for juveniles in 2005 in Roper v. Simmons, citing MacArthur Research Network findings that adolescents can be less culpable than adults for their crimes. And in 2010 it ruled in Graham v. Florida to end life sentences without parole for crimes other than homicide committed by juveniles.

Last summer, in Miller v. Alabama, the court ruled that imposing mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment of cruel and unusual punishment. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that juveniles have less culpability and thus, are “less deserving of the most severe punishments.”

The Court went on to state in its ruling that life without parole for juveniles is especially harsh because it removes all hope. It makes it so “that good behavior and character improvement are immaterial. When compared with the reality that juveniles are more likely to change than are adults, juveniles who have demonstrated substantial improvement should be given the opportunity for parole.”

“It’s time to bring the juvenile code back to current times and find methods that work by looking at best practices nationally,” Georgia’s Willard stated, who is currently working on revising his state’s juvenile justice code. “We need to incorporate key items, such as instruments to assess risks, and put interventions in place within communities for young people involved in the system.”

What’s Going on in the Justice System and Why Isn’t the Attorney General Doing His Job For Us All?

Our Attorney General is the one we look to when our laws are being broken openly by groups or individuals. We do have our state attorney generals and local law enforcement to fall back on when needed. All to often the local law enforcement agencies are reluctant to take on the big lawbreakers when politics are involved. We can force action if we must, by demonstrations and meetings, naming the offenders and the laws broken. When the actions needed are not forthcoming by local law enforcement, then we have the right to demand our congressional representatives, take action and investigate them. We can demand the indictment and prosecution of lawbreakers when it can be proved to the extent that charges be brought. I firmly believe we are being led down the garden path to our downfall as a nation. The laws being proposed by this President have severe constitutional implications for us all. I see progress towards the Cloward and Piven doctrine being implemented right here and now by this President. If you doubt that then you had better read up on this strategy. Look at the laws being broken by the SEIU union leaders. Peoples mailboxes are being broken into and ballots taken out, then they force people under threat of losing their jobs, to sign where they indicate. They force their way in to their homes and threaten people. Why are their no charges brought? What is going on?

This plan to have the terrorists tried in Manhattan civil court for their actions against us makes no sense unless you look at it for what it is. A major distraction for us to fight about instead of watching what is going on under our noses. The health care bill and subversive laws being passed against us. Cap and trade along with the global warming treaty will give away our sovereignty and economic rights. Ever hear of the world government being planned for us. The one world law courts where we ourselves could be tried for crimes against humanity for our pollution of the atmosphere. Sounds crazy does it not? Don’t believe it, because it has been proposed. Our only protection in the constitution is under the law. If we do not demand that our laws be enforced, no matter who is involved, then we will reap what they sow. We must demand justice for us all and that our laws be enforced or we must throw them out by national referendum. The attorney general, Eric Holder, must place people under arrest for mail tampering and threats against citizens and voting fraud. Our people must be protected against union tactics to expand the union rolls and its forced intimidation, making people vote under threat. We must be able to hold meetings and push law enforcement and politicians to act on OUR behalf. It may be that if we last that long, we can kick them all out of office in the next election.

That seems to be what moves them more than anything else. They all want to stay in office. Its a wonderful life if you can make yourself exempt from the laws they make for us. They exempt themselves from following the law. They have voted for themselves the finest medical coverage available at no cost to them. They have a retirement plan second to none for themselves at no cost. Why can we not make them live under the same coverage they give us? Why do we have to have public outrage to get things done? We may have to demand a special prosecutor for looking into the union outrages being carried out against citizens. I am not sure if we have a chargeable offense to bring against the President for high crimes and misdemeanors. He has insulted and demeaned our friends and placated our enemies. He has proposed giving away our sovereignty under the global warming farce. I believe he has the new world order in his sights for us all. His desire to have a world currency for us like the euro has been mentioned more than once. He is all set to give away the store, for us to have a socialist form of government. I believe he can see himself sitting at the head of this new world order. He has been trying his best with the people he has surrounded himself with, to advance his special brand of order. If we do not have the attorney general and all branches of the local and state law enforcement officials going forward and prosecuting lawbreakers, we will be heading for marshal law being imposed. When citizens take to the streets against these lawbreakers and demand action they may be molested by union goon squads..

If you think it cannot happen here, then you are very much mistaken. Their have been no investigations into ACORN, even after the exposure of the tapes about prostitution and illegal funding set up by them. Why has JOHN CONYERS blocked every attempt to cut funding and block prosecution of the Acorn organization? Who is receiving all the donated money to politicians from Acorn and SEIU and all the other unions? Why have the News organization like ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN not covered the Acorn debacle, and instead of that, gone after those who found out about the corruption and filmed it? Kill the messenger and bury the message. That is usually the way they operate. All the major networks have given Obama a free pass with their softball coverage of him. Even now with revelations coming out about GM closing dealerships who are republican owned and don’t contribute to democratic organizations. Why are they not being sued and brought to court? They are being singled out and not being heard by law enforcement or the courts. What do we have to do to stop this blatant abuse of power by the Obama administration. The democratic party and its leaders seem to be drunk with power since taking control of the congress and senate. They seem to feel they can get away with anything they please now. It is extraordinary to me just how arrogant they become when once they achieve power. They believe they have a right to do as they please once elected.

This time though they are going full bore, trying to bring down our whole governmental structure and financial system. Then into a collapse that will give them the opportunity to form a communist state. Nobody ever starts out to have communism as a goal except communists. They appear to be all around this President already, from his appointing them to positions in his administration from the start. Some, like Van Jones left because their backgrounds became to visible to the public and became embarrassing to the President. Anita Dunn is another one who touted Mao Zedong as her favorite person to quote along with Mother Theresa. If we do not have law enforcement working for us from the attorney general all the way down to our local police departments then we really are in big trouble. How can General Motors close dealerships who have done nothing wrong and have great sales and financial records except favor one political party over the other. They open dealerships and favor those who donate to the ” right ” people and political party. Did you ever think you would see this in America today? That’s what happens when we let government bail them out and take control of them. Where will it all end? How arrogant will they get before we stop them.? They gave G M bailout money and are now telling people how to run things. It is hard to believe how fast they are taking over and destroying our economy.

We are heading for a meltdown of our whole way of life. Then they want to usher in their own socialist brand of government to replace the one we have now. If we cannot force our elected leaders to prosecute lawbreakers wherever they are found then it is time for a national referendum to put someone in charge OVER the attorney generals head with full powers to charge and prosecute lawbreakers anywhere they are found. Local agencies in state government need to know we are serious about prosecuting union members or anyone else caught breaking the law. Acorn and SEIU members have been caught on video beating up on citizens at meetings. Why have no charges been forthcoming or arrests made? Why do we allow people like John Conyers to block efforts to cut funding to Acorn with lame excuses? I would like to know just how much money for his campaign was received from Acorn? I would like to gain access to Acorns contribution list, showing how much, and who, received money from them. I bet it would be a real eye opener. Another break with our Constitutional rights is the proposed card check bill that takes away one of our most basic rights: A Private Vote. No one has the right to look over our shoulder while we vote for whatever purpose. It is the unions bill and was proposed and written just for them, so they could bully and threaten people to join their union. Look at the wording in the bill. What other purpose could their be for a bill like this.

