Georgia To Protect Execution Pharmacists From Transparency So They Can Execute Disabled Man

from the doing-it-wrong dept

I'll be up front here with all of you: I hate the death penalty. I think it tends to punish bad actors who are incapable of recognizing anything resembling a deterrence, that the cost arguments are both false and entirely besides the point, and I don't particularly enjoy the concept that the nation or state can make me and every other citizen complicit in the death of another human being. That said, obviously there's no consensus on this. That said, some of the states in our glorious union seem to have lost complete control over their thought processes when it comes to capital punishment.

Take Georgia, for instance, where the state is working very hard not only to execute a man every doctor that's examined him seems to think is mentally disabled, but they're also working really hard to protect the pharmacists responsible for the death cocktail from any kind of transparency. The case of Warren Hill is sad from the start.

Georgia has sought to execute Hill despite a US supreme court ban on executions for "mentally retarded" criminals, on the grounds that such executions constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The state argues that Hill has not been proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” to be mentally disabled, notwithstanding the fact that all nine medical experts who have examined Hill are in agreement that he is intellectually disabled. In 1990, Hill was already serving a life sentence for murdering his girlfriend when he killed fellow inmate John Handspike in a Georgia prison, beating him to death with a nail-studded board.
So, what we have is a man quite likely to be mentally deficient on death row. This, of course, isn't a unique situation. Neither, unfortunately, is the state's attempt to keep the sources for their lethal injection cocktails secret. It's the latter that led to a case before the Georgia supreme court, who then ruled in favor of the state. In other words, the state can still kill people, but the people of the state aren't allowed to know the source of the methods of that killing. Hill's lawyers argued that if pharmacists could remain anonymous, free from scrutiny by the public they are supposed to be serving, the lack of accountability might lead to more contamination of the death cocktail, which in turn would represent cruel and unusual punishment. This argument is of particular weight right now due to the now infamous botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma. Judge Harris Hines, for the majority, had this to say.
"Particularly unpersuasive is Hill's expert's testimony that certain contaminants also could have the following effect: 'Their blood pressure would drop precipitously, and ultimately it's possible that they could die.' Such a side effect obviously would be shockingly undesirable in the practice of medicine, but it is certainly not a worry in an execution."
It sounds like it should make sense: contaminants in execution drugs that lead to death aren't all that important, because the goal is to kill the person. But that's quite a cavalier and flippant perspective by a state supreme court justice who is deciding exactly how the people of his state will kill a person. The execution, if you'll forgive the synergy of word-choice, of the execution means everything. It's the very reason we have cruel and unusual punishment protections. The idea behind capital punishment, silly as the idea on its face is in my opinion, isn't to cause pain, it's simply to cause the criminal to expire. Ensuring our own humanity in this inhumane endeavor is of paramount importance, one which Judge Hines should be taking quite a bit more seriously than he appears to be.

And the final result in all of this is a state attempting to hide pharmacists who are helping kill a disabled man. Fortunately, several newspapers are challenging the state's injection secrecy law. Hopefully they win, and the people in charge of death cocktails have a little light shone their way.


Reader Comments (rss)

 
Capital punishment doesn't have a place in civil society other than to undo civility. Our system is supposed to be a system of justice not of revenge. If you will, take all of the charged emotion out of the issue and look at it logically. Within every person at any time in their lifetime exists the potential for having either a positive or negative impact on society. When a violent crime has been committed by an individual against others in society, that individual has left a negative impact on society. Capital punishment does nothing to offset that negative impact. At best it could be said that it limits the potential negative impact that the individual can have in the future. However, it also cuts off any possibility of the individual having any positive impact in the future, leaving a negative sum gain permanently. There has to be a better way.

People who commit and are convicted of violent crimes automatically forfeit some of their rights as a result. I think a system where inmates are required to work to produce goods to help the underprivileged in society (ie: growing food to go to food banks or producing clothing to provide for people in homeless shelters), in order to receive their daily sustenance would be a much better system. In this case what you would have is a system where you take the source of the negative impact and leverage that potential to produce an offsetting positive impact in the future in a very controlled way without the state committing one of the very same act to punish people for committing and pretending that somehow it makes it ok for the state to do it when it wasn't for the individual.
—Anonymous Coward

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    mr. sim (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 8:57pm

    to quote the governments own rhetoric

    "what are you hiding Georgia, if you have done nothing wrong then there's no need for secrecy or privacy."

     

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    btr1701 (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 9:06pm

    Botched?

    > This argument is of particular weight right now due to
    > the now infamous botched execution of Clayton Lockett

    Since Lockett ended up dead, it doesn't seem to me the execution was botched. A botched execution would have left the inmate alive.

    And personally, when it comes to Lockett, I care more about the woman he raped, shot, then buried alive, than whether he experienced some discomfort during his well-deserved punishment.

     

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    kenichi tanaka (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 9:07pm

    Obviously, Timothy Geigner has never been the victim of a crime, I've been the victim of many crimes. From armed robbery to having my life physically endangered by someone who has the capacity to hand out such violence.

    I find it deplorable that Mr. Geigner would make such a comment about capital punishment because it sounds like he's never been on the receiving end of such violent crimes.

    Capital Punishment should be ever present in every state in this country because if you remove the threat of that particular form of punishment, then you have criminals who will wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts.

    Want to know what a society becomes when you remove such punishments? Ask the woman who set her daughter's rapist on fire because the police wouldn't do their job. If Capital Punishment was the end result for all crimes, no matter what they were, we would have less crime because nobody would be willing to tempt that fate.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:29pm

    "So, what we have is a man quite likely to be mentally deficient on death row."

    Because he killed somebody. As a matter of fact, he was already serving a life sentence for one murder: he got the death penalty because he beat another inmate to death with a nail-studded board.

    So if you eliminate the death penalty, what do you do in cases like this? "Oh, you were serving life; now you're serving double-secret life!"

    He may be mentally deficient, but he's still dangerous; he killed two people. So why should we pay to keep him institutionalized for the rest of his life?

    If a dog has rabies, it isn't the dog's fault. But we still put the dog down anyway because it is a danger to other animals, including humans.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:30pm

    Re:

    Great anecdotes. Very meaningful.

    Glad to know executing those who wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts will deter those who wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:37pm

    Despite having had capital punishment on the books forever it seems, it has yet to prevent murder, rape, or any other crime in the long run.

    The state may wind up taking revenge for wrongful death but lets be clear here, having a death row does not prevent murder.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re:

    "Glad to know executing those who wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts will deter those who wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts."

    Well, it sure as fuck will deter Warren Hill - who was already serving a life sentence - from killing any more people in prison.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Botched?

    Agreed. When I saw how the media was focusing on how that POS Lockett died and didn't even mention how his victim died, I was pissed.

    He deserved 50yrs hard labor, or what he got...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly.

    What's worse: Solitary, because he might kill another cell mate or death because he killed two people who should not have been killed but for Lockett's violent outbursts?

    May you never have to meet a Lockett.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 10:19pm

    Re:

    Atkins v. Virginia already ruled executing the mentally deficient unconstitutional on the grounds of cruel and unusual punishment.

    Also applying standards for animals to humans, seriously?

     

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    Deimal (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 10:23pm

    Re:

    I sympathize with your having been victimized. However, the thought of erasing a human's existence as a deterrent to others' fairly repugnant. I believe in the death penalty. There simply are some people in this world who's crimes are so appalling they should be ended. That should be the only reason the death penalty is invoked. To expect it to act as a deterrent is naive, at best.

    To imply (or outright state as you have) that crimes less than the most unspeakable should be subject to the death penalty, speaks to a lack of using rational faculties, and relying on emotion. Emotion, being so subjective, absolutely cannot be a basis for a system of justice, let alone a foundation for setting punishments for criminal acts.

    Add to this the inherent nature of man to err, and you increase the chances of innocents being murdered by the state. If you have a profile on techdirt, then I expect you have been reading it for at least some time. How many articles have you read here, where police officers were caught flat out lying to cover their own asses, resulting in seriously damaging the lives, property, and welfare of their fellow citizens? I've seen literally dozens over the last few years here, and elsewhere.

    Capital punishment has it's place, but in a world, a nation, of corrupt judges, police, and prosecutors, I don't know that it can be adequately applied much longer. Giving the state the authority to end the lives of it's citizens is a grave and solemn abdication of power to the state. If we can't trust that it will exercise it with honor and truth, I don't know how much longer we can permit it.

     

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    David, May 20th, 2014 @ 10:34pm

    Re:

    Want to know what a society becomes when you remove such punishments?

    The usual name for this is "civilized".

    If you take a look at the crime rates in countries without a pervasive "an eye for an eye" mentality, you'll find them much lower. The U.S. is one of the few Western developed countries which is gungho on violence and killing as the main measure of "justice". Americans are proud that rape is rampant in their prisons, and you hear frequent wishes to have criminals subjected to it. And American has the largest absolute and relative incarceration rates in the world.

