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View Full Version : U.S. Issues It is time to end the death penalty


alnorth
08-18-2011, 06:36 PM
Todd (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann) Willingham (http://video.pbs.org/video/1618590505/) - Executed by Texas, overwhelming scientific evidence that he was innocent was presented to the prosecution, all judges, the parole board, and the governor. Everyone ignored it.

Larry (http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2011-08-19/the-science-of-injustice/) Swearingen (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/us/07ttswearingen.html) - Came very damned close to being executed by Texas, will probably be exonerated. Despite absolute scientific proof of his innocence, the prosecutor (who admitted he didn't understand the science and stood behind his circumstantial evidence) and a lower court ignored the evidence. It took an extremely rare (for Texas courts) stay of execution by the Texas Appeals court just a couple weeks ago to stop the insanity.

This is a bit of an offshoot from Rick Perry, but this is not about the governor, this is about the need to put an end to capital punishment. Simply put: I believe in the death penalty as an abstract concept, but it must be declared unconstitutional, if for no other reason than because the judges and prosecutors in the state of Texas are too damned stupid to be trusted with it.

We had controversy before when DNA evidence exonerated hundreds of people on death row, luckily (we think) before any of them were killed, but it has mainly been tolerated because the thought was that we are smarter and more careful now. We have CSI shows on TV to assure us that they know what they are doing, the science, the bright defense attorneys, and our long careful appeals process will prevent a mistake. Well, apparently we did not count on human stupidity, political pressure, and stubborn resistance to the science of crime scene investigation.

When the powers that be are presented with clear proof of a death row inmate's innocence, in the modern enlightened post-DNA era, and they essentially say "screw that, I don't believe in that scientific voodoo, kill 'em anyway", then we've crossed a bridge where we can't execute anyone any longer, despite how much I and many others wish we could.

As an added bonus, it would save money to lock 'em up. We're broke anyway.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 06:38 PM
Pussy..... :p

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 06:39 PM
I agree. I was never against the death penalty on moral grounds, but the uncertainty and cost makes me against it.

banyon
08-18-2011, 06:42 PM
I used to be against the death penalty because of the uncertainties involved, so I think we need a different standard of proof.

But there's really just no adequate answer otherwise on what to do with cases like the Carr brothers.

alnorth
08-18-2011, 06:51 PM
I used to be against the death penalty because of the uncertainties involved, so I think we need a different standard of proof.

But there's really just no adequate answer otherwise on what to do with cases like the Carr brothers.

It would be tempting to redefine when the death penalty is applicable, to something like: "ok, if we have video, and a dozen witnesses two of whom must be cops, and we have a pathologist sign off on everything, entomologist and doctors (if necessary) sign off on time of death, three different coroners all independently agree on cause of death, and any other obviously required experts sign off, and and and..."

I'm not comfortable with drawing a line, because ultimately if the prosecution and the judges can not be trusted when presented with clear scientific evidence that a guy is innocent, then no standard will make a difference.

Hog Farmer
08-18-2011, 07:00 PM
Sometimes we get it wrong, but the majority of the time it's right. We need to execute more. Look at all the felons that are in prison for life for random murder ,rape and semen theft. Kill them!

HonestChieffan
08-18-2011, 07:03 PM
Been reading some on this Willinghan deal. Some see it as cut and dried, others not so much. I think its like most death penalty issues....a bitch for the guy who has to make the call with only the best info they have at the time, knowing the Monday morning QB'ing will go on forever. Im glad I won't ever have to be in that position.

That said, here is another bit of info..read it and respond if you like.


Cameron Todd Willingham – was he an innocent man?

This is a troubling case. Willingham was executed by lethal injection in 2004 after being convicted of setting a fire that killed his three daughters before Christmas 1991. But his case and the ensuing controversy frame the death penalty in a new way: whether Perry used his power as governor to try to dodge responsibility for presiding over the execution of a potentially innocent man. Again, that term “presiding” – a term specifically designed to make it appear that he had more responsibility in the execution than is true.

At Willingham’s trial, Texas fire investigators said they found clear indicators that the fire at the Willingham home in the small town of Corsicana had been intentionally set. By the time of Willingham’s execution in February, 2004, the science of fire investigation had dramatically advanced and what investigators had for decades considered telltale signs of arson were no longer considered reliable.

In the final days before Willingham was put to death, his lawyer filed with the courts a report from Gerald Hurst, one of the nation’s most renowned fire scientists. Hurst’s four-page report asserted for the first time in the case that the indicators of arson the investigators cited had been debunked by scientific advances. The fire, Hurst concluded, might well have been an accident – he did not state categorically that it was an accident. Perry reviewed the report and determined it did not present new information, only new opinion. He also decided it did not merit a stay of execution.

Under Texas law, the Governor can only issue a one-time temporary 30-day stay of execution. Any other clemency or commutation of sentence must be recommended to the Governor by the state’s Pardons and Paroles board. None was forthcoming in the Willingham case.

Lucy Nashed, a Perry spokeswoman said, “Willingham’s conviction was reviewed and upheld by multiple levels of state and federal courts, including nine federal courts – four times by the U.S. Supreme Court alone – over the course of more than a decade.”

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles reviewed the latest evidence and refused to recommend that Governor Perry act in this case. Governor Perry independently decided that the evidence did not warrant a stay and he allowed Willingham’s execution to proceed in accordance with his responsibility as Governor.

