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What do you think about the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the Kansas’ death penalty law?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on June 27, 2006

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Photo of Valerie Thomas

“Constitutional or not, it’s still wrong to kill people, and I don’t agree with it.”

Photo of Gabriel DeRose

“Personally, I hate that people have to die for committing a crime. I understand other people’s take on it, but I would much rather the worst penalty be for them to die in prison.”

Photo of Emily Garnett

“I think that the law should have remained unconstitutional. I don’t believe in it. Too many innocent people could be executed, and I don’t think we should be the ones to decide.”

Photo of Rex Ingelse

“I agree with the decision. I say, ‘Do the crime, do the time.’”

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topflight 11 years, 10 months ago

Emily, read about the men who are currently on death row and see if you think any of the men are innocent. You are ignorant to think that we would fry an innocent person. Every last one person currently on death row deserves the worst punishment.

mert1717 11 years, 10 months ago

I know that if a person murdered and raped my wife or Daughter. Or killed a member of my family for money or thier car. I would want justice. Not just sitting in jail until they are old.

I feel that if a person has a debt and should be held responsible for thier crime.

trinity 11 years, 10 months ago

i'm glad.

and yeah, some of the peeps on the street really do need to take a good look at some of these cases-most notably the carr case and the robinson case-and tell me, do these beasts need to still breathe the air? i don't think so.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 10 months ago

Good morning everyone........

I for one am all for the death penalty. I had a friend who was killed by a serial killer in Cali when I was 18. Hes sitting on death row in San Quentin. My friend was only 20 years old and engaged to be married. If you google this serial killer= Randy Kraft, click the first link if you can stomach it, you can read about his psycho. He is truely a sick, sick man.

Fangorn 11 years, 10 months ago

If someone killed my wife or children, they would be fortunate to make it to death row. The extent of their "suffering" there would be a little skin prick (sort of like what people with diabetes experience every day) and then falling asleep, albeit permanently. Failing any what my colleagues on the left might call "direct action", I'd volunteer to make the injection. So no, I don't have any problem with the Supreme Court's decision. It's preposterous that this case even made it to the SCOTUS in the first place.

Fangorn 11 years, 10 months ago

IP: I read the website about this murderer. One of the sickest aspects of the whole affair is that Kraft has now lived on death row longer than your friend lived, period. I fail to find anything approaching "justice" in that.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 10 months ago

I believe in the death penalty. But I also believe that these people should be tortured first. Anybody wanting to poke them with a stick gets to. Then, we can turn the "tenderized" remains over to H_L and wouldn't have to pay for disoposal. This should be done in a timely manner. The fewer tax $s spent, the better.

conservativepunker 11 years, 10 months ago

Ask the remaining 2 Clutter daughters how they feel about the Death Penalty. You think Dick and Perry deserved to live?

Kathleen Christian 11 years, 10 months ago

Since the death penalty became controversial and was abolished then brought back in only a certain states horrible crimes like rape, torture, murder, child molestation, etc. have been on the rise because these demons know the only punishment they will recieve, if any, is free room and board in prison where they will recieve an education, religious counciling, no rent to pay or bills piling up basically being taken care of. No I opt for the death penalty to put these demons out of their misery as you would put a dog with rabies down. They have no place in society and this is why they do what they do and need to be where they are sent. Yes, unfortunately there are some innocence who get caught up and I'm so sorry for them and their families - obviously many things in the legal system need to be changed. People always want to rally for the "politically popluar" causes. If people would research further into our legal system they would find many laws that need changing - ones that have only affected a few unknowns but one day will affect a great deal of people including the innocent. Look at Charles Mansion - I would feel much better if he had been put down. He and demons like him have no heart for humanity so they just don't belong in this world. Prisons have become big business these days and certainly the less offenders in them the less money we have to pour into funding these warehouses - Money that could be used for our children's education, parental education and other social programs that would help develope our children and hopefully help prevent them from becoming a criminal.

mooseamoose 11 years, 10 months ago

We must kill people who have killed people to show other people that killing people is wrong.


acg 11 years, 10 months ago

Maybe it's harsh but I think we don't use the death penalty nearly enough. Not only should heinous murders be death penalty crimes, but any and all sexual crimes perpetrated against a child should also be considered death penalty-worthy. The jury/judge should have the option of frying those bastards. I don't think some people can be rehabilitated, and if you're sick enough to get off on doing that to a little kid then I personally don't want you on my planet.

beatrice 11 years, 10 months ago

Macon, you say liberals opposed to the death penalty because they obviously never lost a loved one to violent crime. Does this mean that all conservatives in favor have? Didn't think so.

