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Death Penalty
Posted: 06 May 2013 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I know it’s popular among liberals to be against the death penalty. I imagine a lot of folks here are against it. BUT I’d like to know WHY you are against it.  Is it because the current methods of determining if someone is guilty are flawed? Or would you still be against it even if the methods were 99.9% accurate (or even 100% accurate in the case of say uncontested video footage)?

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Posted: 07 May 2013 04:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I would 100% opposed to the death penalty if the penal system was 100% certain that the psychopath they lock up could never escape. Ethically, killing someone (the old bronze age eye for an eye) is wrong IMO but there are predators in society that have to be removed to protect us. The problem now is how to sort them from those drug crazed individuals who kill because of their drug habit. There’s a fine line here as those individuals could be rehabilitated after serving their time, psychopaths can never be released back into society as there is no CURE for psychopathy short of lobotomizing them and that’s illegal now. this is such a hot issue because if the Biston killings that Massachusetts even refuses to bury the killer’s body and theyncan’t find a place to put him!


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Posted: 07 May 2013 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I am not against the death penalty per se. The reason you send some people on their way to whatever afterlife they believe in is exactly the same reason you shoot a rabid dog: There are some sociopaths so profoundly evil and/or dangerous that their very existence is intolerable.

The problem lies with the flaws in the system which you mentioned. If you get it right, no harm, no foul. However, if you execute somebody who turns out to be innocent, “I’m sorry” ain’t gonna cut it.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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CuthbertJ - 06 May 2013 07:43 PM

I know it’s popular among liberals to be against the death penalty. I imagine a lot of folks here are against it. BUT I’d like to know WHY you are against it.  Is it because the current methods of determining if someone is guilty are flawed? Or would you still be against it even if the methods were 99.9% accurate (or even 100% accurate in the case of say uncontested video footage)?

I am against the death penalty first and foremost because I think it is immoral for any government or to kill people in cold blood. 

Secondly, no system can be good enough to never get it wrong.  And to my mind the possibility of putting an innocent person to death is too much of a chance to take. There are too many human factors at work for the system to be fair and just (even taking the position that the death penalty is moral the first place). We already know that more black people and more poor people recieve the death penalty than white or wealthy ones. We also know that expensive lawyers can avoid the death penalty for their clients.  When is the last time a wealthy person ever got the death penalty in this country?

On a practical level, it costs taxpayers far more to carry out a death penalty than to keep the perpetrator in prison for life.  And no one should suggest that we deny criminals the right to appeal or kill them swiftly. That’s our system and it might be the only humane thing about it.

Prisoners on death row get priveleges prisoners in the general population don’t get. It’s far more expensive to keep a prisoner on death row than in the general population, even if some prisoners need to be isolated.  People are on death row for decades, at least in California.

The general population is not endangered by criminals not receiving the death penalty. When has a prisoner in a maximum security prison managed to get out and not get caught or killed?

The death penalty doesn’t lessen capital crime.  When most people kill they aren’t thinking of the possible consequences. If someone should think about it they probably think they wouldn’t get caught or convicted. I doubt that much thinking goes on in murderous people. States and nations without the death penalty have no more capital crime than those that have it.  People kill for reasons that have nothing to do with the possible penalty should they be caught and convicted. Those reasons don’t change because there is a death penalty. 

In addition to all that, why should we lessen the discomfort of a criminal by killing him? To my mind, at least, it is more of a punishment to keep him locked up for life.  Only religious people think killing him would be worse because they believe in divine retribition.  I say that if even if divine retribution could exist, it won’t matter if it’s delayed a few decades.  What’s a few decades when you’re talking about eternity?