Did Texas execute an innocent man? In a case that could not have been overturned based on something as definitive as DNA evidence and seven years after the 2004 execution, there’s no way to be 100% sure, but under Texas law, the most that Perry could have done was issue a single 30-day stay. When someone takes the position that Willingham was “innocent,” that person is intentionally ignoring all of the legal maneuvers that occurred and is basing that determination on “feelings.” He was never deemed “innocent” by any legal authority.

If one Googles ”Cameron Todd Willingham” the majority of the hits will be different shadings of the same story line, that of those against the death penalty (Innocence Project, etc.). Every attempt is made to cast doubt on the evidence that Willingham was guilty, especially using quotes from “experts” in the field of fire science. The problem is that many of the quotes are massaged to remove any doubt and make them appear as unquestioned facts, when most stated that the fire could have been accidental. For someone really interested in the truth of the case, one must also have access to the other side of the issue. Here is a link to an interview with the Dallas Morning News by Dudley Sharp who was investigating the “innocence” of Willingham. Willingham’s “innocence” was never established, and none of his appeals gave the appellate courts reason to call for a new trial.

The charge that Perry was knowingly complicit in executing an innocent man is without merit. He rejected the last evidence (the Hurst report) as a reason to stay Willingham’s execution, just as the US Supreme Court, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had. His case was tried, appealed, and adjudicated according to the law.

But Perry’s critics don’t give up so easily. As another point of attack, they accuse him of replacing the members of the Forensics Science Commission (FSC) two days before the formal hearing because, they maintain, the commission was going to submit a finding that did not support the governor’s position on Willingham’ s guilt.

Not only is that position based on an incorrect supposition, it is also obviously biased.

Perry did replace the members because: 1) their terms had expired and appointing new members was standard policy, and 2) pushing back the date of the FSC hearing would allow more time for the Corsicana Fire Department (CFDR) and Texas Fire Marshall’s office (TFMR) to respond to the Beyler report (BR). Both were expected to be critical of the Beyler Report. Pushing back the date of the formal hearing also gave the new FSC members time to get up to speed on the details of the case.

The preliminary CFDR blasted the BR on some obvious and important points, making over a hundred comments and corrections to Beyler’s 19 page review of the Willingham case. It made the case that the Beyler report was both inaccurate and biased. The final determination awaits completed CFDR and TFMR reports.

BucEyedPea
08-18-2011, 07:03 PM
Todd (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann) Willingham (http://video.pbs.org/video/1618590505/) - Executed by Texas, overwhelming scientific evidence that he was innocent was presented to the prosecution, all judges, the parole board, and the governor. Everyone ignored it.

Larry (http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2011-08-19/the-science-of-injustice/) Swearingen (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/us/07ttswearingen.html) - Came very damned close to being executed by Texas, will probably be exonerated. Despite absolute scientific proof of his innocence, the prosecutor (who admitted he didn't understand the science and stood behind his circumstantial evidence) and a lower court ignored the evidence. It took an extremely rare (for Texas courts) stay of execution by the Texas Appeals court just a couple weeks ago to stop the insanity.

This is a bit of an offshoot from Rick Perry, but this is not about the governor, this is about the need to put an end to capital punishment. Simply put: I believe in the death penalty as an abstract concept, but it must be declared unconstitutional, if for no other reason than because the judges and prosecutors in the state of Texas are too damned stupid to be trusted with it.

We had controversy before when DNA evidence exonerated hundreds of people on death row, luckily (we think) before any of them were killed, but it has mainly been tolerated because the thought was that we are smarter and more careful now. We have CSI shows on TV to assure us that they know what they are doing, the science, the bright defense attorneys, and our long careful appeals process will prevent a mistake. Well, apparently we did not count on human stupidity, political pressure, and stubborn resistance to the science of crime scene investigation.

When the powers that be are presented with clear proof of a death row inmate's innocence, in the modern enlightened post-DNA era, and they essentially say "screw that, I don't believe in that scientific voodoo, kill 'em anyway", then we've crossed a bridge where we can't execute anyone any longer, despite how much I and many others wish we could.

As an added bonus, it would save money to lock 'em up. We're broke anyway.

As an aside: Many people don't know that the expert witness on the computer searches by Casey Anthony informed the prosecution team here, that he made a mistake — that there was only one search not 80 or so multiple searches for chloroform. Yet the prosecution ignored it. What is it with prosecutors? Does it really make their careers to get convictions?

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:03 PM
The day we start protecting the lives of the unborn with as much effort as we protect the lives of criminals we can talk...

|Zach|
08-18-2011, 07:06 PM
I don't really believe it to be a deterrent but I can take it or leave it. Not a hot button issue with me.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:09 PM
I don't really believe it to be a deterrent but I can take it or leave it. Not a hot button issue with me.

That's because it is done over a long period of time and in a very humane way.

Hang a fucker in the town square.....that'll put the teeth back in it. :D

alnorth
08-18-2011, 07:15 PM
Cameron Todd Willingham – was he an innocent man?

Yes, he almost definitely was. The original arson investigation techniques have been characterized by leading modern arson experts as "folklore and old wive's tales". There is really no reasonable doubt, at all, that Willingham was innocent. Forget about him not being guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, it is the opposite: he is factually innocent.

