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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:54 AM
Original message
Death penalty opponents: I'd like your opinion
I'm not a death penalty advocate; in fact I tend to opppose it. However, this story is a real event that happened to someone I knew. I'm merely curious as to what opinion opponents of the death penalty have after reading it.

http://www.press-enterprise.com/newsarchive/1999/11/23/...

My niece's best friend was Tricia Powalka, who lived in Riverside, California and had a 7-month-old baby. She was 19 when this happened. On August 10, 1995, she had 2 female teenage friends visiting and they also had 2 male friends of theirs (not boyfriends of any of them). The girls were aged 19, 15 and 12. Apparently there was some drug use among the male guests, and one of the two passed out completely.

The other one, Richard Lonnie Booker, 18 at the time, apparently attempted to rape the 12-year old girl, and she refused and fought back, but was stabbed to death by him. The other 2 girls also fought against the attack but both were stabbed to death and the 15-year old was also shot. The passed-out guy slept through the whole thing, and the 7-month-old baby, who was also there, survived.

Booker attempted to set fire to the apartment, apparently to cover up the crimes, but the fire department was called and firefighters discovered the bodies and the baby and the other guy. Both Booker and the other guy were arrested, though the other guy said he had no knowledge of what happened and Booker apparently agreed that he had nothing to do with it, and he was eventually let go.

Booker was placed on trial for the 3 murders and convicted and sentenced to the death penalty. My niece attended some of the trial and kept up with the news on it as it was reported. She eventually named her daughter after Tricia. I attended the memorial service for all 3 victims in August 1995, and I could see the extraordinary amount of pain suffered by the families of all 3 victims. The 3 teenage girls lost their lives that night, but Booker is still alive 14 years later, on death row in San Quentin, California. In one night, he committed 3 murders, attempted one rape, and attempted arson which if successful could have caused two additional deaths - one of the baby and one of the passed-out guy.

So my question for death penalty opponents here is: what is the appropriate penalty for Booker?
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. Life, no parole.
All death achieves is providing an escape route. Those who languish in prison are condemned to contemplate their deeds.

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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. +1
Can't put it any better than that.
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MNDemNY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. Here, too.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #1
91. Indeed. nt
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm not against the DP because I feel sorry for the condemned
I'm against it because I feel it is a power I am not comfortable with the state having.

It's because if just innocent man is executed, that makes the state just as guilty as the murderers it executes.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. +1
Exactly. It has to do with the limits of human systems, human error.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Exactly - I couldn't give a rats ass to the condemned
Its all about human error, as you stated

That, and I just don't sit right with the government having the right to determine who lives and who dies
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tosh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
15. + another 1. nt.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
18. that's my problem too, basically
although my other problem has to do with not wanting to execute people who might be innocent, but in this case, there is apparently irrefutable evidence

anyway, giving the State that much power...not so good.

I've often wondered if it would be "civilized" to allow the victims' families to decide what the convicted person's fate should be.

If they're OK with a form of forgiveness...or with wanting to see the convict spend the rest of his life behind bars, then that's how it would be.

If the only way they can deal with it is to ask for "an eye for an eye", then maybe that should be their choice also.

although I've often found that many more families are aware that revenge will not bring their loved one back, so they decide to let the convict rot behind bars for life.

I dunno...I used to be so anti DP, but then have been absolutely sickened and horrified by some particularly heinous crimes that it's not just a black and white, either/or issue for me anymore...
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #2
55. Well said. Executing someone will not bring the victims back to life
it does not deter future crime as we see with states that cheerfully execute - the sons of Barbara Bush - and it does not provide any closure to the families.

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anonymous171 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
84. +100000
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 06:08 PM by anonymous171
I am not comfortable with allowing the State to play God.
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Fresh_Start Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
3. life in prison without any opportunity for parole
perferably with hard labor
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
4. Remove him from society permanently
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 10:02 AM by wryter2000
I'm not a strict death penalty refusenik. My position is that as long as there are good chances that innocent people are on death row because of police/prosecution misconduct and/or inadequate public defense (note: public defenders work extremely hard, but they have too many cases and not enough resources) we can't continue to execute people.

