Death Penalty.

I like it. Call me old school, but there’s some people who can’t be fixed and so they need to go away. In the name of protecting society. Unfortunately, for many states that actually *have* the death penalty there are too many legislative hurdles to be cleared whilst on the road to carrying out the sentance.

“Thirty-five states still retain the death penalty, but fewer and fewer executions are taking place every year,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. “But the overall death row population has remained relatively steady. At a time of budget shortfalls nationwide, the death penalty is turning into an expensive form of life without parole.”

48035049Yup, housing is expensive. Not to mention three hots and a cot, PLUS their constitutionally guaranteed rights to cable TV and a weight room. Many of these guys are living better in prison than they do on the outside.

Now, some will read the article and hinge on this statement: A privately conducted poll of 500 police chiefs released with the report found the death penalty ranked last among their priorities for reducing violent crime. Only 1 percent found it to the best way to achieve that goal. Adding police officers ranked first.

People will say, “SEE?!?! Even the Sheriff’s don’t like the death penalty!!” Of course they don’t rank it highly. They like things that WORK. An empty threat is useless. Right now, someone gets convicted and sentanced to death, they’re probably going to live for 10-15 more years as they work through the exhaustive appeals process.

I’m all about efficiency. Give ’em one or two appeals just to make sure, in case there were errors in the trial. But obviously guilty? Like “found with the murder weapon in your hand and covered in blood” obvious? See ya. Thanks for playing. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do want to pay due diligence to the trial process. But let’s be honest, there are some folks that are just open and shut cases. The guy who kills his wife and children and runs to Haiti? Why isn’t he dead already?

I’m not talking about walking from the courtroom to the death chamber, but some folks are simply abusing the habeus corpus process in the name of obfuscating justice for the family members of victims and extending their already overdue time on the system’s payroll.

But maybe I’m old and cranky.

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14 Responses to Efficiency

  1. Niall says:

    I guess you’ve had your head in the sand in re the many people sent to death row who turned out to be innocent. You should check out The Innocence Project, which has been responsible for freeing these men (not the justice system, by the way).

    The other problem with the death penalty, as any prosecutor will tell you, is that seeking it makes it much more difficult to get convictions from juries.

    Lastly, the death penalty makes it much more likely that the perpetrator will kill his victim, to protect him/herself from prosecution. This is why, for example, law enforcement personnel are against making child molestation a capital crime. It would just give every reason for molesters to kill their victims.

    The death penalty is stupid and barbaric. I’m surprised you’re for it.

    And to say people are abusing habeas corpus is hilarious. We haven’t had habeas corpus in this country for eight years.

  2. fastnav says:

    I wouldn’t say head in the sand. I’m well aware that there are cases being overturned with the injection of new evidence, etc.

    What I’m against is guys who are CLEARLY guilty, and continue to abuse the system by filing appeals based on technicalities of the trial. No dispute over the verdict, but over how it was reached. THOSE guys need to go.

  3. Jimmy T says:

    I am with You on this fastnav, I too think that there are many that abuse the system and the grand total of those freed after conviction does not in my mind mean they are all bad convictions which is the Lefties way of attacking the Death Penalty in total. I personally think they should be given an automatic appeal conducted within 30 days of the original conviction and then they should be marched off to the gallows. And I don’t think the Death Penalty as enacted in this country is “barbaric” as charged above, we have gone out of our way in the US to make the killing of the scumbags of this country as banal as possible. If it were nastier, say burned alive on a steak, and then I think you would see fewer people wanting to do the crime that would result in a Death Sentence. In fact, if the convicted were returned to the jurisdiction that gave him that Sentence, I dare say that violent crime would nearly stop. Look at the old west when they hung people right out in the town square, within a few days of the conviction. Today, the condemned are kept in a far out of the way prison and put down out of site of the society that they chose not to participate in. I say burn them all.

    BTW, I am not from Texas.

    BT: Jimmy T sends.

  4. Niall says:

    But aren’t the people who are abusing the system the ones who are sending innocent people to death row? How could this not be more important than someone filing appeals? I’m not understanding your priorities here.

    And I’d be all for the death penalty if *only* Texans were eligible for it.

  5. fastnav says:

    How are a judge and jury, examining the evidence available and determining guilt and assigning punishment abusing the system?

    I don’t claim to be a smart man, but your statement makes no sense to me, Niall.

  6. Niall says:

    Prosecutors routinely withhold evidence that would exculpate the accused. They also often just seize on a particular suspect because they think he’d be easy to prosecute and allow them to get a capital crime off their desks.

    Recall that the then governor of Illinois, Jim Ryan, found evidence of widespread abuse in capital cases so compelling that he suspended all executions in the state of Illinois. All. ANd he was certainly no bleeding heart liberal.

    That should tell you there is a lot of abuse and railroading going on in our justice system.

  7. Niall says:

    I forgot another source of faulty convictions: Incompetence and corruption in the forensic labs that process evidence, especially DNA evidence. There have been quite a few scandals lately in regional forensics labs – and even the FBI’s lab – where shoddy procedures have been followed, leading to tainted samples, and, in some cases forged and invented test results.

    Imagine the nightmare of being convicted on doctored or corrupted DNA evidence. These scandals are leading to scores of convictions being overturned and people being released from…death row.

  8. fastnav says:

    I’m not going to try and counter your points, Niall, because I’m sure there are abuses to the system such as you’ve described.

    However, you continue to miss my point that I’m all in favor of getting rid of the folks who are clearly guilty but continue on because they file appeals based on technicalities, not innocence or guilt.

  9. Niall says:

    And my reply to that is that, given the indisputable evidence of fraudulent death penalty convictions, we need to keep the current appeals system, as a safety valve to prevent wrongly convicted people from being killed. I would think this concern would outweigh the problem of actually guilty people filing lots of appeals.

    Apparently we disagree on that.

    • fastnav says:

      Not necessarily. I agree with you on the need for appeals and to make sure we’ve “got it right”

      Where we disagree, I think, is on the necessity of the death penalty in general. My take is, you don’t like it for numerous reasons and I think it can be an effective deterrent.

      On that I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree…

  10. Niall says:

    Well, if you’re going to have a death penalty, you *have* to have a long series of fail safes. Otherwise you run the risk of executing innocent people.

    In terms of the death penalty as such, I’m against it because it’s (a) useless, (b) expensive and (c) hampers convictions. I see exactly zero practical use for it, though you may of course point out benefits I am not seeing.

    I would only reserve the death penalty for espionage cases, where that could provide useful leverage in negotiations with other nations.

  11. Seth says:

    Late to the issue, but on a simple moral basis how is killing someone for whatever the reason ok? That’s kind of like sinking to their level.
    Plus I believe just about the only thing that has been proven without much doubt at all as a deterrent to crime is the addition of more police and there is an argument to be made that that only shifts where the crime occurs and doesn’t reduce the overall crime.

  12. NaClydog says:

    Seth, I’ve heard your argument for a long time.
    The counter argument is that executing very bad people is setting standards. We either enforce standards and norms of civilization, or let rot continue.
    There need be no deterrence ability in executions. Society is saying “out of the gene pool, now.” This makes a civil society more achievable. Plus, recidivism is eliminated.
    Note, this is for undoubted killers. We do actually have the technology to make a reasoned judgement these days.

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