November 18, 2007

"I did shift from being against the death penalty to thinking that if it has a significant deterrent effect it’s probably justified."

Says Cass Sunstein, quoted in this article by Adam Liptak. For years, death penalty opponents used the argument that all the studies showed that the death penalty did not deter murder. But now — contrary to what we all thought we knew — the studies show deterrence:
According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented....

The studies try to explain changes in the murder rate over time, asking whether the use of the death penalty made a difference. They look at the experiences of states or counties, gauging whether executions at a given time seemed to affect the murder rate that year, the year after or at some other later time. And they try to remove the influence of broader social trends like the crime rate generally, the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, economic conditions and demographic changes.
Much more at the link. Of course, the studies are subject to criticism. Obviously, there's no way to know to what extent a decision to commit murder includes a calculation about the death penalty. But if you oppose the death penalty, you can no longer rely on the old article of faith that there is no deterrence, and you have to concede that there may be some deterrence and take that into account.

202 comments:

1 – 200 of 202   Newer›   Newest»
knoxwhirled said...

I oppose the death penalty only because of the innocents who have been put to death in the past. I have no problem with those whose guilt has been absolutely proven, with DNA evidence, for example, being put to death if their crimes merit it. But, I suspect there's no valid legal way to mete out punishment based on how a person is found guilty, so for the present I oppose it.

I am inclined to believe that the studies denying any deterrent effect are biased. It defies common sense.... sort of like insisting a border fence won't work, when fences have demonstrably worked for ages, keeping people in prisons and the like, and are working quite well right now in Israel.

Kirby Olson said...

It's been clear to me that the left-liberal bias against the death penalty has kept them from thinking in any significant way about it, with the conclusion as usual being predetermined by what they want to believe.

It costs about a million dollars to execute someone due to the appeals system, but this in turn saves approximately 18 lives. This means that each life we save costs a little over 50,000 dollars. I think it's worth it (if it would save one single family member, I think we would all agree with this price tag), but it would be nice to get the price down by limiting the number of appeals and speeding up the process so that that money could be used for other kinds of policing and deterrance -- breaking up gangs, destroying corruption in business, incarcerating shoplifters like Winona Ryder, etc.

Skyler said...

Knoxwhirled,

The very reason we have been able to determine that reportedly any innocents were executed is the very reason why there is no reason not to execute clearly guilty people anymore. With modern DNA science we can be assured of guilt beyond even a sliver of doubt.

The cost of executing people is of little relevance in deciding whether to execute people. We control the cost, it's up to how much we allow it to cost and how long we wish it to take.

Deterrence is only a side benefit to execution. Punishment is the most important reason for taking these horrible people out of existence.

Scrutineer said...

Stuart Taylor, Iain Murray and others were writing about the "New Debate" back in 2001. The Times is a bit behind the curve.

christopher said...

Deterence is utterly irrelevant.
As long as a rich celebrity like OJ can avoid even being charged with a capital crime, it's obvious that it's impossible to administer the death penalty fairly.

But putting that aside, it's barbarism. End of story.

If you're for it, you're a barbarian and should be called on it.

christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P. Rich said...

True innocence discovered late in a death penalty case is very rare, and gets publicity for that reason alone. More often there is a technicality which causes the penalty to be dropped or modified, or more legal proceedings to ensue. Then there is the fact that, even if the present charge is in error, the perp might have a list of priors (proven and unproven) which would argue for some severe consequence anyway.

The "death penaty argument" always seems to reduce to:

1. Killing a human being is barbarous (see christopher above). This presupposes that a criminal who, for example, tortures, mutilates and eats a number of his fellow citizens is entitled to be considered a human being.

2. Better 100 criminals be allowed to go free than one innocent be executed. This bleeding heart position chooses to ignore the cost to society of the future criminal acts of said 100 criminals. If only 10% murder on average 1 person, that is a trade of one "innocent" (see above) death for ten deaths. This species of argument adherent seems comfortable with that outcome.

All in all, there is a chasm between those who think with their glands and simply parrot emotional arguments, and those who are aware of the consequences of various actions and make thinking decisions that are based on reality considerations. Funny how so many of the former live on the Left...

Tim said...

"According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented...."

But the anti-death penalty crowd would rather those three to 18 murders happen so they can continue to preen their illusionary moral superiority. Those are the true barbarians, glossed with a very thick veneer of vanity.

Christy said...

I've always suspected that life in prison is a worse penalty than death, so I'm okay either way.

No one, in the heat of the moment, thinks about the death penalty. One must wonder, however, if decision making and problem solving over the lifetime which lead to that critical moment has been informed by the death penalty, or lack thereof.

Pogo said...

If you're for it, you're a barbarian and should be called on it.

Barbarians have rarely been known for their methods of preventing the deaths of innocents.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
christopher said...


As long as a rich celebrity like OJ can avoid even being charged with a capital crime, it's obvious that it's impossible to administer the death penalty fairly.


Funny how the pro-death penalty clear thinkers like P.Rich, Tim and Pogo don't have an answer for that...

John Stodder said...

Oh, great. This finding seems like the mother of all red herrings. I don't think the deterrent effect deserves any weight in a debate that is really about one's faith in the criminal justice system to reach fair and appropriate results.

Over the past 10-15 years, I reached a point where my tolerance for the state taking such an irreversible step stretches that faith too far. Because so many people convicted of violent crimes, not just capital murder, are in prison through mistaken identity and/or police or prosecutorial trickery or unwillingness to give up a "win" even when it is clearly unjust -- as the DNA revolution demonstrated -- I just don't trust the system anymore to mete out the ultimate punishment.

The "endless appeals" people complain about are not re-examinations of all the evidence, they're examinations of the trial procedure. It's not a filter that can identify the innocent person who got what is deemed to be a fair trial. Fair trials don't always achieve the right result. What the appeal system does do, however, is make the question of which convicted murderer gets executed an almost random decision. (Which makes me wonder about the deterrent effect.)

It's horrible enough to read about people who spend 20 years in prison for something they didn't do because a prosecutor wanted to get re-elected, or because a witness was intimidated to confirm a tendentious police theory of a case. To think that someone might lose their life due to such venal factors is beyond what I can bear, morally.

I'm sure you can point to many cases where there really is no doubt about who did the deed; but life in prison seems like a sufficiently horrible punishment for any crime.

Hopefully, the Duke/Nifong case has helped both the right and the left recognize that our justice system is staffed with at least a few people you wouldn't trust with your power tools, much less your life. Nothing we can do about that, except rein in their power a little, especially the power to decide life or death.

Pastafarian said...

It's simple I guess. I'm a barbarian.

Cedarford said...

Knoxwhirled - I oppose the death penalty only because of the innocents who have been put to death in the past.

The State, by it's actions and licenses to private parties - permits innocent people to be put to death regularly. The rationale is that while no system involving human judgement can ever be made perfect, foolproof, failure free, or immune from external acts - we sanction them on grounds that they save more than they kill or the people die performing an absolutely essential role of society that can't be banned without catastrophic harm to the many.

Examples:

1. No US aircraft carrier has ever deployed in peacetime without at least one, possibly dozens of innocent sailors or pilots killed. They do an indispensible job in a dangerous environment. But not as risky as being a logger or a commercial fisherman, two other jobs where we accept deaths of innocents rather than end their activities.

2. Many medical procedures have a built-in fatality factor that can never be removed completely. We know 1-2% of those innocents undergoing thoracic surgery will be killed by the doctor's work. Just staying in a US hospital exposes patients of more banal procedures that won't entail risk of dying on the table of death by infection.
And outside inherent risk - medical errors from actions or medications authorized and controlled by the State Gov't Licensing Boards cost the country 95,000 deaths of innocents a year.

3. Even officework or being a stay at home Mom entails a slight risk of dying. A sister of mine lives in a house where an innocent woman died from aphyxiation after a refrigerator she was moving to clean fell on her in the 80s. A man was electrocuted in a state pension gov't office in October when his copying machine shorted...An innocent man.

Lessons are that society "ethically forgives" its actions and permissions that cause innocent's death on the grounds that they save more lives than they take, or that the deaths are acceptable consequences of the risk-reward system we mentally weigh in doing essential jobs. We could say that the death of even one commercial fisherman licensed by the state is unacceptable and a horror beyond all moral boundaries - and ban consumption of fish - but that would be stupid.

We accept doctors and drugs killing 1-2% of their innocent patients - because a ban would cost far more lives. 2% of cardiac bypass patients dying out of 100 is acceptable if 60% would be dead in a year with no intervention.

95,000 innocent fatalities by "medical misadventure" is damn high, and authorities say it could be cut in half if the resources we had used to fight and appeal for death penalty criminals had been used instead on innocent patients, but even at 95 thousand people - it has to be weighed against the 750,000 whose lives were directly saved by medical intervention last year, and the 3 million whose lives were extended or dramatically improved.

Thus someone who says they oppose the death penalty even if it saves 3-18 innocent people from murder because they cannot tolerate the possiblity an innocent person might be killed one day through state agencies and bad human judgement by a collective group of cops, civilian jurors, witnesses, and judges........
Then have to explain why they do not oppose hospitals, prescription drugs, a standing military, logging on State lands which either safe more people than they kill or have a beneficial effect that "cancels out" the fatality rates of innocent individuals.

And maybe have to explain why they favor millions for the "legal rights" of convicted murderous thugs facing death or lobbying to ban death as a penalty for crimes even if the death penalty saves 3-18 murders from happening for each successful death penalty meted out...but do not deem it equally important to allocate funds to knock down the 95 thousand inocent people killed a year by medical error down to 40,000 or so...

John Stodder said...

The linked article, however, is funny in a Tom Wolfe sort of way. All these scholars who don't like this finding but forced to disgorge it out of their sense of academic integrity. I loved this quote:

“I honestly think it’s a distraction,” Professor Wolfers said. “The debate here is over whether we kill 60 guys or not. The food stamps program is much more important.”

Did Prof. Wolfers finish the thought? More important to whom and for what? Is he saying food stamps deter murders? Funny.

That demonstrates my point, I guess. Prof. Wolfers is just the kind of person a governor would be proud to appoint to the judiciary. Great academic resume and probably much more. And yet...clearly not the sharpest crayon. When we think of who decides life or death in a capital case, unfortunately it's not that blindfolded lady with the scales. It's people like Prof. Wolfers -- muddy thinkers driven more by bias than reason. They're on juries, they're prosecutors and they're judges. We have to give them some power, but the ultimate power? I don't think so.

christopher said...


As long as a rich celebrity like OJ can avoid even being charged with a capital crime, it's obvious that it's impossible to administer the death penalty fairly.


I'm still waiting for one of you death penalty enthusiasts to comment on the 800 pound gorilla...

christopher said...

Cedarford said...

Knoxwhirled - I oppose the death penalty only because of the innocents who have been put to death in the past.