Once those problems are fixed, we can come back and talk about executing people like this. In the meantime, lock him away and lose the key. Living someplace like Pelican Bay must be hell, anyway.
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EOTE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #4
20. I think that makes you a DP refusenik :p
Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely anti-DP as well, I just don't feel the need to equivocate. I feel exactly as you do, there are far too many opportunities for flaws in the system. Once those flaws have been removed (seems to me to be a Sisyphean task), then I wouldn't have a problem with the DP. But considering the myriad problems the DP has, I can't imagine them all being addressed for a very long time. If I could be guaranteed an innocent person would never be subjected to it, I'd be all for it. But I can't imagine myself getting that kind of reassurance in my life time.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
6. Life with no parole.
If one is against the dp, one is against it in any case and circumstance.
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Resuscitated Ethics Donating Member (319 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
7. "closure" from state-sponsored revenge killing is a myth
All the pageantry associated with these revenge killings: masked executioners, death row, last meal, last words, last rites, witnesses, "cruel and inhuman", IV injections that CANNOT BE ADMINistered by MDs (have you ever tried to find a vein in a really nervous subject?), electric chair, gallows, firing squads, WITNESSES, NO CAMERAS, the lighted plaza in Italy that goes dark when the USA engages in another revenge killing.

If left up to me justice would be meted out swiftly, by me. It is not. I side with the United Methodist Church on this: state sponsored revenge killing needs banning now.
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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
9. Life without parole
the death sentence is a perfect solution that cannot be used in an imperfect system. Our system of jurisprudence says that 10 guilty should go free before 1 innocent be convicted. That doesn't happen, and in light of wrongful convictions, law enforcement/prosecutor misconduct, etc., the death penalty should not be an option.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
10. I have no problems with Death Penalty in some situations but since it is divisive
I am willing to accept life without parole as max punishment with a couple of conditions.

The without parole aspect is ironclad. Period. The inmate will live every single second of the rest of your natural life in prison. No compassionate release, no rehabilitation release, no dying of cancer and want to see mom one last time release. Every single second until he/she dies of natural causes.

Second no method of early release via appeal other than finding him/her not guilty. There have been cases where an inmate gains a new trial and/or the is still found guilty but the sentence is reduced to say life WITH parole and then parole granted. If life without parole is a proxy for death it should be irreversible EXCEPT in instances where the person is found not guilty at a later time.
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
11. There are two questions here...
One is the appropriate punishment and the other is keeping society safe from this guy.

Death penalty advocates have it easy-- executing him takes care of both.

I am absolutely against capital punishment for a number of reasons, but I understand questioning keeping this guy under lock and key for the next 40 or 50 years. Still, if we are to consider ourselves an enlightened society we have to put this guy away somewhere and hope maybe he can eventually be worth something.

Killing him doesn't change the past, but it does steal from him his chance to change in the future.



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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #11
23. Thanks. I would ask you,
Is it fair to give him a chance to change in the future, when he chose to deny to 3 people any kind of future on Earth?
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #23
27. Of course it's not "fair" but fairness isn't the issue...
justice is.

Very little in life is "fair." It's not fair that Donald Trump and Paris Hilton inherited millions to play with. It's not fair that George Bush found his way to the White House. It's not fair that... well, we could go on forever with examples, but if we look for what's "fair" we'll be sorely disappointed most of the time.

Nope-- what we have is the unfair hand we're dealt, and we have to make the best of it. In this case, whatever we do to him will not bring those people back, and their friends and families still will still suffer their loss. The best we can do is make sure that he never does it again, and while we're doing that try to find some way to get him to repent and make some amends.

Not satisfactory, or "fair," but it's the best we can do.





