We just had an execution by lethal injection. Everything went fine. If, by “fine,” we mean a guy died as a bunch of people watched emotionlessly.

The execution was carried out so late in the process that only a few minutes passed between the pronouncement of death and and the expiration of the court order to kill.

What if the execution had taken twice as long? With the order expired, would it be stopped during the final minutes? Would someone dial 911, get EMTs in there, try to save the guy’s life?

I’m against the death penalty. I think it is time we recognized that this is the 21st century, and that we have this whole civilization thing. But, if we are going to execute someone, this absurd idea that somehow modern medicine can do a better job than the old methods is crazy. Perhaps our reluctance to use tried and true methods like hanging, beheading, and firing squad, all modern methods developed to replace the ancient horrible methods like crushing to death, burning to death, and stoning to death, is an indicator. Our preference to pretend that this is all very scientific and clean may be an indication that not very far below the surface we find the whole thing abhorrent. By pretending it is a medical procedure, painless, controlled, etc., we also pretend it is a civilized act to take the life of a person already imprisoned for life.

I’d rather live in a society where the argument “these people will not feel good about the horrible death of their loved ones until another horrible death has been carried out” is reserved for the anthropology textbooks, in the chapter on vengeance based societies.

By the way, I lived for years in a vengeance based society, a society in which all deaths, including from disease, or even being killed by a wild animal, were considered homicide, and the homicide should always be avenged. There were many deaths during my time there. Never once was a death avenged. The process of adjudication, of finding the party who caused the death (most likely by which craft) was very carefully done. The guilty party was always identified, but strangely, it always seemed to be an individual that lived very far away, that no one quite seemed to know well enough to find, or even bother looking for. So please don’t think that a tribal vengeance society is necessarily less civilized than our Western society.

But I digress. What do we do about the Death Penalty in America?

Comments

  1. #1 Dudley Sharp
    Houston Texas
    April 21, 2017

    The death penalty is pursued for justice, as all sanctions are and it spares innocent lives, in three ways, better than does life without parole.

    Vengence vanished from the equation, once due process became the rule.

    No one connected to the murder can have any decsion in the verdict or the sentence, both are the sole province of the judge or jury, neither of which have any vengeance component, with both guided only by the facts and the law.

  2. #2 Dudley Sharp
    April 21, 2017

    The lethal injection method was adopted, solely, based upon the thought that such would avoid the constant challenges to the other methods of execution.

    Obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way.

    The first three drug protocol was quite painless and peaceful, which was the intent.

    Nitrogen gas and/or the firing squad will replace lethal injection.

  3. #3 Bruce Jensen
    April 21, 2017

    I disagree wholeheartedly with Mr. Sharp. There is nothing just about barbaric government-sanctioned vengeance, and too many innocent people die even the former were NOT true. The Death Penalty appears to be no deterrent. It should go.

    Having said that – if we are going to do it, then it should be televised and portrayed as the brutal act that it is.

  4. #4 Bruce Jensen
    April 21, 2017

    And by the way – anyone who has ever sat on a jury KNOWS that vengeance and retribution are both fully present in a jury deliberation. I found this out first-hand having sat on a Murder 1 jury panel a couple of years back. Some of those people were angry at ME because I insisted on using facts and logic and the reasonable doubt standard to make a decision, while others were ready to reach a conclusion instantly, having not considered all the evidence.

    Jurors are only humans too, and the level of vengeance-thirst in that room was frightening. Do not fool yourself – humans can be bloodthirsty when they think someone has committed a crime, and the jury process is far from perfect.

  5. #5 dean
    April 21, 2017

    The death penalty seems to be an old tool with no modern purpose, if vengence isn’t the goal, as we know it doesn’t influence murder rates at all,

    The hewing to the “guidelines” for pursuing the death penalty are we know that to ensure even the most basic chance that a person who is not guilty is executed the process is far more expensive than simple imprisonment, and that cases in which a white person is killed are far more likely to result in a death penalty than cases in which non-whites are killed. This touches some but not totally on the financial and social status of the accused.

    If it isn’t a deterrent, and its implementation is horrible, why is it still here? I assume it makes the people who are incapable of understanding (or even thinking about) complex issues happy.

    What do we do about it? Continue to argue against it — probably to no good result for at least the next 4 years, as the know-nothings seem to have a stranglehold on the relevant positions of authority.

  6. #6 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    Greg asks “What do we do about the Death Penalty in America?”

    Nothing (in my opinion).

    The death penalty is constitutional.

    In order to get rid of the death penalty the constitution needs to be amended.

    Alternatively, all 50 states could change their laws so it is not available (I believe 31 states permit the death penalty).

    I also believe Congress would have to change its law – because I believe the death penalty is still available for Federal Crimes (interstate stuff and killing Federal officials, etc.).

    So if you are against the death penalty you should:

    1. Try to get it outlawed in your state.
    2. Try to get it outlawed by the Federal government for Federal jurisdiction.
    3. Try to amend the constitution.

    If you are for the death penalty you should:
    1. Oppose attempts to outlaw it in your state.
    2. Oppose attempts to outlaw it Federally.
    3. Oppose attempts to amend the constitution.

    Pretty simple really.

  7. #7 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 21, 2017

    Lets start with a definition (how I define it anyway): Death Penalty. I believe that a penalty is something you learn from and therefore death penalty is not a real process since the person learns nothing; they are simply dead.

    What we call the death penalty should only be used when the person is considered so dangerous to society that no chance of them entering society again can be contemplated (escapes from prisons do occur).

    I also believe in spare parting a healthy death penalty person to give life to more deserving people.

  8. #8 zebra
    April 21, 2017

    Remarkable; there is no mention of the obvious facts:

    1. Innocent individuals are sentenced and executed.
    2. It is way more expensive, if you seek to prevent or reduce 1, than keeping someone in prison for life.
    3. With a life sentence, there may be new evidence that exonerates the innocent.

    If you think killing one innocent person is OK in order to be able to execute someone (rather than incarcerate for life), you are a menace to society yourself.

  9. #9 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    zebra #8:

    Is this directed at me?

    It doesn’t matter whether innocent individuals are sentenced and executed to the question of whether the death penalty is constitution.

    Innocent individuals are sentenced to 10 years time and we don’t argue that therefore we should get rid of prison.

    The question is whether we should even have a death penalty or not.

    Your 1, 2 and 3 are not relevant to that question.

  10. #10 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    Rich #7:

    Punishment has five recognized purposes: deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restitution.

    Your definition is good for the first three, but not on point for retribution and restitution.

    Sometimes we punish for retribution – which is what the death penalty is for.

    I would also argue that when someone is executed they do learn that some crimes are punished by death (minutes before they die). But it is mostly for the victims, their family and society (with a dash of deterrence thrown in).

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    April 21, 2017

    RickA “In order to get rid of the death penalty the constitution needs to be amended.”

    No, the constitution does not call for the death penalty. It does require due process in the case of the death penalty, etc., but it does not require it. We could simply not have the death penalty if we want.

    Sort of like how we don’t really have the “well regulated militia” specified in the constitution. We are simply allowed to do so, we don’t have to do it. Instead, we can just have widespread barely regulated gun ownership and mass carnage.

  12. #12 t marvell
    April 21, 2017

    The death penalty is bad for lots of reasons. But it also has indirect social benefits. It draws attention to problems with the USA criminal justice system, especially unethical prosecutors and poor quality legal defense services. These problems are largely hidden to most citizens, but the death penalty cases publicize them. There is a trade-off between barbaric capital punishment and the possible, uncertain improvement of the criminal justice system as a whole.

  13. #13 zebra
    April 21, 2017

    RickA,

    Why would it be directed at you?

    And who is questioning whether the death penalty is constitutional?

    Your argument about 10 year sentences is incomprehensible, since I am arguing in favor of prison sentences.

    Pretty bizarre even for you.

    In this particular instance, it simply happens that the Nirvana Fallacy is not a fallacy: If the finding of guilt is not correct in every case, then the death penalty should be rejected. Simple logic.

  14. #14 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 21, 2017

    RickA

    If we are sentencing someone to death as a retribution; then are system of law has failed. Lets say that saying I hate Trump becomes a capital crime, retribution would be a failure of our history of law. You see retribution death penalties used in many third world countries.

    Spare parting an executed criminal would be considered a form restitution.

  15. #15 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    zebra #8:

    I meant “constitutional”.

    Let me expand on my #9.

    The death penalty is just a type of punishment. We have several levels of punishment, we take money and/or property, we take liberty and the most severe is we take life. All are constitutional, but the death penalty is optional. Some states have it and some don’t and any state can change from having it to not having it and visa versa. Ditto for the Federal government.

    It is only if the constitution is amended that the choice goes away.

    Whether innocent people are found guilty is not relevant to whether we punish them (by taking their money or property, their liberty or imposing the death sentence).

    Our system is not perfect and it doesn’t pretend to be. We find people guilty beyond a reasonable doubt – not beyond any doubt. We accept that sometimes we error, and so require ever more amounts of evidence as we move up the scale of punishment.

    But I am sure an innocent person has been executed in the United States and I am sure that it could happen again in the future.

    That has nothing to do with whether or not the death penalty should be available as a choice for states and the Federal government for certain very heinous crimes (in my opinion).

    All that really matters is whether the person was given due process before they are punished. Of course we don’t want to make mistakes and we work to improve our justice system all the time. DNA has been a big help in improving our error rate. Today we recognize that eye witness testimony isn’t all it cracked up to be. Further improvements are always underway and are desired.

    But I am not in favor of eliminating the death penalty personally.

    Certain crimes, for which a person is found guilty, after due process, merit the death penalty (in my opinion). I wish we still had it available in Minnesota – but alas, we don’t.

  16. #16 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    Greg #11:

    Yes – I agree that all 50 states and the Federal government could choose not to have a death penalty. But if you want to remove the choice of all 50 states and the Federal government to change their mind and make the choice to have the death penalty, you need to amend the constitution.

  17. #17 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    zebra #13:

    I disagree with you. Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard and that means we don’t have to get it right every time. There is no requirement that the justice system be perfect (which is a good thing because that would be impossible).

  18. #18 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    Rich #14:

    Why do you see punishment for retribution as a failure of our justice system? That is a perfectly valid reason to punish someone. You kill my child and I want to see you punished. Sometimes the punishment is prison and sometimes, in certain cases, it is death.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    April 21, 2017

    Rick #16: Probably but not necessarily. All it takes is a SCOTUS composed mainly of modern progressives who recognize the process as cruel and unusual. Then a good test case.

