Death Penalty
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Thread: Death Penalty

  1. #1
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    Death Penalty

    The subject of the death penalty has come up a few times in other threads and I was wondering what everyone's stance is.

    I'm pro death penalty. That being said, I believe that there need to be a couple of changes. Each one cuts in a different direction.

    1. Reduce the appeals process and cut down on the amount of time between sentencing and execution. We all know the ridiculous lengths some some of these people spend on death row so I don't need to go much into that. There's an underlying reason why the appeals process can take so long and my next point will address it.

    2. Shrink the sphere of convictions that the death penalty covers. Make it more difficult to sentence someone to death. No more "beyond a reasonable doubt" when it comes to the death penalty. There can be no doubt whatsoever of the perp's guilt. It has to be absolutely, utterly, and completely doubt-free. No circumstantial evidence either (use it all you want in a non-death penalty case). The perp needs to be caught in the act or at least identified by eyewitnesses that are aquainted with him/her personally (i.e. co-workers, family members, etc.). Such eyewitnesses have to be impeachable as well......no thugs testifying for a lesser sentence, nobody who has anything to gain.

    I firmly believe the reason the death penalty is such a long, drawn-out process is because the people who review such cases and set execution dates, etc. still have too many doubts in their mind over the perp's guilt. We need to make it easy for them. If John Smith goes over to his estranged wife's parent's house on Thanksgiving and opens fire, killing a 3 or 4.....well there's no question of guilt, is there?? He's going to be identified by survivors who know him very well. Ditto when the disgruntled employee walks into work and wastes half a dozen co-workers.....no question there, either. In cases where circumstantial evidence plays a large role or where there might be some doubt, no matter how small - life in prison(w/ or w/o parole).

    The defense can file one appeal based on whatever factors they want. Give the defense 2 years from conviction 'til the execution date. That'll give them plenty of time. Each case can be reviewed by the respective state supreme court. SCOTUS wouldn't review any individual cases - only each state's death penalty laws (and that would only need to be done once unless a state changed its law). Appeal denied (most likely) - buh-bye! Appeal granted (unlikely) - sentence commuted to life w/o.

    The time and money saved would be huge, the perps get what they deserve in a relatively quick fashion, and there would be no chance of executing an innocent person (which in all likelyhood has happened, and I'm not just talking about some schmuck in the '20s or '30s).
    (Insert random tough-guy quote here)
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    The hardware is the same, but the software is vastly different.

  2.   
  3. In full agreement. When we sentence someone to death, it needs to be for something heinous, with a reasonable belief that the person can and will repeat if allowed to, and we need to be SURE about their guilt. And once we're sure about it, it needs to happen.

    But, because we need to be SURE about it, if new evidence honestly comes up that could possibly prove innocence, it NEEDS to be sincerely looked at, in a timely manner, so that it may be used to exonerate or dismissed so the execution can go on. i.e. If you're on death row, and DNA evidence surfaces, DNA testing of death row cases should immediately be put to the front of the queue for testing. No DAs saying "I don't want to nullify a jury." BS. If there is evidence that conclusively proves innocence, the jury was wrong, and that needs to be reversed. That is EXACTLY what judicial review is for.

  4. #3
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    I think one more thing needs to be done. There is too big a record of procecutorial misconduct. I think any procecutorial misconduct should carry disbarment and a minimum 10 year sentence. Clean up the prosecutors.
    Maybejim

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  5. #4
    I am also for the death penalty. I like the points you made B2Tall, they are solid and well though out. I would also like to add that the appeal process should be limited to the States supreme court and not allowed to run the judicial circuit - to end up in the 9th circuit where they all seem to get hung up or overturned.

  6. #5
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    The job of the defense is to win the case for their client, by casting a shadow of doubt. Doesn't matter to them if their client is really guilty. It's a game to them. I'm in favor of the death penalty and it should be carried out in a timely manner. Non of this endless appeal process.
    "You can get a lot accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit" - Ronald Reagan

  7. #6
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    Ed Hurtley explains it very well -- and I agree -- only for proven heinous crimes beyond reasonable doubt.
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  8. Quote Originally Posted by maybejim View Post
    I think one more thing needs to be done. There is too big a record of procecutorial misconduct. I think any procecutorial misconduct should carry disbarment and a minimum 10 year sentence. Clean up the prosecutors.
    This. There have been too many overturned death penalty convictions (and a couple actual executions of people where there were still questions) where prosecutorial zeal seems to have been far more than simple "doing my job to protect the public by punishing the guilty"...

    Prosecutors need to remember that their job is to ensure the guilty get punished. Not that someone gets punished.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Hurtley View Post
    This. There have been too many overturned death penalty convictions (and a couple actual executions of people where there were still questions) where prosecutorial zeal seems to have been far more than simple "doing my job to protect the public by punishing the guilty"...

    Prosecutors need to remember that their job is to ensure the guilty get punished. Not that someone gets punished.
    This zeal for a conviction often involved with racking up wins for future politics or judgeships has to stop. It undermines our entire justice system. It can only be stopped with a severe penalty. I'm not sure that disbarment and 10 years is enough but it's a start.
    Maybejim

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by maybejim View Post
    I think one more thing needs to be done. There is too big a record of procecutorial misconduct. I think any procecutorial misconduct should carry disbarment and a minimum 10 year sentence. Clean up the prosecutors.
    Agreed that there is a lot of prosecutorial misconduct. I'd say subject the prosecutor's staff to the same sentence the victim received.

    IF we can shrink the list of capital crimes, and make the system as air-tight as possible, I might go for it. But with all the innocent people released from Death Row over the years, I am still very nervous about the likelihood of executing an innocent person.
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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmhbob View Post
    IF we can shrink the list of capital crimes, and make the system as air-tight as possible, I might go for it. But with all the innocent people released from Death Row over the years, I am still very nervous about the likelihood of executing an innocent person.
    I've been a death penalty supporter since becoming politically active in high-school over 30 yrs ago. That being said, I'm convinced that innocent people have been executed, and that's why I agree with you on shrinking the number of convictions that would be DP-eligible. No, I can't name a single innocent person who was executed.....I'm merely playing the odds. If you look at the number of people on death row who've been exonerated over the last 15 or so years because of new technology it simply stands to reason that, prior to DNA testing, some innocent folks have slipped through the cracks.

    Make the death penalty innocent-proof and make it quick.
    (Insert random tough-guy quote here)
    "See my gun?? Aren't you impressed?" - Anonymous sheepdog
    The hardware is the same, but the software is vastly different.

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