Archive for Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Death penalty upheld

Supreme Court ruling sets new direction

June 27, 2006

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A Monday ruling making it easier for Kansas jurors to impose the death penalty may be the first sign that the Supreme Court's two new justices will tip the balance away from tighter restrictions on capital punishment.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito provided the pivotal votes in the Kansas decision. The decision supported a lower-court ruling that said when jurors believe the reasons for and against execution are equal, they must impose a death sentence.

It's a blow to death-penalty critics, who've said that the Constitution requires the reasons for execution to outweigh reasons against a death sentence. Previous rulings seemed to support that thinking, and the court's most recent rulings on significant death penalty issues - raising standards for defense attorneys, outlawing executions of juveniles and the mentally retarded - had raised expectations that the Kansas case would extend that line.

Warden David McKune leads a media tour of the execution chamber at Lansing Correctional Facility, where lethal injections will be administered to a person being executed by an IV team located in another room. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld the state's death penalty law, under which eight inmates have been sentenced.

Warden David McKune leads a media tour of the execution chamber at Lansing Correctional Facility, where lethal injections will be administered to a person being executed by an IV team located in another room. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld the state's death penalty law, under which eight inmates have been sentenced.

Roberts' vote didn't shift the court's balance on death-penalty law. He replaced Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who wasn't in the majority for most of the court's significant death-penalty rulings.

But Alito replaced Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whose doubts about capital punishment had grown in recent years. Alito's vote in the Kansas case was presumed to be decisive, because the court was split 4-4 on death-penalty law.

Shape of things to come

Monday's ruling affects only Kansas, but it suggests how the new court may split on larger capital punishment questions.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who has been on the losing side of significant death cases for years, joined the winners Monday. He penned a concurring opinion doubting that there are any institutional problems with the death penalty and rejecting the idea that innocent people have been or are at risk of being executed.

Justice David Souter wrote an equally sweeping dissent. He defined the court's obligation in death cases as seeking a "morally justifiable" sentence. He tied that term to the growing anti-death-penalty campaign that focuses on questions of possible innocence.

Souter cited a bevy of studies suggesting that the nation's prisons may be teeming with condemned prisoners who didn't commit their crimes.

"We are ... in a period of new empirical argument about how 'death is different,"' Souter wrote. Problems in states such as Illinois, which recently commuted the sentences of all its death-row inmates, and studies on incidences of DNA-related exonerations present new challenges and demand tighter scrutiny of capital punishment, Souter wrote.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, left, joins Chief Justice John Roberts outside the U.S. Supreme Court in this Feb. 16 file photo. Roberts and Alito provided the pivotal votes in Monday's decision upholding the death penalty in Kansas.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, left, joins Chief Justice John Roberts outside the U.S. Supreme Court in this Feb. 16 file photo. Roberts and Alito provided the pivotal votes in Monday's decision upholding the death penalty in Kansas.

Souter's opinion, which was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, gives a hint of ideological and political sweep to their coalition's work to tighten restrictions on capital punishment. It suggests that, for them, this isn't just about the law and the Constitution, but also about the death penalty's practical effects - a doctrine that's frequently and brutally criticized by judicial conservatives.

Scalia response

Scalia took aim at Souter's attempt to root his objections in the possibility that innocent convicts are plentiful. He accused Souter and the others of irresponsibly fanning worldwide criticism of capital punishment in America.

"There exists in some parts of the world sanctimonious criticism of America's death penalty as somehow unworthy of a civilized society," Scalia wrote. Because Souter's opinion would no doubt be trumpeted by those critics, Scalia said, he was moved to respond. Souter's opinion, he wrote, has "nothing substantial to support it."

Scalia said there's never been a case where it's clear that an innocent person was executed. He punched holes in several often-cited studies of innocence problems, accusing Souter and the other dissenting justices of accepting "anybody's say-so."

Souter's opinion, Scalia wrote, "merely parrots articles or reports that support its attack on the American criminal justice system."

How they voted

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy voted in favor of Kansas' death penalty, while Justices David Souter, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer voted that it was not constitutional.

It's not the court's business to "impugn" jury verdicts that result in death sentences, much less to "frustrate" them by "imposing judicially invented obstacles," Scalia maintained.