You have to remember that these people have a definite goal in mind. Once they usher in a socialist style of government that are assured a job for life in a system that does not depend on them being elected. A socialist government is what democrats have been aiming at for many years now. Consider the way they are passing laws and regulations costing this country billions of dollars we do not have, and piling debts upon debts, to collapse our monetary system. And then have us declare bankruptcy when we cannot pay our debts to other countries. Everyone thinks it cannot happen here. Believe me it really can and will, if America does not fight back. Remember that we have the right and power to change whatever is going wrong. It is in our Declaration of Independence. It goes like this. This is directly from our Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. – Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.

We, as the people being governed, have the right to remove, replace, and do away with, those people, programs, or institutions, that we deem harmful to our system of government and our way of life. As it says, we are not to do anything rashly or hastily. We must place these issues on a national referendum to be voted on by the people of this country in an orderly manner. We have that right, to ask for a national referendum, to be placed their by voting in each state to do so. We cannot be denied that right, although the left will try and put any and every roadblock they can dream up to stop it, or block it, or crush it, and plant any obstacle in its way to derail it. They will call it unconstitutional and have teams of lawyers spouting reasons about why it cannot be done or should not be done. Unless we have the desire to save our country from the hands of those who want to destroy it, we will face the future as servants of a socialist dictator bent on the destruction of our Republic as it has been constituted from the beginning. If you do not believe what I say then check it out for yourself. It is all there on the internet. Just go to Google and ask the questions you have, and you will be amazed at the answers you get back. Truth is just waiting for your question.

Pirates, Piracy and the Law

I. Introduction

The study of the history of Piracy and Pirates can be studied from the viewpoint of many vocations; including, technological, sociopolitical, or criminological. However piracy and pirates can also be look at through a legal perspective. The relevance of study piracy from the prism is best illustrated by consider what piracy and pirates are. Piracy was a crime, a violation of the law. Pirates are a class of criminals whose primary crime was piracy.

As piracy is a crime their must be in existence specific laws on the subject. Like all criminal laws the laws regarding piracy serve to define what actions or combination of action or omissions would constitute piracy. Like all laws the laws relating to piracy have a source. The Source for laws includes custom, statue and treaties. The law also provides for finality. Laws sometimes have exceptions the exception to the general law om piracy is privateering. Finally the law of piracy provides procedures for the prosecutes pirates and for the alleged pirate to defend against those charges.

II. Law of Piracy and its sources.

Regarding the law defining piracy; Their are many laws on piracy however it is possible assemble a definition of piracy. An individual is guilty of piracy if he disposes and “carries away” or attempts to dispossess and carry away another’s vessel its cargo or passengers property on this said vessel; or be the commander or member of crew of a ship used as platform for the completed or attempted act of piracy. All the aforementioned conduct will unless the crew conducting the piratical act is acting under and according to a letter of marque or otherwise functioning as a state apparatus. Furthermore for one to be guilty of piracy the piratical act must take place in international waters which exists at least 3 miles from the coast of the mainland. The law banning piracy would not limit it self to people engaging in traditional acts of piracy; the law also classifies people knowingly helping or involving themselves with pirates as pirates themselves. The type of help or involvement classified as piracy include conspiring with the pirates, financing the pirates, procuring items to be used by pirates, holding stolen goods for them, advising them, directing from shore giving them equipment or helping them recruit etc.

The sources of these laws banning piracy varied. Like all law much of the laws banning piracy were customary law or international customary law. Customary law is created overtime based on a significant number of people or entities engaging in or not engaging an activity based on a belief of a legal duty or legal right. During the age of discovery and latter countries such as England began to use statues as a tool against piracy. These early statues such as the offenses at Sea act of 1535 and the Piracy act of 1698 stated that piracy was illegal and the procedure to be used in Piracy cases. However, in England, these statues did not completely overthrow the customary law regime. These statues such as the Piracy Acts of 1698, and 1717 usually did not generally define piracy and allowed the question of what activities constituted piracy to be answered by customary law. In terms defining what acts constituted piracy the early statues only described specific acts as piracy if those act would not be considered piracy under customary law. As such any description of acts constituting piracy was not a codification of preexisting customary law but an expansion on what activities where defined as piracy. The statues therefore served as a legal tool for governments to treat select maritime crimes with gravity and penalties of piracy. Examples of this practice are included in the 1698 and 1744 Piracy acts and piracy statue expanded customary definition of piracy to include the traitorous act of its citizens serving on an enemy privateer as piracy if English ships are targeted for attack. Also in 1698 the British government revised the law piracy to include Captains and Crew of Ships who voluntarily turn over their vessels to be used by pirates. The enlargement of numbers of acts statutorily classified as piracy continued into the 19th century. In 1824 the British Parliament would follow the United States Congress in expanding the legal definition of piracy to include the oceanic transportation of people to be used as slaves. Not with standing the British parliaments broadening of the definition of piracy, prior to 1997 British statue did not generally define what acts constitute piracy. In its 1997 Maritime security act wrote verbatim the United Nations convention the law of the sea. Latter treaty would ban piracy.

III. Privateering

Of course no discussion of piracy would be complete without discussing the legal form of piracy known as privateering. Privateering involved the state granting private merchant mariner’s licenses know as letters of marque legally entitling the licensed mariner to rob ships of an enemies and pirates. By operating under and within the scope of the letter marque an act which would nominally be classified as piracy would not be legally definable as piracy. A liscensed privateer was immune from a charge of piracy not only from the country who issued the license but from all other nations including the nation whose shipping was attacked by the privateer. Customary international law of the time demanded that other nations give a letter of marque full faith and credit and not consider its holder a pirate. Customary international law defined privateers as legal members of his countries service engaging in a legal military operation. As a member of his countries service he was immune from criminal charges for killing done in pursuit of privateering, and if captured had to be granted prisoner of war status. Not with standing its legal status, was very much like piracy. The privateers where motivated by profit. After paying the State a share of the prize they could keep the rest.