    Anybody remember that Kevin Spacey movie?

  20. #20 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    Greg #19:

    I disagree. The way I read the constitution and understand “cruel and unusual” would never eliminate the death penalty. Only inflicting death with the intent to cause pain (i.e. cruel) is a reason to ban a particular form of death.

    So courts have ruled that drawing and quartering, death by a thousand cuts, the iron maiden, the rack, keelhauling, and so forth are cruel and unusual. What they all have in common is they are intended to kill people in a way which causes a great deal of pain before the person dies.

    Trying to kill someone humanly, without the intent of causing pain, can never be cruel and unusual. This is true even if by accident a particular prisoner were to experience pain (not that we can interview them to find out, of course).

    To me, the key is whether the intent is to cause pain prior to death.

  21. #21 zebra
    April 21, 2017

    RickA,

    As usual, you ignore what you can’t answer.

    Nothing you have said is relevant to my #3.

    If you give a life sentence to an innocent person, that person has the chance to be exonerated. Not so if he/she is executed.

    Due process has nothing to do with it. Nor whether a murderer “deserves” to die.

    There is no justification for the State to execute innocent people.

  22. #22 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “and it spares innocent lives”

    But ends innocent lives when you choose the innocent to kill off.

  23. #23 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    ” if vengence isn’t the goal”

    It is. Or a “fear” of being “soft on crime”.

  24. #24 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “You kill my child and I want to see you punished. ”

    That has nothing to do with justice. Only revenge.

  25. #25 dean
    April 21, 2017

    Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard and that means we don’t have to get it right every time.

    We all know rickA is a complete ass, but his dismissal of the execution of innocent people needs to be stressed. I don’t think anything else he’s said has been as large an admission of “I’m really a despicable person and I don’t care” as this.

  26. #26 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    zebra #21:

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

    I would argue that there is no justification for the State to imprison an innocent person – but that happens also. That is the nature of “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Your beef is not with me, but with the very foundation of the criminal justice system. Good luck with that.

  27. #27 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “Nor whether a murderer “deserves” to die.”

    I was glad to see Peter Jackson kept in Gandalf’s line in Moria to Frodo.

    Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment.

    A lot of moronic merkins need to take that to heart.

    Being morons, they fail.

  28. #28 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “I guess we will have to agree to disagree.”

    Fuck off, no. You have to agree or come up with a rational counterpoint, not just keep holding fast to your idiotic ideas in the face of every rationality.

    By falling back to this you prove that engagement with you is pointless since you will NEVER EVER move, no matter how wrong you are or how it is proven how little you thought on something.

  29. #29 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 21, 2017

    RichA,

    Retribution is defined as:
    punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act. “employees asked not to be named, saying they feared retribution”

    The key word here vengeance. Vengeance should never be the basis for imprisonment or the death penalty. Any penalty needs to be defined by law not by how vengeful we want to be. Allowing vengeance to become how we treat wrong doers opens the door for vigilante justice or mob justice.

    We have been seeing a large surge in vigilante or mob justice in this country recently. Look at the number of police gunned down, people with different skin color or religious belief being harassed and or killed.

    synonyms: punishment, penalty, one’s just deserts

    Retribution is defined as:

  30. #30 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “but his dismissal of the execution of innocent people needs to be stressed.”

    Because it has never been him. Or anyone he cares about (assuming there IS anyone he cares about).

  31. #31 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    ISIS beheading US citizens or burning alive US pilots is done as vengeance by ISIS.

    That makes it right and fine with you, dick?

    All those riots from incited muslims about the cartoons were done in vengeance against people who had hurt their feelings and they NEEDED to punish the heretics and idolators.

    Therefore it’s fine and dandy? They wanted westerners punished, therefore they did, and that’s all the justification needed.

    At least that’s all you’ve posted to justify the death penalty. Sauce for the goose, and all that.

  32. #32 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    #21 zebra

    There is no justification for the State to execute innocent people.

    Absolutely true.

    And since miscarriages of justice *will* occur in future, there can be no justification for capital punishment.

  33. #33 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    Rich #29:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    But I think that part of putting someone into prison is related to justice for the victim.

    So for rape, we have victim’s heard at court, during sentencing.

    Ditto for murder, victims get to testify during sentencing.

    Part of punishing someone by putting them into prison is for the victim, and not just to teach the criminal a lesson.

    The part for the victim is what I call vengeance and what victims call justice.

    But that is just my opinion, and you are certainly entitled to yours.

  34. #34 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    BBD #32:

    Do you apply the same rule for imprisonment?

  35. #35 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”

    Bollocks.

    “The part for the victim is what I call vengeance and what victims call justice.”

    Except that isn’t their opinion, that’s yours. Why do you insist on making other people’s opinions for them? You don’t think they’re entitled to them, only the ones you assign them.

  36. #36 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “But that is just my opinion”

    Nope, that’s your hatred and petty ego.

  37. #37 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “Do you apply the same rule for imprisonment?”

    Why bother asking?

  38. #38 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 21, 2017

    RickA,

    How many people end up not convicted who are actually guilty? I suspect the number may actually be greater than innocent people found guilty (I have no proof of this).

    We have the famous case of OJ Simpson. OJ was found criminally innocent but civilly guilty (of course there are two standards of evidence involved). I as I believe most people believe that OJ was criminally guilty but under the law he is not. If we used the retribution concept he would have strung up from the nearest yardarm.

  39. #39 dean
    April 21, 2017

    “Because it has never been him. ”

    Obviously. His opinion comes from his libertarian “view” (a combination of “might makes right” and “I have mine, screw everyone else”). When your worldview never advances past the one a snotty 4-year old boy has (as is the case with rickA) you don’t care when innocent people suffer, whether from an accident or actions of your government or profession. Especially when those who suffer aren’t the right race — besides, if they weren’t guilty of something they would never have been arrested (goes the thinking of assholes like him).

  40. #40 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    Rich #38:

    In law school they teach us that “It is far better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man is wrongfully convicted”.

    I don’t know the numbers, but like you I suspect many more guilty are not convicted than innocent’s wrongfully convicted.

    The innocence project has been doing great work using DNA to get people wrongfully convicted out of prison and off death row – and that is wonderful.

    But the system still does allow for the possibility that an innocent person will be wrongfully convicted – it happens.

    You cannot obtain retribution unless a person has been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, with due process. The prison time is retribution (to some), deterrence (to others) and a lesson to the criminal.

    So it would be mob justice if we strung people up after they were found not guilty – and that isn’t our system. If you or I punish someone it is a crime. But if the state punishes someone, after due process, we call it criminal justice.

  41. #41 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    dean #25 and #38:

    I am happy to be here for your name calling, your judgment and your hate. Please continue to enjoy yourself.

  42. #42 dean
    April 21, 2017

    It’s nothing new. You’ve shown yourself to be among the worst people this country has to offer dozens of times over.

  43. #43 dean
    April 21, 2017

    It isn’t as though you ever try to learn anything, or examine Data before you make a decision, is jt? If you don’t like it it has to be wrong. Then you begin telling lies.

  44. #44 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    dean #43:

    I always examine data before I make a decision. That is why I am a luke warmer. I also have never lowered myself to telling lies. I just refuse to accept other peoples opinions unless I agree with them.

  45. #45 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    RickA

    Do you apply the same rule for imprisonment?

    You can pardon someone imprisoned as a result of a miscarriage of justice. You can’t bring them back to life if they have been executed.

    That’s the point.

  46. #46 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    I always examine data before I make a decision. That is why I am a luke warmer.

    Lukewarmerism is about denying most of the evidence, so you are spouting crap as usual.

  47. #47 dean
    April 21, 2017

    “I always examine data before I make a decision. ”

    Bullshit. As soon as you say the conclusions the scientists and statisticians draw from data are “opinions” you show yourself to be one of the liars who never intended to consider the data.

    The only thing you’ve considered practicing is habitual dishonesty.

  48. #48 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 21, 2017

    RickA, I know you are an attorney. Are you a criminal defense attorney? If so, by definition, a criminal defense atttorney has to lie (if the evidence shows guilt) to try to get the defendant off.

  49. #49 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    And stop behaving like a total knob then whining when people get angry with you for behaving like a total knob.

    Your endless dishonesty about climate sensitivity is a perfect example. You have been shown that the likelyhood of a lukewarm outcome is very unlikely yet you keep on pretending that it’s somehow okay to express this (fuckwitted) ‘opinion’ on a science blog, over and over again.

    It’s almost as though you are deliberately trying to annoy people just so you can play the victim when they tell you to piss off.

  50. #50 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    BBD #45:

    Under each situation they have both been wrongly punished. You can never give anybody back 10 years of their life, just as you can never bring someone back to life if they have been executed.

    We don’t argue to get rid of imprisonment because we may wrongfully imprison someone. We just say we are sorry and give them money (sometimes).

    A person put to death has also been punished – but it is not reversible, and I understand that.

    That is no reason to eliminate the punishment of death, for certain crimes.

    The criminal justice system allows for error – that is why we allow appeals. Eventually, the appeals run out and some are put to death.

    I am not advocating putting innocent people to death – I am advocating having the ability to punish certain crimes with death. The fact that we may screw up and kill an innocent person is not relevant to the existence of the death penalty (in my opinion).

    But feel free to argue against the death penalty in the 31 states and to Congress. That is your right. But I will argue against getting rid of the death penalty – and that is my right.

  51. #51 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    Rich #48:

    No – I have never practiced criminal law.

    I am an intellectual property attorney (patents, trademarks and copyright law).

    However, attorneys are not allowed to lie in court. A criminal lawyer will always argue that the State has not met its burden of proof of showing that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt – and that is a matter of opinion, for the jury to decide.

  52. #52 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    BBD #49 says “Your endless dishonesty about climate sensitivity is a perfect example.”

    You just don’t seem to understand “dishonesty”. If I believe it to be true it is not dishonest or a lie. Period. It may turn out to be wrong. But it will never be a lie.

    So I don’t accept your opinion that I have lied or been dishonest. Ditto for dean. You both can tell me I have lied and been dishonest till you are blue in the face, and it will not change the fact that I believe everything I say and therefore cannot lie (by definition).

    It is my opinion that ECS will be 1.8C ish or lower. That makes TCR 1.125C ish or lower (using the 60% estimate). That is honestly my belief and until the data change my mind – that is that.