Another man in an eerily similar arson murder case, where just like in Willingham a "flashover" fire was incorrectly identified as arson, and who had better lawyers and more time for appeals, was exonerated and compensated for his time wrongfully spent behind bars.

Hell, the prosecutor even admitted that had the Willingham trial happened today, there is almost no chance of a conviction. (but that drooling retard of a prosecutor stood behind his conviction because he's a judge now, and it would look bad to be known as a guy who ignored proof of innocence)

This is a no-doubter, Texas killed an innocent man, and came very close to killing another.

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:16 PM
The day we start protecting the lives of the unborn with as much effort as we protect the lives of criminals we can talk...

Most of us do.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:19 PM
Most of us do.

But the law doesn't....until then I refuse to accept any talk of ridding us of the death penalty.

alnorth
08-18-2011, 07:19 PM
The day we start protecting the lives of the unborn with as much effort as we protect the lives of criminals we can talk...

the unborn and these two so-called "criminals" have one thing in common: they are not criminals.

It is silly to make this comparison when it does not apply.

alnorth
08-18-2011, 07:20 PM
But the law doesn't....until then I refuse to accept any talk of ridding us of the death penalty.

"We kill babies who don't deserve to die, so damn it, lets also kill some innocent men for our sadistic enjoyment! Yee-hah!!!"

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:21 PM
But the law doesn't....until then I refuse to accept any talk of ridding us of the death penalty.

This makes no sense. And I say that as a Pro-Life proponent. They are two different things.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:23 PM
This makes no sense. And I say that as a Pro-Life proponent. They are two different things.

It makes perfect sense. The law will protect the rights of a criminal to the nth degree but in most cases easily accept the violation of such when it comes to an unborn.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:24 PM
"We kill babies who don't deserve to die, so damn it, lets also kill some innocent men for our sadistic enjoyment! Yee-hah!!!"

Yea, cause that's all we do, kill innocent men and women....:clap:

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:28 PM
It makes perfect sense. The law will protect the rights of a criminal to the nth degree but in most cases easily accept the violation of such when it comes to an unborn.

It's very sad about abortions. I have no idea why we also can't focus on criminals. What if we didn't feed them, or guards have sex with them? Are you in favor of correcting that? What if the government force feeds them experimental drugs? Can we worry about that?

This is one of the dumbest arguments I've heard in favor of the death penalty's continuation. Do you also use abortion arguments in foreign policy debates? Social security debates?

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:30 PM
It's very sad about abortions. I have no idea why we also can't focus on criminals. What if we didn't feed them, or guards have sex with them? Are you in favor of correcting that? What if the government force feeds them experimental drugs? Can we worry about that?

This is one of the dumbest arguments I've heard in favor of the death penalty's continuation. Do you also use abortion arguments in foreign policy debates? Social security debates?

Perosnally I think all that makes a great deturent to not fuck up and break the law. Prison should be a place beyond horror.

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:35 PM
Perosnally I think all that makes a great deturent to not **** up and break the law. Prison should be a place beyond horror.

You think it's okay if the federal government force feeds prisoners experimental drugs against their will?

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:37 PM
You think it's okay if the federal government force feeds prisoners experimental drugs against their will?

Depending on the crime...why not? I can't think of a better test subject for such than a child molestor or murderer.

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:38 PM
Depending on the crime...why not? I can't think of a better test subject for such than a child molestor or murderer.

Aside from the Constitutional prohibitions of that, what about the wrongly accused?

HonestChieffan
08-18-2011, 07:39 PM
It's very sad about abortions. I have no idea why we also can't focus on criminals. What if we didn't feed them, or guards have sex with them? Are you in favor of correcting that? What if the government force feeds them experimental drugs? Can we worry about that?

This is one of the dumbest arguments I've heard in favor of the death penalty's continuation. Do you also use abortion arguments in foreign policy debates? Social security debates?


Guards have sex with them???? Experimental drugs???

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:40 PM
Aside from the Constitutional prohibitions of that, what about the wrongly accused?

Ain't nothing in this life absolute.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:41 PM
Guards have sex with them???? Experimental drugs???

I'd settle for chain gangs and nasty food. No reason we shouldn't get some benefit from the tax $'s we spend on them, is there?

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:41 PM
Guards have sex with them???? Experimental drugs???

Guards have sex with prisoners. I'm sure it happens more often than we'd like to think. Experimental drugs was a hypothetical.

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:43 PM
Ain't nothing in this life absolute.

Not to be a jerk, but you seemed a bit angry about your wife's job situation. How come your attitude wasn't just that nothing in this life is absolute in that case?

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:43 PM
Guards have sex with prisoners. I'm sure it happens more often than we'd like to think. Experimental drugs was a hypothetical.

If you don't want to get butt-raped then don't break the law and go to prison.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 07:44 PM
Not to be a jerk, but you seemed a bit angry about your wife's job situation. How come your attitude wasn't just that nothing in this life is absolute in that case?

Apples and oranges. I never said it was not ok to be outraged by the imprisonment of the innocent, did I? I just said that shit is going to happen, not that you have to like it.

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:47 PM
If you don't want to get butt-raped then don't break the law and go to prison.

I agree, but I don't see how that changes things.

