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Thread: Utah brings back the firing squad

  1. #1
    Regular Member Custodian's Avatar
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    Utah brings back the firing squad

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/...tah/ar-AA9DpqR

    I'm for it.

    I wish all states, including my own Tarheel state, would use this method, hanging, or the guillotine. That is after the innocent project clears them first that is.

    Your thoughts?
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    I recently read of a Sister nun deemed heretic walled alive into her Cloister. What's wrong with Ol' Sparky, Zyklon-B, or a needle full of KCl? Or for that matter, keel hauling?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    I recently read of a Sister nun deemed heretic walled alive into her Cloister. What's wrong with Ol' Sparky, Zyklon-B, or a needle full of KCl? Or for that matter, keel hauling?
    For starters, some of those execution techniques clearly violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, even by the 18th century standards when that prohibition was written.

    More importantly, they manifest a desire for brutality and barbarism rather than merely a legitimate effort to impose appropriate retributive justice while protecting society from extremely dangerous criminals.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
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    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
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    Quote Originally Posted by Custodian View Post
    Your thoughts?
    A few.

    1-To clarify, HB 11 makes firing squad an option if lethal injection drugs cannot be obtained.

    2-I wish the bill would have also made firing squad an option if a pre-execution exam indicates a high probability of problems starting or maintaining an IV, such as may be the case with inmates who have a long history of IV drug abuse.

    3-I favor firing squad over other execution methods precisely because it is both humane and also violent. I don't want the state enforced ending of a human life to ever be so peaceful that we forget exactly what it is. I'm reminded of the old Star Trek episode "A Taste of Armageddon".

    4-I do not dismiss the concerns some have of innocent men being executed. I simply amplify it to concerns about innocent men being wrongly convicted and punished at all. If we know a man is facing the death penalty, perhaps we can be appropriate careful about whether to convict him or not. I'm also not at all convinced that spending 50 years in prison is any more humane than is a proper execution.

    Charles
    Last edited by utbagpiper; 03-12-2015 at 09:54 PM.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    A means of execution not unusual or cruel will not be found. Execution by old age isn't effective.
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    A means of execution not unusual or cruel will not be found. Execution by old age isn't effective.
    The framers disagreed with you and so must I.

    We can and should be humane when execution is appropriate and legally imposed following all due process. That does not mean entirely free of pain or discomfort.

    We all know how to humanely euthanize an injured or ill animal or even a terminally ill and suffering person. We all know what we would not consider humane.

    If someone wants to have an honest and serous discussion about such methods we can do so. I'm not interested in coy attempts to attack capital punishment through absurd claims that keel hauling or being sealed into a wall alive are no different than lethal injection or firing squad.

    If someone opposes capital punishment, he should directly say so and then discuss that position on its merits.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    I am all for justice being served. But having been completely disappointed by our justice system on countless occasions, I do not believe our justice system has earned the trust to place a death penalty in place, simply because we KNOW innocent men have been executed.

    If we could honestly tell ourselves beyond a doubt someone is guilty- I'm all for it. But the reality is we get some calls wrong, and we all know it.

    To the OP'S topic, I find a shot to the heart perfectly humane under the right circumstances.

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    Like Potter Stewart, eh, "I know it when I see it."
    I am responsible for my writing, not your understanding of it.

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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    Not necessary. Public flogging - old style flogging not gentle strokes with a chamois lash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    I am all for justice being served. But having been completely disappointed by our justice system on countless occasions, I do not believe our justice system has earned the trust to place a death penalty in place, simply because we KNOW innocent men have been executed.

    If we could honestly tell ourselves beyond a doubt someone is guilty- I'm all for it. But the reality is we get some calls wrong, and we all know it.
    I understand and even share you concerns. But what makes it any more just to imprison a man for years or decades than to execute him, assuming that the conviction is in error? I can't restore life. Neither can I restore time lost to incarceration, the relationship with children grown to adults or the spouse who divorces and moves on while an innocent man is in prison.

