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Topic: Getting Rid of the Death Penalty, A Step in the Right Direction!< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 11:31 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here is the statement from the Maryland Governor, clearly explaining why Maryland has now repealed the death penalty in their state:

In Maryland, we govern by results: when a public policy works, we choose to invest in it. On the other hand, when a public policy does not produce results, we invest our limited resources instead in things that are proven to work.

Capital punishment is expensive and the overwhelming evidence tells us that it does not work as a deterrent.
Continue Reading

Therefore, rather than continuing to throw taxpayers’ money at an ineffective death penalty, our state has chosen – with bipartisan support – to replace capital punishment with a more effective and cost efficient public policy: life without parole. We are the first state below the Mason-Dixon line to do so, but I believe other states will follow suit.

Capital punishment is not a deterrent, it is not fool-proof, it is administered with great racial disparity, it costs three times as much as life without parole, and there is no way to reverse a mistake when an innocent person is wrongly convicted.

In 2011, the average murder rate in states where there is a death penalty was 4.9 per 100,000 people. In states without it, the murder rate was lower. It was 4.1 per 100,000 people.


Between 2000 and 2011, an average of 5 death row inmates were exonerated every year. In Maryland, between 1995 and 2007, our state’s reversal rate for the death penalty was 80 percent.
Between 2000 and 2011, an average of 5 death row inmates were exonerated every year. In Maryland, between 1995 and 2007, our state’s reversal rate for the death penalty was 80 percent.


http://www.politico.com/story....72.html


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 11:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlj45jggj/7-baltimore/

We can argue the merits of repealing the death penalty if people would like, but I find it amusing that our Governor is claiming Baltimore as a success.  It may not lead the nation in violence, but it's number 7 in 2012.  I'm having no luck finding our violent crime rankings for last year and I'd be lying if I said I remember them.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 11:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wwwest @ Mar. 19 2013, 11:31 am)
QUOTE
Here is the statement from the Maryland Governor, clearly explaining why Maryland has now repealed the death penalty in their state:

In Maryland, we govern by results: when a public policy works, we choose to invest in it. On the other hand, when a public policy does not produce results, we invest our limited resources instead in things that are proven to work.

Capital punishment is expensive and the overwhelming evidence tells us that it does not work as a deterrent.
Continue Reading

Therefore, rather than continuing to throw taxpayers’ money at an ineffective death penalty, our state has chosen – with bipartisan support – to replace capital punishment with a more effective and cost efficient public policy: life without parole. We are the first state below the Mason-Dixon line to do so, but I believe other states will follow suit.

Capital punishment is not a deterrent, it is not fool-proof, it is administered with great racial disparity, it costs three times as much as life without parole, and there is no way to reverse a mistake when an innocent person is wrongly convicted.

In 2011, the average murder rate in states where there is a death penalty was 4.9 per 100,000 people. In states without it, the murder rate was lower. It was 4.1 per 100,000 people.


Between 2000 and 2011, an average of 5 death row inmates were exonerated every year. In Maryland, between 1995 and 2007, our state’s reversal rate for the death penalty was 80 percent.
Between 2000 and 2011, an average of 5 death row inmates were exonerated every year. In Maryland, between 1995 and 2007, our state’s reversal rate for the death penalty was 80 percent.


http://www.politico.com/story....72.html

One thing we may agree on.

Death penalty is the easy and expensive way out;

http://solitarywatch.com/2013....n-death


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 12:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I can support the death penalty -- if it is meted out fairly, consistently and timely.  So, death penalty in certain countries -- yes, if also supported locally -- but not here in our United States. The death penalty here is meted out almost haphazardly -- and once sentenced, the appeals process then becomes ridiculously long and expensive.

Death penalty in its current state here in the US?  I say get rid of it entirely.  I've always held a semi-dim view of our court system -- and esp. our jury system.  Yeah, good enough for most run-of-the-mill cases.  But I DO NOT see our system as anywhere good enough for handing down something as serious and final as the death penalty.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 8:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I support capital punishment IF there is hard visual evidence of the crime being committed and/or the person is caught in the act. Execution on circumstantial evidence alone is wrong.
----------------------------------------------------

The defense lawyer is summing up and loudly proclaims "My client is innocent and the real murderer will walk through that door at any moment!" as he turns and points. The entire jury turns and looks the door as the defense says "See? There is doubt in your minds about his guilt!". The jury goes off but comes back with 'guilty'. The lawyer is livid and shouts "How could you? You all looked when I pointed at the door!"
The jury foreman says "Yes we did but your client didn't."