The State, by it's actions and licenses to private parties - permits innocent people to be put to death regularly. The rationale is that while no system involving human judgement can ever be made perfect, foolproof, failure free, or immune from external acts - we sanction them on grounds that they save more than they kill or the people die performing an absolutely essential role of society that can't be banned without catastrophic harm to the many.


And this justifies deliberately putting people to death exactly how?

You're not just a barbarian, you're a sociopath.

Oh wait -- you're also the classic Father Coughlin-style jew hater. Why am I even arguing with you?

John Stodder said...

Cedarford,

I liked the thoughtfulness of your post, but you use a word in it that marks the difference between the death penalty and the other examples you gave: "Indispensible."

Having a military is indispensible.

Hospitals and surgery are indispensible.

One could argue that household products with a slight risk of causing fatalities have become indispensible. At least the product-safety and tort processes deter manufacturers from cutting too many corners, but eliminating all risk would deprive us of products we need. One of your examples, refrigeration, clearly saves a lot more lives than executions.

How are executions "indispensible?" The choice isn't between the death penalty and letting murderers go free. There are other severe punishments available, which are applied to the vast majority of murderers.

Skyler said...

Okay, I'll comment on the "800 pound gorilla."

OJ was found not guilty. So? Just because one person does not get the punishment he deserves doesn't mean no one should get the punishment they deserve.

We don't even catch all murderers to put them on trial. Should we not put anyone in jail because of that?

No system is perfect, but there are many instances where we can absolutely be certain that the accused is guilty. In those cases we should not hesitate to give them the fate they have merited.

If a few escape their deserved fate, so be it. I wish we were capable of convicting all that are guilty, but we aren't. That shouldn't stop us from convicting the ones we are able to find guilty.

christopher said...

Skyler said...

Okay, I'll comment on the "800 pound gorilla."

OJ was found not guilty. So? Just because one person does not get the punishment he deserves doesn't mean no one should get the punishment they deserve.


Thank you for commenting, however idiotically.

The fact that OJ got off isn't the problem. The problem is that
OJ wasn't charged with first degree murder, which would have necessitated the death penalty, in the first place.

The prosecutors decided not to charge him with first degree murder, despite the overwhelming evidence that he was in fact a cold blooded killer, because they knew that in this society we can't execute rich celebrities.

The death penalty thus can not be administered fairly.

Sorry.

christopher said...

Kirby Olson said...

It's been clear to me that the left-liberal bias against the death penalty has kept them from thinking in any significant way about it, with the conclusion as usual being predetermined by what they want to believe.


I think it's considerably more clear that support for the death penalty primarily comes from disturbed individuals with a hardon for killing.

reader_iam said...

I guess I question the premise of equivalence between the risk/failure rate of such things as medical procedures etc. and putting an innocent person to death, because the latter case involves the deliberate agency of the state, the power of the state over the individual.

Does that factor matter in the debate?

I don't think it's just an emotional position to find the idea of an innocent person being executed by the state more morally repugnant than, say, the same person dying of a virus picked up at hospital or via electrocution-by-copy-machine.

Cedarford said...

Stodder's point about a few bad officers in the justice system possibly discrediting the whole system of capital justice is the same as saying a few bad doctors or nurses discredit the idea of hospitals.

Stodder - but life in prison seems like a sufficiently horrible punishment for any crime.

The problem with a "one penalty fits all" approach is that morality and justice operates in any society on a sliding scale.

If we punished all acts of theft with a 5,000 dollar fine, it might be fine for some guy caught stealing a car, but would be grossly excessive for a kid stealing a six pack out of a convenience store and grossly too lienient on a man who stole 60 pet dogs and sold them to a pit bull breeder for training prey...

Murder, society has determined, on all corners of the Earth, ranges from the "almost justifiable" plead down to manslaughter, to 2nd degree, to straight vile murder justifying life, to acts heinous beyond our ken and so offensive and angering to the tranquility of society as a whole - it seems an injustice to let the perp live to enjoy his 3 squares, recreation, TV and his family letters, calls, and visits in prison the rest of his life.

A recent news article ran about an Episcopalian minister reflecting on it in light of his own case. He was long part of the passionate anti-death penalty movement, always ready with a check or protest to save the lives of condemned thugs. His daughter shared his views, and so did his son in law.
He has reconsidered, because he happens to be the father of the woman and grandfather to two young people killed in that heinous CT home invasion in Cheshire where his 11-year old grand daughter was terrorized, raped, then burned to death over the course of 10 hours. His other granddaughter was also tied up and burned to death. His daughter raped and strangled.

He said he talked to his Bishop about his reconsideration and his telling law enforcement that he wanted to two paroled cons that did it put to death.

The Lefty Episcopalian just had the "sliding scale" shoved in his face.

If they had just broken in and shot everybody, he said, life without parole would have been appropriate - but what they did was far worse and justice and morality to point to the need of his and others to want the punishment and hopefully deterrence raised higher.

The anti-death penalty people have many blind spots in what is to many a core emotional or moral argument. Althouse mentioning the deterrent effect shown in studies is one matter. But another is their solution is too limited - to just 2 possibilities. Murderers given identical rights and privileges in prison with hope of release, and murderers given the same quality of life behind bars as a drug user but with no hope of release.

The "Anti" case would be strengthened if they would have a case where they do not propose same treatment in jail for an especially heinous or multiple murderer as a cut and dried "1st degree murderer" - but the same Antis also generally happen to be the people pushing for more "prisoner rights" to make prison life easier and more comfortable with more services available.

*******************

The solution is - if you made me dictator and said one of my jobs was ending the death penalty in a way that made everyone but hard Lefties and family of murdering thugs happy - would be scrapping nebulous "cruel and unusual" criminal cosseting rulings. And establish a "sliding scale" on the worst of the worst murderers.

1. Life with decent conditions for regular garden variety muderers, terrorists, spies, traitors. Possibility of parole.

2. Life with no parole for murderers with unusual malice and cruelty involved. Inc some multiple murderers and murder-rapists, cold blooded killers....But separated from other prisoners and with far crappier food and quarters and greatly reduced recreation & privileges compared to 97% of other prisoners.

3. Life with no parole for murderers we wish to send a message to society on that is the harshest possible yet still "decent". Supermax style. 23 hours in cell. One hour a day yard walk. All privileges and rec not only greatly limited, but considered at sole discretion of jail administration. No phone calls, TV, face-to-face visits. One letter a month from family. No lawyer interactions, no ministers, Mullahs, no journalists looking for a "serial killer" screenplay to glorify their fame.

4. For the absolute worse, and limited by my dictator law for State and Feds to only put 1-2 per million in population in this category - indecent treatment. Those murderers like the Cheshire rapist-killers.
3 years of appeals. Then execution of full sentence which treats them as dead to the rest of us.
Either in a special prison for only their kind - or a mine-laced electric fenced remote island (Alaska has thousands) where they are all carted off to and dumped on. No visitors or communications of any kind with the outside world. Not even family letters. No medical, dental, or spiritual services. Food, shelter, clothes just sufficient for survival. No books, razors, toothbrushes, toilet paper, or rules. An animal existence. All stuff they create or accumulate buried with them in an unmarked grave. Early suicides or murders by other Darwinian struggling cons not considered a bad thing.

5. Reserve death as an option only for traitors or terrorists that kill thousands...as even the Euroweenies allow for.

5.

Gedaliya said...

J wasn't charged with first degree murder

Huh? This is completely false. Simpson was charged with capital murder....the prosecutor made the decision prior to the trial not to seek the death penalty, as per his discretion. Simpson was charged with capital murder and if he had been convicted he most likely would have spent the rest of his life behind bars.

Using the example of OJ Simpson's prosecution to prove the proposition "the death penalty...can not be administered fairly" is...bizarre.

What exactly do you mean when say that the death penalty "has to be administered fairly"? In what way does this proposition attenuate the legal and moral case for the death penalty?

christopher said...

Simpson was charged with capital murder....the prosecutor made the decision prior to the trial not to seek the death penalty, as per his discretion.

Same diff, and it still proves my point.

If the prosecutor didn't seek the death penalty in a case where he defendant was clearly guilty and by any standard a cold-blooded monster, it's because the defendant was a rich celebrity, and we don't execute rich celebrities.

The death penalty thus can not be administered fairly.

Sorry...

christopher said...


What exactly do you mean when say that the death penalty "has to be administered fairly"? In what way does this proposition attenuate the legal and moral case for the death penalty?


It means that rich celebrities can't be executed but poor people can. What part of "that's unfair" don't you get?

Luckyoldson said...

Kirby Olson said..."It's been clear to me that the left-liberal bias against the death penalty has kept them from thinking in any significant way about it, with the conclusion as usual being predetermined by what they want to believe."

Wel, that's just plain stupid. There have been many, many extensive studies done that hav do with the politics of the people doing the research.

What I'd like to see is a study where this question is explored more effectively:

"Before you committed the murder, did the penalty (especially execution) for doing so cross your mind?"

I would bet that in at least 9 out of 10 cases, the answer would be no.

Most "murders" are committed during the commission of a crime, to eliminate being caught, to eliminate witnesses, to offset the victim's response, or in the "passion" of the moment.

I would suspect that many here would readily agree to the execution of someone who kills while robbing a store, but not someone who comes home and finds their spouse in bed with another...or how about someone who knows their child was sexually molested...and they killed the perpetrator? (We just had a case recently where the father killed a neighbor who DID NOT molest their child, but he thought it had occurred.)

Would that be the kind of "murder" warranting execution?

Gedaliya said...

It means that rich celebrities can't be executed but poor people can. What part of "that's unfair" don't you get?

This isn't a legal argument, so it must be a moral argument. However, it works just as well for me as it does for you. I, for instance, don't think it's fair that in some states murderers can't get the death penalty. The solution to this problem is to increase the number of states that have the death penalty. In that way, at least in regard to the death penalty, things would be "fairer."

christopher said...

The solution to this problem is to increase the number of states that have the death penalty. In that way, at least in regard to the death penalty, things would be "fairer."
12:38 PM


No, we still wouldn't be executing rich celebrity defendants.

The law will never be fair.

Plus, it's barbaric, not that you give a shit.

Luckyoldson said...

Here's a hypothetical for anybody here who supports the death penalty:

Your father, mother, brother or sister finds out a neighbor is molesting a family member...lays out a plan and kills the person.

Would YOU pull the switch on your father, mother, brother or sister?

reader_iam said...

Would it make a difference if the standard for applying the death penalty "beyond all possible doubt"? (Note, I'm not suggesting we change the standard for conviction.) I assume it wouldn't for those who are opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, but I'm wondering if it would for those who have serious reservations due to concerns about someone innocent of a particular crime being executed by the state for it.

