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Minority Report: Fiction Becoming Fact?

Posted by Steve Karimi | Mar 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

Minority Report was a popular sci-fi thriller in the early 2000's that was about a police force that relied on a group of psychic children to predict individuals that may commit murder. This led to many arrests being made, and an effective homicide rate of zero percent, as the suspects were all apprehended before the murder even took place. The idea was that if the police force arrested people with the intent to commit murder before the murder could happen, then no murder would occur. Of course, the mere thought of implementing a system such as this is a tremendous leap over an individual's rights in the criminal justice system. While psychic children detecting murderers before they happen is a far cry from ever coming to fruition, there is a possibility of predictive tactics being used in law enforcement.

Predictive Policing

Although the system used in Minority Report hardly seems possible, a team of researchers has put together an eerily similar computer program. The computer program relies on established data from prior convictions and arrest records, as well as residential and other relevant data to the actual crime itself. The program is intended to examine people who have prior domestic violence convictions and give an indication of whether or not they are likely to commit the same crime again. While this practice seems like it has the right idea at heart, the implications of law enforcement, or worse, the criminal justice system, making use of such a system are frightening. Imagine facing heavier sentencing, or being denied certain rights simply because a computer system calculated, through factors unknown to you, that you would commit the same crime once more.

One of these "predictive" police computer systems is actually already in use in the city of Fresno, California. The system archives data about the person's address, prior records, and any social media presence to formulate a warning system for cops to use when investigating a home. The person being investigated will be given a green, yellow, or red warning sign based on what information is in the system. This warning is supposed to give officers an idea of what they may encounter while in the home, but instead, what it really does is mentally prepare the officer to use force to subdue whoever they find inside.

With one of these police systems in place already, it is likely that we will see some pop up all over the country. These systems effectively make a mockery of what already limited rights people do have when charged with a crime. These systems may end up drastically affecting the way the criminal justice system, and the way policing is done, if their use is not properly regulated or limited. The criminal justice system exists to defend the rights of those being prosecuted for a crime, and if we were to have systems that jump over the system, then the rights of the everyday individual will be null and void.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.