The institution of privateering gave all involved including the captains, the crew, and owners of privateering ships a huge legal and financial windfall. In exchange for these amenities privateers where bound to rules. To begin with, their status as a privateer was dependent of the holding of a letter of marque licensing acts which would otherwise be piracy. The letter of Marque while addressed to the present Captain is not held by the present captain as an individual. The rights granted by letter instead vested in the office of the captain of the ship that was intended to be used as the privateering vessel; the individual captain exercised those rights as an office holder. As such, if the ship changes commands the rights and restricts set in letter would remain held by the office of captain and exercised by the new captain. Only a state party authorized party could issue a letter of marque. The process as well the official with the right to grant such a license varied depending on the nation. In Great Britain the right to issue a letter marque was nominally vested in the lord high admiral the head of the British Admiralty who issued these licenses in the name of King. In most of the American and Caribbean Colonies the Lord Admiral usually deputized a local official, usually the Colonies Governor, as the Colonies Admiral or vice Admiral with the power to handle local maritime matters including the issuance of letters marque. . By allowing locals colonial governors the power to issue letters of marques the process was decentralized. When hostiles broke out between the various empires British colonial governors could rapidly commission large numbers of privateers to target the military and economic assets of its enemies. The privateers who the British Colonial governors licensed included notoriously brutal men such as Roche Braziliano and Henry Morgan; these men often targeted non combatants with especially cruel forms murder and torture as means to terrorize their victims into surrendering their wealth. However in spite of their cruelty these privateers where extremely effective they destroyed or stole much of Spain’s colonial wealth recaptured colonies and helped insure British dominance. The decentralized process involved in issuing letters marque allowed the British government to deny responsibility for the actions of the privateers while reaping rewards of her way ward privateers. If the British Government received foreign protests they could simply state it’s in ability micromanage its governors located thousands of miles away. If an individual privateer committed an atrocity the British government sometimes would completely deny responsible and say as far they know privateer is acting without a letter marque. In analyzing the process of the issuing of letters of Marque was extremely lax. Many of the people who where issued letters of Marque abused their privileges or degenerated into out right piracy. Virtually every major Caribbean Pirate began their career as captains or crew members on an
The Spanish had similar procedures in licensing pirates as the British. The Dutch out sourced the right to issue letters of marque to the Dutch West Indies Company, the premiere international trading company. However, the countries whose privateering licensing protocol where most unique was the United States. The licensing authority was more centralized then in other countries. The steps required to be granted a U.S. letter of marque where also far more rigorous then those of other countries.

In the United States the Constitution allows only the US Congress to issue letters of Marque. This means a would-be privateer would only receive a letter of marque if and when both house of congress vote for it and it passes and, like any other act of Congress, it was signed by the U.S. President. This highly rigorous process was likely indented to screen out undesirable elements attracted to privateering.

Once a privateer captain was granted the letter of marque he would be subject to the rules stated in the letter of marque. The contents of letter of marque state terms and parameters that its holders are legally obligated to follow. The letters of Marque would provide for vital aspects of the mission. It would state who the holder was entitled to target, the methods he could use and what date or event would cause the letter of marque to expire, as well as the percentage that monarch or State was entitled to. These terms where important because in some cases a violation could be seen an act of piracy. Of these terms perhaps the most is the term is who its holder could attack. The terms would state the nationality of the ships a privateer was lawfully able to attack, or if the letter was geared towards piratesw state that it applies to all pirates. This term was very important because privateering was considered an act of war. If a privateer went beyond his commission and attacked the ships of a country that was not at war with the privateer’s country that could force the privateer’s country into unwanted military and diplomatic entanglements. Consequently, governments took a hard line against such misbehavior, and charged its privateers who attacked nationalities not authorized by the letter of marque as outright pirates. To be in compliance with the law the holder of a letter of marque could not even attack the ships of a country at with the nation who the issue the letter of marque was war if that specific countries shipping was not mentioned in the letter of the marque. To remedy this problem privateers, including William Kidd, made it a practice to secure multiple letters of marques to cover any enemy of England whose ship they would be likely to have an opportunity to rob in their privateering expedition. Privateering licenses might also limit actions and tactics a privateer could use against an enemy. These limitations might limit the degree of force he could use as well as the targets and locations he could attack. In William Kidd’s ill fated privateering mission he was instructed to attempt take alive the pirates attempted to attach. These terms where not always abided by, the buccaneer pirates where notorious for attacking locations and using methods forbidden in the terms of the letters marques. The states that issued the letters of marque often turned a bind eye to such violations. The articles of the letter of marque sometimes provided for its own expiration. Letters of marque issued the Dutch and the French where only valid for 6 months. The English letters where valid until peace was signed.

A final demand on privateers is that they pay a share to the government or monarch who licenses them. For English kings this tended to be ten percent of the gross amount of prizes. For the English king the piracy awards where an important part of his income since he needed Parliamentary approval for the creation of taxes.

Privateteering was widely used from prior to the age of discovery until the post Napoleonic error. However in mid 19th countries began to take steps to end privateering. In 1856 the large European powers signed the Declaration of Paris which banned privateering. “Privateering is and remains abolished.” The Declaration Paris does not end the discussion about the legality of privateering. As a treaty the Declaration is automatically binding on nation who signed and ratified or latter acceded to it. Not all countries signed and ratified including the United States, Mexico, Spain and others. Further more many current countries where colonies at the time of ratification and thus where not a party to the treaty. While the treaty does not automatically bind these nations just by existence there is an alternative avenue that the Declaration of Paris which could ban privateering. The Declaration would be binding on all countries if it evolved international Customary. A treaty will evolve international customary law if it is norm creating, was universally acceded to or ratified by the nations of the world especially those nations who are most effected by the treaty. Finally the treaty must have been enforce for a sufficient amount of time. The rule is clearly norm creating, its states a clear rule that “privateering is abolished this as stand alone passage clear rule of conduct the privateering is abolished it furthers deals with general policy or norm and not a specific policy for achieving the general policy. The Declaration of Paris has been in force for 150 years, this amount time is clearly long enough for the entire international community to become aware of it. The final criteria requires that the treaty have wide spread ratification especially by States that the provisions are most relevant to. This criterion is probably the criteria that Declaration of Paris’s existence as customary law most falls short. While the Declaration of Paris had wide spread acceptance their where a number of countries which did not ratify including the US, Mexico, Spain and various non maritime state. Furthermore many countries which did not exist at the time it was ratified now exist and have not ratified it. In considering who is most affected by the ban on privateering it is countries with smaller navies who use privateering to supplement their navy. Many countries at the time of the treaty that refused to ratify where countries which where not considered naval powers at the time including US and Mexico. Countries which existed but had no maritime force also did not bother to ratify it. In addition many of the countries which exist now but did not exist contemporarily with the creation the Declaration of Paris have yet to ratify it. These countries are typically developing countries with very small navies. As such there is argument that Declaration of Paris does not fulfill the criteria of wide spread acceptance and therefore does has met perquisites necessary for a treaty provision to evolve into customary law. As such for countries that never ratified the Declaration of Paris there is an argument that they could be legally allowed to issue letters of Marque.

Iv. Piracy criminal procedure .

Piracy is defined by every nation as a crime. If an act is defined as a crime nations will have proceedings (a trial) to determine whether an individual apprehended for such an act is guilty as a mater of both fact and law guilty. The nature of the pirates right to trial and procedural due process rights varied from nation to nation. In some legal systems the pirates right to trial was a mere formality. However, in other nations such as Great Britan and U.S. the piracy trial gave the accused had substantial due process rights.

