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Switch to Forum Live View Would Life Sentences with NO Parole be Better Than the Death Penalty?
5 years ago  ::  Jun 23, 2009 - 6:52PM #1
karbie
Posts: 3,300

 Would knowing they could end up literally spending the rest of their lives in prison be as much or more of a deterrent than the Death Penalty? Judges have sometimes imposed the sentencing maximum on each count of an indictment to be sure that a convicted criminal can't possibly get even parole until the killer is at least 313 years old.  Now there are a lot more cases where the penalty is life without parole, but as far as I know none of those cases have been heard by the Supreme Court to rule whether those are "Cruel and Unusual" punishments.If someone under that particular sentence decided they would rather be executed, do they have the right to be executed?


I know that when someon has gotten a life without possibility of parole sentence after killing more than one person or when a child was involved, I'm relieved to know I'm not going to run into them in a few years when they get out. Since they wouldn't be up for the Death Penalty they could be in with everyone else unless they needed to be protected from the other inmates. The bonus  to me is that it gives someone who was wrongly convicted more time to be cleared.


I think that everything that was originally used in evidence should be retested at a different lab before anyone is executed to begin with. There should also be an investigation if the police never bothered to look at more than the person they decided was guilty; there's no other way to be sure someone wasn't railroaded just in time for reelection. I'm not so much anti-death penalty as I am against executing someone who didn't deserve it.


I would hope that just because the criminals knew they weren't going to be killed might save some victim's lives, along with the idea this crook was going to beat the system and either get away with it or get out on appeal. What do you think?


this isn't to do with a death penalty case, but the law office my mother worked at did pauper appeals and a friend represented the State on many of them. Neither of them would ever trade information, but independently they both told me the same alibi a man was trying to use to overturn his conviction on robbing a convenience store. His mother gave him this alibi--"He couldn't have been there robbing that convenience store that night because he was out selling drugs with me."  He didn't get out, but she got in.

"You are letting your opinion be colored by facts again."
'When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."
these are both from my father.
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5 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2009 - 5:32PM #2
Tolerant Sis
Posts: 4,201

You are assuming the DP is a deterrent ... it isn't, and multiple studies have proved it.  However, the one difference between life imprisonment and the DP is that you aren't accidentally ever killing an innocent person.

First amendment fan since 1793.
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 03, 2009 - 7:37AM #3
karbie
Posts: 3,300

That's why I'm more in favor of giving a life without parole sentence in place of the death penalty--so that if someone is truly innocent, they'll still be alive when the truth comes out. Even just truth in sentencing, so someone sentenced to 20 years isn't out in 7 years.Considering how frivolous some appeals are--like the example I gave--should cost the inmate any "good time" served. An alibi of committing another crime at the same time was a waste of time and taxpayers money, although at least it got his mother off the street.


It isn't meant to stop an inmate from having all the appeals they are legally entitled to; just the ones that bring new information or address whether or not errors were made at the trial or the judge ruled improperly on some point. Another credible reason for an appeal would be if the pollice ever tried to investigate anyone else at the time--that could be considered railroading and it happens much too often.


I used to be against the death penalty. I'm still more comfortalbe with keeping someone in prison simply because the wished for result is still obtained--that offender will never have the opportunity to repeat their crimes on any more innocent victims.

"You are letting your opinion be colored by facts again."
'When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."
these are both from my father.
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 04, 2009 - 11:27PM #4
dearwatson
Posts: 168

Ethics and the deterrance argument aside,  'better' can sometimes be discussed in financial terms. 


There would be substantial savings to the taxpayer if even extraordinary and disturbing crimes were not subjected to capital case law.  Firstly, the cost in trying the initial case is vastly inflated in a capital case.  Secondly,  the rights to appeal are significantly extended once an individual is convicted in a capital case.  Thirdly,  execution chambers are no longer required to be operated -- nor are the expensive Death Row facilities.


Considering that my state (CA) has so many individuals on Death Row who will live out their days therein without their sentences being carried out (I think we haven't actually executed an individual in two years) all while at great expense to the people of the state.


