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 The Death Penalty, Schwarzenegger and Court TV mov
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tflon
New Member

1 Post

Posted - 01/22/2005 :  22:43:22  Show Profile Send tflon a Private Message
On January 19th of this year Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger allowed the
first death sentence to be served in three years, and the first under
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. That is almost copied straight from a
news site (because honestly if I hadn't, there's no way I'd have been
able to spell Arnie's name!)

Anyway, I recently caught an ad for a movie on Court TV called The
Exonerated. It's based on true stories of several people who spent
years on death row for crimes they didn't commit. The original version
was a play which inspired my interest in the subject of the death
penalty. I specifically remember one guy who spent something like 20
years on death row before finally being cleared.

Now before someone jumps all over me: I'm not saying that the guy who
was just executed in California was innocent. But does anyone think
it's acceptable that even one innocent person could be executed? I
think it's about time this country joins the rest of the civilized
world and adopts a more humane approach. For those of you still on the
fence on this issue, I'd check out this movie, because if it's anything
like the play the personal stories will astound you. I think it airs on
January 27 (but check courttv.com just in case I'm wrong). And if you
have thoughts on this issue, I'd like to hear them.

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2005 :  22:46:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
I am against capital punishment too.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Plyss
Skeptic Friend

Netherlands
231 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  02:13:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Plyss a Private Message
There's a number of arguments against the death-penalty, the main one being indeed the possible risk of executing a suspect who turns out to be innocent.

Some other arguments i've heard also include the "indivisibility" argument. In some cases a judge can decide to lower a punishment if the conditions of a crime are such that this is warrented. For example, instead of 6 months in prison a person could be sentenced to 3 months in prison. However, you can't give someone half a deathpenalty so this mode of action doesn't allow one to factor in mitigating circumstances.

Another argument states that by killing the criminal you take away his ability to redeem himself. This might not be a major concern in some systems of law, but if yours is based on the philosophy that criminals should be able to better themselves this would be a reason not to sentence someone to death.

The bad-example argument: By allowing the government to kill people it loses its moral high ground to condemn such actions.

The death-penalty may also be biased against poor people who have less money to afford a decent attorney, resulting in difference in punishment for the same crimes between the rich and poor.

As for arguments in favour of the death-penalty i only know three:
1) It prevents people from commiting crimes again.
2) It gives the victims or the victims family and friends satisfaction in the knowledge that justice has been done.
3) It will scare potential murderers outof commiting their acts.

All in all, i would say that the "preventing the execution of innocents" arguments weighs most heavily for me
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Plyss
Skeptic Friend

Netherlands
231 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  03:07:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Plyss a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Plyss
3) It will scare potential murderers outof commiting their acts.



Following up on myself: This may not be the case as apparently the murder rate is significantly higher in the USA (where some states have a death-penalty) than in Western European countries (which do not).



Apparently also within the US higher murder-rates are associated with regions where death-sentences are served.



Of course this isn't conclusive proof as we don't know what the murder rates would have been without death penalties, however it does seem contradictory to the notion that death sentences deter murder.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  15:12:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
If someone has killed once, they will know that they are potentially screwed anyhow, so adding additional murders to their list won't matter much. Once the line has been crossed, there will be no holds barred, just kill anyone who gets in the way as long as there's a chance to escape.

It should be easy to see how such reasoning can inflate the murder rates.
Does "homocide" include all deaths caused by intentional act of a second party?

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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satans_mom
Skeptic Friend

USA
148 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  15:38:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send satans_mom an AOL message  Send satans_mom a Yahoo! Message Send satans_mom a Private Message
I do not agree with the death penalty in any way, because of all the reasons previously stated. I just dream of minimal government interference (or, none at all), and if this qualifies me as an atheist, so be it.

Yo mama's so fat, she's on both sides of the family.

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  15:52:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
But does anyone think
it's acceptable that even one innocent person could be executed?


Nope.

The death penalty is useless. It costs more money than life in prison, just to carry out the incarceration and execution. The costs of the trials for death penalty cases is much higher as well, and the appeals process gets even worse.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=108&scid=7#financial%20facts

But the real reason that I, personally, oppose the death penalty is that I don't think it is usefull as a deterent to capitol crime.

We should make our prisons places where people don't want to be. Run them under military discipline. Control every single aspect of the prisoner's minute to minute existance. Make those who are phisically able earn their own keep and buy their own health insurance. Ect...

Basically, make prisons a place you really don't want to be. Unlike the status symbol for gang members that a prison stint is today.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  20:37:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
People who commit crime has caused dammage to society or person. That dammage should be repaid. One of the things is making prisoners work. Their labour should be used for something that benefits the society, as long as they can be held under guard, and society protected from them.

I'm wondering if it really is all that wrong to use prisoners as slave labour during their prison time. I'm open to your input on this.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  23:44:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
I'm wondering if it really is all that wrong to use prisoners as slave labour during their prison time. I'm open to your input on this.


Slave labor? No.