In England and its successor state of Britain had criminal procedures for piracy cases. While England, like every other Maritime state, took a hard line against piracy if a pirate actually was captured and turned over to civil authorities he would be provided with substantial due process rights. These rights included a trial by jury as well as the right to conduct a criminal defense. Before a pirate could even be tried he had to be indicted by a commission especially appointed for the purpose of investigating piracy. If a pirate was to be tried he would not be tried in a normal court but by the Admiralty which had a judicial branch with jurisdiction of all crimes committed by civilians on the high seas. This court was headed by the Lord Admiral of England. He was entitled to act as judge of all piracy cases though he usually delegated this function to his deputies who where regionally based. Depending on the time and place they went by various titles including Vice Admirals of the coast, “Admiral of Virginia” Judge of the vice Admiralty court etc. It had to be shown that the alleged pirate either committed an act of piracy or based on his conducted intended to commit piracy. The accused was also allowed the right to put forwarded a defense including the right to call witnesses. Some alleged English pirates where acquitted. If a party was acquitted he could not face double jeopardy. The English legal system was not flawless. Their were several examples of corruption at the admiralty courts. Also after 1698 England moved to a more inquisitorial trial model for piracy cases. this lessoned, but did not completely destroy safe guards of English law.

When the United States was formed in the 18th century it borrowed many aspects of the English legal system including the right to trial by jury, and various due process rights. The United States differed from some other countries as it did not assign Piracy cases to a functionally specialized tribunals or assign functionally specialized procedures but used the same Federal courts and procedures as used in any other federal crime. If a pirate was captured by American forced, before he could be brought to trial, he would need to be indicted by a federal grand jury. If indicted the court the case would be held in a Federal court presided over by a Federal Judge. The Federal Judge and Federal Courts have jurisiticition over all legal issues both civil and criminal which involve federal or are an area considered to be under federal jurisdiction (including maritime law). The prosecutor would likely be the U.S. Attorney a lawyer assigned to a regional jurisdiction charged with prosecuting all federal crimes that occur in their regional jurisdiction. Through out this procedure the accused would have due process rights including the right to a jury trial and the right against self incriminating. These rights where enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and thus could not be easily removed or ignored.

Great Britain and the U.S. where fairly unique in the degree of procedural due process it of offered captured pirates. If a pirate faced captured by Spanish or Portuguese authorities he likely would not live long enough to see a court. Such is because Spanish and Portuguese forces often gave Pirates vulnerable to capture no quarter. Governors also had limited summary execution powers in their role as the colonies military commander. If the capture pirate did live long enough to get to trial he might face a trial in front of the Audienca, the primary colonial court, or a military court. However he would not have the rights he would in an English court. For example a pirate could be tried in abstention before he is even apprehended. Furthermore these courts provided no right to a jury trial.

IV. The criminal procedure of piracy law.

If the society which captured the pirate recognized due process rights the prosecution would have prove its case. Here the prosecution would have to prove the accused is guilty of piracy. A strong prima facia case that is guilty of piracy is made if it shown that an individual is a member of a crew that either committed a piratical act or intends to commit a piratical act. If the accused is originally a privateer they would usually have to prove that he breached the terms of his letter of marque. The defense would try to refute the evidence presented to prove the prima facia case. In response to such a case, pirates had at their disposal a number of legal defenses. For example, an alleged pirate could be exonerated, if it is shown he performed his service for the pirate crew only based on duress. An alleged pirate would likewise be exonerated ig he could show a lack of sufficient intent. Of defenses included effective acceptance of the king’s pardon and benefit of clergy. Finally; perhaps the most unique pirate defense. For woman pirates, was pleading ones belly.

If an individual was served pirates only because he was under duress, even if acting deliberately, that individuals actions are considered involuntary. An individual is never liable for an involuntary acts. This defense is not theoretical pirates did sometimes press into service mariners from captured ships. There are two types of duress physical duress and legal duress. Physical duress is where someone is compelled by another to undertake activity out of fear that if does not he or someone else will face immediate physical harm or death in retaliation for not undertaking the desired activity. While an alleged Pirate would be freed if his actions where motivated by physical duress; the mere fact that a person could theoretically face physical violence if he did not engage in a criminal act, such as piracy, is not sufficient if his motive for the piratical act was something other then fear of physical retaliation. ‘Such would occur if an alleged pirated acted out of desire for the esteem of the other pirates or for a share of the treasure even there are other consequences for not acting. Similarly, if a persons motives change over the course from duress to another factor he is guilty of piracy for acts done after his motives change.

Besides physical duress there is also legal duress. Legal duress is where a person is motivated to act not out of fear of physical injury but out of fear of legal consequences of breaking the law. Admiralty law nominally holds that disobeying their captain’s orders is illegal. The law generally recognized that if a sailor broke the law in order to obey orders he would not be guilty. The legal jeopardy he would potentially face for not obeying the order made his breach of the law involuntary. While this rule might to apply to most mariners a pirate could not claim that legal duress as an excuse for following his captain’s orders to commit a crime. Such is because pirate has no legal to follow his captain orders. Such is because the captains authority is predicated on an illegal, and thus unrecognized agreement, that a group will combine under the captain’s leadership commit piracy. However, an alleged pirate could claim legal duress as a defense if piratical act occurred on what was initially a privateering mission. This circumstance would occur if sailor is on privateering but on this missions in ordered to commit piratical acts. As the mission had began as a legal mission the crew member would be nominally bound to his captain’s orders and thus would feel legally compelled to follow orders even if the orders are illegal. However, like physical duress legal, an alleged pirates feeling of legal duress would only be an adequate defense if fear of legal obligation is what actually compelled him to commit the illegal act.

For both physical duress and legal duress the duress must the motivating factor for the piratical act if that is to be a defense.

In determining whether duress was the true motive for, piracy courts realized they where ill equipped to read a person’s heart and mind. They therefore developed an objective test. In evaluating the claim of duress as the alleged pirates motive, the courts would look at whether he accepted the ill gotten prizes. The courts saw the receiving of a share of pirates prizes as distinctively reserved for members of the pirate crew. By accepting the share pirates share an individual was signifying his desire to be part of pirate crew or at least to reap the benefits of being a pirate. If individual was serving to advance himself as a pirate or receive Pirate treasures those would be his motive, and he could not be considered as working under duress.
To be guilty you must have mental intent. If your actions where based on a mistake in fact you would not have the required mental intend and not be guilty. For example the Henry Morgan was charged with piracy because he attacked Spanish assets after his letter of marque had expired based on peace with Spain. Morgan successfully defended his actions by claiming a mistake in fact. He could not be guilty of piracy because he did not know that his peace had been declared.

