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Capital punishment

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
There's a group here, trying to get capital punishment banned again.

Personally, for some crimes, I think that its the only fitting punishment. I'd like to see it applied to child molestors and people who sell drugs to kids, too.

The process needs to be streamlined, though. ONE round of appeals and that's it. Arizona law allows ANYONE to file an appeal on a death penalty case. This is wrong, too. Appeals should only be filed by the convicted person. Once the US Supreme Court rules on a case, the sentence should be carried out within 48 hours.

These years of appeals are a drain on the taxpayers and put the victims' families through torment.

One argument against the death penalty is that it isn't a deterrent. It keeps that person from committing another murder. By the time that someone reaches Death Row, they'e got enough crimes and probably other killings to their credit to warrant being executed many times over.

The criteria for imposing the death penalty are precise: murder-for-hire, multiple murder, murder under cruel and heinous conditions. People who commit these crimes should be permanently removed from the face of the Earth.
post #2 of 56
The only way you can be sure someone commited the crime is if they are caught in the act or leave DNA evedence behind. I would be afraid of killing the wrong person. I do feel that the first people to go to war should be those in prison. It has been proven that most persons in prison/police records have mental disabilities. If we continue to send our young men to war to be killed, all that is left in our gene pool is the infirm and unstable.
post #3 of 56
Thread Starter 
The standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt". Ted Bundy was convicted on bite-mark evidence. His distinctive dentition did him in. It would have been highly unlikely for anyone, in the area at the same time, to have left those bites on the victims.

As for mental problems, one can have mental problems and STILL know that what you're doing is wrong.
post #4 of 56
I think 1 apeal should be all a person get's and when they are found guitly the 2nd time they should be put to death right away instead of siting on death row for years.
post #5 of 56
katl8e, I agree with you.
Feeding and housing these criminals for years is ridiculous.
There seems to be way too much worrying about the rights of criminals, and not nearly enough about the rights of the victims and their families. With the technology we have today in the area of forensic science, small amounts of evidence can be put to better use in finding the right criminal. Yes, I know there are people in prison that are currently having their cases reviewed for DNA evidence. If they are not guilty of that particular crime, adjust their sentence, but few of those people are "innocent" they just did not get caught. The VERY few that have been absolutely wrongly convicted, let them out.
post #6 of 56
Thread Starter 
In the almost 30 years, since the death penalty was reinstated in AZ, the few sentences that were overturned, were on procedural errors NOT the evidence.
post #7 of 56
I'm very much in favor of the death penalty for serial killers (there is no way to rehabilitate them). Otherwise I'm in favor of a life sentence without possibility of parole for murderers. Because of the long appeals process, it is cheaper to keep someone incarcerated till the end of their life than it is to execute them. I doubt I could give someone the death penalty without a great deal of physical evidence, though, including DNA.
post #8 of 56
Thread Starter 
People who commit particularly cruel and heinous crimes should be permanently removed.

For 30 years Charles Manson has been living (by prison standards) in the lap of luxury. A wall was knocked out, to give him a larger cell, he has a computer and a website. Some rock groups are actually recording his songs, giving him an income.

His buddy, Tex Watson, has been allowed to marry and sire children, while serving a life sentence.

Fortunately, Sharon Tate's mother has been able to tie up most of Manson's income and have it diverted to a victims' compensation fund. These monsters should not be allowed to profit from their horrendous crimes nor should they be allowed the pleasures and comforts of law-abiding citizens. Prison is supposed to be punishment NOT an improvement in one's standard of living.
post #9 of 56
If capital punishment is right or wrong I can't say, I can only give my personal opinion on the matter. I don't believe in capital punishment, "an eye for an eye". To me it is legally sanctioned murder. I believe in life without parole with no rights and no perks in jail. I feel the prisoners should not be able to exercise their personal rights and freedoms, as they have taken other's away from them.
post #10 of 56
I favor capital punishment. I also do NOT favor paying my tax dollar to keep prisoners in all of their perks. Prison is supposed to be unpleasant. That's hardly the case anymore.
post #11 of 56
I totally agree with kat18e! Life in prison is just too easy for these horrible individuals. They get a free room, tv, food, not to mention perks that certain ones get. Think of all the poor innocents that had their life cut short or mentality ruined by these monsters. I say stick on a deserted island that they can't leave and let them have at it.
post #12 of 56
Where is that underground maximum-security prison where they have the Unabomber, the original WTC bombers, and held Timothy McVeigh? I know it's somewhere in the Southwest, but I don't know which state. I was thinking about that - would I rather have Osama bin Laden dead, or rotting in an underground prison in a concrete cell for the rest of his days?
post #13 of 56
Thread Starter 
Its in Colorado. Cells have no direct sunlight, prisoners only leave thier cells, in handcuffs, shackles and a waist chain. Its deliberately built like a rabbit warren, to thwart escape attempts.
post #14 of 56
What about teenagers or children who commit murders? Do you think they deserve the death penalty or life in prison?
The only reason I brought this question up is because one of the leads at work, her 14 year old son was shot & killed point blank in the back by a supposed friend. From what I have heard, the kid said they were playing cops & robbers, and he didnt know that the gun was loaded. Yet, this kid prior to the killing, was in violation of his previous parole. They are still in court over this, but so far, the most he can get is a max of 7 years. Honestly, he belongs to be locked up behind bars for the rest of his life to think about what he did.