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 8:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Totally agree. The death penalty is scary when convictions are weak and lengthy, sketchy evidence.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 8:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The problem with conviction on circumstantial evidence aside -- is spotty conviction even with evidence!  General sentiment still, this day and age:

1.  Black guy - kill him.
2.  White gal - put her in prison -- she'll suffer more that way.

Translation:  white gals have functioning conscience but black dudes are just animals.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 9:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I vote NO for the death penalty.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 19 2013, 9:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 19 2013, 8:56 pm)
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The problem with conviction on circumstantial evidence aside -- is spotty conviction even with evidence!  General sentiment still, this day and age:

1.  Black guy - kill him.
2.  White gal - put her in prison -- she'll suffer more that way.

Translation:  white gals have functioning conscience but black dudes are just animals.

Right, that's what makes it difficult to defend.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 8:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I had an interesting insight into this last night.  A friend of mine is the son of a retired prosecutor and I had dinner with their family last night.  His Dad's take on it was that in all of his years, he'd never had a case where the death penalty was handed down.  For murder cases though, it was frequently the starting place for his plea bargain negotiations in clear cut cases.  His goal was to start there and "deal" down to life without parole.  His fear is that now prosecutors will have to start at "life without" and deal down to "life with parole" and murderers will be out in under 20 years.

MD is an interesting state politically.  We are the far end of the left wing for social issues and Governor O'Malley is pushing hard to line up to the left for the 2016 Presidential run.  

To understand our criminal laws, there are a few folks you'd need to know other than the Governor.  The Chairman of the MD Senate Judicial Proceedings Commitee is Senator Brian Frosh.  This is his law firm: http://www.karpfrosh.com/firm-overview/ Senator Frosh has a long record of opposing minimum sentencing, favoring gun control and opposing measures to remove "good conduct" credits for prisioners convicted of violent crimes.  He is known in MD for his frequent use of the desk drawer veto and controversial legislation is frequently sent through his committee just to ensure it never sees a vote.

Our Attorney General of many years was Joseph Curran.  Uncle Joe is the father of state District Court Judge Katie O'Malley, making the Governor his son-in-law.  Curran was in this position for many years and many of our laws bear his prints.  He has not agreed with his son-in-law at every turn and that has been more evident in recent years.  He left office in 2006 as Martin O'Malley ran for (and won) the Governor's Mansion. Senator Frosh has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run at the AG seat.

The current AG is Doug Gansler.  He's a solid ideological match for Governor O'Malley and has higher ambitions.  He was the first MD politician to endorse President Obama's run in 2008 as I recall.  My guess is that he's playing a big role in helping to chart Governor O'Malley's path forward.  There is VERY rarely any public disagreement between the two men.

The last one is the wild card.  Joseph F. Vallario, Jr is the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.  He's been in office since 1975 and Chair in judiciary since 1993.  He knows that he's risen as far as he ever will and holds no ambitions to go higher.  He's a practical man that enjoys knowing that EVERYONE needs to be nice to him to move criminal law through the House.  Having testified in his committee, I've found him to be fair and open minded, even if he doesn't agree with the witness.  He owes nothing to anyone and can hold his seat as long as he wants.  I generally feel that he will support law, even if personally disagreeing with the issue.

The last big thing to know about our politics is that MD is a closed syetem.  It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.  The political power comes from wealthy Montgomery County, poor Prince Georges County and blue collar union Democrats in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  For many years, the Catholic Church held enormous sway, especially within the Baltimore voting blocks but that has erroded in the face of the modern Democratic Party over issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.  The Prince Georges County delegation represents heavily African-American communities and is not always a reliable push on socially liberal matters where their strong churches will hold sway as happened with same-sex marriage laws a few years back.  It wasn't until after President Obama personally endorsed the concept that PG County swung and the measure geanied enough traction to reach referendum and eventual passage.  The mayor of Baltimore has been the jump off point for many recent governors, but watch for that to not continue in 2014 as the current mayor is not popular outside of Baltimore and only came to power after scandle drove the previous mayor from office.  Lt. Governor Anthony Brown is a strong candidate for 2014 although I'm not sure that AG Gansler has ruled out a run and he could probably beat the little known Lt. Governor Brown.  