    No, the solution is not to oppose capital punishment. Rather, it is to demand that our justice system and society live up to the standard of better for 10 guilty to go free than for 1 innocent to be wrongly punished. This will be difficult as even here where we generally accept this axiom, we have many who demand a different standard if the accused is a police officer or other agent of the state.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Like Potter Stewart, eh, "I know it when I see it."
    When you are ready for a real discussion, put down the smart phone and find a real keyboard. I will not feel any obligation to respond to any further bumper sticker drive byes on as complex a topic as capital punishment.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Regular Member J_dazzle23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    I understand and even share you concerns. But what makes it any more just to imprison a man for years or decades than to execute him, assuming that the conviction is in error? I can't restore life. Neither can I restore time lost to incarceration, the relationship with children grown to adults or the spouse who divorces and moves on while an innocent man is in prison.

    No, the solution is not to oppose capital punishment. Rather, it is to demand that our justice system and society live up to the standard of better for 10 guilty to go free than for 1 innocent to be wrongly punished. This will be difficult as even here where we generally accept this axiom, we have many who demand a different standard if the accused is a police officer or other agent of the state.

    Charles
    This arguement is based on the premise that locking someone up for life is worse, or as bad as, a firing squad. Yes, we should be against wrong convictions in any circumstance, but if you were to poll all the people serving a life sentence and ask them if they wanted the needle tomorrow instead, I think you might find a different conclusion. Furthermore, while you can't gat back time, there have been those that have been let out of jail after finding 10 years down the road they were indeed innocent.

    our court system has shown too much corruption for me to trust it with life or death situations, unfortunately.

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    when one is imprisoned for life, the opportunity for a living exoneration exists. Many people are on death row are waiting for non-profits to get the money to do comparative DNA analysis that the prosecution didn't have the technology or money to do at the time. The mere fact that people have been exonerated after death should be reason enough to end the death penalty. An immediate threat deserves to be stopped, but any talk of "____ deserves to die" under color of law is a slippery slope. The life of one innocent man is worth more than all of the emotional appeals for death of all the living murderers.
    Last edited by rickyray9; 03-11-2015 at 04:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    This arguement is based on the premise that locking someone up for life is worse, or as bad as, a firing squad.
    I think it is nearly as bad. Personally, were I wrongly convicted I would not want to spend a lifetime in prison. Especially not the kind of prison where those facing a choice between life without parole or capital punishment get sent.

    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    Yes, we should be against wrong convictions in any circumstance, but ..... Furthermore, while you can't gat back time, there have been those that have been let out of jail after finding 10 years down the road they were indeed innocent.


    our court system has shown too much corruption for me to trust it with life or death situations, unfortunately.
    And this is my problem. We recognize the problems with the courts and so we don't trust it with "life or death". But we do trust it with lifelong sentences and all that imposes on people? How do you compensate an innocent man for being gang raped? For losing his wife, children, and friends? For he and they being bankrupted and losing their home?

    Just for sake of shock and illustration I'm going to suggest that IF an innocent man is going to be wrongly convicted there might be greater value in him being executed than in him only being incarcerated for 25 years, to die a couple of years after being released. Wrongful conviction should be obviously horrible enough that we refuse to convict wrongly.

    I see some people say they are ok with capital punishment when we are 100% certain the person is guilty. So what are they saying? That they are ok with locking someone up for life when they are only 90% sure the person is guilty?

    My theory is this: If I'm not sure enough of guilt to impose capital punishment I'm not going to vote to convict for a $30 traffic ticket.

    Of course, civil cases and relative liability is an entirely different case and someone might actually be only 75% liable. But even there, I need to be 100% certain they are 75% liable before voting to take their property from them.

    I favor firing squad not because I have some attachment to guns, but because it is violent and loud enough (without being inhumane) to make perfectly clear what is happening. The man is NOT peacefully going to sleep. He isn't "drifting off". He is being put to death, deliberately, prematurely, unnaturally. And even in cases where it is not only justified but required for any sense of justice, decent men ought to be uneasy about it.

    Eliminating the firing squad doesn't fix the broken fence at the top of the cliff. It just parks an ambulance at the bottom. "If there is a wrongful conviction we get a second chance 30 years from now to undo it. Sorry about the 30 years and life gone. Have some cash."

    While I'm very sympathetic to your argument, I have to reject it precisely because capital punishment may be one of the few things that will force some people to actually support some needed changes to the judicial system. Without those changes, any punishment is unjust. With them, there are those crimes for which capital punishment is fully deserved and demanded.

    Respectfully,

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    I think it is nearly as bad. Personally, were I wrongly convicted I would not want to spend a lifetime in prison. Especially not the kind of prison where those facing a choice between life without parole or capital punishment get sent.



