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Post Reply Back on the ballots death penalty
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Posted 10/27/16
i vote yes .
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Posted 10/28/16


Don't see how anything I provided was subjective or unempirical, nor how what you said does not require an appeal to emotion or how ours/mine does. In fact, on several issues you seem to be citing the exception as the rule (corrupt prosecution and witness testimony), assuming they even are fair arguments.


Used to kill innocent people: This is the moral dilemma with the death penalty, which any death penalty advocate is willing to accept. However, I never hear any death penalty opponents accepting the moral dilemma of allowing killers free reign in prisons nor allowing them possibilities to escape or have witnesses killed, which you yourself not only failed to do but immediately distanced yourself from by denying it outright as subjective or solely as an appeal to reason.

Corrupt prosecution over justice: While this may possibly be the case, hardly often if ever is the death penalty used outside of instances where a conviction can be assumed beforehand (to avoid double jeopardy laws), which requires a massive burden of proof to secure confidently. Convictions are indeed rewarded, but any conviction is rewarded. Plea bargains, reduced sentencing, and reduced charges all make a false death-penalty conviction beyond unlikely. To claim that this issue even applies to the death penalty is dubious at best, but in the interest of fairness corrupt prosecution is indeed a fair issue for a different discussion. Bring it up there and I'd agree.

Witness testimony: Witness testimony is treated as circumstantial evidence, and rarely if ever can circumstantial evidence decide a ruling, let alone one of such weight as the death penalty. It is beyond common knowledge that human memories are flawed, particularly under stress, and that is not overlooked by the justice department. You may feel that witness testimony is valued more than it is, but the judicial process only views witnesses as the icing on the cake of a solid case. Should witness testimony truly be valued just as much as empirical evidence, Bill Cosby would have been in jail for a year and Donald Trump would be imprisoned for rape tomorrow, regardless of whether it happened or not.

Overpricing of process: If this could be considered an argument at all (as it does not advocate as to why repealing a morally necessary process is just), it only needs to be addressed. Go into any job involving collaboration with political entities, and you know the red tape is heavy beyond insanity. As an engineer, I know that your project total will likely come out to even dozens of times higher than the estimate due to the overpricing of materials ($2 nut costs $15). If lethal injections are such an issue, find an alternative. Last I checked a gunshot to the back of the head kills nearly instantly, and removes consciousness and pain reception until the body shuts down to die. Many methods of causing immense and immediate harm to the body causes the shock to shut down pain reception immediately, if anything making the lethal injection process seem inhumane. Hell, just roofie them and kill them while they're down, they won't feel a thing and there's no money wasted. I'd rather go that way myself than die from lethal injection.


Sounds to me like whoever you've heard advocate for the death penalty does so very poorly for you to so readily dismiss it. From every argument I've heard in opposition to the death penalty, the only one I've encountered which holds weight to me is that there is a potential, albeit slight, that an innocent person would be sentenced to death (which three of your arguments are variations of). As stated above, this is a dilemma which I and many are willing to accept because of the risk-reward analysis, although I do believe that more legislation to prevent such circumstances (harsh penalties on false testimony or wrongful conviction) are certainly in order.
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Posted 10/28/16

kevz_210 wrote:

Yes, I know that it is more expensive. However, better question why does it cost 300 million per execution? Obviously some lawyers are making a killing when it comes to creating more and more red tape. People get so many appeals now that the only way you are likely to face execution would be to beg the government to carry it out, which actually the reason why the final execution in my state was actually carried out.(CT).
(See the Michael Ross case, a serial killer who killed and raped countless women over the course of a decade and basically waived his appeals and kept nagging the state to execute him until they finally decided to comply)


Huh? Executions don't take long to be sentenced to enrich lawyers, they do so because it's killing a person no shit the government is going to be apprehensive about that.
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Posted 10/28/16 , edited 10/28/16

cheapshotfail wrote:
Used to kill innocent people: This is the moral dilemma with the death penalty, which any death penalty advocate is willing to accept.


I wonder if those that accepted the death penalty, if forced to put a gun to their own head when an innocent is found to have been wrongly killed, would be so willing to accept it. After all, you're killing an innocent man, and by your own standards that's punishable by death.


