August 30, 2007

"The first thing I did was drop to my knees and say a little prayer... I owe a lot of people."

We talked about Kenneth Foster's case back here. Today, 7 hours before he was to be executed, Texas Governor Perry commuted his sentence:
Thursday's vote marked only the second time since Texas resumed carrying out executions in 1982 that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles endorsed stopping an execution with so little time remaining. And in that 2004 case, Perry rejected the board's recommendation and the prisoner, who had been diagnosed as mentally ill, was executed.

65 comments:

Internet Ronin said...

IMO, Governor Perry did the right thing.

Revenant said...

Too bad. Foster deserves to die.

John Stodder said...

I'm pretty much done with the death penalty. It's like the anti-Lotto. Some killers might get it, but most don't. We need to rethink sentences completely. As public policy, the death penalty has been a massive failure. All arguments for it -- arguments that used to sway me -- crumble against the reality that it is typically applied more than a decade after the arrest, if ever, except when it's not. What's the deterrent in that? And where's the sense of justice for survivors?

I'm astonished that there is a public outcry against waterboarding terrorist suspects, but complacence about the death penalty.

Luckyoldson said...

Revenant said..."Too bad. Foster deserves to die."

Does this idiot ever think...before posting?

Why would anyone with an ounce of sense, want to execute people who are handicapped...especially when every study that's ever been done proves it does little if anything to dissuade people from committing murder, or lower murder rates and with DNA there have been hundreds who have since been proven to be innocent.

Retribution might feel good, but it does nothing to make us safer.

SnowDahlia said...

There's complacence about the death penalty because we live in a society plagued by random violence (there are no hiding places, as we know - not even in the nice suburbs of Connecticut), and we're frightened and want to slap back, no matter how irrational or ineffective we know the response to be. And it's so completely clear that there are some people for whom there can be no redemption; they're simply incapable of living peacefully in society. And so what do we do with them? Put guards between us and them until they die natural deaths? And at great expense, when the money could be better used in so many other places? I certainly don't have the answers. I'm against the death penalty intellectually, but I know exactly why people are for it.

Salamandyr said...

Evidently LOS doesn't...think, that is.

Foster wasn't the mentally handicapped person, that was back 2004. Foster was the wheelman who was driving for his buddy who decided he just had to kill somebody instead of just rob them.

Luckyoldson said...

snow,
It's retribution, plain and simple.

Unfortunately some of the people executed...aren't guilty.

Which makes it murder.

rhhardin said...

The death penalty is not retribution and is not deterrence.

The death penalty has to do with the place accorded to a voice by society, a voice that is missing.

It works for that reason. The voice reclaims its place.

Luckyoldson said...

sal,
You're right, my bad.

But...I still can't see executing someone under these circumstance.

The wheel man...?

Luckyoldson said...

rhhardin,
Thank you, oh, wise one.

"It works for that reason..."

Except of course, when we kill someone who's innocent.

tjl said...

"All arguments for it -- arguments that used to sway me -- crumble against the reality that it is typically applied more than a decade after the arrest, if ever, except when it's not. What's the deterrent in that?"

John Stodder is absolutely correct, but the lack of deterrent power is only one of many reasons to conclude that the death penalty should be scrapped. Other reasons include:
1) Expense. A decade of appeals and habeas writs will cost taxpayers as much as maintaining the prisoner for life.
2) Arbitrariness. Foster's case is Exhibit A. The other two non-triggermen, whose culpability was more or less the same as Foster's, cut plea bargains for less than life sentences.
3)Martyrdom syndrome. In case after case, distaste for capital punishment has focused undue sympathy on some extremely unsavory characters. Foster is a good example.
4)Impossibility of redressing error. Anyone involved in the criminal justice system is only too aware that mistakes are made. Capital cases are subjected to more scrutiny than the rest, both at the trial level and on appeal, but no human institution is infallible.

As satisfying as a death sentence may be in some cases -- e.g., the Couey child-murder case -- the death penalty is ultimately detrimental to the criminal justice system.

downtownlad said...

What a wimp Gov. Perry is. Governor Bush surely would have let him die. And I'm sure he would have made some good jokes about it as well.

Revenant said...

the lack of deterrent power is only one of many reasons to conclude that the death penalty should be scrapped.