    Once we hit 560 ppm, we can actually measure TCR and use it to estimate ECS and that could change my mind, or show me that I was right all along.

    But I have not been dishonest about climate sensitivity.

    I just refuse to change my mind because you say I should or based on an alleged “consensus” of climate scientists.

  53. #53 dean
    April 21, 2017

    “I just refuse to change my mind because you say I should or based on an alleged “consensus” of climate scientists.”

    So, you never consider the data and the analysis — meaning your earlier comment was (no surprise here) a lie.

  54. #54 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    That is no reason to eliminate the punishment of death, for certain crimes.

    Of course it is, you fucking idiot (channeling my inner Wow here, but patience with you is simply gone these days).

    But I will argue against getting rid of the death penalty – and that is my right.

    And the fact that you do so in the certain knowledge that some innocent people will be murdered by the state by mistake indicates that you are essentially quite vile.

    That you do so given the evidence that capital punishment has no deterrent effect on criminal behaviour makes your position incomprehensible as well as morally repugnant.

  55. #55 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    #53

    Beat me to it, dean.

    RickA I nailed you a few weeks ago for being a dishonest little shit and here you are, claiming (again), dishonestly, that you aren’t.

    Well, it won’t wash here, ever again (as I told you when you got nailed). So stop lying.

  56. #56 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “I am happy to be here for your name calling”

    Yup, so much of a shitbag that you are PROUD to be one, openly.

  57. #57 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “I just refuse to change my mind ”

    That, in a nutshell, is why you’re a retard and it’s completely pointless you being here.

    Even the dumbest anima changes their mind about a course of action after some unwanted result. Anything higher than amoebas will do it, but you do not have the ability to change your mind.

    EVER.

  58. #58 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    ” indicates that you are essentially quite vile. ”

    Morover takes this vile attitude as something to be PROUD of.

    THAT is how much of a shithole that dickhead is.

  59. #59 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “Once we hit 560 ppm”

    Not necessary. Any schoolkid who is past 15 years of age will have done enough maths to determine that you are wrong now.

    But again, no matter what reality throws at you you will never change your mind. No evidence will ever manage that.

  60. #60 Kevin Michael Gregory
    Ramsbottom
    April 21, 2017

    Civilised countries don’t have the death penalty.

    Why should the US pride itself on being uncivilised?

  61. #61 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “And stop behaving like a total knob then whining when people get angry with you for behaving like a total knob. ”

    That is how the deplorable tosspot handles being a deplorable tosspot: by pretending that they’re somehow no worse than “everyone else”.

    Not that even if it were the case that would justify it, just like ISIS are not justified in their acts just because the USA are careless of innocent lives in the Middle East.

    And the hypocrisy that the righwingnutjob engages in is to complain about others being “mean” or “name calling” while doing much worse under the “justification” that others are as bad, or worse, is entirely normal for the knuckledragging idiots, because they never look at what they’re doing or thinking (since they’d be aghast at both if they looked).

    If you are doing it with the “but they’re doing it too!” you don’t get to complain about others doing it, since you admit freely to doing it yourself.

  62. #62 MikeN
    April 21, 2017

    Some innocent people will also be imprisoned by mistake.
    That they might be able to get out of jail after a long imprisonment doesn’t mean that you haven’t put them in jail as innocent people. Why not refuse all prison sentences?
    When Illinois had a series of death penalties for innocent people, the Governor suspended the death penalty, and I think commuted all the death sentences(He was also on his way to jail himself).

  63. #63 dean
    April 21, 2017

    “That they might be able to get out of jail after a long imprisonment doesn’t mean that you haven’t put them in jail as innocent people. Why not refuse all prison sentences?”

    Try to keep up.
    a) Nobody is saying the system is perfect.
    b) Nobody is saying that because the system is not perfect all sentencing should cease.
    c) If an innocent person is executed there is no way to make things even a little bit right for that person.
    d) If an innocent person is imprisoned and then found to have been wrongly imprisoned then he/she can be released and some work towards making things a little bit right can be done.

    rickA doesn’t care that innocent people can be executed — since they are likely guilty of something anyway (in his view).

    People who have even a shred of decency are bothered by having innocent people executed. That’s one of the issues here.

  64. #64 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    The RWNJ is also prone to hysterics, too.

    I can only hope that dick gets SWATted and sees what it looks like when the police make a mistake when they’re armed.

    And since they’ve already bragged about their guns, come face to face with what happens when the police break down THEIR door brandishing weapons. Drawing a weapon not such a good idea.

  65. #65 Greg Laden
    April 21, 2017

    RickA #20.

    I disagree.

    If a person could be found guilty with 100% certainty and executed very quickly, that would minimize suffering . Putting someone on death row for 20 years is cruel and unusual. Also, the system allows for a person to literally be walked down the hall to the killing room, then not killed, multiple times. That is cruel and unusual by modern standards.

    Since the system requires such cumbersome procedures to meet due process, and due process is required by the constitution, and this due process is cruel and unusual …

    Well, you know the rest.

    20ef82107809052c2e0c1f8f75425891e3303aae

  66. #66 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    Greg #65:

    Interesting argument.

    My response is that it is the fault of the criminal for appealing that causes the delay and therefore your “cruel and unusual” status.

    If they stop appealing, than they can quickly be put to death (like Timothy McVeigh).

    So it is not the state which is being cruel and unusual.

    It is a waiver argument.

    The criminal has waived their right to argue delay is cruel by causing the delay.

    Ditto for the multiple walks down the aisle.

  67. #67 dean
    April 21, 2017

    “My response is that it is the fault of the criminal for appealing…”

    We have a new most asinine comment right there.

  68. #68 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 21, 2017

    Greg,

    I believe there are times when the death penalty is appropriate end. However, the evidence needs to be cut and dried such as no appeal is necessary. The execution then needs to be carried out as quickly as possible.

    If the condemned person is healthy, the method of death needs to be in such a manner that useable organs and other parts can be used to save or improve lives.

    There are some real moral issues to spare parting condemned people. An example (in extreme) what if running a stop sign became a capital crime. Larry Niven wrote a book where harvesting organs this way was common.

  69. #69 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 21, 2017

    One thing that has not been mentioned is the collateral damage that having a death penalty can have on the people who have to carry out the legal sentence. Some human being has to personally flip a switch, push a button, or give an injection. The corrosive effect of such a job on the mind and emotions can be devastating — as it is known to have been even for many soldiers forced by the circumstances and requirements of their service to kill during wartime. That, combined with the undoubted tragedy of any execution of an innocent person, provides two good reasons for eliminating the death penalty in my opinion.

  70. #70 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    Shrub once joked to someone next to them about a woman being executed in front of him.

    So the problems aren’t necessarily that you’re traumatised, but that you lose your humanity.

    “dick” and mike have already lost theirs. Or buried it under greed, apathy and selfishness.

  71. #71 Wow
    April 21, 2017

    “We have a new most asinine comment right there.”

    It is also another shibboleth of the RWNJ. It existed before the character, but it’s eptiomised by Jack Bauer, where you get to see the criminal and KNOW (because you’re sitting there while the actor playing the bad guy is being the guilty bad guy doing it, something that only happens in staged fake crimes) that they’re the baddie.

    “the criminal”? They’re innocent. The innocent ones are, and we’ve already all agreed that it’s not foolproof and some innocents DO get strung up by the capital punishment system, so the problem here is that the innocent is not a criminal, they’ve just been sentenced to death.

    And deplorable asshats complain that the innocent keep trying to prove their innocence rather than submit quickly to the final end of death.

    It’s not merely asinine, it’s abhorrent.

  72. #72 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    Here is a law review article on Greg’s delay argument:

    https://www.law.upenn.edu/journals/lawreview/articles/volume161/issue3/Sharkey161U.Pa.L.Rev.861(2013).pdf

    Starting at page 881 is the most relevant section.

    Apparently this has come up before and still is argued – but the Supreme Court has not ruled that delay violates the 8th amendment (yet).

    I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Personally, unless the delay is caused by the state with the intent to cause the prisoner pain (emotional and/or mental included) I wouldn’t buy this argument. But the Supeme Court may disagree with me (someday). They have not yet.

  73. #73 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    Rich #68:

    Was the book the Long Arm of Gil Hamilton? The title is going off memory – but I remember that book quite well and think there were organleggers in it (and corpsicles also).

  74. #74 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Meanwhile, there will be occasional miscarriages of justice and the state will occasionally murder innocent people.

    All this will continue to fail to deter criminal behaviour currently punishable by execution.

    So what is the net result of rooting for the death penalty?

  75. #75 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 21, 2017

    RickA,

    No, the book I was thinking of was about haves and have nots on a colony world.

  76. #76 MikeN
    April 21, 2017

    People speak of death penalty as emotional vengeance. I see opposition to the death penalty(if it’s not the innocence argument) as letting emotions getting in the way of necessary justice.

  77. #77 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    What is ‘necessary justice’?

    The definition must include the fact that endorsing the death penalty means that there will be occasional miscarriages of justice and the state will occasionally murder innocent people.

    All this will continue to fail to deter criminal behaviour currently punishable by execution.

    So what is the net result of rooting for the death penalty?

  78. #78 MikeN
    April 21, 2017

    Despite my criticism, I think the innocence argument is a strong point. I am arguing against the idea that the death penalty is inhumane, wrong for the government to be killing. I think for some crimes the appropriate punishment is the death penalty. That it deters crime should not be the only standard by which penalties are decided. I think having a larger death penalty that is implemented more would be deterring. For example, if we had like that silly Star Trek The Next Generation episode and gave the death penalty for speeding, I think people would be speeding less.

  79. #79 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    It’s interesting to see the way that ‘libertarian’ commenters endorse the death penalty.

    Can’t have it both ways.

  80. #80 dean
    April 21, 2017

    That it deters crime should not be the only standard by which penalties are decided.

    How convenient of you to think that, since we know the death penalty does not deter crime.

    I think having a larger death penalty that is implemented more would be deterring. For example, if we had like that silly Star Trek The Next Generation episode and gave the death penalty for speeding, I think people would be speeding less.

    I like Star Trek The Next Generation too. It gave us the face palm, a perfect response to that comment.

  81. #81 BBD
    April 21, 2017

    MikeN

    Please, answer the question:

    Endorsing the death penalty means that there will be occasional miscarriages of justice and the state will occasionally murder innocent people.

    All this will continue to fail to deter criminal behaviour currently punishable by execution.

    So what is the net result of rooting for the death penalty?