    The idea is to be better than what you hate, for the sake of the common good. And it works. America just does not want to try it.

     

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    David, May 20th, 2014 @ 10:42pm

    Re:

    having a death row does not prevent murder.

    It actually promotes murder since it makes the culture accept the killing of humans as something desirable depending on circumstances rather than a taboo.

    If the state punishes crimes by death to great acclaim and everybody feels this is right and proper, then the line to a husband "punishing" an unfaithful spouse and the perpetrator by death becomes a lot thinner.

    The crime rates in the U.S. are not particularly intimidated by the rabid-dog mentality of its justice system. They are among the highest in the world. And I doubt that this is a statistical fluke of something that should be the other way round.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 12:00am

    "Want to know what a society becomes when you remove such punishments?

    The usual name for this is 'civilized'."

    Awesome. Thank you for conceding that Iran, Iraq, the UAE, India, and Pakistan (among other countries) are all "uncivilzed".

     

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    animal, May 21st, 2014 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re:

    say my name, say it. animal

     

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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, May 21st, 2014 @ 12:42am

    Re: Obviously, Timothy Geigner has never been the victim of a crime

    I’ve been the victim of a crime, more than once. Does that make me qualified to talk? OK, you’re full of shit, and Timothy Geigner is not.

    The difference between good guys and bad guys is that good guys care about concepts like “due process” and “cruel and unusual punishment”, and even just plain “humanity”. If the good guys start acting just like the bad guys, what makes them the good guys?

    There once was a man who walked this Earth, whose followers called him Great Soul. He said once: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

     

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    ethorad (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 1:21am

    preventing executions the wrong way?

    Seems that there are two reasons why people are after transparency in who is supplying the drugs:

    - concerns about purity. This doesn't need the name of the company to be revealed, as it wouldn't tell you anything directly about the purity of the drugs. You could infer likely purity from the reputation of the company, but that's as far as you can go. The only way to check the purity is to test the drugs provided - this could be done on a random sample, by a lab chosen by a public body.

    - in order to put public pressure on the pharmacist through boycotts and campaigns in order to stop them supplying the drugs in future. And the reason to do this is because some people don't like having the death penalty.

    I think that to the extent people don't like the death penalty they should target their politicians to get the punishment repealed. Hurdles such as ensuring proper due process has been followed, and keeping it humane are fine. However we shouldn't be adding unnecessary hurdles denying the government the ability to do things which it has the democratic mandate to do.

    (As an aside, I didn't like Hines' comment on death being a side effect. The goal isn't just to kill someone, but to do it in a certain manner - to the extent that doesn't happen it is a problem. If he feels the sole objective is death Hines should try striking down the cruel and unusual punishment clause, and good luck to him)

    There are lots of things which the government does and which groups of people disagree with - and which they decide to voice that disagreement by targeting those who carry out the government's legal directives. Abortion clinics, animal testing facilities, etc have all been on the receiving end of this.

    Whilst I agree that governments need (way) more transparency, it does seem that in this case there is a need for secrecy in order to protect the company and its employees from a portion of the public.

    TL;DR: If you don't like what the government is doing, change the government.

     

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    Uriel-238 (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 1:55am

    Civilization is a spectrum.

    Awesome. Thank you for conceding that Iran, Iraq, the UAE, India, and Pakistan (among other countries) are all "uncivilized".

    Institutionalization of the death penalty is certainly a way that some societies are less civilized, certainly in contrast to those who don't. I would similarly concede that those nations that engage in (exempli gratia) extraordinary rendition or enhanced interrogation are less civilized than those nations that do not.

    The United Nations Human Rights Committee seems to think so as well.

    But avoidance of cruel and unusual punishment because we're above revenge is only one of the reasons that we try to discourage Justice Systems that allow for sentences of death. We also are certain that human justice systems often get the wrong guy.

    The US Department of Justice is well known to feature lying law-enforcement officers and complicit judges who are more interested in punishing people -- anyone -- regardless of guilt, as it pleases them.

    Because of that, we cannot count how many innocents are in jail and we cannot be sure that the people the state chooses to deprive of life actually are deserving. Our system is already heavily stacked towards disempowering the jury of peers and depriving them of complete information so as to put more people in jail, preferring to incarcerate innocents over letting the guilty go free.

    People who might-have-done-it-but-maybe-not share the same cruel, impacted confinement, and the same death row as those who were caught red handed with photos and irrefutable video. And since they were all convicted by the same dubious system, we have no means of telling which are the psycho-killers and which are scapegoats. We can't tell.

    And at this point we know the proverbial Bastille is teeming with innocents.

    Of course you could argue that killing them all may be less cruel than keeping them in the brutality of our corrections system. Some of our inmates have opined as such.


    As of this posting I have not received a US National Security Letter or any classified gag order from an agent of the United States
    This post does not contain an encrypted secret message
    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:51:40 AM
    evil lift India university laundry fungus tape Summer

     

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    Uriel-238 (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 2:02am

    re: preventing executions the wrong way?

    If you don't like what the government is doing, change the government.

    Apparently you didn't get the memo that the government doesn't care to change.

    To take cues from the anti-abortion crowd, when proper channels are not available or don't work, one continues politics by other means.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:09am

    Re: Re: Obviously, Timothy Geigner has never been the victim of a crime

    "I’ve been the victim of a crime, more than once. Does that make me qualified to talk?"

    It makes you qualified to express an opinion, just like everyone else. It might even make your opinion slightly more credible, if you were someone whose bona fides were known and proven, as opposed to an anonymous person on the Internet who can claim whatever they want.

    It does not automatically entitle you or your opinion to some additional higher level of respect.

    "There once was a man who walked this Earth, whose followers called him Great Soul. He said once: 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind'."

    There once was another man who walked the Earth, and whose followers considered him a great teacher. He once said, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caeser's, and unto God the things that are God's."

    He also once said, “And everyone who commits an offense against one of these little ones who believe in me, it were profitable for him that a donkey's millstone would be hung around his neck and he be sunk in the depths of the sea.”

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:52am

    Re: Botched?

    Claiming the execution wasn't botched because he still ended up dead is a ridiculously trite comment and suggests to me you didn't even read the article. It was botched because it ended up being cruel and unusual as opposed to serving the stated purpose of capital punishment in the US.

    And your comment about caring more about his victim than Lockett himself is fair but also incredibly short-sighted, again suggesting you didn't read the goddamn article, which points out we should also care about ourselves as a society to try and avoid turning into a collective monster that tortures people to death (Or, rather, we should try to reverse that change which appears to have already happened).

     

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    zip, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:05am

    firestorm

    Wow, this topic has stirred up quite a firestorm. While I personally don't care one way or the other about "hot button" issues such as the death penalty (or guns/abortions/flag-burning/etc) since it's a distraction from real issues, I'll just say that Timothy Geigner makes a good point about the secrecy surrounding this mystery poison. Expanding on that, how can we be certain that the execution substances are environmentally "friendly"? Any chemicals in the person's body will eventually end up in the groundwater (or in the air if cremated). While it's often been said that plutonium is one of the most poisonous substances known, it's not hard to imagine the catastrophe that could result if something like that were to be used in executions.

     

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    Richard (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 3:05am

    Re:

    If Capital Punishment was the end result for all crimes, no matter what they were, we would have less crime because nobody would be willing to tempt that fate.

    This was tried in 18th century Britain. It failed abjectly. A lot of innocent peopel were killed and crime was as bad as ever.

     

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    Richard (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Obviously, Timothy Geigner has never been the victim of a crime

    He also said "turn the other cheek"..

    He was also the victim of unjust judicial murder himself.

    Strange how many people forget that point - since it is rather central.

     

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    Steve (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 3:13am

    Word choice

    "The execution, if you'll forgive the synergy of word-choice, of the execution means everything"

    I'll forgive the use of the word execution, but using "S**ergy in cold blood is a capital offence. Please join the queue for the random cocktail of chemicals that may or may not cause an agonising death.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:27am

    Re: Botched?

    Th botch in this case was that he didn't die painlessly. Further they stopped the execution after they noticed that and tried to keep him alive which they failed to do. So yes botched it is.

     

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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:28am

    Re: There once was another man who walked the Earth

    Nice myth, but the man I was talking about was real. He was legendary for his peaceable nature, against violence perpetrated against him by two different governments. He simply disobeyed unjust orders, without lifting a finger against those who struck him. And yet the British Government considered him a “terrorist”.

    And yet, he managed to prevail against them, and win freedom for his people.

    That’s why he was called “Great Soul”, or “Mahatma”. He never claimed to be any god or prophet, just an ordinary man.

    Just an ordinary, real, man.

     

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    cryophallion, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:34am

    Cost Issue

    Actually, Robert Ressler (the guy who coined the term serial killer and started the behavioral sciences unit at the FBI and spent years interview in killers in prison) stated in his books that the costs were up to twice as expensive to kill a person as to keep them in prison for life due to all the court costs for appeals, etc. Other research I've looked at has been similar. So, yes, the cost argument is unpersuasive.

