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Old January 6th, 2014, 01:26 PM
AR AR is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,597

I would not have expected that response from Truck Cruiser. I would have expected him to be four square in favor of the death penalty and devil take the hindmost. For him to admit in effect, that yes, the death penalty as currently administered is unfair gives me more faith than ever that it will soon be abolished nationwide.

A few problems with his position, for the record. . .

1. The death penalty is currently banned in 19 states. Would requiring the death penalty in situations where there are multiple eyewitnesses also require that those 19 states begin executions again in those cases? Or do states have the right to decide for themselves? Should we "keep the federal government out of our lives" or let it dictate our capital punishment laws in state cases?

2. Assuming that the federal government cannot and should not overturn existing state bans on capital punishment, and because more and more states are refusing to execute--either by law or by practice, is it not becoming more obvious that when capital punishment is used it is, by definition, "arbitrary and capricious?" Remember, some 30 states haven't executed anybody in the last five years! When the application of the death penalty is based strictly on geography, how can it be considered anything other than arbitrary? Every additional state that bans the death penalty or declines to apply it makes this case stronger, and eventually the federal courts will have to agree.

3. Would Truck's "multiple witness" criterion mean that there could be no aggravating or mitigating evidence brought in to the sentencing phase of trials where there are multiple witnesses? Who would be responsible for the sentences? Juries or judges?

There are many more questions raised by his position. The simplest answer as a practical matter, as well as a moral one, is to simply ban the practice nationwide, end of story. You want to save money? That's how you save money. It's also how you do the right thing.

But as I say, when people like Truck admit there's a problem with the current approach, I know we're on the way to a nationwide stop. That will be a happy day.
The most dangerous man in society is the man who has nothing left to lose. -- Saul Bellow
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