The deterrence factor, either way, is one that should be taken into account. But it's not my personal stumbling block, and I think it's safe to say I'm not unique.

Luckyoldson said...

Gedaliya said..."The solution to this problem is to increase the number of states that have the death penalty."

And how would this solve the problem of poor people not having the same legal representation as those who are well off? Public defenders have few of the same resources a prosecutor has.

reader_iam said...

LOS: Don't we already charge and sentence differently depending on the nature and circumstances of the murder? I mean, isn't that, and wouldn't that remain, true independent of the death penalty existing?

Luckyoldson said...

reader_iam said..."The deterrence factor, either way, is one that should be taken into account. But it's not my personal stumbling block, and I think it's safe to say I'm not unique."

No, it's not the least bit "unique," but it still doesn't address fair legal representation or executing an innocent person.

In just the last ten years there have been 100's of people on death row, some within weeks or months of being executed, who have been exonerated via DNA.

reader_iam said...

LOS: That's the point I was making!

reader_iam said...

Deterrence is not one of my big stumbling blocks. The execution of people innocent of the particular crime of which they were convicted (and etc.) is.

Luckyoldson said...

reader,
Sure, we charge people with different crimes due to circumstances, but poor and under represented individuals are routinely charged in an entirely different manner than those who are adequately represented. (Many, more blacks are charged with the "murder" of a white person than white people charged with the "murder" of a black person...regardless of the circumstances.)

If you really think everybody is treated in the same way...you're dreaming.

Luckyoldson said...

reader,
Sorry, i misunderstood.

Gedaliya said...

Plus, it's barbaric, not that you give a shit.

Since your first moral argument ignominiously fell by the wayside I suppose it's natural for you to try another...if at first you don't succeed and all that, eh?

This is a very weak argument. I think a much stronger case can be made that those suffering the death penalty are the actual barbarians, and those of us intent on eliminating such beings from our midst are undeterred by your juvenile attempt at drawing moral equivalence between us and those who wantonly murder.

Instead of another lame attempt at making a moral argument against the death penalty, why don't you do a little reading, instead. He is someone who makes a strong case against the death penalty on moral grounds, and he does so without making a fool of himself:

Catholics and the Death Penalty

Luckyoldson said...

AGAIN:

A hypothetical for anybody here who supports the death penalty:

Your father, mother, brother or sister finds out a neighbor is molesting a family member...lays out a plan and kills the person.

Would YOU pull the switch on your father, mother, brother or sister?

Luckyoldson said...

Gedaliya,
The father murdering the child molester is a "barbarian?"

Skyler said...

Ok Christopher, if you get to call me an idiot, I will aptly name you a moron.

It would appear that if a man can't be convicted of non-capital murder then it is likely that he wouldn't be convicted of capital murder either. In fact it would appear that the prosecutor correctly judged his own incompetence in deciding not to press with the capital punishment.

But again I will say you provide a moronic argument by saying that just because one person is not punished that no one should be punished. That is completely moronic.

And you're a moron.

Now, can we please resume some semblance of civility?

Gedaliya said...

And how would this solve the problem of poor people not having the same legal representation as those who are well off? Public defenders have few of the same resources a prosecutor has.

I don't recognize that this is a "problem," and as far as I know, the Supreme Court has not invalidated the death penalty on the general idea that a murderer may have a bad lawyer. Others more knowledgeable in the subject can tell us how many death sentences are reversed on appeal on the basis of inadequate counsel, but my guess it is a very low number.

Gedaliya said...

Gedaliya,
The father murdering the child molester is a "barbarian?"


Certainly not, and the likelihood a jury would return a death sentence in such cases is nil. Therefore your belief that it makes some kind of useful point in your favor is simply silly, since such a murder would never result in the murderer being put to death.

christopher said...

As I said earlier, enthusiasts for the death penalty appear to be mostly disturbed people with a hardon for killing.

as far as I know, the Supreme Court has not invalidated the death penalty on the general idea that a murderer may have a bad lawyer.

Including people on the Supreme Court, it seems.

Barbarians, all....

I will say you provide a moronic argument by saying that just because one person is not punished that no one should be punished. That is completely moronic.


It would be, if that's what I had actually said.

I didn't say "one person" -- I said an entire class of people.

The rich and the famous will never be executed.

The death penalty is inherently discriminatory and unfair.

Sorry.

Kirby Olson said...

OJ will go to prison -- or so it seems -- for the much lesser crime -- and the law will finally function properly.

As for the child molester hypothetical -- I believe that cold blood is required for capital punishment, and that premeditation is therefore necessary.

I'm not sure where the line is drawn there. But I don't think any such case would be tried in the silly way that Lucky Oldson fancies, so his question appears to be moot.

Perhaps one of the actual lawyers on the list could step in and clarify things for Lucky Oldson, and if he could stop thrashing about for seven seconds (I mean, you are not being elecrocuted, are you, so sit still!), perhaps he could even take it in.

At any rate, I think this hypothetical is just silly.

Simon said...

Chris, an on the level question: I'm just not seeing how you're getting from the point that the death penalty isn't sought in every crime in which it's authorized by statute to the assertion that ipso facto, "[t]he death penalty thus can not be administered fairly." There's a missing link here, and I'm wondering i you could illuminate it.

I'd also be interested in how you'd react to a slight modification of the hypothetical LOS posed upthread in which you have something akin to a crime of passion - the father or other immediate relative of a child being molested murders the person doing it. Suppose under applicable law, it's impossible to charge for a crime of less than murder one; in those circumstances, ceteris paribus, would you think that a prosecutor can reasonably exercise discretion in not seeking the death penalty? Does the existence of discretion to seek a lesser sentence in that kind of circumstance raise the same kind of problems that you'd have in mind for your OJ example?

(And just to clarify, not that I'm not a barbarian, of course, but I'm on the record as having argued that the death penalty ought to be given up as a bad job, so I'm not defending the practice.)

Simon said...

Kirby Olson said...
"As for the child molester hypothetical -- I believe that cold blood is required for capital punishment, and that premeditation is therefore necessary."

I don't think that breaks you out from Lucy's hypothetical - I mean, she can clarify the point, but I got from the hypothetical that the hypo did involve premeditation: the relative found out about it, "lays out a plan and kills the person." Doesn't that connote premeditation? S/he didn't burst in unawares, catch the perp in the act, and do him in with the nearest blunt instrument, your classic "crime of passion" wherein the crime is immediate upon discovery of the stimulus, almost reflexive without time for reflection.

Luckyoldson said...

Kirby Olson said..."As for the child molester hypothetical -- I believe that cold blood is required for capital punishment, and that premeditation is therefore necessary."

"Cold blood" has nothing to do with murder charges, convictions or executions. It's the "premeditation" of a crime or the killing itself that governs most "murder" charges.

Instead of throwing out ridiculous "theories" why not address the question.

Would YOU pull the switch on your relative or friend after a "premeditated" killing?

christopher said...

Simon:

Chris, an on the level question: I'm just not seeing how you're getting from the point that the death penalty isn't sought in every crime in which it's authorized by statute to the assertion that ipso facto, "[t]he death penalty thus can not be administered fairly." There's a missing link here, and I'm wondering i you could illuminate it.

No snark intended, but I don't see a missing link. The fact is that the rich and famous will never be executed in this country, either because prosecutors may decide not to seek the death penalty against them (as in the OJ case), or because if they do, juries won't convict them. That means, on a practical level, the law is discriminatory. I don't see how this is arguable.

As for your other point about prosecutorial discretion if a guy kills a guy who molests his son, I'm not sure what you're getting at. Again, no snark intended.

Skyler said...

Christopher continues his name calling.

You seem to be of the mistaken opinion that killing someone who should be killed is wrong. It is entirely proper to want to kill such people, and if you want to make sexually derogative attacks on people who actually understand morality, then that only shows your own vacant thought process.

reader_iam said...

LOS: OK, now you're going into "Will(fully misunderstanding" mode again.

If you really think everybody is treated in the same way...you're dreaming.

I believe the EXACT opposite: I do NOT believe everybody is treated in the same way. My concerns are the same as or similar to yours.

Jeez, LOS, what is up with your serially misreading my comments in this thread? Is there a REASON you need to paint my thinking in a particular way, or to insist I'm disagreeing with you?

christopher said...

You seem to be of the mistaken opinion that killing someone who should be killed is wrong. It is entirely proper to want to kill such people

Who the fuck are you to decide who should be killed?

Somebody die and appoint you God or something?

Like I said, enthusiasts for the death penalty are mostly disturbed people with a hardon for killing.

Palladian said...

Why are you people wasting your intellectual powers arguing with wittle kwistopher as if he's an actual human being interested in a debate? Nothing you say will make any difference. He's the kind of barbarian that gets a "hard-on" by insulting those with whom he disagrees. And he'd pull the lever on all of us if he had the chance.

Of course, if you're using him to hone your debate skills and sharpen your arguments, then by all means, continue. He's rather like the clay pigeons at a shooting range; good practice for when you eventually have to aim at a bird with wings.

christopher said...

Palladian said...

And he'd pull the lever on all of us if he had the chance.


Even you -- a self-hating gay guy who believes the Republican Party doesn't despise him -- can't be stupid enough to believe that.

Projecting much?

Luckyoldson said...

Picking and choosing who get executed, based on your theories why the killing took place is exactly why the death penalty is unjustly administered.

Kirby says it has to be in "cold blood," whatever that means.

Gedaliya thinks that if someone knows or thinks someone is a molester, they wouldn't be executed...even if they premeditated the crime?

Gedaliya also says this about poor pepole and their representation being less than adequate:
"I don't recognize that this is a "problem..."

Really?

You think ALL Americans are treated in the same way, ALL have "equal" representation?

Get real.

Luckyoldson said...

reader,
Again: I misunderstood you intital comment.

OKAY???????????????????????????

Palladian said...

If you were as much of an asshole in person as you are on here, I'd definitely be tempted to pull the lever, kwis.

Fortunately, I'm sure you're not, You're probably a silent, long-suffering accounts manager who's letting off some steam. Or a teenager who just discovered Howard Zinn at the local library. Cheers!

Luckyoldson said...

Skyler said..."You seem to be of the mistaken opinion that killing someone who should be killed is wrong."

I don't think the discussion here relates to that argument.

It's the inadvertent killing of someone who "doesn't" deserve to be killed that creates one of the real problems with the death penalty. And the fact that poor people are executed more than the privileged doesn't say much for the legal system in place.

Also, for a country that touts itself as the bastion of democracy, freedom and equal right, why are we one of the very few countries on the planet who does still have a death penalty?

christopher said...

Palladian said...

If you were as much of an asshole in person as you are on here, I'd definitely be tempted to pull the lever, kwis.


Thanks for living down to my expectations...

Gedaliya said...

You think ALL Americans are treated in the same way, ALL have "equal" representation?

