Killer wants to die.

Perhaps. But then, I’m against the death penalty, so it doesn’t matter to me.

I think you’re partially right (speaking as a person who is against the DP).

There are two things at work here, though:

  1. Capital punishment, in general
  2. Assisted suicide

It’s a felony to attempt or assist in a suicide, in the state of Kentucky. The water is getting a little muddy in that the state could be seen as assisting in this man’s suicide.
LilShieste

My view is that Chapman’s actions seem to have proven he’s morally on the same level as a rabid dog. In that case, the only purpose served by keeping him alive is to try to punish him. I object to that, I think it’s more merciful, and humane, to put down a rabid dog, or a human who has proven that they’re on the same level, quickly and painlessly, than to keep them alive in prison indefinately. It’s no longer about what he deserves, it’s about what sort of society I wish to support.

If your sole reason for supporting life in prison, without parole, is because it’s crueler, I am disappointed.

LilShieste, now to prove I fence straddle as well as the next guy, I think that law you mention is enforceble only under certain circumstances: Doctor assisted suicide, for example, is pretty murky, in the first place, unless you’re an idiot like Kevorkian was. But getting away from that, are you going to start having the State charging cops for their roles in instances of suicide by cop?

This might be an attempt at suicide by court. I can’t say, myself. It’s certainly possible. But whether it is, or isn’t, I’m not sure that’s a matter for the courts to decide - what they should be concerned with, in my opinion, is whether the crime for which Chapman has been adjudged guilty merits the death penalty, and whether Chapman is sane within the legal definitions of the term, to be held accountable for his actions, and able to direct his defense as is his right as a supposedly compis prisoner.

So, if I’m reading this correctly, he is being charged with capital murder and he wants to plead to the sheet prior to the start of trial?

Huh. That’s a new one.

Ok, so, he’ll either be confined indefinitely or incarcerated for a long period of time before death. He’s a burden to society alive, we’ve proven him guilty earlier, and he wants the associated penalty. Assuming, as above, that you don’t categorically disagree with the death penalty, what’s the problem? I don’t care if he’s “committing suicide by court” or what, why would they NOT hasten his sentence if an admitted killer wants it to be that way?

It probably goes without saying that we have conflicting views here. Just because you morally equate this man with a rabid dog, doesn’t mean he should be treated as one. Besides, there are other reasons to put down a rabid dog, besides the possibility that it might infect others.

It’s certainly not the sole reason I support life in prison over capital punishment, and I doubt it is for many other people too.

I see where you’re coming from, but the law is pretty unambiguous about the definition of assisted suicide.

If a person runs up to a cop, and tells them “I don’t want to live anymore! Shoot me, please!” then yes, I would say that the cop assisted in their suicide (though a homicide charge may be the first thing that comes up).

I agree that there’s no way to be 100% sure. We’re going to have to go with what Chapman is telling us, in this case.

I disagree. The courts are going to have to decide, because this is going to set a precedent for the state. I highly doubt this will be the last time Kentucky encounters a situation like this.

I agree that they need to go off of more than just his admission of guilt.

That’s how I’ve been reading it, too. I’m guessing that’s why it’s really drawing attention.
LilShieste

I didn’t mean to imply I thought that you, nor death penalty opponents in any general sense, felt that it was the only reason to oppose capital punishment, that was meant to be a very specific response to the post made by Dio. His post epitomized an argument against the death penalty that I find abhorrent, and as he posted it, it seemed to be an argument that he feels is sufficient to itself.

There are a great number of arguments against the death penalty that I find quite sound. That particular one isn’t one of them.

Even with those stringent definitions of assisted suicide, there’s a lot of weasel room: For example, what about the administration of morphine, in particular, for extreme cases, where the doses required are close to the LD50 dose? In many cases the impression I have is that patients have requested to be allowed to die, allowing morphine dosage that high is a risk to the patient’s life, and may result in the patient’s death. So, are doctors prohibited from prescribing that high a dose of painkiller, but only in cases where the patient has expressed a wish to die?

I’m not sure, here, if you knew what I’d meant by suicide by cop. If you think that your scenario meets the definition I’d meant, please check the link I’ve provided. (Yes, your scenario should lead to homicide charges, if you ask me.) The way that the law you’ve quoted is written, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the person assisting the suicide knew that the suicide wanted to die, so it seems pretty flawed to me.

I don’t disagree that the court will be setting a precedent. I just don’t think that the prisoner’s stated wish for the proper sentence should matter too much to the court. With the exception of the sanity tests that we’d both agreed are necessary, that is.

Sorry, I have to strike this sentence. I just re-read, again, the law you quoted, and I seemed to have missed a vital clause in the description of the Class D Felony Assisted Suicide.

My apologies, again.

Though it doesn’t seem to affect the scenario about high pain killer doses for end-of-life patients.

Got it. Sorry for misinterpreting. :slight_smile:

Well, I think that cases like that make things tricky anyway. What do you think would happen currently, if the patient were to die? Are doctors prosecuted for murder? If not, then they shouldn’t be prosecuted for assisted suicide. (Unless there was evidence that suggested otherwise.)

I had an idea that that’s what it was, but I didn’t realize that it was an actual term. Thanks for the information.

