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BS: Capital Punishment?

Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 17 Dec 03 - 10:16 PM
Little Hawk 17 Dec 03 - 11:42 PM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,guest from NW 18 Dec 03 - 03:11 AM
alanabit 18 Dec 03 - 03:40 AM
Nigel Parsons 18 Dec 03 - 04:43 AM
Wilfried Schaum 18 Dec 03 - 04:50 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 03 - 05:13 AM
mooman 18 Dec 03 - 06:09 AM
Ethereal Purple 18 Dec 03 - 07:09 AM
DMcG 18 Dec 03 - 07:30 AM
DMcG 18 Dec 03 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 18 Dec 03 - 08:05 AM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Dec 03 - 08:16 AM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 09:56 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 03 - 10:12 AM
mack/misophist 18 Dec 03 - 10:37 AM
Raptor 18 Dec 03 - 10:46 AM
Beverley Barton 18 Dec 03 - 10:54 AM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 12:10 PM
Gareth 18 Dec 03 - 12:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 03 - 01:03 PM
Blackcatter 18 Dec 03 - 01:05 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 03 - 01:11 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Possible juror. 18 Dec 03 - 01:29 PM
Bobert 18 Dec 03 - 02:04 PM
Wolfgang 18 Dec 03 - 02:07 PM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 04:27 PM
Don Firth 18 Dec 03 - 06:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM
Raedwulf 18 Dec 03 - 07:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 03 - 07:20 PM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 08:11 PM
Blackcatter 18 Dec 03 - 08:56 PM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 11:41 PM
Peace 18 Dec 03 - 11:52 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 03 - 07:12 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 10:17 AM
Partridge 19 Dec 03 - 10:21 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 10:41 AM
Partridge 19 Dec 03 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 19 Dec 03 - 11:06 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 11:09 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 11:11 AM
EBarnacle 19 Dec 03 - 11:12 AM
GUEST 19 Dec 03 - 11:37 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 19 Dec 03 - 12:24 PM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 12:39 PM

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Subject: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 10:16 PM

The "Ian Huntley" case is currently the main news in the UK, [for them that don't know, Ian Huntley has just been found guilty of the murder of 2 little girls in Soham, Cambridge, UK, and sentenced to life in jail.

It has just been announced that he had been accused of loads of child-sex crimes, ie indecent assualt , rape, indecency, and 10 counts of sex with girls under 16 years of age, he ended up working in a school and killing 2 of the kids there.
1. should they kill him?
2. how the hell did a sicko like that end up working with kids?

I don;t have kids myself, but this case makes me sad and angry,
if proper character checks and references etc were sorted out, these kids would still be alive.

Surely there should be proper checks carried out on anyone that works with kids, teachers/dinner ladies/school cleaners etc?

Todays [Thursdays] Daily Express are alleging that there might be 30 more victims of his abuse.How sad ;-(


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 11:42 PM

In a world with billions of people in it, mistakes are made and bad things happen. Neither capital punishment nor changes in the law will end the imperfections of life. But yes, it's very sad.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:30 AM

Well, finally I agree with something Little Hawk said — "Neither capital punishment nor changes in the law will end the imperfections of life."

But when it come to people like that, capital punishment sure as hell cuts down on recidivism.

I don't know if it's what LH would say, but I get sick of the people who argue capital punishment is "cruel and unusual." Locking somebody up for life, especially if -- as in this kind of case -- it will be in the form of solitary confinement called "protective custody." That, to me is cruel. People are social beings, whether or not they abuse the rules. I think life in isolation would be worse than death.

Unusual? Gimme a break! Read history. Throughout most of it, death penalties have been meted out for crimes against property. At least now it's meted out -- in western societies, at least -- only for heinous crimes against persons or the state. Under Islamic law, a thief -- even if he's stealing food or something else necessary for existance -- has his right hand cut off. Since the culture dictates that you eat from the communal bowl with your right hand and wipe you ass with your left, severing the right hand is a death sentence. It's just slower and less humane than hanging, the electric chair, lethal injection or a firing squad.

