The death penalty: are you for or against?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by MASTER_OBI-DAN, Aug 3, 2002.

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  1. Sithlord818 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2002
    <Actually, Sithlord818, I've seen statistics that show that it's more expensive to put someone to death than to house them for life. I'll see if I can find them tomorrow.>

    Really?
    I would assume the coastly part would be execution by gasing, lethal injection, and possibly electric chair. All the "humane" was to kill criminals.
    Perhaps we should stick to firing squades.
    Or hanging. Then you can re-use the materials.
  2. Captain Page Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2000
    star 3
    I know you're not serious, Sithlord818. However, even with those cheaper methods there would still be the need to accomodate the media coverage and the human rights groups that would (and do) converge on any execution.
    Plus, if it is discovered after the fact that someone innocent was executed, think of the cost of the outcry and possible lawsuits - heck, even when innocents are found on death row before execution it costs a lot of money.
  3. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    I was under the impression that it was the whole appeals process and lawyer fees that make the DP more expensive than life in prison.
  4. TripleB Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 4
    While I am for the Death Penalty, I beleive the Death Penalty is being used too often now, to the point that it is not as effective as it could be.

    I fully agree with the Supreme COurt decision that puts the Death Penalty in the hands of the Juror. There have probably been too many times where the Death Penalty was not appropriate, yet a Judge imposed it to avoid appearing soft on crime, and risk being voted out of office for it.

    By putting it in the hands of the Jury now, I believe that the jury of the peers is the best mechanism for imposing the Death Penalty.

    Here in California, we already have it where if it is a capital murder case, the Jury then comes back and decides whether to recommend the death penalty or not. It is not arbitrary, as the Judge can still overrule their decision but the Jury should be the ultimate decider of such.

    HOWEVER....... I notice that most of the anti-death penalty forces here like to trumpet up those whom have been wrongfully convicted as a reason to oppose the death sentence. While a valid argument, what is being ignored is the people like Richard Allen Davis of California, people who's guilt is not in question, who's crimes shock all decency, and whom the death penalty is not really an option against.
  5. Sithlord818 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2002
    know you're not serious, Sithlord818. However, even with those cheaper methods there would still be the need to accomodate the media coverage and the human rights groups that would (and do) converge on any execution.

    Am I serious? Not quite.
    But if your looking for a way to economize executions, that would be where I would start.

    I didn't know that it cost the taxpayers to have media coverage of the execution. Though if the media were to pay the state to get execution coverage (like networks bidding for the rights to cover the olympics), that would help cover many costs.

    But that raises many moral questions. Not to mention the fact that it would encouage the government to be more loose with issuing death penalty punishments.
  6. ferelwookie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2001
    star 4
    Actually, Sithlord818, I've seen statistics that show that it's more expensive to put someone to death than to house them for life. I'll see if I can find them tomorrow.

    I agree with Sithlords on this. A bullet is very cheap, properly fired through the skull is quick and "humane". A criminal, who is convicted in a fair trial, given one appeal, is still found to be guilty, should be put to death the same day. Prolonging his stay on death-row is cruel and inhumane punishment. End his life quickly and cost-efficently as soon as he's had his one appeal. My $.02.
  7. KaineDamo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 5
    Unlike you guys, i believe there is no such thing as a "humane" way to kill someone. Unless, it's a mercy killing in which ther person is dying and in great pain and wants to die. Otherwise, how can there possibly be a "humane" way to murder someone? What does a "humane" murder mean to you?
  8. Sithlord818 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2002
    What does a "humane" murder mean to you?

    You're right, there is no humane way to kill someone.
    But a "humane execution", to me, means quick and painless.
  9. KaineDamo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 5
    Like a big rock dropped on a baby's head. But i see your point. It's better than a prolonged painfull death.
  10. jedimaster5615 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2002
    star 2
  11. Branthoris Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2002
    star 3
    I have been against the death penalty for a while now (well, 18 months). I used to support it because I felt that if somebody brings another person's life to an end, then execution is the only possible way that the scales can be balanced. However, my current opinion is based on three main arguments:


    [1] The power that the death penalty grants to the state

    This argument takes us out of the purely moral arena, and into the practical one. Even if we decide that, on a purely moral level, murderers should die, we still have to consider the dangers of letting the government (by which I mean the agencies of the state, not just the executive) make that determination. I am comfortable with allowing the government to lock people up--but the dangers of abuse in allowing them to kill people are far, far greater. After all, death silences people permanently--but it's much harder to silence a person just by locking them up.