    While I see some on this thread state that since they've been victimized they have the right opinion, just because you've had terrible things happen to you doesn't make your opinion more valid, although I am sorry that you past had been marred.

    Sorry, but if anyone innocent has been executed, then we can't in good conscience keep the system. And there have been numerous cases of innocent people executed. If you can honestly tell me that this is acceptable so the really bad guys also get it, you have lost your moral compass and are too focused on revenge and emotions. Justice is supposed to be logical, not emotional.

    The death penalty is not a deterrent in the vast majority of cases, it only makes people who wouldn't kill less likely to kill. Anyone who commits a crime justifies it in their own head. If you are able to rationalize killing someone, the death penalty is not going to deter you if you are that far over the line. It's like getting your hand cut off for stealing: no one who is going to obey the law would do it, but a starving man has justified it in their minds, or a person who just wants what they want whatever the cost.

    I get that some want the death penalty. I happen to disagree based on cost and the fact that innocents have been unjustly killed, and I can't fathom that being acceptable. However, you have the right to your opinion. Just don't try saying yours is more right because you want vengeance.

    oh, and for those quoting Jesus: I'm pretty sure he would say grace is the most important thing.

    While I don't love the idea of people who have killed living on and possibly escaping, the time gives more time for additional proof to come up, and they are removed from society. And if you want to cut costs, stop giving them video game systems and cable....

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 3:41am

    Re:

    "Want to know what a society becomes when you remove such punishments?"

    Norway? Canada? Finland? France? Germany? Ireland? Iceland? Hungary? Greece? Italy? Luxembourg? Monaco? Malta? Poland? Spain? Sweden? Switzerland? The UK?

    You know, essentially the entire industrialized world, other than us and China?

    "I find it deplorable that Mr. Geigner would make such a comment about capital punishment because it sounds like he's never been on the receiving end of such violent crimes."

    First off, you're wrong about that. Secondly, even if you were right, so what? So we're going to leave the question of whether the state should murder in the name of ALL its citizens up to only those people who have been violent crime victims? I'm sorry you were a victim, but that has nothing to do with capital punishment, which is murder in the name of the citizenry.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re:

    Arguably, that same experiment is being run here in the United States all day every day, where the thugs, bullies and cowards on numerous police departments conduct summary executions without even giving the defendants the benefit of due process, then attempt to cover up their torture and murder by lying and destroying evidence.

     

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    Tom Wiliams, May 21st, 2014 @ 4:22am

    I too believe that there are crimes that should be punished by death and people who are so "evil" that their existence should be ended - abruptly, harshly, and publicly. I also believe that there should be 100% unquestionable proof that these people are guilty of these crime(s) before they can be put to death - none of this beyond a reasonable doubt crap.

    That said, what appalls me about our society and our justice system is the absurdity of what is considered too inhumane for those convicted of crimes. Why is it considered cruel and unusual punishment for an inmate to perform hard physical labor but it's accepted, even expected, that so many poor Americans work that hard just to survive day to day? That is one of the many, confusing, double standards that our society when it comes to our justice system.

    We need to hit criminals hard and fast, from their first crime, at their earliest years. A young person is rarely caught during the commission of their first crime, rarely punished the first time they are caught, and rarely punished quickly and harshly when they are a career criminal convicted of heinous crimes. Is it no wonder that children, future criminals, find that crime pays - especially when the time they eventually serve is easier than the life they might have outside of a cell and struggling to survive?

    I say we give every prison, every juvenile detention center, a huge rock pile and a stack of sledge hammers. Days are spent in hard labor, nights are for resting or self improvement. Take away the televisions and the comforts, but keep the books and libraries, and we make every criminal - from those just starting out to those who can't help but remain one - dread every day of their existence on those rock piles. The smart ones, those who make foolish mistakes of youth, will learn and not be back. The stupid ones, the evil ones, and so on... they'll have a hard, hard, life in those prison walls - but nothing harder than we'd mind them doing for a minimum wage living outside the walls.

     

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    Wolfgang, May 21st, 2014 @ 5:20am

    Re: Re: Obviously, Timothy Geigner has never been the victim of a crime

    If that is a reference to Gandhi he was no great person. I know several people from India who all agree he was a bad person who molested young girls.

     

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    Paul Renault (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 5:21am

    Re:

    .. because if you remove the threat of that particular form of punishment, then you have criminals who will wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts.

    Do you mean like how much the murder rate shot up when it was abolished in Canada? In case you're wondering, capital punishment in Canada was abolished in 1976. Go take a look at that graph again.

    Further, the homicide rate in Canada is roughly half that of the USA. Explain me that!

    A similiar declining homicide rate is happening in the USA. Contrary to Mr. Tanaka's claims, when you compare US states with and without, capital punishment is a very poor deterrent.

    But, heck, why let statistics stand in the way of an unsupported claims, eh?

     

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    The Wanderer (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re:

    Excellently said.

    I would argue that capital punishment is appropriate in exactly three scenarios:

    * When the nature of the crime is such that the possibility of a repeat performance cannot be countenanced, and when no other means of preventing that person from continuing to commit such crimes is expected to be effective. (E.g. a psychopathic killer who has demonstrated the ability to escape from any confinement. Think supervillains if necessary.)

    * When it is less cruel than all other available options. (Life in some prisons might be considered worse than a quick death. The prospective executee might need to agree about this, in any given case, for it to qualify.)

    * When A: the nature of the crime is such that the possibility of a repeat performance cannot be countenanced, B: execution is more cost-effective in terms of available resources than any other option that is likely to be effective, and C: the necessary resources for any other option - including delay, in hopes of gaining access to either more resources or better options - cannot be spared. (I don't have a handy example for this one, but the example situations I envision involve wartime or post-apocalyptic scenarios.)

    None of these scenarios are likely to occur often, if at all, in the real world - particularly not in a relatively wealthy, and presumably relatively civilized, society such as that of the USA (or any other "First World" nation).

     

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    Michael, May 21st, 2014 @ 5:58am

    Death Penalty

    I'll add some controversy here. I am also against the death penalty. Not completely for reasons of morality, but also because it doesn't work.

    That being said, I think if the death penalty is to be employed, it should not be clinical and hidden as we do it now. Executions should be public, horrific for the onlookers (hopefully painless for the one being executed though), and viewing them should be mandatory (like break out a school assembly to watch them on TV). If we are going to be a society that feels there is justification for putting someone to death, we have a responsibility to make the situation real and personal for us all.

     

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  36. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 5:58am

    Re:

    Obviously, Timothy Geigner has never been the victim of a crime.....

    That's not true. He has been ass-raped in nearly every debate he gets in to here on TD.

     

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    known coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 6:01am

    Several european drug manufactures will not sell the ingredients to the death cocktail to the states in order to prevent cruelty.

    http://www.euronews.com/2014/04/22/us-drug-shortage-could-change-death-penalty/

    that makes the state come up with their own cocktails to kill these people, which results in needless cruelty to the victims’ as the new concoctions y are not as painless nor efficent. I think the law of unintended consequences applies here.

    The state is trying to hide the ingredients so they can continue to execute people without outside interference.

     

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  38.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re:

    "He has been ass-raped in nearly every debate he gets in to here on TD."

    ......such as?

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 6:27am

    Re:

    We need to hit criminals hard and fast, from their first crime, at their earliest years. A young person is rarely caught during the commission of their first crime, rarely punished the first time they are caught, and rarely punished quickly and harshly when they are a career criminal convicted of heinous crimes.


    Gotta agree... we here in the US don't put nearly enough people in prison.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 7:02am

    Re: Botched?

    @ btr-

    fuck yeah !
    they should have beat the shit out of him first, then rubbed salt in the wounds, and then let all the schoolkids come by with baseball bats and wail on him, then everybody should have stood around and pissed and spit on him, then they should stick icepicks in his head until he is daid, Daid, DAID ! ! !

    *THAT* will show that retard that we are the most just, wise, and civilizedest psychopathic society EVAH ! ! !

    THE STATE killing killers to 'teach' that killing is wrong...
    never ceases to amaze...

    ...not to mention, a mentally deficient POOR (i'm guessing blackish, just a wild-ass guess) person gets the needle, while a white rich puke who murdered someone AT LEAST avoids the death penalty... no, no injustice there...

    ...not to mention, some guy murders ONE person YOU probably think 'deserves' death, anyway, and you are in full-throated blood lust... some guy (say, a President, or mercenary, er, military droid, whatever) MURDERS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS to millions, and we yawn...

    um, did you ever consider that how you are prioritizing these two crimes is massively fucked up ? ? ?

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    @ stone cold kenichi-

    you know, i used to think like this when i was 10-12 years old, then i grew up...

     

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  42.  
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    ChrisB (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 7:14am

    Re: Death Penalty

    I have a morality problem with executions. The man pulling the switch is a murderer, and is going to hell. It is as simple as that. And appeals to authority ("I was just doing my job") don't work, because that would allow any member of a repressive regime to disgustingly claim the same.