In the past there have been terrible mistakes in trials. Folk song abound about people killed, only to have it discovered later they were not responsible for the crimes they were killed for. Canada has had a recent spate of cases in which people have spent up to 25 years in prison for crimes they didn't commit and who -- if Canada hadn't banned the death penalty -- would have been executed.

That used to be a good argument against the death penalty. I agree with the concept that "I'd rather see 100 guilty men go free than to see one innocent man hanged." But forensic technology has reached a point at which many of those mistakes are not possible.

Can mistakes still be made? Of course. That's what appelate courts are for.

I don't know the details of the Ian Huntley case, but I say that if — after all the appeals have been made and found wanting, solid evidence exists to support a conviction and there are no mitigating circumstances — they should shove in the needle. If there is ANY doubt, then life imprisonment is an accecptable alternative. Otherwise, save taxpayers the $70,000 or $80,000 per person, per year it takes to keep these people locked up.

cheers,
david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,guest from NW
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 03:11 AM

the state should not be allowed to commit murder. that's what the death penalty is, murder premeditated. if you say you are a christian and you support the death penalty you are not really a christian. horrible crimes are, have been and will always be committed and will not be deterred by a death penalty. a civilized and moral society rejects revenge murder and pays the price to remove these people and lock them away. those who would support revenge murder are no better than the criminal. period.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: alanabit
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 03:40 AM

The Birmingham Six, The Maguires and The Guilford Four were all arrested and found guilty of causing explosions. There was forensic evidence offered against them. That forensic evidence was later discredited. Seventeen innocent people spent years in prison. One of the Guilford Four died in prison - I may well have forgotten others. Whole families were devastated. It brought no closure for the victims of the bombings, because the culprits were no longer pursued.
The science of today becomes the fallacy of tomorrow. Science is never absolute. It only tells us what we know now. By ddw's reckoning, we should have broken seventeen innocent necks in the seventies. Thank God this hideous little ritual of revenge no longer takes place in most civilised countries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 04:43 AM

alanabit: whilst the cases you quote may have resulted in 'innocent' people in prison, I believe (without reading into it too deeply) that their sentences have been overturned because the forensic evidence would not now be sufficient to get a conviction.
However, had the police (or CPS) known at the time of the case that it could in time be overturned for insufficient evidence then they would (presumably) have sought more confirmatory evidence before proceeding with the cases.(possibly against the same people)
I am a great believer in the idea that "A man is innocent until proven guilty to the satisfaction of a jury of his peers" But I also believe that once found guilty, the 'presumption of innocence' can no longer be relied on, and a change in the law, or standards of forensic evidence, are not sufficient alone to overturn a jury's decision.

Just my personal view

CHEERS

Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 04:50 AM

The inviolability of the individual human life is a postulation of most of all liberal and democratic constitutions and enforced by the state and its institutions.
So the question arises: Can the state be allowed to take lives by itself?
Under such conditions my answer is NO.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 05:13 AM

Having just watched the last in the Lord of the Rings saga I am reminded of a little of Gandalfs wisdom. OK - I know he is a fictional characted but I think is a good point non the less.

"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many- yours not least."


- Gandalf to Frodo Baggins. In answer to Frodo saying Gollum deserved to die


Cheers

Dave the Gnome
(No - I did not remember it verbatim. I looked it up on the web of course!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: mooman
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:09 AM

I'm not sure I agree with you Nigel...

Someone is either innocent or guilty of a crime. If they are, in fact innocent, but are convicted on faulty forensic evidence or some other evidence even by the fairest jury available, that still does not make them actually "guilty" in reality. Only in the eyes of the law.