First of all, deterrence isn't the primary reason for capital punishment. The primary purpose of capital punishment is justice. Some crimes -- and deliberate murder is one of them -- merit death, even if there is no deterrent effect whatsoever.

A decade of appeals and habeas writs will cost taxpayers as much as maintaining the prisoner for life.

Is the fact that a 10-year prison sentence costs more than a 9-year prison sentence an argument against 10-year prison sentences?

Arbitrariness.

Arbitrariness is an argument against the current way we do things, not an argument against capital punishment. The "problem" here is that some people receive harsher sentences, and others more lenient sentences, for the same sorts of crimes. It is not obvious that the correct solution to that "problem" is to give everyone the lenient sentence. Giving everyone the harsher sentence would fix the problem too.

Martyrdom syndrome.

I must have missed the last meeting of the Ted Bundy fan club. Besides, even if a certain percentage of the population is stupid enough to idolize a criminal simply because of how that criminal was punished, what harm does that do the rest of us?

Impossibility of redressing error.

That is, indeed, a very good reason, and the reason why I opposed most capital punishment. But it doesn't apply in this case, because Foster admits he was the wheelman during the armed robbery spree.

Jeff said...

"I'm astonished that there is a public outcry against waterboarding terrorist suspects, but complacence about the death penalty."

What public outcry? A few dozen journalists and politicians does not equal "the public".

Simon said...

Luckyoldson said..."
Unfortunately some of the people executed...aren't guilty. Which makes it murder."

Do I correctly infer from that, that in your view, the death penalty isn't murder when the person executed is guilty?

tjl said...

"I must have missed the last meeting of the Ted Bundy fan club"

Ted Bundy's fan club had zero membership. But you do seem to have missed the others. Remember Gary Graham? Mumia? That "reformed" Panther in California?

Of course advocates of death-row inmates will find some other quixotic cause to embrace if capital punishment is abolished. The harm done is to the criminal justice system, which is made to seem illegitimate in the eyes of a significant segment of the population.

If you need proof of how destructive this harm can be, consider the situation in New Orleans. Generations of an arbitrary, racially-targeted style of law enforcement provoked a reaction in which many black people came to view the entire concept of law enforcement as illegitimate. The result was the present district attorney, who more or less dispenses with the idea of law enforcement altogether.

Mel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

As satisfying as a death sentence may be in some cases -- e.g., the Couey child-murder case -- the death penalty is ultimately detrimental to the criminal justice system.

Actually, the things that are most detrimental to respect for the rule of law are: (1)the role money plays in buying justice; (2)Capricious prosecutors, cops, defense lawyers all working not for justice but their personal career enhancements; (3)endless "process" that lawyers and lawyers dressed in robes use to spit in the face of a public that expects justice to be swift and sure; (4)Activist judges bypassing democracy, making up their own laws.

The death penalty takes in the worst in undermining respect for rule. Money matters. Who gets the death penalty is a function of a crapshoot of which State you're in, politics, how sympathetic the victims are, and personal preferences of key "lawyer" players. The delay of executing for 20-30 years when it was 1-2 years of appeals the norm in the recent past is the biggest disgrace - it's pure "Lawyers Club" milking the money, throwing 3-5 year delays in with a wink and a nod.

But the public has alternatives, especially since there is widespread perception that the "Lawyer's Club" takes over justice on administration of sentencing - and the people have been told they have no further say if "they respect the rule of law"(yers). Not on prisoners sentences, not on parole, not on executions, not on prison conditions and "prisoner rights", not on lawyers dressed in robes deciding to impose mandates like mass releases.

The alternatives people have are mass resistance to rule of lawyers, and being proactive.

1. Refuse to snitch because the system is so corrupted by lawyers.
2. Refuse to serve on a jury for the same reasons.
3. Encourage legislatures to cut other expenses like prison food quality, or court amenities - if a lawyer dressed in robes decides a prison must build a million dollar library, etc - to make it budget neutral and to flip off the Robed one.
4. Use of jury nullification if cons on the inside decide they cannot live with and must kill the worst of the worst - someone like Jeffrey Dahlmer or James Couey - and are "tried" for their service to humanity.
5. The public can now at least consider the use of major gangs like the Mexican mafia, MS-13 to take out monsters like the 4 in Illinois that cut a women open for her baby and killed her 11-year old son as well, but who got in Gov Ryan's blanket amnesty..
The gangs leaders might bite with an offer that 25,000 bucks goes into a "widows and orphans fund" for imprisoned gang members families if "something unfortunate happens to the 4 womb-cutters", or the 2 in Connecticut who killed and raped the doctor's wife and daughters ..
Yes, those choices would greatly disrespect the rule of law, but it's only a response to the lawyers disrespect for justice in pursuit of other agendas.

