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Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:28 AM

Innocent people have been executed. Execution is more expensive than life in prison.

These are facts.

Bloodlust and the desire for vengeance which often fuels it are powerful motivators, but they do not negate facts.


Exonerated After Execution: 12 Men (And One Woman) Found Innocent After Being Put to Death
http://madamenoire.com/73840/exonerated-after-execution-12-men-and-one-woman-found-innocent-after-being-put-to-death/

The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last week despite tremendous doubt about his guilt has brought the issue of capital punishment into the national spotlight. As a country that supports use of the death penalty, America is in poor company with “the world’s great dictatorships and autocracies Iran, Zimbabwe, China, North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, Belarus” according to The Atlantic — while we are supposed to be the land of the free. Far above and beyond the politically nasty associations with capital punishment is of course the moral concern over accidentally putting innocent people to death. It is likely that the average American believes this is a rare occurrence worth the social value of the death penalty as a deterrent from violent crime. Unfortunately innocent people are often placed on death row.

...



Signs Grow of Innocent People Being Executed, Judge Says
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/12/national/12DEAT.html

Afederal judge in Boston said yesterday that there was mounting evidence innocent people were being executed. But he declined to rule the death penalty unconstitutional.

"In the past decade, substantial evidence has emerged to demonstrate that innocent individuals are sentenced to death, and undoubtedly executed, much more often than previously understood," the judge, Mark L. Wolf of Federal District Court in Boston, wrote in a decision allowing a capital case to proceed to trial.

He cited the exonerations of more than 100 people on death row based on DNA and other evidence.

"The day may come," the judge said, "when a court properly can and should declare the ultimate sanction to be unconstitutional in all cases. However, that day has not yet come."

...



Innocence and the Death Penalty
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-and-death-penalty

The most recent exoneree is Damon Thibodeaux (No. 141) of Louisiana in 2012.

List of Exonerees Since 1973 (including criteria for inclusion on List)

Innocence Database Searchable database of all exonerations since 1973--allows you to search and sort for cases by year, state, race, and other variables.

Descriptions of Each Exoneration By Year of Inmate's Release:

...



This country uses the death penalty disproportionately against minorities and the poor.


When will it be enough? IMO this needs to stop, now.

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Reply Innocent people have been executed. Execution is more expensive than life in prison. (Original post)
redqueen Nov 2012 OP
Vox Moi Nov 2012 #1
redqueen Nov 2012 #5
PA Democrat Nov 2012 #2
redqueen Nov 2012 #6
ismnotwasm Nov 2012 #3
redqueen Nov 2012 #7
ismnotwasm Nov 2012 #11
redqueen Nov 2012 #15
4th law of robotics Nov 2012 #4
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #8
redqueen Nov 2012 #9
ismnotwasm Nov 2012 #10
msanthrope Nov 2012 #12
redqueen Nov 2012 #13
msanthrope Nov 2012 #18
redqueen Nov 2012 #21
Nye Bevan Nov 2012 #14
msanthrope Nov 2012 #19
ismnotwasm Nov 2012 #16
msanthrope Nov 2012 #22
ismnotwasm Nov 2012 #24
Horse with no Name Nov 2012 #26
nolabear Nov 2012 #17
redqueen Nov 2012 #27
edhopper Nov 2012 #20
redqueen Nov 2012 #28
Tommy_Carcetti Nov 2012 #23
redqueen Nov 2012 #29
Horse with no Name Nov 2012 #25
redqueen Nov 2012 #30
TBF Nov 2012 #31
redqueen Nov 2012 #32
TBF Nov 2012 #33
redqueen Nov 2012 #34

Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:43 AM

1. Killing a person who is already in jail makes no sense.

Let's face it.
We are a capital punishment society with the highest murder rate in the world.
Capital punishment is simply not effective as a deterrent to murder.
It is:
- impossible to administer fairly
- sometimes responsible for the death of innocent people
- incredibly expensive
It is a misguided act of revenge and it's about time to give it up.

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Response to Vox Moi (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:03 PM

5. It's long past time.

It was dismaying to see the ballot measure to abolish this practice failed in California.