Scalia's concurrence wasn't joined by other justices, but its tone was quickly echoed by interest groups that have opposed court rulings restricting capital punishment.

The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a prominent victims' advocacy group, said through its legal director, Kent Scheidegger, that the ruling showed a court majority was "not inclined to invent new procedural restrictions on the death penalty." Scheidegger said the court would probably continue to enforce restrictions already imposed.












Kansas defendants sentenced to die under the state's 1994 capital punishment law who still face possible execution:

¢ Douglas Belt: For the decapitation in June 2002 of Lucille Gallegos, in an abandoned apartment in a Wichita complex where she worked as a housekeeper. Also convicted of attempted rape and aggravated arson; prosecutors said he set fire to the apartment. ¢ Jonathan and Reginald Carr: For four shooting deaths in Wichita during a nine-day crime spree. A jury concluded they had entered a home and forced two women and three men inside to engage in sexual acts with each other and to withdraw money from ATMs. The women were repeatedly raped before the five friends were taken to the soccer field and shot. One victim survived. ¢ Phillip Cheatham: For the shooting of Annette Roberson in December 2003 at a Topeka duplex. Prosecutors say he opened fire on the duplex, also killing Gloria Jones. A third victim, Annetta Thomas, played dead and survived 19 gunshot wounds. ¢ Gary Kleypas: For the March 1996 killing of Carrie Williams, a Pittsburg State University student, after trying to rape her. The Kansas Supreme Court set aside his death sentence in 2001, and he has been awaiting resentencing in Crawford County. ¢ Michael Lee Marsh II: For the June 1996 deaths of Marry Ane Pusch, 21, and Marry Elizabeth Pusch, who was 19 months old. The mother was shot and stabbed, and her killer set fire to her home, trapping the toddler inside. The toddler later died. ¢ John E. Robinson Sr.: For the murders of two women whose bodies were found in barrels on property he owned in rural Linn County. Also sentenced to life in prison for a third, similar killing. Pleaded guilty in Missouri to five killings, receiving sentences of life without parole for each. ¢ Gavin Scott: For the September 1996 shooting deaths of Doug and Beth Brittain as they slept in their rural Goddard farmhouse. Also: ¢ Scott Cheever: Originally charged in state court with capital murder for the January 2005 shooting of Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels, at a home near Virgil where authorities also found a suspected methamphetamine lab. With the state's death penalty law under a cloud, the U.S. attorney's office agreed to prosecute the case and seek the death penalty in federal court, where the case is pending. ¢ Sidney Gleason: A Barton County jury recommended death for the shooting deaths of Miki Martinez and her boyfriend, Darren Wornkey, in February 2004. Prosecutors say Gleason worried that Martinez would tell police about the stabbing and robbery of a 76-year-old man. A judge must review the sentence. ¢ Gregory Moore: On trial in Harvey County for capital murder in the January 2005 shooting death of sheriff's Deputy Kurt Ford, during the storming of Moore's Hesston home during a domestic violence call. - Source: Attorney General's Office.







Capital crimes in Kansas, all of which must be premeditated:

¢ Murder of a kidnapping victim, if that person was being held for ransom. ¢ Killing of a kidnapping victim under 14, if that victim was being held because the criminal intended to commit a sex crime, such as rape. ¢ Murder for hire or participation in a murder-for-hire scheme. ¢ Killing of a victim of rape, criminal sodomy and aggravated criminal sodomy. ¢ Killing of a prison or jail employee or inmate by a prison or jail inmate. ¢ Murder of a law enforcement officer. ¢ Two or more killings at once, or killings "connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme."

Comments

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 11 months ago

Why I'm not a fan of the death penalty:

1) Death is way too irreversable. Innocents WILL be killed, and there will be no way to undo it. 2) Most murder is not planned or premeditated. Some guy who comes home to find his wife in bed with the UPS man isn't going to stop his rage and say "WAIT! I'll get in trouble for killing them." The death penalty doesn't go very far to prevent crime. 3) It cost too much money. The legal fees are in excess of the cost of giving someone a life sentance.