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 07:47 PM
Apples and oranges. I never said it was not ok to be outraged by the imprisonment of the innocent, did I? I just said that shit is going to happen, not that you have to like it.

But if we can change it, and we should change it, then this "shit is going to happen" isn't all that true.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 08:09 PM
But if we can change it, and we should change it, then this "shit is going to happen" isn't all that true.

WTF are you babbling about now?

HonestChieffan
08-18-2011, 08:22 PM
Guards have sex with prisoners. I'm sure it happens more often than we'd like to think. Experimental drugs was a hypothetical.

OK then make shit up

KC native
08-18-2011, 08:57 PM
Yes, it is time to get rid of the death penalty. It isn't a deterrent and it costs us way too much money.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 08:59 PM
Yes, it is time to get rid of the death penalty. It isn't a deterrent and it costs us way too much money.

Meh, it's all in how you go about it....

KC native
08-18-2011, 09:01 PM
Meh, it's all in how you go about it....

To me, it would be worse to spend the rest of my life in a cell versus a quick exit by death penalty. Put them in the box and let them rot.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 09:03 PM
To me, it would be worse to spend the rest of my life in a cell versus a quick exit by death penalty. Put them in the box and let them rot.

Yeah, but to some they would rather do that than be executed. Prisons today, aren't what they used to be.

KC native
08-18-2011, 09:06 PM
Yeah, but to some they would rather do that than be executed. Prisons today, aren't what they used to be.

Prison is prison. It's not a luxury spot at any level.

petegz28
08-18-2011, 09:09 PM
Prison is prison. It's not a luxury spot at any level.

Compared to what it used to be it is. And you know this...man!

Amnorix
08-18-2011, 09:11 PM
I'm in favor of a heightened burden of proof of guilt for imposing the death penalty -- Beyond ANY doubt. Not just a reasonable doubt -- NO doubt. This guy did it. The evidence is so absolutely overwhelming that there is no doubt this is the guilty person.

If you can "only" find beyond a reasonable doubt, then the cap to the sentence is life.

alnorth
08-18-2011, 09:14 PM
If you don't want to get butt-raped then don't break the law and go to prison.

That is the completely insane part of your argument. You got two men, completely and totally innocent, snatched from their lives, more than a full damn decade stolen from them, facing death... and you are prepared to shrug and say, basically, "oh well, tough luck for them, gotta break some eggs to make an omelette. They gotta die for no reason".

The death penalty is acceptable ONLY IF we never kill an innocent man. If we cant do that, and its obvious that Texas is too damned stupid to do that, then capital punishment is unacceptable. Abortion is freaking irrelevant.

Fish
08-18-2011, 09:18 PM
Acceptable loss.. Make it cheaper.

alnorth
08-18-2011, 09:51 PM
More from that eerily similar case I mentioned earlier (from one of the Todd Willingham articles) on the science of arson, about flashover, and how the theory used to kill him was based on a load of crap.

On the evening of October 15, 1990, a thirty-five-year-old man named Gerald Wayne Lewis was found standing in front of his house on Lime Street, in Jacksonville, Florida, holding his three-year-old son. His two-story wood-frame home was engulfed in flames. By the time the fire had been extinguished, six people were dead, including Lewis’s wife. Lewis said that he had rescued his son but was unable to get to the others, who were upstairs.

When fire investigators examined the scene, they found the classic signs of arson: low burns along the walls and floors, pour patterns and puddle configurations, and a burn trailer running from the living room into the hallway. Lewis claimed that the fire had started accidentally, on a couch in the living room—his son had been playing with matches. But a V-shaped pattern by one of the doors suggested that the fire had originated elsewhere. Some witnesses told authorities that Lewis seemed too calm during the fire and had never tried to get help. According to the Los Angeles Times, Lewis had previously been arrested for abusing his wife, who had taken out a restraining order against him. After a chemist said that he had detected the presence of gasoline on Lewis’s clothing and shoes, a report by the sheriff’s office concluded, “The fire was started as a result of a petroleum product being poured on the front porch, foyer, living room, stairwell and second floor bedroom.” Lewis was arrested and charged with six counts of murder. He faced the death penalty.

Subsequent tests, however, revealed that the laboratory identification of gasoline was wrong. Moreover, a local news television camera had captured Lewis in a clearly agitated state at the scene of the fire, and investigators discovered that at one point he had jumped in front of a moving car, asking the driver to call the Fire Department.

Seeking to bolster their theory of the crime, prosecutors turned to John Lentini, the fire expert, and John DeHaan, another leading investigator and textbook author. Despite some of the weaknesses of the case, Lentini told me that, given the classic burn patterns and puddle configurations in the house, he was sure that Lewis had set the fire: “I was prepared to testify and send this guy to Old Sparky”—the electric chair.

To discover the truth, the investigators, with the backing of the prosecution, decided to conduct an elaborate experiment and re-create the fire scene. Local officials gave the investigators permission to use a condemned house next to Lewis’s home, which was about to be torn down. The two houses were virtually identical, and the investigators refurbished the condemned one with the same kind of carpeting, curtains, and furniture that had been in Lewis’s home. The scientists also wired the building with heat and gas sensors that could withstand fire. The cost of the experiment came to twenty thousand dollars. Without using liquid accelerant, Lentini and DeHaan set the couch in the living room on fire, expecting that the experiment would demonstrate that Lewis’s version of events was implausible.