  82. #82 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    BBD #81:

    Just out of curiosity, what is your basis for stating that the death penalty has no deterrence effect?

  83. #83 MikeN
    April 21, 2017

    BBD, I don’t understand your question which seems to have two unrelated points. Some innocent people will receive the death penalty, not sure what the current number is. Continue to fail to deter criminal behavior. How are these related?
    Are you asking effect of rooting for the death penalty or effect of having the death penalty?
    I don’t think rooting for the death penalty is a good thing, though I engage in it.
    Either case I don’t see how this is related to failing to deter criminal behavior, which should not be the only goal.
    Is it your position that if a penalty does not serve to deter the crime, the penalty should be eliminated?

  84. #84 MikeN
    April 21, 2017

    Rick, there have been many studies that have found no deterrent effect for the death penalty. I am not convinced by them.

  85. #85 MikeN
    April 21, 2017

    Clarify above, I am not convinced by studies that find death penalty does not deter crime. I agree that studies have not found that the death penalty does deter crime. It’s an open question I think.

  86. #86 dean
    April 21, 2017

    “. I am not convinced by them.”

    Mm I shock there, since those studies were done by scientists and statisticians who knew what they were doing, so they have to be unreliable (in the minds of idiots).

  87. #87 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    Tyvor Winn #69:

    How about a robot which shoots a bullet into the head of the prisoner?

    Instant death – no pain – no corrosive effect for any human having to push the button or shoot the gun.

  88. #88 RickA
    April 21, 2017

    MikeN #84:

    Me either.

    It sure deters the prisoner.

    I have been listening to a podcast called my favourite murder in which there are many examples of people convicted of a murder who got out of prison and committed a second murder (or more).

    So lets just start with the deterrent effect on the murderer themselves.

    I also agree that if speeding was punished by death that there would be less speeding.

  89. #89 MikeN
    April 21, 2017

    RickA, someone has to control the robot.

    Death penalty is definitely deterring, in that the people executed will not commit any further crimes. It is possible this is offset by an increase in other crimes from having the death penalty.

  90. #90 RickA
    United States
    April 21, 2017

    MikeN #89:

    We will just have to put a pro-death penalty person in charge of controlling the robot.

  91. #91 Richard Simons
    April 21, 2017

    I find it interesting that so many here are focussing on punishment and revenge rather than asking what is the best way to reduce the rate of violent crime (especially murder). If incarceration and execution were effective, US streets would be amongst the safest in the world. ISTM that there are three main considerations in committing violent crime; thinking of doing the crime in the first place, having the means to do it and the thought of possible consequences. I can’t say that I have studied national differences but I get the impression that in Sweden and various other countries the first is regarded as critical whereas in the US the emphasis is on the last, with unsatisfactory results.

  92. #92 Greg Laden
    April 21, 2017

    Crime rates correlate with all sorts of things, including wealth disparity and effective wealth disparity. For example, having a crappy health care insurance system.

    Also, I think we have a problem in some communities where people are legitimately concerned over calling the cops.

  93. #93 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 21, 2017

    #70: I agree with you. I consider the loss of humanity to be one of the possible, even likely, results of the “corrosive effect on mind and emotions” that I mentioned. It is certainly one of the things that can and does happen to soldiers.

    #87: Unless by robot you are thinking of an independent entity like Data in Star Trek TNG, I don’t think this removes responsibility from some human being. To me, it is little different from setting an automated trap and then leading someone into that trap. Now there are people — sociopaths — that lack empathy and would not feel any remorse or upset for being an executioner but, personally, I shudder at the thought of being such a person’s employer via my tax dollars.

  94. #94 izen
    April 22, 2017

    While the ethical arguments are for or against the death penalty are interesting…
    In practise it is a good measure of the authoritarian and coercive nature of the government in any nation.

  95. #95 zebra
    April 22, 2017

    A couple of people have used the term “libertarian” in reference to RickA and MikeN. I wish you wouldn’t.

    I know, this is like my complaining about people validating the right-wing co-opting of “free market”, but why make it easy for them?

    In the US at least, “libertarian” is a phony term meaning “Republican pretending to have a philosophical basis for promoting Fascism and Feudalism”.

    Now, as has been pointed out by others, R and M are “arguing” at a child’s level– for them it is sufficient to say “ipse dixit”, and redefine terms on the fly, and ignore evidence.

    But if you had an intellectually competent and intellectually honest person claiming to be a (real) libertarian, he/she would argue against the death penalty.

    The government might be justified in incapacitating, deterring, or attempting to rehabilitate, individuals, because it serves the common good.

    But that’s it. There’s no such thing as “deserved punishment”– that’s something a Nanny State fan would argue, not a libertarian.

    Which demonstrates again that what we have with our right-wing fellows on this planet is a manifestation of Authoritarian Personality, wanting there to be a Daddy to punish the “others’ who frighten us.

  96. #96 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    ISIS are muslims. 95%+ of muslims wish we wouldn’t say that.

    The ideology is what people say they have, and just because two people are libertarian doesn’t mean one gets to tell others the other one is no true libertarian.

    The differences exist, but the ideological term still applies.

    See also WBC and 95%+ of christians.

  97. #97 Kevin Thomas O'Neill
    United States
    April 22, 2017

    For those that (mistakenly) believe the death penalty is a deterrent, they ought to use da Google.

    “A recent study by Professor Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock of the University of Colorado found that 88% of the nation’s leading criminologists do not believe the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime. The study, Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates? The Views of Leading Criminologists, published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Crimonology, concluded, “There is overwhelming consensus among America’s top criminologists that the empirical research conducted on the deterrence question fails to support the threat or use of the death penalty.” A previous study in 1996 had come to similar conclusions.”

    I studied the criminal justice system for ayear back in the late 70’s and nothing I found then showed any substantive evidence for the death penalty being a deterrent to crime. Most murders are either crimes of passion or connected to drug wars. In neither case is logical thinking involved as to the criminal consequences.

  98. #98 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    Remember, dick won’t change his mind merely because evidence or experts are against him, because if someone says he’s wrong, that’s merely their opinion, and he’s going to have to wait and see if he can repeat the same bullshit again.

    That dick hasn’t done any investigation only confirming biases means that as long as he refuses to look into it, he can continue to insist that the death penalty is a great thing.

    Which will change 100% when he’s facing death by numbers.

    There’s a logical problem with it too. If murder is punishable by death, then the government employee is a murderer. You’re gonna run out of government there pretty soon, and the last one will be left in charge of everything.

  99. #99 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    In a drug war, you’re in battle and you either shoot someone or they shoot you (though it doesn’t necessarily have to be face-to-face, and don’t get prissy about shooting someone in the back, that’s entirely how the USA managed to hold their own against the much better trained British army, and even then the USA were losing, because you still need to own towns and cities, so geurilla tactics were not enough, so it was only when the French (yes, those cheese-eating surrender monkeys) who had an army just as well trained as the British joined up that the USA finally started winning decisively. So shooting someone before they shoot you is 100% fine).

    I don’t think that being killed as a murderer deters someone who believes or knows that they’re going to get killed by the opposing gang if they don’t kill first. Why would it?

  100. #100 dean
    April 22, 2017

    “But if you had an intellectually competent and intellectually honest person claiming to be a (real) libertarian”

    They are as real as unicorns.

  101. #101 zebra
    April 22, 2017

    Dean 100,

    Well, yes, but one can try to construct some chain of reasoning based on what they claim as “libertarian fundamental principles”.

    It ends up as more like Scandinavian Social Democracy than anything, so I have never been able to get any agreement from those who wear the label.

  102. #102 RickA
    United States
    April 22, 2017

    zebra #95:

    I call myself a libertarian because I like the idea that anybody can do anything they want as long as it doesn’t hurt somebody else. Also, I took a test on the internet to identify which candidate I was most aligned with on the issues, and it came back Rand Paul, who is a libertarian.

    I always that that when a person did something to hurt someone else that they were punished, even in the libertarian system. The way we do that is to either fine them (take their money), take away their property (like a fishing boat if they are caught violating fishing rules), lake away their liberty (putting them in prison) or taking their life. We are here talking about the last one – the taking of life.

    The constitution says you may not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law (5th amendment). So punishing by taking life is permitted by the constitution and it is up to each state as to whether they want to use that form of punishment or not. So the death penalty is in the constitution and 31 states and the Federal government permit it – and that is were we are at. That is why I say to get rid of the death penalty in the USA you have to change the constitution (which is very very difficult).

  103. #103 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    “as long as it doesn’t hurt somebody else”

    Define “hurt”.

    Threats don’t hurt, so press gangs fine? Mob shakedowns fine? Death penalty DEFINITELY hurts someone else. Not fine?

    Apparently you don’t think anything through….

    “That is why I say to get rid of the death penalty in the USA you have to change the constitution (which is very very difficult).”

    Yet your reasoning is fallacious and your conclusion incorrect.

    “So punishing by taking life is permitted by the constitution”

    But not required. Therefore the death penalty is not unconstitutional (except it can be argued it is, quite perfectly, it does deprive someone of life), NOT constitutionally mandated.

    That you do not care to comprehend what even you say and merely stick with your “opinion” no matter what, even when you are disagreeing with it, is why you’re a dumbass.

  104. #104 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    Also the 5th is not the constitution, it’s an amendment to the constitution.

  105. #105 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    “like a fishing boat if they are caught violating fishing rules”

    Really? But who, other than fish, are harmed? It’s not YOUR fish, they’re merely on land you think you own, when ownership is the deprivation of others of their existence on that land. You can’t preclude people from “your land” without infringing on their person. With force, even.

    Greed libertarians like yourself latch on to the bits you like to “justify” your greed and anti-humanity stance, but never actually consider what you claim and pursue it to the problems, THEN DISCUSS HOW TO DEAL WITH THAT.

    It’s all rose tinting “we’ll have to wait and see”, then blaming some other (most frequently government) for it not working out.

    Much like free market fundamentalism, where no matter the result, the economic “theories” are right, it’s only failed because someone interfered.

  106. #106 RickA
    United States
    April 22, 2017

    Wow #104:

    The constitution also mentions treason, which the 1st Congress (1790) made punishable by death, so the death penalty was implied via the crime of treason (which was always punishable by death). But you are correct – the fifth amendment was made one year after the constitution was ratified. 1788 and then 1789 respectively. Still – the constitution as amended makes it clear that the death penalty is permitted.

