Yay, or Nay... Death Penalty.


View Poll Results: Should The Death Penalty Be Banned?
Yes 6 31.58%
No 13 68.42%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

Libra Girl
#1
YES
  1. Financial costs to taxpayers of capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life.
  2. It is barbaric and violates the "cruel and unusual" clause in the Bill of Rights.
  3. The endless appeals and required additional procedures clog our court system.
  4. We as a society have to move away from the "eye for an eye" revenge mentality if civilization is to advance.
  5. It sends the wrong message: why kill people who kill people to show killing is wrong.
  6. Life in prison is a worse punishment and a more effective deterrent.
  7. Other countries (especially in Europe) would have a more favorable image of America.
  8. Some jury members are reluctant to convict if it means putting someone to death.
  9. The prisoner's family must suffer from seeing their loved one put to death by the state.
  10. The possibility exists that innocent men and women may be put to death.
  11. Mentally ill patients may be put to death.
  12. It creates sympathy for the monsterous perpetrators of the crimes.
  13. It is useless in that it doesn't bring the victim back to life.

NO
  1. The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much.
  2. It creates another form of crime deterrent.
  3. Justice is better served.
  4. Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims.
  5. It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence.
  6. DNA testing can now effectively eliminate uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence.
  7. Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill.
  8. It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system


Personally, I have always sat on the fence over this issue. In the ‘YES’ section, numbers 10 and 11 are compelling reason, in my opinion, for banning the death penalty.


In the ‘NO’ category number 6 worries me, because although DNA may be a ‘dead cert’ in identification, lab techs are not infallible, and mistakes are so easily made, and have been previously. (Don’t make me find links to those cases, pleeeeeease.)


Further, I do not know if it is our ‘right’ morally to take a life, whatever the circumstances. I am very interested in what you all think, and whether I can be swayed, finally, one way or the other over the death penalty issue.
Last edited by Libra Girl; May 7th, 2007 at 05:41 PM..
 
Zzarchov
#2
Well, you are missing a few things.

1.) The financial cost is far less than the cost of imprisonment. FAR, FAR less. Cost to keep someone locked up in solitary can top a 100k a year, for up to 60 and growing years. Execution can be as little as $2. (look at china).

2.) Its more humane in some instances. If you are just going to lock someone in a 4 x 4 cell in a straight jacket for 60 years, because he cannot be rehabilitated and is a grave danger to all around him, its morally preferable to kill him rather than commit 60 years of mental torture.


for the no, no.6 is often wrong.

the testing process has a tiny margin of error, which if you have already created a set of suspects is inconsequential, its so vastly tiny it doesn't matter.

What does matter is many law enforcement agencies are taking a lazy detective approach and just taking any DNA samples from the victim (say an eyelash on a shirt) and running it through a database.

1.) That piece of DNA could easily get there from mundane means, perhaps the wind carried it from your eyelash to their shirt, or you both rode in the same cab 3 days apart and it hasn't been cleaned.

2.) Even if it is something incriminating, when you search 10 million records at random, that tiny chance of error comes into play to create a very real chance of error.

DNA testing only really works if you already have a reasonable suspect, but it isn't being used that way.

Sometimes there is undisputable proof of a hideous crime. Situations like Paul Bernardo. In those cases, you should put the death penalty on the table.
 
Libra Girl
#3
Sorry, I meant number six, not five, and edited.

You make a very compelling argument Zzarchov. I'm inclined to agree with you. There cannot be room for error in such a situation, too late 10 years down the line to find out that information/evidence was suspect.
 
temperance
#4
It needs to be implemented we should all vote on who dies --end of story

Child killers -Yay
 
TenPenny
#5
For an interesting read, try John Grisham's book "The Innocent Man". It's non-fiction.

That said, I do believe there is a limited space for the death penalty.

