Why is there a death penalty?

Don’t get me worng, I think that murderous killers should fry in a glop of charcoal, but lets face it America, our system isn’t perfect. If you could prove to me that 100% of the people who are sent to die are guilty and that not one innocent person slipped by our system, than I would be for it.
That’s never going to happen.
The system has been proven wrong many times already and it’s only gonna get worse, now that Gillian won the election. It has always been said, “It is better to let 10 guilty men go free, than take the life of one innocent man”. Think about that next time you are rooting for someone to die.
Gilligan W. Bush comes from the state with the highest number of inamtes put to death, he himself took time off his campaign route to fly back to Texas and be a witness as a mentally retarded black inmate was put to death. How do you think America will be at the reign of these 4 years?
2/3 of the inamtes on death row in Texas are black, while blacks only make up 1/3 of Texas’ population. The other 1/3 are almost purely Hispanic.

America is not perfect. We discriminate. We doublethink. We never know beyond the shadow of a doubt anything. Is Elain Gonzales real? Are you real? Are you dreaming all this? No one is certain and no one ever will be.

[li]I am a supporter of capital punishment.[/li][li]Statistics on misuse of capital punishment are somewhat shame-inducing, but this belies problems with the legal system itself not the punishments as a concequence of it.[/li][li]Death Penalty and life sentences are used in cases where reform is not considered possible.[/li][li]Death Penalty, AFAIK, is not considered a deterrent by most people since it is only applicable in extreme cases.[/li][li]The last sentence has exceptions.[/li][li]The case to remove the death penalty in lieu of legal reform is strong.[/li][/ol]
sigh I was on a debate team over this very topic. Very interesting. I can say that both sides made very strong cases. I find it unfortunate that innocent people can be killed and all the state can do is apologize to the family in the case of an overturned ruling. However cold it seems, the fact is in many violent crimes it is the family members that harp to get the death penalty. This form of punishment is almost entirely based on revenge as a justification.

The case against the death penalty, as I’ve said, is pretty strong. Cost-wise, innocent-victim-wise, etc. That our country uses it somewhat sparingly is nice, but for some not nice enough.

My opinion is to suspend such sentences indefinitely until either more objective laws are made, the application of such laws is more consistent, or it is pretty much agreed to remove it altogether in favor of life inprsionment.

I am not one to disagree with executing the violent and vicious criminals in this country, I don’t believe in their right to “sacred human life”. I’ve supported the Death Penalty for a long time. However, it is important to remember that the Death Penalty is not about deterrent, it is about retribution. Also, legal executions cost more to complete than life sentences and for this reason alone I’m beginning to change my mind about the Death Penalty. Simply put, I would rather save money than achieve retribution.

Ever listen to family members of the victim during/after the trials? The person on trial ‘is an animal and doesn’t deserve to live’. No matter that the person on trial is stil innocent until proven guilty. If the person was brought in for questioning, and is on trial, then that person should be fried. If the person is acquitted, he/she ‘got off’.

Then the police actually capture the right person who did it. And now that person is ‘an animal who doesn’t deserve to live’.

Victim’s families (and I am a family member of a victim of a fairly horrendous crime, btw) do not care about retribution. They want revenge, and ** anyone will do **.

I agree that we have probably put way too many (even one is too many) innocent people to death, and too many innocent people are in jail (not just on death row). As such, I have a very hard time supporting any act that is so definite. Nor do I believe the death penalty works as a deterrant; people who committ crimes either do so in an act of ‘passion or rage’, in which case there probably is no rational deterrent, or do not expect to get caught in the first case.

Please cite a source for this. AFAIK GWB has ever been a witness for an execution (though I may be wrong).

According to the site cited above ( http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org ), blacks make up 37% of those on death row, and about 1/3 of those executed (as of 10/1/00). Blacks make up about 10-15% of the total population of Texas, so they are “overrepresented.” A little over 50% of the state population is white, and they make up 41% of those on death row, and 49% of those executed. I guess hispanics are “underrepresented,” since they are about 1/3 of the population, but only 22% of those on death row, and 16% of those executed.

As far as GWB being some great threat to the future of America because of support for capital punishment, please remember that greatly expanding the number Federal capital crimes was Mr. Clinton’s doing with his crime and antiterrorism bills. Bush and Gore both came out strongly in favor of the death penalty while on the stump this year. Clinton recently punted on the whole death penalty issue by issuing a 6 month stay to a drug smuggler/murderer this month, assuring that it wouldn’t mar his legacy. So much for the buck stopping at that desk in the Oval Office.