The investigators watched as the fire quickly consumed the couch, sending upward a plume of smoke that hit the ceiling and spread outward, creating a thick layer of hot gases overhead—an efficient radiator of heat. Within three minutes, this cloud, absorbing more gases from the fire below, was banking down the walls and filling the living room. As the cloud approached the floor, its temperature rose, in some areas, to more than eleven hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Suddenly, the entire room exploded in flames, as the radiant heat ignited every piece of furniture, every curtain, every possible fuel source, even the carpeting. The windows shattered.

The fire had reached what is called “flashover”—the point at which radiant heat causes a fire in a room to become a room on fire. Arson investigators knew about the concept of flashover, but it was widely believed to take much longer to occur, especially without a liquid accelerant. From a single fuel source—a couch—the room had reached flashover in four and a half minutes.

Because all the furniture in the living room had ignited, the blaze went from a fuel-controlled fire to a ventilation-controlled fire—or what scientists call “post-flashover.” During post-flashover, the path of the fire depends on new sources of oxygen, from an open door or window. One of the fire investigators, who had been standing by an open door in the living room, escaped moments before the oxygen-starved fire roared out of the room into the hallway—a fireball that caused the corridor to go quickly into flashover as well, propelling the fire out the front door and onto the porch.

After the fire was extinguished, the investigators inspected the hallway and living room. On the floor were irregularly shaped burn patterns that perfectly resembled pour patterns and puddle configurations. It turned out that these classic signs of arson can also appear on their own, after flashover. With the naked eye, it is impossible to distinguish between the pour patterns and puddle configurations caused by an accelerant and those caused naturally by post-flashover. The only reliable way to tell the difference is to take samples from the burn patterns and test them in a laboratory for the presence of flammable or combustible liquids.

During the Lime Street experiment, other things happened that were supposed to occur only in a fire fuelled by liquid accelerant: charring along the base of the walls and doorways, and burning under furniture. There was also a V-shaped pattern by the living-room doorway, far from where the fire had started on the couch. In a small fire, a V-shaped burn mark may pinpoint where a fire began, but during post-flashover these patterns can occur repeatedly, when various objects ignite.

One of the investigators muttered that they had just helped prove the defense’s case. Given the reasonable doubt raised by the experiment, the charges against Lewis were soon dropped. The Lime Street experiment had demolished prevailing notions about fire behavior. Subsequent tests by scientists showed that, during post-flashover, burning under beds and furniture was common, entire doors were consumed, and aluminum thresholds melted.

John Lentini says of the Lime Street Fire, “This was my epiphany. I almost sent a man to die based on theories that were a load of crap.”

Brock
08-18-2011, 09:52 PM
It's kind of amazing to watch people who don't trust anything the government does get behind the death penalty. Stupid? Or just willfully hypocritical?

alnorth
08-18-2011, 09:58 PM
It's kind of amazing to watch people who don't trust anything the government does get behind the death penalty. Stupid? Or just willfully hypocritical?

Those evil killers need to die, even if some collateral damage has to happen now and then which I can conveniently ignore. Its all good, the state will never mistakenly arrest and kill me because I'm a law-abiding citizen who doesn't run around with the wrong crowd. Screw those guys who do, they should have known better than to look suspicious.

Dave Lane
08-18-2011, 10:03 PM
I agree. I was never against the death penalty on moral grounds, but the uncertainty and cost makes me against it.

The irreversibility of the execution is the issue for me. It's hard to undo if you found you have made a mistake, plus the odd "it's wrong to kill and we will kill you to prove it logical fallacy.

Dave Lane
08-18-2011, 10:04 PM
The day we start protecting the lives of the unborn with as much effort as we protect the lives of criminals we can talk...

LMAO

Dave Lane
08-18-2011, 10:19 PM
And Willingham looked a lot like Phobia so I might have to say that would be enough to convict.

Pitt Gorilla
08-18-2011, 10:23 PM
But the law doesn't....until then I refuse to accept any talk of ridding us of the death penalty.Two wrongs make a right!

go bowe
08-18-2011, 10:31 PM
Two wrongs make a right!

and three thongs make it a night?

oh, you said wrongs...

nm...

KILLER_CLOWN
08-18-2011, 10:33 PM
Sometimes people are accused of crimes so savage even innocence isn't a good defense.

Bewbies
08-18-2011, 10:41 PM
Personally I'd prefer a lifetime of hard labor. The burden of proof in death penalty cases should be higher than it is though. Sometimes it's an easy call, but when it's iffy or relies upon circumstantial evidence I'm not so comfortable.

Glad I'm not an attorney or judge.

patteeu
08-18-2011, 10:51 PM
Every once in a while, an innocent child is run over by a school bus because they somehow got under a wheel without the bus driver noticing it. It doesn't happen all that often, but it happens a heck of a lot more often than we execute innocent people. That doesn't mean we should eliminate buses and it definitely doesn't mean we should eliminate the death penalty. Some people shouldn't be allowed even the most remote chance of inflicting themselves on society (or even other inmates) ever again.

KILLER_CLOWN
08-18-2011, 10:53 PM
Some people shouldn't be allowed even the most remote chance of inflicting themselves on society (or even other inmates) ever again.

Like those falsely accused, right?