However, they should be required to earn their own way. Feed and clothe themselves, pay for their own medical insurance, and pay taxes.

I strongly feel that all prisons should be run under a strict military discipline protocall, like basic recruit training. Every minute of the waking day occupied with a task, from basic fitness to maintaining the common living areas to working at some job to pay expenses.

Nothing cruel or unusual, just military discipline.

just locking people in a small box with others of like mind is possibly the stupidest idea ever implemented by the US prison systems.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  00:11:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude

.....I strongly feel that all prisons should be run under a strict military discipline protocol, like basic recruit training. Every minute of the waking day occupied with a task, from basic fitness to maintaining the common living areas to working at some job to pay expenses....
What a great idea. Why aren't we doing it?

I think there are lots of prison jobs, and I'm not sure about chain gangs and what kind of labor they perform, but seems like documentaries of prisons always just show guys with nothing to do.

The Innocence Project offers pretty good statistical evidence as well as a few well documented individual cases of innocent persons on death row.

And, the death penalty is so unevenly applied as to render it unfair which equates to unjust in my book.
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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  02:15:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
Hi tflon, welcome to SFN!
quote:
Originally posted by tflon
But does anyone think it's acceptable that even one innocent person could be executed?
Every time an innocent person gets deprived of their freedom or life, this is unacceptable! But we also have to be realistic, we are not going to create the perfect legal system.


Innocent people have died in prison. Executed, murdered and of natural causes. Is any of this acceptable?

Innocent people have been murdered by already convicted murderers. (Sometimes sentenced to life in prison.) Killers have escaped, been pardoned and murders have been committed in prisons. Is any of this acceptable?


We have to accept that any legal system will sometimes fail, and I don't think the major problem with the US legal system or with the US society is that some states have capital punisment.

I also don't think that the lack of capital punishment in Sweden is the problem with our society or legal system.


So do I accept capital punishment? Yes. There are actions that would make me want to see the perpetrator dead. There are some people that I don't think deserve to live. Not even in a cage.
If I claimed otherwise I would be lying.

"Any religion that makes a form of torture into an icon that they worship seems to me a pretty sick sort of religion quite honestly"
-- Terry Jones
Edited by - Starman on 01/24/2005 02:17:08
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  02:46:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Starman, your arguments would be more valid if we merely had an imperfect system because perfection was impossible. But that isn't the case. The system is marred by the erroneous belief in and reliance on eye-witness testimony, the inept representation poor people get, and the bad actions of a few prosecutors. These instances have now been well documented. We need a moratorium on the death penalty until these serious problems we now are fully aware of are fixed.

My understanding of our justice system is that we prefer to let a few guilty persons go rather than incarcerate a few innocent persons. We also let criminals go rather than abuse innocent persons' rights. That is what throwing out illegally obtained evidence is all about. I don't think the current system lives up to this image of American justice I have been fed all my life.
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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  03:52:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
Beskeptigal, I think there are several issues here.
The performance of the legal systems of various states and countries and the issue of capital punishment.

I accept capital punishment even though there is a risk of executing an innocent person, just as I accept long prison sentences even though there is a risk of innocent persons being put into prison for the rest of their lives.
These risk must of course be minimized but they will never be completely removed.


I think that US legal and correctional systems are pathetic and I can't say that a moratorium on executions would be wrong. The fact that some states have capital punishment is not the major problem, but the problems with the legal systems in those states might mandate a moratorium.


BTW, throwing out illegally obtained evidence is pure stupidity. If evidence is obtained in an illegal way this might make the evidence suspect, but why automatically reward one criminal for an other persons illegal activity?
Punish policemen who commit illegal acts, but use all available evidence in a trial. Ignoring evidence doesn't give any one any legal security.


"Any religion that makes a form of torture into an icon that they worship seems to me a pretty sick sort of religion quite honestly"
-- Terry Jones
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  09:01:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude

quote:
I'm wondering if it really is all that wrong to use prisoners as slave labour during their prison time. I'm open to your input on this.


Slave labor? No.
Why not?
And how do you define slave labour?
quote:

I strongly feel that all prisons should be run under a strict military discipline protocall, like basic recruit training. Every minute of the waking day occupied with a task, from basic fitness to maintaining the common living areas to working at some job to pay expenses.

How till that differ from slave labour? The poor bugger will have to work his ass off anyway to pay expenses. If there was anything left over, it should go as restitution to his victims, or the state in case of victimless crime.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  10:11:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
How till that differ from slave labour? The poor bugger will have to work his ass off anyway to pay expenses. If there was anything left over, it should go as restitution to his victims, or the state in case of victimless crime.


It differs in that the individual doing the work will be paid and have some benefit from it.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Wendy
SFN Regular

USA
614 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  10:18:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Wendy a Yahoo! Message Send Wendy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by tflon

But does anyone think it's acceptable that even one innocent person could be executed?


Does anyone think it's acceptable that even one person be victimized by someone who was released from prison after serving a "life" sentence?

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
-- Susan Ertz
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