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Bettie Donating Member (774 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #23
69. It is not fair, but killing him won't bring anyone back....
Those three young women will still be gone and their families will still be devastated.
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judy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
14. The death penalty would do nothing but add one more murder
to an already horrible list...there is no reason for a punishment to be a tit for tat. They're dead, he's alive, we need to kill him.
No, I think the best punishment, is life imprisonment of course (and believe it or not, it is cheaper to the taxpayer than the death penalty), and maybe if it can be arranged, a bi-monthly visit with the parents of the victims (or any relative that can handle it), and the hope would be (with no guarantees) that at some point he would understand the pain that he has caused, and would get to some point of redemption for himself (i.e "change his future"), though no parole...but one can do good work in prison if one is so inclined.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
16. my question for you is "what do you hope to achieve...?"
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 10:39 AM by mike_c
If you desire revenge, then slow killing, with maximum pain, is probably the best solution. If you seek justice, then things get a bit more complex-- what is just, in a situation like the one you described? Is anyone served by further death? Which of their interests are served? Are those interests in the the broader society's interest as well?

If you seek punishment, but for justice's sake rather than simple, brutal vengeance, then I think rotting in prison, under awful conditions, fits the bill nicely.

If, on the other hand, you seek to make the world a better place, where crimes like this happen less frequently than they do today, neither vengeance nor punishment "justice" have ever proven very effective, have they? They've been used throughout human history to avenge crimes like the ones you described, with little or no success-- how many more millenia should we try them unsuccessfully before we admit that, human nature for revenge aside, they do not actually work?

I seek a better world, so I think we need a better solution. I don't know what the mechanics of that solution involve-- it has not yet been discovered-- but I have a pretty good idea what its endpoint would look like. It would have Booker going free, returning to society to everyone's benefit, and not committing further crimes like this one.

Killing him will never achieve that.
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #16
21. Thanks for your reply. I would ask you,
Do you think it is fair, to have a solution that eventually allows him to go free and return to society, when he chose to deny three people their right to go free and return to society?
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #21
26. yes I do think that's "fair...."
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 11:32 AM by mike_c
I think that if he can be rehabilitated, it's unfair to do anything else. At that point he is no longer the same person who committed the crimes, and punishing him for them achieves nothing but plain revenge.

The crux of the matter is rehabilitation of criminals. We can't do that with any reliability yet, for the most part. Individuals CAN rehabilitate themselves-- we see it all the time, when former perpetrators become model prisoners, or find creative or intellectual outlets while in prison or later. But that is an individual act, and some people are better able to achieve it than others, and many don't even want to achieve it-- although, in fairness, there is little societal incentive for them to attempt rehabilitation in most cases, and plenty of incentive, in prison, to do the opposite. In many cases, I suspect, it is a simple matter of growing up, and acquiring some perspective.

But if we had invested a fraction of the effort we've invested in revenge justice into learning how to genuinely rehabilitate people instead-- the evidence from individuals suggests that's at least possible-- we might be a lot further along today, much closer to real justice that benefits everyone who is still capable of receiving benefit, rather than simple revenge or punishment.

Revenge justice just does not work, no matter what our notions of "fairness" to the victims might be. Their victimization is not unmade by it. The criminal is not rehabilitated. Society gains nothing but the cost of incarceration and punishment. We are all brutalized by association with state sanctioned brutality. And it's been that way for thousands of years. How many more thousands of years should we continue to respond the same way, yet hope for a better outcome? It simply does not work.
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conturnedpro09 Donating Member (118 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #26
54. "Rehabilitating" a murderer/rapist and setting him free would not be just at all.
It would be a perverted INjustice. It would be a giant slap--a sucker punch!--in the face to the victim's family and to society. Justice demands that people get punished for the bad things they do depending on how bad those things were. I pray that this country NEVER sees fit to release a mass murderer/rapist from jail after we've given him therapy or whatever and decided "well, he's a nice guy now...off you go! Enjoy the rest of your life!"


Screw it. I'll say it. If my daughter was raped and beaten to death and the killer was released from jail a dozen years later because "he's sorry and he won't do it again" and could therefore go on living the rest of his life... in the name of justice I'd find him and **ll him, or at least cripple him for life. And then ask God for forgiveness.

(PS: The very reason I oppose the death penalty is that I expect our civilized state to administer an equally harsh sentence for murder-- that being life in prison.)
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #54
74. Revenge is not the same thing as justice.
Not all victims / families of victims crave revenge so badly.