The real trick would be to convince the prison guard's union (who have a lock on the legislature) to support such a savings. However, their definition of 'better' seems yet again to be something altogether different. 

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 10, 2009 - 12:28AM #5
mytmouse57
Posts: 9,767

When I think of a quick death vs. spending the rest of my life locked up in a prison -- it's a no-brainer -- I'd just say "To hell with this, just shoot me in the head and get if over with!"


So for me, anyway, a life sentence would be far more dreadful, far more of a deterent, than being executed.


However, people who commit murders, esp. the really vicious pre-meditated ones for which we usually bring down the death penalty -- tend to not think in the same manner that us so-called "normal" people do.


In other words, I don't think either the death penalty or a life sentence -- or being locked in a small room being forced to watch endless re-runs of the Telitubbies or any other horrible thing we can think of -- is going to do much to deter a murderous psychopath/sociopath before the fact. The fact is, people who commit those types of killing don't really give a shit about much except the viseral thrill and sense of power killing gives them.


And even otherwise rational people who commit murder in a sudden fit of passionate rage probably aren't going to stop and think about punishment. So for them as well, neither execution or a life spent in a cage is going to make a difference at the actual time of the killing.


Therefore, I say that in reality there is no real deterent for murder -- because, again, people who commit murder are either too twisted to begin with to really give a shit anyway, or they are otherwise normal people so over-taken with rage in the heat of the moment, they can't be expected to think rationally about what it might mean for them in terms of punishment.


So, the argument then shifts to whether society even has an obligation to keep the former type of killer -- the true psycho/sociopath with no compassion or regard for human life to begin with -- alive -- or if we're just better off "putting them to sleep" -- so to speak, and if nothing else, creating more room in our prisons for people to whom punishment might actualy mean something and for whom rehabilitation might actually be possible.


Otherwise rational/compassionate people who just lost it for some reason and killed once in the heat of passion might very well take punishment to heart and benifit from rehabilitation. 


But some souless predator like John Wayne Gacey -- well, come on now, please tell me, what's the point in even keeping somebody like that alive?

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 12, 2009 - 1:38AM #6
karbie
Posts: 3,300

Well, for the true sociopaths, there's always being a test subject for the trials of new drugs--although since we already know that these individuals don't have the same mind set as "normal" human individuals it might give false readings.


While the tellitubbies might be good, they need to have either an annoying commercial interrupting the show or of course pledge breaks. And when I said ''an annoying commercial", I meant the same one everytime. For Orbitz or Price-line or any discount travel service works for me.


I still have on tape the ultimate pledge break that caused an uproar after it showed one morning. The man said that if there were any kids watching and they wanted the station to be able to keep on bringing them Barney to watch to tell their parents to pledge so the station could afford to keep on buying it. This was back when the "Purple One" was so huge that it had the same episode on 3 times a day and no other costumed critters. (The Purple One was what one of son's younger cousins called Barney when she was telling my uncle that she was being punished by NOT being allowed to watch Barney for a few days...and I wish I'd thought of it!)


There were two reactions to that pledge break--some people called the station and newspapers in fury at being blackmailed to calm their children down, and there were a lot of other calls and letters wanting to know how much the station would charge to NOT bring Barney on the air.Regardless of what tortuous show--like every Scooby-Doo show's identical plots and tag lines--"And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those kids!"


Since all death sentence verdicts mean an automatic appeal whether there were any obvious errors made except the crimes committed, if the defendant has a public defender then the public is paying twice, since the DA's are also paid their salary by taxpayers.  Too bad there isn't a box to check off on the victim's families' State Income Taxes to deduct whatever portion of their taxes--even if it is just pennies--that go to feed and house the person who killed their loved one. Unrealistic but I remember seeing the parents of one of Son Of Sam's victims pain and outrage that they were paying anything at all for his upkeep. At least now the criminals don't get to sell the book and movie rights and profit from their crimes.

"You are letting your opinion be colored by facts again."
'When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."
these are both from my father.
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