No, I don't, and I don't think this will ever be the case. The quality of public defenders varies from one place to the next, but it is, I'd wager, better here in the U.S. than anywhere else on earth.

Even so, I do not believe that because poor people have less-skilled lawyers, on the whole, than those hired by the rich means that that we must stop prosecuting poor people for capital crimes, and if convicting them of those crimes, executing them under due process of law.

christopher said...

Also, for a country that touts itself as the bastion of democracy, freedom and equal right, why are we one of the very few countries on the planet who does still have a death penalty?

For the same reason the Europeans mostly laugh up their asses over our barbarism and parochialism.

Because a few hundred years ago they were smart enough to throw out all their crazy religious assholes and send them over here.

This country still hasn't recovered from the pernicious influence of those idiots.

christopher said...

I do not believe that because poor people have less-skilled lawyers, on the whole, than those hired by the rich means that that we must stop prosecuting poor people for capital crimes, and if convicting them of those crimes, executing them under due process of law.

But you're totally cool with the fact that rich people and celebrities can never be executed?

Simon said...

christopher said...
"No snark intended, but I don't see a missing link. The fact is that the rich and famous will never be executed in this country, either because prosecutors may decide not to seek the death penalty against them (as in the OJ case), or because if they do, juries won't convict them. That means, on a practical level, the law is discriminatory. I don't see how this is arguable."

I'm still not sure I agree that I'd agree with that, but let's set that aside and stipulate that the death penalty hasn't always been applied consistently. Even granting that, I still don't see how you get to the categoric position that the death penalty can't be administered fairly. And for that matter, if the basic question is one of deterrence, if the death penalty discriminates based on class (which I take to be your basic point, although perhaps I misread that), that may have bearing on the morality of the death penalty, but not on its effectiveness as a deterrent.

"As for your other point about prosecutorial discretion if a guy kills a guy who molests his son, I'm not sure what you're getting at. Again, no snark intended."

Well, what I'm driving at is that I had thought your point was that the effectiveness of the death penalty was undercut by discretion in its application, and if that's so, does the existence and use of prosecutorial discretion to accomodate special cases raise, if not quite the same problems, then at least similar problems, because everyone can argue that they're a special case? And arising from that, you seem to have framed part of your problem with the death penalty as being that it's not applied consistently in every case, but I don't think you'd be any happier with a deterministic system which eliminated the inconsistency by providing that every murder one conviction produced an automatic sentence of death, right?

Luckyoldson said...

Simon, says this about whether wealthy Americans are executed as readily as those who are poor:

"I'm still not sure I agree that I'd agree with that, but let's set that aside and stipulate that the death penalty hasn't always been applied consistently."

Name the last wealthy person who was executed.

Gedaliya said...

But you're totally cool with the fact that rich people and celebrities can never be executed?

Certainly not. But...is this really a problem? How many rich people have committed capital murder and either been acquitted or been given a (relatively) light sentence? It seems very doubtful that there are enough such cases for you to base your entire moral argument on this premise.

Luckyoldson said...

Gedaliya said..."...I do not believe that because poor people have less-skilled lawyers, on the whole, than those hired by the rich means that that we must stop prosecuting poor people for capital crimes, and if convicting them of those crimes, executing them under due process of law."

Well, that's big of you.

"...poor people have less-skilled lawyers, on the whole, than those hired by the rich..."

On the whole?

Can we assume "equal protection under the law" is not of importance to you?

*You do understand that that's exactly why so many are against the death penalty...right?

Cedarford said...

Stodder - As usual you present a good discussion. I imagine we could debate what is and is not indispensible and the amount of guilt or innocence involved in fatalities caused on innocent humans by State commission, those by state omission.

If one goes back to very beginning, as political philosophers did in understanding the basis of creating a state from individuals or tribes - it exists as a voluntary or involuntary contract where rights are sacrificed to some extent in return for domestic security (sometimes against the State ruler killing recalcitrants as rebels!)and external threats.

From Hobbs to Rousseau, no philospher added measures outside security and fealty to those rights the ruler pledged he would respect as indispensable. Hospitals, jails, other elements are not indispensible to human society as they only came into existence or wide use in the last 2-3 centuries.

So your argument about indispensibility is, IMO, more about what things the state directly does or refuses to do by ommission that causes the death of innocent humans with but which is valuable or desirable enough in its effects on all society that it comes with consent, grudging or not, of the ruled.

Some 800,000 innocent Chinese died, they think, being courvey labor to build the China Wall to keep out barbarians. Their deaths were accepted because of the good that came of it. In engineering and actuarial math - we can calculate the approximate number of innocent deaths we will cause with our imperfect human systems. We know the range of expected deaths for building a major bridge is now 0-9 deaths. Death by omission is done a lot - we vote to spend 10 million on a new school rather than repair 3 state highway interchanges that kill 4-6 innocent motorists every 5 years and that would be 0-1 if we spent the 10 million there...but that is not what the people want.

That if 100 people go in for elective surgery that 0.3-0.5% will die. That our justice system may needlessly ruin the life of a truly innocent party once out of every 220 cases or so. That if we diverted 300 million in taxpayer money from criminal justice or prisoner quality of life matters and said that it reducing medical error fatalities from 95,000 to 75,000 was indispensible even if it meant an innocent party in the justice system would be one in 210 - it might be worth it in terms of innocent lives saved.

Since all that medical error is State regulated, state authorized, even state-funded - it is State-sanctioned killing of the innocent just as much as executing a thug innocent of the charges he was convicted on are. But that should not be a deterrent to the State acting for the greater good. If 98 innocent lives are saved for every innocent one State-sponsored medical people kill by mistake, that is a good bargain the people will accept.

If 1400-8800 innocent people are prevented from being murdered by an effective death penalty that kills one innoent for every 500 guilty as hell monsters, that is a good bargain.

Then we get into the same manner of "electablity" vs "indispensibility" with the death sentence - knowing that the basis of State is security - and for most of human history jails didn't exist....Stodder is correct the death penalty may not be in and of inself "indispensible" but the anti-death penalty people have pretty well rejected other alternatives other than treat all murderers to the same sort of jail punishment as any con - only quibbling about time span behind bars --and opposed treating the "worst of the worst" more harshly as "cruel and unusual punishment".

In my 12:11 post I argued that people would happily vote to get rid of the death penalty if the true monsters were jailed under truly brutal and sparse conditions with little or no rights after a short (3 year max) appeals process.

I'd also like a system, now opposed by laws against forced labor, that allow non-violent prisoners to do alternative service in lieu of sitting unproductively in jail at taxpayers expense.

*****************
LOS - Many, more blacks are charged with the "murder" of a white person than white people charged with the "murder" of a black person...regardless of the circumstances

And, what's your point, Lucky?

Given that blacks now commit a majority of murders, rapes, and armed robberies and act outside their race in a way no other group in the US does - what do you expect?

More than half of rapes of white women and Asians are done by blacks, whereas a black woman getting raped by a white or Asian is less than 1% of reported black rapes. A white or Asian is 38 times more likely to be murdered or a victim of an armed robbery by a black than a black is to be so victimized by a white or Asian. When whites and Asians kill, and to a large extent Hispanics as well, they tend to prey on their own kind.

So your observation is silly, given the nature of crime and race. It's like complaining that more men are charged with rape than females, "regardless of circumstances". Sorry, Lucky, it's in the nature of things.

Luckyoldson said...

Gedaliya asks: "How many rich people have committed capital murder and either been acquitted or been given a (relatively) light sentence?"

Are kidding????

Pick up a newspaper, Dude...

Joe said...

Christopher, using your logic, who the hell are you to decide who is to be imprisoned for life?

Lucky, if I knew an immediate relative of mine engaged in premeditated murder and there is direct forensic evidence they followed through with it, I'd have no hesitation to "throw the switch."

This is my only issue with the death penalty--that it's being used in cases based circumstantial evidence. (I especially distrust--though not necessarily disagree with--any criminal conviction based solely on testimony.)

Luckyoldson said...

Cedar,
No, my point isn't that blacks shouldn't be punished for their crimes, and yes, I realize they commit many more than whites.

My point falls into the category of "equal justice" and the fact that so many have horrible legal representation and a much greater chance of being convicted, justly or unjustly.

Maybe if you were to read some statistics...

Gedaliya said...

You do understand that that's exactly why so many are against the death penalty...right?

Sure I understand that, but the argument has held little sway in most states. Moreover, the news that the death penalty may actually deter capital murder will likely move more over to the pro-side and your argument will move people to the anti-side.

Time is not on your side of the argument.

christopher said...

Simon:

I still don't see how you get to the categoric position that the death penalty can't be administered fairly

Because in practice it never is.

if the basic question is one of deterrence, if the death penalty discriminates based on class (which I take to be your basic point, although perhaps I misread that), that may have bearing on the morality of the death penalty, but not on its effectiveness as a deterrent.

I didn't take your point, sorry. Actually, I would argue that somebody like OJ might well have been encouraged to kill by the fact that he knew damn well that a celebrity will never be executed.

Luckyoldson said...

Joe said..."Lucky, if I knew an immediate relative of mine engaged in premeditated murder and there is direct forensic evidence they followed through with it, I'd have no hesitation to "throw the switch."

Sure...we ALL believe that one.

Standing in a room throwing the switch on an electric chair holding your mother.

Sure, Joe...

christopher said...

Joe said...

Christopher, using your logic, who the hell are you to decide who is to be imprisoned for life?


People who go to prison for life can be released if it's later found they're innocent.

As you well know...

Simon said...

Just to clarify, although I'm opposed to the death penalty, I am doubtless one of Chris' barbarians. My primary objection isn't to executing those guilty of heinous crimes (including but not limited to rape and murder), but that the system poses an unacceptable risk of executing the innocent; I also think that the modern American death penalty system has essentially ceased to be an efficient and credible mechanism of criminal justice, and that we'd be a lot better off abandoning it as part of a broader reform of criminal law and penology. As a conservative, I'm generally skeptical of radical change, but there are problems that can meet the threshold of having clearly become so compounded as justifying a radical change, and I think that we've reached that point in the criminal justice system, which frankly, serves an essential purpose and is failing miserably to do so well.

Luckyoldson said...

Simon: "I still don't see how you get to the categoric position that the death penalty can't be administered fairly."

Sometimes it is, Simon...but what do think about the people who have been on death row, about to be executed...who are exonerated via DNA?

Que Sera, Sera?

christopher said...

Simon said...

Just to clarify, although I'm opposed to the death penalty, I am doubtless one of Chris' barbarians. My primary objection isn't to executing those guilty of heinous crimes (including but not limited to rape and murder), but that the system poses an unacceptable risk of executing the innocent;


I think you're objections to the death penalty are on the money. If you still think that the death penalty would be a good idea if only its defects could be ameliorated, I'll merely agree to disagree.