It's presumptuous of you to project your personal feelings onto others.

Many people believe in rehabilitation, not just punishment - that includes some victims & victims' families.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #54
75. I think maybe you took a wrong turn on you way to FR, my friend....
Angry much?
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #21
45. 12 people were just as sure that Cameron Todd Willingham was guilty
He was murdered by the state of Texas in 2004.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tc-nw-texas-exec...

Do you think that is fair?

The death penalty has no place in a civilized society that has the means to put people away for the rest of their natural life. Period.
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:43 AM
Response to Original message
17. Life, no parole. The heinousness of the crime is immaterial.
How many times does this need to be said?

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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
19. if one innocent is murdered by the state then we are equal to this man.
murder is murder.

that is the simplest i can get on not supporting death penalty

even if you dont have issue with the fact you are murdering someone for vengence only. or that it costs more. or that it is not a detterent to crime, but states with death penalty increases in violence

if we murder one single innocent person.... then we are murders

there is not jsutification with an oooops

or it is gonna just happen

it is murder
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liquid diamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #19
36. What's with you people?
The definition of murder is the UNLAWFUL taking of a life. If the accused is tried and convicted, he or she can be LAWFULLY executed. That is NOT murder! Stop using that word to describe an execution by the state. It's incorrect. Question for the OP: What other reasonable alternative would there be besides the death penalty? It seems pretty obvious that those that oppose the DP want the accused to be locked up for life without parole.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. there you go on justifying murder. if that isnt a convoluted way of declaring
we did not murder a human being, i have yet to hear it.

i really dont care what the definition is.

if the person is innocent of all crime then it is not an innocent "killing". it is flat out murder.
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liquid diamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. I'm sorry, has an innocent person been executed by the state?
For the sake of argument, let's say that it has happened once. Should that mean the DP should be abolished for one mistake?
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #38
48. Yes to both questions.
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liquid diamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #48
57. It sounds like the results are inconclusive and still being
investigated.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:16 AM
Response to Reply #57
58. You're kidding, right?
Do you realize just how innocent someone has to be in order for the state of Texas to "investigate" the case AFTER the guy has already been put to death? It has never happened in the state of Texas, ever. The only reason it's happening now is Texas has come to realize that they shit in their own bed by murdering (yes murdering) Cameron Todd Willingham, and now they're trying to figure out how they are going to lie in it. This is the same state of Texas that now has their ass in a crack for sentencing dozens of people to death and life in prison based on corrupted evidence, crooked prosecutors, and junk science. This is the same state of Texas that finally figured out that Randall Dale Adams was completely innocent only 72 hours before he was to be put to death himself (and was convicted based on the same testimony of a discredited medical "expert" who testified against Willingham). This is the same state of Texas who has an appeals court judge who can't leave her office open for an extra few minutes to accept an appeal of a guy who is going to the gallows the next morning (the same judge who was involved in the Willingham case).

The Willingham case has already been "investigated" and the investigator hired by the state of Texas no less has already concluded that the local fire marshal from goat rope county Texas didn't know his thumb from his dick, and they weren't the first actual expert to say so. The Willingham case was investigated by the innocence project and the Chicago Tribune who both concluded that Texas murdered an innocent man.

I suggest you read all 17 pages of the excellent New Yorker article and get back to me if you think the results are "inconclusive".
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_...

Willingham was murdered by the state of Texas. Gov. Goodhair was presented with evidence that showed Willingham was probably innocent BEFORE he was put to death and he signed the death warrant anyway. Willingham was a family man that had been in very little trouble prior to his house burning down and not only did his kids die in the fire, but the state murdered him for something he never did. Read the New Yorker article, walk a few steps in his shoes, and then tell me what "fair" means to you.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #36
51. You're assuming that the state can never do anything unlawful
And that is a very poor assumption.
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wickerwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:41 AM
Response to Reply #36
61. I don't believe there's such a thing as a "lawful" taking of a life.
I don't recognize the power of the state to decide whether its citizens live or die.

Therefore, in my opinion, the death penalty is murder.