I used to work as a forensic scientist and once appeared in court to give evidence in a firearms case (no-one was killed or injured fortunately but a guilty verdict would have carried a stiff sentence). Unusually, in that particular case I was giving a forensic opinion for the defence against the police forensic service who had been, in my scientific opinion, unjustifiably "exact" in their conclusions. In reality, the uncertainty involved in the analysis of the forensic evidence in question did not warrant the degree of assurance expressed. In the event, the prosecution withdrew their case following my evidence and, only later, was I told that there was inadmissible evidence that would also have exonerated the accused (he/she in fact was elsewhere at the scence of a more mundane crime!).

The point here is that science is not an absolute, as stated by alanabit. No good scientist would clain absolute surety about anything. There is a certain level of knowledge and understanding at a given time. My degree of knowledge on a very specialist subject in the case I mentioned above was considered to outweigh the "official" opinion. Besides these "normal" differences in opinions between experts, any given scientific discipline evolves and more techniques become available. I wonder, for instance, how many miscarriages of justice (i.e. pro or against the defendant) would have been avoided with the DNA techniques now available?

As yours, just my personal opinion of course...

Regarding the Ian Huntley case, I agree with the life sentences given and, like alanabit and my friend Wilfried and others above, I am absolutely against capital punishment (and always have been so).

Peace,

moo


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Ethereal Purple
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:09 AM

"I get sick of the people who argue capital punishment is "cruel and unusual." Locking somebody up for life, especially if -- as in this kind of case -- it will be in the form of solitary confinement called "protective custody." That, to me is cruel. People are social beings, whether or not they abuse the rules. I think life in isolation would be worse than death."

That should be up to the criminal. I'd MUCH rather live a life in isolation, than die - if I was the one convicted, how could you possibly say that it'd be less cruel to kill me? That makes no sense. You can't take a life... whatever the reason.

And, besides, as LH earlier said "Neither capital punishment nor changes in the law will end the imperfections of life." The death of a criminal, no matter how heinous the crime, does no good to the victim or anyone else. And... violence begets violence.

"Hostilities aren't stilled through hostility, regardless.
Hostilities are stilled through non-hostility:
This, an unending truth."
(The Buddha, Dhammapada 5)


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:30 AM

I think life in isolation would be worse than death

In the insert of Fairport's "Babbacombe Lee" is a reprint of the Lloyd's Weekly News article John Lee wrote. It ends like this:

It was some days before I learned what my future was to be [after hanging had failed]. The information was at last brought to me by the governor. He told me that Her Majesty had commuted my sentence to penal servitude for life. .... Had I relaised what a terrible drag those years were to be I would have gone down on my knees and prayed for Death.

I did not know that I had been saved from one tomb only to be consigned to another.

I did not know know that the the living Death I was about to endure was more terrible than anything the grave can offer.

I did not realise what it would be to mount slowly up though all those years, bearing on my shoulders a weary burden of heart-ache and shame.

I was a boy. I thought like a boy.

I thought only of life. And life was very sweet to me then.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:52 AM

Also, on the matter of forensic evidence. In the UK we have seen some cases recently concerning cot deaths where the scientist concerned seems not to have understood the mathematics of probability theory, in particular how they are affected by whether events are truly independant, and the effects of Bayes theorem on testing hypotheses. There are certainly cases where frequency of a DNA trait in the population as a whole is markedly different to the frequency amongst ethic groups - think of blue eyes, for example - which has lead to some dubious convictions, according to 'Scientific American' some years ago (sorry, I can't give a reference.)

The risk that the jury assumed that the forensic evidence is conclusive when such errors and omission occur has been sufficient to lead to a number of cases being overturned on appeal.

I don't know what the answer is. Having trials without juries is certainly not it. A better general understanding of science and maths would be ideal, but hopelessly impractical for the forseeable future.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:05 AM

The decision to overturn the convictions of the B'ham Six, Guildford Four et al was not a declaration of their innocence, merely an admission by senior members of the judiciary that guilt could not be proved safely and within the requirements of the British criminal justice system. One does not equal the other, and whether they were guilty or innocent is a fact known, presumably, only by them and God.