So no, I don't think you're one of the barbarians....

Skyler said...

Chris said, "People who go to prison for life can be released if it's later found they're innocent."

But that's just the point. With DNA science we can KNOW that a person is guilty without a shred of doubt. There's no reason not to rid the world of these people who do not deserve to be among us.

I think opponents of the death penalty haven't seen real horror in their lives and probably can't really imagine the magnitude of the evil of some people.

Luckyoldson said...

Skyler said..."With DNA science we can KNOW that a person is guilty without a shred of doubt."

And you think ALL those arrested have the money and ability to explore the DNA science available?

Get serious. There are people in jail who have waited years on end before prosecutors even discussed such an examination.

And poor people certainly wouldn't just routinely expect DNA testing.

christopher said...


But that's just the point. With DNA science we can KNOW that a person is guilty without a shred of doubt.


You can't as easily tell if somebody's innocent if they've been convicted based on bogus evidence that doesn't involve DNA.

There's no reason not to rid the world of these people who do not deserve to be among us.

Who died and appointed you God?

Simon said...

Lucy, I think we may simply be disagreeing about semantics and emphasis. I don't think that saying that the death penalty hasn't always been applied fairly means that it can't be applied fairly systematically, and I don't think that the fact that it's sometimes sought and sometimes not invalidates it. In the latter, you could draw a rather dubious parallel to the U.S. Attorneys thing, where it was asserted that some prosecutions were politically motivated. I didn't see that as per se establishing impropriety (although it does smell a little banana-y): it becomes improper only if you show something else: that meritless prosecutions were conducted or that meritorious prosections were not conducted. If Jane Doe was prosecuted because Senator Bloggs called USA Smith and suggested it, the real question is whether Doe was guilty. That phone call might make action against Bloggs or Smith reasonable, but it doesn't get Doe off the hook. Likewise, with the death penalty: if the death penalty is sought in Jane Doe's case but not in Joe Bloggs' case, even if those cases are functionally indistinguishable, I don't think that's a strike against the death penalty - if would only be a problem if Doe's crime should not have had the death penalty sought.

Simon said...

Skyler said..."
With DNA science we can KNOW that a person is guilty without a shred of doubt."

I'd say that even with DNA testing, there's room for doubt. One can easily imagine cases where DNA science can without any doubt put a person's DNA at the crime scene, but that by itself doesn't necessarily establish anything. There are cases that are absolutely open-and-shut, of course, but there are a lot of cases that are not.

Luckyoldson said...

Simple says: "I don't think that saying that the death penalty hasn't always been applied fairly means that it can't be applied fairly systematically..."

Really?

Name the last wealthy person executed in America.

Gahrie said...

Like I said, enthusiasts for the death penalty are mostly disturbed people with a hardon for killing.

Really?

Then why is it that my experience has been that most people who support the death penalty oppose abortion, while most people who oppose the death penalty support abortion?

I'll make you a deal. I'll support eliminating the death penalty to protect your sense of morality, if you'll support unrestricted carry laws so that I can protect myself and my family.

In other words, I'll swap you deterrence for deterrence.

Luckyoldson said...

DNA testing is expensive and not readily available to those with public defenders.

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie said..."...my experience has been that most people who support the death penalty oppose abortion..."

Want to explain that one?

And be sure to include the "thou shalt not kill" commandment along with the standard..."innocent unborn child" argument.

*And remember the innocent death row people who have been wrongfully convicted.

Simon said...

Luckyoldson said...
"Name the last wealthy person executed in America."

That just goes to the point that it hasn't been, but since my point is precisely that defects in previous application don't preclude effective application in the future, that doesn't get you anywhere.

Gahrie said...

In my experience Most people on the left support abortion on demand with no restrictions, but oppose the death penalty.

In my experience Most people on the right support the death penalty, but oppose abortion.

You see, I have no problem with killing the guilty, but have a real problem with killing the most innocent form of life imaginable.

But as I said, I will support the elimination of the death penalty to protect your sensibilities, as long as you support gun laws that allow me to carry a hand gun to protect my life, and the lives of those I love.

christopher said...

Gahrie said...

In my experience Most people on the left support abortion on demand with no restrictions, but oppose the death penalty.


Very few people on the left support abortion without restrictions. That's a winger canard. In any case, the two are not remotely comparable.

In my experience Most people on the right support the death penalty, but oppose abortion.

Proving their moral compasses need serious readjustment.

You see, I have no problem with killing the guilty

Actually what I see is that you have no problem with killing people that might be guilty, but might not be, and if that happens, tough shit.

but have a real problem with killing the most innocent form of life imaginable.

The worst kind of Victorian sentimentality. A fetus in the first trimester is no more or less innocent than your appendix.

But as I said, I will support the elimination of the death penalty to protect your sensibilities, as long as you support gun laws that allow me to carry a hand gun to protect my life, and the lives of those I love.

Wow -- you'd sell out innocent life just to get the gun laws you want?

Amazing...

Gahrie said...

christopher:

Your last comment exactly proves my point.

You'd eliminate the death penalty because it might kill an innocent person.

However, you justify abortion by claiming that a first trimester fetus is not a human, but we know all of them will be an innocent human if not killed.

Gahrie said...

Wow -- you'd sell out innocent life just to get the gun laws you want?

No, I'd sell out the right to execute the guilty in order to be able to protect myself and those I love.

christopher said...


However, you justify abortion by claiming that a first trimester fetus is not a human, but we know all of them will be an innocent human if not killed.


That's a complete non sequitur.

It WILL be human if not killed?

That's like me saying I'd be cute if I had a different face.

Simon said...

christopher said...
"[Most people on the right support the death penalty, but oppose abortion, p]roving their moral compasses need serious readjustment."

Not at all. Supporting the death penalty and opposing abortion are entirely consistent, as even the liberal writer George Lakoff recognized (and explained in language liberals will understand) in Moral Politics.

Skyler said...

Chris, last I heard we have separation of church and state in this country. We, by law and Constitution, do not allow anyone named "god" to make decisions about guilt or innocence. We let juries and judges do that.

So, your insipid comment about being "appointed god" is just more personal attacking from you. There is no need to appoint anyone a god to make any of these judgments. We have a system of laws that works quite well to do so.

I'm waiting for you to have an argument that is not completely empty except for emotion.

Simon, you have a valid objection, but my point was that the death penalty can easily be limited to those times when the proof is almost indisputable. It's getting much easier to do that now.

As for those that object that the wealthy are able to escape the death penalty, that only shows that we need a much more liberal application of the death penalty when warranted.

Luckyoldson said...

Simple,
Can't name one, can you?

Geee, I wonder why...

Gahrie said...

That's a complete non sequitur.

It WILL be human if not killed?

That's like me saying I'd be cute if I had a different face.


No it's not. No human fetus has ever developed into anything but a human child. In fact the sole purpose of a fetus is to develop into a human child.

Unless the process is interrupted a fetus will develop into a human child child, the most innocent form of human life.

christopher said...


Not at all. Supporting the death penalty and opposing abortion are entirely consistent, as even the liberal writer George Lakoff recognized (and explained in language liberals will understand) in Moral Politics.


I like Lakoff, but in this case he's completely wrong.

In any case, this is a little like saying "as even the liberal New York Times..."

It assumes horseshit not in evidence...

Luckyoldson said...

Skyler says: "...my point was that the death penalty can easily be limited to those times when the proof is almost indisputable. It's getting much easier to do that now."

No, it isn't.

DNA is very expensive, time consuming and the poor seldom have the resources to explore that avenue of investigation or exoneration.

They've released any number of people in just the last few years that prosecutors still say are guilty...even with the DNA evidence.

Your argument is based on your opinion, not facts.

christopher said...

Unless the process is interrupted a fetus will develop into a human child child, the most innocent form of human life.

Before it does so, it's no different, morally speaking, from your appendix.

Do you have any idea how silly the argument you're making actually sounds?

By the way, how many times how you interrupted the process by masturbating? Now THERE's a holocaust....all those potential innocent human beings somehow winding up on flushable toilet paper....

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie,
Speaking of the fetus...where do you stand on the 100's of 1,000's that are flushed every year at fertility clinics...instead of being used for scientific research?

Murder?

Luckyoldson said...

Simple says: "Supporting the death penalty and opposing abortion are entirely consistent..."

Really?

And would that make that "thou shalt not kill" Christian thing irrelevant to the argument?

Luckyoldson said...

All of these good "Christians"...ready and willing to kill for retribution...but at the same time want to make it clear that they're all for protecting the unborn.

Can you say...H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-C-Y...??

Simon said...

Chris, well, let me rephrase: it of course depends on why one's opposed to abortion and why one's in favor of (or at least not opposed to) the death penalty. The collision only takes place if you take something like the position outlined by Cardinal Dulles in the First Things article that Gedaliya linked to above: if you believe that "the death penalty, ... abortion and euthanasia, ... [are] violation[s] of the right to life and an unauthorized usurpation by human beings of God’s sole lordship over life and death." If that's what you believe vis-a-vis abortion, then I suppose supporting the death penalty would be inconsistent with that. So I ought to put the point less categorically: there's not necessarily any tension between supporting the death penalty and opposing abortion, and Lakoff's explanation as to why (I really reccomend you read the book, quite aside from its relevance to this discussion, it's really rather good) is both apt and correct.

Blake said...

I'm anti- but I haven't found the arguments here persuasive either way.

"It's not fair."

Life isn't fair, why should death be? Less glibly, the idea of the perfect should not be used against the good, or even the adequate.

"It won't be applied to rich people."

Like many other similar arguments, what you're really saying here is that the state really should be powerless to imprison or otherwise punish anyone, because the wealthy and famous will always be able to tilt things in their favor.

"The system isn't accurate enough."

Then on what basis can we use the same system to put people in prison, subjecting them to degradation, violence and even death?

"It's not a deterrent."

It is, minimally a deterrent to the one being executed. I'm not sure the values returned by the current studies are significant enough to be considered, but they do support a longtime "pro-" argument: Namely, that if done quickly and efficiently, it's more of a deterrent than the more common process where people die of old age on death row.

"It's barbarous."

Doubtless. So is prison. So is punishment, really.

"It's more expensive than life in prison."

Another argument for doing it quickly.

"These days we can determine guilt without a shadow of doubt with DNA."

Or, someone wishing a particular outcome need only manage to fake the DNA evidence.

If wrong, it's unfixable.

You can't really give a person his 20 years back, either. You can't un-rape him or un-kill him just because he was killed by an inmate or guard rather than by lethal injection.

Luckyoldson said...

Say it this way instead:

H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y...

rcocean said...

OJ got off not because of wealth but because of 12 stupid jurors. Most of the experts looked at the jury pool and predicted OJ would be found innocent - no matter what. They knew from past history in LA County, blacks weren't going to send OJ to prison. Period. Marcia Clark said the same thing.