Is the death penalty ever going to be a deterrant when we are so nice about killing people? Why do we use sterile needles for lethal injection? Why do we give someone who cut up their victems into pieces a humane death? If we are going to put people to death for brutal and horrific crimes, and we want to deter others from committing these crimes, we need to make our method of capital punishment much more violent. Gaffling (sp?) comes to mind. For those who don’t know, it is the practice of chaining someone to a rock, and leaving them to rot, and takes several days to die. The thought of this would definately stop me from committing a violent crime.

And what about the people who receive life imprisonment with no chance of parole? Should we be held responsible to provide HBO and college educations to these people, who we deem unfit for life in “normal society”, and are never to be released? If these people aren’t able to contribute to society, we should be able to use them for society’s greater use. My suggestion is to use these inmates for medical testing. There are many drugs that we could test in a real life, human labratory, that would takes many years of clinical studies, and then volunteer test patients that have tried everything else. Using this resource, we would be much more likely to find a cure for AIDS or cancer, as we would have a rather large supply of test subjects, that are already in our care for the rest of their natural lives. If we kill them in testing, that’s several years of incarceration less for them, and approximately $30,000 per year that we save in prison funding. The current over population problems we are experiencing would be also be resolved. Those of us who haven’t been convicted of violent crimes would benefit greatly by harnessing this untapped resource.

nowalls99, I assume (hope) that you post was sarcastic?

By the way, one point TXLongHorn is that I believe that studies show that not only are Blacks overrepresented on death row in comparison to their number in the population, but more importantly, they are overrepresented when compared to that population of people convicted of similar crimes…And, also, that there is also a strong correlation between the likelihood of a death sentence and the race of the victim.

Blacks make up much less than 1/3 of the population of Texas. Also, blacks make up the majority of prisoners especially violent criminals. You could maybe argue that the reason for that is problems with police or juries, but that is a completely different issue.

Also Texas is one of the largest states. That obviously factors in to high numbers of executions in Texas. It is unfair to blame Bush for death penalty in Texas. Texas lead the nations in executions before Bush and will do so after Bush as well.

I do not think I have ever heard of a proven case where an innocent man has been put to death. It is obviously a possibility, but I don’t think it has been proven. Even so, many people on death row have other murder records or suspicions. I would like documentation that a man has ever been put to death that has not ever killed someone.

The death penalty exists because people think it is a deterent to further crimes. Pain staking efforts are made to make sure that the men are given every chance to prove their innocense through appeals. If you are against the death penalty you are in the minority with that opinion in the United States. It will continue to be in effect until one of two things happen. It could be declared cruel and unusual by the judicial branch, or it could fall out of favor with the public.

Here’s an idea: you know all those land mines still floating around from previous wars? Experts say the hardest thing is actually finding them. I say we send all convicted murders and rapists over there and have them air-dropped into these areas and have them run around. Would solve the land mine problem and the prison overcrowding problem in one fell swoop (whatever a fell swoop is).

"Why is there a death penalty? "
To be quite serious, the answer is that torture was outlawed in the Constitution.
If that were gone, I’m sure we’d see more tiger cages and public whippings, like in other countries.

Sorry, let me clarify something here. I am not talking about just Texas. My statistics were for the nation as a whole. And, I am not arguing this as a Bush / Gore thing. I agree that Gore is only marginally…very marginally…better on this issue.

This is sort of a ridiculous argument. Is it now guilty until proven innocent? In Illinois, two death row inmates were freed after a journalism class started the ball rolling. In Texas, a man was freed after a movie documentary (“Thin Blue Line”) came out. Some argue that this proves the system works, but I for one would prefer a justice system that relied a little bit less on the whims of a movie producer and a professor’s class project.

And, if you would like documentation, take it up with some state (Virginia, perhaps?) where some folks opposed to the death penalty have asked for DNA testing on some evidence that would pretty definitely show one way or the other whether someone there put to death a few years ago in a questionable case was actually guilty of the crime. They argue that this is the perfect opportunity to test the theory that noone innocent is never put to death—You don’t have the Catch-22 of having the person getting released and that then “proving” that the system works instead of that it fails…And you can’t even argue there is some danger to the public, since noone will be released into the community as a result of this test (unless they can raise him from the grave). Alas, the state is refusing to have this done.