Far more than most of you ever cared to know, but that's my insight as a political junkie in Maryland.  In much of the country I'd be considered a moderate but I'm a conservative by MD standards and that doubtlessly colors my views.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 8:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's an interesting observation and adds to the difficulty of the situation. In a case where there are multiple witnesses and positive identification, the death penalty should be appropriate. But lately we have seen so many people released from prison due to advancements in DNA testing, one could shudder to think of how many innocent people have been executed.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 8:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I could do the research, but I don't recall the last person that was executed in Maryland.  I think it was during Governor Ehrlich's tenure from 2002-2006.  It hasn't been a common occurence, that's for sure.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 10:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 19 2013, 11:45 am)
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I can support the death penalty -- if it is meted out fairly, consistently and timely.  So, death penalty in certain countries -- yes, if also supported locally -- but not here in our United States. The death penalty here is meted out almost haphazardly -- and once sentenced, the appeals process then becomes ridiculously long and expensive.

Death penalty in its current state here in the US?  I say get rid of it entirely.  I've always held a semi-dim view of our court system -- and esp. our jury system.  Yeah, good enough for most run-of-the-mill cases.  But I DO NOT see our system as anywhere good enough for handing down something as serious and final as the death penalty.

Pretty much I agree with Ben on this.

While the death penalty in theory sounds good; the actual application of it has been anything but good.

Our government and our "peers" are not trustworthy enough to entrusted with that responsibility.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 10:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montecresto @ Mar. 20 2013, 8:36 am)
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That's an interesting observation and adds to the difficulty of the situation. In a case where there are multiple witnesses and positive identification, the death penalty should be appropriate. But lately we have seen so many people released from prison due to advancements in DNA testing, one could shudder to think of how many innocent people have been executed.

Definitely don't agree often here, but you can't deny the fact that the court system isn't perfect, and that mistakes are made.  One innocent life is one too many.  Total agreement here.

Where I fall off a little is with those who commit the most deadly of crimes.  It allows criminals who take the life/lives of others and get to roam free (even if it's within a jail cell) while the family(ies) suffer for the rest of their lives.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 10:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The death penalty is not punishment, it is an escape. Life in solitary is punishment. Don't take my word for it read what a prisoner said:

"William Blake, in prison for killing a police officer, said his 26 years behind bars have been far worse than death itself. In an essay recognized by the Yale Law Jorunal's Prison Law Writing Contest, Blake talks about how he's never seen a phone or TV since the '80s.
A murderer's tormented mind, battered by boredom, opened up about his agonizing loneliness in an essay that explains his psychological trek in life-long solitary confinement, or as prisoners call it, the box.

"If I try to imagine what kind of death, even a slow one, would be worse than twenty-five years in the box — and I have tried to imagine it — I can come up with nothing," said William Blake, a prisoner at Elmira Correctional Facility in south central New York state.

In 1987, Blake was simply a 23-year-old facing a drug charge in court. But that all changed after a failed escape attempt. The young man snatched a deputy's gun, wounded one officer and gunned down another, for which he received 77 years to life in prison.

"What nobody knew or suspected back then, not even I, on that very day I would begin suffering a punishment that I am convinced beyond all doubt is far worse than any death sentence could possibly have been," Blake said.

The Yale Law Journal selected his essay “A Sentence Worse than Death” for an honorable mention in their Prison Law Writing Contest of about 1,500 applicants.


Blake said that he has read studies on the effects of long-term isolation and witnessed fellow inmates descend into madness.

"What I've never seen the experts write about, though, is what year after year of abject isolation can do to that immaterial part in our middle where hopes survive or die and the spirit resides," he wrote.

Blake described the Special Housing Unit: 23-hour lockdown in a cell with one hour for "recreation," which he encloses in scare quotes.

"There is nothing in a SHU yard but air," he said, "no TV, no balls to bounce, no games to play, no other inmates, nothing. There is very little allowed in a SHU cell, also."