    Killing someone, not in self defence, is wrong.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:07am

    Re: Botched?

    So torturing people to death now qualifies as "justice", then?

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    "I find it deplorable that Mr. Geigner would make such a comment about capital punishment because it sounds like he's never been on the receiving end of such violent crimes."

    I've been the victim of violent crime, and I agree with Mr. Geigner.

     

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    Trails (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Obviously, Timothy Geigner has never been the victim of a crime

    Yes because 2000 years ago was a lovely, peaceable time, where children wore rainbow smiles and danced in gumdrop hats, laughing and playing.

    It wasn't at all a time of desperation and darkness wherein people starved and murdered and were executed in the most heinous ways imaginable.

    Let's rely on a moldy old book for our morales, and claim that it's the word of God, eventhough it's been revised more times than that Star Wars scene with Han and Greedo.

     

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    Trails (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:14am

    Re:

    The cost thing never holds up. It's cheaper to imprison for life than put to death. There are countless studies demonstrating this.

     

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    Trails (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Obviously, Timothy Geigner has never been the victim of a crime

    Aside, that moldy 2000 year old book says "Thou shall not kill".

    So which is it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Botched?

    Ask the CIA and let me know what they say.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your stupid insistence the Redskins change their name, for starters.

     

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    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:30am

    Re: firestorm

    While I personally don't care one way or the other about "hot button" issues such as the death penalty (or guns/abortions/flag-burning/etc) since it's a distraction from real issues

    Whether and how our society kills people is a fake issue?

    Any chemicals in the person's body will eventually end up in the groundwater (or in the air if cremated).

    The quantity of chemicals from executed people is insignificant. The whole thing would be overwhelmed by a single industrial accident.

     

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    Rekrul, May 21st, 2014 @ 8:36am

    In my opinion, the death penalty serves the purpose of removing a dangerous predator from the world. Sure, you can keep them locked up for life, but is that really more humane? Plus, that carries the risk that they'll kill other inmates.

    The part I don't understand is why we have to keep coming up with complicated and costly methods of execution when a quick and painless method has existed for hundreds of years: The bullet.

    I hate to list China as a good example of anything, but at least they handle executions right. A bullet to the back of the head means instant death. The condemned doesn't have time to physically suffer and any mental suffering wouldn't be any worse than with any other execution method. If there's a problem with actually having someone pull the trigger, I'm sure the government could come up with a ridiculously expensive and overly complicated device to fire the gun.

     

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    Dreddsnik, May 21st, 2014 @ 8:38am

    Re:

    "it has yet to prevent murder, rape, or any other crime in the long run. " Really ? How do you know this ? By what means have you determined this ? Crystal Ball ? Tea Leaves ? If someone changes their mind and does not commit a crime because of the potential for a death sentence you will never know it because no crime has been committed. The only thing you are seeing is that some people will still commit certain crimes no matter what the punishment. There is no proof OR disproof of the effectiveness of capital punishment in your observation. Just an opinion. Opinions aren't evidence.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re:

    "If someone changes their mind and does not commit a crime because of the potential for a death sentence you will never know it because no crime has been committed."

    Not true. The assertion can be checked by looking at comparative statistics. In places where there was a death penalty that was later removed (or vice versa), differences in crime rates can be observed. Looking at many such instances increases the confidence that the correlations are due to causation.

    It is my understanding (although I don't actually know, as I've not looked at the studies myself) that the existence of a death penalty has little, if any, effect on the rate of violent crime.

     

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  54.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:06am

    Re: preventing executions the wrong way?

    "If you don't like what the government is doing, change the government."

    Agreed. But there are many paths up that mountain, and most of them do not start with "change the law" because absent any other force, that's impossible.

     

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  55.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:08am

    Re: firestorm

    "how can we be certain that the execution substances are environmentally "friendly"?"

    I think that's a silly concern. There aren't enough executions for the environmental "friendliness" to be a real worry. If we do start having that many executions, then we have much larger problems than environmental ones.

     

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  56.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    "We need to hit criminals hard and fast, from their first crime, at their earliest years."

    Not if your goal is to actually reduce criminality. That level of retribution has never worked in the past, why would it start working now?

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 9:11am

    Re:

    "Capital Punishment should be ever present in every state in this country because if you remove the threat of that particular form of punishment, then you have criminals who will wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts."

    It's difficult to believe that anyone is actually stupid enough to believe this and to write it in public in 2014.
    By your insanely idiotic logic:

    We execute spies, therefore there is no spying.

    We execute war criminals, therefore there are no war crimes.

    We execute murderers, therefore there is no murder.

    I suggest that you STFU and let the grown-ups discuss matters far beyond your inferior comprehension. When you achieve an acceptable level of sentience, you MAY be permitted to speak: until then, you should be silent, as your mindless babbling is annoying to your superiors.

     

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  58.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    One of the things I find totally baffling about how states do executions is that they use drugs or chemical for it in the first place. It seems to me that a bullet to the back of the head is more certain, faster, and more humane than any of that nonsense.

     

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  59.  
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    Uriel-238 (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:12am

    To be fair...

    ...if we kill all potential criminals, we will absolutely eliminate crime.

     

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  60.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    "In my opinion, the death penalty serves the purpose of removing a dangerous predator from the world. Sure, you can keep them locked up for life, but is that really more humane?"

    This is a point I struggle with. If the choice is between killing someone or keeping them imprisoned for the rest of their lives, it seems to me that killing them is the more humane of the two options.

    The problem with that is that killing them can't be undone. Since people on death row are routinely later found to be innocent of the crimes they were convicted of (both before and after they've been executed), this is a really huge problem -- and is one of the primary reasons I oppose the death penalty.

     

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  61.  
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    Dreddsnik, May 21st, 2014 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I don't actually know, as I've not looked at the studies myself) that the existence of a death penalty has little, if any, effect on the rate of violent crime."

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not attempting to troll you or bust your chops over this. It's just that these ( it doesn't deter anything ) arguments have always bothered me.

    You see, similarly, not one thing has ever deterred any type of crime. Maybe, just maybe, reduced it, but not provable in any case. This seems to suggest if punishment has no effect, then why bother to punish anyone, and that's what prison is .. punishment. Ok, death penalty deters nothing. Neither does life in prison.Why bother with either since neither really deters anyone ?

    "Not true. The assertion can be checked by looking at comparative statistics."

    Ok. Produce some. I'm willing to bend .. always. You made the assertion. Let me know what you find. ;)

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Produce what? I've made no assertions that I need to support (except for the assertion that statistical analysis is a thing.)

     

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  63.  
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    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This seems to suggest if punishment has no effect, then why bother to punish anyone, and that's what prison is .. punishment.

    There are three possible reasons to imprison or execute someone. Deterrence, punishment, and prevention. I don't remember the right word for the third one, but that is the idea that someone can't commit crimes while he's in prison. In reality, that's not quite true, but that's the idea.

     

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    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re:

    If the choice is between killing someone or keeping them imprisoned for the rest of their lives, it seems to me that killing them is the more humane of the two options.

    I understand that actual prisoners disagree - that almost 100% prefer life in prison over death.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You, and everyone advocating for capital punishment, have left out the most important one: rehabilitation. The best result would be to take a criminal and cause them to not commit crimes any longer. Punishment for punishment's sake is just silly and does nothing beneficial for society as a whole. Rehabilitation, on the other hand, has benefits to society to numerable to even list.

    That capital punishment is the direct antithesis of rehabilitation is all the proof I need to know it's stupid and should never be done.

     

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    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You, and everyone advocating for capital punishment, have left out the most important one: rehabilitation.

    A) Just to be clear, I'm not advocating for capital punishment. B) I left out rehabilitation because that is not a possible reason to execute someone, and it is clearly not an effect that the US prison system as it presently exists generally has on its inmates. So it would make no sense to argue that we imprison people for rehabilitation.

    With that said, does anyone know if there is some society that has figured out how to rehabilitate criminals? Because it sure isn't Murica.

     

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  67.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That may be (I don't know). I was expressing my own opinion, not representing others.

     

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  68.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hmmm, I don't see where he even had his ass handed to him on that issue, let alone getting ass-raped.

     

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  69.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 10:45am

    Re: firestorm

    "Wow, this topic has stirred up quite a firestorm"

    Not a firestorm, a lively debate. This is actually surprising me in that it generally lacks the tirades, abusive language, ad homs, etc. that I would have expected. Instead, it's actually a debate! It's wonderful to see.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Southern State with lots of asshole Republicans and sold-out Bible Thumping DINO's.
    Red States are where the most poor live.The most ignorant and uninformed live.
    Killing a man who is obviously totally mentally ill as in Retarded low IQ level medically ill.
    And in those Red States they will do their best to not give him a Medical Mentally Ill Sentence they will just kill him off.
    Very sad News..........story on this whole Case is a story that will get you very angry.If you have any compassion in your heart at all.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because I didn't. But I suppose it's very easy for the ignorant to declare victory and then rely on that declaration to declare victory later....