However, I never hear any death penalty opponents accepting the moral dilemma of allowing killers free reign in prisons


"Free reign", please define this specifically. You act as if they have control of the prisons themselves.


nor allowing them possibilities to escape or have witnesses killed, which you yourself not only failed to do but immediately distanced yourself from by denying it outright as subjective or solely as an appeal to reason.


How many prisoners for life (violent offenders) have escaped since 1970 in the US? How many have escaped and killed? Now answer this: how many innocent people have been put on death row during that time? Equally, you surely have metrics regarding witnesses killed as well that have been directly (not speculatory) linked to cases involved?


Corrupt prosecution over justice: While this may possibly be the case, hardly often if ever is the death penalty used outside of instances where a conviction can be assumed beforehand (to avoid double jeopardy laws), which requires a massive burden of proof to secure confidently. Convictions are indeed rewarded, but any conviction is rewarded. Plea bargains, reduced sentencing, and reduced charges all make a false death-penalty conviction beyond unlikely. To claim that this issue even applies to the death penalty is dubious at best, but in the interest of fairness corrupt prosecution is indeed a fair issue for a different discussion. Bring it up there and I'd agree.


Yeah, I beg to differ on this. This might be worth reading. The fact they will use garbage evidence to convict reinforces my concern, see the 20 some cases referenced for Illinois.


Witness testimony: Witness testimony is treated as circumstantial evidence, and rarely if ever can circumstantial evidence decide a ruling, let alone one of such weight as the death penalty.


Prosecution has tried and won with less with circumstantial evidence, and if no one questions it will succeed. See Derral Wayne Hodgkins, who was thankfully acquitted.


It is beyond common knowledge that human memories are flawed, particularly under stress, and that is not overlooked by the justice department. You may feel that witness testimony is valued more than it is, but the judicial process only views witnesses as the icing on the cake of a solid case.


There's cases that have been brought that were entirely circumstantial, and actually has resulted in the death penalty being handed down. See above.


Should witness testimony truly be valued just as much as empirical evidence, Bill Cosby would have been in jail for a year and Donald Trump would be imprisoned for rape tomorrow, regardless of whether it happened or not.


At the jury level, anecdotal evidence and misleading testimony have been used and succeeds quite a bit. At that point you're hoping that it will result in an acquittal at appeals. If not, sorry, you're SOL.


Overpricing of process: If this could be considered an argument at all (as it does not advocate as to why repealing a morally necessary process is just)


The death penalty is not morally necessary, nice how you snuck that one in though.


it only needs to be addressed. Go into any job involving collaboration with political entities, and you know the red tape is heavy beyond insanity. As an engineer, I know that your project total will likely come out to even dozens of times higher than the estimate due to the overpricing of materials ($2 nut costs $15). If lethal injections are such an issue, find an alternative. Last I checked a gunshot to the back of the head kills nearly instantly, and removes consciousness and pain reception until the body shuts down to die. Many methods of causing immense and immediate harm to the body causes the shock to shut down pain reception immediately, if anything making the lethal injection process seem inhumane. Hell, just roofie them and kill them while they're down, they won't feel a thing and there's no money wasted. I'd rather go that way myself than die from lethal injection.


We're discussing the current framework, and not your imaginary one. What the majority of states currently use is a fact, what you want them to use is not. Offering an alternative is meaningless in this discussion because it's not being adopted.

Not only have you failed to provide a reasoned argument as to the risks, a convincing argument as to why it's moral, but the economics for it are usually bad.


Sounds to me like whoever you've heard advocate for the death penalty does so very poorly for you to so readily dismiss it. From every argument I've heard in opposition to the death penalty, the only one I've encountered which holds weight to me is that there is a potential, albeit slight, that an innocent person would be sentenced to death (which three of your arguments are variations of). As stated above, this is a dilemma which I and many are willing to accept because of the risk-reward analysis, although I do believe that more legislation to prevent such circumstances


Risk-reward? The reward of what, killing someone? The risk is what? From what i can tell, the risk appears to be quite low. Surely you have some metrics to actually gauge the risk and prove it's a viable concern vs. the amount of innocent people we've knowingly killed?


(harsh penalties on false testimony or wrongful conviction) are certainly in order.