    And this is my problem. We recognize the problems with the courts and so we don't trust it with "life or death". But we do trust it with lifelong sentences and all that imposes on people? How do you compensate an innocent man for being gang raped? For losing his wife, children, and friends? For he and they being bankrupted and losing their home?

    Just for sake of shock and illustration I'm going to suggest that IF an innocent man is going to be wrongly convicted there might be greater value in him being executed than in him only being incarcerated for 25 years, to die a couple of years after being released. Wrongful conviction should be obviously horrible enough that we refuse to convict wrongly.

    I see some people say they are ok with capital punishment when we are 100% certain the person is guilty. So what are they saying? That they are ok with locking someone up for life when they are only 90% sure the person is guilty?

    My theory is this: If I'm not sure enough of guilt to impose capital punishment I'm not going to vote to convict for a $30 traffic ticket.

    Of course, civil cases and relative liability is an entirely different case and someone might actually be only 75% liable. But even there, I need to be 100% certain they are 75% liable before voting to take their property from them.

    I favor firing squad not because I have some attachment to guns, but because it is violent and loud enough (without being inhumane) to make perfectly clear what is happening. The man is NOT peacefully going to sleep. He isn't "drifting off". He is being put to death, deliberately, prematurely, unnaturally. And even in cases where it is not only justified but required for any sense of justice, decent men ought to be uneasy about it.

    Eliminating the firing squad doesn't fix the broken fence at the top of the cliff. It just parks an ambulance at the bottom. "If there is a wrongful conviction we get a second chance 30 years from now to undo it. Sorry about the 30 years and life gone. Have some cash."

    While I'm very sympathetic to your argument, I have to reject it precisely because capital punishment may be one of the few things that will force some people to actually support some needed changes to the judicial system. Without those changes, any punishment is unjust. With them, there are those crimes for which capital punishment is fully deserved and demanded.

    Respectfully,

    Charles
    Not to be offensive, but I highly doubt that either you or I are qualified to make that call. I think we can both speculate, but even the men serving a life sentence have life. Even a man that has gone through what you describe, even if found not guilty later on, can have SOME hope of reparations. Furthermore, what would be MY priority if clearing my name. My family's name. That can't typically happen if I am dead.

    For me, there is a huge difference between life in prison and an execution, especially for someone wrongly convicted.

    I agree with your arguement, just not your conclusion. It's not ok to me to say "the system is broken either way, so let's keep capital punishment so people take it more seriously."

    If people are wongly convicted, the gravity of the punishment still matters imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyray9 View Post
    The life of one innocent man is worth more than all of the emotional appeals for death of all the living murderers.
    So then what is the worth of an innocent life taken at the hands of a convicted murderer who escapes or is released?

    Here is a list of some 60 innocent victims, murdered by someone previously convicted of murder during the 70s and 80s it seems. Most of these occurred after the murderer was paroled or otherwise released. But notably, a couple of the innocent victims were prison guards murdered by inmates serving life sentences for murder.

    I note that our standard is "better for 10 guilty to go free than 1 innocent man to be wrongly convicted". Coupled with the legal requirement that the prosecution bears the full burden of proof, this is a very high standard. I don't think we're fully living up to it. We need to, obviously. But I note that the standard is high; it is not perfection. It is not 10,000 guilty go free rather than 1 innocent be wrongly convicted.

    The only way to guarantee that no innocent man is ever wrongly convicted and punished is to punish nobody.

    20 or 30 years in prison is LIFE for most people. They never get that back.

    Quote Originally Posted by rickyray9 View Post
    Many people are on death row are waiting for non-profits to get the money to do comparative DNA analysis that the prosecution didn't have the technology or money to do at the time.
    And how many people who are "only" serving life or maybe 20 to 30 years have any nonprofits trying to clear them at all?

    Solve the problem of wrongful conviction and you've solved not just the problem of wrongful executions but all wrongful punishment. Eliminate just executions and you make it way too easy to ignore the wrongful conviction.

    Tell me you are morally opposed to capital punishment and I'll have to respect your moral beliefs.

    But if you claim--even implicitly--that capital punishment is acceptable in theory and your only real concern is that our system is "broken" and I'll take serious issues. The system needs fixing. Eliminating the one punishment severe enough to make people notice it needs fixing, won't help fix it.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    Not to be offensive, but I highly doubt that either you or I are qualified to make that call.
    If we are not, then we are not qualified to have any voice at all in our own laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    I agree with your arguement, just not your conclusion. It's not ok to me to say "the system is broken either way, so let's keep capital punishment so people take it more seriously."

