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Good and Bad Decriminalization

Deutsche Welle (German wave) reports:

Germany is ditching a law specifically protecting heads of state and government against insults, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tried to sue a prominent satirist. Slander and libel laws still apply. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet decided on Wednesday to abolish the rarely enforced section of the criminal code by January 1, 2018. 

The idea of 'lese majeste' dates back to a long-gone era, it no longer belongs in our criminal law," Justice Minister Heiko Maas (pictured above) said. "The regulation is obsolete and unnecessary," he added.
Thanks to Eugene Volokh for the tip.

Laura Mills reports for the WSJ:

Russian lawmakers voted Friday to remove domestic violence from the country's criminal code, making abuse punishable by fines rather than a prison sentence.
Activists say the bill, which must be passed by the upper house of parliament and signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin before it becomes law, is a step back after years of pushing for a comprehensive law to combat domestic violence in Russia.
Why would anyone support such a bill?

The bill, which has Kremlin support, sailed through the lower house with an almost unanimous vote. Lawmakers said the bill would stop families from being unfairly prosecuted for disciplining their children.
That could be a problem, but the solution is to more carefully define abuse, not to decriminalize battery.

By removing battery from the criminal code, domestic violence for anything but "serious bodily harm" is now punishable only by a fine of up to 30,000 rubles ($500) or mandatory work. That worries activists, who say it increases the risk that repeat offenders will go unnoticed until they commit a more serious offense.

"Now (someone) can be hit any number of times, but if they don't break anything it will be considered just an administrative offense," said Mari Davtyan, a lawyer who works on domestic-violence cases.



I think what you may be missing here is that when a woman gets belted a time or two -- of course without breaking any bones -- it triggers healthy defensive responses and increases her consciousness of her surroundings. It is thus "medicinal."

Still, because Puritanical thinking and old-fashioned, punitive impulses still prevail among the uneducated, we would need a phase-in period. A more nuanced and fact-driven approach to legalized slugging would start with these "medicinal" assaults. This would be carefully regulated, of course.

When, over time, we saw the number of new jobs created in the bandage and outpatient care industries, and the big tax revenues they generated, public acceptance of medicinal slugging would increase. We could then proceed to the real objective, recreational slugging.

If the Onion wanted a satirist with a conservative viewpoint, you would be a good candidate. Alas, they don't.

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