And people should keep in mind that while it would be "horrible" to kill a truly innocent con, executions save lives of many, many innocents through deterrence. And the time and effort spent on "no expense spared justice and decades of appeals manpower" because "the state is involved" - might be better spent trying to reduce the 95,000 deaths caused nationwide by State-licensed medical profressionals.

J said...

"7 hours before he was to be executed, Texas Governor Perry commuted his sentence"

As a point of trivia, the Board of Pardons and Paroles commuted the sentence. The Governor of Texas does not have the authority to commute a death sentence - he/she can only carry out the recommendation of the BPP.

Revenant said...

The harm done is to the criminal justice system, which is made to seem illegitimate in the eyes of a significant segment of the population.

The cause of the harm is stupidity and ignorance on the part of those who idolize people like Graham and Mumia. The way to avoid that harm is to stop humoring those people. It is never a good idea to respond to irrational behavior by rewarding it.

Trumpit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

Cedarford sort of talked around it.

Capital punishment isn't for deterring criminals, it's for deterring *vigilantes.*

It's a basic social contract... we agree not to take justice into our own hands at the promise of our judicial system to do it for us.

People don't want to see the guilty taken out of society so they will be safe, they want to see the guilty punished.

Ask yourself... why isn't it good enough that Bin Laden is isolated and made ineffective? (He's probably worm food, but let's pretend he's not.) What practical reason can there be to still want to get Bin Laden? The only reason whatsoever is the feeling that punishment for those guilty of horrors is *important*.


This particular case doesn't seem to warrant the death penalty, I mean, what murder *isn't* senseless and gratuitous? Still, what bothers me most is that two of the four people were allowed to do pleas for cooperation and if something is bad enough that the guilty need to die, then the guilty need to *die*. Accepting pleas from some and not others on the very same case for the very same crime (someone in the back seat may well have said "Hey, follow that guy" so the fact of being the driver doesn't really mean a lot) is one of the things that is ultimately detrimental to the justice system.

We don't trust them to act for us, and for darned good reason.

From Inwood said...

It’s been noted, ad nauseam, by assorted self-congratulatory moralists, that it’s better for ten, 100, 1,000, whatever, up to ∞ guilty guys to go free than one innocent guy be imprisoned, or, in this case, that every miscreant be spared the death penalty lest one innocent guy be executed.

I’m reminded of the story of how a distinguished British Jurist quoted the original maxim to an oriental visitor, who replied “better for whom?”

And it's been pointed out on the thread & elsewhere & I agree: if only life imprisonment meant that literally rather than in too many cases "hey he's been a model prisoner for 20 years, reads Shakespeare, listens to Beethoven, helps other perps to get some larnin', has found a purpose to his life (is it OK to have found JESUS or is that déclassé?), that is, so it's OK to let him out early."

It's amuses me that there are people who say that
- Perps know that capital punishment exists in TX.
- Some still commit capital crimes in TX anyway.
- QED The threat of capital punishment does not act as a deterrent in TX to capital crimes.
Logic 101: not a syllogism.
The word "some" is a red herring, to use a highly technical term.
Also, by parity of illogic:
- Perps know that non-capital punishment exists for non-capital crimes in TX.
- Some still commit non-capital crimes in TX anyway.
- QED The threat of non-capital punishment does not act as a deterrent in TX to non-capital crimes.

Finally, some say that "he was only the driver". In other words, regardless of whether there should be a death penalty in general, it is bad to have given the death penalty to the driver.

I suggest that it was clear to state legislatures which enacted a felony murder law that it also takes a cold-blooded person to drive one's friends around while they commit armed robberies.

But, unlike them & me, some of you are nuanced. Even so, it never occurred to you that, unless the driver or the lookout are of such low intelligence that they should not be considered capable of being able to reason about such things, such accomplices have to be aware that the guy with the gun has the gun for a reason? And that reason would be one that they might later have to pay for?