    If people are wongly convicted, the gravity of the punishment still matters imo.
    I believe a lifetime or 30 year sentence is nearly as grave as capital punishment. So let's eliminate lifetime and 30 year sentences too. Then we can talk about 25 years. And right on down.

    If the system is so broken that wrongful conviction is a material risk, then ANY punishment is unjust. How much unjustice are you willing to accept?


    And what exactly is the risk of wrongful conviction and execution?

    Even the anti-capital-punishment Death Penalty Information Center can only list about 10 executions out of over 1,000 since 1976 where they make any claims of possible innocence. All of these are from the 1980s when we had about 20,000 murders a year.

    So, out of some 200,000 murders over that decade, there have been some 1,000 executions, maybe 10 of which a very biased organization claims were in error. Looks like a 1% error rate, worst case. I'd guess about half that at the high end, given the obvious biases of my source. So call it 0.5% error rate.

    How low do you demand?


    The same organization lists 150 persons sentenced to death (out of some 3,000 on death row at any time) who they claim have been cleared. Notably, these persons were not executed. The system "worked' in that they were exonerated before the sentence was carried out. On average, it took 11 years to clear them with some as short as two years and some taking 30+ years. One might question how many men who are "only" sentenced to 20 years get any attention at all to clear their names.

    Note the following quote from an anti-death-penalty articlein National Geographic:

    some number of innocent people on death row will have their sentence reduced to life in prison but will never be freed. (Why? Because once they’re off death row, their case is no longer under such intense scrutiny and exoneration is unlikely.)

    [D]ata on the 7,482 people who were sentenced to death between 1973 — the first year of modern death-penalty laws — and 2004 [reveals the following]. Of these, 117 were exonerated, or 1.6 percent. But among these, 107 were exonerated while they were still on death row, whereas only 10 were exonerated after their sentence had been reduced to life in prison.

    This leads to a bizarre situation. If you’re on death row and your sentence is reduced to life in prison, you’re suddenly much less likely to be exonerated than someone who stays on death row.
    So my thesis is born out by some research. The gravity of the death penalty helps increase attention to possible injustices. It seems a man is more likely to reclaim his good name if he is sentenced to death than if he is sentenced to life without parole or any lessor sentence.

    The National Geographic article argues that death penalty cases have the lowest wrongful conviction rates because of how careful everyone is while this Mother Jones article claims just the opposite: that capital cases have a higher rate due to emotions and pressure to prevail. I think MJ is wrong.

    In any event, some food for thought.

    Charles
    Last edited by utbagpiper; 03-11-2015 at 06:37 PM.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

  18. #18
    Regular Member J_dazzle23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    If we are not, then we are not qualified to have any voice at all in our own laws.



    I believe a lifetime or 30 year sentence is nearly as grave as capital punishment. So let's eliminate lifetime and 30 year sentences too. Then we can talk about 25 years. And right on down.

    If the system is so broken that wrongful conviction is a material risk, then ANY punishment is unjust. How much unjustice are you willing to accept?


    And what exactly is the risk of wrongful conviction and execution?

    Even the anti-capital-punishment Death Penalty Information Center can only list about 10 executions out of over 1,000 since 1976 where they make any claims of possible innocence. All of these are from the 1980s when we had about 20,000 murders a year.

    So, out of some 200,000 murders over that decade, there have been some 1,000 executions, maybe 10 of which a very biased organization claims were in error.

    The same organization lists 150 persons sentenced to death who they claim have been cleared. There area bout 3,000 persons on death row in this nation at any given time. Notably, these persons were not executed. The system "worked' in that they were exonerated. On average, after 11 years. One might question how many men who are "only" sentenced to 20 years get any attention to clear their names.

    Note the [url=http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/28/how-many-people-are-wrongly-convicted-researchers-do-the-math/] following quote from an anti-death-penalty article:



    In a perverse sort of way, it seems a man is more likely to reclaim his good name if he is sentenced to death than if he is sentenced to life without parole or any lessor sentence.

    This article argues that death penalty cases have the lowest wrongful conviction rates because of how careful everyone is while this Mother Jones article claims just the opposite: that capital cases have a higher rate due to emotions and pressure to prevail. I think MJ is wrong.

