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This has probably been asked thousands of times.... In a hypothetical situation, is it just or ethical if a man were to be punished for a crime he did not commit, but has committed practically a replica of the crime he's been charged for, or a crime "equally" wrong in the eyes of the law, without being caught or charged?

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Well, I think the question to ask is how do we know he's committed such a crime? And if we know about it, then why is he not on trial for that crime?

But if you're asking "What if a man like O.J. Simpson is on trial for a murder he didn't commit? Is it ethical to punish him for this crime, even thought he did not commit it?" Well, O.J. Simpson had a trial for the crime which most people believe he did commit, and got off. However, just because we feel that he committed SOME OTHER crime does not give us the right to punish him for THIS crime.

Even in a case where you were the judge and had personally seen the man on trial commit a crime, yet he was never tried for it, you would still not have the moral right to convict him for a crime he did not commit. After all, he's on trial for ONE SPECIFIC crime, not for every wrong he's ever committed.

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Well I'm saying in the scenario we know it's a fact he did not commit the actual crime he's being charged with but did do something of the same calibre (worthy of the same punishment he is already receiving) of which he was never caught.

It depends on the circumstances. Within a civilized Justice system, when you commit an act of corruption, you are acting to corrupt the system even further. Unless this criminal is an immediate threat to you or someone you love, you are definitely acting against your own principles, giving in to emotions (desire for revenge) rather than reason. The rational thing would be to realize that while the system is not perfect, it is worth preserving, and your actions would not make the World (the World you live in), a better place.

Outside of a civilized society, in a Mad Max type of situation, you can lie to get rid of a criminal that's a threat to you, rather than let him loose and able to harm you again. As long as you are aware of the fact that you are not enacting any kind of objective justice (you're not deceiving yourself into thinking you are), there aren't any other negative consequences to your actions, there's nothing really to corrupt.

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I'm not sure I understand the direction this post is taking. As I understand it, the original question posed was:

1. A person is on trial for a crime he did not commit. He is innocent of the specific criminal activity for which he is currently being charged.

2. However, in the past the person DID commit a similar crime but no one is aware of his having done so.

3. Should he be tried anyway?

The answer to me is, no. Unless I'm not understanding the question?

It would be like if a cop pulled me over and gave me a speeding ticket when, in fact, I was not speeding. The cop is in error. But the cop takes the position that I may or may not be guilty of the current speeding, but since I've probably speeded in the past, I ought to just shut up and pay the fine.

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