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areese87 12-02-2008 09:04 PM

The Death Penalty
 
For those who haven't heard of Troy Davis, here's an article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_Anthony_Davis

Basically, Davis, a black man, was convicted of the murder of a white cop in 1989, and has been scheduled to be executed multiple times- each time his execution was stayed at the last minute. Many have shown support, hoping he will not be executed. 7/9 of the eye witnesses recanted their testimonies, a few of which identified one of the remaining 2 witnesses as the killer. Apparently, they were coerced by the police.

Info:
"Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail at a Burger King in Savannah, Georgia; a murder he maintains he did not commit. There was no physical evidence against him and the weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state's non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.

One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles."

This all leads to the Death Penalty, a practice still here in much of the U.S. Beyond this case, there are many problems that must be recognized in the system, such as fairness of applying the death penalty, race issues, cost (more money for death than life in prison!), and moral justification.

What do you guys think? Fair? Just? Should it be banned, like other nations?

DemolitionSquid 12-02-2008 09:24 PM

I fully, 100% support the death penalty for anyone convicted beyond a shadow of a doubt of intentionally killing another person. In the case of Troy Davis, a 25 year sentence would be acceptable because of the lack of evidence. Such determination of sentencing would be that of the judge, as it is now. I believe in an eye for an eye.

The problem is not with the law. It is with those who interpret the law unjustly to their own ends.

TheChairman 12-02-2008 10:28 PM

Personally I come down against the death penalty because I believe that the practice of executing criminals isn't fair to the victim. If I commit a multiple homicide and kill an entire family in their home, does it really follow that the punishment for that should be a prick in the arm and painless escape? I personally would take the death penalty long before life without possibility of parole. Equating one life to another is impossible and therefore state sanctioned murder shouldn't be our solution.

H0teLVi0LeT 12-02-2008 11:21 PM

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areese87 12-02-2008 11:49 PM

HV- I too didn't seem to believe that the death penalty system is more costly. Seems odd. But here's a detailed article w/ LOTS of data:
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty

As for "eye for an eye"- well, that's basically our law, yes? Punishment "equal" to crime. So it would seem death for a death. Even if we get by the whole corrupt system, where blacks are more likely to be convicted, and how gunho the DA is about the penalty matters, and all of that (that fact that it is not applied fairly- meaning it ain't constitutional), we still run into this: inability to fix a mistake. DNA testing and fingerprinting practices radically changed trials and police work. As we know, hundreds of criminals were proved innocent after either being convicted or being put to death. Now when someone is imprisoned and proven innocent, you can free him. Put to death? All you can do is say "Whoops."

I have issues with that. The death penalty just seems like we aren't leaving room for mistakes. I'm positive there will a new practice, the next "DNA testing", that exonerate plenty of inmates. Can we really take that risk.

So, basically, I would think that an eye for an eye should be applied, that man should die if he kills, as long as we're 100% positive. But are we ever?

Question: is the Death penalty unconstitutional?

H0teLVi0LeT 12-03-2008 12:30 AM

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WindowlessHouse 12-03-2008 12:35 AM

The death penalty is not unconstitutional inherently.

Quote:

Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Quote:

Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Basically, as long as "due process" (a trial by jury and any other laws/processes that are applicable) is followed, the State may take your life. The previous ban on the death penalty (that was later repealed) was justified because of racially biased "due process".

In the case of Mr. Davis, there is already reason to believe that "due process" procedures were tampered with, so he shouldn't get the death penalty.

areese87 12-03-2008 01:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H0teLVi0LeT (Post 489920)
Not without unreasonable doubt, but I'd say as our methods of gathering evidence improve, the frequency of cases where direct evidence was used to prove someone "committed" a crime but really did not will be reduced to almost zero an will have only a 1 in a billion frequency every year or something of that nature. You'd have to have some pretty bizarre and highly sophisticated methods these days in order to have a person convicted on false direct evidence (can't say the same for circumstantial evidence). I'm talking highly improbably sci-fi shit here.