    In any event, some food for thought.

    Charles
    Charles, it still boils down to your beliefs that a 30 year sentence is equal to a bullet to the head, or at least nearly. the slippery slope you mention only works if this is the case.

    But I'm not buying it. I don't think for a new York minute that if you rounded up every 30 year sentance (especially the ones that may be innocent) and asked them if they would rather die than serve 30 years, there is no way the majority would even blink before stating they would like to live.

    I just think the arguement is based on a false premise.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    Charles, it still boils down to your beliefs that a 30 year sentence is equal to a bullet to the head, or at least nearly. the slippery slope you mention only works if this is the case.

    ...

    I just think the arguement is based on a false premise.
    Then look at the details in the National Geographic article I quoted. My personal preference is to end things in a timely manner rather than die of natural causes in a cage. At my age, a 30 sentence is a life term. I might live a bit longer in my current freedom. But the rigors of prison would surely shorten my life even if I wasn't actually murdered by another inmate. For all intents and purposes, for ME, a 30 year sentence is a death sentence. And it is every bit as unjust to be wrongly caged for 30 years and dying there of premature but 'natural' causes as it is be caged for 10 years and executed. So my personal preference.

    Besides which, with a death sentence, the odds are 10 times better of being exonerated than if that sentence is reduced to life. If I'm really wrongly convicted, I have a higher chance of walking free (on average after 11 years) if I'm facing death, than if I'm "only" facing life without parole or 30 years.

    Did you want the wrongly convicted to be exonerated? Or did you want them to sit in prison for decades because nobody cares?

    But my main argument is that any severe punishment is unjust if based on a wrongful conviction. And capital punishment actually helps prevent and correct injustices. And I think the article from National Geographic backs that up. Commute a sentence to life in prison and your odds of having anyone help you get exonerated drop by about 90% it seems.

    I believe capital punishment is a just and appropriate penalty for certain crimes including treason, desertion, murder, and certain sexual crimes. I think the evidence shows that even under our current system, the odds of being wrongly convicted are very low. And I believe we are far more likely to correct what problems need to be corrected if we do so in the context of knowing that capital punishment is a possibility.

    Can you tell me that for 1 New York minute you believe that a man wrongly convicted and sentenced to 30 years is going to get anywhere near the attention and help to clear his name as is given to man sentenced to death?

    Charles
    Last edited by utbagpiper; 03-11-2015 at 06:40 PM.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    Then look at the details in the National Geographic article I quoted. My personal preference is to end things in a timely manner rather than die of natural causes in a cage. At my age, a 30 sentence is a life term. I might live a bit longer in my current freedom. But the rigors of prison would surely shorten my life even if I wasn't actually murdered by another inmate. For all intents and purposes, for ME, a 30 year sentence is a death sentence. And it is every bit as unjust to be wrongly caged for 30 years and dying there of premature but 'natural' causes as it is be caged for 10 years and executed. So my personal preference.

    But my main argument is that any severe punishment is unjust if based on a wrongful conviction. And capital punishment actually helps prevent and correct injustices. And I think the article from National Geographic backs that up. Commute a sentence to life in prison and your odds of having anyone help you get exonerated drop by about 90% it seems.

    I believe capital punishment is a just and appropriate penalty for certain crimes including treason, desertion, murder, and certain sexual crimes. I think the evidence shows that even under our current system, the odds of being wrongly convicted are very low. And I believe we are far more likely to correct what problems need to be corrected if we do so in the context of knowing that capital punishment is a possibility.

    Can you tell me that for 1 New York minute you believe that a man wrongly convicted and sentenced to 30 years is going to get anywhere near the attention and help to clear his name as is given to man sentenced to death?

    Charles
    Charles, here is the problem. If the guy with a death sentance (let's say....in texas) gets attention.....well too bad. dude is dead.

    I understand your arguement, that capital punishment encourages the right convictions. But here is the catch- we DO have capital punishment and we DO get wrong convictions. NOW. So it's obviously not getting the job done.