Blake is a prisoner at the Elmira Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

He insisted that outsiders might think they have experienced boredom but that they cannot truly understand the type of boredom he endures constantly. A day of boredom on the outside, he said, would be a "whirlwind of activity" for him.

"You could turn on a TV and watch a movie or some other show," he said. "I haven't seen a TV since the 1980s. You could go for a walk in the neighborhood; I can't walk more than a few feet in any direction before I run into a concrete wall or steel bars.

"You could pick up your phone and call a friend; I don't know if I'd be able to remember how to make a collect call or even if the process is still the same, so many years it's been since I've used a telephone."

Even insignificant things become extraordinary after being disconnected from them for such a long time, Blake writes.

He has difficulty distinguishing the passing days, or years.

"SHU is a timeless place, and I can honestly say that there is not a single thing I'd see looking around right now that is different from what I saw in Shawangunk Correctional Facility's box when I first arrived there from Syracuse's county jail in 1987."


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news....5kWau00
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 10:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For murder cases though, it was frequently the starting place for his plea bargain negotiations in clear cut cases.

Ah, but there is the rub, there are two main flaws in this reasoning:

1.  Every case they charge is "clear cut" in the eyes and minds of the prosecutors, no matter how flimsy the real evidence may be.  Media coverage and public outrage at the crime has much more to do with death penalty charges than does the clarity of the evidence.

2.  There is huge coercion in the mind of the accused when he/she is facing the death penalty, and this pressure is even more for those who know that they are innocent, and by pleading guilty they can extend their lives in the hope that real evidence, i.e. DNA, will clear them at sometime in the future.

Why is it not best that prosecutors be saddled with the necessity to charge crimes that they actually have the evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and stop all this gross over charging which is the norm now?


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 11:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have yet to see any convincing evidence that the death penalty is a significant deterrent for would-be murderers.  So a death penalty is more about revenge than it is about deterring heinous crimes.  I have no interest in supporting revenge killing.

Sentencing one to death costs far more than imprisoning them for life does.  Why would I support spending more tax money to kill someone?

Executions have and potentially will be carried out on innocent people as long as the death penalty exists.  The death of ONE innocent person is reason enough to do away with the death penalty.

Do we really want the state to be an executioner?  I like to think we have evolved beyond the middle ages.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 11:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I keep hoping that we will make that kind of progress as a society, and there are some encouraging signs these days.  But we still have a long way to go, IMO.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 11:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Mar. 20 2013, 11:09 am)
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Do we really want the state to be an executioner?  I like to think we have evolved beyond the middle ages.

Not what I'm suggesting at all.  

However, permanent incarceration to the leader of a gang, for instance, (i.e. mafia in the old days, crips/bloods/latin kings of today) does almost nothing.  They are able to continue to give orders, run the gang, etc.  Some would argue that since they've adjusted better to life in prison than the outside world.  So in that case, they really aren't "punished" for their crimes.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 11:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(EastieTrekker @ Mar. 20 2013, 8:21 am)
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(hbfa @ Mar. 20 2013, 11:09 am)
QUOTE
Do we really want the state to be an executioner?  I like to think we have evolved beyond the middle ages.

Not what I'm suggesting at all.  

However, permanent incarceration to the leader of a gang, for instance, (i.e. mafia in the old days, crips/bloods/latin kings of today) does almost nothing.  They are able to continue to give orders, run the gang, etc.  Some would argue that since they've adjusted better to life in prison than the outside world.  So in that case, they really aren't "punished" for their crimes.

Loss of freedom is punishment no matter how much one adjusts to it.

Prison operations could be improved to to significantly reduce a gang leaders ability to run a gang from inside.  I would be in favor of prison reforms which would make such actions far more difficult.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 11:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think that you need to visit some prisons, especially the maximum security prisons where life without parole murderers are housed.

They are not country club prisons, and they are not medium security drug dens where most of the gang members are housed.  

Volunteer for month in a max security, even as a guard, and see whether you find it to be punishment enough to spend the remainder of your life there.  Just sayn'


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(wwwest @ Mar. 20 2013, 11:29 am)
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I think that you need to visit some prisons, especially the maximum security prisons where life without parole murderers are housed.