Had OJ been tried by a judge or a jury of his peers, i.e the people of Brentwood, he would have been found guilty, no matter how much he had in the bank.

As for the death penalty, the majority want it, and they should be allowed to have it. We shouldn't let a small group of elite lawyers impose their will on the people, just like they have on abortion.

Simon said...

Put more simply, you can't say that a person who is both pro-life and pro-death penalty is being inconsistent without making unsupported assumptions about why they take those positions. The positions themselves are not incompatible, but some of the reasons that might lead a person to such a position may well be irreconcilable.

Gahrie said...

1) Before it does so, it's no different, morally speaking, from your appendix.

Wrong. At least until the time an appendix ever evolves into a human child. I understand you need to delude yourself that a fetus is not morally and biologically human life, I am just amazed at your ability to do so.

2)Sperm cells are not human life. They do not have the ability to develop into human life. They have the possibility of combining with another form of cell to produce a human life. Until these two cells merge and mitosis begins, there is no life.

3)Gahrie,
Speaking of the fetus...where do you stand on the 100's of 1,000's that are flushed every year at fertility clinics...instead of being used for scientific research?

Murder?


This is a little incomprehensible. If I thought flushing them down the drain was murder, I would also consider medical experimentation on them murder. Your postulate is not an either/or.

However, I consider non-implanted fetuses the same way I do every fetus that does not develop..a tragedy.

I oppose fetal stem cell research and cloning for the same reasons: unintended consequences, and the mercantilism of human life.

Luckyoldson said...

Blake said..."Life isn't fair..."

Oh, GOOD ONE!!!

How about an innocent person dying for a crime they didn't commit?

Or having a slug for a lawyer because you can't afford a good attorney?

Actually it's "death" that isn't fair.

Gahrie said...

Being killed before you even have the chance to be born isn't fair.

Blake said...

Better 100 criminals be allowed to go free than one innocent be executed. This bleeding heart position chooses to ignore the cost to society of the future criminal acts of said 100 criminals.

The famous bleeding heart who used 100 was, of course, Benjamin Franklin. Or perhaps you'd prefer Bismarck, who would have preferred to punish 10 innocent men rather than let one guilty man go free? (Link.

If only 10% murder on average 1 person, that is a trade of one "innocent" (see above) death for ten deaths. This species of argument adherent seems comfortable with that outcome."

The world is full of bad people and one should be prepared to defend one's self against them. There is no defense against the state killing you.

And that's hardly a "bleeding heart" argument.

Also note that your argument can be reversed. You aren't just killing the innocent person, you're ending forever all his productive contributions to society, as well as those of his unborn progeny.

Luckyoldson said...

rcocean,
O.J. got off, not only because of the skewed jury, but more importantly, because the prosecutors were as poorly prepared and effective as the public defenders who generally represent the poor.

Whether you like of dislike Johnny and his people...they presented a viable and spectacular defense of their client...for lots of cash.

Blake said...

Actually it's "death" that isn't fair.

More or less what I said. You apparently stop reading after you find something to misunderstand and object to.

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie said..."Being killed before you even have the chance to be born isn't fair."

Talk to Blake about that "fair" thing.

christopher said...


Had OJ been tried by a judge or a jury of his peers, i.e the people of Brentwood, he would have been found guilty, no matter how much he had in the bank


But he still wouldn't have faced the death penalty.

Sorry, the law is eminently discriminatory as long as rich people and celebrities can't be executed.

Luckyoldson said...

Blake said..."More or less what I said. You apparently stop reading after you find something to misunderstand and object to."

No...this is what YOU said, Blake: "Life isn't fair, why should death be?"

That would be an argument supporting the stand that "life isn't fair."

Sure, life can be be very unfair, and death isn't good for anybody, but being executed for something you didn't do...well...c'mon...

Blake said...

christopher,

Putting the word "sorry" in your argument does not bolster it in any fashion.

Blake said...

Lucky,

Maybe it wasn't clear enough from my statement up front that I am anti-death penalty, but what I was doing was rephrasing the arguments being made.

I agree that it's unfair to be put to death for something you didn't do. (To quote you: "Duh".) The criminal justice system is unfair in a plethora of ways.

That's an argument to improve the system, not particularly to eliminate the death penalty.

rcocean said...

-Regarding the Hypocrisy of being for the death penalty and against abortion.

-I also happen also be for putting criminals in jail and against putting innocent people in jail.

-I'm in favor of killing enemy soldiers and NOT killing US soldiers.

-I'm in favor of the Cops speeding to catch criminals and against criminals speeding.

Luckyoldson said...

rc ocean,
What doe any of this...

"I also happen also be for putting criminals in jail and against putting innocent people in jail...I'm in favor of killing enemy soldiers and NOT killing US soldiers...I'm in favor of the Cops speeding to catch criminals and against criminals speeding..."

...have to do with whether the death penalty serves as a deterrent to future murders?

Luckyoldson said...

blake,
Gotcha.

christopher said...


Blake said...

christopher,

Putting the word "sorry" in your argument does not bolster it in any fashion.


It's called snark.

Sorry.

christopher said...

rcocean said...

-Regarding the Hypocrisy of being for the death penalty and against abortion.

-I also happen also be for putting criminals in jail and against putting innocent people in jail.

-I'm in favor of killing enemy soldiers and NOT killing US soldiers.

-I'm in favor of the Cops speeding to catch criminals and against criminals speeding.


It that's supposed to be irony, it's surpassingly stupid.

Luckyoldson said...

Hundreds of defendants sitting in prisons nationwide have been convicted with the help of an FBI forensic tool that was discarded more than two years ago.

But the FBI lab has yet to take steps to alert the affected defendants or courts, even as the window for appealing convictions is closing.

The science, known as comparative bullet-lead analysis, was first used after President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. The technique used chemistry to link crime-scene bullets to ones possessed by suspects on the theory that each batch of lead had a unique elemental makeup.

In 2004, however, the nation's most prestigious scientific body concluded that variations in the manufacturing process rendered the FBI's testimony about the science "unreliable and potentially misleading."

Specifically, the National Academy of Sciences said that decades of FBI statements to jurors linking a particular bullet to those found in a suspect's gun or cartridge box were so overstated that such testimony should be considered "misleading under federal rules of evidence."

A year later, the bureau abandoned the analysis.

But the FBI lab has never gone back to determine how many times its scientists misled jurors.

Kirby Olson said...

I fall child molesters were to get the chair, it would take chair of Lucky O's hypothetical.

I don't know if any jury would convict someone and give them capital punishment for killing a child molester anyways unless the jury was made of child molesters, and the judge was a child molester, too.

Outside of the Catholic church, such a monolithic line-up would be pretty unlikely.

At any rate, it's an interesting hypothetical and since Simon said it IS possible that someone could at least be tried for premeditated murder on the basis of having killed a child molester, I guess it's within the realm of reason that such a thing could happen.

I'm in favor of the chair for child molesters and rapists. That would cut down on the likelihood of such a hypothetical coming to fruition as a real-life incident, although it wouldn't totally eliminate it.

But then what would eliminate it is that no one is forced to be the executioner in this country. Perhaps the Nazis would force family members to execute one another, but it takes a bizarre mind to come up with such a twisted hypothetical in the first place.

rcocean said...

Irony is a form of utterance that postulates a double audience, consisting of one party that hearing shall hear & shall not understand, & another party that, when more is meant than meets the ear, is aware both of that more & of the outsiders’ incomprehension.

Trooper York said...

Right on the money.

Skyler said...

Christopher, you are exceedingly boorish and rude.

Gedaliya said...

I firmly believe that most criminal prosecutions are done in good faith by the legal authorities. The best science available at the time is used, and the rights of the defendant(s) are respected. Mistakes are made, but this does not mean that we should cease to prosecute, convict and sentence felons, or even that we should desist from imposing the most severe penalties available under law when the evidence supports their application.

Since the Gregg decision in 1976, I don't believe anyone has made a credible case that an innocent man has been executed in the United States. The likelihood of this occurring is nearly nil, given the intense scrutiny these cases come under during the trial and appellate processes, and the length of time between the conviction and execution of those who are sentenced to death for their crimes.

Luckyoldson said...

Kirby Olson said..."I don't know if any jury would convict someone and give them capital punishment for killing a child molester anyways unless the jury was made of child molesters, and the judge was a child molester, too."

That's the point.

If "everybody" isn't equal in the eyes of the law, you're saying a premeditated murder of someone you feel deserves it...wouldn't warrant an execution.

According to our laws, premeditated, 1st degree murder...is murder...period.

Luckyoldson said...

Man Gets 12 Years for Fatally Stabbing Neighbor He Thought Molested His Daughter

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A lawyer who stabbed his neighbor to death because he thought the man had molested his 2-year-old daughter was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter.

*First degree, premeditated murder: Anybody think he should have been executed...you know...as a deterrence to future murders?

I don't...but then again, I'm not in favor of the death penalty.

Luckyoldson said...

And I already know what I'll hear..."oh, no...he was only convicted of manslaughter"...but if, stabbing someone to death that we "think" did something, isn't premeditated murder...what is?

downtownlad said...

But if you oppose the death penalty, you can no longer rely on the old article of faith that there is no deterrence, and you have to concede that there may be some deterrence and take that into account. - Ann

But it's a one way street. Supporters of the death penalty don't have to conded that there might NOT be some deterrance and take that into account.

Funny how that works. So only liberals have to acknowledge the other side. But conservatives don't have to acknowledge evidence that liberals bring to the table. Why is that?

christopher said...

Skyler said...

Christopher, you are exceedingly boorish and rude.


With all due respect, you're being a little old lady-ish.

I'm on my best behavior today, actually.

In fact, Simon and I have been talking quite civilly....

Gedaliya said...

if, stabbing someone to death that we "think" did something, isn't premeditated murder...what is?

It depends on how the state statutes are written and whether the prosecutor can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the the accused met the criteria named in the statutes and the tests the state courts have imposed to ensure that such convictions are proper under the law.

What you think is "premeditation" and what actually counts as such under law are likely two very different things.

Luckyoldson said...

Gedaliya said..."It depends on how the state statutes are written...blah, blah, blah..."

The guy thought his neighbor molested his kid so he got a knife...stabbed him to death.

I'm not saying he should be executed, but I'll lay odds there are plenty of people on death row who don't fit the criteria as closely as this guy...no matter what state their in.

*And don't you wonder what the dead man's family thinks about the whole thing? Think they may have a different view...regardless of "how the state statutes are written...?"

Gahrie said...

Not all homicides are murders, not even all premeditated homicides are murders. That's why we have degrees of murder and degrees of manslaughter and justifiable homicide.

Luckyoldson said...

Jonathon Edington, 29, attacked neighbor Barry James in the man's bedroom last year after his wife told him she thought James had molested their daughter. Officers said they found Edington washing the victim's blood off in a kitchen sink.