    If you head over to ksl comment boards any time someone is captured or sentance for a crime like murder, the comments are very telling. Most will say something to the effect of "let's kill him, he deserves it" type of rhetoric. That's the tame version, too. Many times, commenting before it even hits trial. These are the jury pool. Scary thought, yes? And our lawyers, with their immaculate moral codes, are picking these jurors.

    so while I agree that perhaps doing away with the death penalty is no beuno, the current system in place is garbage, and capital punishment is the only permanent sentance. 30 years might be life for you, but it only puts me in my 50's. Far better IMO than the needle.

    We need to fix the system until we can get it right, then keep capital punishment.
    if you have a flat tire, you pull over and fix it. Ya don't keep driving carefully and try and swap that tire out at the same time IMO.
    Last edited by J_dazzle23; 03-11-2015 at 06:48 PM.

  21. #21
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    Penn and Teller explain my stance on the Death Penalty better than I ever could. It's very entertaining and informative and I encourage everyone to watch it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3AmKgRAgvo

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    Charles, here is the problem. If the guy with a death sentance (let's say....in texas) gets attention.....well too bad. dude is dead.
    Actually no. As I posted, the cases of innocent men actually being executed after being sentenced to death over the last 40 years are somewhere no higher than 0.5%. And that is taking into account executions before DNA testing was available to exclude suspects before they went to trial.

    35% of all murders go unsolved. Not even an arrest in a full third of murders. Acquittals and dropping of charges in some cases where the guilt is well known but some "technicality" (aka constitutional protection of suspect's rights) prevents conviction. I'm thinking OJ Simpson and Josh Powell here.

    So with 15,000 murders a year in the USA, that is over 5,000 guilty men not going to prison. That is 50,000 over the course of a decade. Compared to maybe 5 guys who were executed wrongly. That is 1,000 guilty men going free for every innocent man wrongly convicted and executed. We are two orders of magnitude better than our 10 to 1 ratio we quote.

    How low does the wrongful execution rate have to be before you will accept capital punishment as a proper part of our criminal justice system?

    What is the target that satisfies you? And if the answer is zero, then you are demanding that we abolish the death penalty. 100% success is not achievable in anything by humans.

    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    so while I agree that perhaps doing away with the death penalty is no beuno, the current system in place is garbage, and capital punishment is the only permanent sentance. 30 years might be life for you, but it only puts me in my 50's. Far better IMO than the needle.
    Yup. In your 50s. Bankrupt, poor health, divorced, no relationship with your kids, grandkids being born without you around. It is a lifetime gone. You don't get it back. Even if the taxpayers make you wealthy, the time is gone. And if it isn't 30 years? If it is really life without parole but nobody much cares because hey, it isn't like you're facing death, then 30 turns into 50 and you die behind bars anyway. You had 50 years in a cage. Something about dying on my feet rather than living on my knees comes to mind. But to each his own.

    The idea of an innocent man being wrongly executed really bothers me. But not materially more than I am bothered by the idea of an innocent man spending 30 to 50 years in prison. It seems you are FAR less bothered by the idea of 30 years in prison than you are by being executed. And that is ok. I don't mean to diminish the seriousness of execution nearly so much as I want to elevate how seriously we take 30 year sentences. The DoJ is taking note of excessive sentences in some drug cases. While we can debate how long a sentence is just if someone is actually guilty, any sentence is unjust for an innocent man.

    Fix the system and capital punishment isn't a problem except for those with a religious/moral/philosophical objection to it. Thousands of innocent men (mostly men) are spared unjust punishment. Don't fix the system, and removing capital punishment benefits 5 to 10 guys every 30 years. Every innocent life is precious. But in a nation where the price we pay for easy transportation is 30,000 automobile related deaths (half of which are DUI related), and where the price we pay for modern medicine is nearly 100,000 deaths from medical mistakes a year, I have to do a little cost-benefit analysis and say that fixing the current system is a way higher priority than expending the energy to eliminate capital punishment--that maybe wrongly affects 1 man every 10 to 15 years--first and then trying to fix the system so we can maybe bring back capital punishment when things are working well enough to satisfy those who probably mostly dislike the idea of capital punishment no matter how good the system works.

    In the absence of any additional data, we'll have to agree to disagree on capital punishment.

    All the best my friend.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by utbagpiper View Post
    Actually no. As I posted, the cases of innocent men actually being executed after being sentenced to death over the last 40 years are somewhere no higher than 0.5%. And that is taking into account executions before DNA testing was available to exclude suspects before they went to trial.