     

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    btr1701 (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Botched?

    > It was botched because it ended up being cruel
    > and unusual

    Whether it was cruel is debateable, but it certainly was not unusual. And since the Constitution prohibits punishments that are "cruel *and* unusual", not "cruel *or* unusual", it has to be both, not just one or the other, to be a violation of the Constitution.

    In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a method of execution that has been so rarely performed throughout human history that it would qualify as "unusual". Perhaps ejection into outer space? That's about all the comes to readily to mind.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > You, and everyone advocating for capital
    > punishment, have left out the most important
    > one: rehabilitation. The best result would be
    > to take a criminal and cause them to not
    > commit crimes any longer.

    Some people cannot be rehabilitated. Literally. Psychopaths are what they are. Psychopathy is a function of biology. Something missing in the brain from birth. No drug, no therapy, no surgery, no amount of love and support can "cure" them. Not all criminals are psychopaths and not all pyschopaths become killers or even criminals-- indeed, many lead very successful lives as doctors and corporate executives, and attorneys, etc.-- but for the ones who do kill, there is no rehabilitating them. You can either lock them away forever or execute them (if their crime warrants it), but don't pretend that you can ever put them back in society without negative consequence.

     

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    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Some people cannot be rehabilitated. Literally. Psychopaths are what they are.

    Criminal psychopaths are such a microscopic part of the criminal justice problems in this country that they're barely even worth mentioning, if that. You could probably lock them all up in one supermax prison with plenty of room left over.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, May 21st, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    Emotionally manipulative nonsense

    I view most criminals as mentally inferior with added indignity that they probably had a rougher life than mine. That doesn't alter my view of them. Whether or not they deserve to die is completely independent of whether or not they have some pitiable condition that appeals to political correctness.

    Most criminal law is about punishing stupidity to begin with.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So for that incredibly tiny percentage of folks, you lock them away forever. Now that we've got that incredibly un-useful part of the argument out of the way, can we go back to dealing with the 99.9999% of the other criminals I was talking about rehabilitating?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Botched?

    Oklahomo violated the inmate's rights guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment, so yes, it was botched. It's not the government's job to violate peoples' civil rights; that's the job of criminals — though often, they are one and the same, as in this case.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Botched?

    Inflicting a prolonged heart attack is both cruel and unusual — there's nothing to debate.

     

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    Octavius Pusser, May 21st, 2014 @ 1:28pm

    When the state has some other means to protect its citizens then it seems clear enough that the death penalty is probably unwarranted. The case described here suggests that the state may actually lack those means in this instance.

    This person managed to commit a second murder while incarcerated for the first murder suggesting that the state very probably cannot protect its citizens -- either other inmates or prison personnel -- from this person.

    Also it's not clear from the quote if 'intellectually disabled' means 'unable to bear responsibility for his actions' or something less. But I'm not sure it would matter in this case. The established facts suggest that even incarceration is insufficient to prevent this person from harming others.

    I suppose some sort of extraordinary, Hannibal Lecter style containment facility might be constructed but it's probably a bad precedent, not to mention a political non-starter, to commit society to devise a customized containment scheme for every murderous wretch for whom ordinary imprisonment will not suffice.

    By contrast, the death penalty, in this case, may be the least bad option for all involved.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    I was the victim of a violent robbery, during which I was choked unconscious. If anything, it only strengthened my support for prison reform, and had no effect on my abhorrence of violence, especially violence committed by the state against its citizens (e.g., the death penalty, prison torture, etc.).

    That you can have you opinion inverted by merely experiencing an everyday occurrence (i.e., violent crime) for yourself suggests a profound lack of empathy, theory of mind, or adherence to moral and/or logical principles.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re:

    "Capital punishment has its place [...]"

    Capital punishment also has its time: back in the dark ages.

     

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Because apparently a bullet to the back of the head qualifies as cruel and unusual. That and there's this idea that we shouldn't put the executioner through such a traumatic experience of executing someone up close and personal via bullet to the skull.

    Although execution via bullet would be a hell of a lot cheaper than lethal injection (it's not like America's short on ammunition, after all). Plus there'd be no hassle trying to acquire the right drugs to make the 'most humane' killer cocktail either.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Even locking someone up in a supermax facility exposes other citizens (inmates, prison personnel, volunteers, delivery personnel, visitors, etc) to potential harm. These are people that the state has a positive duty to protect. Inmates are endlessly inventive when it comes to improvising weapons. This leaves few options at society's disposal when dealing with a particularly determined sort of prisoner. perhaps in such cases the death penalty is actually the least bad of all available options.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Botched?

    Answer me this though...

    Why do we kill people to show people that killing people is wrong and how does that make any sense whatsoever?

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re:

    You seem smart... Can you explain why it is that US states that kill their own citizens via capital punishment have higher per-capita violent crime/murder rates than those that do not?

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:19pm

    Re:

    "Southern State with lots of asshole Republicans and sold-out Bible Thumping DINO's."

    Oh, you don't like Republicans? Tell me more...

    "Red States are where the most poor live."

    So red states are bad because the poor live there? Actually, the data suggests that income inequality is greatest in blue states like California and New York because of the concentration of wealthy people in those states. This also implies poorer poor people in blue states.

    "The most ignorant and uninformed live."

    Actually... http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/10/15/some-data-on-education-religiosity-ideology-and-sci ence-comp.html

    "Killing a man who is obviously totally mentally ill as in Retarded low IQ level medically ill."

    We don't know this for certain and even if we did this man -- whatever his mental state -- has killed two persons. One while imprisoned and under the watchful eye of the state.

    "And in those Red States they will do their best to not give him a Medical Mentally Ill Sentence they will just kill him off."

    The question is what the state can do to fulfill its obligation to protect its citizens which includes other inmates, prison personnel, medical personnel, visitors, repair personnel, volunteers, etc. It is not clear that this man poses no further danger to these people whatever his mental state may be.

    "Very sad News.........."

    Yes.

    "this whole Case is a story that will get you very angry.If you have any compassion in your heart at all."

    Well, spare a bit of that compassion for the people who will have to look after this person for the rest of his life in prison. They have lives and families and just like the rest of the state has some obligation to protect them from harm. This is not an easy case in either direction.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You apparently don't know what a supermax prison is, or how they operate.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Capital punishment doesn't have a place in civil society other than to undo civility. Our system is supposed to be a system of justice not of revenge. If you will, take all of the charged emotion out of the issue and look at it logically. Within every person at any time in their lifetime exists the potential for having either a positive or negative impact on society. When a violent crime has been committed by an individual against others in society, that individual has left a negative impact on society. Capital punishment does nothing to offset that negative impact. At best it could be said that it limits the potential negative impact that the individual can have in the future. However, it also cuts off any possibility of the individual having any positive impact in the future, leaving a negative sum gain permanently. There has to be a better way.

    People who commit and are convicted of violent crimes automatically forfeit some of their rights as a result. I think a system where inmates are required to work to produce goods to help the underprivileged in society (ie: growing food to go to food banks or producing clothing to provide for people in homeless shelters), in order to receive their daily sustenance would be a much better system. In this case what you would have is a system where you take the source of the negative impact and leverage that potential to produce an offsetting positive impact in the future in a very controlled way without the state committing one of the very same act to punish people for committing and pretending that somehow it makes it ok for the state to do it when it wasn't for the individual.

     

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  89.  
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    Uriel-238 (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 2:41pm

    Protecting citizens, Rehab, et. al.

    When the state has some other means to protect its citizens then it seems clear enough that the death penalty is probably unwarranted. The case described here suggests that the state may actually lack those means in this instance.

    You raise a noteworthy point Octavius Pusser, Hill was in Lee Correctional when he killed Handspike, which is not a supermax facility (though it is "Maximum Security") but has a history problems, featuring two partial uprisings, three hostage situations and four uncontrolled fights in the last few years. To say the state lacks the means to protect its citizens in this case could be used as an argument to execute all the inmates of Lee Correctional, but in doing so we're blaming the inmates on being too unruly, rather than the state in being too neglectful regarding actually containing them.

    Also it's not clear from the quote if 'intellectually disabled' means 'unable to bear responsibility for his actions' or something less.

    In this case it would be significant under Georgia law and affects the state's policy in regards to executing Hill, if it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Hill is mentally disabled. I don't know what "mentally disabled" means under Georgia law (it could mean he's retarded or that he's crazy or both). Nor do I know how the standard of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, which is usually applied to crimes, is achieved in establishing a human condition such as "mentally disabled." Regardless, it applies if it can be so proven.

    Even locking someone up in a supermax facility exposes other citizens (inmates, prison personnel, volunteers, delivery personnel, visitors, etc) to potential harm.

    It depends on the supermax and the prisoner. We tend to save the supermax experience not so much for inmates we can't handle but for inmates the state doesn't like very much (e.g. Snowden or Manning). It's not usually superviolent inmates that are a risk of escape or control, but ones who are exceedingly clever or can present the illusion of cooperation while still arranging for escape. And those people are subject to solitary confinement.

