Illinois bans death penalty

What do you think? Personally I think it’s a great move. I hope every state in America bans it soon, it’s embarrassing that we still put people to death.

I understand there are a lot of psychos out there, but simply getting revenge on them solves nothing.

Outstanding move. Courageous, in the face of public sentiment, but this is the way to go. Killing people is barbaric, admittedly less so when it’s a convicted murderer, but still barbaric because there’s no reason to do it. Modern penal institutions can keep even the most violent felons secured safely. The only thing executing them does is satisfy our bloodlust.

The death penalty is perfectly constitutional, but it’s a poor policy and I salute Illinois.


I think it’s great.

17 and counting!

“Barbarically” killing people only to “satisfy our bloodlust” isn’t cruel and unusual?

But anyhoo, agree with the larger point that its a good move by Illinois and hopefully other States will do the same.

Still, I long for a trusty wood chipper sometimes . . .

On the practical side there have been no executions in Illinois since 1999 and while there have been recent national polls that show declining but still strong support for the death penalty (64%), and both Lisa Madigan and Richie Daly were against this repeal, public concern over the death penalty has a long history of being high in Illinois. A little courageous, but in Illinois not as much in the face of public sentiment. The executions of those who were later proven to be not guilty had made many Illinoisans, including those who do not see executions inherently barbaric, uncomfortable with allowing it at all and no matter what Madigan says, those mistakes have happened, will happen if the penalty is allowed, and cannot be undone.

Bricker, how is your belief that the death penalty is “barbaric” consistent with a conclusion that it is “perfectly constitutional”? It seems to me that the first implies that it is “cruel and unusual” and therefore less than perfectly constitutional.

Yeah, on preview, what Simplico said.

Not to the founders, since capital punishment was casually practiced in the years following the ratification of the Constitution, and the 5th amendment specifically mentions “capital” crimes, not to ban execution as a punishment, but to ensure due process of law before the punishment is carried out.

Personally, I think the process as currently practiced in the U.S. is a waste of time and resources. Either kill the convict quickly or don’t kill him at all. What’s the point of letting him linger on Death Row for a decade or more, with the corresponding costs of enhanced imprisonment and the slow-grinding appeals process? It’s out of these practical concerns that I’d oppose the death penalty’s return to Canada, not out of any particular regard for the morality or imorality of it.

It has become such an administrative mess to handle that it isn’t worth it anymore. I don’t consider it unconstitutional or even necessarily immoral. It just is a hindrance to the court and prison system with little benefit.

The question is how he justifies that statement with internal consistency. And, btw, I suspect he somehow does.

That said, IANAL, but I question your logic. Cruel and unusual punishment is unconstitutional and at the time the Constitution was written execution was considered neither cruel nor unusual. If standards change such that execution is unusual (which by the current standards of the Western world it is) and we come to believe that it is cruel (which calling it barbaric at least implies) then which should stand as the primary original intent? The then extant normative nature of execution across the Western world or the prohibition against that which is cruel and unusual punishment? I would suspect the latter.

Nevertheless, I agree with your pragmatic perspective and practical concerns. The morality or immorality of execution, the degree to which it is cruel as well as unusual punishment, becomes moot. The harms, from the administrative mess to the numbers of those executed who were later found to be not guilty of the crime, are substantial and the benefit (other than bloodlust) potentially nonexistent. It just makes sense to be done away with it.

I’m immensely glad to see this and I hope that more states will join in. Take a look at a map of death penalty usage worldwide and you see that it’s basically used by third-world dictators and by us (and Japan, for some reason). Why wouldn’t we want to join the modern world?

If you’re going to kill someone, you should make sure all your t’s are crossed and your i’s dotted. I don’t think a conviction by one jury is really enough. Killing one innocent man is too much. Killing them quickly would lead to just that.

That is just one reason I vote for the don’t kill him at all option. I applaud Illinois. I hope more states follow.

In addition to what others have said, I thought (and I may well be wrong) that part of what “cruel and unusual” was about was whether the punishment fit the crime, or whether it was all out of proportion to it. Under that standard, executing someone for brutal serial murder would not be “unusual”; executing someone for shoplifting would be.
That said, I, too, am glad that Gov. Quinn signed this bill. I’m still not sure how I feel about the death penalty per se, but I definitely don’t want a legal system that sometimes convicts innocent people administering it.

No, it absolutely isn’t. The method chosen may be unconstitutional. The process by which people are chosen for it may be unconstitutional (and it often is). The application of it for certain crimes or to certain groups may be unconstitutional. But the death penalty itself isn’t unconstitutional. (Talking here under the federal constitution - I simply don’t know enough about any state constitution to make the call).

It is, however, wrong and has no part in modern society, and I am extremely glad Illinois has ended it.

villa has the correct analysis here.

The Constitution explicitly contemplates the imposition of the death penalty. It cannot be per se cruel and unusual if the same document that forbids “cruel and unusual” punishments explicitly authorizes the imposition of death as a punishment.

Well, I don’t really see what’s barbaric about it, and there are just some people out there who need to die. But I don’t have a problem with Illinois banning the death penalty.

That’s not really a good argument either way. Those third world dictators also imprison people just like we do and many of them even have trials. Nobody is going to argue against trials or imprisoning people in the western world because most of us recognize that we do about doing it in a different way. There are plenty of excellent arguments against the death penalty but simply pointing out that most of the western world has abandoned it isn’t one of them.

I’d given it some thought and figured the best solution, if a state must have the death penalty, is to restrict the total number of cases per year where the state can seek the death penalty to, say, three per year or one per ten million population per year or some other limited value. Thus the state attorney general (or comparable authority) must carefully choose which cases to ask for the death penalty, and is thus encouraged to pick only the most egregious ones where the crime is particularly heinous and the evidence particularly compelling, and be sure the process is strictly followed since losing the case on the first (and only) round of appeal to the state Supreme Court will be embarrassing. Blood lust satisfied, the odds of an innocent getting killed restricted to the maximum extent possible, and the penalty itself becomes extremely rare.

I don’t have a problem with the death penalty provided it’s applied fairly and cases are thoroughly tried.

With the number of people in Illinois death row that were later proved innocent this means there was something horribly wrong with the process.

So at least in Illinois it’s a good thing, 'cause the process is obviously messed up

Actually, plenty of people argue against the rate of incarceration by comparing American rates with the rest of the western world, America, and the rest of the world.