And, if anyone feels with regard to the driver that the judge & jury was a good ol’ Texas cowboy-hang ‘em judge & jury, verdict first then the facts, & that this was really like the ol’ Pre WW II gangster movie: the innocent who just went along for the ride, the thrill of it all & never thought the gun was loaded, much less that the killer would use it, then Orwell’s point about only incredibly intelligent people having the ability to come up with a belief so incredibly, let’s say, naive applies.

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

I oppose the death penalty, but I'll make an exception for flagrant abuse of ellipses. Death to ellipsis abusers! And maybe some waterboarding, too.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Note, I deleted and then reposted this comment solely for the reason of putting in italics the quoted material to which I was responding:

It’s been noted, ad nauseam, by assorted self-congratulatory moralists, that it’s better for ten, 100, 1,000, whatever, up to ∞ guilty guys to go free than one innocent guy be imprisoned, or, in this case, that every miscreant be spared the death penalty lest one innocent guy be executed.

I’m reminded of the story of how a distinguished British Jurist quoted the original maxim to an oriental visitor, who replied “better for whom?”


Isn't the answer obvious?

With regard to the rule of law, the eschewing of injustice is just as important as the pursuit of justice--and vice versa. To proceed in all due diligence on behalf of one, but not the other, is, if not perversion, certainly corruption.

No where is/should this be more true than in the criminal justice system.

If you think not, why not? And if so, offer the alternative system that better fits your, well, better vision.

reader_iam said...

Note, I deleted and reposted this comment only to make sure it appeared after the one just previous, as in the original order.
***
Also, if you buy the point of the referenced anecdote, as presented: pray tell, give me the the threshold, in terms of a ratio, that's acceptable to you: 1 in 100, 1 in 75, 1 in 50, 1 in ... well, you get my drift.

And if the (un)luck of the draw were to happen to fall on you--nay, your beloved spouse, your mother, your child--would you be so sanguine?

Amazing, to me, how complacent people can be about "rule of law."

And if you're one of the people (as I am) who think it'd be a good thing if the philosophy behind our court system, as a model--even given imperfections and outright warts in its implementation--could be replicated, and YET, ALSO, adopt the attitude in that anecdote...well, shame on you. Shame on you.

Shame on you from right, left, and center. Shame on you from religious and secular.

Just, shameful.

reader_iam said...

Missing word: "elsewhere," after "replicated."

Palladian said...

"...I'll make an exception for ... abuse of ellipses. Death to ellipsis abusers!"

Your argument has been ellipsed by me...

Peter Palladas said...

"I must have missed the last meeting of the Ted Bundy fan club"

...Ted Bundy's fan club had zero membership.


Really?

Not sure how, if at all, this moves on the debate. But it's not without note that it's never just a scumbag's mother who loves him.

We're completely at a loss over here. The death penalty, as a judicial act, has gone and will not return. Yet death in handed out daily on our streets, by roving gangs of teenagers who see nothing amiss in kicking people to death for their perverse pleasure.

It's all part of 'the respect agenda' apparently. I think you lot gave us that, but I'll not be blaming you as such. For we have mutated it into something even more wretched.

The death penalty is alive and kicking, sadly, here in England now.

steve simels said...

Wow. The bloodlust around here is through the roof.

hdhouse said...

I lived overseas for 10 years and my work often carried me into police states where justice was harsh, conditions for criminals severe beyond words, the system arbitrary and capricious and above all unequally reached because of a justice system that was a political arm of the government.

Pretty much like Texas as I see it.

tjl said...

"Pretty much like Texas as I see it."

Let's not get started on what Texas would see in you -- elitist liberalism at its most self-righteous and condescending.

Pogo said...

Synova is onto something. If justice is denied to victims of crime, such that pedophiles are given suspended sentences and violent house break-ins are left completely unpunished (as is occurring in this little section of Minnesota), people will object in many ways.

Judges get turned out, city councils are berated. But when those measures fail, the crimial justice system begins to look like a protection racket. It comes to resemble a lifetime employment scheme operated for the benefit of cops-lawyers-courts, and thieves, churning crime cases much like a stockbroker defrauds his clients.

When that occurs, the government has failed to perform its primary duty, to keep order, and citizens quickly discover that the court system is a sham, and justice will increasingly be dealt with privately.