    35% of all murders go unsolved. Not even an arrest in a full third of murders. Acquittals and dropping of charges in some cases where the guilt is well known but some "technicality" (aka constitutional protection of suspect's rights) prevents conviction. I'm thinking OJ Simpson and Josh Powell here.

    So with 15,000 murders a year in the USA, that is over 5,000 guilty men not going to prison. That is 50,000 over the course of a decade. Compared to maybe 5 guys who were executed wrongly. That is 1,000 guilty men going free for every innocent man wrongly convicted and executed. We are two orders of magnitude better than our 10 to 1 ratio we quote.

    How low does the wrongful execution rate have to be before you will accept capital punishment as a proper part of our criminal justice system?

    What is the target that satisfies you? And if the answer is zero, then you are demanding that we abolish the death penalty. 100% success is not achievable in anything by humans.



    Yup. In your 50s. Bankrupt, poor health, divorced, no relationship with your kids, grandkids being born without you around. It is a lifetime gone. You don't get it back. Even if the taxpayers make you wealthy, the time is gone. And if it isn't 30 years? If it is really life without parole but nobody much cares because hey, it isn't like you're facing death, then 30 turns into 50 and you die behind bars anyway. You had 50 years in a cage. Something about dying on my feet rather than living on my knees comes to mind. But to each his own.

    The idea of an innocent man being wrongly executed really bothers me. But not materially more than I am bothered by the idea of an innocent man spending 30 to 50 years in prison. It seems you are FAR less bothered by the idea of 30 years in prison than you are by being executed. And that is ok. I don't mean to diminish the seriousness of execution nearly so much as I want to elevate how seriously we take 30 year sentences. The DoJ is taking note of excessive sentences in some drug cases. While we can debate how long a sentence is just if someone is actually guilty, any sentence is unjust for an innocent man.

    Fix the system and capital punishment isn't a problem except for those with a religious/moral/philosophical objection to it. Thousands of innocent men (mostly men) are spared unjust punishment. Don't fix the system, and removing capital punishment benefits 5 to 10 guys every 30 years. Every innocent life is precious. But in a nation where the price we pay for easy transportation is 30,000 automobile related deaths (half of which are DUI related), and where the price we pay for modern medicine is nearly 100,000 deaths from medical mistakes a year, I have to do a little cost-benefit analysis and say that fixing the current system is a way higher priority than expending the energy to eliminate capital punishment--that maybe wrongly affects 1 man every 10 to 15 years--first and then trying to fix the system so we can maybe bring back capital punishment when things are working well enough to satisfy those who probably mostly dislike the idea of capital punishment no matter how good the system works.

    In the absence of any additional data, we'll have to agree to disagree on capital punishment.

    All the best my friend.

    Charles
    I am fairly sold on the idea of capital punishment- in theory.

    My point is that it is a fantastic tool to show the mistakes that we make in the name of justice.

    Just since we are both local, let's take the hifi murders in Ogden as an example. That one? I'll push the potassium or pull the trigger on them myself. I can honestly say that. Aside from any emotional statement, I feel no moral qualms about removing individuals like that from society.

    But when something is a life/death scenario, I don't think it's asking too much to want it right every single time. Is that realistic? Probably not. But it certainly needs improvement.

    I do appreciate your bringing stats into it, but I don't think the numbers are really that telling. There is no way to tell how many people are wrongfully imprisoned right now, or on death row. But I'm highly suspicious that the percentages are higher than what it is possible to actually show, just because of the obvious nature of us not really having a measurable metric.

    our justice system is hugely flawed, and wrongful executions are just one of(and possibly one of the lesser of) MANY things that show this.

    You have years on me and I'm sure wisdom. I hope there are people a lot smarter than I am out there that can fix it. Changing the method from one thing to another doesn't really do much imo. Cheaper for the bullet, though.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyray9 View Post
    Penn and Teller explain my stance on the Death Penalty better than I ever could. It's very entertaining and informative and I encourage everyone to watch it.
    Entertaining yes. Informative, not so much.

    Simply an entertaining rehashing of the philosophical objection to capital punishment. "Killing a man to prove killing is wrong makes no sense." So why do we incarcerate kidnappers?

    The death penalty demonstrates society's view about how serious certain crimes are; how completely intolerable by society

    The death penalty prevents the most dangerous criminals from ever harming anyone else, including other inmates (who haven't been sentenced to death, rape, or assault as part of their punishment) and guards.