Fairfield police also investigated the molestation allegation and said they found no evidence to back it up. They said Edington's wife, Christina, refused to cooperate with the investigation into the slaying, and prosecutor Jonathan Benedict has said a defense psychiatrist determined Edington's wife suffered from postpartum depression.

James' parents, Rita and Charlie James, filed a victims' statement with the court saying, "We will never be the same."

"A terrible tragedy has happened for nothing, but it has destroyed all that we have," they wrote.

christopher said...

At the risk of inflaming certain folks even further, it is amazing to me that nobody has brought up the obvious point:

That the only possible reason to justify the death penalty is revenge.

Everything else, including deterrence, is so much chin music.

You can argue the morality of that, and you can argue whether the state should be in the business of killing people for any reason, of course.

But death penalty enthusiasts should at least admit that revenge is what motivates them.

Job said...

I had a good time reading the simplistic nonsense from the usual bleeding-hearts and, especially, Christopher's sophomoric ad hominem attacks.

The death penalty isn't applied to rich people? Maybe it hasn't been, but it would be in the right circumstances. Let's catch OBL and see if his money gets him out of it.

But so what if it were never applied to rich people, or Swedish-Americans, or people with 7 letters in their last name? If we can fix that, we should. But we shouldn't let that prevent us from applying it where it is appropriate.

If we never applied punishments that rich or smart people might avoid, we'd have a hell of a lot more crime.

Sheesh. Get a clue.

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie said..."Not all homicides are murders, not even all premeditated homicides are murders. That's why we have degrees of murder and degrees of manslaughter and justifiable homicide."

No kidding?

The thread relates to whether the death penalty serves as a deterrence to future murders...not whether a specific crime fits the "premeditation or first degree bill."

My point, being against capital punishment, is that it is not administered equally, but impacts those who do not have proper or adequate legal representation more, opening the door to the executions of those who may not deserve to die.

Luckyoldson said...

Job said..."The death penalty isn't applied to rich people? Maybe it hasn't been, but it would be in the right circumstances. Let's catch OBL and see if his money gets him out of it

But so what if it were never applied to rich people, or Swedish-Americans, or people with 7 letters in their last name? If we can fix that, we should. But we shouldn't let that prevent us from applying it where it is appropriate."

Good lord...what the fuck are you talking about??

You consider OBL a white, wealthy American?

And when you say "applying it where it is appropriate"...have you bothered to read any of the previous 143 comments??

THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT...IT ISN'T.

christopher said...

The death penalty isn't applied to rich people? Maybe it hasn't been, but it would be in the right circumstances. Let's catch OBL and see if his money gets him out of it.

How's the hunt for OBL going, Job?

It's been almost eight years and the Bushies can't find a seven foot guy on dialsysis?

Gee...it's almost like they don't want to catch the guy.

"I just don't think about him much; I truly am not that concerned about him". -- George W. Bush

Luckyoldson said...

Joe says...and I'm not kidding: "If we never applied punishments that rich or smart people might avoid, we'd have a hell of a lot more crime."

What are you smoking?

Gahrie said...

The thread relates to whether the death penalty serves as a deterrence to future murders...not whether a specific crime fits the "premeditation or first degree bill."

OK.....but you do realize that by this standard, all of your posts concerning unequal enforcement of the death penalty are off topic as well?

As to what you now proclaim to be "the issue":

1) The death penalty is a 100% deterence to the person executed. That murderer will never murder again.

2) The whole point of the article that was the basis of this post is that there is evidence that the death penalty serves as a deterence.

3) If the death penalty was actually used effectively and timely, it would be an even more effective deterence.

4) Regardless of deterence, executing murderous predators protects society.

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie said...says..."The death penalty is a 100% deterence to the person executed. That murderer will never murder again."

You didn't really say that...did you?

I don't think the discussion centers on the already "dead person" committing new murders...it's whether it deters someone who's still alive...considering the possibility.

As to whether it does, there are many, many other studies that say the opposite. Just because there's a new one, doesn't make it correct.

And, oh...what about those who are innocent...wrongly convicted...and are executed?

That slip by?

Luckyoldson said...

gahrie says: "If the death penalty was actually used effectively and timely, it would be an even more effective deterence."

You must mean eliminating our constitutional rights...correct?

Which appeal would YOU want to eliminate...for YOURSELF?

Luckyoldson said...

gahrie,
Which appeal would YOU want to eliminate...for YOURSELF?

I didn't think so...

christopher said...

1) The death penalty is a 100% deterence to the person executed. That murderer will never murder again.

Unless you've executed someone innocent.

4) Regardless of deterence, executing murderous predators protects society.
Unless you've executed someone innocent.

BTW -- it's interesting that no one has bothered to note that state sanctioned killing might be intriniscally degrading regardless of what the motivation.

jeff said...

"if it has the other elements which are necessary to constitute murder, but if a killing is done in a sudden heat of passion, and the reason of the man- slayer is distributed or swayed by that passion, and this passion is excited by sufficient provocation, such as a blow or a threatened blow, and the killing is without malice, then it is manslaughter in the first degree, because such passion under such circumstances has disturbed the sway of reason."

So apparently the prosecutor decided that the passion in this case was the (apparently mistaken) knowledge that the victim was a child molester. Which makes it manslaughter.

As far as the bible goes, "thou shall not kill" actually says "thou shall not commit murder". State execution, while considered a homicide, is a justifiable homicide so the 10 commandments are not applicable. Would a partial birth abortion fall under that? Most people think so.

If I have this straight, the argument is that since a rich person such as OJ would never be executed, it's unfair to execute a poor person that commits murder?

"gahrie says: "If the death penalty was actually used effectively and timely, it would be an even more effective deterence."

You must mean eliminating our constitutional rights...correct?

Which appeal would YOU want to eliminate...for YOURSELF?"

While I understand it is much easier to refute an argument if you frame the other persons statements into your interpretation, I think he is referring to frivolous appeals. Which appeal would I want to eliminate for myself? Since I will not murder anyone, and since I don't hang out with people who would or with people who do hang out with those people the odds approach zero I would find myself in that situation. So moot question.

Gahrie said...

You must mean eliminating our constitutional rights...correct?


I have never said anything even approximating this. I firmly believe in due process. I just don't think it takes 25 years.

jeff said...

"it's interesting that no one has bothered to note that state sanctioned killing might be intriniscally degrading regardless of what the motivation."

It's interesting that YOU haven't bothered to mention it until now, but for those who don't believe that, why would they have mentioned it?

christopher said...

It's interesting that YOU haven't bothered to mention it until now, but for those who don't believe that, why would they have mentioned it?

I'd say it's rather more interesting that so many death penalty enthusiasts like yourself don't believe something that anybody with a reasonably developed moral sense accepts as a given.

jeff said...

Speaking of interesting, I have yet to reveal my position on the death penalty.

"I'd say it's rather more interesting that so many death penalty enthusiasts like yourself don't believe something that anybody with a reasonably developed moral sense accepts as a given."

So your one of those religious nuts you referenced way back up the string who feels he should impose his morals on the rest of us? You are making the decision on what is a reasonable developed moral sense?
Interesting.

Gahrie said...

"I'd say it's rather more interesting that so many death penalty enthusiasts like yourself don't believe something that anybody with a reasonably developed moral sense accepts as a given."

Sorry.

killing the unborn = good
killing convicted murderers = bad

doesn't really work for me.

Luckyoldson said...

Gahrie said..."I have never said anything even approximating this. I firmly believe in due process. I just don't think it takes 25 years."

It's called the appeal process, dipstick.

Which appeal would YOU eliminate...for YOURSELF?

*By the way, the tobacco industry runs appeals for decades...but you probably think that's just fine.

jeff said...

"*By the way, the tobacco industry runs appeals for decades...but you probably think that's just fine."

First-factually untrue.
second-civil vs criminal.
third-alternate argument would be the reduction of those appeals.

However it brings up a good point. You are apparently ok with decades of appeals, you have said as much. Are you then arguing that while a person convicted and sentenced to murder should be allowed infinite appeals, but a corporation should be allowed none?
( I know you didn't say corporations should be allowed none. I employed your little rhetorical device where I extrapolate what you have said into what I think you would say and treat it as if you in fact did say it.)

Luckyoldson said...

Jeff says..."While I understand it is much easier to refute an argument if you frame the other persons statements into your interpretation, I think he is referring to frivolous appeals."

Which "frivolous appeal" would YOU eliminate for YOURSELF?

And which "frivolous appeal" would you eliminate that might result in an innocent person not being executed...via the DNA evidence we see every day that prosecutors and conservatives like yourself have referred to d to as a "frivolous appeals?"

Get your head out of your as, Jeff...Americans are entitled to their constitutional rights...whether YOU think so or not.

Luckyoldson said...

Jeff,
..."civil vs criminal..." is irrelevant to the discussion of appeals.

You love to blather on about how things should be for others, but again...WHICH appeal would YOU eliminate for YOURSELF??

jeff said...

frivolously such as the inmate doesn't like the clothes he wears. That he is denied cable tv. That he doesn't get apple pie on Tuesday. That the guards look at him funny.

You know, frivolous. Nothing what so ever to do with the constitution.

jeff said...

"..."civil vs criminal..." is irrelevant to the discussion of appeals."

So your saying your good with tobacco appeals taking forever then. The very position you accuse others of taking?

How is it irrelevant? Burden of proof is completely different between civil and criminal. There is no real basis of comparison. Plus you skipped issue 1 of this comparison.

Luckyoldson said...

jeff said..."frivolously such as the inmate doesn't like the clothes he wears. That he is denied cable tv. That he doesn't get apple pie on Tuesday. That the guards look at him funny."

What does this have to do with appealing a conviction or the death penalty?

Jeff, you're a fucking moron...and AGAIN:

WHICH APPEAL WOULD YOU ELIMINATE FOR YOURSELF?

C'mon, big mouth...WHICH ONE?

jeff said...

When a convicted person doesn't want to be executed and there is nothing to appeal in his trial. (as I am sure you know, (heh right) you have to find a defect in your trial to appeal. You can't appeal your conviction based on your belief that you shouldn't be executed. So they do the next best thing and start filing against pretty much they can think of as the court system has to hear them out. This delays everything. Hence my factual answer to your ridiculous question.
I have answered your question. Twice.

Now answer mine. Are you and Christopher plants to push people to the pro-death penalty side?

Luckyoldson said...

Jeff,
I could give a flying fuck what the case is about...I don't care if it's during the trial, or after the trial...WHICH APPEAL WOULD YOU ELIMINATE FOR YOURSELF?????????????

C'mon, chickenshit...answer the question.

John Stodder said...