Why call the police if the theft from your house will merely result in a lengthy expensive trial, time away from your work, and the exoneration of the perpetrators, even though caught in the act? Vigilante justice thus arises. People disappear.

The first clue is the movies. New York in the 1970s was anarchic, and Death Wish came out. Now this:

Kevin Bacon stars in violent "Death Sentence"
"NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Crime rates might be dropping nationwide, but you wouldn't know from the latest wave of vigilante-themed films. Beating the Jodie Foster thriller "The Brave One" by two weeks, James Wan's "Death Sentence" demonstrates that first is not necessarily best."

The death penalty is a joke. The criminal justice system -in some regions- is a revolving door. Movies like this aren't an accident. Next step: an increase in gun purchases. Next: "Hot" break-ins result in death for the robbers. Street assaults are accompanied by defensive gun violence.

Paco Wové said...

I lived for 3 years in a state of extreme hyperbole and rhetorical excess ... it was just like an hdhouse post. It was ... horrible.

(Shudders.)

hdhouse said...

ahhh paco..

say what you will about hdhouse, he represents the liberal point of view very well and doesn't suffer fools....knee-jerk conservatives as opposed to just conservatives...emphasis on "jerk".

Roger said...

Seems to me what is really lacking is any consensus on what the purpose of the death penalty is. As can be seen in this thread it can be for retribution, to enforce the social contract, for deterrence, for economic purposes (avoiding costs of incarceration) or any combination thereof--and probably some I am missing. Until there is a societal conssensus, I dont see much chance for any changes in current state and federal policies.

Skeptical said...

Luckyoldson thinks that it is a criticism of the death penalty that it is retributive. But this is a feature, not a bug. Or, to put it more mildly, since retribution is a part of almost everyone's commonsense moral viewpoint, the burden falls on those who would reject it to show that it is illegitimate.

The inability to deal with error is not a unique feature of the death penalty. It is also a feature of life imprisonment. It is true that once the death penalty has been carried out, any error in inflicting it cannot be reversed and compensated. But this is equally true of life imprisonment.

I have no particularly love for the death penalty. If we get rid of it, though, it should not be because of nonsense about retribution or error. It should that we have decided that we are willing to forgo the pursuit of justice for the sake of other worthwhile ends.

And, of course, welcome back, steve simels!

Synova said...

I should say that I'm not talking just about capital punishment.

When people perceive criminals to have "gotten away with it" they feel as if they now have been returned the right to take care of things themselves.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Luckyoldson thinks that it is a criticism of the death penalty that it is retributive.

Of course it is and that is the point. Capital punishment should be reserved for the henious crime of taking someone else’s life. If you have no respect or regard for an innocent life then you simply forfeit your own. The liberal mindset wants to ‘hold all life precious’ (except of course those still in the womb) and see no fundamental difference between a 6 year old child and the 30 year old man who rapes and murders that child because ‘all life is precious’.

As much as they may not want to admit it, there are monsters out there kids and they look a lot like the person next to you. The adage of better 100 guilty go free than one innocent executed sounds marvelous until those 100 kill, rape or maim 100 or more people. That’s not taking the moral high ground but rather being an unfeeling robot who thinks they have the moral high ground.

For all those pathetic individuals who stand around with candles, holding hands and praying for the poor murderer whose time has come: Show some real compassion and walk your sorry asses to the cemetery where the victim is buried and give that person and their family equal time. Until the death penalty protestors start doing that, they’re nothing more than scum.

hdhouse said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
The liberal mindset wants to ‘hold all life precious’ (except of course those still in the womb)....Until the death penalty protestors start doing that, they’re nothing more than scum."


Ahhh illogic run amuck. How about the right to lifers who are protecting unfertilized eggs as they hold the promise of life who also line up to watch executions? BING BING BING...ring a bell?

The death penalty doesn't work as a deterent. It just doesn't. Our entire penal system is a free world joke. Are Americans more criminally inclined? Are we as a country more violent? Is there something about living here that brings out the worst in behavior? We have at any one time enough people in jail or prison to make at major city..and I'm talking the size of Boston.

Don't you see anything wrong with the big picture?

hdhouse said...

ohhh and i meant Designated Market Areas with my just <3 million incarcerated figures. Actually in city limits size that puts the prison population at about the same number as Chicago.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ahhh illogic run amuck. How about the right to lifers who are protecting unfertilized eggs as they hold the promise of life who also line up to watch executions? BING BING BING...ring a bell?

