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Seinfeld's Good Samaritan Law Now Reality? 735

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-that-there-is-anything-wrong-with-that dept.
e3m4n writes "The fictitious 'good samaritan' law from the final episode of Seinfeld (the one that landed them in jail for a year) appears to be headed toward reality for California residents after the house passed this bill. There are some differences, such as direct action is not required, but the concept of guilt by association for not doing the right thing is still on the face of the bill."

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Seinfeld's Good Samaritan Law Now Reality?

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  • That's a shame
  • No (Score:5, Informative)

    by scotch (102596) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:52AM (#30945730) Homepage
    I didn't have to read very far to find out that no, the law is not a reality.  Thanks, slashdot!
    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cryacin (657549) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:14AM (#30945884)
      It's just a test to see who reads the article before sharing their enlightened opinion.

      It's like that instruction test in school:
      1. Read all of the instructions.
      2. Clap your hands.
      3. Shout out that you are at step 3.
      4. Jump up and down.
      5. Do not perform steps 2-4
      6. Finish test
      • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mmalove (919245) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:37AM (#30946048)

        I always hated these, because to me it makes no sense to read but not do steps 1-4, and then to read and execute step 5 or 6. Therefore after reading them, you SHOULD go back and start executing the steps in order, 2-4 occur before they are negated, the 5 tells you to stop, and then you finish.

        Of course, I get the point of the test. But it's like some guy on the internet playing teacher correcting your spelling while making god awful grammatical errors.

        In conclusion, pedantic lessons suck.

        • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

          by gd2shoe (747932) on Friday January 29, 2010 @03:46AM (#30946796) Journal
          What he didn't state were the instructions for those tests. The instructions specifically state to read every question before answering any of them. It's not a test, but a lesson in reading and following the instructions. As such, I think it has great value.
          • Re:No (Score:5, Funny)

            by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday January 29, 2010 @06:17AM (#30947466)
            Right, so you read the questions through while following no instructions. That means you do not follow instruction 5, start the test from the beginning, and perform tasks 2 to 4, as you have not performed the action of instruction 5. Acting upon instruction 5 negates instruction 1, as you are no longer reading but have started acting upon the instructions.

            I had this argument with my science teacher. She firstly took me out of the science lesson for being disruptive (I was quite adamant I was right) so I walked down to the Head of Science and explained the situation. He made the teacher apologise to me.

            Unfortunately, this course of action did not get me any tail.
          • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

            by amoeba1911 (978485) on Friday January 29, 2010 @10:22AM (#30948948) Homepage
            1. Jump off a cliff.
            2. Don't do step 1.
            3. Do the opposite of step 2.
            4. Don't do step 3.
            5. Don't do step 5.
            6. Do step 5.
            7. Skip step 2 and 5.
            8. Perform the steps in reverse order.
            9. Do step 4.
            10. We're just fucking with you, throw the test out.
            11. No we're not, finish the test.
            12. Clap your hands if you reached this step.
            13. Don't clap your hands at any point during this test.
            14. There will be cake.
            15. The cake is a lie.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Kjella (173770)

          Think of step 1 as an instruction to compile it rather than execute it.

          Then you start building an instruction list as you parse step 2-4:
          a) Clap your hands.
          b) Shout out that you are at step 3.
          c) Jump up and down.

          5. Whoops optimization, results are never evaluated so we can just compile them way.

          6. Finish test, the result is do to nothing.

          It's actually quite like what a compiler might have to do, think of 5 as variables going out of scope for example. Why did we perform those calculations? They make no sense

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HangingChad (677530)

        It's just a test to see who reads the article before sharing their enlightened opinion.

        We had a prof do that in college. There were a bunch of instructions, really tough problems, some with labs. Some people spent days working on them before they got to the second page of the instructions and it said, "It's only necessary to turn in question 3." Holy crap were people burned over that. But it was one of the core classes for pre-meds so there wasn't an option. But I bet as doctors they read directions.

      • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Friday January 29, 2010 @02:15AM (#30946254) Homepage Journal

        It's just a test to see who reads the article before sharing their enlightened opinion.

        Honestly, would it really have surprised anyone if it was true? California seems bent on a destroying itself with stupidity, to the extent that many of the smart and talented people are getting out of Dodge, so to speak. The reason why surrounding states have been more competitive politically this past decade (after mostly being solid GOP) is the sheer number of Californians getting the hell out of their state. Everything from California... costs, product liability laws, fuel standards, etc, is stricter and more expensive than most of the country. Buy a mouse or keyboard, and many of them will have a tag on it warning you not to do something stupid, like eat the cord. The small print explains that this little reminder was brought to you via a product safety lawsuit in California.