    [2] Economic and community considerations

    If anyone disputes that it costs far more to execute a person than it does to imprison them for the rest of their life, feel free to dispute the point and I'll provide references. If you add that to the death sentence's complete lack of any additional deterrence value (a claim that I will also substantiate if need be), and the possibility that murderers may reform and put something back into the society they took from, you've got another strong practical argument against the death sentence.


    [3] The punishment and retribution aspect

    I don't subscribe to any religion, and I have no belief whatsoever in any form of afterlife. Therefore, it's my opinion that if you kill someone, they experience no punishment at all (except perhaps in the process of execution). The primary punishment is inflicted on the family and friends of the murderer--people who have committed no crime. By contrast, spending 25-odd years in jail is most certainly a punishment--and it causes much less grief to the murderer's innocent relations.


    It's worth adding that I don't buy the "innocent people are executed" line (which is unfortunately a very common argument among anti-death-sentence campaigners). In my opinion, it's just as unacceptable to lock up an innocent person for decades as it is to execute them. The verdict and the sentence are two separate issues, and if lots of innocent people are being sentenced to death, the solution is to change the method by which the "guilty" verdict is reached, not commit an equal injustice by banging them up for the rest of their lives instead.

    I'll finish with a quote from Gandalf (Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 2):

    'But this is terrible' cried Frodo. 'Far worse than the worst that I imagined from your hints and warnings. O Gandalf, best of friends, what am I to do? For now I am really afraid. What am I to do? What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!'

    'Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy, not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.'

    'I am sorry,' said Frodo. 'But I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.'

    'You have not seen him,' Gandalf broke in.

    'No, and I don't want to,' said Frodo. 'I can't understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.'

    '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.'
  12. New_York_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2002
    star 6
  13. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    I think a life sentence at HARD LABOR... I said HARD LABOR with no television, no luxuries, in a small cell with no window, a toilet and a sink well worse than the death penalty.
  14. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    While I am for the Death Penalty, I beleive the Death Penalty is being used too often now, to the point that it is not as effective as it could be.

    Amnesty International reports that 85 people were executed in the United States in the year 2000.

    Another source reports that, during the same year, 15,517 murders were committed.

    Certainly, the stats don't line up completely: those executed in 2000 were likely tried for murders committed before that year. But, murder rates and execution rates don't vary that much from year to year.

    85 executions. 15,517 murders. That's an execution-to-murder rate of 0.5%.

    Let's analyze this on a much larger scale: Amnesty Int'l reports that the US executed 683 people between 1973 and 2000. In that same time period, there were 573,401 murders. THAT gives us an overall execution-to-murder rate of 0.11%.

    Let's go with the larger number: 0.5%. That means that for every 200 murders, only one leads to the death penalty.

    That number seems, if anything, entirely too low: NOT too high.
  15. 5darth2maul1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4
    Well, just this week I had to write an essay on capital punishment for school. I thought you guys here might like to read it. Here it goes:

    Capital punishment: Do they deserve what they get?

    Capital punishment. It has been one of the most debated topics in the world for years. Is it Constitutional? No. Does it contradict the Declaration of Independence? Yes. Is it a way for prejudiced Americans to exhibit their racism? Yes. Do innocent people die for a crime they did not commit? Yes. Capital punishment is a system of penalizing criminals that has many flaws and should be abolished.