Considering it's a case the prosecution is choosing to bring forward, they can choose whether to press charges against who and when. Such capability is often used to leverage testimony.
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21 / M / Finland
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Posted 10/28/16
When last time here in finland someone got death penalty that was back in 1800's-ish.
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54 / M / Tacoma, WA. wind...
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Posted 10/28/16
Capitol punishment has never served as a deterrent.

It cost between two and five times as much to execute someone as it does to lock them up for life.

NO ONE has ever escaped a Federal super-max prison.

I used to think the other way about this . . .
Then;
I saw hundreds of guys released from prison because of prosecutorial misconduct and new DNA evidence.
I saw states like Texas not retry people even though there was new evidence that would clear them.
I saw the guy in Beaverton, OR get hauled in for the Madrid bombings because they supposedly found his fingerprint on the bomb material then let go without so much as a "sorry" when the evidence turned out to be bogus. He even had an airtight alibi for his whereabouts.

It has never been evenly applied; all you have to do is listen to what Donald Trump said about the Central Park Five . . . .
When vengeance masquerades for justice nobody is safe.
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Posted 10/28/16

zinjashike wrote:

Prosecutors are awarded by successful convictions, not justice.

The same could be said for defense attorneys. Both have a vested interest in winning the court battle and thus, through finding the flaws in each others' arguments, the truth is meant to be found. Unfortunately, when you look at our conviction rates as I recall you'll find they're much higher for poor defendants. The budget typically allocated by states to public defenders seems to be paltry compared to prosecutors.

For the most part however, I agree with your stance on the death penalty, and agree that in most cases it's better and cheaper to just keep'em locked up tight for the rest of their lives. Especially since if the conviction does turn out to be wrong, we can let them go. If they find a way to undo executions I'm going to start zombie-proofing my home.
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Posted 10/28/16

kevz_210 wrote:

My state got rid of it a few years ago, now we are stuck keeping 2 guys alive who raped and killed 2 young girls and the mother while tying up their father and beating him almost to death. I understand not wanting to use it in cases of doubt, but if you catch them in the act, what is so wrong about giving them a few appeals and then carrying out the sentence? Why are taxpayers forced to pay to keep those who commit the most heinous acts alive for decades? I don't get it.


>>Yup and here in cali they just want keep them alive and have us taxpayers pay its a big joke these people should have
not committed the crimes in the first place!
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Posted 10/29/16


For the sake of time, I'll refer to the points you addressed in numerical order from 1 to 11. I can respond to four points while citing them individually, but eleven is quite too many IMO.


1. I am not killing an innocent man, I am advocating for a policy which runs that risk. Do not conflate the two, or I could conflate your unwillingness to have murderers killed with responsibility for prison deaths (outlined in point 2). It is entirely possible that for the rest of time never again will an innocent man be killed, the punishment of innocents is what the justice system was designed to prevent. The one who bears the fault of killing an innocent man is either A ) the prosecution who fabricated evidence or B ) the jury which condemned an innocent man to death in the presence of dubious or incomplete evidence.


2. I did define what free reign was in my first post: the ability to commit prison crimes (beatings, murders, etc.) knowing that they cannot be punished further. If innocent lives truly matter so much, then how about the men in prison guilty of lesser crimes who are killed in a vast array of methods (work-out weights crushing trachea, shankings, lethal beatings, night-time suffocations, etc)? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (See reference 2 at bottom), 356 inmates were killed by prison homicides from 2001 to 2007. This does not include the 265 which were listed as "do not know". This averages to at least 59 inmates per year who did not deserve to die. I do believe that our prisoners who are not serving life sentences ought to be safe from those who've hit the ceiling and have free reign over the other's lives.


3. A ) I mentioned that the possibility of escape exists, not that it is a likely outcome. Although, as long as one innocent person dies from that method it is a moral dilemma anyways, but since there's vastly worse moral dilemmas below I see no need to insist on this one.

B ) In regards to witness protection, I do not have exact metrics, but what I do know is rarely do witnesses in random cases receive such a benefit. Witness protection services are only given to those testifying against organized crime or government, so hardly does it apply here. Inmates who are scorned and determined enough have killed witnesses whose testimonies helped land them in prison, and many have done so with intent to remove them in order to have a better shot at future appeals.