They are not country club prisons, and they are not medium security drug dens where most of the gang members are housed.  

Volunteer for month in a max security, even as a guard, and see whether you find it to be punishment enough to spend the remainder of your life there.  Just sayn'

I have no illusions of a prison system based on HBO's "Oz".  And I don't disagree that for the most part, the death penalty as it is in place in this country can be ineffective and worse inaccurate.

It has nothing to do with my perception of prisons.  It has more to do with the fact that punishment meted out by our courts for homicide can be inconsistent.  What's more, some who do get an appropriate sentence for murder are eventually released for "good behavior" or "rehabilitation".  Yet the victim's family doesn't get any sort of similar relief.

I just don't really see the justice in that.  If we exchanged the death penalty for mandatory life sentences without the opportunity for parole in the case of a homicide, I could buy into that movement.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 12:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You make a good point, and I could even agree with you on that solution if it were the needed quid pro quo in abolishing the death penalty in America.  Innocents who were wrongly convicted would still have the possibility to prove said innocence and they would be alive to do so.

But I don't think it is an ideal solution, as nearly all solutions are not.  A great many, nearly all, murders are committed by one family member, or significant other against another, and in many of these cases the killer will never be a threat to any other person, certainly not to the public at large, and after an appropriate, long stay in prison for that bad act, some of these people would be better off as working, tax paying citizens for the remainder of their lives, rather than being a burden on the taxpayers, IMO.

There is also a significant number of these family killers who have serious sociopathic values and behaviors, and along with paid killers and hate killers, these people should never be eligible for parole as long as they live.

Can't we use the big brains and deal with complex problems in a complex way??


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 12:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(EastieTrekker @ Mar. 20 2013, 8:50 am)
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 If we exchanged the death penalty for mandatory life sentences without the opportunity for parole in the case of a homicide, I could buy into that movement.

That would be my vote.

Some criminals do not deserve to see freedom ever again.  But killing them just doesn't make sense.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 20 2013, 9:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Mar. 19 2013, 11:45 am)
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I can support the death penalty -- if it is meted out fairly, consistently and timely.  So, death penalty in certain countries -- yes, if also supported locally -- but not here in our United States. The death penalty here is meted out almost haphazardly -- and once sentenced, the appeals process then becomes ridiculously long and expensive.

Death penalty in its current state here in the US?  I say get rid of it entirely.  I've always held a semi-dim view of our court system -- and esp. our jury system.  Yeah, good enough for most run-of-the-mill cases.  But I DO NOT see our system as anywhere good enough for handing down something as serious and final as the death penalty.

Well, arent you the two face monkey boy?

So you want government in every womans vagina to make sure that no fetus is touched but you believe the same government is not smart enough to kill the ones you deem worth it?


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 21 2013, 2:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Mar. 20 2013, 11:09 am)
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I have yet to see any convincing evidence that the death penalty is a significant deterrent for would-be murderers.  So a death penalty is more about revenge than it is about deterring heinous crimes.  I have no interest in supporting revenge killing.

Sentencing one to death costs far more than imprisoning them for life does.  Why would I support spending more tax money to kill someone?

Executions have and potentially will be carried out on innocent people as long as the death penalty exists.  The death of ONE innocent person is reason enough to do away with the death penalty.

Do we really want the state to be an executioner?  I like to think we have evolved beyond the middle ages.

Not necessarily, if done right, and it isn't, the death penalty would be quick, inexpensive and would be a deterrent. But should only be used when there is more than one witness and overwhelming evidence exists.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 21 2013, 8:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I support the Death Penalty and would also like to see it replace the "Three Strike Felony Rule".  The only problem with the death penalty is how it is executed.  

I think the victim, or if unavailable the victims family should be able to pick out how the execution is handled and should have first dibs on carrying it out.

Might be more effective if rather then facing the thought of going to sleep and passing away quietly, you might wind up having your victims brother, father, or husband beat you to death with a ball bat, working his way up from your feet.

As for wrongful death row convictions over the years, maybe 150 or so, but of that 150, many were a technicality, a few may not have been guilty of the crime for which they received the death penalty, but had multiple felony convictions and were far from innocent.