Pickton IF GUILTY
Homolka
Bernardo

I would limit it to greivous repeat offenders of fairly horrific crimes, not "simple" murder.
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#6
No topic about the death penalty can be complete without the mention of Clifford Olsen. I would add Olsen to TenPenny's list.
 
karrie
No Party Affiliation
#7




The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much.
This wouldn't be closure to me. Closure would be knowing the bastard would rot in a prison, devoid of all freedom, for the rest of his life.

It creates another form of crime deterrent.
Crime deterrent, and murder detterent, are two completely different things. The kinds of murders for which people face death sentences, aren't the sort of thing that a criminal weighs out in their minds... Should I? Shouldn't I?

Justice is better served.
To me, justice evaporates when you give a criminal the easy out of death. Sure, it's scary and hard on them leading up to the sentence being carried out, but then it's over. A life spent in prison has no easy outs.

Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims.
Our justice system is about preserving human rights. I have many friends in Victim's Assistance, who serve as victims' advocates in court, who would disagree that the system ignores the victim.

It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence.
Hmmm.... if I was locked up for the rest of my life, I think I just might like that there's an easy out available. Kill another inmate, and your sentence is essentialy over. Dead, done.

DNA testing can now effectively eliminate uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence.
I think anyone who is following the enws right now, with that medical examiner who ruined so many lives, is right to think like you, and doubt the absolute effectiveness of DNA testing.

Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill.
I think it's reasonably logical to say that if someone committed a crime worthy of consideration for the death penalty, they should be sentenced as inelligible for parole.

It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system
Hmmm... this one, while I can't really counter the argument, just seems silly to me.
 
Libra Girl
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system
Hmmm... this one, while I can't really counter the argument, just seems silly to me.

Dang, karrie, I meant to say that that particular argument was lame and silly also, you beat me to it. lol

You also have given some powerful arguments against the death penalty. I do tend to lean more toward the yays then the nays on this, but then, something else crops it's ugly head up, like those cases mentioned by yuan, TenPenny and temperance.... and especially when the victim is a child.

Oh I just don't know...
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#9
Karrie wrote:
Quote:

This wouldn't be closure to me. Closure would be knowing the bastard would rot in a prison, devoid of all freedom, for the rest of his life.

At the moment we don't have a real "life sentence" that would put a slimebag away for the rest of his life. I think the judge made a special recommendation in the case of Clifford Olsen.
 
karrie
No Party Affiliation
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

At the moment we don't have a real "life sentence" that would put a slimebag away for the rest of his life. I think the judge made a special recommendation in the case of Clifford Olsen.

I'm aware of that, but we don't have a death sentence either. Not having a serious sentence which keeps a murderer off the street SHOULD be corrected. To bring in the death penalty, you'd have to change the system, so why is that preferable to changing it so that there is an honest to goodness life sentence? Either way requires reforming the sentencing structure.
 
karrie
No Party Affiliation
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

...but then, something else crops it's ugly head up, like those cases mentioned by yuan, TenPenny and temperance.... and especially when the victim is a child.

Oh I just don't know...

I say toss them all in prison and let them sort it out... reason number 14 against the death penalty... it would discourage other 'lifers' from offing the ones who really deserve it. lol.
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

I'm aware of that, but we don't have a death sentence either. Not having a serious sentence which keeps a murderer off the street SHOULD be corrected. To bring in the death penalty, you'd have to change the system, so why is that preferable to changing it so that there is an honest to goodness life sentence? Either way requires reforming the sentencing structure.

With me, the death sentence is an emotional thing. When Olsen was writing letters to the families of his victims, I would have gladly shot him myself. I know there have been too many cases where people have been wrongly convicted to allow the death penalty as a normal sentence. The thing that bothers me is that even if we had a real life sentence, twenty years down the road some new judge might just set an Olsen or a Bernardo free. Maybe we should have some kind of star chamber that would arrange for the accidental demise of the Olsens and Bernardos.
 
karrie
No Party Affiliation
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

With me, the death sentence is an emotional thing. When Olsen was writing letters to the families of his victims, I would have gladly shot him myself. I know there have been too many cases where people have been wrongly convicted to allow the death penalty as a normal sentence. The thing that bothers me is that even if we had a real life sentence, twenty years down the road some new judge might just set an Olsen or a Bernardo free. Maybe we should have some kind of star chamber that would arrange for the accidental demise of the Olsens and Bernardos.