In their defense Pirates sometimes “pleaded the Kings pardon” and therefore claimed immunity from prosecution. If the alleged pirate had received the King’s pardon the pirate would be immune from prosecution for all crimes committed before receiving this amnesty. Periodically the English government would proclaim a conditional amnesty known as the known as the Kings “Pardon”. This was done on number including in 1698 (known at the time as the act of Grace) and later in 1718. To be eligible for the amnesty a pirate would have to surrender by the deadline set in the proclamation. He would also have to abide by any other conditions set the amnesty. The proclamations sometimes specifically exempted particularly heinous pirates. Another piracy defense which is now anachronistic is benefit of clergy. The benefit of clergy is a right that members of the clergy had to only be tried in church courts and the right to be immune from prosecution in secular courts. If a person plead benefit of clergy he essentially was asserting that the secular courts lacked personal jurisdiction over him and he should either freed or reassign him to the notoriously lenient church courts. On its face this would seem not to apply to pirates since few if any where clergy men. However, pirates could be freed under this doctrine because the test to determine whether one was a clergyman was simply to recite one bibical passage of the Judges choosing. If he recites the passage correctly then, for purpose of that one case, the accused is irrebuttably considered a clergy man and no evidence can be admitted to contradict the accused plea even if the judge had reason to believe the accused was not clergy. The ease of proving one was clergyman would seem to invite fraudulent pleas as means for an accused escape punishment; indeed it was this way by design. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries English law was extremely harsh. The English government and judiciary saw the will full manipulation of the benefit of clergy as a way of lessoning the harshness of the English legal and criminal justice systems without fundamentally changing them. This was by no means a full proof legal defense the judge had discretion on what bible verse would be recite and could simply choose a verse the less educated pirate would be unlikely to recite verbatim. This defense generally was not available for certain crimes such as murder and rape. Therefore, if the pirate killed someone he could face harsh justice for that. This defense did not last the entire age of piracy. The piracy act of 1717 made the Benefit of clergy inapplicable in piracy cases.

Finally one possible defense strategy used by pirates was “pleading ones belly.” This defense could only be used by female pirates who happened to pregnant at the time of conviction. Under English law a woman convicted of a capitol crime she would receive a temporary reprieve from capital punishment if she was pregnant and that pregnancy could be medically verified. This defense was used in a piracy case twice by female pirates, Ann Bonny and Mary Reed. In Ann Bonny’s case this temporary reprieve probably saved her life. It seems that as the months seeing this young single mother spending her days in the squalor of a colonial jail ultimately created, in her jailer’s, pity for her. As a result of this she apparently was released without formal authorization or otherwise was allowed to escape with no attempt made to apprehend her or even record her status as fugitive.

If these defenses did not work the convicted would face punishment until the mid 19th century the punishment was almost always death.

V. Conclusion.

Piracy like any other field had applicable laws. Some of these laws punished piracy others effectively legalized piracy. However they all attempted to bring order into something which fundamentally lacks order.

Fighting the DUI/DWI Tickets

Defeating a DUI ticket is one of the trickiest – if doable at all – challenges any driver can have. The positive result is never guaranteed and there is always a lot of psychological pressure during the process. DUI is a serious violation and is even considered to be a felony in many States. However being knowledgeable and prepared to fight a DUI always helps to improve your chances and minimize the potential loss.

Below discussed tips and tricks provide you with a general guidance and professional advices shared by many practicing DUI lawyers with real experience of defending DUI/DWI cases in the court.

DUI Preventive Measures

The measures in this group advise you how to avoid a DUI/DWI tickets from happening in the first place.

1. Prevent Rather Than Fight

This million dollar advice simply states “Don’t Drink and Drive”. Always consider avoiding drinking and driving if it’s possible. It is much easier to prevent an undesirable event than get yourself out of trouble when an incident has already happened.

So, the first DUI advice – to avoid DUI “Don’t Drink and Drive” in the first place. Consider using a designated driver, or take a cab or consider using the special “drunk” drivers support services which exist in many places. For example, some automobile associations provide free towing service for its members on official State Holidays, Super Bowl Day and some other “strategic” events.

2. Drinking but Still Driving

You said “Don’t drink and drive”? Well, easier said than done. We all know that there are numerous situations when you must drive after consuming some alcohol. And it is perfectly legal by the way in all States – illegal is only impaired driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit (usually 0.08). But how much is too much?

Generally one alcoholic drink (glass of wine, one beer or one shot of whisky) safely metabolizes in the human body for about 30 min – 1 hour. The real number – your number – will depend on your gender, age, your metabolism rate, weight (amount of blood in your body), previous food intake, number of drinks you have had and the time elapsed after your last drink.

Note also, that contrary to popular belief, coffee, tea, a cold shower, fresh air or physical exercise cannot help you to get sober sooner. So, plan accordingly and leave enough time to sober out.

So, the second DUI advice – know your number if you drink before your drive. Best of all, to avoid any mistakes use a personal breathalyzer. There is a plethora of individual breathalyzers available in the market and ranging from $10 to several hundred dollars depending on functionality and accuracy they provide. Purchase the one you can afford and test your breath before you can start driving. This simple fix will save you from much of trouble related to DUI.

DUI Retaliation Measures

The measures in this group are meant to help you to fight possible DUI consequences when you already got stopped by a police officer.

3. When You Are Over the Limit

You were drinking and driving that night, then stopped by police and you were not sure if you got busted or not. What is next? Once you get stopped by law enforcement with suspicion of DUI two things would happen:

1. You will be requested a roadside sobriety exercise like spelling the alphabet starting from a specific letter forwards or counting backwards from some start number or moving exercises like finger-to-nose touching or walking straight line to test your balance etc.

If you passed the express test then everything may happily end right here. Congrats!

2. If you failed the roadside express test then you will be arrested and taken to jail. A full-scale intoxication analysis will be administered to you including your breath, blood or urine analysis.

You might ask what would be the best retaliation strategy for either scenario above. The main logic behind your strategy in both scenarios is basically the same – more you cooperate with traffic police the more evidence you can leave to him. Pull yourself together, stay reserved and don’t do any silly things to hurt your chances.

For the first scenario – if there is ANY chance that you can fail the roadside test then without any doubt you should politely refuse the test and ask to talk to your lawyer first. Note that roadside tests are not mandatory and there are no administrative consequences for refusing the roadside test. Most likely you will be detained and placed into the jail for 8 hours but you will manage to maintain your greatest asset – a presumption of innocence. It would be much more difficult to save your case in front of a jury if you failed the road side test for any reason. Another possible advantage for you here is winning time – negotiation with the police at the traffic stop, then driving to the police station, then doing paperwork there can take some time (sometimes hours) so you will get an additional chance and time to sober out if needed.

For the second scenario – the strategy is the same: if there is ANY chance that you can fail the breath-, blood- or urine- test then politely but firmly refuse the test until you can speak with your lawyer.

This will give you additional time to sober out and to postpone the test. However this case is generally more difficult to defend because of the so-called “Implied Consent Law” acting in many States. According to that law you give the law enforcement authorities your explicit consent for the BAC Tests at the time of issuing a driving license to you. This consent limits your chances for escape later. Nevertheless politely insist to speak with your lawyer and discuss your next step with him. This way you will significantly increase your chances to survive your DUI.

The optimal defense strategy your lawyer would design to defend you in the court heavily depends on specific details of your DUI/DWI case as well as on other important for law factors.

Note, for example, that there are not one but two categories of charges for drinking and driving.

First charge category is a well-known DUI (Driving Under Influence) which addresses driver’s erratic driving at the time of incident rather than anything else. DUI means that you are under the influence but not necessarily over the limit. This charge category is very subjective and basically relies on judgment of the police officer who was observing the scene and who conducts the roadside express test.