ChiefsCountry
08-18-2011, 10:55 PM
I think the death pently is fine but locking them up in a little cube of room with no windows and just let them think what they did would be a hell of lot better.

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 11:07 PM
WTF are you babbling about now?

You said that this shit just happens. But we're discussing how we can change the law so that this shit doesn't just happen.

It's like you complaining about the government spending, and my reply is "Well, we're always going to overspend, so let's embrace it." No, that's not true.

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 11:08 PM
OK then make shit up

Don't like my hypothetical drug test? Or you don't think guards have sex with prisoners?

Jenson71
08-18-2011, 11:10 PM
The irreversibility of the execution is the issue for me. It's hard to undo if you found you have made a mistake, plus the odd "it's wrong to kill and we will kill you to prove it logical fallacy.

The second part doesn't bother me. It's not as simple as how you put it. It's "It's wrong to kill an innocent person, and if a person does that, then society recognizes that this is the ultimate crime, and is deserving of the ultimate punishment society can give."

I think it's morally fine.

KILLER_CLOWN
08-18-2011, 11:13 PM
On second thought we should only use the death penalty for scumbag politicians and banking fraudsters.

blaise
08-19-2011, 07:24 AM
I'm not trying to be stupid, but how would it be declared unconstitutional? They were given due process.

Jaric
08-19-2011, 08:06 AM
I'm not trying to be stupid, but how would it be declared unconstitutional? They were given due process.

I'd assume to put it under the "cruel and unusual punishment" umbrella.

blaise
08-19-2011, 08:14 AM
I'd assume to put it under the "cruel and unusual punishment" umbrella.

Hasn't that been decided by courts before, though?

Jaric
08-19-2011, 08:34 AM
Hasn't that been decided by courts before, though?

I believe so. I haven't really kept up on my case law so I couldn't tell you under what case it was, but I believe the issue has been addressed.

Even so, it could simply be "redecided" should their be motivation to do so.

frankotank
08-19-2011, 08:35 AM
The death penalty isn’t the problem here, it’s the process. Make the process right, and more accurate, and start ENFORCING it! I understand the need for due process and retrials and blah blah blah… But when a guy sits on death row for 20 years while tax payers support that, it’s too much! Now, how anyone could think the death penalty should be abolished, as in it’s never the right thing to do, I’ll never understand. If it was my decision I’d take it a step further and start killing people for much less that what is currently in place. For instance you rape a child, I say death penalty. Not trolling, I believe it. You should fucking DIE for that! I think I could pop a cap in someone like that and not lose sleep over it…maybe not….but I think so. Hell the way it is now you can rape and kill somebody and eventually be back out on the streets again! WTF! Why chemical castration for repeat offenders? Why not physical castration? Why are prisons so crowded? Well for one thing we ain’t killing those that deserve killing. Wake up America. They chop your hand off in some places for stealing bread and we sit here coddling human pieces of garbage. Makes me sick.

mlyonsd
08-19-2011, 08:42 AM
The death penalty has a place.

If it thwarts just one criminal from murdering an innocent person it has done its job.

One innocent victim saved and it is worth it.

Saulbadguy
08-19-2011, 08:50 AM
It's kind of amazing to watch people who don't trust anything the government does get behind the death penalty. Stupid? Or just willfully hypocritical?

Stupid.

Saulbadguy
08-19-2011, 08:51 AM
I think the death penalty is a waste of time and resources.

LOCOChief
08-19-2011, 08:55 AM
.

Lucy Nashed, a Perry spokeswoman said, “Willingham’s conviction was reviewed and upheld by multiple levels of state and federal courts, including nine federal courts – four times by the U.S. Supreme Court alone – over the course of more than a decade.”



If he's innocent why couldn't 9 federal courts figure it out? No way this is an open and close case.

frankotank
08-19-2011, 08:55 AM
I think the death penalty is a waste of time and resources.

life imprisonment of someone who should be killed isn't a waste of time and resources?!?!?

Chief Faithful
08-19-2011, 08:56 AM
I think the death penalty is a waste of time and resources.
Actually, with a few tweeks to the system it could save a lot of money, time and resource.

frankotank
08-19-2011, 09:11 AM
honestly not sure how accurate the following is. I was trying to find some numbers... If these are even in the ballpark, then...yikes.

Prisons cost taxpayers more than $32 billion a year. Every year that an inmate spends in prison costs $22,000. An individual sentenced to five years for a $300 theft costs the public more than $100,000. The cost of a life term averages $1.5 million.

States are spending more money on prisons than education. Over the course of the last 20 years, the amount of money spent on prisons was increased by 570% while that spent on elementary and secondary education was increased by only 33%. "

Earthling
08-19-2011, 09:16 AM
The death penalty has a place.

If it thwarts just one criminal from murdering an innocent person it has done its job.

One innocent victim saved and it is worth it.

