Capital punishment. For and against? Why? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14799049
Arkansas has executed Ledell Lee in the US state's first use of the death penalty in 12 years.
It came after the US Supreme Court rejected a challenge arguing Arkansas was unfairly rushing several executions before its supply of a lethal injection drug expires at the end of April.
On Thursday the state's Supreme Court overturned a ruling blocking the use of a different drug.
Lee was convicted for murder and recently told the BBC he was innocent.
His third request to stay the execution was denied.
He was pronounced dead at 23:56 local time on Thursday (04:56 GMT on Friday) at the state's death chamber in its Cummins Unit prison, a Department of Corrections spokesman said. His death warrant was due to expire at midnight.
Lee did not make a final statement. Instead of a last meal, he asked to receive communion, an official said.
He had been on death row for more than 20 years after he was convicted of beating Debra Reese to death with a tyre iron in 1993.
Her family "had waited 24 years to see justice done", Arkansas Attorney General Deborah Rutledge said in a statement.
"I pray this lawful execution helps bring closure for the Reese family," she said.
Lee told the BBC's Aleem Maqbool in a recent interview that he was innocent, and death row was like a "living nightmare".
The state had initially planned to carry out eight executions in 11 days, before the 30 April expiration date of its supply of the drug, midazolam - used together in lethal injections with two other drugs.
The first three executions were cancelled due to various court rulings.
The other inmate due to die on Thursday has been given a stay to make time for advanced DNA testing that his lawyers say could prove his innocence.
Stacey Johnson was convicted of the murder of Carol Heath, who was beaten and had her throat slit in her flat in 1993.
Thursday saw a flurry of legal activity, with the new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch siding with conservatives in the 5-4 decision to reject the inmates' claim that the accelerated process amounted to "cruel and unusual punishment".
It followed Arkansas's Supreme Court's overturning of a ruling by a lower court that blocked the use of the drug vecuronium bromide.
The McKesson Corporation, which supplied the drug, had accused the Arkansas Department of Correction of failing to say it planned to use the drug for executions.
Like many US states, Arkansas has struggled to find the drugs it needs to carry out executions. Its last was in 2005.
What this means - Aleem Maqbool, BBC News
The frenetic filing of lawsuits and appeals in Arkansas has a profound impact on those awaiting execution, on their families and on the relatives of their victims.
The widower of one victim told me that if he had been told from the beginning that his wife's killer would be in prison for life without parole, he might have been able to move on.
But, he said, to have the prospect of the man's execution arise and disappear over the years means reliving the hurt of the murder itself, and that every stay of execution now feels like an insult to his wife.
What this highlights is how hard it has become for states to kill by lethal injection, with botched executions and drug companies saying they do not want their products associated with the practice.

What did all these men do?
.Bruce Ward - Strangled teenage shop clerk Rebecca Doss
.Don Davis - Condemned for the execution-style killing of Jane Daniel as he burgled her home
.Stacey Johnson - Murdered Carol Heath, who was beaten, strangled and had her throat slit
.Ledell Lee - Bludgeoned Debra Reese to death with a tyre iron her husband had given her for protection
.Jack Jones - Condemned for the rape and murder of accounts clerk Mary Phillips, and the nearly fatal beating of her 11-year-old daughter
.Marcel Williams - Raped and murdered Stacey Erickson, after kidnapping her from a convenience store
.Kenneth Williams - Murdered farmer Cecil Boren during an escape from prison where Williams had been incarcerated for murdering cheerleader Dominique Hurd

BBC
#14799054
There are only two objections I can entertain. The first is the burden of proof to absolutely convict "without a shadow of a doubt" is so stringent that it would rarely apply (even more rarely than it does now). The second is a theoretical for the state having the ability to regularly kill people.
#14799100
I have no idea why they have such difficulties with their drug supply - thousands of animals are euthanized every day, it's a proven procedure, and if private suppliers want to white knight, the state could synthesize its own supply; it's not that difficult.

And yes, there is enough human trash out there who doesn't deserve to live, pedos and rapists-murderers come to mind immediately.
#14799120
It isn't really the method that bothers me at all, it is the institution that can be abused at some point in the future. I simply don't want the government to have that power.