Second charge category, more commonly known as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) focuses on charges for having BAC (Blood Alcohol Level) above the legal limit. It defines the critical BAC levels for different age groups, driver categories and conditions. For example critical BAC levels for underage drivers (younger than 21 years of age), commercial drivers and normal drivers are set to be 0.02, 0.04 and 0.08 respectively. Note, that 0.02 actually means absolutely no drinking, i.e. Zero Tolerance for drivers under 21.

Note that there is a distinct group of drivers who are tolerant (resistant) to the alcohol consumption and who can be well intoxicated without being impaired. According to the DWI law these particular drivers still can be found guilty in high BAC level (0.08 law) but not guilty in driving under the influence!

Conversely, a drinking newbie with low tolerance to alcohol may be impaired way below the 0.08 level and hence found not guilty for DWI but guilty for DUI. If you are guilty of either offense, or both offenses, the punishment is the same.

Note also, that DWI law doesn’t address driving under drug “intoxication” as for drugged drivers BAC is usually perfectly normal. To the same token DWI excludes all drivers who have a medical condition and who take legal, prescribed to them drugs which can make them drowsy, dizzy, disoriented or can impair their ability to drive safely in any other way.

It is easy to understand now that successful defense strategy for either charge category would be completely different and would drastically depend on many subtle details of your particular case.

To give you a basic understanding of what defense tactics an experienced traffic lawyer can apply in your particular case let’s list some of them in a random order:

1. Can the police officer prove that it was you who was driving the car?

In the case if you are not the only passenger in the car this is not that obvious.

2. Where the car keys were found at the time of the traffic stop – in your hands or in the car?

3. Was the Miranda Rights pamphlet read to you at the time of arrest?

4. Were the BAC measurement tools used for your intoxication report the officially approved ones and not the tools discontinued by the law in your State? If not – the intoxication report is not admissible to court and cannot be used against you.

5. Was the breathalyzer tool used to measure your BAC properly tested and calibrated as required by law (at least twice a months as required by many manufacturers)? If not – your case is dismissed.

6. Was the breath test administered correctly – must be 15 min of continues testing. If it was less than 15 min – the measurement data are considered to be unreliable and cannot be used to convict you.

7. Can your breath test be surely attributed to the exhaled air from your lungs and is not affected by your mouth alcohol which usually has much higher concentration?

8. If it was a blood test was the equipment properly cleaned to avoid contamination from previous driver tests. This would require a cross- examination of law enforcement officer.

9. If it was a urine test were there two urine samples taken? If it was one sample – your DUI case can be dismissed.

10. Have you had a drink without having any intent to drive and then were forced to drive by emergency?

11. Have you had a single drink right before the driving? Short timed drinks would unlikely affect your BAC number – so if it was high in the police station sometime two hours after your detention then was it really so high at the time of traffic stop?

Things Which Never Work

Theoretically many traffic violations can be “diplomatically” resolved at the time of the traffic stop if you manage to get mercy from the traffic authority that stopped you. This becomes legally possible as official law grants police officers an exclusive right to forgive a traffic violation if he decides so.

For example, you are a safe driver, or it is your first traffic violation, or you drive out of your state of residency or simply because there is something what makes the police officer sympathetic to you.

With DUI/DWI violations it is different – this type of traffic offences is specifically excluded from the list of forgivable traffic violations. Have no delusion – your DUI/DWI never can be forgiven by a police officer. More over – police officers are officially obliged by law to capture DUI/DWI violations bringing impaired drivers to justice regardless of their social status, rank, celebrity level, wealth or anything else. So never try to beg out your DUI/DWI violation – this would make your chances for further defense only harsher.


DUI/DWI is a serious violation of civil and traffic law and in many States is considered to be a felony. Leaving your DUI/DWI case as is, without any defense can be very costly for you. Driving license revocation, substantial financial fine, jail time, impounding of your car, loss of auto insurability especially if it is not your first DUI/DWI violation – this is a brief list of penalties which can be applied to you in this case.

Never try to handle your DUI/DWI case by yourself. Defending the DUI/DWI case in court is a complex and very delicate process which requires full-time support of a professional lawyer specializing on DUI/DWI cases. Hire a lawyer and enjoy your case happily dismissed – you will be glad you did it.

Media Law and the Rights of Women in India


Women’s rights, as a term, typically refers to the freedoms inherently possessed by
women and girls of all ages, which may be institutionalized, ignored or illegitimately
suppressed by law, custom, and behavior in a particular society. These liberties are
grouped together and differentiated from broader notions of human rights because they
often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by or recognized for men and boys,
and because activism surrounding this issue claims an inherent historical and traditional
bias against the exercise of rights by women.

Issues commonly associated with notions of women’s rights include, though are not
limited to, the right: to bodily integrity and autonomy; to vote (universal suffrage); to
hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to
serve in the military; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and
religious rights. Today, women in most nations can vote, own property, work in many
different professions, and hold public office. These are some of the rights of the modern
woman. But women have not always been allowed to do these things, similar to the
experiences of the majority of men throughout history. Women and their supporters have
waged and in some places continue to wage long campaigns to win the same rights as
modern men and be viewed as equals in society.

Evolution of women’s rights in India

Position of women in ancient India

The position of women since long has been pitiable in all aspects of life and her
subjection by males has been throughout a matter of history. She could not feel
independent, and act as so, barring a few exceptions.

The women in Vedic period enjoyed equal status with men and independence in action.
Not only they had the place of honour, but were entitled to participate freely in social
activities. They were allowed to pursue the academic attainments and shared the family
life with full vigour. They were free to select their conjugal partner and exercised free
will in entering into the matrimonial bondage.

The privileges that women enjoyed in the Vedic period were short lived and the position
of women began to decline from the latter Vedic period onwards. Post Vedic period saw
the emergence of Manusmrithi. The injunctions of Manu merged the wife’s individuality
with that of her husband and recommended strict seclusions for women and rigorous
discipline for widows. While glorifying motherhood and allowing women all freedom in
the management of the household, he permitted child marriage and polygamy. In the
Dharma-shastra women are unambiguously equated with the sudras. Even the Gita
places women, vaisyas and sudras in the same category and describes them as being of
sinful birth. Moreover women lead a life in abject misery. The women were denied the
right of equal opportunity in the field of education as well as in employment. The
inhuman system of .Sati. was prevalent as a compulsory custom. Widows were not only
precluded from remarrying, but they were also not allowed to live after the death of their
husband. There also existed the system of Purda, were the women had to cover her face
and body with a robe when she was to be seen in public. These were not only deprivation
of the rights of women but were also social evils which plagued the ancient Indian
society. The other evils which affected the women in ancient India were child marriage,
female infanticide, Dowry system etc.

During the British rule, many new rules were being legislated to abolish certain social
evils which have direct impact on the rights of the women. Many social reformers during
this period including Raja Ram Mohan Roy worked hard for the abolition of the system
of sati and reinstated in its place the right of widows to remarry. More emphasis was
given to provide opportunities for improving the plight of women like improving
opportunities for female education etc.

