A Conversation for The Death Penalty

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 81

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

We don't have prisons like that in this state. We have clean orderly prisons with very few luxuries like air conditioning. The one thing the State of Georgia can do is prisions. All of our prisoners, who can, must work. Jails are a differnet matter. They're run locally, on less money, and not all of the inmates are convicted.

Prisoners do get institutionalized. They do have a hard time readjusting to the outside world. Sometimes it seems like the system is almost set up to make people fail.

As for DUI's, I always thought that siezing the car would be a good idea.

The Supreme Court

Post 82


In general, considerations of cost are built into legal systems. One cannot, for example, demand a full jury trial (and its associated cost) for a speeding offence, translating into a tendency to deal with offences in a way related to their "cost-detriment" to society.

Governments looking to cut public spending will generally find the legal system as a whole an easy target. For example, jury trials can be restricted to those accused of "more serious" offences. The quality and number police investigations will be related to the funding of the investigating sevices. Public defenders are expensive, as are prisons. In the UK, there is a plan to deny those barristers deemed "too expensive" from being appointed counsel where the accused cannot foot the bill.


The Supreme Court

Post 83

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

I think the courts look more at the potential punishment of the defendant than anything else when considering rights. They don't want to waste resources, but my take on legal decisions is that their major concerns are making sure that an accused rights are adequatly protected, particullalry if they face confinement.

Considerations of cost are a constant concerns. There have defeinitly been cases that I could have made if I had the time to investigate them or the money for the forensic work. It's depressing how much I've had to let go because I didn't have time to make a case.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 84


the problem whith zero tolerence is that in a court a criminal could argue for the sentence to be changed as the law takes a way his freedom to choose and that it self is strangley illegal in democratic society the scary part is that if you study deeply in to govermant policies you will find a loop hole that lets you commit any crime to a point but otherwise zero tolerence is great idea

The Supreme Court

Post 85

Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence

To quote Baroness Thatcher, No, no, no!

Until the criminal justice system is absolutely infallible you cannot allow it to take away the lives of criminals. Innocent people can be and are convicted - especially in high-profile cases.

Has it ever occurred to anyone that the umpteen years of appeals against a death sentence might not happen if the sentence was life? For example, somenone who was demonstrably not culpable due to insanity, youth or mental handicap, might accept a long term of imprisonment as a protective measure.

But until the judicial system gets straightened out, treats rich and poor equally, stops executing people for crimes committed when they were legally children, and takes steps to prevent the execution of the insane and mentally ill, the death penalty is very dodgy indeed. And even if they fixed all that, I'd still oppose it on the grounds that if killing is wrong then the state shouldn't be doing it either....

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 86


Neither side of this arguement has a foot to stand on, as both sides are based on unrealistic expectations. Proponents of Capital Punishment base their stance on the idea that we can have "perfect trials". Opponents of CP believe that we can have" perfect prisons" and rehabilitation.

We DO NOT have perfect trails and we DO NOT have perfect prisons. We are going to have imperfect trials, with innocents convicted of crimes, and with guilty people released fully primed to kill, effectively murdering OTHER innocents.

Since everyone else is basing their opinions on the fantasy of perfect courts and/or prisons, I'm going to base mine on the fantasy that we can conquer poverty and deliver hope for a decent life to all. (Plus provide effective help to those with mental disorders.) Thus we won't have crimes in the first place.

Plus, If I get my fantasy, we can do away with lawyers and prisons, and instead give everyone a Ferrari. Now THAT'D be something I could put my taxes into!

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 87

Neugen Amoeba

Why not extand that fantasy to include the absence of taxes? (or is that Texas?)

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 88

JAR (happy to be back, but where's Ping?)

kwagner: To quote the guy quoting Baroness Thatcher: No, no, no! (Quite a good quote, that..)

I'm an opponent of CP, but I do not suffer fomr the delusion of perfect prisons. (I close friend of my brother fell into a psychosis, stabbed a policeofficer and was thrown in jail, when he obviously should have gotten psychiatric care.) However, I do belive that it is better to try and help, try and make a better world (and peace and love and all that smiley - winkeye) and at least give people a chance, rather than killing off those who might be bad seeds. It's a calculated risk, but it's in defence of our humanity.