I believe that we have a death penalty for one reason: to give ourselves the impression that we are doing as much as we can to prevent and punish. It helps us to feel more in control, but that is a falsehood. I think we have a moral right to have a death penalty, but I think it makes no sense to do it.

carlwhoishot 8 years, 11 months ago

Enforcer: The lady you are talking about killed two people. In the first one she was tried and convicted of manslaughter and served her sentence. She met her second victim in prison, and when they both got out they remained friends. Long after an argument, she shot her. Not only did the victim identify her before she died, the shooter's mother was an eye witness. It is hard to have compassion for someone like that.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 11 months ago

If the death penalty is to be an effective deterrent to crime, then the executions should be carried live on television, similcast on radio, webcast on the internet, and pictures of the execution printed in the newspapers.

There is no deterrent to future killers when executions are carried out in private.

Only when the "faces of death" are put forth for everyone to see, will the deterrent have it's desired effect.

staff04 8 years, 11 months ago

I know the sole survivor of the Carr brothers' murders.

A close friend of mine was in the courtroom when she identified the men who shot her in the head and murdered her boyfriend and three other friends after demeaning them sexually by raping the women and forcing the men to engage in homosexual acts.

I think the death penalty is appropriate punishment for the crimes these men committed, but I am fearful that in other, not so clear cases, this court ruling may allow for the improper application of the death penalty.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 11 months ago

"they had domestic problems, that does not make capital murder"

I'm confused. Are you saying that I can pre-meditate murdering my wife, but I'm somehow protected because we are in a domestic relationship?

Please explain.

govols 8 years, 11 months ago

Staff04 - I couldn't agree more. If anyone's crimes were made for the death penalty, it is the Carr brothers.

lawrencechick 8 years, 11 months ago

The Carr brothers should have every single thing done to them that they did to their victims. That would be one public execution I would be happy to watch!

GardenMomma 8 years, 11 months ago

Find an island that has a supply of fresh water and food that can be grown and put all death row inmates and life without parole inmates on it and let them fend for themselves. They'll either learn to cooperate and survive or kill each other. Either way, it's less of a burden on the taxpayers. Less crowding in the prisons too.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

to compare 1945 to 2006 is a streach. And yes I know bigots are still alive and well but not as bad as 1945.

newssleuth2814 8 years, 11 months ago

No matter what is decided to do to/with criminals, someone will not be happy.

While I support the death penalty, I wouldn't mind doing away with capital punishment if prisons weren't run like hotels. Criminals should be made to face a harsher environment and expect hard labor. I think the famous Arizona "tent prisons" started by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, would be a good starting method. They aren't overly cruel and shouldn't ruffle the feathers of too many anti death penalty advocates too much (see http://www.cnn.com/US/9907/27/tough.sheriff).

As a taxpayer, I want to know that people like the Carr brothers are getting what they deserve in this lifetime. Whatever happens after they're put down isn't my concern.

Baille 8 years, 11 months ago

Ritual killing by the state is both morally unjustifiable and practically worthless.

Too much knee-jerk, not enough thought.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 11 months ago

When people act as animals, then they need to be treated like animals. You wouldn't hesitate to kill a dog who mauled a child to death, why would you hesitate to kill a human who abused and killed a woman or a child?

kingdork44 8 years, 11 months ago

I used to be for the death penalty, but now I'm against it. I think my turning point was the Tim McVeigh case. I just don't think it was all him. This is playing the "God Role" and It's just not our judgement to make. Enforcer. How are the pooches.

erichaar 8 years, 11 months ago

Way to go Attorney General Phill Kline!

Baille 8 years, 11 months ago

Due process does not equate to focused deliberation on whether capital punishment is moral.

The economic efficiency of capital punishment versus life imprisonment does not address the issues of deterrence, restitution, or the redemptive power of God.

The knee-jerk reaction is to advocate for death without articulating why such action is the morally correct or to justify ritual killing by the state with some more substantive than "eliminating sociopaths."

CheyenneWay 8 years, 11 months ago

Check out the Texas Death Row inmates last words. Some scream innocence but I guess you could argure the psychology of believing your own lies. Who knows? I know I'm not for the death penalty. I'd rather punish someone throughout their entire lives by throwing them in prison where everyday could be your last. Make the people suffer in solitary confinement for a few years to ripen that already weak psyche then throw them to the wolves in a completely backwards social habitat known as the prison system.

http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/executedoffenders.htm

GOPConservative 8 years, 11 months ago

It's too bad we don't have more Christians on the Supreme Court, and it is even worse that our Attorney General, Phill Kline, is so anti-Christian.

