May 16, 2015

"I don't actually think the federal government will be executing people in 50 years."

"But if Barack Obama’s Department of Justice not only didn't stop using the federal death penalty, but also actively sought Tsarnaev’s execution, what are the odds that another, more liberal president will come along to do so in, say, the next 15 or 20 years?"

Asks lawprof Noah Feldman, who thinks that if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is actually put to death, "it will be a signal event in the history of" Massachusetts, "where I was born and have lived most of my life" and where "the death penalty has... come to seem distant, foreign and unfamiliar."

Even though "[a]lmost certainly, the execution won’t actually take place here."

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll believe it when I see it.

They don't really want to execute him. They just want to sit around in a circle jerk and debate it.

Ron Snyder said...

We should be killing more people, not less. Society needs to be culled of the the most violent ones, and I do not want to pay taxes to keep them in prison (which no one of intelligence argues "reforms" them, and is hardly more humane than a bullet to the head. Recidivism will also be reduced.

Sebastian said...

This is an opportunity for Mass. to rejoin civilization. The jury took the first step.

Anonymous said...

...distant, foreign and unfamiliar

He sounds provincial and hidebound.

khesanh0802 said...

I am not sure what is so heinous about killing those who have been tried, convicted and sentenced. I guess my morality quotient is not high enough.

I grew up in Massachusetts and I will bet you that if you go to Southie or East Boston or Dorchester you will find very few bleeding hearts suffering over Tsarnaev's plight. These people have a very different outlook on life than Feldman who is the classic example of "white privilege". Brilliant guy, sheltered upbringing, pretty much spent his entire life in academia. He would not even know how to talk with the people of Southie.

robother said...

Within a month of the SCOTUS ruling that the death penalty is cruel and unusual under any circumstances, the Left will be crusading against life imprisonment without parole as cruel and unusual (perhaps even more so than execution!). All the same odious international comparisons will be trotted out, the grim portrayal of life in a super max prison, the disproportionate number of blacks serving such sentences. They will impose the same cost (interminable trials and appeals) and then argue that those costs deny victims the closure they need.

EDH said...

Oh, those public opinion polls again...

Instead, what I'm experiencing, I think, is a sense of astonishment that, in a state where the death penalty has been abolished and most of the public outside the courtroom opposed capital punishment for Tsarnaev [links to Boston Globe "survey"], we might actually put someone to death in an electric chair or gas chamber or by lethal injection.

From Howie Carr, today:

But … but … the [Boston] Globe says the “overwhelming majority” in Massachusetts oppose the death penalty. That’s must be why the electorate passed a referendum question supporting capital punishment in 1982, why the Legislature was within one weasel’s vote of restoring it in 1997.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to "ignorance of one's own culture is not considered cool"?

kcom said...

I wonder if Lexington and Concord, the Revolutionary War, and all that have come to seem distant and foreign to him, too, being right there in Massachusetts. Some of us still live in the USA. Some live elsewhere.

Hagar said...

You may wish to consider that for Moslems going by the Koran, life here on earth is a vale of tears, and death is to be wished for. Particularly a martyr's death fightig the infidel, which guarantees entry to the top level of Paradise with no questions asked about the warriors shortcomings in life otherwise.

It is a valid argument that the best way to fight jihad is to make it appear as pedestrian and glamorless as possible, and if possible, any association with lasting failure and ridiculousness is a good thing.

SteveR said...

"... a more liberal president.."

I hope I'm dead by then

Skeptical Voter said...

It might be medieval, or even North Korean. But I'd put this guy in a steel chamber along with a pressure cooker filled with C4 and about 200 ball bearings. Then I'd detonate the C4. It would be quick, cheap, and painless--or at least over in a very short time.

It's a sort of "what goes around, comes around" approach.

cubanbob said...

He will be executed during the term of the next president. Feldman confuses the bubble he lives in with the real world.

David Begley said...

How hard is it for this person to understand that the federal government is imposing the death sentence?

Coupe said...

I can see where Noah is confused and upset. Every time the Federal Government exercises its power within a State, it is always unsettling.

But let us be honest here. The reason he was tried in a Federal Court was because there was the option to kill the prisoner. The charge was Using WMD. I guess this encompasses murder, as the result of WMD is death. It definately sounds like a death penalty charge.

The State can still prosecute him for murder, and give him a life sentence, if they wish. If that would make them feel any better.

traditionalguy said...

He has stupidly conflated a declared war seeking the execution death and or the enslavement of American Christians, Jews and Unbelievers living in the United States with an ordinary crime.

In context, we have no choice but to fight back because otherwise we are surrendering and disarming.

The day the "thugs" have their weapons and the police have been disarmed is the day we will be slaughtered and the Arabs will celebrate like they did on 9/11.