Irredeemably violent and dangerous people should be locked up for life; their assets should be seized and paid to their victims and they should do some kind of work with the proceeds going to defray the cost of their imprisonment.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #61
66. i cannot believe a person can justify murdering an innocent person.
when i hear this from death penalty advocates i am always, always surprised at their audacity and hypocrisy.

more often i hear, (shrug) some innocent will always die. it is the system. oh well.

generally not an argument that killing an innocent person is not murder. i havent heard that one yet.
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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #36
71. You sound like Scalia.
He, too, thinks that "mere factual innocence" doesn't matter so long as someone has been tried and convicted in a court of law.

I happen to think that both Scalia AND you are full of shit. The spirit of the law should matter most here, not the letter of the law. The law is meant to punish people who ARE guilty--not those who are truly innocent, but have been wrongly convicted. Otherwise, why would we overturn sentences at all, ever? Obviously the spirit of the law DOES matter, at least to some degree, and so does factual guilt or innocence. If we say that it's LAWFUL to kill an innocent person just because a jury mistakenly convicted them, what the hell does that say about US? And worse--what kind of power does that hand to the government?

"Yes sir, Mr. Right-Wing-Nutcase-President. All of the (liberal/homosexual/black/insert minority here) subversives have been duly convicted of (insert trumped-up crime here) in our "special" courts, all nice and legal-like. Shall we kill them now?"

What sort of human being thinks that the letter of the law is more important than the spirit of the law, ESPECIALLY when people's lives are, quite literally, on the line? Answer: Antonin Scalia, and other vicious fascists just like him.

To use YOUR phraseology, Thomas Jefferson would be ASHAMED of "people like you." If only the letter of law really mattered, then America would not exist. We illegally rebelled against a sovereign monarch and used "spirit of the law" arguments to justify it. If our very foundation as a nation is based on reading the purpose behind the law rather than the text, how can you possibly claim that a gross violation of said purpose is ANYTHING but inherently unlawful?
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #36
81. That's an emotional tactic that many share with the ANTI-CHOICE crowd...
playing fast and loose with the precisely defined legal term "murder"
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
22. If you're not opposed to the DP in all cases...
then you're a DP supporter. You either believe that the state has the right to kill, or it doesn't. There's no in-between.

IMO, the death penalty should never, ever be used. Period.

Booker should live a long, healthy, confined life.

Sid

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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. Fine, but,
is it fair that he be allowed to live a long, healthy, confined life, when he chose to deny 3 people any further life at all?
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #24
29. Fair to whom?...
Killing Booker isn't going to bring back the people he killed. Killing him is emotion driven revenge, not dispassionate justice. Putting him away punishes him, and protects the rest of society, without the state reverting to barbarism.

Sid
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Usrename Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. You might rethink the part about protecting society.
I have.

If the guilty parties in the Bush cabal were brought to justice I would support the death penalty. Many of these same criminal have already been convicted in previous conspiracies and were pardoned. Although I strongly oppose the death penalty, I don't what other choice there is. It is not possible to incarcerate these people. That is just the reality of our situation.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #24
50. I suspect I know what Jesus' answer would be.
Don't you?
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wickerwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:46 AM
Response to Reply #24
62. It's a lot more fair than a quick end.
Let him sit with what he did for fifty or sixty years. That's a hell of a lot more serious penalty than killing him.

Life in prison isn't necessarily long or healthy.

And the least he can do is try to redeem himself.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #24
94. There is no "fair" in life. That's why we have juctice. nt
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #22
93. Well said, very well said. nt
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quiller4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
25. Life without parole. n/t
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SalviaBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
28. Life, no parole. nt
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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
30. Life. No parole
Being against the death penalty doesnt make me naive. I know people who are typically put to death have done horrendous things but it is NOT ok to murder in my name.
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
32. I'm not liberal enough for life in prison for a crime like this
Unless there's a way these suckers can pay back the state for their keep. Hard labor with little leisure. Fuck them getting to watch TV. He made that choice.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:26 AM
Response to Reply #32
59. And I'm not authoritarian enough to endorse The State killing its citizens....
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 03:34 AM by BlooInBloo
EDIT: I'm curious though - precisely how many innocent people would be too many for you?
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #59
65. Just how many Timothy McVeighs would you feed?
Or did those babies in the nursery deserve that because Amurka had it coming?