    The death penalty provides retributive justice for the most heinous of crimes.

    The current list of crimes eligible for capital punishment is actually woefully short. A person doesn't accidentally do something in this State or nation that gets him on the wrong end of the capital conviction these days. In Utah, the only crime that will draw the death penalty is aggravated murder. This requires murder of multiple victims, the murder to have been committed in particularly heinous (as opposed to mundane) or tortuous manner, murder for monetary gain, as part of a hijacking, or similar aggravating circumstances.

    The State of Utah has executed a grand total of 7 men since SCOTUS permitted executions to resume in the 70s. This includes two of the "Hi Fi" killers/torturers and a serial murderer.

    Only two of those executed had a single victim. One of those raped and strangled an 11 year old girl. The other stabbed to death a man who stopped to give him a ride, then assumed his identity.

    There is no credible doubt whatsoever about the guilt of any of the 7 men executed. I cannot find a single reference of any death row inmate in Utah ever being exonerated. Consider there have been only 7 men executed since the 70s, and only 52 in all of our State's history (including our time as a territory), the odds of a 0.5% error happening here and not being discovered are rather low.

    In the absence of credible evidence that UTAH has a problem with executing innocent people, then any discussion of capital punishment in Utah can probably dispense with such arguments.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    I am fairly sold on the idea of capital punishment- in theory.

    My point is that it is a fantastic tool to show the mistakes that we make in the name of justice.
    Fully agreed, and that is part of my argument. Having it makes us keenly aware of the need to avoid mistakes in the justice system.

    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    Just since we are both local, let's take the hifi murders in Ogden as an example. That one? I'll push the potassium or pull the trigger on them myself. I can honestly say that. Aside from any emotional statement, I feel no moral qualms about removing individuals like that from society.
    A grand total of 7 men have been executed in Utah since the 1970s.

    Would you have serious qualms about pulling the trigger on any of them?

    Gary Gillmore murdered two people over two days as part of a crime spree. He dropped all appeals and told the ACLU to butt out and stop trying to prevent his execution.

    Dale Pierre and William Andrews tortured and killed three victims at the Hi Fi shop; one intended victim survived if I recall.

    Arthur Bishop was a child molester and serial killer. Five young boys murdered at his hands. Confession, and regret for the crimes expressed as some of his last words.

    John Taylor raped and strangled to death an 11 year old girl. He maintained his innocence but dropped appeals because of failing health and a desire not to die alone in his cell.

    Joseph Parsons stabbed a man who stopped to give him a ride (quite possibly while the victim was asleep), then assumed his identity, even claiming he was his own victim after he was arrested. He claimed it was to fend off a homosexual advance, but no evidence of such an advance could be produced. There was some evidence that maybe Parsons was the homosexual making advances and was upset when those advances were rejected. Maybe just a simple theft of cars and credit cards and such. But a victim brutally murdered either way. Parson's had previously used a gun to car jack a taxi in Vegas. In addition to all the physical evidence, a full confession.

    Ronnie Gardner murdered a man during a robbery attempt, and then murdered an attorney during an unsuccessful escape attempt during his trial.

    Are there any of them that cause you any real pause? Not in a single case among these am I aware of any credible claims the convicted didn't commit the crimes as described; only efforts to avoid the death penalty for philosophical reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    But when something is a life/death scenario, I don't think it's asking too much to want it right every single time. Is that realistic? Probably not. But it certainly needs improvement.
    Near as I can tell, Utah has had zero innocent men executed since the 70s. I cannot find a single man ever on Utah's death row to be exonerated. I think we're doing a perfect job so far of not executing innocent men. I wish we were so careful with non capital cases.

    How do we improve on perfect?

    Now, if Texas or Florida has problems they need to fix them. But Utah is a sovereign State and shouldn't be penalized for the mistakes of other States.

    Quote Originally Posted by J_dazzle23 View Post
    Changing the method from one thing to another doesn't really do much imo. Cheaper for the bullet, though.
    And to clarify, this bill doesn't change the method. It simply provides the firing squad as an alternative if the needed drugs cannot be secured for lethal injection. The bill prevents European drug makers from undermining our justice system. We will respect their patents. And if we can't drugs that are court approved to provide a humane execution, we will use 4 bullets (and 1 blank).

    Charles
    Last edited by utbagpiper; 03-11-2015 at 08:53 PM.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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