Emil Blatz said...

Works for me if he is actually not executed by the United States, but rather beaten to death in prison, a la Jeffrey Dahmer.

William said...

Capital punishment should be quick, legal, and rare. Capital punishment should be used as an exclamation point to mark out crimes that are excessively repugnant......If the good professor cannot imagine a crime that deserves capital punishment, then he lacks imagination.

Lem said...

Will the then governor of Massachusetts ban state funded trips to whichever state draws the barbaric straw?

I say "then" governor because these things are known to delay.

Not to mention the savagery which compelled the penalty, seeming like a long time ago, in the rearview, if they even get around to it.

Death penalty inmates have died waiting to be executed.

madAsHell said...

I'll bet he supports a woman's right to choose.

The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.

Bobber Fleck said...

There will be lots of executions under Sharia Law.

n.n said...
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Chef Mojo said...

Of course Tsarnaev won't be executed in Mass. That's not the way it works. Tsarnaev, eventually, will be executed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, as mandated by Federal law. Wicked strange that Professor Feldman isn't aware of that, being a lawprof and all.

Frankly, though I don't see Tsarnaev making it to the execution chamber. First, he'll be passed around as a boy toy. I mean, how often does the opportunity come around to bang a dreamy fella who's been on the cover of the Rolling Stoooone. After Tsarnaev is considered passé in that regard, some inmate will decide to increase his standing within that community, and will beat Mr. Dreamy Jihadi straight to Allah.

It's hard out here for a Jihadi.

n.n said...
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n.n said...

Feldman seems unfamiliar with privacy laws that protect his naive sensibilities. While planning generally cannot be considered humane, it seems to be the right choice for murderers.

rhhardin said...

Good news, the Spring Oberlin Alumni Magazine is online, cover story on the mayor of Baltimore.

Bad timing happens to everybody.

clint said...

I'm interested in Prof. Feldman's contention that the death penalty is "distant, foreign and unfamiliar" in Massachusetts.

The death penalty isn't something that more than a handful of people experience directly. We experience it through the news media.

So why would, for example, the execution of Timothy McVeigh in Indiana have been experienced differently by a resident of Indiana than by a resident of Massachusetts?

For that matter, the execution of Osama bin Laden, without so much as a trial, was experienced by the whole of the country. As was the execution, with a trial, of Saddam Hussein.

And the executions of several Americans by Al Qaida and ISIS enemies abroad. The information revolution brings all of these far off events right onto the devices in our pockets and purses.

The death penalty is far from a commonplace anywhere in this country, but neither are mass terror attacks like the marathon bombing.

**

It's also interesting to follow the link to the survey he cites and drill down a bit on the results.

Boston was 57:33 for Life vs Death. (Sample: 229)
Metro Area was 49:38 for Life vs Death. (Sample: 504)

If you subtract out the Boston voters, that means the surrounding area was 42:42 for Life vs Death.

As others have pointed out, Massachusetts as a whole and the country as a whole support the death penalty, especially in extreme cases like this.

Zeb Quinn said...

It's also quite possible that Tsarnaev will give up his appeal to expedite his execution, ala McVeigh, being a religious martyr and all.

dbp said...

""But if Barack Obama’s Department of Justice not only didn't stop using the federal death penalty, but also actively sought Tsarnaev’s execution, what are the odds that another, more liberal president will come along to do so in, say, the next 15 or 20 years?""

I think the professor's reasoning is faulty. If a left-wing administration such as this one is willing to pursue the death penalty, doesn't that make it more likely that future ones will do the same? Especially when one considers that it is unlikely for us to see another president as left-wing as Obama in a long while.

Lonetown said...

I guess they lost some taste for it when they hanged a Quaker in Boston commons. Mary Dyer (war on women too?)

Birches said...

I understand the reluctance to use the death penalty in cases where there's a chance of innocence, but this is not the case in this case. The death penalty was made for the Tsarneavs, just as it was made for James Holmes. There's no doubt they did the crimes they've been convicted of committing. They were caught in the act.

Anthony said...

I am not a big fan of the death penalty but it is constitutional and I think it should be available for certain mass events and for the military. This is one of those times it should be on the table. But I am glad I was not on the jury, as I do not know what I would have voted to do.

Wilbur said...

There are some solid, reasonable arguments to be made as to why a particular United State (or the Federal government) should not have the death penalty.

But here's where I separate from the left. The death penalty is unquestionably sanctioned in the U.S. constitution. Whether a state decides to enact and exercise this sentencing option is up to the people of each state, as expressed through their representatives and executive.

For a Federal Court to declare a state's death penalty unconstitutional requires such a leap in arrogance and hubris as to boggle the mind. Have no fear, the William Brennans of this world are up to the task.