        California, with it's bust-ass budget and spiraling social program costs is a preview of what might happen to the rest of the country. They're still $21 billion in the hole, and yet now they want to enact a statewide universal health care program, with costs upwards of $200 Billion over the next decade?

        Again, when you hear something ridiculous about California... true or not... does it really surprise you?

        • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rophuine (946411) on Friday January 29, 2010 @02:26AM (#30946318) Homepage

          I'm not so sure this law is 'stupidity'. It only applies to violent crime, and it only requires that the witness report it, not intervene, not even make a scene. Just make a discreet phone call. I'd like to see more debate before labeling this a 'bad' law.

          That's not to say the rest of your rant doesn't ring true, though.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I can't help but think this law is well intended, but the consequences haven't been thought out. Like any other law it becomes a tool of law enforcement and there are plenty of people in jail who can tell you that calling a crime hotline is an awesome way to incriminate yourself as an accessory. Why? Because as your friendly district attorney will tell you, if the crime is bad enough somebody has to go to jail, if not he/she will appear soft on crime and possibly lose any chance of re-election.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        This is not properly worded. In order to work as you intended, #1 should be: "Read all the instructions FIRST, before performing any other action."

        THEN it makes sense. As it stands, it does not.
  • by name*censored* (884880) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:53AM (#30945734)

    Do stupid laws and frivolous lawsuits make you too afraid to help someone in trouble? No problem, we'll just pass another ill-thought law! What could possibly go wrong?

    • by skine (1524819)

      Reminds me of a movie...

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0317705/ [imdb.com]

    • by sjames (1099) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:32AM (#30946016) Homepage

      Actually, the stupid lawsuits that follow helping people are countered by laws requiring you to render assistance. You can't be sued for obeying the law. Most such laws have a built in "out" to them like "if you believe you may do so safely". The only downside is that such laws are dirty hacks to paper over the real problem of a sue crazy society.

      • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Friday January 29, 2010 @02:16AM (#30946270)

        This is a bad idea. In emergency response training we had a lengthy discussion about this. When people witness a crime or even a heart attack they often don't respond because they expect someone else to have already called 911 or that someone else will be able to help the person better. You can have a man choking in a restaurant and 10 CPR/Heimlich trained people who all stand around doing nothing. If you don't realize that this is a natural reaction then you can't counter it if the time comes.

        On the other side of the coin, if you do render assistance and you are not trained you can be sued. For example, if you assist in a car accident and drag someone from the wreckage who is later diagnosed with spinal injuries you could be sued for causing those injuries unless you can prove that they were in imminent danger and you are trained to move someone with spinal injuries.

        Good Samaritan laws are meant to protect first responders, but against a good lawyer you can still lose.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kral_Blbec (1201285)
      It has nothing to do with intervening. If you are afraid for your own safety then there isnt anything to make you go rambo. What it is saying is that you have an obligation to pick up your phone and call someone about it. Is that really too hard?
  • A bit late? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SlothDead (1251206) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:53AM (#30945736)

    I'm surprised that the USA does not already have a bill like this. In other countries (e.g. Germany) helping people in need is mandatory. You are also encouraged to give CPR and if you fail at it and make it worse you are not charged (otherwise people would be too scared of screwingn up and never administer CPR at all).

    • Re:A bit late? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:04AM (#30945798)

      Its not a federal law in the US, but I know certain states require you to give help in life threatening situations if you are capable of doing so.

      CPR is a perfect example. In Florida for instance, if someone dies in front of you and CPR had a good chance of saving them, don't let anyone find out you are CPR certified (which every highschool student is at some point) as you will be punished.

      I really don't have a problem with it. Too many people will stand by and watch someone die or get mugged and do nothing to help, not even bother to call the cops, but they'll take pictures on their phones. And yes, I've seen that happen, I have pictures! Mind you, my friend was calling the cops while I was snapping pictures of it.

      On that same note, let something happen to one of my loved ones while you stand by and watch and you better prey to whatever god you worship that I don't find out. I have no problem with revenge against useless fucks too lazy to do anything to help others. No, I don't expect an unarmed person to go after some guy with a knife or gun, but I do expect an appropriate response such as calling for help or calling a doctor. Not everybody is a hero, but everyone SHOULD be a responsible citizen.

