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1 EiMitch  Sat, Nov 10, 2012 11:46:07pm

No, we don't need the death penalty. Just lock these monsters away with no visitors (except for their attorneys) for the rest of their natural lives with no possibility of parole.

Nevermind the moral issues of trusting the government to take the lives of those already in custody. Here are a couple of practical concerns:

1 - With appeals and other hearings, it'll cost more to execute them than to keep them locked away to rot.

2 - These guys might know things authorities still want to know. Enough time knowing they'll eventually die in their cages just might make them more chatty.

Conversely, what are the advantages of killing them?

1 - We feel better. The bad guys got what was coming to them. Screw 'em!

2 - ...um...

2 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 7:48:44am

re: #1 EiMitch

However much it costs and however long it takes, executing these scumbags makes clear that their crimes have the gravest consequences. Killing them also eliminates any risk they might pose. Gang members sometimes escape from maximum security prisons, but no one escapes the grave.

3 SanFranciscoZionist  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 8:13:39am

The death penalty is expensive, takes ages, is of doubtful effectiveness as a deterrent to others, and is applied horrifically erratically and with strong suggestions of racial bias in a lot of places. Also, REALLY expensive.

We've got a case going on in my area right now, a double homicide, with a defendant who has repeatedly declared his guilt, and been unbelievably callous in court, among other things demanding that the jury get a verdict in quickly so he can watch football back in his cell.

The families of the victims are opposed to the death penalty, not on moral grounds, but because they want him to have to live out a life sentence.

Most of the people on Death Row in California, admittedly, I'd execute myself if the state told me that was the only way we were getting rid of these folks.

But we don't 'need' the death penalty. It's an option, and one we can function fine without. It's also an option that I'm not sure we can afford indulge ourselves in, given a number of factors.

4 calochortus  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 8:21:25am

Don't forget that people who are seen as obviously guilty, occasionally are innocent. Is killing them OK?

5 Locker  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 9:13:01am

Voted for the repeal of the death penalty, here in California, but it didn't win. I have no problem with the concept of a death penalty... some people need killing. Example, leave me in a back yard with a pistol, amnesty and Jerry Sandusky and he's not coming back.

However I have the following problems with the implementation of the death penalty.

1. We execute innocent people sometimes, even once is too many
2. The death penalty is not blind to race or low income
3. When you see how long people are on death row plus all of the additional costs for trying death penalty cases, additional phases, endless appeals, it is freaking expensive.

Not saying these problems can't be overcome, but until they are it's hard for me to support an current death penalty system.

6 Romantic Heretic  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 12:17:05pm

My objections to the death penalty are as follows:

1) We cannot fix mistakes. We cannot raise the dead, and by my standards if an innocent person is executed that makes every one in the nation that executed them guilty of first degree murder.

2) Capital punishment is never carried out fairly. Minorities are extremely over-represented on Death Row, and so far as I know there are no wealthy people waiting for the needle.

3) Most commonly capital punishment is a political tool, not a judicial one. As point #2 illustrates. In places like Iran, North Korea and the now gone Soviet Union this is even more blatantly true.

I also think that the method of execution and the selection of executioners should be changed. The method should be a 9mm hollow point in the back of the head while the perp kneels in front of them. I'd make selection of executioner by lottery, where every person that can vote may be called to kill another human being.

I've been amazed at how many people supporting capital punishment exclaim, "Not me! I'm not a killer!" when I suggest these things.

If a person supports capital punishment, yes, yes they are.

7 EiMitch  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 12:33:36pm

re: #2 Dark_Falcon

Like SFZ said, the death penalty's "deterrence" is dubious. There are three kinds of motives for committing murder. All three of which, by their nature, negate any fear of punishment.

1 - Rationally planned, like organized crime and such. People who do this are convinced they're too careful to get caught.

2 - Passion. If you're so furious at someone, so enraged that you've just got to kill them for it, then you're not going to think of the consequences.

3 - Compulsion. Serial killers and other such poster children for birth control. These whacks don't feel "right" unless they kill. You can't deter someone from doing what they're compelled to do.

Moving on.

re: #5 Locker

1. We execute innocent people sometimes, even once is too many
...
3. When you see how long people are on death row plus all of the additional costs for trying death penalty cases, additional phases, endless appeals, it is freaking expensive.

Pardon me, but isn't the point of 3 to try to prevent 1? Sure, I'll support the death penalty when we figure out how to have our cake and eat it too.

One big problem with the death penalty that nobody brought up yet is police and prosecutor misconduct. Not every innocent person convicted has been by honest mistake. Innocent people get deliberately railroaded all the time. Police have a bad habit of picking suspects way too soon and ignoring all evidence to the contrary. And prosecutors need high conviction rates to further their careers.

If anyone here thinks the truth usually prevails in such a system, then I suggest they stop watching "CSI" and Google "Project Innocence."

8 William Barnett-Lewis  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 1:34:18pm

Lock them up. Throw away the key. That will spend less money and help us stop pretending that the death penalty is anything but a racist tool that perverts and prevents justice.

Our so-called justice system can not be trusted to make life or death decisions. If you really want a death penalty then make this law as well: Any prosecutor and judge who wrongly convicts someone in a death penalty case must suffer the exact same penalty as the one they wrongfully convicted. Only then will you see them do anything other than what they do now - round up & murder the usual suspects.

9 sundude  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 6:56:07pm

Support the death penalty in principal. See execution as being about eliminating a proven threat, while locking the perp up for life seems to be more about getting revenge.