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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #65
76. To avoid becoming a McVeigh, killing innocent Americans myself? I'll feed all of them.
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #76
78. And you would tell the mothers of the murdered children . . .? n/t
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #78
82. That the person who did it will never do it again - about all you can say...
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 06:04 PM by BlooInBloo
What will you tell the parents of the innocent people you support The State killing? Where it was both predictable and preventable?

And you never answered: How many innocents killed by The State is too many for you? Or is *any* number ok with you?
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #82
86. The death penalty should never, ever be used
except in cases like McVeigh or those like the subject of the original post. The death penalty should never be used without conclusive scientific evidence. Now that science has surpassed "eye witness" testimony, the likelihood of the death penalty's misuse is minimal. Before any accused is put to death, a complete review of all evidence is just. If that evidence is not supported by science, the death penalty should be reduced to life.

Killing of innocents is astronomically unlikely. Killing or imprisoning an innocent person is never, ever okay.

I just hope you are never a victim. My money says you will be singing a very different song.

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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:59 AM
Response to Reply #86
87. Here's the flaws in your reasoning
Whenever you start specifying exceptions, there will always be problems and the chances are not nearly so astronomical as you might think. Science is constantly evolving. Things like parafin tests and other so-called scientific methods used 50 years ago are now known today as junk science. 50 years from now many of the methods used today will be considered junk science. Yet many people were sent to the gallows based on little more than junk science 50 years ago.

You also don't have scientists who are specialtist in whatever methods are being used to determine guilt on the jury. You have the average man (or woman) off the street. And while every state has ample experts working full time in forensics labs to testify for the prosecution, the number of people available to point out the flaws in their methodology are few and far between. As such the jury believes what they are told by "experts", and they are very much subject to errors and outright corruption which often goes unchecked. Science is not the end all solution for determining guilt or innocence. It's just a tool which is subject to human error just like all tools. The real world is not CSI.

"I just hope you are never a victim" is a cop out. You're suggesting that we should base policy on emotion rather than reason which is never a good idea.
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #87
89. Walk the walk then talk to me
I'm done with this.
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DisgustipatedinCA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #89
95. Too bad I didn't see this before you were done with it
I was going to remind you that it costs about 3x as much to execute a prisoner than it does to incarcerate them for the rest of their lives. You seem to be concerned with their food bill. Not to worry, it's nowhere near as expensive as killing them is.
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GodlyDemocrat Donating Member (388 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
33. Putting the religious pro-life argument aside for just a second
I don't see how there can be any meaningful connection with act and punishment 20, 25 years after the fact. This is why I would support life without parole.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
34. I would leave a choice of DP or life without parole to the family
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
35. who is the state to take a life?
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
39. An appropriate punishment would be to let the victim's relative rape and stab the guy to death
But justice isn't about appropriate eye for an eye punishments it's about protecting society. The death penalty goes beyond what is needed to protect society and gets us closer to eye for an eye while still thinking that it's civilized because we do it with a lethal injection.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
40. I'd like your opinion on Alessandro Serenelli.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
41. I'd better stay out of this thread...
I turn into an irrational, angry nut when rape is involved for reasons many of you know. I'm staying out of this potential flame war.
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quaker bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
42. There is no "appropriate" penalty
and never could be. Such a penalty is simply beyond imagining.

Were the case proven, I would support a life sentence without parole.

One cannot argue against the death penalty on the basis of individual cases. People, on occasion, behave in ways that would seem to justify all manner of harsh treatments.

The argument against the death penalty is based on what it says about the rest of us as a people, it is never based on the notion that such people as this deserve humane treatment. They deserve no such thing. However this is not truly an excuse for barbarism from the rest of us.

Once killing people is accepted as a plausible answer to a problem, any problem, the course is set and it is all downhill from there.
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Silver Swan Donating Member (805 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
43. I do not believe in the death penalty.
But I do believe in cruel and unusual punishment.