To me, the fact that it is such an emotional thing, is why it shouldn't take place. We shouldn't take joy in seeing someone else die. It's what brought that person to the sentence in the first place. We should be better than that. Emotions cloud judgement. Trials have been proven to be too fallible, human's too prone to flawed thinking, to have anyone die based on them.

I know how you feel about wanting it though juan. I want to see Pickton dead. For the pain he inflicted on those women, the way he descrated their corpses. Knowing that it has so closely impacted someone I hold dear, eats me up inside. While she chose to help, knowing that someone you love has had to sift through pig feces and dirt, looking for the bits of bone and teeth, the tiny remnants of women, he left behind... argh...
 
Niflmir
Free Thinker
#14
I mistakingly voted no, because I am tired and I assumed the question to be geared towards Canadians....

Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much.

Closure for me is knowledge that this thing will happen less in the future, revenge is petty for me and wouldn't make me feel happier. Once the criminal is gone, I could never have answers, could never know that they regretted what they did.

Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

It creates another form of crime deterrent.

Criminals don't think about the consequences of their actions because they don't plan on getting caught. If they thought they would be caught, they would not commit the crime. Consequently, punishments are largely irrelevent as deterrents, look for studies on minimum mandatory sentences to see this. Plus, most people are completely unaware of which sentences carry which penalties, I don't know the difference between the sentences of Murder 1 and murder 2 and I read a lot of legal documents.

Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

Justice is better served.

There will always be innocent people killed. The innocent person killed, and forever presumed guilty, while the actual perpetrator will forever remain free, never held accountable for their actions, completely perverts the notion of justice.

Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

Our justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims.

The judges and lawyers out there are no different from you or I. In fact by working so closely with criminals and victims they often develop more sympathy for the victims than actual citizens. Judicial discretion reflects this.

Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence.

Again, the prisoners that reoffend do so because they think they have learned how to avoid being caught. Since they don't plan on being caught they ignore the potential consequences.

Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

DNA testing can now effectively eliminate uncertainty as to a person's guilt or innocence.

Most homicides are committed by relatives and friends. The DNA is there anyways and there will always be false positives. Not every case has this evidence at disposal.

Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

Prisoner parole or escapes can give criminals another chance to kill.

Not bothering to rehabilitate people will ensure that they reoffend. The notions of those on death row will leach into the general prisoner population and effectively destroy most rehabilitation processes.

Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

It gives prosecutors another bargaining chip in the plea bargain process, which is essential in cutting costs in an overcrowded court system

It lengthens trials because, knowing they could get the death penalty, they dig in and ensure that the process continues as long as possible, creating a huge burden on the justice system. False confessions are more easily obtained because the police will lie and say the evidence is overwhelming and hold out life in prison on the one hand and the electric chair in the other. Anyone who trusts the police and is in a moment of emotional crisis will take the life in prison.
 
Zzarchov
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

It provides a deterrent for prisoners already serving a life sentence.
Hmmm.... if I was locked up for the rest of my life, I think I just might like that there's an easy out available. Kill another inmate, and your sentence is essentialy over. Dead, done.

That is hopelessly over complicated.

If they wanted to die, they could kill themselves far easier than someone else. Or just pick a fight with someone you can't beat.
 
karrie
No Party Affiliation
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Zzarchov View Post

That is hopelessly over complicated.

If they wanted to die, they could kill themselves far easier than someone else. Or just pick a fight with someone you can't beat.

Well, I already mentioned the most relevant reason it's not a deterrent, back when I pointed out that few murderers weigh out the pros and cons of what they're doing as they're doing it.
 
Niflmir
Free Thinker
#17
There was a pretty good debate in the House of commons yesterday on an issue related to this. It was the mandatory minimum sentences for gun related crimes issue. Surprisingly for me, the Bloq Quebecois had the most coherent arguments. Its a lot better read than the question period, although there is some partisanship, it is not nearly as much of a circus.