After Independence, most of the social evils like Sati system, child marriage, female
infanticide etc which affected the rights of women adversely were abolished. More laws
were enacted to provide women equal status with man in the field of education and
employment opportunities, laws were also enacted for preventing discrimination against
women on the basis of gender. Constitution of India also provides for provisions in order
to protect the rights of women. Reservations were made in the public sector to increase
the ratio of women population and to bring it in par with the male population. The Indian
penal code has also adopted stringent measures to deal with crimes against women. Penal
punishments were incorporated for dealing with the crimes of rape, marital violence
against women, prostitution etc. The Dowry Prohibition act also provides for punishment
in giving and accepting of Dowry. Recently a bill was enacted to prevent harassment of
women in their work places.

International conventions for the protection and promotion of women rights

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

(CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an
international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines
what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action
to end such discrimination.

The Convention defines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion
or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or
nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital
status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental
freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of
measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:
To incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish
all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against
women; Establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection
of women against discrimination; and to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination
against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men
through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public
life — including the right to vote and to stand for election — as well as education, health
and employment. States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including
legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human
rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of
women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and
family relations. It affirms women’s rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality
and the nationality of their children. States parties also agree to take appropriate measures
against all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of women.

Countries that have ratified or acceded to the Convention are legally bound to put its
provisions into practice. They are also committed to submit national reports, at least
every four years, on measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations.

United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict

Bearing in mind the need to provide special protection to women and children belonging
to the civilian population, solemnly proclaims this Declaration on the Protection of
Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict and calls for the strict
observance of the Declaration by all Member States:

1. Attacks and bombings on the civilian population, inflicting incalculable suffering,
especially on women and children, who are the most vulnerable members of the
population, shall be prohibited, and such acts shall be condemned.

2. The use of chemical and bacteriological weapons in the course of military operations
constitutes one of the most flagrant violations of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, the
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the principles of international humanitarian law and
inflicts heavy losses on civilian populations, including defenceless women and children,
and shall be severely condemned.

3. All States shall abide fully by their obligations under the Geneva Protocol of 1925 and
the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as other instruments of international law
relative to respect for human rights in armed conflicts, which offer important guarantees
for the protection of women and children.

4. All efforts shall be made by States involved in armed conflicts, military operations in
foreign territories or military operations in territories still under colonial domination to
spare women and children from the ravages of war. All the necessary steps shall be taken
to ensure the prohibition of measures such as persecution, torture, punitive measures,
degrading treatment and violence, particularly against that part of the civilian population
that consists of women and children.

5. All forms of repression and cruel and inhuman treatment of women and children,
including imprisonment, torture, shooting, mass arrests, collective punishment,
destruction of dwellings and forcible eviction, committed by belligerents in the course of
military operations or in occupied territories shall be considered criminal.

6. Women and children belonging to the civilian population and finding themselves in
circumstances of emergency and armed conflict in the struggle for peace, selfdetermination,

national liberation and independence, or who live in occupied territories,
shall not be deprived of shelter, food, medical aid or other inalienable rights, in
accordance with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child or other
instruments of international law.

United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women

The declaration mainly aims at protecting women from torture. For the purposes of this
Declaration, the term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence
that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering
to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty,
whether occurring in public or in private life.

Article 2

Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the

( a ) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including
battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence,
marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women,
non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

( b ) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general
community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in
educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

( c ) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State,
wherever it occurs.

The Declaration aims at making the world a safer destination for women and to enjoy
their rights without any encumbrances.

ACLU Women’s Rights Project

Since 1972, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project has worked to empower women and
advance equality. Many people, before and since, have contributed to our effort.
The Women’s Rights Project focuses on four core areas:


WRP advocates on behalf of low-wage immigrant women workers, works to eliminate
welfare disparities, and seeks to end workplace discrimination.

Violence Against Women
WRP is committed to advancing battered women’s civil rights, assisting women in their
efforts to keep themselves and their children safe, and challenging the housing and
employment discrimination experienced by so many battered women, especially low income and women of color.

Criminal Justice
WRP addresses the harms to women and girls caught up in the criminal and juvenile
justice systems, including their conditions of confinement, and the impact of sentencing
and incarceration policies on women and their children.

WRP is dedicated to ensuring that public schools do not become sex-segregated and that
girls and boys receive equal educational opportunities.

Legislations in India for the Protection of Women
The major women specific legislations in India are the following:

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956- The Immoral Traffic act aimed at
preventing immoral activities using women. It provides punishment for women
trafficking, carrying on the business of prostitution, keeping a brothel etc.

Role of Media in the protection of women’s rights

Media plays a very important role in creating awareness among the women community
about their inherent rights, which they were deprived of for many centuries. Media plays
the role of a saviour in whom the power to protect and enhance the rights of the women is
arrogated. Media through its visual broadcasting should project the abject and miserable
lives and living conditions of women in rural India. More documentaries and screen plays
projecting women.s rights should be aired through visual media. Media plays an
important role in coordinating the activities of social workers who play an important role
in striving to establish women.s rights. Print media through various journals meant
exclusively for women entails a place in this men dominated world. Media has certain
forums specifically for the promotion and advancement of the interest of women folk.
Media through its various agencies helps to agitate and voice against any intrusion into
the rights of the women. In the modern age crimes against women have also became very
rampant, media was an active tool in voicing against such acts and bringing such illegal
acts to the eyes of the concerned authorities and thus keeping the issue as a hot spot
which requires urgent attention. Media also acts as an effective tool in educating people
against the commission of such atrocious acts against the women community and thus
preserving their purity and sacredness. Media also through various debates and
discussions help the legislators in identifying new areas for legislating laws for the
protection of women.

Negative effects of media on the rights of women

Media has both positive as well as negative effects on the rights of women. Media has
been a cause for the increase in infringement of the right to privacy of a woman. Media
through obscene publication and visual presentations have demeaned the dignity of
women in the modern society. Modern films tend to glorify violence and as a result
infuse such ideas in the minds of the youth. Media has played a significant role in the
promotion and circulation of pornographic materials which in turn will result in
trafficking of women, flesh trade etc. Media is a corner stone in shaping the lives of the
new generation, as majority of the modern generation are glued to them. Media through
films and publications tend to drastically revolutionise the minds of the people without
their knowledge and awareness. Hence there has to be a strict check and control on the
contents that are aired and published through the media. It was this concept which paved
the way for the development of media laws.

Media laws and its Evolution in India

In India the Press is free but subject to certain reasonable restrictions imposed by the
Constitution of India, 1950, as amended (“Constitution”). Before the impact of
globalisation was felt, the mass media was wholly controlled by the government, which
let the media project only what the government wanted the public to see and in a way in
which it wanted the public to see it. However, with the onset of globalisation and
privatisation, the situation has undergone a humongous change.

Before the invention of communication satellites, communication was mainly in the
form of national media, both public and private, in India and abroad. Then came the
‘transnational media’ with the progress of communication technologies like Satellite
delivery and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), the outcome: local TV, global
films and global information systems.