  107. #107 zebra
    April 22, 2017

    RickA

    “I always [thought] that when a person did something to hurt someone else that they were punished, …”

    A perfect example of

    1. Authoritarian Personality
    2. The “Is-Ought Fallacy”.

    So, you were raised to believe that if you broke the rules, you would be punished, and there was no need for the rules to serve some rational purpose– if you did X, Daddy would get out the belt and whack you. That’s just the way it is!

    My question is, why should I pay taxes so that people can be punished? I don’t care if people are punished; I only care that I am not harmed, and can live a peaceful and satisfying life.

  108. #108 RickA
    United States
    April 22, 2017

    zebra #107:

    So what is your concept of what happens when someone is harmed by someone else?

    Prison? Deportation? A lecture? Anything.

  109. #109 Jazzlet
    April 22, 2017

    Rick A if the death penalty works as a deterrant how do you explain the lower murder rate in the many countries without the death penalty?

  110. #110 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    “so the death penalty was implied via the crime of treason”

    Nope. The law just made a crime punishable by death. It merely did not fall foul of the constitution. It did not make the death penalty a part of the constitutional requirements. Indeed the constitution, more accurately the federalist papers and declaration of independence as the preamble for the constitution make it abundantly clear that the constitution is a limitation on government power, not a mandate for it.

    So, no. Again, you are wrong.

    “Still”

    Still you were wrong, and I was right.

    ” – the constitution as amended makes it clear that the death penalty is permitted.”

    But not mandatory. Therefore there is nothing to stop the death penalty being removed. Nothing in the constitution requires that the death penalty be in the list of permissible actions of the courts. Just says that it is not impermissable.

    You aren’t running the German court legal system, you’re running the one based on the UK system. Not germany’s. Even though you’ve got a german anchor-baby in charge.

  111. #111 zebra
    April 22, 2017

    RickA,

    If there is a scientific determination that something works to achieve the goal of preventing harm, then I am all for it.

    But that is not the same as “punishment” for the sake of punishment– which is irrational and emotional.

    If you want to punish someone who harms you (perfectly understandable; I have had some violent thoughts about certain people I have encountered in my life) then you should go ahead and do it. If you want to kill someone because they killed your friend or family member, be my guest. But don’t ask me to do it for you, or to support the government in doing it.

    Incarcerating someone, or fining them, should have a purpose and should be subject to a cost-benefit analysis. That would be a “true” libertarian position if one worked from the basic principles.

  112. #112 MikeN
    April 22, 2017

    The point of death penalty for treason is that calling the death penalty unconstitutional is hard to reconcile with this provision, and the 5th amendment provision that no one can be deprived of life without due process of law. No one is saying that the Constitution mandates the death penalty.

  113. #113 BBD
    April 22, 2017

    #83 MikeN

    BBD, I don’t understand your question which seems to have two unrelated points. Some innocent people will receive the death penalty, not sure what the current number is. Continue to fail to deter criminal behavior. How are these related?
    Are you asking effect of rooting for the death penalty or effect of having the death penalty?
    I don’t think rooting for the death penalty is a good thing, though I engage in it.

    There are no unrelated points.

    Rooting for the death penalty means that you are rooting for the right of the state to occasionally, accidentally murder citizens. And you call yourself a libertarian.

    There is no evidence that the death penalty deters criminal behaviour currently punishable by execution. So not only are you rooting for a the right of the state to murder citizens by mistake once in a while, the doing of this state murder doesn’t have a deterrent effect.

    #75 zebra

    Oh sure, they are authoritarian scum, not really libertarians.

  114. #114 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    “calling the death penalty unconstitutional is hard to reconcile with this provision”

    Nope,it’s only hard for a congenital idiot. Where does it say that treason MUST be punishable by death?

    NOWHERE.

    Dumbass.

    “No one is saying that the Constitution mandates the death penalty.”

    YOU *are*.

    There’s nothing, otherwise, to change in the constitution to drop the death penalty you fuckwit.

  115. #115 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    “Oh sure, they are authoritarian scum, not really libertarians.”

    They sing some of the passages,and there’s no absolute creed (there never is for any ideology, hence the numbers of sects of christianity, for example), and they identify as libertarian, so because there’s no authority on who is and who is not allowed to be a libertarian (theoretically, again with christianity, the pope can do it, but if they tried, they’d be ignored), so they’re libertarian.

    Dumbass libertarian? Greed libertarian? LINO? Sure, any of those, but the problem for anyone holding to an ideology is that they have to accept the revision and selectivity others have for the ideology. A selectivity that most if not every single libertarian takes to the ideology, since every ideology has to meet reality SOMEWHERE, and pragmatism or desire will change the form allowed for the ideology, and society will allow or disallow other expressions.

    The difference between fundie and rational is more about how they try to meet reality with their ideology rather than make reality bend to their ideology than with the articles propounded (or just mindlessly chanted).

  116. #116 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    “calling the death penalty unconstitutional”

    Where?

    Only fuckwit I see doing that is you, dick. I said it could be argued, as it goes against that whole life thing. You know, the thing that death ends.

    But I did specifically and unequivocally say that it WASN’T unconstitutional, but that it could be easily removed without changing the constitution.

  117. #117 Jeff Harvey
    April 22, 2017

    ‘You kill my cild, and I want to see you punished’.

    Strange how RickA’s logic doesn’t apply to the President when he orders military strikes that kill industrial numbers of children in foreign countries. I am sure that there are thousands of grieving parents in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere who would love to see senior politicians and military cronies punished for crimes they have committed. But it will never happen, of course. The death penalty is generally only administered to poor African Americans for crimes committed at home. Wealthy white Americans are the privileged group that are pretty well exempt.

    So of course the death penalty is racist, barbaric and absurd.

  118. #118 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 22, 2017

    #99: An aside from the main topic. From what I’ve read of the history of the American Revolution, I think that you overestimate the importance of guerrilla tactics on the Revolutionary side. It was true in the early part of the war but Washington always aimed at developing a European-type army and was aided in producing one by Baron von Steuben and others. The victories at Saratoga in the north and Cowpens in the south were won without any French or other army aid. The French navy was more important than the army at Yorktown because they kept the British from either retreat or resupply. Holding territory is not a necessary part of a winning strategy. (In fact it was a major mistake by Hitler in Russia in WW2.) Keeping a viable army in the field was what finally wore down the British (and us in Viet Nam, for that matter).

  119. #119 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 22, 2017

    #103: You are of course technically correct but as I understand it, an amendment to a document is thereafter considered a full part of the document not some kind of poor relation. In any case, the Bill of Rights amendments are, I would argue, the most important and relevant because they specifically guarantee certain rights to individuals and curb certain governmental powers. The exact form of the government is much less important than this.

  120. #120 BBD
    April 22, 2017

    Good to see you again, Jeff H.

  121. #121 MikeN
    April 22, 2017

    Rooting for the death penalty isn’t rooting for the right of the state, it is rooting for the state to do it. The right is already established. It is a matter of whether they should. You haven’t linked the two points. I’ll just take it as two separate arguments. I think the innocent argument is valid, but is also valid against all sorts of punishments.
    The lack of a deterrent effect is not established. However, even if it were, it still wouldn’t make the death penalty irrelevant, as I think punishment is a separate and more important reason. That a punishment is deterring is not a good reason to implement it, if it is not proportionate to the crime.
    Take the case of someone who downloaded movies, and the government tried to impose a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars for about $100 worth of movies. Now saying the fine is the price of the movie would be ridiculous as it would not provide a deterrence, but imposing high fines as a deterrent seems excessive.

  122. #122 Kevin Thomas O'Neill
    United States
    April 22, 2017

    MikeN – “The lack of a deterrent effect is not established.”

    Huh? The social studies are clear – there is no deterrent effect. It’s also clear that do not believe there is a deterrent effect. Where do you come from? I assume you can read English!?

  123. #123 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    “The victories at Saratoga in the north and Cowpens in the south were won without any French or other army aid.”

    Those were later in the game, though, and the French had been blockading British ships and harassing supply lines.

    And, yes, the generals were beginning to learn that
    “rugged indepentents” don’t make good soldiers, you need professionals.

    The point, however, wasn’t so much the woeful performance of amateurs in a field of professionals, but that not fighting fair is lauded or even lionised when “we” do it, but looks different when someone else does it.

    Something lost when you run the Jack Bauer scenario in your head. You then presuppose who the bad guys are and who the good ones are and then paint their actions in the “right colour” to confirm the supposition.

  124. #124 Wow
    April 22, 2017

    ” Now saying the fine is the price of the movie would be ridiculous as it would not provide a deterrence”

    No, it’s ridiculous because nothing was stolen, nothing lost.

  125. #125 RickA
    United States
    April 22, 2017

    zebra #111:

    I think putting someone in prison is punishing them. We are trying to teach them a lesson – not to do it again. It also has a deterrence effect (I guess that is up for debate). It certainly deters while the person is in prison.

    Prison is punishment and that is part of the reason we take away their liberty – to punish, to teach and to deter.

  126. #126 MikeN
    April 22, 2017

    Imposing prison sentences may lead to more crime, with the high recidivism rate, and being a felon makes it harder to get a job.

  127. #127 Kevin Thomas O'Neill
    United States
    April 22, 2017

    RickA – Let me spell this out for you — T H E R E I S N O D E T E R R E N T E F F E C T

    Got that?

    Jesus, deniers in one sphere are apparently deniers in many spheres.

  128. #128 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 22, 2017

    #123: Again off the main topic but in the interests of accuracy let me just add the following. The French military alliance with the Americans was signed in Feb. 1778. The two battles of Saratoga in which an entire British army surrendered to the Americans were fought in the Fall of 1777. French troops did not participate in any battles until 1779. They were at Yorktown in 1781 in large numbers and, as I said, the French navy played a pivotal role in the victory. The role of the French in the American revolution was large and it cost the French treasury a fortune which, it has been said, was one factor leading to the French Revolution. That whole era is very interesting historically and politically.

  129. #129 MikeN
    April 23, 2017

    Kevin ONeill, if that was a response to #125, note he was saying a deterrence effect from prison, not death penalty. Are you saying this does not exist either?

  130. #130 Marco
    April 23, 2017

    MikeN, the deterrence effect from prison is very limited.
    https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/247350.pdf

  131. #131 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “with the high recidivism rate”

    What high recidivism rate? The UK has fairly low rates. What may, if it is indeed higher, a question being begged like billy-o here, in the USA, it could be because honest work is just not available for an ex-convict in the revenge-porn-land of america.

    “MikeN, the deterrence effect from prison is very limited.”