The debate.
Last edited by Niflmir; May 3rd, 2007 at 01:13 PM..Reason: Grammar Fairy!
 
Libra Girl
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

Emotions cloud judgement. Trials have been proven to be too fallible, human's too prone to flawed thinking, to have anyone die based on them.

Yes, these, and many other reasons have kept me on the fence over this issue.
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie

I know how you feel about wanting it though juan. I want to see Pickton dead. For the pain he inflicted on those women, the way he descrated their corpses. Knowing that it has so closely impacted someone I hold dear, eats me up inside. While she chose to help, knowing that someone you love has had to sift through pig feces and dirt, looking for the bits of bone and teeth, the tiny remnants of women, he left behind... argh...

I've not heard of this 'Pickton' case... ???
 
TenPenny
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

To me, the fact that it is such an emotional thing, is why it shouldn't take place.[snip]...I know how you feel about wanting it though juan. I want to see Pickton dead...

That's an interesting combination of thoughts. I'm going to wait for the trial to be over, to see if he's guilty or not, before wanting to see him dead.

You're right about emotions - you're already willing someone to be executed, when the trial has only started.

Libra Girl, the less you know about the Pickton case, the better off you'll be. To summarize: over several years, many (many being, what, a hundred?) women in Vancouver disappeared (mostly sex trade workers, as the phrase goes). The police seemed to do little or nothing about it. After several years of disinterest and incompetence, they have charged a "pig farmer", who used to have lots of these women out to parties at his place, and they have spent years sifting (literally) through his farm...it appears that, if true, he disposed of the bodies in rather gruesome ways, that a farmer/slaughterhouse would have at his disposal. It's one of those things that, in reality, only those involved in the case need to know the details about; the rest of us are better off not knowing the details of.
 
Libra Girl
#20
TenPenny, thank you for the information on the Pickton case. But, despite what you believe in what is better for me not to know, it is rather redundant in my particular case. For some years I have been interested in, and researching into the mind of the psychopath, and what makes him/her tick. I cannot think how I came to miss the Pickton murders; I mean, my knowledge of this area is not excessively extensive, yet this case seems to have been well publicised over a number of years.
 
able
#21
Having made it apoint to learn something on the subject, I have to go along with the death penalty when DNA evidence proves it beyond reasonable doubt.( O J Simpson notwithstanding) I have seen a number of interviews with people who are facing the death sentence, predictably enough, not one was in favour of the death sentence. That told me the death sentence might be a good thing after all. The Russian method might be the most terrifying of all, the person is put in a room with a drain in the floor, bend your head forward, BANG, a single round through the back of the head, and instant eternity. Imagine if our criminals had to face stark justice like that. Further to the life sentence, if the killer can be declared a dangerous offender, then there is almost no probability that they will ever be released. My personal opinion is that the death penalty is revenge, I'm not sure I would want my thoughts of the person who was murdered to be marred by my knowledge that I had my revenge. This is what makes the subject so complex, far too many emotions are involved, and those who involve themselves in the subject don't have first hand personal experience. Perhaps, this is one of those topics that should be decided by those who have personal experience. A poll of those who had the experience should be taken, majority opinion should prevail, and let the pieces fall where they may.
 
Blackleaf
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

It sends the wrong message: why kill people who kill people to show killing is wrong.

I don't agree with that argument.

What if someone was taken to court for holding a person hostage by locking them in a tiny, windowless cell and giving them nothing but bread and water to eat?

Does that mean you shouldn't lock them up in jail as you would be doing the same thing as the criminal did?

Why lock up people who lock up people to show that locking up people is wrong?
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

Yes, these, and many other reasons have kept me on the fence over this issue.


I've not heard of this 'Pickton' case... ???

If you google Robert Pickton you will find all the information you might want. Robert Pickton is in court as we speak. The court alleges he murdered six women out of at least twenty two on his pig farm.. He has yet to be tried for the rest of them.

http://tinyurl.com/ad7yv
 
Libra Girl
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

I don't agree with that argument.

