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Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:54 PM

Reconsidering my opposition to Capital Punishment. Your thoughts welcome!

For most of my adult life I was opposed to capital punishment. Those who share this position on the issue all have their own reasons, but for me it largely came down to two things.

First, I have seen too many cases in which the justice system failed, the jury got it wrong, the evidence was flawed or doctored or inconclusive, and the defense inadequate and unprofessional. The second reason is moral and personal. I believe that a society that embraces the power to kill, even after a trial and all that, is a society that diminishes itself by devaluing life. As a liberal, I am always uneasy with government violence and power, and there can be no greater power than the power to kill.

However, I admit that the counter arguments are good ones.

The suspect gets a trial. Itís not one person deciding on his own that this suspect is guilty; itís a random group of this personís peers. The prosecution presents all of the evidence it can dredge up, and there are all kinds of rules -- all of which favor the defense -- restricting what the prosecution is allowed to present to this jury. The suspect gets to defend himself, he has a professional attorney, and we make sure of it even if he cannot afford it himself. He gets to challenge every bit of the prosecutionís evidence and witnesses, he gets to offer witnesses and experts of his own, and he gets to speak last, he is given the presumption of innocence, and he no one can compel him to speak if he chooses not to. The entire process is designed to give the defendant every conceivable advantage. Including the final decision; every person on that jury must agree the accused is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.

And if the jury does not all agree, he walks forever. Seems fair. But we donít stop there.

If, after all that, the suspect is found guilty, before we execute anyone, we give him or her the chance to appeal over and over and over again. They can try to poke holes in any aspect of how the trial was conducted, and if they win even ONE of these appeals, the whole process starts over. With a system like that in place to protect the innocent, the people in favor of capital punishment have a strong case that the system is fine as is.

Yet even with all that, as impossible as it seems, we still make mistakes. It is not even a rare thing; we get it wrong all the time. All that and we still get it wrong and kill the wrong people. But there is an answer.

President Obama has proposed a BETTER solution, and one that has caused me to rethink my opposition to capital punishment.

First, he dispenses with these juries. Seeing how often they get it wrong, this is the perfect place to start. He dispenses with defense witnesses, defense cross examination, and even a defense altogether. This eliminates a great deal of time and cost and confusion. If you want the best results you need to have experts decide these things. He dispenses with the judge, and with him goes all those rules and time wasting formalities. He dispenses with appeals, and the years those can add to the process. And were that all not enough, for humanitarian reasons (to spare the poor bloke the stress and worry) he has proposed that we not even inform the suspect that he is on trial for his life.

President Obamaís system is simple, efficient, inexpensive, and humanitarian. It works like this:

A government official, in secret, reviews the information we have available, makes a decision on whether this suspect is a bad guy or not, and if he decides he is, the suspect and everyone in the general area are then blown into chunks of screaming steaming hamburger.

Thatís it. Simplicity itself.

We donít waste time and money on a trial, we donít waste time and money on a defense, we donít have any silly appeals, the bad guy never even knows its coming. Where all that not enough, no one is ever told. All of this nasty business takes place in secret, you arenít even allowed to ask about it, and the good people in the public remain untroubled by the messy but necessary business of keeping America safe from bad guys.

Best of all, this new system is PERFECT! To date there has not been a single mistake. Every person obliterated in this way has been guilty of either committing a crime or potentially, one day, at some point, committing a crime. And this applies as well to the bad guyís accomplices in the blast zone.

Therefore, with this in mind, I have reconsidered my previous opposition to capital punishment, and I salute President Obama for his bold solution to this problem.

Thanks for reading!

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply Reconsidering my opposition to Capital Punishment. Your thoughts welcome! (Original post)
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 OP
KansDem Feb 2013 #1
white_wolf Feb 2013 #2
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #7
ashling Feb 2013 #3
libdem4life Feb 2013 #4
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #11
Deep13 Feb 2013 #5
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #8
Deep13 Feb 2013 #9
Kalidurga Feb 2013 #6
hughee99 Feb 2013 #10
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #14
Catherina Feb 2013 #12
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #13

Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:06 PM

1. Bush said he got the intel "wrong"...

A government official, in secret, reviews the information we have available, makes a decision on whether this suspect is a bad guy or not, and if he decides he is, the suspect and everyone in the general area are then blown into chunks of screaming steaming hamburger.



(0'20")

In fact, Bush said intelligence agencies "all over the world" got it wrong...

Are we to believe the "government official" of your post will get the intel "right?"

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:07 PM

2. I'm assuming this is sarcasm and if so it's brilliant. n/t

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:23 PM

7. Thanks, I appreciate it :)

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:08 PM

3. Sometimes the sarcasm is so obvious that

it is not at all obvious.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:15 PM

4. Like the mix of part satire, part real, part snark...at least that's how I read it

with lots of food for thought. Well done.

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:44 PM

11. Thanks!

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:18 PM

5. FYI, those rules also restrict what the defense can introduce too. nt

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:25 PM

8. Sounds complex.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #8)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:28 PM

9. It is, but it is ultimately weighted to the state.

The justification is that the state must prove guilt and obtain a death vote beyond reasonable doubt.

That's a side note. I see the OP's point, of course.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:18 PM

6. When capital punishment just isn't enough...

get your extra judicial capital punishment... It's just like regular capital punishment, but with the potential for several innocent bystanders also being executed and without the unnecessary complications of a trial and everything.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:35 PM

10. It also saves money on other things...

we don't have to provide food, shelter, clothing, transportation or even guards for the person before the execution.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:42 AM

14. good point! nt

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Response to Demo_Chris (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:12 PM

12. You're right. I'm all for this simple perfection

and what could be simpler than installing drone-architect John Brennan as CIA chief?

Thanks for making me see the light.

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Response to Catherina (Reply #12)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:17 PM

13. Heh-heh :)

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