If you're going that way, shoot them in the back of the head or something, if you have to. Lethal injection sucks anyway.
#14799129
Against because:
1) It's impossible to have a 100% perfect justice system that guarantees that whoever is found guilty in court is actually guilty and viceversa. In fact, the 100% is very far away even in the best ones. Once you get death penalty wrong and apply it on someone who was innocent, there's no way to repair the damage. You can't bring the guy back to life. Now with detentive punishment you cannot reverse time, true, but you can cut/halt the punishment altogether and offer a compensation (read = lots of money) to the guy who was wronged, that is, if he's still alive by then. But still, only if we assume the most extreme scenarios, the criticism applies to both punishments, for everything in-between, detentive punishment can be repaired certainly in an easier manner than capital one.
2) Because it has no gradation, unlike the detentive punishment. You kill or you don't, and the threshold that makes you go for kill to not kill is entirely left at the whim of legislative power. In the end, it's a subjective matter of life and death. There is no objective parameter that says "this crime has to be punished with death, and this other one doesn't". More on this on point 4).
3) Prone to abuse to eliminate political opposition in a non-democratic regime and much more effective than detentive punishment in this intent.
4) Doesn't really show to reduce crime rate for the "audience" it's normally targeted at (it's not an effective deterrent), the low-tier criminals, thugs and psycopaths, these people are gonna scoff at the death penalty anyway either because they deal with life or death every time (like gangsters) or because they simply don't have the mental health required to think of the consequences of their actions. Now if it was targeted at banksters, corrupt politicians, and high-tier white collar's crimes (like multi-millionaire tax dodging) it may sort an effect, but let's be realistic, this will never happen, it would be like asking the wolf to punish itself for eating the sheeps (usually these folks are the ones lobbying for these laws, when they're not the ones directly making them). And there may be even public resistance that believes that these crimes are venial compared to murder, rape ecc.. (which is just an opinion and not really a fact). So this type of death penalty would be out of the question in western societies and all that would be left is the typical "hang the murderer", as a leftover of an ancient biblical need of revenge and little else.
5) Applying death penalty to certain criminals, like fanatics that follow a certain ideology or religion to an extreme, will just further their cause as they'll be publicly displayed as martyrs for their own cause. Ironically, these people may actually be embracing and be encouraged by a capital punishment to continue their terrorristic acts.

And all of this without considering the "re-education" aspect of punishment that should also aim (when possible) to correct the individual's behavior and re-insert it into society. I usually skip this part because I consider this a lost argument and it may be impossible to prove that eliminating the individual has a higher cost, for the society, than the expected value of trying to re-insert him into the society, but I still consider it worth mentioning, as there may have been cases where re-education was possible and granted positive results. Needless to say, Death Penalty doesn't really allow anything of the sort.
#14799143
Clangeddin wrote:Against because:
1) It's impossible to have a 100% perfect justice system that guarantees that whoever is found guilty in court is actually guilty and viceversa. In fact, the 100% is very far away even in the best ones. Once you get death penalty wrong and apply it on someone who was innocent, there's no way to repair the damage. You can't bring the guy back to life. Now with detentive punishment you cannot reverse time, true, but you can cut/halt the punishment altogether and offer a compensation (read = lots of money) to the guy who was wronged, that is, if he's still alive by then. But still, only if we assume the most extreme scenarios, the criticism applies to both punishments, for everything in-between, detentive punishment can be repaired certainly in an easier manner than capital one.
2) Because it has no gradation, unlike the detentive punishment. You kill or you don't, and the threshold that makes you go for kill to not kill is entirely left at the whim of legislative power. In the end, it's a subjective matter of life and death. There is no objective parameter that says "this crime has to be punished with death, and this other one doesn't". More on this on point 4).
3) Prone to abuse to eliminate political opposition in a non-democratic regime and much more effective than detentive punishment in this intent.
4) Doesn't really show to reduce crime rate for the "audience" it's normally targeted at (it's not an effective deterrent), the low-tier criminals, thugs and psycopaths, these people are gonna scoff at the death penalty anyway either because they deal with life or death every time (like gangsters) or because they simply don't have the mental health required to think of the consequences of their actions. Now if it was targeted at banksters, corrupt politicians, and high-tier white collar's crimes (like multi-millionaire tax dodging) it may sort an effect, but let's be realistic, this will never happen, it would be like asking the wolf to punish itself for eating the sheeps (usually these folks are the ones lobbying for these laws, when they're not the ones directly making them). And there may be even public resistance that believes that these crimes are venial compared to murder, rape ecc.. (which is just an opinion and not really a fact). So this type of death penalty would be out of the question in western societies and all that would be left is the typical "hang the murderer", as a leftover of an ancient biblical need of revenge and little else.
5) Applying death penalty to certain criminals, like fanatics that follow a certain ideology or religion to an extreme, will just further their cause as they'll be publicly displayed as martyrs for their own cause. Ironically, these people may actually be embracing and be encouraged by a capital punishment to continue their terrorristic acts.