Lois

[ Edited: 07 May 2013 09:26 AM by Lois ]
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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Good points Lois.  Couple things (playing devils advocate now, personally I’m not sure where I fall in this debate):
- Cold blood: Not sure the techniques used today could be considered cold blooded. If anything they’re too nice.
- Costs more: That’s seems wrong that it costs more for DP than life in prison, unless you mean under the current utterly flawed system whereby inmates might spend a decade waiting.
- General population not endangered: True IF DP inmates are not allowed to communicate with the outside world.
- Doesn’t lessen capital crime: I think it definitely would IF the system were 99.9% accurate and swift. It doesn’t phase would be killers now because of the flaws we’ve mentioned.
- Lessen comfort: That’s a good one actually.  When I say eye for an eye I mean they took a life, they lose theirs. BUT…my wife on the other hand thinks like you do, why let them off easy by killing them. The other thing I think against that notion is that it depends on the criminal. How many are truly remorseful? How many are just as happy getting 3 square meals a day, exercise, etc. i.e. prison being a good thing for them. NOW, I’ve always heard that child killers do not fare well in prison because so many inmates themselves have kids. So if that’s the case, life in prison, and the torment from other inmates that comes with it, might be a better punishment.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Lois - 07 May 2013 09:24 AM

In addition to all that, why should we lessen the discomfort of a criminal by killing him? To my mind, at least, it is more of a punishment to keep him locked up for life. 

Lois

Are you a sadist, after all?

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yes, I’m against the death penalty primarily for political reasons. 
When I’m talking with my work colleagues or others about this(most of whom are conservative reactionaries unfortunately) I always make it a point to try and convince them that the death penalty is wrong by citing all the other nations that use the death penalty.
It’s all the crazy or scary places.  It’s all the countries they don’t identify with.  Iran, N. Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc etc.. it’s a long list.
With the exception of Japan(who I think has a moratorium on it) we are the only country on there that is “free and civilized”.
It really sticks out.
That is my main reason.  Politically it says we are backwards. 
Also it sends a message to the citizenry that we are willing to be savage.  To kill for revenge. That’s wrong. It’s backwards. 
We should be advancing, figuring out ways to prevent crime in the first place.  Not killing people for obvious societal dysfunctions.(99%)
As for the killing part…yeah, it’s not cool. But I don’t lose sleep over it. My heart is not bleeding for the criminal’s final thoughts and emotions.

As for the part where innocent people have been executed….that alone should have been reason to abolish the death penalty. Period!
Any responsible society-govt would have gotten rid of the death penalty or put it in moratorium at the first sign of that injustice.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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CuthbertJ - 06 May 2013 07:43 PM

I know it’s popular among liberals to be against the death penalty. I imagine a lot of folks here are against it. BUT I’d like to know WHY you are against it.  Is it because the current methods of determining if someone is guilty are flawed? Or would you still be against it even if the methods were 99.9% accurate (or even 100% accurate in the case of say uncontested video footage)?

Good question.

If the methods were 100% accurate, I would be for it.

My position is sort of like EOCs above; the risk of getting it wrong is high - and that alone gives me second thoughts. However I am not against the act of killing in itself.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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VYAZMA - 07 May 2013 10:20 AM

Yes, I’m against the death penalty primarily for political reasons. 
When I’m talking with my work colleagues or others about this(most of whom are conservative reactionaries unfortunately) I always make it a point to try and convince them that the death penalty is wrong by citing all the other nations that use the death penalty.
It’s all the crazy or scary places.  It’s all the countries they don’t identify with.  Iran, N. Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc etc.. it’s a long list.
With the exception of Japan(who I think has a moratorium on it) we are the only country on there that is “free and civilized”.
It really sticks out.
That is my main reason.  Politically it says we are backwards. 
Also it sends a message to the citizenry that we are willing to be savage.  To kill for revenge. That’s wrong. It’s backwards. 
We should be advancing, figuring out ways to prevent crime in the first place.  Not killing people for obvious societal dysfunctions.(99%)
As for the killing part…yeah, it’s not cool. But I don’t lose sleep over it. My heart is not bleeding for the criminal’s final thoughts and emotions.

As for the part where innocent people have been executed….that alone should have been reason to abolish the death penalty. Period!
Any responsible society-govt would have gotten rid of the death penalty or put it in moratorium at the first sign of that injustice.

But I think every one of your objections is based on the fact that the current methods of judging guilt are flawed. Those countries you mention, US included, seem barbaric because the system is so flawed and yet they STILL act as if it isn’t. 

As for focusing on preventing capital crime in the first place…true regardless. Just like in the abortion debate…no one is FOR abortion.

But what if determining guilt was 99.9% flawless?