Also I would like to note that in that quote I accidentally said "appeal to reason", where I meant to say "appeal to emotion". Hopefully you understood that accident, if not then it is now cleared up.


4. Fallacy of incomplete evidence/suppressed evidence: citing the exception as the rule. (See reference 1)

For definition and example, use http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/


5. Again, fallacy of incomplete evidence. "I have one example where you're wrong, so let's ignore the plethora in which you are right."

I would like to point out that most incidences which we are aware of in which an innocent man was wrongfully convicted of murder the innocent was vindicated and released during the three automatic appeals (which is ironically the reason the process is so expensive that you'd complain about it), which is what saved Mr. Hodgkins. Also most of these cases happened before the year 2000, and since then the development of forensic evidence has made it drastically more difficult for a court to convict wrongfully.

Also, see 12 Angry Men for the method in which the justice system was designed to work: one skeptic willing to challenge the herd can overpower a wrongful sentence (as even one lone dissenter can eliminate the possibility of the death penalty), although the case set forth in the movie is highly unbelievable.


6. You still only point to a single example (where again, the man was vindicated). Also, in that case, Hodgkins pled guilty to the crime, which has a large bearing on the likelihood that he be sentenced to death. If he had not, he likely would have only wound up with life in prison at worst, as again, one dissenter makes the death penalty impossible. Also, he had a prior rape conviction, which makes a wrongful conviction significantly likelier. If you are a decent, law abiding citizen, the likelihood of being wrongfully is so low that capital punishment advocates do not find it worrisome.


7. You attempt to make the death penalty seem like something which is handed out quickly and easily, which it is not. Look at the process in which the death penalty is applied, and look at all the safeguards which prevent such cases from happening:

In California, the only crimes which warrant the death penalty are First-degree murder with special circumstances; sabotage; train wrecking causing death; treason; perjury causing execution of an innocent person; fatal assault by a prisoner serving a life sentence (see reference 3). First degree murder with special circumstances is obviously the most common, which means someone who is not only found guilty of first degree murder, one of the hardest convictions to secure, but is found so with enough overwhelming evidence that it is deemed safe for them to be sentenced to death without the chance of them being innocent. See (reference 4) for a list of special circumstances which may warrant the death penalty.


8. I did not sneak in anything, I stated my belief which is also the belief which instituted the death penalty in the first place. Although, if you'd like to attempt to discredit my arguments or character based on one perceivably controversial statement, I believe that calls you into question more than myself.

And in case anyone forgot, my reasoning as to why the death penalty is morally necessary is that it protects life in and out of jail from inmates which would otherwise cause them harm or death given a life sentence instead.


9. It's interesting how you broke up my argument to make it seem fallacious. I stated in the last point that overpricing shouldn't even be a concern should the death penalty be morally necessary for the protection of life, particularly because of these reasons I listed which show that fixing our "current framework" is simpler than instituting your "imaginary one" in which the death penalty does not exist.

It is easy to insist that when change of policy happens, it will only have rewards and no negative consequences. This is evidenced by the number of countries which have suffered due to the overthrowing of an evil regime with no means to replace it with anything better.

And just because you do not understand how what I said "provides a reasoned argument as to the risks and a convincing argument as to why it's moral" does not mean I have failed to do any of those things listed. Above in this comment I've clarified how what I said thus far addresses both of those things, I challenge anyone who reads this to reread my prior two comments and see that this is not new material. I do not want to accuse you of this, but I would like to ask whether this inaccurate accusation was unintentional or intentional.

Just to list one example for the sake of destroying the accusation, from my initial comment: "it's the responsibility of a nation to protect its citizenry, and if it takes the death penalty to do so then so be it." This is following a list of three methods in which the death penalty protects citizens, including inmates.


10. Reward being "it's the responsibility of a nation to protect its citizenry, and if it takes the death penalty to do so then so be it". Reward being everything I've listed above, and in my past two comments. The fact that you try to make everything about the number of innocent people killed which is pure speculation versus the vast majority of cases in which a criminal scumbag is put down which protects the inmates, the witnesses, and anyone else who has the misfortune of being involved with them is staggering. If you are so insistent upon speculation, how about speculating about the number of lives which have been saved due to the death penalty, or is speculation only fine when it benefits you?