It's hard to say whether or not I believe in the death penalty. I dont know which is worse? Living day to day for the rest of your life in prison, or being killed? To me, the death penalty is a quick way. The lethal injection is pretty much painless, from what I have heard. In just a few minutes it's over, as compared to probably what the victim went through.
post #15 of 56
Thread Starter 
Its got to be applied on a case by case basis. Some kids are irredeemable, at a very early age. After you've committed murder, at 13 or 14, where do you go from there?
post #16 of 56
There aren't too many states in which the death penalty can apply to minors, and even then it takes a lot to do it. The way most laws work with juveniles is that no matter what the crime, if they are convicted as a juvenile, they can't be held for more than their 21st birthday. So if they are convicted of murder when they are 17, they won't serve more than 3 years. That's why in especially bad cases they push to try the juvenile as an adult. The problem with trying them as an adult is that usually means they will serve time in an adult facility, except under certain circumstances (I can't imagine the 14 year old who was convicted as an adult in Florida of murdering his small playmate doing wrestling moves is in an adult facility, but will be transfered there when he's old enough.).
post #17 of 56
Thread Starter 
In AZ, certain felonies, committed by kids 16 and older, are automatically tried in adult courts. While awaiting trial, they are kept in a special section of the county jail and, if convicted, they go to a juvie facility until they turn 18.

First-degree murder has always been tried in adult court. Back in 1970, a 17-year-old torched a hotel, killing 28 people. He was tried as an adult and got 28 life sentences. He's still in prison, as well he should be! Every time that he comes up for parole, it gets denied because he won't admit that he did it.
post #18 of 56
I agree that homicides involving juveniles have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Just look at the DC sniper case! I wouldn't want that kid out at 21.
post #19 of 56
I agree with those who point out the fact that DNA evidence has removed many prisoners from death row. Even if this was not true, capital punishment seems to me to be legalized, pre-meditated murder by the state. I'm sure that if a member of my family was murdered, I would want to kill that person myself, but that does not make it right.

As for the mentally ill and retarded, even if that person is legally sane, he cannot act as a normal person would. According to a prison guard I spoke with, approximately 75% of people in prison are mentally ill. Heaven help the parents of such a child! Also, there is felony murder. If a person is driving drunk, he is guilty of murder if he causes a fatal accident. Yet, the public seems to think of driving under the influence to be a minor offense that should receive less punishment. It is a deliberate act, unlike the act of the mentally ill. The man stopping at the bar on the way home from work is socially acceptable. The only reasons the average person isn't jailed for drinking and driving are that they are not caught and the fact that drinking is considered quite acceptable by most people.

The last reason is the inequity of the court system. Justice is different for the rich. They get off, or serve light sentences; the poor go to death row or serve the maximum amount of time. I strongly oppose the death penalty, but believe that murderers-proved guilty by scientific methods, not circumstantial evidence, should receive long sentences, and under certain circumstances, without the possibility of parole.
post #20 of 56
I have already gone through the horrors of a homicide investigation - my older brother was the supposed victim (it turned out to be natural causes)- and I must say that I want the ultimate punishment, but only on the basis of scientific proof. But: I think locking somebody up forever might be more of a punishment than executing them.
post #21 of 56
Originally posted by Jeanie G.
the public seems to think of driving under the influence to be a minor offense that should receive less punishment. It is a deliberate act, unlike the act of the mentally ill. The man stopping at the bar on the way home from work is socially acceptable. The only reasons the average person isn't jailed for drinking and driving are that they are not caught and the fact that drinking is considered quite acceptable by most people.
I think drunk drivers should be given the maximum penalty. I don't in any way shape or form find it to be a minor offense. Nor do I think stopping on your way home from work to get a buzz is socially acceptable. It's not okay to drink and then get behind the wheel of car, in any scenerio, IMO. The word acceptable doesn't even enter my mind when mixing alcohol and driving.

