Archive for Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Statehouse Live: Kansas opponents of death penalty tout Illinois repeal

March 9, 2011


— Supporters of repealing the death penalty in Kansas were heartened Wednesday by the signing of legislation to repeal the death penalty in Illinois.

"Many of the problems that plagued the Illinois death penalty are the same here in Kansas," said Donna Schneweis, chair of the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty. "It's a system that is costly, prolonged and broken," she said.

House Bill 2323, which would repeal the Kansas death penalty and replace it with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, is currently in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee.

The committee chairman, state Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Bel Aire, has said he hasn't decided whether to have a hearing on the bill this session.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law legislation repealing the death penalty there.

"Since our experience has shown that there is no way to design a perfect death penalty system, free from the numerous flaws that can lead to wrongful convictions or discriminatory treatment, I have concluded that the proper course of action is to abolish it," Quinn wrote.


jhawkinsf 7 years, 2 months ago

I recall a case in California a couple of years ago. A man was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. He still had influence with others on the outside and he ordered a hit on several people who testified against him at his original trial. The murders were in fact committed. Anyone want to suggest an appropriate punishment for the second set of murders? I think most people would accept a punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole if it were conditioned upon the prisoners having to serve "hard time". I don't mean torture or anything like that, but no color T.V., weight sets, basketball, etc.. No health care that exceeds that which is afforded the poorest of our law biding citizens. Life in a dingy cell, all by themselves with their whole life to contemplate the seriousness of their crimes.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 2 months ago

Bradley Manning is undergoing this (and worse, actually) and he hasn't even been tried yet.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"Anyone want to suggest an appropriate punishment for the second set of murders?"

How about trial and conviction for those who carried out the murders?

jhawkinsf 7 years, 2 months ago

The guy who ordered the murders, already serving life without parole, guilty AGAIN of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, what is an appropriate punishment? You did not answer my question.

Brock Masters 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree that someone who receives life without parole needs to spend it in very spartan conditions. Minimal food to sustain life, confinement 23 hours a day, no books,no tv etc. Form of torture? Perhaps, but too bad.

I do, however, think we need to look at how we treat non-violent offenders. More rehabilitation and less punishment is needed to rehabilitate them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"Minimal food to sustain life, confinement 23 hours a day, no books,no tv etc. Form of torture? Perhaps, but too bad."

Too bad?? Vengeance is attractive on a very primitive level, but it has its own costs. From a strictly practical perspective, the treatment you say you want can lead very quickly to emotional and psychological collapse, and prison personnel still have to deal with these people, even if you don't.

Even if prisoners are treated somewhat humanely, they're still in prison, and even the so-called "country club prisons" are no walk in the park.

jhawkinsf 7 years, 2 months ago

Bozo - your response to my post suggested that my proposal was a form of torture (no color T.V. no weights, no basketball, just a dingy cell). Well, I'm not sure what conditions you would suggest. You think it's fine for them to watch T.V., play ball and pump iron so they can become a threat to the other prisoners (you do know that convict on convict violence happens). I guess we'll just have to raise taxes some more to provide these, or cut school funding, mental health services, WIC, etc. Heck, with what's on T.V. now, that might be considered torture. But as long as you give no specifics, I'll stick with my original views.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"No health care that exceeds that which is afforded the poorest of our law biding citizens. Life in a dingy cell, all by themselves with their whole life to contemplate the seriousness of their crimes."

You left this part out-- and it is torture.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

Prison should not be an enjoyable experience. But neither should it be so extreme that it makes the prison population unmanageable and highly prone to strike out against each other and the prison personnel who have to deal with them on a daily basis.

The primary point of a prison is to keep dangerous people off the streets. The secondary purpose should be rehabilitation, although we gave up on that long ago when we started the war on drugs that packed our prisons to the max with non-violent offenders, meaning all that can be accomplished down is warehousing them till they get out.

jhawkinsf 7 years, 2 months ago

Prison ought to be so unattractive that we would all strive to do whatever possible to stay out of there. Weight sets, basketball, T.V., three hots and a cot, not too bad.
There are actually 3 reasons for prison: remove dangerous people from society, rehabilitation and punishment. Because this discussion began with death row vs. life without parole, I'm not sure rehab. is all that important. Weights, etc, just make a dangerous person into a bigger more dangerous person. Leaving punishment. Don't forget punishment. It's an equal component.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

Taking away a person's freedom is considerable punishment in its own right, and being in prison also means that there is absolutely no right to privacy. It's also uncomfortable and potentially very dangerous. Most of the "privileges" exist primarily as a carrot for good-behavior and they allow guards to use their removal as a "stick" against bad behavior.

Prison is a miserable place, and no sane person wants to be there. Making it even more miserable really doesn't do anyone any good, although it would satisfy Schadenfreude for many.

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 2 months ago

Do you know who would lodge the first and loudest objections to your proposal to take color tv away from prisoners? The guards. Making prison the place you advocate would make prison a far more dangerous, violent place, most especially for the guards who work there.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 2 months ago

Don't see the point in keeping the death penalty. No one has been executed in this state since what? 1965? (I think.) People still get sentenced to death and sit on death row for decades filing appeal after appeal which doesn't do anything but cost the state time and money. Why bother? Get rid of the death penalty as a cost cutting measure and please, do try to put the money somewhere other than in the pocket of David Koch.

Peacemaker452 7 years, 2 months ago

The death penalty is best applied at the scene of the crime by the intended victim. Any time after that you start taking the chance of mistakes.

I agree with Bozo, we need to end the war on drugs and other “wars” on non-violent, victimless crimes. Get these people out of the prisons and back out leading useful lives.

Once released, the full Constitutional rights of the ex-con should be restored. If you can’t trust them to vote and own a gun they should never get released.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 2 months ago

The death penalty does not lower crime rates, costs more money than life in prison without parole and once inflicted, can not be repealed if new evidence comes to light.

Honestly, I am not 100% against the death penalty, but the standard is not high enough. We have to convict beyond a reasonable doubt, but I think we should have the death penalty when it is beyond a shadow of a doubt...a higher standard.

To support that, one only needs to look at the death row inmates, including several who have been put to death that have been found later to be not guilty of the crime.

Since 1973 there have been about 130 inmates released from death row, found to be innocent of the crime that put them there and at least 5 who were put to death that were later exonerated. There have been 22 people executed for crimes committed as minors and at least 4 people who were diagnosed with borderline mental retardation and while the Supreme Court has outlawed the death penalty for people with diagnosed mental retardation, 1 or 2 points above that diagnosis is very questionable to me.

That means roughly every 100 days a person is wrongly given the death penalty and 1 in 27 of those are actually put to death. And those are the cases that we know about. No doubt the real numbers are much higher.

Those numbers are way to high for me to support the death penalty as it stands now.

akt2 7 years, 2 months ago

If they would start carrying out the sentences it might deter crime. Methodically clear death row. But the murderers and child killers have more rights than the victim or the victims's family. Thus the continual appeals. It should be the other way around. The family of the victim should have the right to observe the death of the deviant that did unspeakable harm and mutilation to their loved one. These murderers also get the right to die by clinical means. Unlike the heinous trauma that they inflicted. Again, more rights than the innocent victim.

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