11. I don't see how your response addresses my comment, so I will not respond.


Also, I'd like to throw out this information: during the 40 year period since 1976, which has shown a great increase in the number of executions over time, our average number of executions in the united states has been roughly 36 per year, rounded up (reference 5). This is hardly more than one execution per state in which it is legal (31 states currently). The death sentence even being carried is exceedingly rare. It is apparent that the death penalty is treated with a very great weight, and is only being handed out to a select few who commit murders.

Compare this information to the number of total homicides in the US (reference 6), which is at minimum 15,000 per year (1992 - 2011), you'll see that the number of executions in that amount of time versus the number of homicides is a ratio of 111:30,000, just over a one in three hundred ratio for a low estimate (300,000 is a very low estimate, some years were close to 25,000).



Anyways, I have thrown out way more than I intended and this has taken vastly too much time (over one hour) to organize and put forth, so I'm calling it quits on this discussion. I'm more than confident that what I've put forth has been adequate to portray my views well, so I'm fine with ending this here. If there's anything shorter you'd like to discuss, I'm more than happy to, but I do not want to continue replying to this many items. It's beyond tiring, and I simply don't have time.



Reference List:

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28 / M / Oklahoma
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Posted 10/29/16


I'll respond by numbers as well:

1. Advocating for a policy that kills a man that you know runs the risk is, ultimately, assisting in the killing of that man when it happens. You are helping with the institution of the policy that leads to it. Trying to shift the burden to prosecution and jury shows that you, yourself, understand the risk of what I suggest: if you had absolute confidence that no innocent man would be killed you'd gladly put a pistol to your head. Saying you're not part of it while you're helping assembling the system is disingenuous. I've shown the system flaws and you continue to support it, you can't feign ignorance and act like you don't have anything to do with it.

To make this simpler, if you don't trust the juries and prosecutors of the nation with your life, why should it be trusted with anyone's? If you can't present a solid counter-argument for this then to me the argument is hollow.

2. Murder in prison is actually relatively low and in-lie with any other populated area (4/5 per year per 100K). Furthermore, you need to provide evidence that the death penalty prevents these murders. All you've provided on this is speculatory reasoning and tangential evidence.

3a. You have not contended
3b. No metrics means no evidence for your argument. As such I've disregarded (Yes,I understood the accident so didn't respond to it.)

4. That's 7% in a single state which I considering sizeable enough to be disconcerting. The article cited provided the numbers, it was not incomplete or suppressed. Whether you dislike the amount does not make it a fallacy.

5. The exception is the person we're arguing about, a potential innocent being given the death penalty. It's not like we have a mountain of cases having only a hundred something since 1970. Nonetheless it's something worth documenting.

Furthermore, a cited an example - he's not the only one.

Anthony Graves (had trouble getting a retrial/consideration of new evidence which required extra appeals)
Freddie Pitts (suppressed evidence)
Dan L. Bright (suppressed evidence)
Ryan Matthews (suppressed evidence)
Michael Toney (suppressed evidence)

Thankfully appeals saved these, but the fact they were convicted in the first place is a problem alone.

5b. I've never said anything about removing automatic appeals, you're the only one that's suggested cost cutting measures (non-seriously I hope). I've only commented on the current system, and do not believe removing appeals is a good method for obvious reasons. Remember, I'm debating against it (death penalty) and appeals have saved innocent people.

6. See point five. You've also ignored that false confessions are actually common and the number is somewhat predictable today shown here. Equally, you've added a point against your own argument. Adding that someone who's already been convicted is likely to get a wrong conviction just means you're admitting another failure in the justice system that one hopes get rectified in appeals. Equally, I am not concerned of being convicted of the death penalty, I'm concerned because I find it wrong from multiple points: logically, morally, and economically. I see no redemption in it beyond emotionally, but that's not good enough.

7. The examples listed are mostly on the uncommon list v. common. Common ones for posterity:

Prior murder convictions or more than one murder conviction
Murder by use of a bomb or poison
Murder of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, witness, judge, prosecutor, or jury member
Murder involving torture
Murder in connection with gang activity
Murder in connection with another serious felony

Not every state will have these factors though, and just because it's difficult to get the death penalty should not be confused with thinking that it is still only used properly as cases where those were innocent have shown.