Their view essentially comes down to "I disagree with this public policy choice so much that it is right and proper to invent a constitutional basis for doing so."

It's a dangerous brand of constitutional jurisprudence. That invention saw can cut more than one way.

m stone said...

The death penalty exists but the Justice Department has stopped executions for two years now pending a more "perfect" lethal injection.

So the Feds calling for execution is moot. It's not going to happen on Obama's watch. Not that it would for Tsarnaev in two years.

Obama is satisfying all sides. Typically.

Titus said...

Boston is definitely more Euro than USA!

Even our QB is a major euro.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

As usual, comedian Ron White said it best:
"Other states are doing away with executing murderers.
In Texas, we have an Express Lane."
Thank you, Garland.

Wilbur said...

West Tex, I've heard it expressed in two words.

Electric bleachers.

n.n said...

The abortion industry already has more perfect, "humane" methods to terminate human lives in mass. The industry's effort to separate abortion and murder is a disingenuous effort to deny the facts of life for trivial and profitable causes.

Following due process and conviction, send the murderer to an abortion clinic, where his death will be planned. Or does that not meet their standards of executing wholly innocent human lives at a time when we are uniquely vulnerable?

The choice is obvious.

Richard Dolan said...

Feldman couldn't care less what the inhabitants of Southie or Dorchester think. He is speaking and writing about those who make the laws and have the power to influence that process. To wit, the legal and cultural elite. In Mass, it is undoubtedly true that the legal profession is very lefty in its politics. That's also the group that is most heavily over represented at all levels of the law making process (legislative and executive, as well as being 100% of the judiciary).

Feldman's prediction is probably right, except that the politicos who ultimately get rid of the death penalty are more likely to be Republicans.

Quaestor said...

When Feldman was much greener and MA had just outlawed a death penalty they had not even used in more than 40 no one except a feverish pulp novelist could imagine a scenario with a dozen well-educated, well-to-do men flying kamikaze missions against the WTC, the Capitol, and the Pentagon -- all in the space of a lovely summer's morning.

Grow a goddamned sense of proportion you stupid, stupid man! And I thought lawprofs were high-Q types equipped with a gimlet eye and a preternatural wit. Just shows how wrong someone can be.

RecChief said...

I'm sure the victims of the Reign of Terror never believed that they would find themselves being led to the guillotine either.

We've already seen Progressives employ language that describes anyone who disagrees as having lower moral standing, as well as being evil. Progressives have used the same language as 1930s Soviets, "wreckers" and "traitors". It won't be long before they are denouncing the upper middle class, a new batch of Kulaks. Progressives have no sense of history, which is why we will relive it.

Barry Dauphin said...

Baby the administration will just stick them in the desert and kill him with a drone.

Char Char Binks said...

Did Feldman forget that MA is part of the US, and that the execution will be under fed law, not state law?

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

"where I was born and have lived most of my life" and where "the death penalty has... come to seem distant, foreign and unfamiliar."


And where mass murder by terrorist bombs are just run-of-the mill events in edgy, urban Boston, barely worth a squib in a newspaper.

Jack Wayne said...

I bet $100 Feldman is in favor of executing climate "deniers".

Terry said...

Obama executes people all of he time. No trial. Takes out innocents along with them, sometimes.
What Obama is against is people who cling bitterly to their guns and their religion executing people. They aren't enlightened enough.

Rusty said...

He's as good as dead.
He's off my Christmas list.

Terry said...

I agree with Feldman. In the future, the federal government won't execute anyone. They'll outsource executions to the North Koreans, who know how to execute people properly. The condemned will be shot out of canons, or torn apart by wild apes, or blown up with atom bombs.
It will be awesome++.
Man, talk about sweating on a phone call from the governor.

David said...

Wisconsin didn't execute Jeffrey Dahmer, not officially anyway. But he was just as dead. No drones were required.

RecChief said...

Really, the instance where I support the death penalty is in the case of child molesters.

If they are, as the defenders of child molesters claim, they are sick, and can't be made well, then we can't allow them in society. If they are sick and can be made well, how could they live with themselves once they realize what they had done and not take the suicide route?

RecChief said...

Also, if the Rolling Stone cover boy wants to be a martyr, shouldn't we keep him alive, performing hard labor? Seems like killing him would be the reward he is looking for, rather than a punishment.

Sammy Finkelman said...

You think they need to be made well to realize what they had done?

Of course they may think they're not doing any permanent harm.

Sammy Finkelman said...

You think they need to be made well to realize what they had done?

Of course they may think they're not doing any permanent harm.

Sammy Finkelman said...

What Obama is against most of the time is executing people with due process of law.

Without due process of law is another issue. It can be justified as self-defense or war.