CP: Convict the wrong guy, and an innocent is fried (and his/her memory is forever tainted) Convict the right guy, and society has gotten rid of one felon.
Not CP: Convict the wrong guy, and you have a mean weasel fighting for his/her freedom until justice really is served or he/she dies of old age (just happened here in Norway.. Ugly business) Convict the right guy, and one felon is kept away from society for some time.

Nothing is perfect, but should be make it worse?

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 89

Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence

I disagree. I come form the viewpoint that locking a guilty man in an imperfect prison is better than executing and innocent man as a result of an imperfect trial. The consequence of the imperfection is out of all proportion in the case of the death penalty.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 90

JAR (happy to be back, but where's Ping?)

Just zis Guy: Just in case it was me you were disagreeing with, I might have been unclear. We do agree. It's the imperfectionm of either system that demands that we (humans) do our best to avoid the worst of the mistakes: killing an innocent and calling it justice.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 91

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

I heard an piece on the radio last night. A death row inmate is getting a new hearing. His trial attorney said that he did things to throw the case because he thought his client deserved to die.

That's just unbelievable. It's an ethical violation as both an attorney and a human being. The guy deserves to be disbarred. Heck, I there should be a criminal prosecution!

Now the peice didn't go into any great depth, but I suspect that the attorney is lying in order to stretch out the appeals process. It amazes me how many death row appeals are based on ineffective representation.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 92


Re: Imperfect trials. I agree that executing an innocent is horrendous. I think that, in many cases, the burden of proof required for the death penalty is far too weak. Particularly when the defendant is too poor to afford decent legal support.

But regarding prisons, the rate of rehabilitation is horrendous, and released, un-rehabilitated criminals DO kill. Many regard prisons as crime colleges, so released prisoners are often more effective criminals and killers. As an indirect result yet MORE innocents die.

In the carrot/stick analogy, both CP and prisons are sticks, and they are pretty unattractive and ineffective ones.

So I still prefer the carrot of reducing poverty and increasing hope, thus reducing the severity of the weaknesses in both our courts and prisons.

(Hehheh, I just re-read that last line. How moronic does THAT sound! "I prefer carrots!" <grin&gtsmiley - winkeye

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 93

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

Prisons aren't really meant to rehabilitate. They're intent is to punish. I think some effort should be made to have a rehabilitative effort made in the prisons and the parole system.

By the time people get to prison, it's really too late anyway. We need more effective ways of dealing with people earlier in their criminal careers. We need more effective probation systems. Most probation systems amount to little more than fine collection services. If we'd increase the funding of probation so that it could be more like parole, we mitght be able to actually do something.

I doubt we'll be able to do much about poverty and drug use in this country. Poverty serves the interest of the government by having large numbers of people dependent on the government. Drug treatment is just really unpopular. Even though I suspect it would probably be a huge benefit to the criminal justice system.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 94

Neugen Amoeba

Yes, prisons are not intended to rehabilitate, but punish. The problem is that they punish the people they are intended to protect by costing extraordinary amounts and then using that money to produce better criminals.

As to the level of poverty, it does seem that the government has a vested interest, although I'm not sure the motive is control. The recent spate of interest rate hikes by the US federal financial people was, indirectly, as a result of the record low unemployment (causing a demand for labour, rising wages, increasing product cost, thus causing inflation......). Although it may be a RECORD LOW, it's no consolation for the unemployed. Furthermore, the present policy as it appears, will mean that the government does not want this record to be broken, resulting in a more or less fixed percentage of unemployed in society.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 95


i can see the argument for killing the wrong person. it is a calculated risk. the appeals process is what really gets me. in a recent case here, an inmate had been on death row for 22 years. TWENTY TWO YEARS!!!, when shortly before his execution date he was given a new trial because his lawyer was allegedly napping during litigation. the crime was this: the accused had gone into a pawn shop to try to pawn a diamond pin. he spoke to the owner who wouldn't give him the price he wanted. he left. he came back later the same day, the owner, an employee, and another man were in the shop. the accused went into the shop and shot all three. two of the men died, the other survived. he positively identified the gunman, as he had witnessed (and been a victim of) the crime, and had remembered the man from earlier in the day. the accused is clearly guilty, there is a positive, indisputable identification, he murdered two men, assaulted another with a deadly weapon, completely aside from any other crimes he may have committed in his lifetime, and after twenty two years of life on death row, he is getting a new trial. the fact that his representation may or may not have dozed off (which is debatable), even if it is true, it doesn't change the fact that the defendant is absolutely guilty. and why wait twenty two years to bring such a thing to light?