    We don't like putting people in solitary (again, unless some warden or politician really wants to make them suffer) because that will drive someone mad. But if someone does get out of hand, they will often lose their privileges to get to interact and mingle.

    In worst case scenarios, there's always the white room treatment in which the lights never go out and the inmate receives meals through a slot and the guard outside his (soundproof) door never talks to him, except once every three months when the place is cleaned. Again, that's more for people that someone big would rather was not acknowledged still exists. That's way beyond what Hill would get.

    Now that he's on death row, Hill is permanently in solitary.

    Some people cannot be rehabilitated. Literally. Psychopaths are what they are. Psychopathy is a function of biology...

    btr1701, psychopath is a justice-department catch-all term for super-crazy which means jack in the psychiatric sector. One might even argue that if someone qualifies as a psychopath they are eligible for an insanity plea, in which case the state is obligated to contain and try to rehabilitate them, or at least study them for the sake of behavior sciences (and learning to catch other psycho-killers). Classy Hannibal-Lechter-style psycho-monsters are a thing of fiction, and the FBI dreams of capturing and studying a Lechter. Those that get close are treasured by Quantico as study subjects, and most of them are rehabilitable in that they at least continue interacting with the world professionally or socially even if incarcerated (as Hannibal did, continuing to publish psychiatric articles while incarcerated).

    The psychiatric sector actually has an excellent record since the nineties of reducing crime committed due to the crazy, usually by providing resources for people to manage their madness long before they are driven to do something as extreme as murder. Of course some people slip through, and a tiny few go on to become serial killers (or sexual killers on the other side of the pond). But those are not what are filling up our maximum security prisons, and the ones that are on death row are few enough that we know their names them and collect their bubble-gum cards.

    We can rehabilitate most dangerous criminals. The thing is, most of the time we don't even try. Instead we stick them in these monstrous facilities where they are abused by cops and inmates alike. And in most states "rehabilitation" is dropped not in the hands of the psychiatrists, but religious ministers who are more interested in saving their souls than their minds.


    As of this posting I have not received a US National Security Letter or any classified gag order from an agent of the United States
    This post does not contain an encrypted secret message
    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 2:34:41 PM
    spoon submarine grease frog spy chewing gum word massage

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Even locking someone up in a supermax facility exposes other citizens (inmates, prison personnel, volunteers, delivery personnel, visitors, etc) to potential harm."

    Do you know what the percentage of supermax prisoners have not only escaped, but gone on to commit another violent offense, is? Neither do I, but I know it's so laughably small that it's obviously an acceptable risk when weighed against the far larger percentage of deathrow inmates we've put to death. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that there's a larger percentage of deathrow inmates that have been exonerated on new evidence than supermax prisoners that have broken out of prison. So if you're suggesting one of us is putting innocent people in danger of death, I think you might be guilty of your own accusation....

    "These are people that the state has a positive duty to protect."

    Excuse the fuck out of me for saying the easily kicked unpopular thing, but the State has a duty to protect ALL citizens basic rights, and that damned well includes the imprisoned.

    "Inmates are endlessly inventive when it comes to improvising weapons."

    And yet they're apparently terrible at killing people, seeing as the national murder rate in prison is 3 per 100,000. Washington D.C. is literally 6 times higher. Than prison. Where are the prisoners are. Try fucking again.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/06/murder_rate_in_prison_is_it_ safer_to_be_jailed_than_free.html

    "This leaves few options at society's disposal when dealing with a particularly determined sort of prisoner."

    All kinds of industrialized societies, which I've mentioned above, deal with this just fine. Where's that American exceptionalism when you need it?

    "perhaps in such cases the death penalty is actually the least bad of all available options."

    Yeah, not even close, since your entire premise was a house of cards to begin with....

     

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  91.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: There once was another man who walked the Earth

    +1 Insightful to you.

    Well said.

     

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  92.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Capital punishment doesn't have a place in civil society other than to undo civility. Our system is supposed to be a system of justice not of revenge. If you will, take all of the charged emotion out of the issue and look at it logically. Within every person at any time in their lifetime exists the potential for having either a positive or negative impact on society. When a violent crime has been committed by an individual against others in society, that individual has left a negative impact on society. Capital punishment does nothing to offset that negative impact. At best it could be said that it limits the potential negative impact that the individual can have in the future. However, it also cuts off any possibility of the individual having any positive impact in the future, leaving a negative sum gain permanently. There has to be a better way."

    I love this argument so much, I want it to meet another awesome argument so that it can have little baby arguments and so on. In the meantime, enjoy a first word....

     

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  93.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm with on this one, even though I think your off base on the Redskins thing. :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I've made it here before. It was a long time ago but I do remember making it. :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Excuse the fuck out of me for saying the easily kicked unpopular thing, but the State has a duty to protect ALL citizens basic rights, and that damned well includes the imprisoned."

    That's what I wrote: the state has a duty to protect other prisoners.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Because it is messier really is the only reason I can see for the shifts to electric chair and lethal injection. Plus the history associated with firing squads, like mass summary execution.

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Do you know what the percentage of supermax prisoners have not only escaped, but gone on to commit another violent offense, is? Neither do I, but I know it's so laughably small that it's obviously an acceptable risk when weighed against the far larger percentage of deathrow inmates we've put to death. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that there's a larger percentage of deathrow inmates that have been exonerated on new evidence than supermax prisoners that have broken out of prison. So if you're suggesting one of us is putting innocent people in danger of death, I think you might be guilty of your own accusation...."

    No, I don't know. I didn't suggest that a breakout was likely. I suggested the people that are at risk are people that are either other prisoners, work at the prison, volunteer at the prison, visit people at the prison, or do business with the prison. In this specific case we are talking about a prisoner who managed to murder a fellow inmate. So there is some risk - I'm not sure how big but as we are discussing the trade-offs involved it seems relevant.

    "Excuse the fuck out of me for saying the easily kicked unpopular thing, but the State has a duty to protect ALL citizens basic rights, and that damned well includes the imprisoned."

    Read more carefully. That's what I said.

    And yet they're apparently terrible at killing people, seeing as the national murder rate in prison is 3 per 100,000. Washington D.C. is literally 6 times higher. Than prison. Where are the prisoners are. Try fucking again."

    Well, you would expect it to be lower where they are supervised, restricted in their travels, and have difficulty obtaining weapons. The point I am limiting myself to is that there may be some prisoners who, despite all the efforts of the state, still pose a threat to those around them. If that is the case, then under that very narrow set of circumstances the death penalty may be moral.


    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/06/murder_rate_in_prison_is_it_ safer_to_be_jailed_than_free.html

    "This leaves few options at society's disposal when dealing with a particularly determined sort of prisoner."

    "All kinds of industrialized societies, which I've mentioned above, deal with this just fine. Where's that American exceptionalism when you need it?"

    Actually, those other industrialized societies"Inmates are endlessly inventive when it comes to improvising weapons." are just accepting a different set of trade-offs. I'm not arguing for the status quo. I stated that the state may only resort to the death penalty when it is unable to fulfill its positive obligation to protect its citizens. In that category I included prison personnel and other prisoners both of whom deserve the full protection of the state.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re:

    It got worse even. If execution was a risk might as well go for broke. Hence "May as well be hanged for a sheep as lamb." Not to mention desperate criminals have more reason to fight back. If someone sees you picking pockets well better stab him to death for self preservation purposes.

     

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    Octavius Pusser, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Protecting citizens, Rehab, et. al.

    "To say the state lacks the means to protect its citizens in this case could be used as an argument to execute all the inmates of Lee Correctional, but in doing so we're blaming the inmates on being too unruly, rather than the state in being too neglectful regarding actually containing them."

    Or, more reasonably we could stop incarcerating people for ridiculous drug offenses.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re: Botched?

    Crap. I messed up the question. It should be...

    Why do we kill people who kill people to show people that killing people is wrong and how does that make any sense whatsoever?

     

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  101.  
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    JMT (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Botched?

    "Since Lockett ended up dead, it doesn't seem to me the execution was botched. A botched execution would have left the inmate alive."

    Stupid semantics. You know exactly what was meant by 'botched'. I'm pretty sure if a plane you were on landed hard enough to rip off the wheels and wings off you'd describe it as a botched landing, despite the fact that you have in fact landed.

    "And personally, when it comes to Lockett, I care more about the woman he raped, shot, then buried alive, than whether he experienced some discomfort during his well-deserved punishment."

    Nobody's asking you to care as much for him as his victim, but you should care that the standards we've set as a civilised society were not met. The reason we say capital punishment should not involve suffering is that a soon as you allow some suffering the question immediately becomes how much suffering is ok. That's not a road we should ever decide to go down.

     

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  102.  
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    JMT (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 6:23pm

    Re:

    "I find it deplorable that Mr. Geigner would make such a comment about capital punishment because it sounds like he's never been on the receiving end of such violent crimes."