    The Eighth amendment of the American Constitution outlines the limits on punishments for convicted criminals. It says that "excessive bail shall not be required...nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." So, is capital punishment cruel? The definition of cruel is something that is "unrelentingly severe; merciless; brutal." Ending one's life, whether they have commited a horrible crime or not, in no way shows mercy and is one of the harshest retributions imaginable. Capital punishment is obviously cruel, but is it also unusual? Something that is unusual is "not usual or ordinary; uncommon." The United States is the only 'first-world' country that still uses the death penalty. With capital punishment being uncommon all over the globe, America cannot continue to call itself the model for societies throughout the world. Capital punishment not only infringes Americans' Constitutional rights, it goes against the very beliefs and ideas that this country is based upon. The Declaration of Independence, possibly our nation's most famous document, states that people "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The death penalty takes away the right to life that is given to all Americans in the document which founded the United States. A form of punishment that goes against the context of America's most treasured historical documents should not be able to continue to exist.


    Not only does capital punishment take away our Constitutional rights, it is a way for people to practice racism. The most common argument that the death penalty inspires racism is the enourmous number of African-Americans who have been sentenced to death in the American court system. Although blacks have been the most executed race since the Civil Rights movement, immigrants were often wrongly accused of crimes they did not commit before the 1960's. Two of these immigrants were Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco. Both men were Italian immigrants who fled to Mexico to avoid fighting in World War I. They came back to America and became active anarchists. At this time, many Americans feared that the anarchists and immigrants would take over the country like the Communists had in Russia. The anti-anarchist/immigrant feelings all across America led Sacco and Vanzetti to feel the need to destroy their large amounts of radical literature. They needed a large car to transport the literature and asked their friend Mike Boda to borrow his car. Sacco and Vanzetti did not realize that the car matched the description of one seen fleeing from two armed robbery scenes, one of which led to the murders of two men. Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested and put on trial for first degree murder. As the trial progressed, the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution changed dramatically. All of the witnesses for the defense were also Italian immigrants, who did not understand English well, and were intimidated by the courtroom setting. On the closing day of the trial, Sacco and Vanzetti were both found guilty of first degree murder, and were later sentenced to death. More than a decade after the two were executed, a member of a gang in the Boston area admitted that the gang had committed the robberies and the murders. Police found that the leader of the gang owned a car just like the one Sacco and Vanzetti borrowed from their friend and guns that fired bullets exactly like the ones found at the crime scenes. Capita
  16. AdmiralOzzal Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 12, 2002
    star 1
    Actually 5Darth2Maul that is a very good report . . . well thought out and presented nicely . . .

    If don't mind, could I ask a few questions . . . (and add a few comments . . . 8-})

    Is it Constitutional? No.

    Your analysis is very good (without getting too legalese) . . . I actually argree with it . . . but how do you reconcile the 8th Amendement with the 5th and 14th Amendment (all Amendments must be given equal weight) . . . which states that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" . . . to me, this gives the State the right to deprive a person of life (just like liberty: jail time or property: seizure) as long as due process is used . . .
    Not only does capital punishment take away our Constitutional rights, it is a way for people to practice racism.

    I have to agree with another poster on this board (sorry I forgot who you are at this moment) that states that locking someone up for decades or for life just because of race or a mistake (an innocent person) is really no better . . . this is a failure of the judicial system and human nature (there will always be mistake; there is no perfect justice system) than the death penalty . . .
    Capital punishment cost two men who had done no wrong their lives, just because they were different. How can America continue to say that it is an effective way of prosecuting criminals?

    Ahhh, but this is the strongest argument against the death penalty, I think . . . while you can correct a mistake of imprisonment (restitution) or seziure (return of the items) you can't reverse an implemented execution . . . while I believe that the States can implement the death penalty, I think as a society there are better options . . .

    And I agree with DarthMischievous that hard labor would be a much better punishment than the death penalty . . .
    I know it's not very good, but I think it's a pretty logical argument.

    It is good and a very logical presentation . . .
  17. 5darth2maul1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4
    Thank you very much. :D

    521 :)
  18. 5darth2maul1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4
    Well, I got an A+ on my essay. :D

    521 :)
  19. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2002
    star 4
    The problem with arguing the constitutionality of the DP is that there is no benchmark we can use for "cruel". "Cruel" could mean anything and is really highly subjective. To use the word at all, we'd have to go by American standards - and even they vary widely.