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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mid atlantic - 07 May 2013 10:13 AM
Lois - 07 May 2013 09:24 AM

In addition to all that, why should we lessen the discomfort of a criminal by killing him? To my mind, at least, it is more of a punishment to keep him locked up for life. 

Lois

Are you a sadist, after all?

Hmm, allowing a criminal to live in an institution that provides food, shelter, protection, rehabilitive services, maybe a nice library without ever having to worry about getting a job,etc. ALL WHILE some poor family has to suffer every single day after say their child was brutally tortured and killed by that criminal? THAT to me is sadistic.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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A current report that supports to my contention that the death penalty is too often carried out wrongly. The man is African American. Would this situation be so likely to unfold as it has if he were white?

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/06/1970831/mississippi-plods-forward-with-execution-despite-doj-warnings-that-evidence-is-invalid/

Mississippi Still Poised For Tuesday Execution, Despite DOJ Warnings That Evidence Is ‘Invalid’
By Nicole Flatow on May 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Mississippi is set to execute a man Tuesday night without testing available DNA evidence from a hair sample in his case. ThinkProgress reported last week that a 5-4 court upheld the decision not to test the evidence, in spite of a prosecutor’s inconclusive logic linking the hair sample to Willie Jerome Manning simply because they were both deemed African American. Now, as the Atlantic’s Andrew Cohen reports, the Department of Justice has intervened to point out that even prosecutors’ conclusion that the hair sample was African American was unscientific and invalid. A letter Manning’s lawyers filed in court reads:
We have determined that the microscopic hair comparison analysis testimony or laboratory report presented in this case included additional statements that exceeded the limits of science and was, therefore, invalid. In response to inquiries regarding whether the errors identified in the notification letter had any bearing on the examiner’s opinion regarding the racial classification of the hair, the FBI states the following: The scientific analysis of hair evidence permits an examiner to offer an opinion that a questioned hair possesses certain traits that are associated with a particular racial group. However, since a statistical probability cannot be determined for classification of hair into a particular racial group, it would be error for an examiner to testify that he can determine that the questioned hairs were from an individual of a particular racial group. Thus, an examiner cannot testify with any statement of probability whether the hair is from a particular racial group, but can testify that a hair exhibits traits associated with a particular racial group.
By not testing available DNA evidence using new scientific techniques that were not available at the time of his 1994 trial, Mississippi is choosing to ignore readily available scientific evidence in favor of flawed conclusions based on shaky racially charged testimony, as well as jailhouse informant testimony, which studies have found is particularly susceptible to manipulation. But as Cohen points out, there’s something else the DNA would do. If it is not Bryant’s, it is likely somebody else’s and that person will be identified only by testing the hair sample. Failure to do so reflects the deep institutional government interest in preserving the integrity of completed convictions, even at the expense of finding a different dangerous perpetrator or sparing an innocent person’s life. Manning is still awaiting word on whether Gov. Phil Bryant will grant clemency, and a court could still respond to the most recent motions by Manning’s lawyers.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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To reinforce my point about the list of countries approach..also note all the countries who don’t have the death penalty!
Alot of them are nations you would think do have the death penalty! But they don’t! Why?
More importantly why would we think(or why would I think…)they do have the death penalty?
Interestingly though is that many U.S. states have abolished the death penalty.
We could go on for pages and pages why we have had the death penalty, and why we keep it around.
Here’s why in a quick summary. The death penalty historically worldwide, was and has always been a compact.  A show!
Part of the package deal the citizenry get. It’s something the citizenry will thrive off of…given the right social-economic circumstances.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Cuthbert-But I think every one of your objections is based on the fact that the current methods of judging guilt are flawed. Those countries you mention, US included, seem barbaric because the system is so flawed and yet they STILL act as if it isn’t. 

As for focusing on preventing capital crime in the first place…true regardless. Just like in the abortion debate…no one is FOR abortion.

But what if determining guilt was 99.9% flawless?

Absolutely not!  Why would you think that is what I meant? My main thrust was a comparative approach with other Earth member states.
True I did raise the relevant part about innocent victims being executed…and that should be a reason to stop executions. Obviously.
Not because we can hypothesize about the possibility of 100% assuredness in guilt, but because we can hypothesize about the very real possibility that an
innocent person will be executed again.  And once that person is executed there is no bringing them back!!