    Most people in the US have not seen the victim of violent crime. Does that mean you'd find it deplorable if all those people wanted to express an opinion on the topic?

    "Capital Punishment should be ever present in every state in this country because if you remove the threat of that particular form of punishment, then you have criminals who will wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts."

    So there's nobody in Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan or Somalia who wantonly go out and commit unspeakable acts? Really?

    "Want to know what a society becomes when you remove such punishments? Ask the woman who set her daughter's rapist on fire because the police wouldn't do their job."

    Nice example with no source, but if the police had "done their job" then the rapist would be in jail. The issue of capital punishment is irrelevant.

     

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  103.  
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    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Although execution via bullet would be a hell of a lot cheaper than lethal injection (it's not like America's short on ammunition, after all).

    The cost of executing someone is not because the drugs are expensive.

     

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    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Even locking someone up in a supermax facility exposes other citizens (inmates, prison personnel, volunteers, delivery personnel, visitors, etc) to potential harm.

    You may have missed the point. My point is not that supermax prisons are the answer. In fact, I could have said "elementary school" instead of "supermax prison" and made the exact same point. My point is that when considering the issues of prisons and executions in the US, dangerous psychopaths are not even on the radar screen of significant problems.

     

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    Uriel-238 (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: Protecting citizens, Rehab, et. al.

    Or, more reasonably we could stop incarcerating people for ridiculous drug offenses.

    Much as I find our jailing for ridiculous drug offenses outrageous, I'd find it more so if such convicts are winding up in a maximum security facility such as Lee Correctional.

    Of course, it might be that they've run out of places to put them. Here in California, most of our prisons have turned even the kitchens into dormitories.

     

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  106.  
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    ethorad (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 12:58am

    Re: re: preventing executions the wrong way?

    Wow, advocating following the anti-abortion crowd as a model of trying to change policy? You are aware that the bombing of abortion centres etc are acts of terrorism, right?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence

    There are plenty of ways to change the government without resorting to terrorist actions, as carried out by some anti-abortion and animal rights groups. Look to people like Rosa Parks and MLK Jr in the US for example. Nobody said it would be easy to change the government - and sometimes you have to acknowledge that in a democracy you don't always get your own way.

    (acknowledging your point questioning how democratic the US and various other "democracies" really are at this point in time)

     

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  107.  
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    GEMont, May 22nd, 2014 @ 3:50am

    1 dead bad guy saves 100 lives

    If you gotta kill people for being anti-social, the very least you could do is anesthetize them, drain their blood for the blood bank while they are unconscious, so they pretty much die in their sleep, and then dissect them into parts usable by hospitals as organ and tissue transplants.

    Cooking them or poisoning them is about as stupid as arresting and incarcerating folks for inhaling the smoke from burning plants.

    It does seem that humans will always find the least effective and dumbest way to do almost anything.

    GEM's Axiom: When it comes to human society, if something can be done in the worst way possible, it will be institutionalized as the right way to do it.

     

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    Uriel-238 (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 4:12am

    Re: Re: Botched?

    Since Donald Rumsfeld's tenure as George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense, I don't believe that any longer counts as torture.

     

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    Uriel-238 (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re: re: preventing executions the wrong way?

    Wow, ethorad, I didn't expect to be accused of advocating terrorism. Perhaps I can shed some light on what I meant.

    First off, I used the anti-abortion crowd as an example because you already referred to it, but as I don't agree with them at all, I don't want to confuse the issue by suggesting they do anything right (I'm really rather pro-abortion-access, pro-birth-control-access, and pro-reproductive-health-access) so let me choose a group that used similar tactics (that is, operated outside of petitioning their legislators for redress of grievances)

    How about the American Colonial Independence crowd in the 18th century. They engaged in a lot of social impropriety and civil disobedience, sometimes even resorting to acts of violence.

    Now the term terrorism is a bit loaded a term these days. When I was younger, terrorism referred to those violent acts that are intended to create fear (terror) [that] are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal. nowadays, terrorism also refers to teenagers being confrontational with parents or authority figures, so I'd really rather avoid the term, though you are right in that some anti-abortion activists commit acts of violence or vandalism including assassination in order to scare people from performing or having abortions, which fits older definitions of terrorism. Under new definitions, trying to create change through activism, say by pressuring representatives or by pressuring jurists to accept and pass judgement regarding relevant legal disputes may also count as terrorism in the new order, since these behaviors are outside the realm of civil compliance.

    Considering the state of affairs here in the United States, I don't think there is much that can be done about the continuance of capital punishment policy. But I think there are higher priorities that are related such as (for starters):

    ~ A justice system that, as it currently is, openly regards law-enforcement and elite citizens differently than the rest of us schlubs.

    ~ A justice system in which the blue code of silence is endemic, the practice of "testilying" among law-enforcement officers is common practice, and jurists are complicit in both practices, sometimes colluding with Law Enforcement Officers and prosecution in order to force a conviction regardless of the facts.

    ~ A legislative system that now has a demonstrable record of being disinterested in policy that better serves the nation or the public in preference to policy that serves special interests and corporations that finance them.

    These are all problems that need to be addressed before it is worth considering capital punishment laws. And none of these issues will be changed through proper channels such as petitioning our representatives for redress of grievances.

    I recall Jack Kennedy saying something about what happens when peaceful revolution becomes impossible, but what he specifically said eludes me at this moment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2014 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There are two primary reasons why rehabilitation isn't the norm. First, it's hard. To effectively rehabilitate a person, you first have to recognize and address the issues that lead to the behavior in the first place. Much of the time the behavior is the result of a lot of built up and deeply seated anger and fear as a result of very complex socio-economic issues persisting over many years and a lack of constructive means to deal with those problems. Second, it would be very expensive, and since we have handed over much of our prison systems to private corporations that care more about their bottom line than actually solving any of the problems plaguing society, it's no shock that very little is being done in that arena. What is being done is largely done by non-profit organizations that largely lack the resources to reach any level of scale that is significantly effective.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2014 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: There once was another man who walked the Earth

    Christians to the lions!

     

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  112.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think a system where inmates are required to work to produce goods to help the underprivileged in society (ie: growing food to go to food banks or producing clothing to provide for people in homeless shelters), in order to receive their daily sustenance would be a much better system.

    ...
    ...
    I'm just a little bit stunned by that idea.

    Did you seriously just say that you want to take convicted murderers and put them in charge of producing food for people?

    I'm sorry, but that's sheer insanity. Clothing, maybe, but if I was running a food bank I couldn't trust anything that came from a murderer to be safe to eat!

     

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  113.  
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    nasch (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did you seriously just say that you want to take convicted murderers and put them in charge of producing food for people?

    1. a small percentage of inmates are murderers
    2. of the murderers, most of them are not the deranged type that would poison a stranger's food for no reason
    3. that is not the biggest problem with this scheme

    The biggest problem, to me, is that you're taking jobs away from people willing to do them for money and giving them to prisoners to do for free (or for a pittance). Guess who benefits? Some combination of the for-profit prison system and the corporations that get the product of the prison labor. Who suffers? Unemployed people and everyone at the bottom of the wage scale, because wages are pushed down by this free/cheap labor. And with so many prisoners in the US, it could be a significant effect.

     

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    Uriel-238 (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 1:18pm

    Murderers with food, and work requirements.

    Thank you for making my point for me nasch, re: murderers contaminating food.

    I think a system where inmates are required to work to produce goods...in order to receive their daily sustenance would be a much better system.

    I hadn't read this before Anonymous Coward, and now I that see you made their daily sustenance contingent on it, I'm pretty certain that's a bad idea.

    Work requirements have a history of being easily abused in prison, and it's a problem since we started with the crank (which just scooped up sand and dropped it again) and the treadmill (which occasionally actually was connected to something productive. The notion was that so many spins (usually in the thousands) earned you a meal.

    It turns out then that some of the inmates would go for weeks without food.

    Think we're better today? Think again. Abuse of the inmates by prison management is endemic. They're just more sublime in the ways they seek to keep the inmates miserable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2014 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I never said you allow those goods on the open market for that very reason. For charitable use only, to programs that really have trouble affording the supplies they need to serve the people they are trying to help. Oh and also I forgot one thing when I first suggested it here. They also produce the food and clothing that the prison system uses to feed and clothe the inmates, lessening the tax burden on the rest of society. Mandating that they produce a surplus to give back to help those in need is also an important part too though.

     

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    nasch (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That may be (I don't know). I was expressing my own opinion, not representing others.

    I understand, I'm just saying it would be unethical for us as a society to decide that it's more humane to just execute people rather than imprison them for life, if the people in question would rather be imprisoned for life.

     

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    Anonymous, May 22nd, 2014 @ 3:12pm

    It seems to me that such a condition would be all the more reason to execute someone.

     

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    nasch (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I never said you allow those goods on the open market for that very reason.