One of my best friends from high school was in the car with her husband (he was driving) and they had their 2 childern (ages 4 and 2) in the back seat and they were hit head on by a drunk driver who was going 70 MPH. She was okay, (her husband had swerved at the last minute so he had taken the brunt of the impact) her husband had 2 tears in his aorta valve. 10% of people survive ONE tear without bleeding out. He lived to have surgery, and she was told he had a 30% chance of living. He survived. He spent 6 months in a wheel chair because a peice of metal pierced his thigh. Luckily the kids got off with a broken collarbone and broken ankle. The drunk driver died on the scene, and his PREGNANT girlfriend who was with him survived. My friend visited her (she was in the same hospital as her husband) and said that none of his family bothered to see of she was ok. This was his THIRD offense drunk driving.

I think drunk drivers should serve jail time after their first offense and have their license revoked. This is a subject I'm very passionate about and I have to say I haven't had too many people express a laize fair attitude about drinking and driving. It's certianly not acceptable around here.
post #22 of 56
Colby, Regardless of what you and I might think, the bars are filled with men after work and in the evenings also. They don't all have desigmated drivers with them. For some reason, many men (and, I assume, some women) consider it a matter of pride. They deny that they've drunk too much to drive. My son testified against a bunch of drunk college students who were driving down our road, harrassing him and some of our neighbors. The father of one, a police officer in a different town, paid the best attorney he could buy, and all the guys got off- without even a fine. His attorney said to me, on the way out of the magistrate's office, that it worked out for the best, because they were all such good kids!

A close relative of mine has had five DWI's and is only under house arrest. I'm terrified that he will kill himself of someone else unless he straightens out his life. He makes a wonderful impression on the legal authorities because when he's sober, he's a great person. He just thinks he's invulnerable. But he's narrowly missed death several times. The Jekyll and Hyde personality is typical of people who drink a lot. And they can lie and look you straight in the eyes. Oh, yes, he has not had a license for about ten years. It just keeps getting suspended, and he continues to drive.
post #23 of 56
All I can draw on is my personal experience, and I don't personally know anyone who takes pride in driving drunk. If someone wants to drink themselves in a stupor, be my guest, but when you infringe on someone elses safety, well then you deserve the worst the law can give you.

As your story about your relative suggests, people are going to do whatever they want, regardless of whos lives they ruin, including their own. I don't think there is much we can do about those who are habitual offenders who can't seem to be rehabilitated. Maybe some hardcore prison time would serve as a wake up call. That's why I'm all for mandatory jail time for first time offenders. It's not a joke people, you are risking other peoples lives, not to mention your own. If you can't handle the ramifications, then don't put yourself at risk. period.

Maybe it's where I live, maybe it's the people I hang out with, but I don't know anyone who wears their irresponsible drinking behavior like a badge of honor. My boss has gone so far as to line up taxis at his house when he has a party, just in case someone has to much to drink. My circle of friends is all about crashing at someones house if they've had to much, taking taxis or giving rides home. I have no doubt that there are loads of irresponsible people who drink and drive.

As far as comparing someone who murders another with malice and intent to a drunk driver who commits vehicular manslaughter, I think the two are apples and oranges. IMO, one is a grievous lack of judgement and responsibility with an extremely sad outcome, and the other calculated pure evil. I think that someone who takes a life driving drunk should certainly have to pay for their crime with time behind bars, but not as much time as a person who stabs their S/O 27 times and cuts their head off. So ya, I think someone who commits vehicular manslaughter should do less time than a person who murders their entire family.

