Why I oppose the death penalty

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by CHFG8R, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. CHFG8R
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    CHFG8R Premium Member

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    First off, who suggested that Danny Rolling be allowed to "walk around?"

    I'm not sure if we're arguing past each other here or what. But, let me clarify my position. I have ZERO moral reservations about putting someone like Rolling to death. What I have a problem with is a system that cannot guarantee that everyone put to death under these circumstances is, in fact, guilty. Since there is no way to guarantee that innocent are not put to death wrongly, I say that death should be off the table until technology or whatever can put that guarantee in place. Throw in the cost savings for the taxpayers and I think the position a no-brainer. However, I must state again that 1 wrongly convicted person put to death outweighs completely any benefit to killing 100. . . 1000 Danny Rollings.

    Perhaps you take a different view. Perhaps you see the one just collateral damage for the 100-1000 DR's. I don't know, but that seems to be the point you are making (if doing so in a rather roundabout way). So maybe we agree to disagree or perhaps you will answer the following question.

    Which is worse?
    1000 Danny Rollings rotting in a prison cell for life.
    1 Wrongly Convicted (see: Innocent of crime charge) put to death.
  2. icequeen
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    icequeen Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I misunderstood, but you were making it sound like you wanted to abolish the DP because of the chance an innocent person could be executed, versus perhaps changing the application of the DP/working on the process. In that the system needs to be overhauled, then, we are both in agreement. I was just indignant and shocked, frankly, because it really did seem like you wanted to get rid of the DP entirely because of the chance an innocent person could be put to death. Frankly, and I'll repeat this, today's technology that is being used to exonerate many defendants is exactly why in the future, the incidence of wrongful death row convictions will go down and hopefully disappear.

    And, no, by Rolling "walking around" I meant living and breathing and "walking around" alive in jail. Not for one second did I think you meant for him to be free.

    As for the cost to taxpayers, maybe it's different in FL, but up here between food, guards, cable, a free degree (it's being discussed), medical care (plenty of top-notch care from what I've typed up), I'm not convinced that housing someone in said system for 40 years or so is somehow cheaper than doing the DP. Heck, think of the old days - stage, rope, chair. That's it. It's the preparation of all the processes, all the people that have to be involved, those who have to keep it "humane", etc, - THAT'S where the cost skyrockets.
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  3. CHFG8R
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    CHFG8R Premium Member

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    This is my position. Until a system can be put in place to insure that no innocent/wrongly convicted people get put to death, then I think death should be off the table. I'm not willing to risk the 1 for the emotional gratification that results in the killing of 1000 guilty.

    Now, give me a better/fullproof system, and I'm on board. But every time I see a story like this it just confirms to me that the DP - as it stands right now - is wrong.
  4. CHFG8R
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    CHFG8R Premium Member

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    Also, Ice, you haven't answered the above question. I'm not trying to trick you, I just want to know, honestly, where you stand as, IMO, as it seems this is the key component with regards to people's position on the DP.
  5. icequeen
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    icequeen Well-Known Member

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    Sorry - had to deal with my kid.

    Of course the death of an innocent person is horrible. Absolutely there need to be checks & balances, and maybe change the criteria of what merits the death penalty. But, frankly, if the person has confessed, etc a la Rolling, then there's no reason to not punish accordingly. There should never have been automatic appeals in his case, for example.

    Obviously someone protesting their innocence should have evidence made available to them, older cases should have DNA confirmation among other things now more available, etc.

    But my argument stands. Innocent people are convicted all the time of varying degrees of crimes. We cannot get rid of the penal system because an innocent person might be convicted. We can only work to reform the system, starting at the investigative level, and move up the ranks.

    So my position is, while sad, the DP is in place for a reason and should be applied to the most heinous crimes, ex, mass murders. So, yes, having 1000 Rollings around, influencing others with their writings, profiting from their crimes, etc, is way worse- think of how many copycat murders they'd inspire among other things. Considering the years on death row, it is far more likely an innocent person will be able to be exonerated.
  6. CHFG8R
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    CHFG8R Premium Member

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    Convicted is one thing. Killed is another alltogether, IMO.

    Still haven't answered the question, though. Which is worse?

    If you think it's acceptable to kill one innocent if we get 1000 bad guys and that there is a deterrence effect (I disagree that there is), then that's fine. That's the collateral damage argument. And while I am using that term for rhetorical effect, it is still an accurate description of the position.