Unfortunately, my choice is not allowed.
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The Midway Rebel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
44. Life no parole. Ever.
The state should not be conducting the business of murder.
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:12 PM
Response to Original message
46. Not the death penalty. (n/t)
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laundry_queen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:22 PM
Response to Original message
47. Life, no parole.
I've changed my position on this several times in the last few years. Back when I was a sheeple, I was all for the DP. (I didn't have a reason, I was all about the revenge.) Now that I'm more, ahem, of a critical thinker I'm against it in all cases. I used to believe in a rehabilitation type of prison model. However, fairly recently, in learning more about psychology, I've come to the conclusion that many criminals will never be rehabilitated. The more I learn about narcissists and psychopaths and other related disorders, I'm convinced that the best way to treat those who are convicted of horrible, heinous crimes who are diagnosed with those personality disorders, is to study them in prison for the rest of their life. A contribution to the science of psychiatry would be something, at least, that could be used for prevention and treatment of these types of treatment-resistant disorders in the future, and perhaps prevent other similar crimes.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
49. I oppose the death penalty.
Period.

Lifetime sentence should = lifetime sentence.

Period.
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Libertas1776 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
52. Life with absolutely
no goddamn chance of parole; none, zilch, zero!

Giving him the death penalty is letting him off easy. Throw him in solitary for the rest of his days, that's my opinion. Heck, I would hope he would live a long, long, long, very slow life, alone, isolated from the outside world for 23 1/2 hours at a time. Let him suffer in silence.

And to those who say that the goal is rehabilitation, you are flat wrong. I am sorry this is not like stealing a car, robbing somebody, or making some other stupid decision. This is a cold, vile, and utterly heinous crime. A cold blooded murder in the old days would result in the death penalty almost anywhere. But since many of you oppose the DP, then the only other remaining option is permanent imprisonment. This fucker doesn't get a 2nd chance. He blew it, big fucking time. Rehabilitation plays no part here. Only punishment of life in prison is appropriate. And believe me, if the DP was made 100% free of human error and fallibility, some how, this guy would be first on the chopping block, IMO.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
53. The appropriate penalty is punishment for the remainder of his days.
Every single day given him on this earth he should be punished by spending every single one of those days in prison.

The death penalty is just revenge. True punishment is this young man spending every single day knowing that he will never leave that horrible place. He will either be killed by another horrible person, or die an old man thousands and thousands of days from today. Every day spent in fear that he'll be predated by some other person, a monster just like him...or worse. One he likely won't see coming, so he always has to be looking for it.

At some point, he'll have to realize that this is the only life he's going to have, and he's going to piss the whole lot of it locked up in some shithole. Never is a mighty long time to try to understand when he'll leave that place.

And someday, maybe he experiences true remorse for what he did and those ghosts come back to haunt him every minute of every day...he'll wish he were dead. That's punishment.

The families and loved ones of the people he killed will suffer every single day until their days run out. So should he. The death penalty is just a different form of parole from hell.
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Skip Intro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:07 AM
Response to Original message
56. To kill someone as punishment for killing someone just doesn't make sense to me. nt
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SeattleGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:34 AM
Response to Original message
60. Taking that man's life won't bring any kind of closure to those girl's
family and friends, and of course, it won't bring them back. While there is no question in my mind that what he did was indescribably cruel, and I cannot imagine the pain of those family and friends (nor would I pretend to), but for me, there are no shades of grey. I am either for it or against it, and I am most decidedly against it. I would give him life with absolutely NO possibility of parole EVER. No privileges the general population gets. Solitary confinement, with an hour a day outside, by himself with only the guards to watch him. No TV, maybe a book every week or two to read, no music. Killing him won't solve anything, but maybe making him live mostly with his own thoughts and the memory of what he did would bring a bit of hell to him.

My opinion, and I know other people have other opinions, but I stand by mine. I cannot support the death penalty. The cause of death after an inmate has been executed is "homocide". How is the taking of one life more "legal" than the taking of another?

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wickerwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:55 AM
Response to Original message
63. Here's another "real event":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Memphis_3

Three kids, one sentenced to death, convicted on absolutely no evidence. Their redneck community in Arkansas assumed they were Satanists because they wore black and had books about wicca.