The "Anti" case would be strengthened if they would have a case where they do not propose same treatment in jail for an especially heinous or multiple murderer as a cut and dried "1st degree murderer" - but the same Antis also generally happen to be the people pushing for more "prisoner rights" to make prison life easier and more comfortable with more services available.

Cedarford, I'm not part of any anti-death penalty "movement," at least not yet. But I would have no problem with something like this. For the most heinous murderers, a supermax type of facility, no visitors except for lawyers, extremely limited access to mail; that type of thing wouldn't bother me a bit.

I was for the death penalty for some years. I believed that justice demanded it in some cases, and that if the surviving victims could not access justice, what we'd be left with, as a society, was an endless cycle of revenge. But my other concerns have overwhelmed whatever merits my former position might have had. So the idea of scaled punishment short of the death penalty is fine. Perhaps it would be of some comfort to the survivors to know that the killer was being forced to suffer worse deprivation than the normal prison population.

Pogo said...

I cannot see an adequate reason to oppose the death penalty in certain heinous crimes where there is DNA or video evidence of culpability.

That is, where there is no doubt, the only argument remaining is one that the state should not be killing people per se. There's some merit to that idea. But this recent deterrence data now raises the concern that failure to execute in a timely fashion costs additional innocent lives.

How do death penalty opponents answer that?

Luckyoldson said...

Jeff,
I know all about the killer who's milking the system, but if the reason they have the right o skew the system is so numbnuts like you, who hopefully have a decent lawyer (hint, hint), can address and take full advantage of your constitutional rights as an American.

It's that "Jeff" character...wrongfully accused and convicted...waiting for their last meal of Spam and a chocolate shake...who, when told by his attorney; we have a chance!! I know it's been 25 years, but we finally have the evidence to clear you...but we need ONE MORE APPEAL.

We can win it if we can beat some guy named "Luckyoldson" to the courthouse...who's demanding we snuff your ass...because, c'mon...25 fucking years?

Is this the appeal you don't want to take advantage of...Jeff?

jeff said...

"C'mon, chickenshit...answer the question."

Asked and answered. Twice.

You and Christopher represent the absolution of the death penalty's worse enemy. Rather than trying to sway people to logically take your side of it, you just make them dig in your heels on it.
And since I have yet to give my side in this debate:

The major problem with the death penalty is that it can be arbitrarily applied. People have suggested that the death penalty should be given only when there is no doubt in the persons guilt. Yet prosecutors have requested the death penalty on high profile crimes where that level of proof doesn't exist. The case Radley Balko has spotlighted, (Cory Maye) is why I fall against the death penalty. How many of those are there? Until that is answered and addressed I think you have to take a position against it. I will lose no sleep when the Carr brothers are executed (assuming they ever are) but I have real problems with the Cory Maye's in this country being executed and if locking the Carr brothers up for life is the price for not executing a Cory Maye, then I think that's what we have to do. I know that lifers will kill in prison. I know that lifers will try to escape and if so, kill again. The solution to those issues is strict lock down and better security. And I think it is worse for the state to execute an innocent person. One of the dangers of a free and fair society.
In 2004 congress passed the Innocence Protection Act which authorizes funds to test a nationwide backlog of rape kits and other crime scene evidence, and access to post conviction DNA testing for those serving time in prison or on death row for crimes they did not commit. This should close the gap between rich and poor as it pertains to DNA testing.
Until something can be done about the arbitrariness of being charged and convicted, arguing the moral or social implications of having the death penalty ignores what it most wrong about it.

And God help us if Lucky and Christopher are the only ones making the argument.

jeff said...

"I cannot see an adequate reason to oppose the death penalty in certain heinous crimes where there is DNA or video evidence of culpability."

The reason I fall against that, is that prosecutors have always looked for a way around providing what we consider absolute evidence, rendering it meaningless.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo said..."I cannot see an adequate reason to oppose the death penalty in certain heinous crimes where there is DNA or video evidence of culpability."

NO SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HOW LONG...did it take YOU...to COME UP WITH THAT???

Have you read any of the 169 comments?????

THAT'S THE POINT...POGO.

If we could ALL know for sure...but...WE DON'T.

As for the actual question at hand: I don't think it deters future killings...for a number of reasons.

jeff said...

"Is this the appeal you don't want to take advantage of...Jeff?"

No idea what your talking about. I told you twice my answer. And since Luckyoldson is venomously against capital punishment I am baffled why he is at the courthouse demanding my execution.

Luckyoldson said...

Anybody here happen to watch 60 Minutes tonight???

And there you have it...

jeff said...

"THAT'S THE POINT...POGO.

If we could ALL know for sure...but...WE DON'T."

The point he clearly made was that sometimes you do know. What do you do with them. I gave my answer and my reasons for it. You have not. He has not stated that the state has met that burden of proof for everyone who has been convicted.

Luckyoldson said...

REALLY...is anybody watching 60 Minutes?

HA!

jeff said...

Anyone happen to cross a street against the light today?
And there you have it.

?????

Luckyoldson said...

jeff said..."The point he clearly made was that sometimes you do know."

Jeff, are a fucking illiterate???

The WHOLE point is NOT about if we KNOW FOR SURE...it's when we DON'T KNOW...and we ACCUSE...CONVICT...and...EXECUTE.

What is it you're missing here...besides a brain??

jeff said...

Then why are you jumping on him for the statement? And for someone with your massive brain you apparently don't comprehend anyone else's post. Plus you are apparently just finding out about the junk science in analyzing bullets even though that story was out on Friday. And the whole point is NOT that sometimes we know for sure. The whole point is should we have a death penalty? Are you now saying you are for it, as long as we know for sure who did it? And what sort of verification do you think should be in place so a rouge prosecutor, or media or cop doesn't manufacture this "for sure" evidence?

jeff said...

rogue. Jesus. Need to proof this stuff.

christopher said...

jeff said:
Until something can be done about the arbitrariness of being charged and convicted, arguing the moral or social implications of having the death penalty ignores what it most wrong about it.

And God help us if Lucky and Christopher are the only ones making the argument.


I'm stunned. We have an honest, principled, humane rightwinger in the house.

jeff said...

"honest, principled, humane rightwinger in the house."

You're being redundant.

christopher said...


jeff said...

"honest, principled, humane rightwinger in the house."

You're being redundant.
9:31 PM


I wish.

Frankly, the last one in public life was Elliot Richardson...

Luckyoldson said...

Jeff,
Why no profile?

Gutless.

jeff said...

"honest, principled, humane"
Perhaps this applies to a number of positions, even those you disagree with. Even those you consider wrong. Perhaps with a respectful exchange of views you could enunciate why you feel the opposition is wrong without the knee jerk insults. As you can see, while Lucky and I agree on 99% of this particular issue, he still is unable to be civil. Even when there is no underlying disagreement.

jeff said...

Perfect example.

"Why no profile?"

Not to mention hypocritical. Lucky has no personal information in his, yet you can get my full name and a working email address from mine. Plus I have referenced where I live and I am the only person with that name in this town. But in Lucky's world, I am anonymous and gutless because he is unable to decipher it, I guess, in a thread in which I largely agree with his general point.

You figure it out. I can't.

reader_iam said...

Re: Jeff's 9:46

You're finding yourself about where I was at 1:34, which is when I gave up.

Pogo said...

christopher, LOS
How do you justify rejecting the death penalty for those guilty beyond any doubt, when it means that 3 to 18 more innocent people will die as a result?

How is that more honest, principled, or humane?

Pogo said...

reader, jeff
I would think it gives one pause to find oneself on the same side as LOS or christopher regarding anything.

They are so consistently wrong and disingenuous, it casts doubt on every position they hold.

Pogo said...

Even when they're right they're wrong.

christopher said...


Pogo said...

christopher, LOS
How do you justify rejecting the death penalty for those guilty beyond any doubt, when it means that 3 to 18 more innocent people will die as a result?

How is that more honest, principled, or humane?


How do you know who's guilty beyond any doubt? Sorry, you don't.

Also, as even Ann has pointed out, the date suggesting that deterence works is iffy at best...

And in any case, that has nothing to do with the morality of state sponsored killing.

Blake said...

Pogo,

I had the same problem with immigration: I'm an open borders guy, basically, but the arguments on "my side" all consisted of "if you disagree, you're a racist!"

It really forces you to re-evaluate your position.

John Stodder said...


How do you know who's guilty beyond any doubt? Sorry, you don't.


LOL. Over on the Judith Regan thread, christopher is absolutely convinced that someone who hasn't been accused of lying by the material witness (Regan) must be lying, because Frank Rich suggested it. And if you don't buy it? Well, the same guy who wrote the above, wrote this:

And you're suggesting -- I assume with a straight face -- that the idea that Ailes wouldn't tell somebody to lie to the Feds to protect Rudy isn't totally plausible give his history of scumbaggery?

It may or may not have actually happened, but as I said before the idea that it isn't eminently believable is preposterous.


In christopher's world, one guy can be found guilty by a jury, but that's not good enough. But if it's a dreaded Republican, they don't even have to be accused by name -- they're guilty!

christopher, you're an embarrassment to whatever the hell your cause is. No wonder you post here. Your own comrades obviously have drummed you out for excessive lameness.

reader_iam said...

I guess I just don't think my agreeing or disagreeing on any one or another point with regard to any one or another issue means I'm signing up for a team or joining a brother- or sisterhood, especially in a global sense.

Guess I'm just weird and silly that way.

christopher said...

John Stodder said...

Ah...we've reached the point in the evening when we're not just deliberately misinterpreting what I've said, but we're actually making shit up.

Fuck you, I'm outta here.

christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

Guess I'm just weird and silly that way.

Reader, not at all.
Mine was a comment noting how the idiots who happen to agree with you on a topic make such a shared opinion, however isolated, more difficult to espouse, if not completely unteneble.

It was a poorly worded way of saying with friends like those, who needs enemies? Hell, with friends like those., who needs enemas?

Ann Althouse said...

"as even Ann has pointed out"

What's that supposed to mean? I'm opposed to the death penalty. I've said that here many times.

A point some people are missing is that the data show that death penalty needs to be meted out with some frequency and speed to get the deterrent effect. Texas is held up as the example.

Paco Wové said...

"You figure it out. I can't."

Look, it's quite simple. There's nothing to figure out. Lucky is just not very bright. Whenever I bother to read one of his comments, they are inevitably a mishmash of insult, profanity, logical fallacy, bluster, and boorishness. I can have a more productive argument with a tantrum-throwing toddler.

I would have once argued that Lucky was the stupidest commenter on this blog, but lately 'Christopher' has been working hard to challenge him. Neither are worth your time. Just scroll past them.

Kirby Olson said...

One of the paradoxes of dealing with the left is that they are so violent with their pacifist opinions. Lucky could be a gangster for the kind of language he uses, but he's apparently some kind of pacifist.

At any rate, I couldn't resist adding the 200th comment.

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