Killing people is not only against one of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, Jesus said in the New Testament,

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.

Even if you are not a Christian, common sense and historical fact should tell you that very often innocent people are executed. The next time it happens, it might be YOU!

Rebecca Valburg 8 years, 11 months ago

"With the ad nauseum appeals process we have now? Not enough thought? You're kidding, right? The death penalty is only more expensive than a life sentence BECAUSE of the appeals process. We need to apply some practical, common sense limitations on appeals, too."

Over 100 people released from death row since 1973 (READ - released - as in they were innocent, not just that the sentence was reduced). We're not talking about cases that were tried in 1850 and now we're thinking we made mistakes - these are current cases. Whether you want to admit it or not, mistakes ARE being made, and strangely enough, they are most often at the expense of young, poor, minority males. But we all find it so easy not to care if it only affects those that aren't quite like ourselves. Shall we make this easier, and only let the rich white people use the appeals process? (Might as well make it the law - this is already the case, since the poor often can't afford competent defense) Hell, why bog down the courts with minorities to begin with - let's just go back to lynching them on the streets - that'll save our tax dollars!

If we're wrongly condemned 100 people to die since 1973 (statistically that's supposed to be about 1 in 10 death row inmates - and keep in mind that these are only the ones that were discovered - assuming the execution has already occurred, the government is going to everything possible to keep the possibility of a mistake quiet, and those fighting to get the innocent off of death row aren't going to waste their time with a corpse), we've got a problem with our judicial system. Until we figure out how to ensure that the death penalty is ONLY used on people that are actually guilty, maybe we should back off.

Baille 8 years, 11 months ago

Those are facts, C-Man. Facts and conclusions. I am look for moral reasoning.

The "why" if you will.

If you want to play God - or at least abdicate the responsibility to the state - and decide that someone has had enough chance at redemption, then you should at lest be prepared to justify the position.

Redzilla 8 years, 11 months ago

kingdork, agree with you. McVeigh was my turning point. My cousin and her 2-year old daughter died in the Murrah building (So "nyah" to those of you who claim that anyone who is against the death penalty must not know what it's like to lose a loved one to violent crime. I know.) The state snuffed out McVeigh without ever knowing who else was involved in that crime, and I don't believe it was just the two of them. Now that he's dead, we will never know what he knew. When you kill someone you lose the chance to learn how and why they committed their crimes. Knowledge is power.

carlwhoishot 8 years, 11 months ago

Enforcer: "The women lived together and were in a relationship, they had domestic problems, that does not make capital murder. I suggest you find the documentary watch it and then comment, I think you may see it diffrently. The problem is the law tends to dismiss circumstances surrounding issues."

So the premeditated slaying of someone in front of a police station while your mother looks on is not capital punishment?

Nowhere in your response do you come anywhere near a coherent argument against the simple facts that I presented.

By the way, WTF does abortion or The Little House on the Prairie have to do with this issue?

carlwhoishot 8 years, 11 months ago

Correction: So the premeditated slaying of someone in front of a police station while your mother looks on is not a capital crime?

allmine 8 years, 11 months ago

if it is the case i remember hearing yes it was, own words and all but it could be a diffrent case. There have been more than a few of these lately. But to show up with a gun does lend to the premeditated issue, why else would you have it?

allmine 8 years, 11 months ago

Bundy enjoyed his kills plain and simple. Mcveigh was a sociopath with no remore alone or not he did the dirty deed. their is a whole list of them, these are not your every day variety killers they get off on it.

Rebecca Valburg 8 years, 11 months ago

"So we have to abandon "beyond a reasonable doubt" and make sure we're perfect. Most death penalty statutes come about as close to that as you can get now. Particularly in the sentencing phase. The option has to be available. The last thing I want to do is feed and clothe the Carr brothers for the next 50 years or more."