Even moreso to see such enthusiastic support for it here today.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:47 AM

2. It is also not a deterrent.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tamar-abrams/experts-agree-death-penal_b_217394.html

Like many Americans, I have long had an uneasy sense of the death penalty in this country. In order to fully support it, you have to have complete faith in our justice system and in the value of deterrence. Recently the latter has been strongly challenged: A new study shows that 88% of the country's top criminologists do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to homicide. The study was published earlier this week in Northwestern University School of Law's Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology authored by Professor Michael Radelet, Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and Traci Lacock, an attorney and Sociology grad student in Boulder.

"Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates? The Views of Leading Criminologists," relied on questionnaires completed by the most pre-eminent criminologists in the country. Fully 75% of them agree that "debates about the death penalty distract Congress and state legislatures from focusing on real solutions to crime problems." Respondents were not asked for their personal opinions about the wisdom of the death penalty, but instead to answer the questions only on the basis of their understanding of the empirical research.

Given this latest study, it is difficult for me to see any reason for our nation to maintain a policy of executing criminals. Several men and women have been released from prison -- and death row -- over the past decade. Some were just days away from execution. But upon review of DNA and other evidence, they were determined to be innocent. If such a determination had not been made, innocent Americans would have been put to death. Right now, a man who may well be innocent, Troy Davis, is facing execution in Georgia. Seven of nine witnesses have recanted their testimony against him, but no court has ever heard his claim of innocence. Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court may, or may not, intervene to save his life.

Furthermore, the cost of executing a prisoner is far greater than keeping him in prison for life. A recent New Jersey Policy Perspectives report concluded that the state's death penalty has cost taxpayers $253 million since 1983, a figure that is over and above the costs that would have been incurred had the state utilized a sentence of life without parole instead of death.

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Response to PA Democrat (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:11 PM

6. No, it's only about vengeance.

And the fact that it's resulted in the deaths of innocent people should be all we need to know.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:51 AM

3. Agree

Although there are some crimes so heinous it seems that execution is the only fitting punishment, it's a lopsided affair and accomplishes nothing.

Life in prison without the possibility of parole, is just as effective at removing the worst of us. The problem is those grieving families who can't stand the idea of some asshole criminal living when a loved one has had life stolen in one way or another.

My SIL works in corrections in a 'special offenders' unit i.e. child molesters and rapists, the mentally ill who commit horrible cries and are deemed to dangerous for a lock down psychiatric hospital. As far as he's concerned, you could take these 'special offenders' put them in a wooden warehouse and set it on fire. He knows what they've down, and what they are capable of when they get out. And many of them WILL be released at some point. (One of the reasons I'm delighted at the legalization of marijuana passed in my state (WA) is that it will take pressure of the prison system--a deeply damaged system, and perhaps start keeping people inside who belong there and keeping people out who don't)

If we wanted a deterrent, we'd have to regress to public hanging or beheading, or cutting off various body parts, or burning people alive--/which probably wouldn't work either. It would become a new reality show.

It's a difficult emotional topic, but state sanction murder is state sanctioned murder.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:19 PM

7. There are some who are beyond any hope of rehabilitation...

Life in prison will have to suffice. It just isn't worth the risk to kill an innocent person.

It would also be nice if we could focus on rehabilitation and not just punishment, for those who could be rehabilitated.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 01:34 PM

11. The system is seriously messed up

Privatization is not helping. Neither is mandatory sentencing for certain crimes.

Eliminating the death penalty, from a pragmatic point of view and implementing life without, is as you say cost effective. If lifers are not amendable to rehabilitation, well then at least they're out of the way. And they stay that way.


My daughter worked in corrections for one year after being in the military. I can't begin to explain what a cesspool it was--not the prisoners, they are who they are, but the entire prison-industrial structure. It's a giant mess.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:00 PM

15. It's an industrial complex, fed in no small part by the drug war. nt

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:03 PM

4. Agreed

 

I think we should keep it, for really high-profile cases (like McVeigh).

But in general it makes more sense (morally, economically, etc) to simply have life sentences.

I suspect we'll get there eventually going by public opinion on the issue.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:23 PM

8. I completely agree, but it is a cultural thing here. Until we change ourselves, bloodthirsty revenge

 

and the death penalty will remain. Compare California and Texas. Both have the death penalty but they are very different cultures.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:33 PM

9. I can't get my head around it. nt

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 01:23 PM

10. Kick

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 01:43 PM

12. I think your arguments underestimate a societal need for vengeance.

I am anti-dp because I do not think that any government should have that power over its citizens, as a pure liberty issue.