In such an era of media upsurge, it becomes an absolute necessity to impose certain legal
checks and bounds on transmission and communication. In the due course of this article,
we would discuss the various aspects of media and the relevant legal checks and bounds
governing them.

Historical Perspective of Mass Media Laws

Mass Media laws in India have a long history and are deeply rooted in the country.s
colonial experience under British rule. The earliest regulatory measures can be traced
back to 1799 when Lord Wellesley promulgated the Press Regulations, which had the
effect of imposing pre-censorship on an infant newspaper publishing industry. The onset
of 1835 saw the promulgation of the Press Act, which undid most of, the repressive
features of earlier legislations on the subject.

Thereafter on 18th June 1857, the government passed the .Gagging Act., which among
various other things, introduced compulsory licensing for the owning or running of
printing presses; empowered the government to prohibit the publication or circulation of
any newspaper, book or other printed material and banned the publication or
dissemination of statements or news stories which had a tendency to cause a furore
against the government, thereby weakening its authority.

Then followed the .Press and Registration of Books Act. in 1867 and which continues to
remain in force till date. Governor General Lord Lytton promulgated the .Vernacular
Press Act. of 1878 allowing the government to clamp down on the publication of
writings deemed seditious and to impose punitive sanctions on printers and publishers
who failed to fall in line. In 1908, Lord Minto promulgated the .Newspapers (Incitement
to Offences) Act, 1908 which authorized local authorities to take action against the editor
of any newspaper that published matter deemed to constitute an incitement to rebellion.
However, the most significant day in the history of Media Regulations was the 26th of
January 1950 . the day on which the Constitution was brought into force. The colonial
experience of the Indians made them realise the crucial significance of the .Freedom of
Press.. Such freedom was therefore incorporated in the Constitution; to empower the
Press to disseminate knowledge to the masses and the Constituent Assembly thus,
decided to safeguard this .Freedom of Press. as a fundamental right. Although, the Indian
Constitution does not expressly mention the liberty of the press, it is evident that the
liberty of the press is included in the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19
(1)(a). It is however pertinent to mention that, such freedom is not absolute but is
qualified by certain clearly defined limitations under Article 19(2) in the interests of the

It is necessary to mention here that, this freedom under Article 19(1)(a) is not only
cribbed, cabined and confined to newspapers and periodicals but also includes pamphlets,
leaflets, handbills, circulars and every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of
information and opinion:

Thus, although the freedom of the press is guaranteed as a fundamental right, it is
necessary for us to deal with the various laws governing the different areas of media so as
to appreciate the vast expanse of media laws.

Regulations in print media
The Freedom Of Press and the Freedom Of Expression can be regarded as the very basis
of a democratic form of government. Every business enterprise is involved in the laws of
the nation, the state and the community in which it operates. Newspaper publishers find
themselves more .hemmed in. by legal restrictions than many other businesses do .
despite the fact that the freedom of press is protected by the Indian constitution. The
various Acts, which have to be taken into consideration when dealing with the
regulations imposed upon the Print Media, are:

_ The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 . This Act regulates printing presses
and newspapers and makes registration with an appointed Authority compulsory for all
printing presses.

_ _The Press (Objectionable Matters) Act, 1951 . This enactment provides against the
printing and publication of incitement to crime and other objectionable matters.

_ _The Newspaper (Prices and Pages) Act, 1956 . This statute empowers the Central
Government to regulate the price of newspapers in relation to the number of pages and
size and also to regulate the allocation of space to be allowed for advertising matter.

Regulations in broadcasting
The broadcast media was under complete monopoly of the Government of India. Private
organizations were involved only in commercial advertising and sponsorships of
programmes. However, in Secretary, Ministry of I&B v. CAB1, the Supreme Court clearly
differed from the aforementioned monopolistic approach and emphasized that, every
citizen has a right to telecast and broadcast to the viewers/listeners any important event
through electronic media, television or radio and also provided that the Government had
no monopoly over such electronic media as such monopolistic power of the Government
was not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution or in any other law prevailing in the
This judgment, thus, brought about a great change in the position prevailing in the
broadcast media, and such sector became open to the citizens.
1 (1995) 2 SCC 161

Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 basically regulates the operation of
Cable Television in the territory of India and regulates the subscription rates and the total
number of total subscribers receiving programmes transmitted in the basic tier. In
pursuance of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2002, the
Central Government may make it obligatory for every cable operator to transmit or
retransmit programme of any pay channel through an addressable system as and when the
Central Government so notifies. Such notification may also specify the number of free to
air channels to be included in the package of channels forming the basic service tier
film . India is one of the largest producers of motion pictures in the world.
Encompassing three major spheres of activity . production, distribution and exhibition,
the industry has an all-India spread, employing thousands of people and entertaining
millions each year. The various laws in force regulating the making and screening of
films are: –

The Cinematograph Act, 1952 . The Cinematograph Act of 1952 has been passed to
make provisions for a certification of cinematographed films for exhibitions by means of
Cinematograph. Under this Act, a Board of Film Censors (now renamed Central Board
of Film Certification) with advisory panels at regional centres is empowered to examine
every film and sanction it whether for unrestricted exhibition or for exhibition restricted
to adults. The Board is also empowered to refuse to sanction a film for public exhibition.
In K. A. Abbas v. Union of India, the petitioner for the first time challenged the validity of
censorship as violative of his fundamental right of speech and expression. The Supreme
Court however observed that, pre-censorship of films under the Cinematograph Act was
justified under Article 19(2) on the ground that films have to be treated separately from
other forms of art and expression because a motion picture was able to stir up emotion
more deeply and thus, classification of films between two categories .A. (for adults only)
and .U. (for all) was brought about2.
2 AIR 1971 SC 481

Advertising communication is a mix of arts and facts subservient to ethical principles. In
order to be consumer-oriented, advertisement will have to be truthful and ethical. It
should not mislead the consumer. If it so happens, the credibility is lost.

In order to enforce an ethical regulating code, the Advertising Standards Council of India
was set up. Inspired by a similar code of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) UK,
ASCI follows the following basic guidelines in order to achieve the acceptance of fair
advertising practices in the interest of the consumer: –

· To ensure the truthfulness and honesty of representations and claims made by
advertisements and to safe guard against misleading advertising;

· To ensure that advertisement are not offensive to generally accepted standards of public

· To safeguard against indiscriminate use of advertising for promotion of products which
are regarded as hazardous to society or to individuals to a degree or of a type which is
unacceptable to society at large; and

· To ensure that advertisements observe fairness in competition so that the consumers
need to be informed on choices in the market places and canons of generally accepted
competitive behaviour in business are both served.

Media laws and its relation to the Rights of the Women

Media Law has its applicability in ensuring and preserving the rights of the women.
Media has been regulated with regard to its right in publishing and broadcasting by
enacting the media laws. These laws have a direct impetus to the protection of women.s
rights. Media Laws through its enactments regulating the print media takes away from the
press the absolute power vested in them previously. Media laws protect the women.s
right by preventing the print media from publishing articles and journals that goes
detrimental to the interest of the women folk and intrude their privacy.