My reply to your concept of 99.9% surety doesn’t change my view in the slightest.  I think I’ve made my points why. The reasons are social-political.

Those countries you mention, US included, seem barbaric because the system is so flawed and yet they STILL act as if it isn’t. 
Cuthbert-

Yeah…right! That can be changed. The “barbarity” can be stopped.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Here’s another good point Cuthbert.
You’re using the easy catch phrase guilty.  That bends the conversation falsely to support a pro-death angle.
We are talking about courts and laws and legal systems here.  It’s not about innocent or guilty.
It’s about the charges that were brought against someone. The degree of the crime. The trial and the fairness of the trial.
The evidence found afterward that could have changed charges to a lower degree and penalty.
The evidence that was or was not allowed into the trial. Judicial review that shows a trial was not carried out optimally.
Facts of the trial that came to light afterward that would have changed legal proceedings. Juries. Jury selection, etc etc etc…

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Posted: 07 May 2013 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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CuthbertJ - 07 May 2013 10:38 AM
mid atlantic - 07 May 2013 10:13 AM
Lois - 07 May 2013 09:24 AM

In addition to all that, why should we lessen the discomfort of a criminal by killing him? To my mind, at least, it is more of a punishment to keep him locked up for life. 

Lois

Are you a sadist, after all?

Hmm, allowing a criminal to live in an institution that provides food, shelter, protection, rehabilitive services, maybe a nice library without ever having to worry about getting a job,etc. ALL WHILE some poor family has to suffer every single day after say their child was brutally tortured and killed by that criminal? THAT to me is sadistic.

But you are presuming that the person getting al of those free services ( all the while having their basic freedoms denied them) is guilty. What percentage of the time are we allowed to be wrong about guilt or innocence when we are putting someone to death?

I can certainly understand the sentiments supporting the death penalty but we should recognize them for what they are.. a plea for revenge and nothing more. If someone were to kill or severely injure someone close to me and I knew without a doubt who it was I would probably want to see the death penalty carried out. In fact I might want to do it myself, but that doesn’t change what it is. Killing someone as a means of punishment is a self serving, self indulging act of vengeance. If we are going to mature as a society and as individuals we need to recognize that. Just as a child learns to control their impulse for instant gratification as they become an adult we must control this impulse for revenge to become a better society.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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CuthbertJ - 07 May 2013 10:32 AM
VYAZMA - 07 May 2013 10:20 AM

Yes, I’m against the death penalty primarily for political reasons. 
When I’m talking with my work colleagues or others about this(most of whom are conservative reactionaries unfortunately) I always make it a point to try and convince them that the death penalty is wrong by citing all the other nations that use the death penalty.
It’s all the crazy or scary places.  It’s all the countries they don’t identify with.  Iran, N. Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc etc.. it’s a long list.
With the exception of Japan(who I think has a moratorium on it) we are the only country on there that is “free and civilized”.
It really sticks out.
That is my main reason.  Politically it says we are backwards. 
Also it sends a message to the citizenry that we are willing to be savage.  To kill for revenge. That’s wrong. It’s backwards. 
We should be advancing, figuring out ways to prevent crime in the first place.  Not killing people for obvious societal dysfunctions.(99%)
As for the killing part…yeah, it’s not cool. But I don’t lose sleep over it. My heart is not bleeding for the criminal’s final thoughts and emotions.

As for the part where innocent people have been executed….that alone should have been reason to abolish the death penalty. Period!
Any responsible society-govt would have gotten rid of the death penalty or put it in moratorium at the first sign of that injustice.

But I think every one of your objections is based on the fact that the current methods of judging guilt are flawed. Those countries you mention, US included, seem barbaric because the system is so flawed and yet they STILL act as if it isn’t. 

As for focusing on preventing capital crime in the first place…true regardless. Just like in the abortion debate…no one is FOR abortion.

But what if determining guilt was 99.9% flawless?

That might change some minds, though notnmine, because I don’tbtheink any government should kill people in cold blood.

But it would be impossible to be that flawless unless people and human-designed systems could be 99.99% flawless. You can’t get near perfection out of flawed people or systems. So the question is moot.

Lois

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