So as I said, you're one of those who see absolutely no difference between an innocent life and a bloodthirsty murderer. I can easily coo over a child and gleefully watch a murderer die.

The death penalty doesn't work as a deterent. It just doesn't.

I never said it did so why the strawman on me? Might want to reread my post unless I used too many big words again.

Our entire penal system is a free world joke.

For once I agree with you. How states like Vermont have a mandatory 4 year sentence for child rapists is beyond my comprehension. But then again it is a Democrat stronghold.

We have at any one time enough people in jail or prison to make at major city..and I'm talking the size of Boston.

Legalize drugs or at least decriminalize it and you'll empty out about 70% of the prison population.

Roger said...

Which makes it slightly less than 1% of the population. There are those of that think that means there are slightly less than 3 million threats to public safety now confined so as to do damage only to each other.

From Inwood said...

readeri_am

You're irony challenged.

It's possible that you'd come up with an answer to my "better for whom" quip, but then we'll never kjnow 'cause all you say is "shame" or some variant thereof.

Someone also quipped that one could hire himself out as a picket for organizations of any persuasion if he simply appeared with a sign reading "SHAME". Works for you.

From Inwood said...

Commenters here keep saying that the death penalty does not act as a deterrent.

How do they know?

Especially since the death covered by a death penalty rarely happens.

Again the non-deterrent claim defies Logic 101:

Its amuses me that there are people who say that
- Perps know that capital punishment exists in TX.
- Some still commit capital crimes in TX anyway.
- QED The threat of capital punishment does not act as a deterrent in TX to capital crimes.

Logic 101: not a syllogism.

The word "some" is a red herring, to use a highly technical term.

Also, by parity of illogic:

- Perps know that non-capital punishment exists for non-capital crimes in TX.

- Some still commit non-capital crimes in TX anyway.

- QED The threat of non-capital punishment does not act as a deterrent in TX to non-capital crimes.

Synova said...

Capital punishment is appropriate.

But it's not the lack of capital punishment that leads people to scorn our judicial system. It's stuff like plea bargains where criminals are not punished equally for the same crime.

Not that I think plea bargains shouldn't be offered, or... maybe I do. Particularly at the very high end of things I think that a plea can work as a forced confession if someone is frightened enough that justice will not be done and they will face something like capital punishment or many years in prison. It's worse than Vegas isn't it? Confess or testify in order to get a small sentence or risk losing your case and get a heavy sentence.

Or maybe even the low end... didn't Craig plead guilty to lesser charges to avoid the ones more likely to wreck him politically?

Or maybe I'm an absolutist. If a crime deserves a certain punishment then that is what it deserves.

Or maybe in a case where four men are charged with the exact same crime because they were part of the party of the one who pulled the trigger (which actually makes sense after a fashion) and one of them strikes a deal the deal should automatically confer on the whole "party".

Cedarford said...

I believe there are studies that show, race and socioeconomically normed - that states that have the death penalty do have better deterrence than states of similar racial composition and economic class that don't.

Foes claim that because they have used the "Lawyer's Clubhouse" so successfully to delay the death penalty implementation for 10-20 years that it can't be a deterrent are making the same sort of argument that a killer of his parents makes that retribution would be wrong because his actions made him an orphan..

But besides the State-imposed death penalty, we now can see the effects of the threat to thugs of citizen-imposed death penalties.

We do now have good data about states that allow concealed carry of pistols have proved a death penalty deterrent administered directly by citizens HAS deterred thugs and muggers. Crime drops have been observed in concealed carry states and in cities that have now allowed merchants regain the right Lefties took away in the 60s and 70s - to arm themselves and kill to defend themselves or their property.

People are also quite aware that thugs the gun laws the Lefties claimed the gun laws would block from getting - don't obey the gun laws..So why not let law abiders defend themselves?

*******************
We also have come to realize that claims by Lefties that "enlightened European citizens" strongly oppose the death penalty aren't exactly true.

Sizable majorities in Euro countries want their James Coueys exterminated. What is different is their Ruling Elites have been more successful in imposing their will on the masses...and retiring to their safe neighborhoods in good conscience...just as the Lefty Elite in America wishes will happen...