Have never heard of anyone committing a crime after being executed so seems to me deterrence is 100% effective. Any potential deterrence effect on others has never seemed relevant. Guess I'm just weird.

Agree with several here that the current system is severely flawed. Guilt must be certain. Bank account size should never be a factor in the trial or the sentence.

10 SanFranciscoZionist  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 7:49:09pm

re: #7 EiMitch

Pardon me, but isn't the point of 3 to try to prevent 1? Sure, I'll support the death penalty when we figure out how to have our cake and eat it too.

Well, there's two approaches: California's, where it's incredibly expensive, and these guys lives for decades on appeals, and it's basically pointless. And Texas's, where it's efficient, racist, and occasionally leads to the execution of minors, mentally incompetent people and innocent people.

Neither really floats my boat.

11 EiMitch  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 8:07:01pm

re: #9 sundude

See execution as being about eliminating a proven threat, while locking the perp up for life seems to be more about getting revenge.

Funny, alot of people see it the other way around. I personally see not-killing as a way to not kill the wrong guy. A wrongly convicted person can be released, but can't be resurrected.

Btw, did you miss the part about execution being more expensive than life without parole?

Have never heard of anyone committing a crime after being executed so seems to me deterrence is 100% effective.

How does LWP not remove a proven threat? Isn't that the entire point of incarceration?

Agree with several here that the current system is severely flawed. Guilt must be certain.

To be blunt, completely eliminating the possibility of an innocent being executed requires a deus ex machina. If you think modern forensics is up to the task, then you believe way too much of what you see in tv and movies.

And even with the aforementioned deus ex machina, **catch 22 alert** there's still the question of who controls it. Do you trust public officials to never abuse their power? Corruption and violent crime are both rooted in the same basic problem(s) in human nature. So on some philosophical level, arguments for the death penalty inadvertently double as arguments against it.

Not buying that last one? ... ... Well, I tired.

12 EiMitch  Sun, Nov 11, 2012 8:09:03pm

re: #10 SanFranciscoZionist

Well, there's two approaches: California's, where it's incredibly expensive, and these guys lives for decades on appeals, and it's basically pointless. And Texas's, where it's efficient, racist, and occasionally leads to the execution of minors, mentally incompetent people and innocent people.

Neither really floats my boat.

All you did was rephrase what I said. Copycat! j/k

13 Obdicut  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 8:55:47am

Because we goddamn love revenge even if it makes no sense and turns us into hypocrites.

14 Obdicut  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 8:58:32am

re: #9 sundude

Agree with several here that the current system is severely flawed. Guilt must be certain. Bank account size should never be a factor in the trial or the sentence.

Guilt can never be 100% certain. Even if you had that as the standard, there'd be plenty of times where it got violated. I do not understand why people entertain this fantasy of perfect justice. It's a nice fantasy. Fantasy.

15 sundude  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 9:38:21am

Hmm. Was not aware there was any doubt as to whether or not Roeder, Loughner, and Holmes are guilty. Thought it was 100% certain. I sit corrected.

16 Obdicut  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 2:20:25pm

re: #15 sundude

Hmm. Was not aware there was any doubt as to whether or not Roeder, Loughner, and Holmes are guilty. Thought it was 100% certain. I sit corrected.

The real problem is that even if you set the standard very high, the process will get corrupted at some point. It always does. Saying "You can execute people only if you're really really certain" is always a judgement call, and it's always going to get pushed one way or another due to public sentiment, political aspirations of DAs, etc.

No matter what standard you set-- there has to be a confession, there has to be forensics, or whatever-- there are cases where all those things have been coerced or forged. There have been a series of scandals, for example, of police labs being so untrustworthy that thousands of cases are being reviewed. There are tons of historical examples of confessions coerced by police.

It's not possible to create a rule that can evaluate whether there is no doubt. We convict based on proving beyond a reasonable doubt. It's the acknowledgement that the system cannot be perfect. In any individual case it's easy enough to say it's so overwhelming that he must be guilty, but you can't codify that. It'd be purely an ad hoc decision and that obviously makes it really tricky to do in the justice system without it getting corrupted.

Being anti-death penalty is being conservative.

17 SteveMcG  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 7:01:29pm

Beyond a reasonable doubt is not a high enough standard for a life and death decision. I don't think we can come with a high enough standard. Also, it's the lead pipe cinch cases where there's no doubt and no sympathy for the defendant that make the dubious execution cases possible.

18 Locker  Mon, Nov 12, 2012 7:58:32pm

re: #12 EiMitch

All you did was rephrase what I said. Copycat! j/k

And all you did was act like two ideas can't be mutually exclusive. In fact you infer a non-existent relationship. not j/k

19 EiMitch  Tue, Nov 13, 2012 8:16:50am

re: #18 Locker

And all you did was act like two ideas can't be mutually exclusive. In fact you infer a non-existent relationship. not j/k

Wait, what? How?

Lets look back, shall we?

re: #5 Locker

However I have the following problems with the implementation of the death penalty.

1. We execute innocent people sometimes, even once is too many
2. The death penalty is not blind to race or low income
3. When you see how long people are on death row plus all of the additional costs for trying death penalty cases, additional phases, endless appeals, it is freaking expensive.

Not saying these problems can't be overcome, but until they are it's hard for me to support an current death penalty system.

re: #7 EiMitch

Pardon me, but isn't the point of 3 to try to prevent 1? Sure, I'll support the death penalty when we figure out how to have our cake and eat it too.

So what the hell am I missing here? How did I act like those two ideas can't be mutually exclusive? How can those two things be unrelated?


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