What is absolutely certain, however, is the innocence of the the victims of those outrages who never got the chance to have reversed or mitigated the injustice which the bombers meted out on them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:16 AM

Australian Politicians think that living in Canberra is definitely Capital Punsihment.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 09:56 AM

Ethereal....

"You can't take a life... whatever the reason."
Oh yeah? How about in a war? How about if someone is threatening to kill or maim you or a loved one or someone down the street and you're pretty sure he's going to act on those threats? With imminent danger the pivotal test, I don't know of a religion or legal system that doesn't recognize self defence or the defence of others as a legitimate reason to kill. And surely society, just as much as any individual, has a right to defend itself and exercise the defense of the people within it.

"And... violence begets violence."
Not if the person who started it and is bent on continuing it is dead....

Mooman...
"I wonder, for instance, how many miscarriages of justice (i.e. pro or against the defendant) would have been avoided with the DNA techniques now available?"

Bingo!
I realize forensic scientists have made mistakes in the past and will continue to do so, but the technology has advanced so far that in major cases it could be a deciding factor -- either way. And if all the elements of proof come together, including the DNA and other tests, to show somebody committed a heinous, premeditated crime, I wouldn't hesitate to push the plunger or throw the switch.

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:12 AM

Oh yeah? How about in a war? How about if someone is threatening to kill or maim you or a loved one or someone down the street and you're pretty sure he's going to act on those threats?

Poor argument in any discussion on capital punishment. I'm afraid. I would, and have, acted in a violent and uncharacteristic manner when in a threatening situation.

When it is a judge safe on his bench it is a far cry from someone in that life or death situation though. I don't think anyone would deny you the right to defend yourself. Why, though, would anyone feel the right to defend themselves by killing someone in cold blood?

Please don't misunderstand. I agree that we need defending from killers, rapists and a whole host of other criminals (including spam emailers!) but at the end of the day, death is a pretty unforgiving form of protection.

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:37 AM

As a person who wholehearted believes in capital punishment, there is one problem I can't argue away. Until the courts are perfect, a certain number of executions will actually be murders. Until the courts are perfect, this is something that should not be allowed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Raptor
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:46 AM

First I say we make Convicted sex Offenders Get Casterated!

Second We have cannabals like Jeffry Dalmer over for the Wiennie Roast!

Third Dave the Gnome: Golum is dead? Thanks for spoiling that suprise!

Raptor


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Beverley Barton
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:54 AM

Hang em high!


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 12:10 PM

DtG,

I'm afraid I see it as your argument that doesn't hold water. A judge passing a death sentence is not doing it as an individual, he is doing it in the name of the society he has a legal and moral commitment to protect. And, as I said before, I think a society has the right to protect itself from the likes of Ian Huntley, Timothy McVay, Saddam Hussein, bin Laden, Mugabe, Idi Amin, Milosevic or Hitler. I would even extend that to just your average serial killer or rapist, drug lord or other cold-blooded killers.

I'm all for due process of law, but I'm not in favor of keeping alive people who have forfeited their right to live by taking the lives of others. I'd a thousand times rather see the money wasted on them spent helping people who are trying to live better lives and contribute to the wellbeing of the society.

Misophist
I assume you're making a joke by straddling the fence in such as way as to appease the pros while saying they can't possibly be right. You're right -- courts aren't perfect. But when the science, the witnesses and a host of other things all point to guilt, there comes a point at which a society has to say "enough!" and do something about it.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 12:55 PM

Mmmm ! Strange as it may seem, I am not against Capital Punisnisment in principle.

My fear is that the irreverability of Capital Punishment may have an undue influence on a jury.

It is as much a miscaridge of justice to release the guilty, as imprison the inocent.