    You can't help but do that, though, you can only make it less direct. There will be a certain amount of demand for food and clothing, including from prisoners. If you satisfy some of that demand via cheap or free prison labor, it reduces the market price of those goods. It doesn't matter whether that food feeds prisoners, homeless people, or grocery store customers, if it's food that would otherwise have been purchased in the open market (because the demand is there regardless of how it's satisfied), then using prison labor instead of market labor takes money away from the market workers and their employers.

    If there is a way to produce something that otherwise would not or could not be produced by the free market, then that would be a wonderful solution. But if not, then it's problematic. I'm not saying it's definitely the wrong thing to do, because it also has benefits, but it's problematic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  119.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 22nd, 2014 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: re: preventing executions the wrong way?

    "Acts of terrorism" only because the government calls it that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  120.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 22nd, 2014 @ 3:38pm

    Re: preventing executions the wrong way?

    I say ABOLISH the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 22nd, 2014 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re:

    That decision itself goes against the constitution, namely the "equal protection" clause. If one particular class of people is exempt from the death penalty while others are not, how does that not violate the equal protection clause?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 22nd, 2014 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So if one somehow escaped and killed your family, you'd consider that an acceptable risk, Timmy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123.  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    "Terrorism" is confusing

    "Acts of terrorism" only because the government calls it that.

    The government, and by the government I mean representatives and agents of the government speaking in official capacity to state the position of their respective departments, has expressed several conflicting opinions on how terrorism or an act of terrorism is defined, as well as whether or not a given incident would be considered an act of terrorism. Our government officials do like to call actions terrorism so much that it would be difficult for civilians to get through a day without engaging in such an act, much less trying to affect a change in our community for the better.

    Again I think that "terrorism" is a term we best avoid, especially when there are more precise terms (e.g. murder, assault, arson, vandalism, harassment, extortion, sabotage, and so on.) That way both the FBI and the Department of Defense will know what you are talking about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, actually. I'm happily willing to risk the safety of my family for, you know, what's RIGHT. That's what having convictions means, after all...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125.  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 7:30pm

    Family-murdering refugees

    Yeah, our record of prison escapes isn't particularly long considering the number of convicts.

    And then they tend to lie low. The number of refugees then going after families of journalists (or committing further murders at all) is extremely low. Your family is more threatened by your local vending machine.

    Or, heck, your local well-meaning law-enforcement officer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  126.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I understand that you cannot 100% guarantee that the goods do not end up on the open market, however, the government already places restrictions some items to limit their effect on the open market. For instance, you can purchase very cheap diesel fuel for use primarily in farm equipment only. The fuel comes specifically with a red dye in it so that it can be identified. If you are caught operating a vehicle with it on the roads, the fine is very substantial. Sure currently the food and clothing currently distributed by food banks and shelters ultimately has to be purchased on the open market by someone so there would be some effect, however I think that effect is acceptable given the overall benefit to society would by far outweigh the negative effect on the market. Food banks and shelters currently are unable to serve the need for their services due to funding constraints. Is the health of the market more important than meeting the needs of the people?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  127.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 23rd, 2014 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Food banks and shelters currently are unable to serve the need for their services due to funding constraints.

    I think that would be a great example of an appropriate use of prison labor. I can't say it would have no effect at all on the food market, but it would likely increase the total amount of food purchased, rather than shifting food purchases from the normal market to the prison market. It sounds to me like the benefits could far outweigh the costs. I hope that the people in charge of these systems are seeking out situations like that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  128.  
    identicon
    Within Reason, May 27th, 2014 @ 3:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Botched?

    Playing Devil's advocate here... why keep a dangerous rapist and murderer incarcerated in relative comfort till he dies of old age?

    What's the cost/benefit of that? Does it prove we're civilized or something? When do we let him out and how do we know he didn't get such a thrill out of raping the crap out of that poor woman before shooting and burying her alive that he can't wait to do it again?

    How do we keep an eye on him without violating his privacy rights to make sure he doesn't harm another human being if we do let him go?

    There are two sides to this debate, you know.

    I'm not comfortable with the death penalty, but the idea that there's some kind of zombie voodoo going on when a criminal is executed (horribly or not) is a straw man. Nobody is trying to bring anybody back, we just don't want the monster who murdered our loved one housed and fed on our dime for decades while our loved one rots in the ground... assuming we had a body to bury.

    Let's work that into the equation. When they're guilty as hell, what do we do then and how do we make it reasonable and fair?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  129.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Botched?

    Playing Devil's advocate here... why keep a dangerous rapist and murderer incarcerated in relative comfort till he dies of old age?

    What's the cost/benefit of that?


    Monetarily, it's more expensive to execute him. More importantly, it's clear now that "beyond reasonable doubt" ends up convicting innocent people, and that is enough reason to stop executing convicts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  130.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Botched?

    > Inflicting a prolonged heart attack is both
    > cruel and unusual — there's nothing to debate.

    Again, not unusual. It's been done often enough in the past.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  131.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Botched?

    > Nobody's asking you to care as much for
    > him as his victim, but you should care that
    > the standards we've set as a civilised society
    > were not met.

    I'm always amused how the anti-DP folks presume to decide for the rest of us the defnition of 'civilized society' and what does and does not make the cut.

    > The reason we say capital punishment should
    > not involve suffering

    You're delusional if you think you can ever make the DP suffering-free. If I told you that you're going to be executed tomorrow at noon, you'd likely spend the next 24 hours in a state of mental anguish. That's what is commonly known as suffering.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  132.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Criminal psychopaths are such a microscopic
    > part of the criminal justice problems in this
    > country that they're barely even worth mentioning

    Actually, psychopathy is quite common among the criminal population. Most are not serial killing cannibals; most are just run of the mill grifters, con men, theives, and burglars.

    I think a lot of people confuse 'psychopath' with 'psychotic'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  133.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > And yet they're apparently terrible at
    > killing people, seeing as the national
    > murder rate in prison is 3 per 100,000.
    > Washington D.C. is literally 6 times higher.
    > Than prison. Where are the prisoners are.
    > Try fucking again.

    LOL! No, that just means that Washington, DC is such an unadulterated cesspool that they've managed to outdo the murder rate of a state penitentiary.

    Why don't we be more honest about this and compare the murder rate in prison to a city that hasn't enjoyed the tender ministrations of Democrat social policies for 30 years? Try Dallas, Texas, or Mobile, Alabama, for example.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  134.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > can we go back to dealing with the 99.9999%
    > of the other criminals I was talking about
    > rehabilitating?

    Yes, we can get back to your fantasyland as soon as the next unicorn stops by to shuttle us there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  135.  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Psychopathy and Civilized Society

    Actually, psychopathy is quite common among the criminal population. Most are not serial killing cannibals; most are just run of the mill grifters, con men, theives, and burglars.

    Maybe. Psychopathy is not a true diagnosis but a forensic term to disparage suspects to push for a conviction. If it were a diagnosis, it might actually be cause for a diminished capacity defense. Regardless, psychopathy isn't grounds for prosecution but is a debasement used in prosecution.

    What's kind of scary about this is that your statement implies that you want to think of yourself (or, giving you the benefit of the doubt, the public at large) as intrinsically different from the criminal population. Even if that wasn't feasable in today's police state (the average American commits three felonies a day), it supposes that criminals behave not out of necessity for their own survival (or those for whom they are) but because something is intrinsically wrong with them (genetics? bad childhoods?).

    No. An outrageous many of them are wrongfully convicted by a biased justice system. Of those that remain most are convicted for behavior that shouldn't necessarily be criminal (drug possession for personal use is a big one). Of those that remain, most did what they had to do to survive and got unlucky (twice at least, once for circumstances that drove them to turn to crime, and once for getting caught, which most don't). A small percentage of our convicts are truly monstrous, and would probably be eligible for an insanity defense, except we don't dole out insanity defenses very often.

    I'm always amused how the anti-DP folks presume to decide for the rest of us the defnition of 'civilized society' and what does and does not make the cut.

    Well, yeah. Along with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and most of the industrialized world. Granted, there are also large parts of the planet that believe women should be chattel, and non-believers should be imprisoned or executed, that small girls should be marriagable (and obligated to have sex with their husbands). Morality can be subjective, but without it the natural order is pure force. If I'm bigger than everyone around (or simply a despotic king) I have the right to kill you, claim your property and make sex slaves of your children merely by the ability and desire to kill you, claim your property and make sex slaves of your children. Here in the US, our constitional framers were kinda tired of anyone with power bullying anyone without.

    And so we're here and we recognize reciprocity. We recognize our justice system is far from perfect (oh, so far), and that innocent people often get convicted for terrible crimes, or that well-meaning people get convicted of terrible-sounding crimes (like "treason", "espionage" or "conspiracy") when it embarrasses someone with too much power. And I don't want others wrongfully convicted and killed in my name on the basis that I wouldn't want to be wrongfully convicted and killed.

    So yes, some of us who actually put thought into what the baseline of human rights should be have decided for the rest of the world what civilized society looks like, and it looks pretty fair.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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