8. It was an attempt at poisoning the well from my point of view. Arguing that pushing for the death penalty is moral paints the opposition as immoral. Furthermore your evidence is lacking as to the second claim - that the death penalty is in fact protecting anyone in prison or outside. For a deterrent it doesn't work, no metrics have been provided to murders on the outside as a result of not using the death penalty. Statistics in prison show murder is as likely as it is on the outside and not significantly more (roughly 4 to 5 per 100,000). As such I'd consider this an implicit social issue to communities in general without any real difference based on whether convicted murderers are present or not.

9a. Repealing it is easier than fixing it at this point in my opinion. Most developed nations have succeeded in abolishing it, and there's no reason ours can't.

9b. Not worth addressing.

9c. The risks were speculated, not reasoned. There was no logistics as to how they occur, to what scale they occur, and if the death penalty actually mitigates them. Equally, as for the "moral" comment it did not persuade that it is the moral option. I believe repealing the death penalty is moral as it has been shown to have killed innocents. You have not shown how it's protected innocents with your claims.

10. I have not speculated the number of innocents killed? I've only cited cases of those wrongly convicted and sentenced. I mean, do you want the number of those killed wrongly found to be innocent after? There's evidence that roughly 13 people that have been killed are in fact innocent since 1970's, and I'm grateful to the appeals process today that it's stayed low. Of course, I believe trending on the side of caution when killing a man that may be innocent in the fact that we simply shouldn't do it. Based on the fact the courts have failed before and quite recently the only way to ensure that, in my opinion, is to remove it.

You have not provided evidence of anyone being protected by the death penalty nor that it's more beneficial. Your entire argument hinges on speculation that the death penalty is doing more good than bad, but have zero evidence to actually show that. Without evidence I don't feel it's an argument worth entertaining. One false innocent killed is factually more important than any number via speculation.

11. It means that such change isn't in the framework because prosecution is more likely to benefit from it in its current form.

12. Morality does not care about scale.

13. Then your argument will have to stand to my responses on its own. I personally do not find it convincing or persuasive in the least as it requires leaning on speculation entirely and emotion more than facts with relevant evidence.
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Posted 10/29/16
Death penalty should only be for killers and psychopaths, if they did it once, and they escape, they will surely do it again. More people will be saved that way. And no, I do not support the killing of anyone, but there comes a time when a psycho needs to be rid of to save innocent lives.
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Posted 10/29/16
We could use a little less repeat offenders on the streets. Kill them but not with current methods. It's way too expensive. Just go with the old firing squad or hanging and either hand over the body to the family so they can take care of the funeral cost or send it over to city morgue where they can ship the body to body farms and universities in need of human specimen.
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Posted 10/29/16
Abolish the death penalty is how I'm voting. The death penalty is absurdly expensive, a slow process, and we constantly execute people who are later proven innocent. For the worst of the worst just lock them up forever, because of the huge expense of court proceedings it's actually cheaper all together to just give them life without parole. Besides, the law should not function as a method for revenge, but a matter of protecting the populace from those who compromise their safety. Killing people for empty satisfaction is simply wrong and a waste of everyone's time, money, and lives. I understand how the victims or victims' relatives might seethe for revenge but, I'm not going to put killing a possibly innocent citizen for the sake of someone's satisfaction and closure over the chance for those innocent to see free skies again.
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Posted 10/29/16

GrateSaiyaman wrote:

Capitol punishment has never served as a deterrent.

It cost between two and five times as much to execute someone as it does to lock them up for life.


Not exactly true. Highly publicized executions do have a very small, temporary effect on crime rates, perhaps too small to give much credit, but still statistically noticeable. Some methods of execution are also cheaper, but it would involve some questionable changes to the legal process in order to streamline it, as well as maybe using a bullet or noose instead of lethal injection.

Speaking personally, as evil as some criminals are, it doesn't matter to me whether they live in prison or die. There's only a tinge of regret felt for any surviving victims, because they probably would have felt some sense of satisfaction and resolution upon seeing the perpetrator die. I have to wonder if the cost of killing a criminal wouldn't end up being repaid by giving victims their closure so they can move on with life and be productive.
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Posted 10/29/16 , edited 25 days ago
Just hire me to be the one to carry out the death sentence. I'll do it for 1 million each and I will dispose of the bodies too. Great deal.
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