It think society is better protected by the law as it stands in the UK than by any attempt to recall the death penalty.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:03 PM

It always strikes me as strange when yoiungetbthe same people saying at one moment "Some people gave done such terrible things they deserve to be killed", and then switch to saying "And death is more merciful than life in prison, anyway." Can't have it both ways.

(And I'm not saying that the people who have said one of those thigs in this thread necessarily would say the other, but we've all come up againsat people who do.)

DNA evidence - even when it's available, and even if it's infallible in itself, it's pretty well impossible to exclude the possibility of the evidence being contaminated, either by accident or intentionally.

I'm grateful to live in the European Union, where the death penalty has been abolished in what I hope is an irrevocable way. I can remember the unhealthy kind of excitement that ran around my school on mornings when an execution was scheduled. I'm glad to be free of this, at least so far as this part of the world is concerned.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:05 PM

1) In Florida (and most of the U.S.) the high cost to the state of numerous appeals connected to death penalty cases typically make it MORE expensive to kill someone than it does to keep them in jail the resst of their life.

2) In cases like the one John started this tread with - sexual abuse and murder of kids, anyone convicted of that nearly has a death sentence put around their neck jsut by walking into the prison. Look at the case of Father Gagin.

3) Why is it that murder is the only eye-for-an-eye punishment we really have? We don't punish rapists by having them raped. Someone who beats up another person does not get beat up.

4) look at the list of fine upstanding countries who have the death penalty. I'm so glad the U.S. is in that elite group.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:11 PM

A judge passing a death sentence is not doing it as an individual, he is doing it in the name of the society he has a legal and moral commitment to protect.

Oh, that's OK then. I guess that excuses the Iraqi judges deciding they needed protecting against the Kurds or the German SS deciding it was for the good of society that they Jews had to go?

Would the British government be right on excecuting convicted IRA bombers? Ask in an Orange bar in Belfast and I suspect you would get a very different answer from the regulars at O'Flanigans in New York. (I guess there is such a place!)

Keep trying though. Interesting arguments.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM

and Raptor - hehehehe :-)

I never that. I only said that Frodo said he DESERVED to die. Not that he acualy did. Read Gandalfs reply again and enjoy the film ;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Possible juror.
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:29 PM

I wouldn't want to sit on a jury, where the sentence dished out could be death. I wouldn't want to be responsible for killing someone. Gareth made a good point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:04 PM

If we are to become a more *civil*ized world then we need to put "sanctity of life* front and center. How can that be accomplished with the world's only super power (and role model...) still allowing its government to kill its citizens? Killing is not punishment. It is vengence. That's God's job! Not mans.

Now, I mentioned a while back on another thread the idea of turning the current prison/industrial complex into a public/private partnership where prisons would become like factories that produced lots of the things that government now purchases from strictly from the private sector. This would cut way down on government spending and would get productivity from the percentage of the incarcerated population which is now not only not productive but a further drain on our resources. Another element that could be thrown into the mix is "restitution". A portion of the money saved with such a system could go into a fund to pay for the losses of the victims...

Such a system would also provide inmates with opportunities to learn real world skills and would cut down on the revolving door system that we have now....

Sorry to creep but it's part of a larger vision...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:07 PM

Of course, I'm on the side of the Europeans here and find (most of) their arguments convincing. No need to repeat them.

But one (tongue in cheek) correction before I turn the computer off:

Thank God this hideous little ritual of revenge no longer takes place in most civilised countries. (Alanabit)

Most? You're wrong. All

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 04:27 PM

DtG -- bad examples. Neither the Iraqis nor the Nazis followed due process in their mass killing of Kurds and Jews. I still say the judge -- a real judge in a real court -- is merely the voice of the society he represents and it is up to the society to set the guidelines within which he operates. He is not, as were the examples you cited, free to engage in murderous whims.