      • Re:A bit late? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Totenglocke (1291680) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:11AM (#30945858)

        Not everybody is a hero, but everyone SHOULD be a responsible citizen.

        And that's the crux of the matter. The fact that someone SHOULD do something does not mean that anyone (not even the government) has the right to FORCE them to do something.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          Modern liberalism is premised on the exact opposite. Modern liberalism is based in a sort of duty-based ethic whereas it's ethical to force others to do what you think is ethical. Not my position, but there you go.

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by sznupi (719324)

            That's such a vague (if not trolling) description that it's useless.

            Let me transofrm it a bit; "modern conservatism is based in a sort of divine-based ethic whereas it's ethical to force others to do what you think is ethical", and with many examples.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by pydev (1683904)

            Modern liberalism is premised on the exact opposite. Modern liberalism is based in a sort of duty-based ethic whereas it's ethical to force others to do what you think is ethical.

            Actually, no, that's modern conservatism. Modern conservatism tries to force people to behave according to conservative moral standards using the power of law and government. That's why conservatives pass all those law-and-order statutes, criminalize drug, sex, nudity, abortion, and other things.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Totenglocke (1291680)
              That's because modern conservatism and modern liberalism are very similar - they support similar policies and similar ways of achieving their goals, it's jut that they have different morals that they want to force on people. That's why so many people in the US are looking for real conservatives AKA classic liberals.
        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by sznupi (719324)

          And that's the crux of the matter. The fact that someone SHOULD do something does not mean that anyone (not even the government) has the right to FORCE them to do something.

          Uhm, what do you think governments are for then? Forcing individuals into doing things that should not be done?

          • Re:A bit late? (Score:4, Informative)

            by smashr (307484) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:38AM (#30946050)

            Uhm, what do you think governments are for then?

            1) Defend the borders & provide for basic public saftey.
            2) Deliver the mail
            3) Build the roads
            4) _Maybe_ provide public education
            5) Collect enough tax renevue to do ONLY the above.

            And thats it.

            • by sznupi (719324)

              And you really don't understand that govs would be unable to do even any of those basic things without forcing some people into actions that should be done?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by plastbox (1577037)

              Coming from Norway, the worlds best country to live in by pretty much any measure (not perfect, but at least we try), I'd like to change:

              4) Provide completely free public education with regulations making sure everyone, no matter what their background, can get an education and a job they like.

              ..and append:

              4.1) Provide completely free public health care and care for the elderly and infirm.
              4.2) Keep the legal system sane and operative

              I don't know why people disagree with me on this, but I gladly pay my taxes

          • Uhm, what do you think governments are for then? Forcing individuals into doing things that should not be done?

            What are they for? To prevent people from doing things that should not be done. There are a few cases where government needs to force people into actions (such as paying taxes), but those are necessary for the maintenance of government.

            I'm all for a law that shields a good samaritan, if he/she was genuinely acting in good faith to the best of his/her ability, but the notion that people should be *forced* to be good samaritans is, in my opinion, over the line.

        • by sjames (1099)

          If they can't even be bothered to at least call 911 on their cellphone, perhaps we're better off if they are taken off of the streets!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Totenglocke (1291680)

            So not caring about a stranger should be a crime? If I saw a stranger in need of help, I'd probably help, or at minimum call for help. However, the fact that you think I should be arrested just because I don't share your opinions definitely explains why we have so many politicians in office who think it's ok to try to control every aspect of people's lives.

            I know, people like you think that free will is a terrible thing, but free will is the most basic of human rights.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BitZtream (692029)

          You are correct, however, when you need assistance, and everyone is standing around watching you die on the sidewalk, remember what you said here.

          Think about how mad you will be if your loved one or child gets mamed or killed because no one helped.

          As a country (regardless of what country in most cases) the people do decide that you ARE required to do somethings for the good of the people. This is one of those things that I do feel people need to be motived to do. It used to be that people believed in help

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trogre (513942)

        Moderation: -1, Too sensible for this forum.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Martin Blank (154261)

        In California, presence of training does not obligate helping. However, once one does begin to intercede, that person cannot stop helping until relieved by emergency personnel. (At least this is how two first aid trainers have explained it to me.)

