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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 10:54AM #1
Lavender
Posts: 1,069

I know that there is a forum for the death penalty, but I figured we should have a thread where we can simply state our opinions without our a** getting chewed out about it. So, this is NOT a debate. It's just opinions, with OR without evidence. Please respect others' views.


Personally, I am against the death penalty because I believe it is morally wrong, even though capital punishment is endorsed in the OT, and I have several points I want to make on the issue:


FIRST AND FOREMOST is the undisputed fact that many people on death row have been exonerated through DNA. The US government says to their knowledge, no innocent person has been executed, but I think they just turn a blind eye.


Secondly is an economic issue: it takes AT LEAST three times more money to keep someone on death row as a lifer; a someone, I might add, that is more likely to die of natural causes than to be executed. I would also like to see the prison system totally overhauled.


FINALLY, I watched American Justice recently, featuring Karla Faye Tucker. On the night of her execution, there were people outside the prison walls who WERE ACTUALLY CELEBRATING the fact that a life was being taken. I thought, "My God, are you people or animals?"

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 11:44AM #2
UwishUwereMe
Posts: 2,352
The death penalty will never make up for the crime, but suffering in prison is far worse and will take a life more slowly and painfully then any form of lethal punishment. 

The problem with america is that our prisons are too nice.  Murders, Rapists, and the like should be sent to a Turkish prison or a South American Prison.  We could send all of the Child Molesters to the Middle East. 

Just MY OPINION.
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 1:49PM #3
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,206

The "educated" answer is that the death penalty is not a deterrent, which is true up to a point.  The existence of state executions hasn't eliminated murder from American society, nor can you say that X number of executions will deter a proportionate number of homicides.  The people who commit the kinds of murders that result in the death penalty (heinous, atrocious and cruel) are not particularly rational.  It's unlikely anybody contemplating a murder is thinking, "Yes, but if they catch me, and the murder is heinous, atrocious and cruel, and I can't get a new trial for ineffective assistance of counsel, and if there's enough evidence left after several motions to suppress, and if I'm convicted and I can't catch a break after several decades of appeals - and I don't die in prison - I could be executed.  After giving me a meal of my choice, they're going to put a needle in my arm and say, 'Goodnight.'"


But when I ran the numbers, comparing the murder rate before the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty to the rate during its abolition as well as after state executions were restarted, the numbers were pretty self-explanatory.  The death penalty was abolished at a time when the murder rate was at its lowest, raising questions about whether state executions were necessary.  In the period after executions were abolished, the murder rate spiked.  In the period after state executions were reinstated, there was no immediate impact for a couple of years (during which time, the number of executions was minimal).  Within about three years, however, as the state's death machine went into overdrive, the murder rate plummeted.


Killing people for killing people may not be the world's greatest logic, but it works.  The death penalty doesn't deter every killing, nor can it deter those who are beyond reason, but when you take it away, the murder rate goes up.  When you bring it back, the murder rate goes down.  I suspect, however, that the real reason for it is not deterrence, but retribution.  The justice system isn't about justice.  It's about satisfying society's demand for justice.  It's about preserving order.  We live together in large groups because there are benefits to doing so.  Specialized labor means you can get, at less expense, anything you might otherwise obtain for yourself - food, clothing, shelter, entertainment, tools, furniture, equipment, et cetera.  But a cost of moving in together is that you're now exposed to new vulnerabilities.  If you have 100,000 neighbors, you never know when one of them is going to do you harm.  The law exists to carry out vengeance in a professional manner.  You turn your complaint over to the police, who have to investigate it, then turn the evidence over to the lawyers, who have to try the case.  Even then, the judge and jury represent another circuit breaker.  Then there are the appellate courts, the governor (who can pardon), etc.


It takes a lot to get a case from the initial complaint to the execution of the penalty.  A lot of people are involved - from the original complainant to the cops, the lawyers, the judge and jury, the appellate judges, the governor, et cetera.  It doesn't mean mistakes can't be made.  The question is whether a mistake in a capital case justifies unplugging the death penalty in cases where it's harder to imagine any mistake having been made, either in terms of the defendant's identity or culpability.  Some will say that we can't have a death penalty if there's any chance at all that an innocent person may be killed.  But those same people aren't arguing that we should do the same anywhere else in the justice system.  Nobody is suggesting we suspend any other penalties on the mere possibility of an unspecified flaw in the system.


Every case is a chance to check the chain of evidence.  Where there is a compromise, no conviction should be entered - for any offense, from traffic tickets to capital murder.  But where the chain of evidence is tight, society must be allowed to govern itself.  Pullling the plug on the death penalty is basically saying you don't trust humans to govern themselves.  Prior mistakes are not a reason to stop the attempt at self-government.  Where the system is shown to be imperfect, it should be fixed, not thrown out.  There are too many murders that are not iffy to do away with the death penalty.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 2:07PM #4
Lavender
Posts: 1,069

Wasn't the death penalty abolished in the age of hippies and flower-children? (I honestly don't know; I wasn't born yet.)

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 3:12PM #5
Truman47
Posts: 2,190

Jan 19, 2010 -- 2:07PM, Lavender wrote:


Wasn't the death penalty abolished in the age of hippies and flower-children? (I honestly don't know; I wasn't born yet.)





Most of the states have a death penalty.  So, just which state and when . . . depends.


FYI:   Here's a list

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 3:23PM #6
Lavender
Posts: 1,069

When the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty; that's what I'm interested in

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 3:40PM #7
Truman47
Posts: 2,190

Jan 19, 2010 -- 3:23PM, Lavender wrote:


When the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty; that's what I'm interested in





??? OK, I gather you're talking about the Federal Supreme Court rather than any of the State's Supreme Courts.


Being from that age, I just don't really remember.  But it seems to me it was ruled neither constitutional nor un-constitutional.  Then again, being of that age, I'm sure some of my synapses are not connected any longer.  Wink

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 4:21PM #8
MMCSFOX
Posts: 1,531

Just two thoughts from Los Angeles Ca. where we have been celebrating the continuing drop in crime without using the death penalty.


  1. We have a “three strikes your out” law in California which does tend to keep the worst people in prison for life.
  2. Reporting rules for some crimes have changed as we found out last year when a young girl was killed in a drive-by shooting. Her death was not counted as a crime but as an accident because they missed the person they were shooting at and hit her. Now that is one of the reasons  that I now live in Burbank.


 


 Jesse

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 5:58PM #9
Ironhold
Posts: 11,395

IMHO?


 


In rare instances, such as Kenneth McDuff, Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy, the heinous nature of their acts and their personal circumstances are such that no amount of reform would ever be enough to rehabilitate them and their continued existance renders them a threat to others.


In these instances, a person has forfeited their right to live.


I'm not directly linking to any information about the three, as I assume that most people here would like to sleep tonight.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 19, 2010 - 6:11PM #10
Lavender
Posts: 1,069

Thanks for being considerate, Iron. And, yes, I was referring to the US Supreme Court with that question.

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