McGrath -- saying that someone deserves to die for their crimes and then saying the death penalty is less cruel than life imprisonment (particularly in isolation) are in no way contradictory. They're entirely separate concepts concerning ideas of life and death. Certainly not mutually exclusive.

Blackcatter -- I'd love to see those figures. Do you have a referant?

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:34 PM

Apart from mass murderers on the scale of Saddam Hussein, or even moreso, Adolf Hitler, Gary Ridgway is about as bad as a human being can get.

This afternoon, in King County Superior Court in Seattle, Gary Ridgway, otherwise known as "The Green River Killer," who murdered 48 young women in the Pacific Northwest, has just been given 48 consecutive life sentences to be spent in solitary confinement with no chance of parole. Furthermore, any financial profit made from any books he might write or any books, movies, or television dramas about him is to be awarded to the families of the victims.

Ridgway was (is) a psychopath. He is now removed from society to a maximum security prison where he can no longer interact with anyone other than prison personnel. Although a few of the victims' family members are not satisfied that he didn't receive the death penalty, most feel that justice has been served. I agree.

Story here.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM

David, you mean "This person is so bad they deserve to be killed - but they aren't bad enough to deserve being locked away for life" ?

Well, it's a logical option I suppose, but I wouldn't be too sure that's what people defending the death penalty by these arguments are actually meaning.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:14 PM

1) In Florida (and most of the U.S.) the high cost to the state of numerous appeals connected to death penalty cases typically make it MORE expensive to kill someone than it does to keep them in jail the resst of their life.

Ah! That old chestnut. There's always one who trots that daft statistic out - that isn't because of CP, it's because your judicial system is screwed & inefficient. Other than that, I engaged in this debate last time round (the one Bobert was referring to, where IIRC I debunked that same daft statistic...) & I'll pass this time!


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:20 PM

Of course, if the priority is saving mnoney, dispensing with trials entirely is one way to do it. It appears they are testing out that one in Guantanamo Bay.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:11 PM

McGrath -- you got it in one! I advocate removing the threat, not torturing the convicted.

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:56 PM

Ah! That old chestnut. There's always one who trots that daft statistic out - that isn't because of CP, it's because your judicial system is screwed & inefficient.

That may be true but there isn't any talk of reforming the judicial system (and the prison system too).

Your statement is flawed in that you want to throw away a valid point because in a "better world" it needed be a valid point. Sheesh.



David,

I don't have stats right now, but I will ask around. I good friend works with Amnesty and is also the widow of a former Florida Death Row inmate (he screwed the system by dieing of cancer before they could put him in "Old Sparky"). By the way, the Death Row men and women are the only inmates in Florida that receive descent healthcare. Florida hates it when they die and other way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 11:41 PM

That's what I suspected, Blackcatter. When you do find them I'd love to see them. And I'd really be impressed if they came from sources with less built-in bias than Amnesty (who wouldn't have anything to do if they didn't have their fingers on the pulse of every atrocity in the world) and a death row widow.

Good journalists have a saying: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." I've seen all kinds of organizations -- some very respected -- that will lie to further their agendas.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 11:52 PM

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine.

. . . .
I learned if you murder, you die for the crime,
Even if we make a mistake sometime,
And that's what I learned in school today, that's what I learned in school. (Thanks, Tom Paxton.)

My arguments against capital punishment: Donald Marshall, Willie Nepoose, David Milgard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 07:12 AM

a real judge in a real court

So now not only are we deciding who is to live or die. We are also deciding who's judiciary is correct. I realy should give up against such blind predjudice but I can't help myself at times...

Please define 'a real judge in a real court'. The British version? The Texan one? Israel? Palestine? Zimbabwe? Sorry, but one persons version of justice may be completely different from another. Who is right? We cannot judge them any more that we would like them to judge us. In either how the system works or in who is to live or die.