And Americans know that the screams of minority activists and Far-Left Jewish lawyers and our Elitists in their gated communities or with Teddy Kennedy/Rosie private bodyguards accompanying them are not matched with any similar concern for:

1. The tens of millions aborted.
2. The 95,000 innocent people a year estimated to be killed by mistakes of state-licensed medical professionals.
3. The doubling of murders, rapes of innocent citizens that followed the State-imposed criminal rights explosion of the 60s and 70s. An extra 140,000 or so murders....

No, the hysteria is over the "greatest nightmare in all humanity" the possibility that the "State might not be 100% perfect" - and that a few thugs that are truly innocent might be killed over a decade...

Forget about the abortions, the million plus killed by state-certified medical people over the years, the 100 thousand plus innocents murdered because of lawyer activists giving thugs more rights and lienency....

No, the "supreme nightmare" is the State by saving 1,000 innocent people by virtue of a deterrent death penalty, might whack the wrong thug...might make a mistake!!

I know this as well....that one way or another, James Couey will not survive behind bars the next 15-20 years...and neither will the 2 home invaders in CT take full advantage of CT's endless appeals process. People are fed up enough that gangs with large membership inside and outside prison have mentioned "inducements" to take care of Couey, amongst others.

It is an offense on an existential level. Without a death penalty, it is wrong to ask cons to accept and live with a serial cannibal killer like Jeffrey Dalmer because his very existence offends those forced to live with him. It is an offense to anyone's sense of justice that someone who kills his business partner over money gets life without parole...while a carjacker who tortured then shot a woman and two of her kids gets the same penalty.
Proportionality is lost.
Nor is the societal direction going towards endorsing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed getting life without parole then arguing that because he is the "worst case", then cop killers and such clearly deserve a lower sentence than Khalid's one...maybe 20 years...

The societal direction is now more towards appropriate retribution than rehabilitation. Europe is waking up to their "progressive" laws on criminal dignity and rights have given them the same explosive crime rate increases that the various Lefties inflicted on America with leniency..

rcocean said...

Would someone explain why this guy was pardoned 7 hours before his scheduled execution, instead of yesterday or a week ago?

Did any new data come to light, or it just sadism on the part of Perry?

And I'll add my two cents. If you think the Death penalty is immoral then to be consistent you have to be against deadly force to stop felonies, War, and the execution of Nazi war criminals.

Its all sanctioned killing by the state.

hdhouse said...

From Inwood said...
Commenters here keep saying that the death penalty does not act as a deterrent.How do they know?"

ahhhhh..well....people keep killing people in states where the death penalty is used.....ahhhhh duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Roger said...

I don't put much stock in the deterrent value of the death penalty, but to be fair what we don't know is how many people it DID deter--now: if there was just some way to count non-murders.

hdhouse said...

roger...fairly simple. you look at the line and the norm. if the population increases then you should see an incremental. if deterrence works then you should see some effect with high profile cases or executions...but you don't.

Synova said...

Logically a person would think that security cameras would serve as a deterrent. The fact that convenience stores and banks continue to be robbed doesn't mean that they aren't. The fact that someone was killed in front of known cameras in England doesn't mean that some people chose not to commit crimes because they know they will be recorded and know they will be caught.

The fact that people still commit murders does not mean that capital punishment doesn't work as a deterrent for some people who otherwise might have done so. That particular data bit means nothing.

I personally doubt that someone who contemplates murder is going to be worried about the consequences. It's just not that sort of crime, is it? But I'm guessing according to my assumptions.

I'm quite certain that capital punishment, and other harsh punishment, does deter extra-judicial killings and therefore does, certainly, contribute to social order.

Roger said...

You don't have to argue too hard to convince me, HD. The whole deterrence thing suggests that a murderer weighs out the pros and cons of a murder, carefully analyzing all the factors, assigns opportunity costs, evaluates sunk costs, one of which is the death penalty, weighs that against the probably of capture etc. Right---NOT

Joe said...

For me, the principal reason for criminal punishment is primarily to remove that person from society so they can't harm anyone or anything else. Executing scum is a more permanent solution. (The argument that imprisoning someone for life is more humane than executing them is utterly bizarre to me.)

If all this has a deterrent effect, great, but I really don't care that much.

From Inwood said...

Roger

With all due respect, IMHO you do not know what you say. You are entitled to your opinion, but what you say here about miscreants thinking or not about consequences applies with equal force to non-capital punishment cases.

