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Old December 30th, 2013, 03:37 PM
AR AR is offline
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Default The impending death of the death penalty

30 states have executed no one in the last five years, points out a fine editorial in today's New York Times. The Times goes on to say. . .

"As it becomes less frequent, the death penalty also becomes more limited to an extremely small slice of the country, and therefore all the more arbitrary in its application. All 80 death sentences in 2013 came from only about 2 percent of counties in the entire country, and all 39 executions — more than half occurred in Texas and Florida — took place in about 1 percent of all counties, according to a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center. Eighty-five percent of all counties have not had a single execution in more than 45 years."

The death penalty is well known to be geographically, racially and financially biased, with irreversible consequences. DNA testing has exonerated many on death row, leading to the inevitable conclusion that we've killed many innocents over the years.

On June 19, 1953 an eight-year-old boy was watching a ballgame with his grandpa. They interrupted the game to say that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg had just been executed. The boy asked his grandfather to explain. After hearing and understanding what had transpired, the boy said, "That's wrong."

The boy was me, and it's still wrong, always was, always will be.

I've never understood how so many who claim to be "pro-life" embrace and favor the death penalty, especially in the few states that practice it so vigorously.

The full editorial is well worth reading.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/op...p&rref=opinion
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Old December 31st, 2013, 06:24 AM
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Default Boston Bomber would agree with you

"On June 19, 1953 an eight-year-old boy was watching a ballgame with his grandpa. They interrupted the game to say that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg had just been executed. The boy asked his grandfather to explain. After hearing and understanding what had transpired, the boy said, "That's wrong."

The boy was me, and it's still wrong, always was, always will be."

Welll you have another chance to say it's wrong in the case of the Boston Bomber. According to a story I read the US attorney general will have the opportunity to make the decision whether or not the Boston Bomber will face the death penalty if he is convicted of the crimes he is accused of commiting.
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Old December 31st, 2013, 04:27 PM
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I trust that everyone understands that being against the death penalty does not imply being against punishment. If the Boston bomber is found guilty, which seems likely, he should go to prison for life.

And a majority of Bostonians agree with me. Yesterday's report from the Death Penalty Information Center contains this note:

"In Boston, a strong majority (57%) of residents supported a sentence of life without parole for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, while only 33% of respondents supported a death sentence."
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Old December 31st, 2013, 07:12 PM
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Default Too bad that the three dead people killed in Boston can't vote

I wonder if the three people killed in Boston could be brought back to express their opinion that life imprisonment for the person who caused their death would be suitable punishment. I wonder how the persons who lost there limbs and will suffer pain for the rest of their lives would feel about the person who caused their injuries enjoying life in prison. Of course all these speculations are moot because the AG will probably make the decision that this will not be a death penalty case.
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Old December 31st, 2013, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonnyprincecharlie View Post
I wonder if the three people killed in Boston could be brought back to express their opinion that life imprisonment for the person who caused their death would be suitable punishment. I wonder how the persons who lost there limbs and will suffer pain for the rest of their lives would feel about the person who caused their injuries enjoying life in prison. Of course all these speculations are moot because the AG will probably make the decision that this will not be a death penalty case.

Putting aside the question of whether or not prison is "enjoyable," the answers might surprise you. I've always heard that relatives of murder victims want the killers killed, but in my personal experience that has seldom been the case.


Ironically, and with no disrespect to them, the opinions of those who were gravely injured are irrelevant to the discussion, because absent the death of others, Tsarnaev would not be eligible for the death penalty and the question would be moot--no matter how hellacious the non-fatal injuries were.
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Old January 1st, 2014, 06:47 AM
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Default Timothy McVey would have voted for life imprisonment

Putting aside the question of whether or not prison is "enjoyable," the answers might surprise you. I've always heard that relatives of murder victims want the killers killed, but in my personal experience that has seldom been the case.


Ironically, and with no disrespect to them, the opinions of those who were gravely injured are irrelevant to the discussion, because absent the death of others, Tsarnaev would not be eligible for the death penalty and the question would be moot--no matter how hellacious the non-fatal injuries were.
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Tsarnaev if asked would probably tell you if he had the opportunity he would kill the survivors and if he had the opportunity to take out a non-Islamist would do so. His
hatred for Americans, Christians and Jews is undying, nothing will change his belief because it would be against his religion. I wonder if he had taken you out how your family would vote about his imprisonment if he was convicted, personally, I would want to have him executed just as Timothy McVey was. Resolve the problem so that the victims can bring this episode to a conclusion.

I am happy that I don't live in Massachusetts they have not only paid a high price in death and pain, but the costs for the trial and appeals which will follow are going to be in the millions.
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Old January 1st, 2014, 02:08 PM
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I know exactly how my family would feel if I were killed by a terrorist act, because we've had that discussion. They would want the killer(s) imprisoned for life without parole.

So, I don't have to wonder "how they'd vote," because I already know. And don't say they'd change their minds if it really happened. I know their hearts and souls, and you don't. They believe that the concept of "closure via execution" is a myth, and that the pain of my loss will be just as great either way. And, they believe strongly in punishment as opposed to vengeance.

And while the dollar costs of trying, convicting and imprisoning Tsarnaev will certainly be significant, everyone who has looked seriously at the costs of punishment knows that on a net basis it costs far more on average to execute someone than to imprison him for life. There still has to be a trial, and in death penalty cases the appeals are decades long (during which imprisonment must take place). There is some variation based on the lifespan of the prisoner, but overall execution costs more than imprisonment.