    People who are going to commit a crime either don’t care or don’t think they’ll be caught.

  132. #132 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “fought in the Fall of 1777.”

    I thought it the other way round. Strange. Fair enough, I only did some American history in class about, oh, 33 years ago. So I could have gotten them the wrong order.

    Still, the major point was that if you want to see someone as a good guy (e.g. yourself) you will label the same action as heroic an action someone you don’t now or don’t like as villainous.

  133. #133 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “We are trying to teach them a lesson ”

    If you had to imprison them, the lesson didn’t work. Look at your own problem learning.

  134. #134 zebra
    April 23, 2017

    RickA is once again invoking the childish foot-stamping argument. “This is what it is because I say so!”

    But this is exactly what US phony “libertarians” do, in all the discussions I’ve had with them.

    What prison does effectively is incapacitate the criminal with respect to people outside the prison. In some cases it is an opportunity for rehabilitation, and in others it makes the person more “anti-social”. For many, it has no effect at all in terms of re-offense.

    US “criminal justice system” is as incoherent, illogical, and ineffective as the US health care system, relative to other nations.

    Last year, Georgia executed a 72 year old man for a crime committed 36 years ago, after being incarcerated since that time. This makes sense?

  135. #135 RickA
    United States
    April 23, 2017

    No – waiting 36 years to execute someone doesn’t make sense.

    He should have been executed about 34 years ago.

    It should take no more than 2 years to get all the appeals decided and then the sentence should be carried out (if not overturned on appeal).

  136. #136 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    That would require a change to the law, though, so that if a death sentence were not carried out within 2 (say) years, it would be commuted to some other sentence.

    HOWEVER, that would lead to a lot more cases where it’s just pushed through, because the revenge porn attitude of the USA would crucify a politician or state attorney who let a “violent criminal” off.

    So it would merely force yet more uncertain executions.

    ALL you can say for the death penalty is that they’re not going to offend in the future. Then again, someone jailed for life isn’t going to offend either, so it’s kinda redundant to kill someone.

    Thing is, everyone dies.

    And for christians, they should let god sort it out. What matters it if someone “goes to hell” 40 years earlier? Compared to infinity, infinity plus 40 is bugger all different.

    And murderers being executed doesn’t bring back their victim.

    So in very many ways the death penalty is worthless. And comes with downsides no other punishment entails. Mostly the innocent.

  137. #137 zebra
    April 23, 2017

    RickA goes from childish to deranged.

    We should rush executions but take our time with less drastic actions.

    Uh huh.

  138. #138 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    And I note the vindictiveness comes through again from Dick where he talks about how he should have been executed, not he should have been removed from death row.

    Because when the state decides you’re guilty, dick believes them. Unless he thinks the government is communist. Maybe. And if you were on death row, you should be killed. Guilty unless proven innocent.

  139. #139 dean
    April 23, 2017

    “Jesus, deniers in one sphere are apparently deniers in many spheres.”

    Remember, rickA claims to have engineering in his background — despite his repeated demonstrations of being unable to master simple math.

    If that claim is true his sole exposure to any statistics would have been pure cookbook work (You have problem X? Use method A) with no instruction on how to think about results. That’s one of the sources of his dismissal of the results of so many studies (the other primary source is the fact that scientific studies show everything he believes is wrong, so he simply denies the studies).

  140. #140 zebra
    April 23, 2017

    Wow,

    It’s doublespeak all the way down (not just for R).

    -Favor oligarchic monopolies? Claim to be for “free” markets.
    -Favor authoritarian government? Claim to be “libertarian” and “government can’t be trusted”.
    -Are you a cowardly weenie who has never been in the military, never fired a gun, and never even been in a fight? Second Amendment!
    And so on…

    The people who manipulate these people have studied history and psychology and know that this works. Authoritarian Personalities are childish personalities, and they don’t have a problem with self-contradiction, and they are not embarrassed when it is pointed out.

  141. #141 MikeN
    April 23, 2017

    Marco, looks like a glaring contradiction in that paper right there in back to back bullet points.

    2. Sending an individual convicted of a crime to prison
    isn’t a very effective way to deter crime.
    3. Police deter crime by increasing the perception that
    criminals will be caught and punished.

    Mainly what they are saying is point 4, not about the deterrence effect of prison vs no prison, but prison vs more prison.

  142. #142 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    zebra

    -Favor oligarchic monopolies?

    No. Point out that peddling localistic fairytales is downright dangerous; yes. If you didn’t understand what I said elsewhere, then go back and read it again.

  143. #143 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    121 MikeN

    Rooting for the death penalty isn’t rooting for the right of the state, it is rooting for the state to do it. The right is already established.

    Don’t indulge in evasive, nit-picking, please. You are ENDORSING the death penalty – the state’s legal right to do it and the thing itself. Pretending that this is more than one thing as a rhetorical dodge makes you look even worse than you already do.

    Please, answer the question you have been evading clumsily ever since I asked it:

    Endorsing the death penalty means that there will be occasional miscarriages of justice and the state will occasionally murder innocent people.

    All this will continue to fail to deter criminal behaviour currently punishable by execution.

    So what is the net result of endorsing the death penalty?

  144. #144 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “3. Police deter crime by increasing the perception that
    criminals will be caught and punished. ”

    Uh, criminals wait until there’s nobody around. Policemen are, despite your theories, still people. Simplistic causation is another denier foible. E.g. “If it wasn’t AGW before, it can’t be AGW now!”.

  145. #145 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “The right is already established.”

    And the right can be removed. Just like the right to own slaves were.

  146. #146 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 23, 2017

    132: “the fact that scientific studies show everything he believes is wrong, so he simply denies the studies).
    #140 zebra
    April 23, 2017

    Wow,
    #132: “Still, the major point was that if you want to see someone as a good guy (e.g. yourself) you will label the same action as heroic an action someone you don’t now or don’t like as villainous.”

    I mostly agree with that statement. It’s a general human tendency similar to the one that calls for peer review and reproducibility of experimental results in science. My point was purely historical. As many people have noted re wars, there is heroism and cowardice on both sides. Generally this is even recognized by many combatants, if not immediately, then later.

  147. #147 dean
    April 23, 2017

    “So what is the net result of endorsing the death penalty?”

    The honest answer is that it makes assholes too lazy to think critically feel good.

  148. #148 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 23, 2017

    #132: “Still, the major point was that if you want to see someone as a good guy (e.g. yourself) you will label the same action as heroic an action someone you don’t now or don’t like as villainous.”

    I mostly agree with that statement. It’s a general human tendency similar to the one that calls for peer review and reproducibility of experimental results in science. My point was purely historical. As many people have noted re wars, there is heroism and cowardice on both sides. Generally this is even recognized by many combatants, if not immediately, then later.

  149. #149 RickA
    United States
    April 23, 2017

    Wow #145:

    Finally, you got something right.

    Yes – to remove the right to execute you have to amend the constitution – just like we did to get rid of the right to own slaves (13th amendment).

    Otherwise, the States and Federal Government will always have the right to execute – even if they choose not to exercise it (by passing a law – which can be changed by passing another).

  150. #150 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 23, 2017

    Sorry for the double posting above. I was trying to edit my original comment and it kind of got away from me.

  151. #151 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    dean

    “So what is the net result of endorsing the death penalty?”

    The honest answer is that it makes assholes too lazy to think critically feel good.

    If only that were it. But of course the honest answer I’m seeking from dear MiikeN is that endorsing the death penalty guarantees that innocent people will be murdered by the state from time to time.

  152. #152 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    And criminal behaviour will not change.

  153. #153 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “Yes – to remove the right to execute you have to amend the constitution”

    Where the fuck do you read that????

    No, you don’t have to amend the constitution. At all.

    “Otherwise, the States and Federal Government will always have the right to execute”

    Nope. Just change the law that allows the death penalty. Supreme court can do it, the president can do it, the senate can do it, all of them or any of them can do it unilaterally. The others get a chance to veto it, but if they don’t, then it passes. Just like any procedural change.

    You claimed to be a patent lawyer. In three cases now you’ve shown that you are neither competent to opine on any legal matter that has turned up, and unable or incapable of listening to the words of those who ARE competent, preferring to keep to your asinine claims and assertions without any evidence in support.

    There is no need to change the constitution to remove the death penalty.

    And nowhere have I said otherwise. Your insanity (or crack smoking habit) is causing you delusions, dumbass.

  154. #154 RickA
    United States
    April 23, 2017

    BBD #151:

    The state never actually murders a person when they execute them.

    Like a soldier never murders an opposing soldier when one kills another.

    These are justified killings, which by definition are not murder.

    The state only executes prisoners who have been found guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. The state actually does not execute innocent people.

    What you are referring to is that it is possible that at some later date, somebody will find a person executed was actually innocent. I am not aware of this happening – but it is certainly possible.

    However, when the person was executed, it was only after due process, and it was done to a person found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That cannot be murder.

  155. #155 RickA
    April 23, 2017

    Wow #153:

    Your lack of understanding of the USA political system is staggering.

    How did the USA get rid of the right to own slaves? yep – they amended the constitution. I was agreeing with you, since you brought up the slave issue..

    The Supreme Court cannot do it – because a later Supreme Court can undo it (this has already happened once). The President cannot do it – the President cannot legislate. The Senate cannot do it (if you are referring to a law it has to pass the house and senate and the President has to sign it). Even then the Supreme Court could strike the law down as unconstitutional.

    Nope – the only way to get rid of the death penalty for good is to amend the constitution.

  156. #156 dean
    April 23, 2017

    The dismissive attitude at 154 perfectly summarizes the reason rickA is known as a despicable person: “so what if the person executed didn’t really do the crime – they were there and someone needed to be killed.”

  157. #157 Marco
    April 23, 2017

    “Marco, looks like a glaring contradiction in that paper right there in back to back bullet points.”

    It isn’t. The deterrent is being caught, not the chance of having to go to prison. People don’t don’t do something because they think about the number of months they may have to spend in prison, they think about the chances of getting caught (and minimizing that). That’s also why “more prison” isn’t a deterrent either.

  158. #158 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “Nope – the only way to get rid of the death penalty for good is to amend the constitution.”

    Nope. You can make the death penalty illegal.

  159. #159 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “they were there and someone needed to be killed.”

    And one day he’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time and he’ll be killed.

    There is no doubt that he’d give up appealing the conviction to death row, though.

  160. #160 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “Your lack of understanding of the USA political system is staggering.”