As for sci-fi shit, go back a hundred years. I'd say DNA testing was pretty damn sci-fi. I don't see why you could put limitations like that.

Now why is the death penalty more applicable than life in prison sans parole (which is also sticky to me)? Especially with the cost info I gave you. What makes death better? Because it "feels" right? Simply veangance? What is it?

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Windowless-
Due Process is usually associated with fairness and equal treatment under the law. The death penalty does not work that way, as it depends on where you are, your class level, and of course, your race. And unlike prison sentences, we have no one to "free." Does it remain constitutional?

Question to all: Why keep the death penalty? What does it really serve? What is the big pro to dominate its many cons?

WindowlessHouse 12-03-2008 01:17 AM

The Supreme Court disagrees with you.

areese87 12-03-2008 01:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WindowlessHouse (Post 489935)
The Supreme Court disagrees with you.

That's your response? I expect better man. I mean, the Court disagrees/d with me a number of instances. Plessy v. Ferguson? Cheap shot, I know. In this court, I basically disagree with 4/9 all the time. :-D. Like that Habeaus Corpus case concerning Guantanomo. Court nearly disagreed w/ me. The DC gun ban being overturned. Disagreed w/ that.

Court is human. Disagrees w/ a lot of people. Disagrees w/ itself.

WindowlessHouse 12-03-2008 02:25 AM

Disagree with the Court all you want (cause I do too on a lot of issues), but the burden is on you to tell us why the SC's argument is wrong given the wording of the Constitution that I quoted earlier. The court has the correct interpretation of the "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" clause and it is not inherently contradictory with the rest of the Constitution.

Brief Explanation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_v._Georgia

Actual Case: (LONG, But Justice White's Opinion is close to what I believe to be true)
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...l=428&page=153

H0teLVi0LeT 12-03-2008 02:28 AM

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Alexander 12-03-2008 10:34 AM

I only support the death penalty in cases of pre-meditated murder. Non-premeditated murder can be a sticky situation revolving around extreme emotions or mental instability and sometimes just accidents.

DaDaimon 12-03-2008 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DemolitionSquid (Post 489859)
I fully, 100% support the death penalty for anyone convicted beyond a shadow of a doubt of intentionally killing another person.
In the case of Troy Davis, a 25 year sentence would be acceptable because of the lack of evidence.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hotel Violet
.I only support the death penalty if there isnt the slightest shadow of doubt that the murderer is guilty.

The evidence needed to punish someone is equal to all the crimes irrespective of their punishment. What you both are basically saying is that because you're not sure someone did it you'd rather put them away than kill them. Neither of those options should apply, if you're not sure you cannot punish them. It's really that simple.

The discussion pertaining the death penalty can only be solely focussed on whether or not you agree that the state has the right to put someone to death. Their guilt is already given in such a situation. If you're not sure, you cannot punish them, that's the basis of our legal system.

Pizza 12-03-2008 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DaDaimon (Post 490014)
The evidence needed to punish someone is equal to all the crimes irrespective of their punishment. What you both are basically saying is that because you're not sure someone did it you'd rather put them away than kill them. Neither of those options should apply, if you're not sure you cannot punish them. It's really that simple.

The discussion pertaining the death penalty can only be solely focussed on whether or not you agree that the state has the right to put someone to death. Their guilt is already given in such a situation. If you're not sure, you cannot punish them, that's the basis of our legal system.

Just playing devil's advocate here - what you say is true, but there is precedent for standards of proof which vary according to the wrongdoing in question or according to the gamut of remedies being considered by the judge. In a criminal court the standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt" but in civil court there are two different and distinct standards for judgment, "a preponderance of evidence" and "clear and convincing evidence."

For example, in Santosky v. Kramer (1982) the US Supreme Court decided that when the state seeks to take custody of a child away from a natural parent, the more stringent standard of proof ("clear and convincing evidence") must be used in order to afford the defendants due process in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution.


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