So, back to the original question. Capital Punishment? Quite simply, no. Neither you nor me nor anyone here can make those sort of decisions. And what are judges but people like us?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:17 AM

Your point used to be well taken, Brucie -- but is not in conflict with my position, as you seem to believe. It was the very technology that exonerated Milgaard and Marshall that makes your absolute position an anachronism. With the technology we have today neither man would have been convicted in the first place. I can't comment on the other one. I'm not familiar with the case.

DtG --Since you're obviously such a morally and intelledctually superior being, maybe you can tell me 1) how you know that my "blind prejudice" isn't just something in conflict with your blind prejudice (technology advances, man. Why can't you?) and 2) if all the justices systems are indistinguishable in moral terms, why isn't Taliban justice for women just as good as ours?

Sheesh! Talk about blind prejudice... But then, you're arguing from the wisdom bestowed by the devine right of liberals, aren't you?

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Partridge
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:21 AM

I think capital punishment is barbaric, I could never sit on a jury where that was an option.

Drifting to another thread, I'm sure the reason Bush wants Saddams' trial in Iraq is so that he will get the death penalty. This will stop him talking about any potentialy embarassing detail.

Pat x


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:41 AM

Hey Partridge, that some of the finest convoluted thinking I've seen in a while for Bush bashing. Gold star for that one.

Probably didn't occur to you that it might just be a nod to world opinion? Or in line with the concept of being tried by a jury of one's peers? Or maybe even an acknowledgement that since he ruled, ostensibly, under the laws of an Islamic country he should be tried under the same laws? Or something else equally as dark and insidious?

You and DtG should compare notes -- you could probably save the world in a matter of days, if not hours.....

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Partridge
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:50 AM

Hey, thanks David,

Its a nod to Bushs opinion. The united nations don't want him tried in a country that has the death penalty. If he was a ordinary criminal then I could see your argument, but he is no ordinary man - as a past leader of the country and a war criminal he should be tried as such by the united nations war crimes tribunal.

I don't think I could save the world even with DtG's help, but, hey you got to try!

Pat x


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:06 AM

What concerns me here is that the 'not under any circumstances' brigade all seem to be more concerned about the rights of the murderer than those of his victim. I tried to open this up earlier in this thread but I notice you all carefully ignored it. The TRULY INNOCENT one, the one whose life has been taken, never gets the opportunity of a re-run of his murder so that he might, on the second occasion and with lessons learned from the first occasion, find a way to escape with his life.

Like most, I dislike the idea of a wrongly-convicted person being put to death but, far more, I loathe the idea of the guilty receiving a lesser sentence than that which he meted out to his victim.

Anyone out there got an argument which could persuade me? I won't hold my breath.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:09 AM

I was aware of the UN position -- which I consider about as hypocritical as they come, unless they are trying to guard against making that butcher into a martyr who will be used to wind up other crazies. That would give the UN some credence here, but I'd still agree with Dubya on this one.

Saddam was a loose cannon, wiping out whole segments of his own people and scaring the hell out of all his neighbours. I think they'll be quite happy to see him executed if it comes to that. There is also the fact that the various Arab countries distust each other enough so that the "martyr" thing will be relatively contained. He was a secular leader, not a religion-based one like a bin Laden, who has spread his power base far enough to be a world threat.

I don't want to rehash the whole "weapons of mass destruction" debacle -- except to say the U.S.'s certainty that he had them was based on the fact they supplied him with the technology -- but Saddam was basically just a boil on the world's ass that needed to be lanced. By comparison, bin Laden is a major cancer that has metasticized and threatens the whole body...

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:11 AM

Points well taken, SJ.

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:12 AM

Up to about a year ago, I believed in CP as a permanent removal of a threat from the world. I had worked in Corrections for the State of New York and known an escapee who murdered a colleague of mine. Many of the inmates seemed barely human in the cognitive sense.