    As for "unusual", DP is somewhat unusual, but was "unusual" in the Constitution referring to unusual for the country, or unusual for the world, or solar system, or galaxy, or universe, or what?

    I still think that the key factor that should decide how capital criminals are punished is deterrance: giving other would-be criminals pause and lowering crime rates.

    Also, there are the factors of the loss of potentially innocent life and cost-benefit analysis of having taxpayer dollars going to criminals' mouths.
  20. Obi Wan Bergkamp Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 1998
    star 3
    So how about voluntary death penalties?

    Would anyone have an objection to a sentance along the lines of "you are in prison until you die. If you wish at any time to end your life let the authorities know and you will be put to death".

    Take as an example Myra Hindley (yes, I know she died in prison - we don't have the death penalty in the UK). There is no doubt she was guilty and, lets be honest, she was never going to be let out. If after she was found guilty she would have chosen to die who here would really have objected to it?
  21. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Here's a little text from 1885 that might help lighten up this discussion a little:
    SONG--KO-KO with CHORUS OF MEN.

    As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
    I've got a little list--I've got a little list
    Of society offenders who might well be underground,
    And who never would be missed--who never would be missed!
    There's the pestilential nuisances who write for autographs--
    All people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs--
    All children who are up in dates, and floor you with 'em flat--
    All persons who in shaking hands, shake hands with you like _that_--
    And all third persons who on spoiling tete-a-tetes insist--
    They'd none of 'em be missed--they'd none of 'em be missed!

    CHORUS. He's got 'em on the list--he's got 'em on the list;
    And they'll none of 'em be missed--they'll none of
    'em be missed.

    There's the banjo serenader, and the others of his race,
    And the piano-organist--I've got him on the list!
    And the people who eat peppermint and puff it in your face,
    They never would be missed--they never would be missed!
    Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone,
    All centuries but this, and every country but his own;
    And the lady from the provinces, who dresses like a guy,
    And who "doesn't think she waltzes, but would rather like to
    try";
    And that singular anomaly, the lady novelist--
    I don't think she'd be missed--I'm sure she'd not he missed!

    CHORUS. He's got her on the list--he's got her on the list;
    And I don't think she'll be missed--I'm sure
    she'll not be missed!

    And that Nisi Prius nuisance, who just now is rather rife,
    The Judicial humorist--I've got him on the list!
    All funny fellows, comic men, and clowns of private life--
    They'd none of 'em be missed--they'd none of 'em be missed.
    And apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind,
    Such as--What d'ye call him--Thing'em-bob, and
    likewise--Never-mind,
    And 'St--'st--'st--and What's-his-name, and also You-know-who--
    The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.
    But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
    For they'd none of 'em be missed--they'd none of 'em be
    missed!

    CHORUS. You may put 'em on the list--you may put 'em on the list;
    And they'll none of 'em be missed--they'll none of
    'em be missed!
    You've got to love Gilbert and Sullivan!

    Kimball Kinnison
  22. DARTH_CONFEDERATE Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2003
    star 5
    I am for the dealth penalty because the inmates are treated too good. They get lift weights, watch TV, play basketball, and communicate with others. I think they should be locked up in a small 3 by 5 concrete room. They should not be able to do anything, they need to stay in that cell, never come out until they die, and think about what they have done for the rest of there lifes.
  23. TripleB Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 4
    You got that right. You have something like a 580% more likely chance to be killed in Prison in the General Population then you are to die on California's death row.
  24. Spike_Spiegel Former FF Administrator Former Saga Mod

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    I don't understand how Christians justify the death penalty. The commandment reads "Thou Shall Not Kill." It doesn't say "Thou Shall Not Kill Unless You Have a Court Order" or something akin to that.
  25. Branthoris Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2002
    star 3
    That commandment, strictly translated, reads "thou shalt not murder". Since the Old Testament prescribes execution as a punishment for as little as cursing your father and mother, the Ten Commandments cannot possibly be used to mount an argument against the death sentence.
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