I'm a liberal, yet I tend to support harsh penalties for crimes. I even support the death penalty. Take a life, loose a life. But I do want to be absolutely sure -- DNA evidence type absolute.

However, I can see where people are coming from who oppose the death penalty. It doesn't stop future killings, and it may actually be a worse punishment for many. It also costs more to execute someone than it does to keep them in for life. Then there was the recent case of a Texas man executed for lighting a fire that killed his children. Problem is, the evidence is now known to be incorrect. When you learn of something like that, if it doesn't at least give you pause about your beliefs on the death penalty then you aren't a rational person. It gives me pause, hence my wanting absolute evidence to proceed.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 10 months ago

"I can only assume these 'fragile young liberals' that oppose the death penalty have never lost a loved one due to a violent crime."

The legal system is supposed to be based on emotional response?

Fangorn 11 years, 10 months ago

TOB: You know, I had noticed the same thing: so much agreement today. Highly unusual here! Do you think your position might change if the tremendous costs of endless appeals, etc. could be minimized? Or do you even think it's possible sufficiently to address this concern?

mooseamoose: Would you apply argument implicit in your remark to theives or kidnappers? By this reasoning, it would be wrong forcibly to take money from those who steal, because stealing is wrong. It would also be wrong to incarcerate kidnappers, because holding someone against their will is wrong. I would assert (and I understand there are many who sincerely disagree) that the death penalty expresses a high value for life. It, in effect, says to the murderer, "You have committed a crime against the most precious value we have. Taking your life from you is the only punishment severe enough to answer for your crime."

craigers 11 years, 10 months ago

In favor of the decision? Of course I am.

Fangorn, been a long time.

Fangorn 11 years, 10 months ago

Beatrice: I have returned to receive your "guidance". ;)

Regarding "absolute proof", I'm not sure such a thing exists. In our legal system, the standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt" for determining guilt. However, I agree that for the application of the death penalty extra care is needed. Execution is irrevocable.

Sun_Sue: My job has kept me busy. I try to post occasionally, but I hate making hit-and-run posts. Actual discussion is more beneficial but takes more time for thought. Ironic that I have to go to NJ in order to have time to post meaningfully.

bankboy119 11 years, 10 months ago

I don't think the argument that "it's wrong to kill people to show killing people is wrong," is correct. Why spank your child? To show them that what they did was wrong. If they just get told "no" over and over again then their fits get worse and it's worse for everybody. You give them a swat and, my oh my that hurt, and they start thinking about it. It's called tough love. You aren't breeding violence in a child when you spank them (there is a difference between discipline and abuse.)

The same goes for the death penalty; if people know what punishment awaits them then they could be detered from doing the crime. They may think twice about what they're risking before they molest a child, or kill a girl because she was just too irresistable and had to have her.

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

Consumer1: Maybe the same is true for hell, neh?

Fangorn: Greetings, eldest. To your point, I would give the chances of appeals costs and other court costs coming down about the same chances as a cessation of frivolous lawsuits. (which is, coincidentally, about the same chance I see of the death penalty going away any time in the near future) At any rate, I think that the idea of putting a dollar value on life of any quality is a dangerous place to go.

For myself, I oppose the death penalty, for a variety of reasons. Like O-Bob, I think it a more suitable punishment to spend life in prison than a quick and easy escape into death (though the way prisons are held and conducted these days hurts that idea, but that's another discussion entirely). Also, I can't help but percieve that some, though not all, of the support for the death penalty amounts to little more than thirst for blood or vengeance. As I've never lost a loved one in this way I admit I cannot fully understand or predict the thoughts of those that do, but I would hope that I would be able, in that circumstance, to put rage aside, and perhaps even to forgive. I think, myself, that would be a lot cleaner of a way to find closure than to spend my energy pushing or waiting for another death.