    Your lack of comprehension of anything to do with the law is staggering, dick.

    You are, yet again, 100% absolutely completely utterly wrong.

  161. #161 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    Your abhorrence for states rights, too, when it comes to your pet TV viewing (kill ’em and grill ’em at the local death row inmate camp! Big brother for the sick and twisted) is also fatuous, but since we know how deplorable and inhuman you are, dick, we do not find this staggering at all.

  162. #162 Marco
    April 23, 2017

    “What you are referring to is that it is possible that at some later date, somebody will find a person executed was actually innocent. I am not aware of this happening – but it is certainly possible.”

    https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/executed-possibly-innocent
    Make sure to scroll down and read all cases.

  163. #163 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    RickA

    The state never actually murders a person when they execute them.

    Like a soldier never murders an opposing soldier when one kills another.

    These are justified killings, which by definition are not murder.

    The state only executes prisoners who have been found guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. The state actually does not execute innocent people.

    If the person was innocent, then it was judicial murder.

    Plenty of reasonable doubt about convictions that led to execution.

    Just because you are / pretend to be unaware of the facts to bolster your repugnant stance doesn’t mean that the facts don’t exist. But evidence denial is your standard MO, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to see you doing it again.

    BAU.

  164. #164 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    Marco, we crossed, sorry.

  165. #165 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    What is especially troubling about this discussion is that RickA is or at least claims to be a lawyer. Now, I have discussed capital punishment with lawyers before and they *all* had deep reservations about the ability of the courts to determine guilt reliably and consistently. These arose from their professional experience of the judicial system.

  166. #166 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    So why does RickA not share these misgivings about how safe a conviction can be? Is his experience of the workings of the law fundamentally different from that of other lawyers? Or does he not really care about the odd judicial murder because, what was the phrase, oh yes, the ends justify the means?

    But what are these ends? The evidence suggests that capital punishment is not an efficacious deterrent. So why do it at all? Zebra and others have discussed the inappropriate nature of judicially-applied vengeance upthread, so what possible purpose does capital punishment actually serve?

    The only sure thing about it is that periodically, it means that the state will murder innocent citizens.

  167. #167 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    And it SHOULD be, since dick has tiresomely fallen back on “Well, everyone’s entitled to their opinion”, that dick also would posit here that there was only the opinion he was guilty, which several had the opinion otherwise.

    Additionally, since he’s already called into question the ability of a judge to reason correctly on another case (mann v steyn et al), he SHOULD be disquieted by a judge also determining that the death penalty is valid.

    But dick said he was a patent attorney, so that’s possibly like the vetenarian of the doctor world, but, as with his claims of attending prestigious university and an engineer, I doubt his claims are anything near reality there too.

  168. #168 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    And they don’t even need to make the death penalty illegal. Say they drop the charge of treason from the list of crimes in the USA.

    Nothing in the constitution to require the death penalty.

  169. #169 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    So not 100% absolutely certain. Just, what, 95% certain? Pretty poor since you’ve used a certainty of less than 10% as your go-to claim before and posited is just as valid a claim. So from YOUR point of view, if you’re 10% sure, tops, that someone is guilty, you’re going to declare them guilty, job done, get the beers in.

  170. #170 Shelama
    April 23, 2017

    The death penalty should be used sparingly and — given that cruel and unusual punishment is unconstitutional — the method should be nitrogen asphyxiation.

    The death penalty should be used for heinous crimes where neither meaningful justice nor meaningful punishment is even possible.

    The death penalty should be used only when guilt is certain — and, yes, there are cases.

    Charles Ng or the Carr brothers, for instance.

    The death penalty should be used only when the issue is not punishment or justice or vengeance or deterence but, rather, waste management — flushing the toilet.

    We don’t flush the toilet to punish or exact justice on feces. It’s a matter of publical health. It’s regrettable and lamentable and sad, but the reality is — whatever the causes — among our fellow H.sapiens, there are pieces of walking, talking shit that should simply be flushed.

    Charles Ng and the Carr brothers, for instance.

    *FLUSH*

  171. #171 MikeN
    April 23, 2017

    BBD, I don’t see how those two things are linked. However, I have already said that the death penalty means that some innocent people will be killed, the answer you said you were looking for. Why you choose to link that with deterrence I don’t understand. The other result is that some people who were guilty were also killed for their crimes. I think that portion is a good thing.

  172. #172 BBD
    April 23, 2017

    BBD, I don’t see how those two things are linked. […] Why you choose to link that with deterrence I don’t understand.

    Those two things were (quoting you):

    BBD, I don’t understand your question which seems to have two unrelated points. Some innocent people will receive the death penalty, not sure what the current number is. Continue to fail to deter criminal behavior. How are these related?

    Are you asking effect of rooting for the death penalty or effect of having the death penalty?
    I don’t think rooting for the death penalty is a good thing, though I engage in it.

    You don’t see the problem with rooting for a system which occasionally murders innocent citizens for no discernible social benefit?

    Why not?

  173. #173 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “The death penalty should be used only when guilt is certain — and, yes, there are cases.”

    Being so few there’s no value in keeping them for the one-in-a-million chance it’s valid. If there’s no meaningful punishment or whatever, then the death penalty isn’t meaningful either.

    And there are some who merely aren’t capable of comprehending what they’re being asked to do. They admit to guilt because they don’t know what is happening, and they could either be mistakenly fingered or deliberately falsely accused.

    The problem with the death penalty is that there’s nothing worth doing it for.

    What, after all, do you lose if there’s no death penalty any more?

  174. #174 Wow
    April 23, 2017

    “I have already said that the death penalty means that some innocent people will be killed”

    Which therefore means what?

    You appear merely to have admitted that this fact is true, but ignored it as being in any way relevant when you claimed that the state doesn’t murder.

    It does murder if the guilty is actually innocent.

    However, it’s STILL murder by the meaning of the word, even if they are guilty. It’s just been justified and termed an acceptable murder, because it’s the state doing it under the law of the land.

    Note: Saddam obeyed the law of the land. What did we do to him?

    Oh, that’s right, killed him.

  175. #175 MikeN
    April 23, 2017

    BBD, as I said earlier, you are the one equating ‘does not deter’ with ‘no social benefit.’ The punishment of those who are guilty I think is a social benefit separate from deterrence.

  176. #176 MikeN
    April 23, 2017

    “Better ten men go free than an innocent be jailed.”

    The author could have chosen twenty, but did not do so, so his range is somewhere from 6 to 19, 5% to 14% error rate. This was for jail, so perhaps he wanted something higher for a death penalty. Would he have said ‘Better 100 men go free than an innocent be hanged.’?

  177. #177 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “The punishment of those who are guilty I think is a social benefit separate from deterrence.”

    Ah, so the social benefit is that there’s no social benefit. You hven’t given one, so that is the only conclusion we can make here.

  178. #178 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “The author could have chosen twenty, but did not do so,”

    He at least gave a figure.

    But it is also a quite famous quote, so you’re a moronic unlettered dumbass, “mike”.

  179. #179 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “so his range is somewhere from 6 to 19, 5% to 14% error rate”

    Wrong.

    It’s less than 10%. All the way down to 0. Nothing was said about it being OK to kill one innocent if otherwise 11 guilty would go free.

    You can’t do maths.

    And doubly wrong because this is about incarceration, not the death penalty, moron. You can’t read either.

  180. #180 zebra
    April 24, 2017

    Wow,

    MikeN is providing a nice example of…

    Begging. The. Question. Fallacy.

    “It’s a social benefit because it’s a social benefit.”

    sigh

  181. #181 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    Maybe that’s why he thought I was using the begging the question fallacy claim earlier when I was not calling the claim fallacious, therefore not invoking the name of a fallacy. He knows so much about it because he’s it’s prime exponent.

  182. #182 BBD
    April 24, 2017

    MikeN

    BBD, as I said earlier, you are the one equating ‘does not deter’ with ‘no social benefit.’ The punishment of those who are guilty I think is a social benefit separate from deterrence.

    How?

  183. #183 Tyvor Winn
    USA
    April 24, 2017

    I’m surprised that, so far, no one has brought up the fact that the death penalty is mostly used in dictatorships of one sort or another — China, Iran, North Korea, and Yemen come to mind.

    As far as imprisonment is concerned, there are countries which have much less recidivism than the U. S. but, as in education, health care, etc., we never seem willing and/or able to adopt any method or process used in other countries. It’s American exceptionalism, ya’ know. We’re so different that we can’t do anything like any other country does. So we stay different — and get poorer results from our differences.

    Google “Norwegian penal system” sometime for a different take on imprisonment, and be sure to read some articles describing why something like that wouldn’t work here. Mull it over and see what you think.

  184. #184 RickA
    United States
    April 24, 2017

    Tyvor #183:

    India and Japan also have the death penalty (I believe). But the list of countries with the death penalty does lean heavily towards dictatorships – that is true.

    If the USA wants to get rid of the death penalty it can be done.

    As I said above – we can tacitly eliminate it by merely changing the laws of all 50 states and the Federal government to eliminate it as a sentence. However, all of those laws can be changed back in the future to allow a death sentence. To take away the option of a death penalty the constitution has to be amended. Nothing else will work in the USA.

  185. #185 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    In the USA prisons, like healthcare, is a private money-making industry that there is abhorrence for government involvement (in the abstract, they love the actual government programs, but it’s strangely not understood like that..), therefore the businesses don’t WANT better results from reduced recidivism: each inmate is a revenue stream, and they don’t want to cut off their customers!

    This makes it difficult for the USA to fix either of those things. However much individuals realise it, the country wide feeling (which has the same problem as mob mentality, Brits are different from the popular position, really quite thuggish, overall) will not allow the system to change.

    Making it worse, the country can somewhat express. Changing it to try to make it better is Not Allowed ™ by the USian zeitgeist.

  186. #186 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    Dick:”India and Japan also have the death penalty (I believe)”

    In response to Tryvor: “mostly used in dictatorships”

    Kinda lacking in the reading there, dick.

  187. #187 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “As I said above – we can tacitly eliminate it by merely changing the laws of all 50 states ”

    Where?

    Because you’ve insisted all along every time that it has to be done by changing the constitution. So where did you change your mind and include other ways of doing it?

  188. #188 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    ” To take away the option of a death penalty the constitution has to be amended.”

    Yeah, remember prohibition?

    Dumbass.

  189. #189 zebra
    April 24, 2017

    Wow #188,

    And the US “lawyer” is schooled by a freakin’ Brit.

