As soon as I mentally turn the corner on the death penalty

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by gatorman_07732, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Minister_of_Information
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    Minister_of_Information I'm your huckleberry Premium Member

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    jdr, I didn't click your link, but I am well aware of The Innocence Project and the large number of DNA exonerations, and that is part of my thought process. The question here as I see it is less one of adding more do-overs but of getting it right in the first place. Perhaps if consequences were real and immediate rather than abstract and uncertain, the jurors might approach their deliberations with more gravity and circumspection, the judge might take extra care to be impartial, the prosecutor might consider with more depth whether capital punishment is appropriate to seek under the circumstances. As I said, I would put all of their hands on the button; their moral culpability would be absolute rather than yet another impersonal systemic abstraction. As I see it, the imposition of the death sentence is a highly personal act of retribution, it is not merely an institutional punishment. It is only this absolute personal culpability that provides the possibility of just capital punishment. Treated as an institutional punishment it cannot help but be inhuman and unjust.
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  2. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    I actually didn't post it for the innocence project (I assumed you are well read about it), but for the specific case of Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed in Texas in 2005. I completely agree with you about holding folks more responsible for their decisions in capital punishment trials because it would make them more morally culpable and it would be less impersonal...as it should be when someone's life is truly on the line. I also recognize that what you propose upholds a key tenet of the deterrence doctrine.

    However, I am certain we could never create a system which could fully protect against wrongful executions except one without the death penalty. And as such, whatever benefits we'd receive from shortening the time frame from sentence to punishment would be undermined by the reality that our system is too flawed for it to happen b/c humans are flawed and because it would still take years for the necessary evidence that can show factual innocence to come to light...if it ever does.
  3. Spurffelbow833
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    Spurffelbow833 Premium Member

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  4. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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  5. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    http://www3.law.columbia.edu/hrlr/ltc/

    Carlos DeLuna is, in my opinion, the best proven case that I have seen of an innocent man being executed. Texas executed him in 1989 for murdering a gas station clerk in 1983, and Columbia Human Rights Law Review recently did a 6 year study that went back over the case in full and then dedicated an entire volume of the journal (a book length publication) to laying out the case in full and his innocence. The linked website has the full report and all of the evidence, both, from the case and cited in the report - including videos of all the interviews they did - posted where you can review it.
  6. Minister_of_Information
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    Minister_of_Information I'm your huckleberry Premium Member

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    I never said it was realistic, but then again when is MoI's dictatorship ever going to come to fruition? :wave::grin:

    I also don't really buy the deterrent value of capital punishment either (and I imagine that you question it as well, though you are too polite to say so here), although that is certainly an argument used to justify capital punishment. Clearly, innocent people have been executed and are on death row currently. This is true of any system involving capital punishment administered by human hands: innocent people are going to die. I think by personalizing it in a thought experiment / impractical exercise such as I have presented, it raises the question to a fine point of whether its current ubiquity is truly supportable from an ethical standpoint. Although I do not support capital punishment as currently implemented in the US, and do not foresee that I would under any likely circumstances, still I must acknowledge that certain crimes warrant the ultimate act of retribution. And impractical as it would be, if a judge jury and prosecutor were confident enough in the outcome of a trial to place their hand on the lever, and if we as citizens had the courage to witness the spectacle in public, then I could find that arrangement just in a normative sense (if someone dies unjustly, at least the stain attends to particular persons and officers of the court). But sentencing people to death and leaving them to rot for 20 years on death row and chalking it up to 'the system' is not a humane situation -- in my view.
  7. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    Really? Why did they need to beat him to death then? I think there is a little more a play here other than robbing him for his cash. Robbery is one thing and bludgeoning someone to death is quite another.
  8. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, we are in the age of cable television and legal libraries in prison. You know the whole cruel and unusual punishment thing....can't have none of that can we?
  9. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    Wait, you're in favor of cruel and unusual punishment?
  10. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    Unless you think labor of prisoners is cruel and unusual punishment I think my post went over you head
  11. MichaelJoeWilliamson
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    MichaelJoeWilliamson Well-Known Member

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    Balko wrote extensively about that case on his Blog. One of the many examples where it appears that the whole legal system failed a young man, including and maybe especially police officers.

    I am of the opinion that when more than one armed police officer serves a warrant, then one should be wearing a helmet cam and microphone.

    Under those circumstances, everybody is safer.
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  12. g8tr80
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    g8tr80 Well-Known Member

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    His case was overturned on appeal. Isn't that how the system is supposed to work?

    Given your "best argument" definition, I had expected Maye to have been executed, not released.
  13. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    I agree, this is a complete non-argument because he was never executed. The system worked in this case.

  14. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    Nothing went over my head there, it was just a scrambled thought - you're saying it's NOT cruel and unusual but you're complaining they can't do it because of rules against cruel and unusual punishment.

    Just seems like misplaced blame.

    Emotion tends to do that in a lot of these cases, particularly when you hear responses like "string 'em up" or "burn 'em at the stake" or whatever your insides tell you would be satisfying punishment without monkeying with that whole "rule of law" our founding fathers valued so dearly.
  15. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    It's also not a claim of actual innocence at all. I disagree about that one being a great example.

    But if you're issue is that he wasn't executed, look up Carlos DeLuna (or poke around the link I posted above).

    Was executed, is a claim of actual factual innocence, and is a pretty compellingly proven one IMO.
  16. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    How do you think of this gibberish :laugh:
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  17. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    I never implied there have never been mistakes in the system, as we know our system is not perfect however good it is. I'm just pointing out, as someone else did, the example used was not a supportive of the argument the poster intended. I go back and forth on this argument in my head and if there is justification of the death penalty this just might be it when two young thugs beat an 88 year old man to death.
  18. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    Explain what's gibberish? Emotional responses to crimes instead of rational responses is "gibberish" to you?
  19. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    I was commenting on another posters comment on labor of prisoners and you started with your tirade of ridiculous posts about scrambled thought and "string 'em up" or "burn 'em at the stake". If you consider putting prisoners to work cruel and unusual punishment then your thought process is soft and probably the same reason prisoners enjoy such luxuries as cable TV, weight lifting and law libraries.
  20. Spurffelbow833
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    No, that is not how the system is supposed to work. It's supposed to be about justice, not about using the system to issue vendettas. He shouldn't have gone to prison at all. He was sentenced to death for killing in self-defense because the person he killed was the police chief's son. A dangerous and disgusting mix of misconduct and incompetence led to a conviction on a charge that never should have survived the indictment process. There should be no opportunity in the system for something like this to happen, ever. As long as corruptible individuals pollute the system, and they always will, the only way to prevent it is to abolish the death penalty.

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