And your point is what exactly? A minority opinion doesn’t make it a wrong opinion. But, by the way, there has been quite a shift in opinion recently…I believe polls show this and you have the Republican governor of a big state (Illinois) imposing a moratorium on executions.

I hate to blow your ignorance of the rest of the big wide world out there, but there are also other countries…most (almost all?) of the Western democracies save ours…where neither torture nor the death penalty occur. And some of these countries are really wondering about our justice system. Try explaining our justice system to a Dane sometime after sitting through a documentary there (re-broadcast from PBS) that talked of people in prison who are not being released even after DNA samples from the major piece of evidence against them now show that they almost certainly were not the perpetrator of the crime. It’s not a hell of a lot of fun; I had do this in Copenhagen this past summer.


What do you mean? These people have been proven guilty. After being proven guilty are we supposed to keep proving it over and over? I believe that after they have been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt then it is up to them to prove themselves innocent. I don’t see how it can be said, “The system has been proven wrong many times already and it’s only gonna get worse, now that Gillian won the election.” if the system hasn’t been proven wrong. The only way I can see it to be proven wrong is for there to be evidence of an innocent man being executed.

Now that I look at it, it appears my majority ruling comments really don’t apply very much. Thanks for pointing it out. I was I guess going into some of my arguments for having a death penalty. Of course my reason isn’t simply that more people believe in it though. I don’t exactly know where I was going with that comment.

Given the constraints of your question as phrased, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg will make fine examples.

Given the constraints of your question as phrased, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg will make fine examples.

If they were “proven guilty” because, say, a prosecutor suborned perjury from a witness, or because a judge told the jury that God demands the death penalty for murder (this happened just recently), then the defendant’s Constitutional rights have been violated. You may not find this to be a big deal, but I sure do.

Statistics on misuse of capital punishment are somewhat shame-inducing, but this belies problems with the legal system itself not the punishments as a concequence of it.

True, but if the authorities cannot use this kind of power responsibly, they shouldn’t have it.

I have never seen any real evidence whatsoever that the death penalty is effective as a deterrent. People who commit crimes of any kind generally do so thinking they won’t be caught, and therefore the potential consequences are irrelevent to them.

The only thing the death penalty does is satisfy a lust for vengeance.

Sorry. This will be a long post, during which I will likely become unpopular with both sides.

My first objection to capital punishment is the very name. It is not punishment. Punishment is what is done by authority to provide negative reinforcement of actions to bring about conduct that is safer to the individual and society at large.

When it has been proven that punishment will not serve this purpose, the act of punishment becomes one of sadism. If you have a dog with a brain problem, there is no point to whipping him. So, it would be pretty silly to stand over
a corpse on the lethal-injection table and ask “Now are you going to behave?”

Now, I support capital punishment, but not because it is a deterrent. It has been proven not to be, because capital crimes are committed by people who have taken leave of their judgement.

No, I support capital punishment for the same reason I support dangerous animal control. Certain persons have proven by their actions that they can be expected to remain a danger to society, and have by that same action also abrogated any support from society. They cannot be allowed to roam, and they do not deserve to be supported.

The best solution is a simple, painless, quick, cheap turnoff of the switch. I have heard the following objections and I do not support them:

**Sometimes an innocent person gets executed. **
This is not the fault of the fact that we have executions, it is the fault of the fact-finding mission of the judicial system. A possible answer might be, when a court is found to have ordered the execution of the wrong person, to prosecute certain officers of the court for negligent homicide. Those on the bench might spend more time awake in court.

**It’s more expensive to execute someone than to pay for their lifetime incarceration. **
It doesn’t have to be. A person can be switched off extremenly cheaply, and by means that produce very little pain. For example, while I do not agree with the choice of crimes for which one can be executed in Saudi Arabia, the method they use for beheading is quick, cheap, and probably hurts no more than the injection needle.

No, I support capital punishment for the same reason I support dangerous animal control. Certain persons have proven by their actions that they can be expected to remain a danger to society, and have by that same action also abrogated any support from society.

Locking them up for life with no possibility of parole is just as effective, and reversible as well. And if they like to beat and rape other inmates, two words - solitary confinement.

Also, only a tiny fraction of what it costs to execute someone comes from the actual killing. The rest comes from court costs during the appeals process.

Did you read the part you quoted, about how they don’t deserve to be supported for life? Or do you not want to address it? Or do you disagree?

Then it needs fixing. The appeals process needs to be streamlined and made less expensive.