In the last 30 years, we've executed over 1,000 people. In this same amount of time, we've released 125 inmates from death row, after finding they were innocent. So, these individuals have been prosecuted, gone through the "fair trials" that our nation prides itself upon, been found guilty by their "peers," sentenced to die by their "peers" and the judges we admire for their fairness, and then after we take years away from them as they rot on death row, we find proof that at least 10% of the time, our system of determining guilt has completely failed. Pilgrim, I'm not saying we have to be perfect, but it seems to me that if you can prove that 10% of the time "guilty beyond reasonable doubt" actually means innocent, we have a problem. It's pretty difficult to fight a death sentence - so those 10% that did escape with their innocence probably had money or someone on the outide with a passion for seeing justice done at their own expense. How many of the 90% that are left just weren't able to be heard? And even if we're only killing 10% of these people wrongly - what rates are you willing to accept to get your revenge?

Killing people is expensive (as it should be, unless, as I've mentioned before, you'd prefer to revert to lynching - I hear there are no court costs involved - and their guilt is completely irrelevant). As pointed out above, we also often lose valuable information with these individuals. And yes, the guilty often are psychopaths, but wouldn't it be neat if we could actually study these people enough to be able to figure out exactly what is wrong and how to fix it? (Generally, it's pretty obvious from the time a child is tiny that their emotional responses aren't correct for the situations, but current science allows us to do absolutely nothing but sit back and wait for them to get large enough to cause enough damage that the law warrants us locking them up). And really, on a day-to-day basis, none of us really lose anything by these people being allowed to rot in their cells instead of being killed.

Rebecca Valburg 8 years, 11 months ago

Personally, if you're really that disgusting of a human, I'd really rather you have to sit in a cell for the rest of your miserable, pointless life than have an easy out in 10 years, and a whole lot of public attention in the meantime. The posh prisons you see on TV aren't where these folks are going (those are filled with your execs that steal from the poor, and your politicians that murder thousands - only the thousands don't count, because they're brown people that speak funny languages) - life isn't fun, they're not wearing designer clothing and eating carryout from fancy restaurants. They're getting absolutely crappy medical care, enough food to sustain them, and trying their darnest not to get killed by their neighbors. A controlled death is the nicest thing we can do for a lot of these inmates.

If you'd like to learn more, here's a good site for starters: http://www.aclu.org/capital/index.html

Capital punishment was a great way of keeping killers off the streets in biblical times. (It was also a great way of keeping your wife from cheating on you again) We have technology (i.e. large metal cages) that makes it possible to keep these people from killing again, without making it necessary to kill them. And if your goal is to dissuade others from killing - guess what - capital punishment isn't going to work either. If you don't have a conscience to prevent you from butchering people, do you really think you're going to think, "hmmm, I bet if I kill this guy, it's going to make it rather complicated for me to attend my neice's eighth grade graduation in ten years, since I might be dead?" Probably not.

allmine 8 years, 11 months ago

now why would someone oppose him? But that is right you believe in pain suffering and cruelty

Baille 8 years, 11 months ago

"and some people should rot in hell."

I thought we left that decision up to God.

"If an adult molests a child and then kills the child or even if the child is not killed but the molester has harmed numerous children then do you believe it is ok to execute?"

No. It is never OK to kill someone in cold blood whether by state ritual or by vendetta.

allmine 8 years, 11 months ago

Make no mistake I will never change my mind on this issue. But I do think everycase should be evaluated very very very well before this sentence is handed down. As for the cases involving children wellllllll I would just add a few other things before the needle.

Rebecca Valburg 8 years, 11 months ago

If they're going to hell, they're going anyway - whether we inject them in front of a crowd, or make them die utterly alone in a cell after years of misery and solitude.