    I weep for how low my country has fallen. We need to recover our greatness! Oh wait…

  190. #190 RickA
    United States
    April 24, 2017

    Wow is correct. The constitution could possibly be amended again in the future to undo an earlier amendment.

    We could bring slavery back (but I don’t think that is going happen).

    I would assume that once the death penalty was made unconstitutional, there wouldn’t be a huge groundswell to bring it back. People do like to drink!

    But yes – anything can be undone.

    So there is no way to get rid of the death penalty for good (in the USA).

  191. #191 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    Yes, I’m correct, that the constitution doesn’t have to be changed to remove the death penalty. You were wrong that it had to be a change to the constitution.

    “But yes – anything can be undone.”

    So your complaint that it wouldn’t be undone by any other means was yet more unfounded bullshit, since you now, when you’ve been shown up, admit that everything has that problem.

    “So there is no way to get rid of the death penalty for good (in the USA).”

    No way to get rid of it anywhere permanently.

    But who the fuck is demanding eternal and irreversible change, dumbfuck?

    Just get rid of the death penalty. Job done.

  192. #192 RickA
    United States
    April 24, 2017

    wow #191:

    Yes – but how do you propose exactly to “get rid of the death penalty”?

    A Federal law would violate States rights – so that won’t work.

    A Federal law can only cease Federal executions.

    So you need 31 different states to pass a law banning the death penalty.

    Or – you can amend the constitution and take care of it until somebody gets the constitution amended to permit it again.

    The Supreme Court could find the death penalty unconstitutional – but only until another Supreme Court undoes their ruling.

    It is not as easy to get rid of the death penalty as you make it sound.

  193. #193 dean
    April 24, 2017

    “States rights”

    Of course, since states have powers, not rights….

  194. #194 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “Yes – but how do you propose exactly to “get rid of the death penalty”?”

    FFS, will you listen to this guy? You certainly won’t listen to me, no matter how many times I say something:

    “As I said above – we can tacitly eliminate it by merely changing the laws of all 50 states ”

    see #184.

    Fucking moron.

    (and I note you never said where you’d said it “above”)

  195. #195 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “A Federal law can only cease Federal executions.”

    Wrong.

    A federal law can make it a federal offence to commit murder even for the state.

    A federal law can make it illegal to hold on to someone in death row.

    A federal law can make passing the death penalty a crime.

    The federal law can be changed removing the death penalty, and therefore there would be no criminal offence that would carry the death penalty. Sure, some states may refuse to obey, but they’d have no chance because it would be appealed to the supreme court and the verdict struck down. And what state only offence, as opposed to a federal crime (copyright infringement being one example of a federal crime that is not a state crime, and I’m pretty sure that murder is a federal offence, not a state law offence) carries currently the death penalty?

    So if the federal law is changed, not banning the death penalty, just removing it by changing the law, what death penalty remains????

  196. #196 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “The Supreme Court could find the death penalty unconstitutional”

    They don’t have to, though.

  197. #197 RickA
    United States
    April 24, 2017

    Wow #195:

    No. This is totally wrong. I am afraid you need to go back to school to study up on the USA system. A Federal law making the death penalty illegal would be unconstitutional and an infringement of the states police power. A Federal law can only make the death penalty unavailable for Federal crimes (interstate or crimes against Federal officials).

  198. #198 RickA
    April 24, 2017

    Wow #196:

    That is why I said “could”.

  199. #199 MikeN
    April 24, 2017

    RickA, Supreme Court struck down all existing death penalty regimes in 1973, Furman v Georgia, brought back 3 years later.

  200. #200 MikeN
    April 24, 2017

    BBD, I consider it a benefit to society to have a killer or rapist be put to death.

  201. #201 RickA
    United States
    April 24, 2017

    MikeN #199:

    Yes – I am aware of this. See my #155.

    My point was that unless the constitution is amended, any ruling by the Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional could later be reversed, as already happened once before.

  202. #202 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “That is why I said “could”.”

    But since it is not currently the case, it can only be “could”. Moreover, your clam it HAD to be a constitutional amendment precluded “could” as possible. And lastly, if it could, then it can. So it can be removed.

    You say words but you don’t know what they mean.

  203. #203 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “My point was that unless the constitution is amended,”

    Which can be yet again changed. Therefor your point is meaningless.

    Rather like your arguments elsewhere.

    “any ruling by the Supreme Court that the death penalty is unconstitutional”

    It doesn’t have to, moron. Just say it’s off the books. Job done. Only you demand it must be made unconstitutional before being removed.

    Which is, frankly, a load of scrawny old bollocks.

    “No. This is totally wrong”

    No, you’re talking shit again, you need to stop pretending to be in any way knoweldgable on any subject (we’ve seen so far) and start accepting you’re a credulous moron who merely leaps to conclusions based on whim and no knowledge then remains there because there’s no knowledge you accept unless it concurs with your preconceived assertion.

    This will not be fixed by education since you’re ineducable by desire and ability.

  204. #204 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “BBD, I consider it a benefit to society to have a killer or rapist be put to death.”

    a) Why?

    b) Is it a benefit to kill an innocent person? After all the guilty is still free and therefore able to do it again. They know they got away with it, so deterrence is negated entirely. Others know that it was wrong and also no longer respect the law at all.

  205. #205 Wow
    April 24, 2017

    “mike”, would you accept the false execution of yourself knowing that it would be whatever benefit you “see” to the death penalty killing murderers, such as the one you’ve been proven in a court of law to be (wrong though they were), to society?

  206. #206 Kevin Thomas O'Neill
    United States
    April 24, 2017

    There is no constitutional basis against the death penalty per se. the Furman decision halted it for procedural reasons – not because the court ruled the death penalty per se unconstitutional. Once those procedural problems were resolved capital punishment was resumed. I.e., to remove it nationally would require a constitutional amendment.

    The bigger problem is that cultural mores change. We know that juries make mistakes. That eyewitness testimony is flawed. That innocent people end up in prison. Innocent people end up on death row. That capital punishment has no deterrent effect. Racism, socio-econmics, and gender all show bias in jury decisions.

    Given these procedural and ethical problems being in favor of the death penalty while at the same time not providing for unbiased trials to minimize wrongful convictions is hypocritical at best.

    And on that note how many people in favor of the death penalty are working to also provide a fairer adjudication process? Usually they’re on the *opposite* side and don’t want to spend money making sure we avoid wrongful convictions.

  207. #207 RickA
    April 24, 2017

    Kevin #206:

    There is no such thing as an unbiased trial.

    Or an unbiased judge, prosecutor, public defender, witness or juror.

    The entire system is made up of people, each and every one of which is imperfect and has unconscious biases and probably conscious biases.

    The system provides a balance between the rights of the accused and justice for the victim(s). There are people on both sides trying to make the system better, and the system is better than it was 50 years ago and even better than it was 100 years ago. I am sure it will improve in the future.

    It is not a perfect system and there was never a promise of a perfect system. We spend a huge amount of money (via taxes) to avoid wrongful convictions. We provide police and various checks on the police, most cases settle or plea out before trial, and we provide counsel to those who cannot afford it and we pay for judges and jurors and laboratories to test evidence and so forth. Then we provide for multiple rounds of appeals (for death penalty cases). We have eliminated the death penalty for people below a certain age, for people below a certain intelligence, and for the insane.

    I don’t want to execute an innocent person – but I sure don’t want to eliminate the death penalty for heinous crimes. There is a balance and our system does a pretty good job. Yes – I am sure some innocent people have been executed – but I am equally sure that some guilty people have escaped justice and killed again. Both are travesties of justice, and we should strive to lessen both.

  208. #208 Wow
    April 25, 2017

    “There is no constitutional basis against the death penalty per se”

    There’s no constitutional basis against making the death penalty illegal in the USA.

    Care to show me where it bans banning the death penalty?

  209. #209 Wow
    April 25, 2017

    “and justice for the victim(s).”

    In murder, the victim is dead.

    If you’re a christian, then that’s a GOOD thing, you should be HAPPY for that, and whoever did it, for whatever reason, will be justly (eternally, so not all that just) punished.

  210. #210 Wow
    April 25, 2017

    “Both are travesties of justice, and we should strive to lessen both.”

    How many innocent victims were killed by murderers in prisons? None?

    So why must the murderer be killed?

    That lessens the injustice against the innocent, and still retains the justice against the villains.

    The death penalty adds NOTHING except snuff porn for the masses, and revenge fantasy fulfillment for the animals in the human race.

  211. #211 zebra
    April 25, 2017

    From Death Penalty Information Center:

    A recent poll by researcher Craig Haney, a Professor of Psychology at the University of California – Santa Cruz, has found that a “strong majority” of Florida respondents prefer life without parole to the death penalty for people convicted of murder, even as many harbor continuing misconceptions about capital punishment that would predispose them to support the death penalty.

    In Haney’s survey of more than 500 jury-eligible respondents who were asked to choose between Florida’s statutorily available sentencing options, 57% chose life without parole, while 43% chose the death penalty, as the appropriate punishment for a person convicted of murder.

    The preference for life held true, Haney said, across racial groups, genders, educational levels, and religious affiliation. The Florida results are consistent with recent polls in other death penalty states, such as Kentucky and Oklahoma.

    Dr. Haney found that Floridians held two common misconceptions about the death penalty that affected their views on the issue: 68.9% mistakenly believed that the death penalty was cheaper than life without parole, and 40.2% mistakenly believed that people sentenced to life without parole would be released from prison.

    Haney said “support for the death penalty plummeted” to 29% if the life sentencing option was combined with a requirement that these prisoners be required to pay restitution to victims’ families. In addition, when Floridians were given the option of diverting the $1 million per case currently spent on the death penalty to investigate unsolved rapes and murders, only one quarter still supported capital punishment.

    Dr. Haney’s research also found that a majority of Floridians oppose the death penalty for defendants with serious mental illness, do not believe the death penalty is a deterrent, and agree that most religious opinion opposes capital punishment.

    Haney said asking people simply if they support the death penalty is inadequate because “[t]hat question offers a limited and often flawed snapshot of voter attitudes, capturing only abstract support or opposition, but failing to expose strong preferences and deeper pragmatic thinking.”

    Just sayin’

    Science is about facts.

  212. #212 BBD
    April 25, 2017

    MikeN

    BBD, I consider it a benefit to society to have a killer or rapist be put to death.

    Why? How does killing them benefit society? You need to *explain* this.

    Before doing so, read zebra’s quote from the DPIC carefully.