        The need for revision to California's Good Samaritan law comes as a result of a successful lawsuit against a woman who pulled another woman out of a wrecked car, and in doing so, managed to paralyze the victim. The rescuer is generally agreed to have over-reacte

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Rophuine (946411)

          In Australia we have a shield law for good samaritans. There are three caveats required to invoke the shield law:
          1. You must be acting reasonably (although this is to be interpreted in the favor of the good samaritan if in doubt).
          2. You must not act without permission, although you may assume you have permission if the victim is unable to give it.
          3. You must not be performing something for which you are professionally trained and the act you are seeking shielding from is something for which you could be

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Eivind (15695)

            That's actually an excellent example of how crazy it's possible to be.

            If someone is in need of CPR, they're eaither not breathing, or their heart isn't beating. Being "exposed" in public is the LEAST of their problems in such a situation.

            Infact it's a complaint of the "Yes, he saved both of my kids, and put out the fire which would otherwise have burnt the house down, but you see, he left dirty footprints in the hallway in the process"

            i.e. a complaint that doesn't even rise to the level where it could be re

      • by pla (258480)
        In Florida for instance, if someone dies in front of you and CPR had a good chance of saving them, don't let anyone find out you are CPR certified (which every highschool student is at some point) as you will be punished.

        ...And to think, my HS health teacher wondered why I refused to fill out the paperwork to get the "official" certification (not in FL, but that quarter's health class required we know enough to pass the real cert test). Yeah, I passed the test - But damn my eyes if I'll save anyone I do
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        And if the cops are the bad guys....hmmm? What then? Thanks to meth you would be surprised how many small town cops are the bad guys. They can make more in kickbacks in a week than they do in a year being the good guys, and if you try to "do the right thing" and report someone who is making them mad money? Well let's just say it is pretty common knowledge from a couple of counties over the last guy that tried that went through a chipper shredder, but unlike Fargo this poor bastard was alive at the time.

        So

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:55AM (#30945744) Homepage
    "Good Samaritan" laws in the sense of Seinfeld already exist in many jurisdictions. It is called a "duty to rescue" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_to_rescue [wikipedia.org]. Good Samaritan laws also exist, but in legal parlance that means something different, namely protection from liability of people trying to rescue or assist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Samaritan_law [wikipedia.org]. The California law is a variant duty to rescue. This isn't anything new. Seinfeld didn't do their research and apparently neither did the submitter of this post or the editors.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Culture20 (968837)

      "Good Samaritan" laws in the sense of Seinfeld already exist in many jurisdictions. It is called a "duty to rescue" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_to_rescue [wikipedia.org].

      "A duty to rescue is a concept in tort law..."
      Civil law, not criminal.

      • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
        Read further in the article:

        In some countries, there exists a legal requirement for citizens to assist people in distress, unless doing so would put themselves or others in harm's way. Citizens are often required to, at minimum, call the local emergency number, unless doing so would be harmful, in which case the authorities should be contacted when the harmful situation has been removed. Such laws currently exist in several countries[1] such as Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia,[13] Czech Republic, Finland, France,[14] Germany,[15] Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, and Switzerland.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      No, Seinfeld was a _comedy_, making this thing called a _joke_, especially about New Yorkers and their cavalier attitudes about witnessing crime. Some of us are old enough to remember the Kitty Genovese case, before the Watchmen stories mentioned it. The ludicrous nature of the law was supposed to make it funny.

      In real life, one compelling reason for Good Samaritan laws is so that skilled people such as doctors and police, when off-duty, get legal protection from civil suits for providing aid. They can poin

      • Some of us are old enough to remember the Kitty Genovese case, before the Watchmen stories mentioned it.

        Some of us are also students in psychology or otherwise, who hear it every time anything remotely connected to social psychology is brought up.

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Friday January 29, 2010 @12:59AM (#30945770)

    This is the result of more than 20 people watching a minor (15) year old girl being gang raped during a school dance and not a single one calling 911 to report it. Unfortunately a law like this needs to be enacted so that such people can be punished. It's a shame that such basic morality is lacking in society these days but it's come to this point. We have to legislate that if someone is so devoid of such basic morality, that they can't call the police when witnessing a gang rape, that we need to start putting people in jail for not doing such basic acts of humanity, so that there is at least a threat of jail to inspire people to do the right thing if their conscious is devoid of inspiration to do so voluntarily.