Finally, it's a federal beef, so the trial and all the attendant costs will be born by Washington, not Massachusetts. You said it yourself, "the US Attorney General" is making the decision about asking for the death penalty. He wouldn't be in a position to do that if it were a state matter. Plus, Massachusetts doesn't execute people. They banned the death penalty in state matters way back in 1984. Boston will do just fine; they've already shown tremendous spirit since the bombing, and they'll continue to be one of our showplace cities. The fact that you do not want to be there won't have much effect on that.
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Old January 2nd, 2014, 03:16 PM
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Default Apparently Federal dollars will not be only money spent to prosecute Tsarnaev

I'm glad that the state of Massachusetts is going to spend Massachusetts tax dollars to prosecute Tsarnev and they, the citizens of Massachusetts will have to ante up the millions that it will cost in appeals if he is convicted.


"Boston bombing suspect to face state charges in killing of MIT officer
October 07, 2013|By Michael Muskal

A Massachusetts court on Monday issued a default arrest warrant for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev so he can be arraigned on state charges in connection with the killing of an MIT police officer.

Tsarnaev, 20, is in federal custody and has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a potential death sentence if convicted. He is accused of helping plant two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Monday’s action was a procedural step needed so that Tsarnaev will eventually appear in state court to face charges in connection with the flight and shootings that officials say were part of the aftermath of the bombings. Tsarnaev will likely not appear in state court until the federal case is resolved.

“It is the intention of the Middlesex District Attorney that the defendant stand trial for these charges in Middlesex County,” Dist. Atty. Marian T. Ryan’s office said in a statement emailed to reporters.

Tsarnaev is accused of acting with his brother, Tamerlan, 26, to plant the bombs. After the explosions, the brothers were identified by authorities based on video evidence from the scene and a massive manhunt took place through the Boston metropolitan area.

On April 18, authorities said, the two shot and killed Officer Sean Collier in Cambridge, then fled again. Tamerlan was shot in a subsequent confrontation with police and run over by his fleeing brother. He was pronounced dead on April 19.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured in a boat in the backyard of a Watertown home on the evening of April 19.

On June 27, he was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on charges of murder, attempted armed robbery, armed assault with intent to murder (four counts), assault with a dangerous weapon (four counts), kidnapping, armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a large capacity feeding device, and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number.

Monday's default warrant was issued after a brief hearing in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. Tsarnaev was not present in court."
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Old January 2nd, 2014, 05:35 PM
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Odds are overwhelming that he'll never stand trial in state court. This is likely just a procedural move to hedge the bet. I'm sure you can read between the lines and see the strategy. Happens a lot.


But if he does wind up in state court, he definitely will not be executed.
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Old January 4th, 2014, 12:57 AM
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Let us turn back for a moment to the basic fairness question. I just came across an accounting of how many people in the various states who were on death row have been vindicated and released. Mind you, these are not people who were granted "clemency." No, they were proven to be innocent, mostly by DNA testing, after they had been sentenced to death. Here are some of the more active "kill" states and the numbers of people released from death row when their innocence was clearly shown. . .


Florida: 23
Illinois: 20
Texas: 12
Oklahoma: 10
North Carolina: 8
Arizona: 8
Louisiana: 8


That's 89 people scheduled to be killed in just a few states who were exonerated, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. How many more innocents were actually killed during the heyday of capital punishment?


Simple question: Is the relentless, government-sponsored taking of innocent life acceptable collateral damage to make sure that the guilty "get what they deserve?" I suggest it is not.
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Old January 4th, 2014, 04:55 PM
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When there is multiple witnesses to a murder and there is no shadow of a doubt that the killer is standing trial, then go ahead and execute them! A person, as described above, convicted of murder should have one attempt at a appeal and if the conviction is upheld, then they should be put to death and not allowed to appeal multiple times and sit in prison for 40 years on the tax payers money.

Now someone who is convicted of murder using DNA or some other kind of evidence without multiple witnesses then yes give them life in prison because they could possibly be innocent.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 02:26 PM
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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.
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Old January 7th, 2014, 05:29 PM
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Actually AR, my position is simply a Biblical one....In the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses let everything be established! I have never trusted DNA testing as proof positive of a crime perpetrator. Same with fingerprints, which could be off a little bit because of the way prints are lifted.

Each State should have the right to make it's own laws. If it is a case of Murder, then the jury decides the verdict and the judge should decide the penalty.

Remember when Congress Woman Gabrielle Gifford was shot? There was multiple witnesses to where this should be a open and shut case! There is no doubt about who committed the crime! Why should this man stay in prison for years while he awaits his 2-3 appeals for a crime which is a open and shut case?

AR your #3 question.....I was talking about Murder! Murder in the 1st degree is something that is planned out. There are other incidents where killing takes place where there are mitigating circumstances and they should be thoroughly examined.

What are morals? I am sure your morals are different then mine! Biblically speaking, Capital punishment can be found supported all over the Bible, that is why governments where created, to punish evil doers. In many ways I agree with the Muslim way of dealing with criminals. You steal? you get caught and lone a hand. You rape a woman? You get caught and are castrated.

I personally would love to see public executions brought back. Public hangings, firing squad or whatever, It would make someone think before going out and committing a murder!
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Old January 7th, 2014, 07:36 PM
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Well, happily, Truck is on the wrong side of today's trends when it comes to capital punishment, which is why I was so glad to see him admit that there are actually problems with the current system.


Public executions will not be brought back; more and more states will cease to execute, either by law or by practice; and eventually a wiser Supreme Court will ban the death penalty nationwide as arbitrary and capricious, and we will join the rest of the "civilized" world in that regard.


It would be interesting if all legal cases were as simple and as cut-and-dried as Truck would have us believe; and it would be really fascinating if the Bible were only open to his interpretation. However, neither is the case. Nor is it the case that any government in this country was created for the primary purpose of punishing evil doers.
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