Unlike the thousands of victims at the hands of repeat offender criminals, of which the majority are actually innocent.  Pedophiles have a recidivism rate of over 50 percent.  Recidivism rates among criminals runs at almost 70 percent.

Might there have been some "innocent" people wrongfully executed......maybe a couple, but there thousands who have died at the hands of criminals released..........nothing is perfect, but seems to be an easy decision for me.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 21 2013, 10:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Perhaps there could be a greater conversation than just killing prisoners or setting them free...

http://www.dhammabrothers.com/index.htm

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An overcrowded, violent maximum-security prison, the end of the line in Alabama's prison system, is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence live over 1,500 prisoners, many of whom will never again know life in the outside world. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximum-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding program of silent meditation lasting ten days and requiring 100 hours of meditation.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 21 2013, 10:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Wailer @ Mar. 21 2013, 10:53 am)
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Perhaps there could be a greater conversation than just killing prisoners or setting them free...

http://www.dhammabrothers.com/index.htm

QUOTE
An overcrowded, violent maximum-security prison, the end of the line in Alabama's prison system, is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program. Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence live over 1,500 prisoners, many of whom will never again know life in the outside world. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximum-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding program of silent meditation lasting ten days and requiring 100 hours of meditation.

Forgive my pessimism, but meditation?

I mean we are discussing options between put to death and freedom, via life imprisonment (of course with the flexibility for judges to adjust that sentence dependent on the circumstances).

My problem with something like meditation for rehabilitation is that criminals are not automatically idiots.  It could be very easy for someone to exploit that system.  In fact, even without an additional meditation program to cost taxpayers more money, prisoners already play nice-nice and claim to be rehabbed only to re-offend upon release.

I don't doubt that it could serve some small purpose for some inmates, but I don't even have time in my day for that, why should a murderer be afforded that benefit?

ETA: I mean the website you linked to is selling DVD's and pitching their "story", so of course they're going to claim it had dramatic results, else why would you want to buy the DVD and watch such a transformation?


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 21 2013, 11:02 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

The evidence is world wide, and overwhelming, that the death penalty has almost zero effect as a deterrent, no matter where it is applied, no matter how fast or slow the penalty, and no matter what method of killing is used by the state in question.

If you think about it for a minute, and think about yourself in the place of the killer, because we all have that potential, you will surely see that being threatened with death at some unknown time and place in the future has absolutely no impact on your behavior in the moment of killing.

I can see four categories of killer, in general:

1.  The enraged husband, wife, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, child, boss, fellow employee or close relative who has lost emotional control due to some real or imagined wrong, usually developed over a long period of time, and in the moment of rage strikes out with a weapon that results in death of the hated object.  There is no thought of future punishment, and in fact, after realizing what they have done, many of these people want to die themselves.

2.  The sociopathic and psychopathic killers who are so anti-social, and so mentally driven that killing is the only, or one of the only, pleasures they have in life.  Nothing can stop them from killing, no inner compulsion, no empathy because they have none, no social or religious rules, nothing.  Least of all the threat of death.

3.  Paid killers who are sociopathic but channel their comfort with killing another human being into a way of getting rich, or at least getting highly paid for a pleasureable activity.  They are focussed on their goals, and the threat that someone might kill them for their lucrative career seems unlikely, and much less motivating than the money and the pleasure.  These are the worst, because they combine the first two categories, and will kill anybody provided someone will pay them for it.

4.  Gang bangers, many of whom are somewhat sociopathic or psychopathic, but being motivated by group emotions and rewards, mostly killing each other and only accidentally killing a few innocent bystanders who get in the way of their mob activities.  They know that they are very unlikely to get the death penalty for killing another gang banger, and that is all they ever intend to kill, so the death penalty is usually not even on their radar.

So nobody who gets to the point of being compelled to kill another human being is going to even consider the death penalty as part of their picture, they are just focussed on killing the victim in front of them at the time.

The death penalty is a huge waste of money, and holds a false promise of revenge for the loved ones of some of the victims.

If a family really, truly wants revenge, then that family member should go and kill the one who killed their loved one, and then suffer the consequence of serving life in prison.  

That is revenge, the death penalty with a state executioner is not.  JMO


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"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

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