    I mean, if we are going to make a drone strike on a known terrorist, we understand that some innocent folks may get killed too and we accept that as "collateral damage." And, you know what? Lots of folks are fine with that. I just think it's instructive to know from what place our opinions emanate and the question I asked you, IMO, really gets to the crux of why people believe what they do on the DP issue. At the very least, it gets us to the heart of the issue and away from the political talking points.
  7. icequeen
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    icequeen Well-Known Member

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    I thought I answered it on the bottom of my answer - I'd rather get the 1000 bad guys.
  8. asuragator
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    No, just the death penalty and unnecessary mass incarceration. Our system of punishment is in need of much reform, as does our entire cj system more generally speaking. Any system that allows innocent people to be executed by the state is not a very good one, especially if it's done to simply satisfy the vengeance of a few. The entire legitimacy of the system rests largely upon a fair and just distribution of punishment and as it is now, capital punishment is riddled with arbitrariness and caprice.

    But like I asked, what if the person who was executed or about to be was was a close family member of yours?
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  9. CHFG8R
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    CHFG8R Premium Member

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    This is where we are in major disagreement. I'm thinking the majority of those who signed the original Constitution would be on my side here.
  10. icequeen
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    icequeen Well-Known Member

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    I would fight for them tooth & nail, like others have done, & hopefully get them exonerated, as others have done, & if not, sue those involved & work for change.
  11. icequeen
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    icequeen Well-Known Member

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    And quite a few of them were slave owners, so I think their views from several hundred years ago on the concept of "All men created equal", on what is fair and just and sometimes necessary may be a bit skewed.

    In any event to further expound on the answer about what if it was someone I knew/loved....I sure as heck would still see and realize that the death penalty is there for a reason and that reform is needed BUT there are those that deserve the death penalty.

    And as a side, this actually DID happen in my family generations ago, as my great-grandfather was framed by his brother in the assassination attempt of the then-governor of the Dominican Republic, and he and his family had to flee to PR in the middle of the night to escape with their lives (they were warned by servants). Years later he was able to clear his name. Had he been arrested, he would have been executed. While that's scary, I sure as heck don't think the DP should be abolished. The incidence of innocents being framed/convicted is decreasing due to technology -- there's more proof needed nowadays than saying "I saw him do it".
  12. CHFG8R
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    CHFG8R Premium Member

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    Collateral Damage.

    I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this. I side with the ONE, especially when it's just as easy to lock the 1000 away for life. The "collateral damage" is not acceptable to me. But that's just me, I guess.
  13. CHFG8R
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    CHFG8R Premium Member

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    Case in point.

    http://tbo.com/news/crime/dontae-morris-sentencing-phase-begins-today-20131119/

    Would I shed a tear at the sight of this POS going down for good? No. Would I greatly enjoy the thought of him going down for good? Absolutely.

    But do I believe the satisfaction of seeing him go down for good is worth potentially risking the life of an innocent person? Absolutely not. And until that conundrum is solved, I will be opposed to the death penalty.

    Note: I was really hoping (and assumed) he would go down in a blaze of police gunfire, but unfortunately he turned himself in.
  14. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    Of course you would! :)

    I think the divergence is in recognizing that the system that leads to death sentences can never guarantee we won't get it wrong and suing would be cold comfort in the face of having had an intimate executed for a crime that they didn't commit. And while DNA has certainly helped exonerate some, it's not the panacea that you might think it is--there have been at least two major forensic labs, one in TX, and another in Mass where forensic techs have been found to regularly fake findings in helping the prosecution, not in helping the defense, and not just a few cases.

    I know your focus is on the victims--and justice for them is a big part of it--but what justice is there if we execute a factually innocent person or if the person's trial was so corrupted by violations of the law/constitution/procedures as to essentially be the same? This would mean we failed twice, once by executing the wrong person and the other by allowing a killer to escape punishment.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  15. DeanMeadGator
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    I have practiced business-related litigation for the past 40 years. Recently, I became involved in the Innocence Project and am appalled how many men have served 35 years or more only to be found innocent based on DNA evidence that was not available at the time.

    It is beyond dispute that innocent men have been executed.
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    I also oppose the death penalty-I cannot kill anything-except maybe a mosquito and that would be self defense or reflex.

    Had an incident in Paris (TN) when we were there and it broke me from wanting to see anything die-if I had to kill my dinner I would be a veggie. So, I guess in that I have some hypocrisy.

    I do not feel that way about war or self defense and maybe even stand your ground, but that has not hit home yet forme to know for sure.
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    I've killed dozens of animals for a single meal, many, many times. I can be ruthless.
  18. icequeen
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    And, again, the process needs to be revised. The technology improving to the point of exonerating people will also help in making sure the correct people are convicted. Yes, there are rogue labs that have caused issues - doesn't mean an independent lab can't be brought in as part of the process. However, I still stand by the DP in especially heinous crimes and particularly when the person has freely and practically happily admitted they did it.
  19. g8orbill
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    if I am going to be against the killing of unborn children as a Christian I cannot support killing of criminals no matter how heinous their crimes
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    I let... help my dog find and kill lizards... I'm I a bad man? I hope not.

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