What if someone was taken to court for holding a person hostage by locking them in a tiny, windowless cell and giving them nothing but bread and water to eat?

Does that mean you shouldn't lock them up in jail as you would be doing the same thing as the criminal did?

Why lock up people who lock up people to show that locking up people is wrong?

Ah, Blackleaf... just making a point that that particular question, I can't remember which one it was from my op, was not actually my query. I should have posted the link, as I usually do, it's a copy and paste, sorry. As I said in my op, I personally 'sit on the fence' over this issue.
 
Blackleaf
#25
In fact using that argument, you'd NEVER be able to punish anyone.

You couldn't lock someone in prison as some criminal, somewhere, will be holding a person hostage in tiny room for years.

You couldn't give them forced labour, as a criminal somewhere will be using slaves illegally.

Most other punishments that you can think of, you can guarantee that there'll be at least one criminal in the world doing a similar thing illegally.

So punishment would be impossible.
 
Libra Girl
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

If you google Robert Pickton you will find all the information you might want. Robert Pickton is in court as we speak. The court alleges he murdered six women out of at least twenty two on his pig farm.. He has yet to be tried for the rest of them.

http://tinyurl.com/ad7yv

Thank you for the link yuan.
 
Libra Girl
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by able View Post

...far too many emotions are involved, and those who involve themselves in the subject don't have first hand personal experience. Perhaps, this is one of those topics that should be decided by those who have personal experience. A poll of those who had the experience should be taken, majority opinion should prevail, and let the pieces fall where they may.

Whilst I take you point able, it's rather presumptuous to think that people here are speaking blind. This issue interests me not only from an intellectual point, but also as one who has had experience of murder. Some years ago, a family member was murdered. Now, most of my family are either against the death penalty, or, like me, 'on the fence' over the issue. I don't think that anyone, even in our extended family are for the 'ultimate sentence,' I could be wrong, but I don't think so. The murderer/s were never apprehended in our case, yet, I do believe that if they ever are, most of my family would not want to see them sentenced to death. Indeed, I know for a fact that the victim would not have wanted it. Many of us would not even want to attend a trial for it. I cannot understand those people who wait outside prisons, for someone to be executed, whilst chanting hate slogans. Incomprehensible...
 
Niflmir
Free Thinker
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Libra Girl View Post

I've not heard of this 'Pickton' case... ???

Wow, even over here in Germany people seem to know about the Pickton case. Basically Robert Pickton is an alleged serial killer. His victims were contact sexual trade workers. He is supposedly connected to many of the disappearances that have happened in the downtown eastside of Vancouver over the years. The trial is ongoing but the public has long since judged him, he is now widely infamous as a monster.
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by Niflmir View Post

Wow, even over here in Germany people seem to know about the Pickton case. Basically Robert Pickton is an alleged serial killer. His victims were contact sexual trade workers. He is supposedly connected to many of the disappearances that have happened in the downtown eastside of Vancouver over the years. The trial is ongoing but the public has long since judged him, he is now widely infamous as a monster.

You are right about the public already judging him, but there has been a lot of disgusting evidence found on that farm suggesting that at least twenty two women met their end there, it is difficult not to judge. I don't think there is much chance he is innocent.
 
Niflmir
Free Thinker
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

You are right about the public already judging him, but there has been a lot of disgusting evidence found on that farm suggesting that at least twenty two women met their end there, it is difficult not to judge. I don't think there is much chance he is innocent.

Indeed, even I have my opinion, but I choose my words carefully to pay homage to our idea of justice, even in such an intensely emotional case. On the outside of the courthouse, we do not have all the facts, and it would not be the first time that a trial by public opinion was the judge, jury and executioner for the wrong person. Even on the inside, they don't have all the facts and every precaution must be used (including shielding the jury from public opinion) to ensure that the criminal is caught. Nobody wants to imprison the wrong person when the killer is still out there, that is the point of a fair trial.
 

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