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:05AM (#30945810) Homepage
      Why should such people be punished? There's a lot of evidence that they are acting out of normal and fairly standard psychological patterns. Humans are less likely to help in large groups. This is known as the bystander effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect [wikipedia.org]. People have tested this in many different contexts, these include having people pretending to have heart attacks, as well as more controlled lab settings. One good example test involved a lab setting where people were supposed to be answering a set of questions, then the experimenter would go out of the room and something loud and bad would happen to the experimenter who would cry out for help. The key issue is that all but one of the people in the room were actually actors. The actors all just kept taking the test. The one almost never helps. This works with as few as one actor and one real person. But if there is a single individual and no actors, more often than not, they will help. And if one of the actors gets up to help, then the person generally will also. You shouldn't punish people for following their basic herd instincts as righteous and moral as it might make you feel.
      • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:15AM (#30945890) Homepage

        You shouldn't punish people for following their basic herd instincts as righteous and moral as it might make you feel.

        Then let's make gangrape legal too, shall we ? Talk about your basic herd instinct.

        The whole point of morality, religion, and by extension laws and such is that we can do better than these stupid instincts. Modern society (or any city with more than 50 people) would be utterly impossible without actively punishing people for following their instincts.

        • by pla (258480) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:54AM (#30946138) Journal
          Then let's make gangrape legal too, shall we ? Talk about your basic herd instinct.

          Sorry, but a HUGE difference exists between actively committing a violent crime, and choosing not to report the same.

          Try applying this to situations you might disagree with. Failure to report your friend smoking weed? Failure to report your mother speeding? Failure to report your uncle cheating just a bit on his taxes? Failure to report your coworker for circumventing the DMCA to do what your mutual boss ordered?

          This amounts to the worst of slippery slopes. Even in the best of applications, someone might simply not have noticed (I, for one, get very disoriented in large social gatherings, and yes, you probably could rape someone in front of me without my noticing). And in the worst, this amounts to criminalizing a refusal to obey potentially intolerable laws (Failure to report anyone who violates the "We love George Bush" law).
      • Is-ought problem (Score:5, Informative)

        by SpeedyDX (1014595) <[speedyphoenix] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:18AM (#30945920)

        Just because it is the case that the bystander effect is normal doesn't mean it ought to be the case that it is normal. This is a very common logical fallacy in moral philosophy called the is-ought problem [wikipedia.org] as it was well articulated by David Hume. The gist of it is that you cannot take descriptive statements as premises and come to a prescriptive conclusion.

        The reason why there are such laws is because we feel that we should have a moral responsibility to help those who are in immediate life-threatening danger when we are in a position to help them without (too much) personal sacrifice.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JoshuaZ (1134087)
          Then take steps that will actually encourage people to be aware of the problem, like teaching them about the bystander effect. But punishing people who most likely didn't even know such a law exists does nothing but give us satisfaction with the thought that we wouldn't do that sort of thing, when of course, we likely would.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by sonamchauhan (587356)

            "But punishing people who most likely didn't even know such a law exists "

            Oh, they know. Everyone does. Its called conscience.

            "does nothing but give us satisfaction with the thought that we wouldn't do that sort of thing, when of course, we likely would."

            Yes we would. We would also speed, cheat on our spouses, not pay our taxes, etc.

          • "punishing people who most likely didn't even know such a law exists does nothing but give us satisfaction with the thought that we wouldn't do that sort of thing, when of course, we likely would"

            i've been in the kitty genovese situation in the new york subway. 10 of us made the call, and the alarm pull, and the alerting of the conductor and toll booth operator. as well as 5 of us guys and a gal holding the sleezebag perp down until cops came. as well as follow up with detectives from the nypd later. sure:

      • and unfortunate. the idea should be to compel people to stop acting like herd animals, not accept the vile reality of the behavior

        people also tend to litter. vast parts of german society just shrugged and accepted the rise of the third reich. so we just accept evil? "oh well"

        the idea is society is supposed to enforce codes of conduct to elevate us somewhat above that of herbivores, especially when the modification to the behavior is very quick easy and low cost: you can't make a phone call if someone is bei

    • It's a relatively well known phenomena that groups witnessing emergencies often take no action on the assumption that someone else will. Would you be acting perfectly rational if you were to come across something like this? Of course those responsible deserve the full force of the law. But those witnesses are acting as many reasonable people would (reasonable person as in the legal meaning). Although doing nothing is morally reprehensible, it's sadly what most people would do.
    • No, what needs to happen is this. Round up all members who raped the girl, and execute them with a hollow point bullet. What's lacking in America is a show of FORCE in the front of heinous/violent crimes against humanity.

  • NOT ficticious (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That famous Seinfeld ending was based on a very law recently passed at that time in Massachusetts. The episode was set in Latham,MA. The law referenced was not fictitious. Similar laws exist in many places.