And all of this without considering the "re-education" aspect of punishment that should also aim (when possible) to correct the individual's behavior and re-insert it into society. I usually skip this part because I consider this a lost argument and it may be impossible to prove that eliminating the individual has a higher cost, for the society, than the expected value of trying to re-insert him into the society, but I still consider it worth mentioning, as there may have been cases where re-education was possible and granted positive results. Needless to say, Death Penalty doesn't really allow anything of the sort.


Yea, that's pretty much it. Everything said here covers all the bases. You can't appeal the death penalty, there's no hard benchmark for what qualifies as good enough to kill someone (and many say death is mercy since what's really deserved is suffering from a life sentence), it can be used excessively, many don't care about dying, and it's provocative.
#14799291
For.

Because despite the liberal biased studies on the subject, capital punishment is definitely a deterrent for career criminals from killing. It will also prevent most crimes of passion from occurring, but not all.

At the very least, it prevents brutal criminals from ever again murdering anyone else because there is always the possibility of them escaping from prison, and then killing again.
#14799298
stephen50right wrote:It will also prevent most crimes of passion from occurring

I've never seen anything to suggest that. In fact, the opposite. A crime of passion happens without consideration for consequences.
#14799302
Zagadka wrote:I've never seen anything to suggest that. In fact, the opposite. A crime of passion happens without consideration for consequences.


I would have to believe that many folks who got extremely angry, didn't carry out murder for fear of being executed or at the very least spending a long time in prison.

I would have to think that almost everyone at some point in their lives, for whatever reason, felt like doing something really bad to somebody else, and the consideration for consequences kept them from doing it. Therefore, capital punishment does work to prevent murder, including crimes of passion.
#14799332
I'm in favour, not because of any deterrent effect which is hotly contested, but because of the powerful symbol of the ultimate sanction for the most extreme crimes. And for the purposes of ridding ourselves of the worst elements of society once and for all.

Used very sparingly for multiple murderers, terrorists and the like I think it sends out the right message, that even a civilised and humane society has limits, has the means and the will to enforce those limits and has the Moral courage to defend its core principles against those who transgress them.
#14799334
Life in jail without the possibility of parole is the best alternative to the death penalty.
- in case there was a judicial mistake, the person can still be freed
- to punish the culprit, it way more cruel than the death penalty, especially if the prison is a super max like in Florence.
- people who have calculated the cost say it is cheaper than going through all the appeals.
#14799384
Against, why waste a lifetime of potential hard labor? :p

Also it's actually more expensive for the tax payer to put them in death row than to imprison them for life, combined with the risks of wrongful convictions I just don't see it as a practical tool.
#14799396
I have no problem with the death penalty on principle. People who commit horrendous acts of violence should be put to death.

There are two problems with the death penalty as it stands, though.

First, it sometimes is politicized. For example, Rick Perry was afraid of looking weak on crime, so he allowed the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham when in all likelihood, he was innocent.

Second, the method of execution is insane. We can put our pets down painlessly and reliably but we have this system of lethal injection that's expensive, painful, and unreliable for executing criminals. WTF?

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