About a year ago, some genuine Muslim terrorists were convicted in Federal court in Brooklyn. There was a sentencing hearing and the conclusion was that, as any judicial termination would have been considered a death in process of Jihad, they were sentenced to multiple life sentences.

If we cannot in good conscience execute murderers who participate in terrorism, [because that is what they desire] with definite malice aforethought, how can we execute others? If the intent of punishment is to punish with no intent of penitence or correction, it certainly makes more sense to imprison than to execute.

The equation of imprisonment to torture is not exact but, until murderers can be reliably changed, it is more reasonable to keep them in durance vile. Not too long ago John Hinckley would have been executed. I believe society's needs are more closely met by incarceration than by execution.

The Talmudic interpretation is that the negative effect on the soul of the executioner is as significant as the effect of the execution on the being executed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:37 AM

The problem with the "life " sentence in the UK is it means everthing from actual life (only about two or three currently serving life with a recomendation that they serve life) to 8 or ten years when parole can be granted. Imagine walking down the street ten years after having a daughter or son murdered and meeting their killer free to roam.

It happens in the UK all too frequently. Then the most horrific of all is having a loved one murdered by a repeat offender.

Either keep em inside , no compromise , or execute them.

My vote would be the latter even taking in all the above arguments.

Spot


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:38 AM

EBarnacle,

That's one of the best arguments I've ever seen against the death penalty, but I don't follow the logic in the third paragraph. No one (except the "never kill" crowd) ever argued that capital punishment shouldn't be meted out on a case-by-case basis. I don't advocate a blanket "you-kill,you-die" form of justice. That's no justice at all. If the killer welcomes death as a religious rite of passage, I would withhold his passport to heaven. Especially if he were likely to become a martyr.

Of course that would open the jihad-defence "protection" to any terrorist who got caught, so even that would have to be very carefully considered....

I was having a PM conversation with someone else in the thread a few minutes ago and I'll reproduce part of that here:

As I said, I'd rather see 100 guilty man go free than one innocent man hanged. But there are cases where all the evidence -- witnesses, forensics including DNA and other things — is so overwhelming that there can be no defence other than diminished capacity or N/G by reason of mental defect or insanity. In those cases I think the person should make the call to live or die, provided he/she becomes stable enough to make the decision. If not, keep them away from society with a life sentence.

But I think the John Wayne Gaceys, Jeffey Dahmers, D.C. loop snipers, Timothy McVeys, etc. of the world should be executed.

With special cases such as bin Laden, Saddam, Milosevic, Hitler, Idi Amin and butchers of that ilk, some political considerations would have to come into it -- principally whether executing them would create a matryr for other crazies to use.
Those might more effectively be handled by putting them in 12 X 12 cells with TV cameras on 24/7 for a little "reality TV."

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 12:24 PM

'Guest' you make some good points there. If it were possible to rely on the British system of justice to metaphorically 'take the life' of the murderer by removing him from society for the rest of his natural life I'd have no problem with that. However, the reality is that they can almost count on being released within ten years, often to then repeat their heinous crimes.

The severity of the punishment must fit the crime, and in no way does a ten-year stretch even begin to equate with, for instance, the subjecting of a child to degrading and disgusting sexual violence and murder.

Why should the killer have greater rights than his victim? Somebody tell me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 12:39 PM

SG and guest -- points well taken. In Canada any first- or second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of "life imprisonment," but here too that does not mean "for the rest of your natural life." First-degree murderers are automatically eligible for parole in 25 years, unless in a separate hearing they are declared "dangerous offenders." Then they can be locked away in jail or a psychiatric hospital for life. Second-degree murders have to serve a minimum of 10 years, but the sentencing judge can (with or without the recommendation of a jury) add time to that. There is no death penalty, regardless of the evil the crime embodies.

What really blows my mind is that opinion poll after opinion poll shows that the Canadian public, by a pretty wide margin, wants a reinstitution of the death penalty but the politicians refuse to put it to a vote. Go figure.

cheers,

david


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