So, let's say we drop the death penalty. Will you then use your point to rail against long-term sentencing? After all, a life sentence to a bad place is harsh if not cruel.

Will you fight to see that a guy sentenced to Life really does serve all his life, that being somewhat unusual, I hear, even though in prison he discovers Shakespeare, Beethoven, & Global Warming?

And will you use the fact that, for lack of a better term, those with the $$$ to hire the best or better lawyers seem to stand a better chance of a lesser sentence or even a “Not Guilty” verdict than those who do not?

And will you use the argument that the driver or the lookout is not as bad as the shooter?

From Inwood said...

rev

Re your 5:46 of yesterday, with all due respect, it's not what you, I, or the rest of the commenters think as much as the fact that a jury, which got to see this miscreant & which had a judge explaining the law, reached this verdict of death.

And that the case went thru the seemingly endless appeals process without a reversal.

And that a majority of voters in some states think that a death penalty may be warranted in some cases, including felony murder, where the shooter may not have thought through his shooting & where the driver (or the lookout or the guy inb the vault when the shooting is going on on the bank floor)may not have thought through all the ramifications of armed robbery.

Like you. I would've sleep soundly last nite if this creep had been put to death.

And I borrow the all-purpose term "shame" to describe those who seem to care more for the perp than the vic & his near & dear.

Revenant said...

Our entire penal system is a free world joke.

Maybe, hd, but some of us aren't so lacking in self-esteem that we require the praise of Europeans in order to feel good about ourselves. So Europe and Canada disapprove of us -- well, I disapprove of them. Fortunately I don't have to live there, and they don't have to live here... so there's no problem.

The European hysteria over the death penalty is just societal guilt over the millions of innocent citizens their governments murdered within living memory. So they throw a fit over cops killers on death row, hoping that a hyperbolic charade of respect for human life today can make up for all the evil their parents and grandparents did.

Revenant said...

Roger,

The whole deterrence thing suggests that a murderer weighs out the pros and cons of a murder, carefully analyzing all the factors, assigns opportunity costs, evaluates sunk costs, one of which is the death penalty, weighs that against the probably of capture etc. Right---NOT

So your claim, then, is that no murderers weigh the pros and cons of murder before committing the act? None whatsoever? The thousands of premeditated murders committed every year are ALL done without the slightest regard for the personal consequences?

That's a very interesting theory... but can you support it with evidence?

tjl said...

"those who seem to care more for the perp than the vic & his near & dear"

Hdhouse, this means you.

Synova said...

Our penal system is such a world wide joke that people arrested in other countries think they have miranda rights.

hdhouse said...

tjl..that's just a silly statement and you know it.

all i mentioned was that our entire method of dealing with crime deserves so inspection. why is our incarceration rate so high? right now 1% of our total population is in jail or prison. when you dice that down to 18+ males its almost 2%. we have more murders here than in the rest of the first world nations combined. sure we can work on a deterrence mechanism to address that rate but doesn't it make sense to also examine everything else that comes into play to see what it is that makes it so easy and desireable to commit murder?

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

why is our incarceration rate so high? right now 1% of our total population is in jail or prison. when you dice that down to 18+ males its almost 2%.

Complaining about the incarceration rate is ridiculous. Virtually everyone in prison is there because they are guilty of felonies. The real question is why we have so many felons.

The answer is that, where crimes other than murder are concerned, we don't. Our non-violent crime rate is actually quite low for the industrialized world, and a big part of that is that we actually lock up non-violent criminals. In most of the west they receive a trivial punishment that does little to deter future crime.

doesn't it make sense to also examine everything else that comes into play to see what it is that makes it so easy and desireable to commit murder?

The reason nobody wants to look too closely at the root causes of the American murder rate is that it becomes immediately obvious why it is so high: our young black men are absurdly murderous compared to the Western norm. Half of the murders in America consist of young black men shooting other black people. The murder rate among the non-black portion of America isn't all that high on a per-capita basis.

But nobody really wants to admit that America's murder problem is the cultural degradation of black male youth. That sort of thing feeds into too many old racial stereotypes. So the Right has to confine itself to broad-ranging "tough on crime" programs and the Left puts the blame on American society as a whole. Nobody wants to confront the real problem: black America.