Just my 1/50th of a dollar.
post #24 of 56
Take away their licenses? Bah! Take away their damn cars! I, too, know somebody with a DUI on his record. He kept right on driving, even after the 2nd offense. The only thing that stopped him was an accident that totaled his vehicle. He couldn't afford another. I say impound the vehicle. I would also like to see more of that device that you have to blow into before the car starts, although I am sure there are ways around that too.
post #25 of 56
Perhaps it is just because I read a lot of True Crime books, but knowing what some of these people have done to their fellow man gives me no doubt that there should be the death penalty. Should it apply to every 1st degree murder conviction? Definitely not, but there are monsters in this world, serial killers and sexual predators among them. In studies by the FBI, the majority of serial and/or sexual killers interviewed who would answer the question said they would kill again if given the chance, and the majority had served time before. There should also be conclusive scientific evidence to support the conviction as well. (Most of the cases which have been overturned on DNA evidence didn't have DNA evidence presented in the trials. The scientific evidence was based on blood type, not DNA. There have been some cases where the forensic lab made greivious errors, but those are the minority.)

As for mental illness, in today's world I think about 75% of the general population has been or could be diagnosed with a mental illness. I have depression, hubby has PTSD from an abusive childhood. Does that mean we should be able to kill with impunity? NO! That doesn't give us any excuse, we can still think coherently and we know right from wrong, even with "mental illnesses". No one I know has killed someone, and almost every one of them has been diagnosed with a mental illness. Of course, I don't buy into the "but I had a bad childhood" defense either.
post #26 of 56
Thread Starter 
I figured that I'm owed one: my parents divorced, when I was 10 and used the kids as weapons. Stepmother abused us, first husband hit me, widowed at 30 and most recent husband cheated on me and deserted me. Oh yeah, I think that that I'll go out and shoot up a shopping mall.

Maybe Bill would like to join me - HE served 3 tours in Vietnam.

I'm tired of B.S. excuses. Unless someone is a decompensated schizophrenic, the "I'm not responsible" excuse doesn't fly.

Read Alan Dershowitz's book, "The Abuse Excuse". Even a liberal defense and appellate attorney, like him, doesn't buy into the bull.
post #27 of 56
You have misunderstood my post. I should have worded it more clearly. Some people can't admit that they have had more to drink than they can handle. They don't think they are drunk. Those who drink in excess appear to be perfectly sober. That's a sign that they have been drinking excessively for a long time. But it's still not safe for them to drive. Nevertheless, they do.

The other point was about mentally ill people. The drinker decides to drink as much as he does. They know exactly how much time and liquids they have to consume to pass a test for alcohol consumption. The mentally ill often have no control over their behavior. I'm not sanctioning anyone murdering their whole family. That would be ridiculous. I don't believe in killing-period. My point is that the law is not fair. Even attorneys recognize that.

By the way, the family member I'm so concerned about will have a device on his car-if he ever gets his license back. However, I have no doubt he is driving now. In fact I know he is. It's difficult for people who have not dealt with alcoholics to understand how they think. They are so slick with their lies, they have everyone around thinking what they do is everyone else's fault. Everything is denial, denial, and putting the blame elsewhere.
post #28 of 56
Jeanie, you are right that a some of the seriously mentally ill don't have control over their actions, especially without medication. The problem I have is with the blanket statement "mentally ill" because it can mean so many things. As you well know, statistics can say whatever you want them to say. When they say 75% of inmates are mentally ill, what does that mean? What is the severity of the mental illness? Is everyone who is diagnosed with depression included in that statistic (who wouldn't be depressed in prison?)? If you go on a killing spree, doesn't that make you mentally ill to begin with, with abnormal thinking patterns at the very least?

I agree with you that the seriously mentally ill and mentally retarded should have that taken into consideration. There is a chance at rehabilitation for those people.
post #29 of 56
Clinical depression is different from situational depression, which most of us have experienced. And we all have tendencies that others think make us neurotic. I mentioned the mentally ill who have no control over their behavior. The states have also executed severely mentally retarded people for murder. I see no excuse for murder, but I do see inequity in the laws. Until the law becomes infallible, the state should not be in the business of execution. Even then, I would vote against capital punishment because I think it's premeditated murder and immoral. Just my opinion. I won't discuss the immorality of it further because we are not to discuss religion in this forum.
post #30 of 56
First point, the law is not fair. True. Law, wisdom, and justice are not synonymous. The purpose of law is to decide if what is occuring is reasonable. (Erb v. Iowa State Board of Education)

Secondly, why can we not discuss religion here?
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