  • by LockeOnLogic (723968) on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:17AM (#30945904)
    Lets make the assumption that this law existed before this event happened. Would it have been prevented? Of course not. More ineffective unenforceable laws are what America needs! That is, if you are a up for reelection.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Reziac (43301) *

      You hit the nail on the head. Pedro Nava wants to be California's Attorney General:

      http://www.pedronava.com/ [pedronava.com]

      So what's the first step? Some really visible legislation to make himself look "tough on crime".

      This isn't his first such foray into feelgood legislation in pursuit of his elective goals. He's been at it for some time now.

  • 5th Amendment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gcnaddict (841664) on Friday January 29, 2010 @02:06AM (#30946204)
    This can easily be seen as a violation of the 5th amendment. This would force anyone who doesn't report a crime they might or might not have been involved in to face charges for not reporting the crime unless they report the crime and, in turn, incriminate themselves. IANYAL
  • We're all doomed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gaspyy (514539) on Friday January 29, 2010 @04:38AM (#30947052)

    It's days like these when I lose hope in humanity.

    The very fact that we need laws to tell us "yes, you can help someone in need and in fact you should" is bad enough, but then we have the typical lazy-bastard response "why should I be forced to help" and even uber-rationalizations like "groups are programmed to no intervene, it's normal" or even "it's a slippery slope..."

    My karma is on Excellent so mod me down if you will, but if you think like so many posters, I have this to tell you: have a good look at yourself in the mirror. YOU are a self-centered lazy bastard; no matter how clever you think you are, you're human failure and I hope you won't find out the hard way how is to be ignored by your fellows.

  • All of my life I've had to deal with people falsely accusing me of just about everything you can imagine. And it was always due to paranoia. It finally took its toll in causing me to miss out on millions of dollars and the destruction of my marriage.

    And this was without a "Good Samaritan Law".

    People are inherently stupid. They see things that simply aren't there. They perceive things though their own past traumas and the like. If they get a silly notion in their heads, sometimes all logic is thrown out if the silly notion really bugs them. Such simple logic as "did I really see this guy do anything?

    The "Good Samaritan Law" may have "good intentions", but we all know what the "road to Hell" is paved with!

    I have to say, I am now glad I don't live in California, which up till now was looking good as a state I might want to live in. Now, "no way in hell" are the words that come to mind.

    Gotta love our culture of hyper-paranoia. A child-abuser behind every door, a terrorist in ever-other plane seat, and now this.

    I do have one solution to this mess: expatriation. Even China is beginning to look like a better option.

  • by russotto (537200) on Friday January 29, 2010 @10:44AM (#30949200) Journal

    Suppose you witness a crime, but for various reasons (like wanting to continue breathing) you don't want to report it or testify about it. Suppose further the cops figure out you were a witness, and you're subpoena'd and ordered to testify. Since you didn't report the crime, and not doing so is a crime, you can now simply take the fifth and not testify!

  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Friday January 29, 2010 @01:49PM (#30952204) Homepage
    The right to remain silent (which comes from the fifth amendment) includes the right to not talk to police. About anything, really. And since nobody can really know ALL the laws, simply reporting an observed crime to the police could very well incriminate you in some crime, either the crime you're reporting or something else (watching a cock fight? illegal. Being out after curfew? Illegal. Who knows what laws you might have violated simply by being there, and when you report this crime, you're telling them that you were there.) For more on this -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc [youtube.com] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE [youtube.com]
  • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Friday January 29, 2010 @02:00PM (#30952382)

    It has to make you think about what kind of society are we living in today that legislators would even have to consider putting forward a law like this.

    Let's review: Twenty teenagers watched the gangrape of a 16-year-old girl outside a high school without doing ANYTHING and your primary concern is a fucking good samaritan law eroding your freedom?

    I am a little more worried about the how those spectators will be the future of America.

    And if you could, in any way, justify not reporting a violent crime in action (even anonymously), you have some serious issues. That's the problem nowdays, we've been reduced to sheep who don't want to get our hoofs dirty, so we just watch and wait for someone else to fix the problem.

  • So let's see ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Friday January 29, 2010 @02:14PM (#30952594) Homepage

    We have a "good samaritian" law, with the force of police, courts and jail behind it.

    We have a "stop snitching" movement, with the force of death behind it.

    Which do you think will win? I'd say "stop snitching" has it all over anything else, because if you are caught you easily end up dead. Here in the West we love life more.

"All my life I wanted to be someone; I guess I should have been more specific." -- Jane Wagner

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