i might not be so in favor of the death penalty if prisons were more of a deterrent. criminals don't deserve rights like you and i have. they may be eligible for limited rights, but certainly not what they currently get. if you want to rehabilitate prisoners, make them show a desire to be rehabilitated. make them work for it. if they have no desire to change, they will not embrace the methods that are forced upon them, rehabilitation will be a huge waste of time and resources. if they do not want to be rehabilitated, if they will not work for it, if they do not show an interest in it, if they do not want to better themselves, they deserve their fates. let them rot.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 96

Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession

In a college course where we studied the intersections between law and news reporting, I learned that eye witness testimony in criminal cases is correct only 40% of the time. Common eye witness errors include:

* giving the wrong date and/or time for the crime
* inaccurately reporting what they and/or the criminal did during the cime
* identifying the criminal as someone they saw before or after the crime occured

Particularly in cases of violent crime, witnesses find it very difficult to remember any new faces they might have seen. They are more preoccupied with the tragedy around them, worries about the victims and/or their own pain from the attack.

And yet, local police often pressure victims to make identifications before they are calm enough to do so. If the victim misidentifies the criminal at first, they tend to continue doing so forever because they now associate the crime (rightly or wrongly) with the person they picked out for the police.

So while I don't know the facts of this case, it is possible that the victim picked out someone they had seen earlier in the day who was not the criminal. Perhaps the criminal was not present in the line-up and the victim felt pressured by local police. If there is no DNA or ballistics evidence to corroborate the witness' story, I'd be worried.


Post 97


This post has been removed.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 98

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

I think we concentrate too much on appeals and not enough on the orginal case. I think we'd be better off by paying for excellent trial counsel. That is the only point in the whole process where the facts are truly considered. Appeals only determine matters of law.

As far as eye witness identifications, there's usually some reason that person is broguht in in the first place. You don't just bring in random people for a line up, and then convict them without any other evidence.

I've seen one of the television news magazines do a thing on eyewitness identifications. They're really not as haphazard as they are protrayed. When you show a real person a real photoarray, it's pretty amazing. If you have the right person, the witness will point right to them most of the time. I've never had anyone hesitate and then postitivly identify the wrong person.

I once had someone tenativly identify the wrong person, but the photoarray had people who were too simlair (Our jail gives us arrays where people are nearly identical). I later recieved information that it was someone who wasn't in the array who commited the crime.

I've never encouraged anyone to pick out the right person either.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 99

Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession

I think it depends. If the police are handling things correctly, the criminal will usually be among the choices given to the eye witness. And the eye witness will not be guided towards any particular choice. Also, the police should never push a witness too hard if they say they are unable to make a choice, that they aren't ready to pick anyone out, or that they wouldn't be able to pick out the criminal in a line-up or among a set of photos.

The problem is that not all police precincts follow the same procedures. This is especially true when the police are under a lot of local pressure to solve the crime, and the officers feel immune to scrutiny of their actions in solving the case. If they decide to coerce the witness, they really do have a lot of power to do so. That's just my opinion.

Some people really can remember a face for a long time, under the right circumstances. Other people have trouble with it. Personally, I can't remember the face of the guy at the grocery counter last night. Nor the face of the waitress who served me Chinese food a couple of days ago. So I would consider myself a very poor eye witness.

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 100

Just zis Guy, you know? † Cyclist [A690572] :: At the 51st centile of ursine intelligence

Careful, now. He may well have committed the crime, but was he guilty? If he was mad, then he was not guilty. If he had a mental age of seven then he was not guilty. Guilt demands that you understand that what you did was wrong, and that you understand the consequences of your actions.

The USA is unique amongst western democracies in executing the mad, children and wha I suppose could be temred the child-like, those with IQs in the 70s and below. They are not unique in the world - Saudi Arabia and China do the same. Splendid company for an "advanced democracy" - and I'm sure "Dubyah" will ensure it gets worse.

I am revolted by the prospect of child abusers, but even there if you asked me to have one executed, even for an offence on one of my children, I couldn't. Cut their goolies off, by all means, but execution? No. That puts us among the savages.

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