Anyway, the death penalty is clearly a reality to be dealt with for the foreseeable future, and I think, more than anything, the current opposition to its practice plays its most important role in keeping the usage of execution to a manageable level.

mom_of_three 11 years, 10 months ago

I am all for the death penalty. There doesn't seem to be any doubt about those on death row in Kansas.

But what I am confused about are those who are against abortion, but for the death penalty.
How can you argue for one life and against another??

Just wondering.....

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

momof3: Innocense vs. guilt is probably going to be the standard response. Another would be that you could look past the argument of sanctity of life, and focus on the soundness and stability of the social framework and structure, and what place both abortion and the death penalty have in holding up a stable society.

hottruckinmama 11 years, 10 months ago

i am for the death penalty. some people are just to mean to live. i keep thinking about the btk killer. when he spoke in court he just kept referring to his victims as "projects". it just made my blood run cold. how would you like someone like that to think of your kids or other family members as their "projects"? i don't know that the death penalty will deter nuts like him. but what earthly good is it to keep them around?

H_Lecter 11 years, 10 months ago

Harley, In your 6:22am post, are you saying that eating the victims is a bad thing?

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

Off topic, but here's a fun little logic flash game. Pretty easy till 16, goes to 30, I'm only on 17.

enochville 11 years, 10 months ago

I listened to this story on NPR, the Supreme Court's ruling was in favor of a Kansas law that says that during the sentencing phase if a jury feels that the aggravating circumstances are equally balanced with the mitigating factors then the death penalty is applied. The ruling doesn't imply anything else about any other aspect of the death penalty.

I am personally not in favor of the death penalty, but support that the people of this state can choose to have the death penalty in they want. I do disagree with the SC's ruling though. I think the death penalty should be resevered for the most heinous crimes, and if the aggravating and mitigating factors are equally balanced, then it was not the most heinous of crimes. I think if the aggravating and mitigating factors are balanced then the court should give the convict life in prison without the possibility of parole.

That is my personal opinion. I do not know whether the Kansas law was constitutional, but the SC has ruled that the law is constitutional.

bankboy119 11 years, 10 months ago


Innocence v guilt just as jonas said. The child did not commit a crime. The criminal did.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

oh for the good old days of "get a rope" life was so simple back then.

nekansan 11 years, 10 months ago

Remember to even consider the circumstances at the jury level, the determination of guilt has already been made. The court found that if you are convicted of a capital crime the mitigigating circumstances must outweigh the actions of the crime to avoid the death penalty. I'm actually fine with that. I find it very hard to believe that any jury takes the imposition of the death penalty lightly. Many people simply oppose the death penalty completely. Which is also fine. This is just democracy in action and a great example of the balance of power in governmental branches & at the state/federal level. Each state has the power to determine it's stance on the death penalty. This is the law in Kansas, we can choose to change it at any time, if you disagree, be sure to vote and write your state reps.

beatrice 11 years, 10 months ago

bennyo: snap!

mo3: Couldn't you switch it around and ask the same about those opposed to the death penalty, but in favor of abortion? The simple fact is, these two things are not the same and should not be mixed together.

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

It appeared to have fooled Macon. Sure, he'll say it was intentional humor, but yeah right.

bankboy119 11 years, 10 months ago

I would hope everybody that read that could understand it was satire. Of course assuming intelligence is never the intelligent thing to do.

angelofmine 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm all for it. If it can be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an individual tortured, maimed and/or killed another individual, so be it. If it was particularly gruesome or a crime against an innocent (children, especially) it would be even more just to send them on their way in the same manner they disposed of their victims. An eye for an eye.