But if we retain the death penalty, we do get to stay in the company of some excellent countries. Following are the only countries of the world still practicing capital punishment, courtesy Amnesty International:

AFGHANISTAN, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, BAHAMAS, BANGLADESH, BARBADOS, BELARUS, BELIZE, BOTSWANA, BURUNDI, CAMEROON, CHAD, CHINA, COMOROS, CONGO (Democratic Republic), CUBA, DOMINICA, EGYPT, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, ERITREA, ETHIOPIA, GABON, GHANA, GUATEMALA, GUINEA, GUYANA, INDIA, INDONESIA, IRAN, IRAQ, JAMAICA, JAPAN, JORDAN, KAZAKSTAN, KOREA (North), KOREA (South), KUWAIT, KYRGYZSTAN, LAOS, LEBANON, LESOTHO, LIBYA, MALAYSIA, MONGOLIA, NIGERIA, OMAN, PAKISTAN, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, QATAR, RWANDA, SAINT CHRISTOPHER & NEVIS, SAINT LUCIA, SAINT VINCENT & GRENADINES, SAUDI ARABIA, SIERRA LEONE, SINGAPORE, SOMALIA, SUDAN, SYRIA, TAIWAN, TAJIKISTAN, TANZANIA, THAILAND, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, UGANDA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, UZBEKISTAN, VIET NAM, YEMEN, ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE

We're in great company, folks. And obviously, from the looks of it, capital punishment is doing an EXCELLENT job of creating a safe, healthy, productive environment for the children of these countries to grow up in. Or maybe the people in these countries (the US included) really are nastier naturally, and thereby need to be killed more than, say, the people of Sweden or Great Britian. Maybe if we kill more of our criminals, we can get the stability and happiness that Rwanda has.

Interesting how many of these countries we scoff at for their barbaric practices, or even persecute for how "horrible" their governments are (or perhaps we just want their natural resources - that's the same, right?) We are a nation of hateful, blood-thirsty individuals.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

I just think it is funny that all the people in here are such experts on this issue. When have anyone in hear been in prison, not jail, and been on death row or in fact injected? What makes all of us in hear experts? Not a damn thing. This is why all the web addresses.

Rebecca Valburg 8 years, 11 months ago

You get your case evaluated very very very well if you have the money to be able to pay an attorney to do so. Most of the people on death row did not have this asset, and so were defended by whatever person the state decided to assign them. Not many people want this job, and the state obviously isn't going to pay great rates for the defense of someone the voters heard on TV might have committed a crime. Now let's think about how great of a defense these people are going to get.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

well what read into that post was that the jury should weigh its desion real good before giving a death sentence but I could be wrong.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

heartwarming I am sure but what was he like out side

allmine 8 years, 11 months ago

boo hoo cry me a river. the murder has died

Rebecca Valburg 8 years, 11 months ago

Jury selections are carried out by the attorneys involved. So, if you have a hand-picked attorney that you've paid thousands of dollars, chances are you're going to end up with a completely different jury than if you are forced to take the state-appointed attorney that doesn't personally care how the case ends up. You WANT a well-balanced, open-minded, un-biased, non-racist jury if you need a fair trial, but getting that depends largely upon the skill of your attorney, and thereby, like it or not, how much money you have.

You're basically saying that if you stand in front of a jury and tell them to "weigh your decision real good," it's all of a sudden going to cancel out the effects of poor representation.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 11 months ago

hey I was just saying what I got out of the post no need to attack.

bthom37 8 years, 11 months ago

The death penalty is a bad idea because there's no taking it back. If an innocent man is executed, there's no 'oops, our mistake, we'll let you out of prison'. Any human system of justice will be imperfect; therefore no one can be absolutely sure that only the guilty will be executed.

You can't make it so that it only applies to the 'obviously' guilty, because who can decide who the 'obviously' guilty are? Who decides who's 'obviously' guilty and who's almost-obviously guilty?

To reiterate, no man-made system of justice will be perfect, so we should never allow a man-made system of justice to make an irreversible decision.

allmine 8 years, 11 months ago

another one bites the dust gone gone gone

Terry Jacobsen 8 years, 11 months ago

The blood of the thousands of murdered, raped and molested victims cries out for justice. Sometimes death is the right choice.

dizzy_from_your_spin 8 years, 11 months ago

For those fearful of executing an innocent person, of the eight people on death row, which ones are innocent?

Linda Endicott 8 years, 11 months ago

Capital punishment is one of our God-given rights?? What a twisted sense of logic. I'm sure that God doesn't want us killing anyone. Jesus said to turn the other cheek. Not to become bloodthirsty savages in some misguided search for "justice". And in the old testament is "vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord".

My mother always taught me that if, in retaliation, you do the same thing that was done against you, then you are no better than the scum who did it to you in the first place.