The parents of the victims don't even think they did it, but they've been sitting in jail for sixteen years.

There's a documentary about the case called "Paradise Lost" which you can watch on google videos.

Take a look and then tell me you support the right of the state to kill people.
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Apollo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 04:21 AM
Response to Original message
64. Life imprisonment with no hope of parole seems pointless to me
This guy could live another 50 or 60 years. Keeping him in prison all that time would be expensive, and no kind of life at all. If we are going to keep him locked up forever, then at least he should be regularly offered the option of assisted suicide.

I would say it should be either:

(a) life sentence with possibility of release after say 20 or 25 years (which only works if you believe he could be "cured" of his inclination to commit violent acts).

(b) death sentence by the most painless method available (I am no expert on which method is the most painless).

I don't have a moral objection to applying the death penalty to individuals where we can be sure he or she committed a multiple atrocity (as in this case).

But if there is reasonable doubt, or if there is reason to believe the perpetrator was provoked by the victim, then I don't agree with applying the DP.
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #64
70. Oops. Sorry.
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 09:01 AM by Iggo
Just had a visceral reaction to reading the first sentence.

I didn't really read your whole post until after I posted.

Sorry about that.

:hi:
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BoneDaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
67. Death
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 08:41 AM by BoneDaddy
I treat people like this as I would an animal that has gone bad. If I saw a dog gone rabid, I would put it down, compassionately as possible and without glee as something that needed to be done.

I tend to take a Torah based approach to the death penalty. It should be rare and reserved for those whose acts against humanity are the most heinous. Jeffrey Dahmer, the BTK killer, and other humans who, in my opinion, have abdicated their rights as humans based upon their actions.
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:43 AM
Response to Original message
68. It's about dignity
It's not about the dignity of the offender, its about living in a society that respects human dignity.

A society that kills people unnecessarily (i.e. when there other options to keep society safe) shows disrespect for human dignity.

- B
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timtom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
72. My opinion (for whatever it is worth)
I believe that capital punishment is appropriate for some crimes insofar as it is a societal mechanism to bring closure to an extreme anti-social act.
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TankLV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
73. A ban against the Death Penalty save ME from MY baser instincts/desires!!!
In spite of what I may WANT in the HEAT OF THE MOMENT, not being able to act on my worst nature is a GOOD thing!!!
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Robyn66 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
77. The death penalty is always wrong
Life without parole is more appropriate
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robdogbucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
79. Warden Clinton Duffy
of San Quentin 1940-1952, who executed 90 people, 88 men and 2 women during his tenure, was staunchly opposed to the DP.

He introduced prison reforms on a scale never seen before while slowly forming his opinions on it. I tend to listen to experts' opinions. I respect his on this topic as a "been there, done that," person of credibility. Duffy wrote books on the subject if anyone is interested in learning more about a fascinating life.


Just my dos centavos,

robdogbucky
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
80. Life in prison with no parole
Sorry about your losses.
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Burma Jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:07 PM
Response to Original message
83. Life in Solitary without Parole
No more human contact.
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Geek_Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
85. If my child or loved one was murdered I would want to see the killer dead
out of revenge. But Justice is not about revenge.
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armyowalgreens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 03:01 AM
Response to Reply #85
88. Holy shit.
"But Justice is not about revenge."

Thank you. I've been torn apart in here for saying that very same thing.
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
90. Life without parole, for all the usual reasons.
eom.
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
92. A moral absolute is not degraded by individual cases
This is why people who say "I'm usually against the death penalty, but in this case..." are always ludicrous (that somebody could say this about any given case, and that it implies some sort of hierarchy of victims, makes it even more ridiculous, but it's beside the point here).

Opposition to the death penalty can only function as a moral absolute. It is not a pragmatic operation, nor is it a situational determination. The facts of any given case literally don't matter. I know that's hard for some people to hear, but that is the only legitimate opposition to the death penalty, the only one with any leg to stand on.
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ourbluenation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
96. I was opposed to the death penalty until Polly Klass. That monster needs to go. n/t
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