Would you also say that by not having the death penalty, and an innocent being spared of a false conviction/execution, would be worth it? Just curious. Tough call. What upsets me at times is that prosecutors are so reluctant to revisit cases once a sentence has been handed down, even in light of new, compelling, evidence that might exonerate the defendant.

frankotank
08-19-2011, 09:30 AM
Would you also say that by not having the death penalty, and an innocent being spared of a false conviction/execution, would be worth it? Just curious. Tough call. What upsets me at times is that prosecutors are so reluctant to revisit cases once a sentence has been handed down, even in light of new, compelling, evidence that might exonerate the defendant.

yeah that is disturbing and part of the system that needs to be corrected. I'm not naive enough to think that with changes to the system that never would any innocent person slip thru and be put to death. boy it would have to be one diggedy danged perfect system, and nobody is perfect. having said that, I wonder what the stats are on repeat murderers, people who were convicted of murder and ended up back out on the streets and killed again. so when you weigh the two sides, sometimes innocents slip thru the cracks, and sometimes murderers are set free to murder innocents AGAIN....it's tough. I say the death penalty should be enforced much more dilegently than it is now. a wise vulcan once said the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. pretty harsh, but I think it applies here.

mlyonsd
08-19-2011, 09:36 AM
Would you also say that by not having the death penalty, and an innocent being spared of a false conviction/execution, would be worth it? Just curious. Tough call. What upsets me at times is that prosecutors are so reluctant to revisit cases once a sentence has been handed down, even in light of new, compelling, evidence that might exonerate the defendant.

In a perfect world sure.

I'm not calling for death penalties in all murders/horrific crimes. Only the ones with enough indisputable evidence. (I know, that's all relative).

No one can tell me there are lives that have been spared because of the DP. There are at least some criminals that won't pull that trigger knowing what it might lead to.

So then you have to weigh the consequences/odds of the DP.

Are more innocent lives spared by it then innocent lives put to death because of it?

The answer of course is yes. So saving more innocent lives from being crime victims > then # of criminals that will be falsely put to death.

To me its a no brainer. That equation only works if all innocent are considered equal btw.

Baby Lee
08-19-2011, 09:45 AM
With all the talk of deterrence, I would focus as well on the effect of having the death penalty to take off the table. 20-30 years, versus life, or the possibility of parole, don't have the persuasive sway that imprisonment versus death has when seeking to elicit a plea bargain.

WV
08-19-2011, 09:48 AM
Sometimes we get it wrong, but the majority of the time it's right. We need to execute more. Look at all the felons that are in prison for life for random murder ,rape and semen theft. Kill them!

Well said......except for the semen part. :)

Earthling
08-19-2011, 09:49 AM
yeah that is disturbing and part of the system that needs to be corrected. I'm not naive enough to think that with changes to the system that never would any innocent person slip thru and be put to death. boy it would have to be one diggedy danged perfect system, and nobody is perfect. having said that, I wonder what the stats are on repeat murderers, people who were convicted of murder and ended up back out on the streets and killed again. so when you weigh the two sides, sometimes innocents slip thru the cracks, and sometimes murderers are set free to murder innocents AGAIN....it's tough. I say the death penalty should be enforced much more dilegently than it is now. a wise vulcan once said the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. pretty harsh, but I think it applies here.

I guess the question would be 'What percentage of wrongly convicted persons, given the death penalty, would make us do away with it'?

As an aside I saw an interview to a California prison warden that stated it actually cost more to execute someone than it did to incarcerate them for life. This because of the appeals process and the different times in court required to actually execute. This was many years ago, and also for the state of CA so I'm not sure that holds much water anymore.

Earthling
08-19-2011, 09:56 AM
In a perfect world sure.

I'm not calling for death penalties in all murders/horrific crimes. Only the ones with enough indisputable evidence. (I know, that's all relative).

I totally agree.

Earthling
08-19-2011, 09:59 AM
With all the talk of deterrence, I would focus as well on the effect of having the death penalty to take off the table. 20-30 years, versus life, or the possibility of parole, don't have the persuasive sway that imprisonment versus death has when seeking to elicit a plea bargain.

Definitely.

blaise
08-19-2011, 10:00 AM
I guess the question would be 'What percentage of wrongly convicted persons, given the death penalty, would make us do away with it'?

As an aside I saw an interview to a California prison warden that stated it actually cost more to execute someone than it did to incarcerate them for life. This because of the appeals process and the different times in court required to actually execute. This was many years ago, and also for the state of CA so I'm not sure that holds much water anymore.

I hear that quite a bit about the cost, but most prisons have some sort of legal department on salary, so I don't know about that. It seems the legal fees would be sort of fixed for a prison. Unless they're going outside the prison and paying for attorney fees.
Even if a state had two or three lawyers dealing exclusively with death row inmates I don't see how that cost could exceed the cost of detention.
Maybe I'm missing some factor though.

Earthling
08-19-2011, 10:11 AM
I hear that quite a bit about the cost, but most prisons have some sort of legal department on salary, so I don't know about that. It seems the legal fees would be sort of fixed for a prison. Unless they're going outside the prison and paying for attorney fees.
Even if a state had two or three lawyers dealing exclusively with death row inmates I don't see how that cost could exceed the cost of detention.
Maybe I'm missing some factor though.

Yeah, it does seem kind of weird. I think I'll do some poking around on the net and see if i can get some actual numbers in that regard.