The thousands of murdered victims are the only ones who truly know who did it. And they may just be crying out that you have the wrong person. They may be crying because their loved ones that were left behind, that they thought they knew so well, have become twisted shells of anger that they would no longer even recognize.

Far too many times the police and prosecutors focus on one person, and don't even bother investigating further to see if anyone else could be to blame. Once they make their minds up, even if they find evidence that doesn't support their theories, they will ignore it. Some evidence never even makes it to the jury.

If I am ever murdered by anyone, I for one would NOT want my murderer to be executed. And I have told all of my family this as well. If they go on some witchhunt for supposed justice, they wouldn't be doing it on my behalf.

I have read about people gathering outside a prison before an execution, and there's a party atmosphere there. When it's announced that the criminal has been executed, these nut jobs cheer.

I don't care who they are or what they have done. Anyone who can cheer at the death of another human being is sick and twisted. If you can get pleasure from the death of another, then you aren't any better than the person who was executed.

Only cold-blooded murderers get pleasure from the pain and death of others. Or so many pro-death penalty people have stated here.

allmine 8 years, 11 months ago

blah blah blah a person who murders people for the fun of it really does not need you to stand up for them. They do not deserve anything from anybody. Compassion to let them live is misplaced.

Jim Fisher 8 years, 11 months ago

The death penalty is supposed to be an effective deterrent to crimes of the most heinous type. It will not work that way until the death chamber is ajacent to the courtroom, to which the convicted can be wheeled, and the sentence carried out. No appeals, no three squares for years, etc.

Baille 8 years, 11 months ago

It only would work as a deterrent if murders were rational at the time they committed murder. Empirical evidence does not support that proposition.

Rebecca Valburg 8 years, 11 months ago

Fishcat -

Since 1973, more than 10% of the people sentenced to die have later been found innocent. If we already know that we are wrongly convicting that many people, it sounds to me like we need MORE appeals, so we can see how many others on death row were the victims of poor investigations, coerced/forced confessions, police scurrying to find a suspect to blame to quiet the community, shoddy defense, biased juries, etc.

Yesterday, I posted on here a list of the countries of the world that are still practicing capital punishment. If the death penalty truly IS an effective deterrent, it's interesting that a lot of the countries that we regard as being extremely crime-ridden and dangerous are on the list, where most of the countries with very low crime rates are mysteriously absent. It doesn't add up.

If you don't want your tax dollars to support fair trials, adequate representation the poor, and yes, appeals, there are a fair number of countries in the world that still practice lynching. You most likely won't find living there to be such a tax burden.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

I'm glad I never have to meet some of the lollipops who post on this site. Parkay - you are "special."

It's amusing to imagine what some of the old stomp-down convicts I was locked up with in the mid-70's would think of some of you guys. "Think of you" is probably the least graphic response to your crap.

This is the deal: lots of people are dead who should still be alive. Lots of people alive would be better off dead, if not for themselves, for everybody else.

The trick is figuring out who is who. You can't bring back the dead; just try as hard as you can to keep the good ones alive. And you can't kill all the pukes.

You'll have to think about it as best you can.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 11 months ago

Lots of countries in the middle ages (and some still do now) used to chop off the hand of a person caught stealing. Did it stop people from stealing? No.

In some countries, infidelity is a reason for the death penalty. Has it stopped people from cheating? No.

People can spend years and years in prison for selling drugs. Has it stopped the selling of drugs? No.

Embezzling money can result in years in prison. Has it stopped people from embezzling money? No.

There is absolutely no punishment for any crime, now and throughout history, that has ever been enough of a deterrent for that particular crime to cease to exist. Not even death. And in the olden days, people WERE often executed just as soon as they were found guilty. It still didn't stop the crimes.

So why are all of you so convinced that the death penalty is such a deterrent for murder? It isn't. If it worked so great as a deterrent, then why are murders still committed?

Linda Endicott 8 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately, I think they DO know what they do. They are deliberately killing people for revenge. They may call it justice, but it's simply revenge. And it makes them no better than the murderer.

I think Jesus was referring to the fact that his executioners didn't know who he was, not that they didn't know what they were doing. They knew perfectly well that they were putting a man to death.

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