That being said, when I look at the efforts of anti-dp folks who argue "well, it's just about vengeance," I sense a difficulty in confronting a societal truth--there is a need for vengeance in the body politic.


I'm not saying it's right. I'm not saying it's moral. I'm saying that until the anti-dp folks come up with an effective answer to that need, you won't to move people into a consensus.


For example, I think LWOP is a move toward addressing that need. That is a 'life for a life.'

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 01:58 PM

13. The kind of society that "needs" vengeance is a backwards one.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:04 PM

18. Welcome to America!! Look, I don't disagree with you that the elephant in the

room is backwards. But you still gotta get him out of the room.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:10 PM

21. Ah, then we agree. No more catering to this illusory "need"... what we really need

is to focus our efforts on changing society so that we are progressing and evolving toward a more equitable society (as most other countries are doing already).

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 01:59 PM

14. LWOP aka "death in prison" should be vengeance enough (nt)

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:08 PM

19. Should be, and that's why I think anti-dp advocates should do more

to push and talk about that option in the states.

Then, a comparative study of the LWOP vs. the DP prisoners should be made, focusing on court and containment costs, persons released, etc.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:00 PM

16. The topic *is* an emotional one

And I agree with you, the death penalty gives a state sanctioned right for human being(s) to murder another human being I do take issue with how distorted and convoluted our justice system is, when is comes to 'crime and punishment' The death penalty, part of a larger problem-- although certainly the most extreme, any way you look at it.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:11 PM

22. It is--therefore telling pro-DP folks they should not 'feel' a certain way is not, IMHO, an

effective counter.

I think LWOP, with strict rules and regulations available for all to see is a way to counter the emotions. If you can say "Look, this sob is gonna rot...and it's gonna be cheaper...and he's not gonna get appeal after appeal" then I think you answer the need for vengeance.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:23 PM

24. Occasionally you'll find the victim's loved ones with that exact attitude

But vengeance does seem to be satisfied far more by death. I've often wondered what would happen if family members were required to perform the final act leading to death.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:30 PM

26. It is the same need to punish those that are on public assistance

by forcing those that are in need to jump through random hoops.

Unfortunately, both of these situations have less than desired unintended consequences.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:03 PM

17. I agree. If we are known by our deeds, then I don't want to be part of a killer country.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 06:54 PM

27. When I look at the list of countries who do this...

I can't help but think this should not be so hard to change.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:10 PM

20. This

and a lack of true National Health Care are two of the reasons we are not "The greatest Country on Earth".

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Response to edhopper (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 06:55 PM

28. We have started the ball rolling on health care, at least.

We seem to have a long way to go on this issue.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:12 PM

23. Very true, and may I add....

....I find executing someone who is undisputedly guilty just as repulsive.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 06:57 PM

29. An important point.

It is sad that I felt that addressing this issue such a way would have not made much of an impact, or even been more or a hindrance than not, but oh well.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:27 PM

25. I wrote a paper on this in college

and I wish I still had the facts but it is much more expensive to mount a death penalty case than it is to imprison someone for life. And if you screw up? The person is still alive.

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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 07:00 PM

30. I think those same results have been duplicated in many studies.

And you're right... a mistake in these cases ends up with innocent people being executed. That just isn't acceptable IMO.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Nov 8, 2012, 07:00 PM

31. That is enough for me -

I wavered a bit with the Timothy McVeigh case, as that was particularly vile, but in fact if kept in prison it's less likely that his sort would become some sort of martyr. We have these for-profit prisons and I'd just as soon keep murderers in there (for cheaper than executing them) and let the MJ dealers out.

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Response to TBF (Reply #31)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 10:17 AM

32. Yeah, the drug war/prison industrial complex is a huge drain on society. nt

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Response to redqueen (Reply #32)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 11:06 AM

33. It's silly - if we regulate/tax MJ and let folks use if for medicinal purposes

at the very least we'd be making some progress.

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Response to TBF (Reply #33)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:10 PM

34. Yeah, at least that.

I'd have no problem with making it all legal and controlled. That way addicts could still have jobs and not be forced to resort to crime. And maybe it would cut down on the use of drugs like meth, bath salts, and krokodil.

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