I admit that this is a situation with fuzzy boundaries. I’m not 100% sure that I would agree with a ruling of suicide by court. As you mentioned, though, a psychological evaluation is certainly needed in order to determine what kind of mindset this guy is in. From the information that I’ve read about this case, I would definitely argue that this man might not be fully aware of the consequences of his admitted crime.
LilShieste

Oh, I knew I was bringing up a corner case. But I’d heard an aphorism here on the Dope that goes something like this: interesting situations make for bad law.

Honestly? Unless you’re Jack Kevorkian, and videotaping yourself asking someone if they’re ready to die before you kill them - I think it’s pretty damned hard to prove an intent to medically assist a suicide. Which is why I call him an idiot. (That, and the segment of the tape where the patient seems to be trying to get out of the apparatus, and he overrides the patient’s struggle, saying it’s just reflexes.)

I have very mixed feelings about the issue of assisted suicide, anyways. I am very concerned with the allegations that were made a few years ago about the pressure some Netherlander doctors are reporting to open up beds currently occupied by terminally ill patients, and sometimes simply elderly patients. (Anyone with more recent or more thorough reporting on that would be greatly appreciated, btw.) For that matter, can you imagine what kind of care a Shipman or a Swango would give in that kind of situation? And just how long they’d be able to get away with it? But, I also think it’s idiotic to tell a terminally ill patient in agony that they can’t have enough morphine to dull the pain because it might kill them.

I really am glad I’m not on the court for this. It’s going to be a hard case, all around.

It sounds like we have more in common, regarding our views on this, than I originally thought. :slight_smile:
LilShieste

The scariest aspect of reading about this (apart from all of those that he murdered and damaged by extension – the poor daughter, and loved ones, that have to live with this) for me, was the idea that a lot of us have been that woman, advocating disentanglement from someone abusive. You know it’s a risky endeavor, but you probably don’t extrapolate that out to it hurting your children. Although dangerous, it’s necessary to offer this kind of help. Now though, can you imagine the effect that has with the surrounding community by perpetuating the “No good deed goes unpunished!” belief.

On topic, I say if he wants to bypass everything and go on to be executed, for whatever reason, he should be allowed to do so. And I do believe in death with dignity (even cliched as that is), as well as being a middle-of-the-road opponent of the DP.

Perhaps, perhaps not. :slight_smile:

Even though Chapman has confessed to the crime, there seems to be absolutely zero belief on the part of anyone advocating against giving him the death penalty that he’s actually innocent of the crime. (Gah, that is an odd sentence to write. It’s even more disheartening to me that it’s a completely legitimate one.) Which is part of why my position is that his desire should be the smallest part of the considerations before the court - if he’s sane enough to direct his defense, it shouldn’t matter why he chooses what direction he wants to take it, that’s his right. If he did the crime, and the crime warrants the death penalty, which seems to be the case on both counts here, the only remaining question to my mind should be whether he’s legally sane, or not.

Alas, that clear thinking breaks down when I consider the potential for precedents you, and the others quoted in the OPs linked articles, mentioned. It gets even more complicated when one asks whether a desire for death is prima facie a sign of insanity. Barring certain end-of-life scenarios I lean towards that interpretation. But life in prison really isn’t one of them. To counter that, he may have simply made a rational assessment of the likely course of his trial and appeals - what he did was so henious, so without justification, and no procedural errors were made that anyone seems to be able to capitalize upon so he’s only seeking to speed up the inevitable. Which could be simple sanity, even if it is leading to his death.

So long as he will never leave prison alive, I’m not going to complain.

Is there precedent for someone pleading guilty to capital murder without reduction in the penalty? Or is the death penalty something so serious that a jury must recommend it and a judge agree to it?

In some places, such as Singapore and Taiwan, the death penalty is mandatory for certain crimes, pleading guilty or no pleading guilty.

IANAL, but my understanding here in the States is that it depends on the specific state’s laws. Here in NY a jury was required to work up a death sentence, it was almost a seperate trial - called in the press ‘the penalty phase’ of a capital trial. (I say was because the NY Court of Appeals has, again, struck down the death penalty in the state, on a basis that seems to me pretty spruious.)

I can’t think of any states that don’t require a jury to sit on the question of the death penalty, but that’s not exactly a blanket confirmation.

I think they sould enact a “die with dignity” law for such cases.
As with the terminally ill cases, someone would have to certify that it wasn’t just a temporary depression, treatable with drugs.

[QUOTE=WoodenTaco]
The death penalty is decidedly not punitive. It doesn’t serve to “teach the bastard a lesson” in any way; it has only two purposes: to serve as a deterrent to other criminals and to remove someone permanently from society so that they cannot harm us.QUOTE]

When you have life long sexual predators like
Alfonso Rodriguez jr.
http://wcco.com/crime/local_story_273144631.html

He will not be able to relive the crime in his cell, and he will not be able to relate the sickness to other demented sex offenders in the prisons.
I do not pretend to understand the sickness in the mind of someone who rapes and murders, but the death sentence puts the sick mind to rest.

Chapman “may” not be on the same level as Rodriguez, and want the execution to stop the replaying in his mind.