Earthling
08-19-2011, 10:27 AM
FINANCIAL FACTS ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY
• The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life.
Taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each of the state’s executions. (L.A. Times, March 6, 2005)
• In Kansas, the costs of capital cases are 70% more expensive than comparable non-capital cases, including the costs of incarceration.
(Kansas Performance Audit Report, December 2003).
• In Maryland, an average death penalty case resulting in a death sentence costs approximately $3 million. The eventual costs to
Maryland taxpayers for cases pursued 1978-1999 will be $186 million. Five executions have resulted. (Urban Institute 2008).
• The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the
costs of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. The majority of those costs occur at the trial level. (Duke University, May 1993).
• Enforcing the death penalty costs Florida $51 million a year above what it would cost to punish all first-degree murderers with life in
prison without parole. Based on the 44 executions Florida had carried out since 1976, that amounts to a cost of $24 million for each
execution. (Palm Beach Post, January 4, 2000).
• In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at
the highest security level for 40 years. (Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992).

banyon
08-19-2011, 10:52 AM
I'm in favor of a heightened burden of proof of guilt for imposing the death penalty -- Beyond ANY doubt. Not just a reasonable doubt -- NO doubt. This guy did it. The evidence is so absolutely overwhelming that there is no doubt this is the guilty person.

If you can "only" find beyond a reasonable doubt, then the cap to the sentence is life.

This is pretty much the position I was attempting to advocate, but you put it more succinctly.

ROYC75
08-19-2011, 10:57 AM
It's very sad about abortions. I have no idea why we also can't focus on criminals. What if we didn't feed them, or guards have sex with them? Are you in favor of correcting that? What if the government force feeds them experimental drugs? Can we worry about that?

This is one of the dumbest arguments I've heard in favor of the death penalty's continuation. Do you also use abortion arguments in foreign policy debates? Social security debates?

:eek: One problem at a time, please. If you want everything fixed at once, dream on. Your point was dumb, it was nothing but a liberal rant, spin the topic instead of facing it head on,because, we have so many problems in the country we'll just throw them all up in the air. :shake:

Jenson71
08-19-2011, 12:13 PM
:eek: One problem at a time, please. If you want everything fixed at once, dream on. Your point was dumb, it was nothing but a liberal rant, spin the topic instead of facing it head on,because, we have so many problems in the country we'll just throw them all up in the air. :shake:

I spinned the topic? You sure that wasn't Pete when he said that we deal with death penalty issues because, *right turn coming ahead*, abortion is legal in America?

Rain Man
08-21-2011, 08:36 AM
I'm in favor of a heightened burden of proof of guilt for imposing the death penalty -- Beyond ANY doubt. Not just a reasonable doubt -- NO doubt. This guy did it. The evidence is so absolutely overwhelming that there is no doubt this is the guilty person.

If you can "only" find beyond a reasonable doubt, then the cap to the sentence is life.


I like this.

I'm pro death penalty in concept, but we're learning the flaws in the justice system and I don't think it can be (or should be) implemented without error at this point in time without the rule that you propose.

patteeu
08-21-2011, 12:04 PM
I'm in favor of a heightened burden of proof of guilt for imposing the death penalty -- Beyond ANY doubt. Not just a reasonable doubt -- NO doubt. This guy did it. The evidence is so absolutely overwhelming that there is no doubt this is the guilty person.

If you can "only" find beyond a reasonable doubt, then the cap to the sentence is life.

No offense, but IMO this is a preposterous misunderstanding of what "beyond a reasonable doubt" means. The next step above BARD is unreasonable doubt. Believing that a demonic doppleganger took the form of the accused, committed the murder in front of a security camera, and left behind supernaturally manufactured DNA samples as evidence, while the accused was, unfortunately, sleeping alone in the next room without any corroboration is an example of unreasonable doubt and it shouldn't be enough to derail a conviction.

banyon
08-21-2011, 12:11 PM
No offense, but IMO this is a preposterous misunderstanding of what "beyond a reasonable doubt" means. The next step above BARD is unreasonable doubt. Believing that a demonic doppleganger took the form of the accused, committed the murder in front of a security camera, and left behind supernaturally manufactured DNA samples as evidence, while the accused was, unfortunately, sleeping alone in the next room without any corroboration is an example of unreasonable doubt and it shouldn't be enough to derail a conviction.

Aren't there higher burdens that could be imposed without moving to "unreasonable doubt"?

patteeu
08-21-2011, 12:18 PM
Aren't there higher burdens that could be imposed without moving to "unreasonable doubt"?

What reasonable doubt is beyond a reasonable doubt?

You might be able to educate people better on when a doubt is reasonable and when it is unreasonable, but I don't know how to do this.

banyon
08-21-2011, 12:29 PM
What reasonable doubt is beyond a reasonable doubt?

You might be able to educate people better on when a doubt is reasonable and when it is unreasonable, but I don't know how to do this.

Appellate courts make these type of rulings all the time by finding error as harmless when evidence in a case was "very strong" or "overwhelming" and overturning the case based on the error when evidence was "weak".

patteeu
08-21-2011, 02:48 PM
Appellate courts make these type of rulings all the time by finding error as harmless when evidence in a case was "very strong" or "overwhelming" and overturning the case based on the error when evidence was "weak".

I don't understand how that relates to what we're talking about. Are you saying that appellate courts overturn cases when juries apply the wrong burden of proof?

banyon
08-21-2011, 03:02 PM
I don't understand how that relates to what we're talking about. Are you saying that appellate courts overturn cases when juries apply the wrong burden of proof?

No. I am saying that in cases where juries convicted people beyond a reasonable doubt, the courts still have a way to differentiate the "strong evidence" BRD cases from the less strong.

They apply that standard sometimes when they make an error analysis.