Those sickos like that man that killed Jessica Lunsford? Let him loose in a big room with that little girl's daddy. If he comes out alive, let him sit on death row for the twenty years or so it takes to get down to business. If he doesn't come out at all, consider it a tax cut of sorts for the state. I have absolutely NO tolerance for crimes against children or the elderly.

gphawk89 11 years, 10 months ago

Oh, not the abortion / death penalty comparison again... There IS no comparison! The death penalty kills someone who has been proven to be an truly evil menace to the rest of society. Abortion ends a life that is neither evil nor a menace to anyone.

acg 11 years, 10 months ago

I have to call you on that "nor a menace to anyone" comment gphawk89. I'm not an advocate of abortion by any means, but if the unborn child wasn't considered a menace of some sorts to the birth mother, then why the need for the abortion?

jonas 11 years, 10 months ago

All children are menaces, but they're only labeled as such when they get big, scruffy, and can't be considered adorable anymore. Of course, ugly kids can be safely considered menaces while still small.

neopolss 11 years, 10 months ago

Again, I will restate that my position is firm - capital murder is no better than murder. It achieves nothing. And for the many that give proposed scenarios I will offer this. The death or life of the convicted will do nothing to curb your suffering. Revenge is hollow and empty, and death too easy for the convicted. Yes, I have lost to a terrible and horrific act of murder. It was senseless. No amount of revengful death sentencing will bring the person back or ease the pain.

The only recourse then for me is logical. It is logical for me to find more satisfaction in the inidivdual spending life reflecting on those actions, and providing at least some service for society (license plates, boulders, whatever). It is far more cost effective, and better, does not allow for another appeal because it is not a death sentence.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 10 months ago


I also agree and thought by now that someone from the inside would have done away with him by now. He has now befriended the likes of other serial killers who have his back. They all protect each other in there. I guess he will end of rotting in prison like many others have.

Its been years and years now, but I miss my friend Roger alot. All I can do is remember all the good times we had long ago.

Fangorn 11 years, 10 months ago

My thanks to those who have welcomed me back. I can't tell you how much I've missed this forum. It's good to "see" everyone again and to hear all the bantering back and forth.

Regarding death penalty vs. abortion. I would gladly accept life without parole in lieu of execution if it also meant the end of abortion except to save the mother's life.

benny_o: I think what Macon did was "misunderestimate" the President, wasn't it?

Also, I'd like to clarify what the SCOTUS actually decided in Hudson vs. Michigan. They did not "approve" no-knock searches. No police agency has been given the authority to kick in the door whenever they feel like it. What the Court did decide was that if in serving a warrant officers, acting in good faith, inadvertently violate a rule - did we count to five yet, or just three? (think Monthy Python's King Arthur and the Holy Hand Grenade, here) - any evidence they discover will not be thrown out on that technicality. So an accused murderer can't hope to walk by arguing the police did not knock loudly enough or count to some prerequisite number before entering. You may disagree with the ruling, but in doing so please characterize the decision accurately.

gccs14r 11 years, 10 months ago

The death penalty is just, but only if you're ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you have the right guy.

Too many innocents have fried for us to continue to use the death penalty as punishment. As painful as it is to let some of these animals live on the public dime, we have to suck it up and do it so that we don't kill anyone who doesn't deserve it.

gccs14r 11 years, 10 months ago

Video evidence can now be manufactured on a home computer. Toss in some sloppy lab work, a shady DA, and an election year and you're back to frying whoever's handy instead of the guilty.

bthom37 11 years, 10 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.

Fangorn 11 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, off topic: ms_c and cellach, if you've still got my USAF email address, would you shoot me a quick note. I thought I had your e-ddresses with me in my PDA, but I can't find them. Thanks!

mooseamoose 11 years, 10 months ago

I support the death penalty in the case of Rush Limbaugh...

Ceallach 11 years, 10 months ago

I support the US Supreme Courts decision. I am always surprised by the number of folks who think a life in prison is worse than the death penalty. They receive free food, medical service, college education is they want, conjugal visits, correspondence with violence groupies and there's always the protesters spending their lives trying to keep you alive.

Without the possibility of the death penalty being enforced, I believe more victims will be murdered during the commission of other crimes. It doesn't take a mental giant to figure out that leaving the witness alive to identify you is really dumb when you will not face death, even if you decide to kill the witness.

momofthree: that may be due to the fact that we consider one as a murderer (scheduled to die for murdering an innocent person) and the other as a victim (innocent child scheduled to be murdered).

Good to see you back Fangorn!! I think I found the address and sent a test message.

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