View Poll Results: Do you approve of the death penalty?
Yes 18 38.30%
No 29 61.70%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

Spinoff: Death penalty

Despite what I think of as somewhat silly disagreement about what is and is not appropriate as a national celebration, another post brought up the question-do you approve or disapprove of the death penalty? This came up in conversations I had recently due to the plea agreement in Seattle. I have to say, no matter how terrible I think the guy was for all those murders, I *still* don't approve of the death penalty. How about you?

Please remember-this can be a very touchy subject, and we're all allowed our own feelings on the matter, so please don't attack each other just because you feel differently on the matter....
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Against it, for three major reasons.

1. Cases are rarely airtight. I personally wouldn't want to throw the switch on someone because the likelihood of a mistake in the prosecution is too high.

2. Fiscally, it seems irresponsible. Costs for endless appeals are hellishly expensive. If they're locked away with no possibility of parole (a la the Green River Killer), if there is a mistake found in the prosecution, the person's still alive and the error can be remedied.

3. The argument that the death penalty is a deterrent doesn't hold any water with me. It may stop very few, but when murder is committed in the heat of the moment, which most are, thinking about the chair is not going to enter the mind of the potential killer. Most criminals just don't think that far ahead. If they were truly worried about consequences, they wouldn't be pointing the gun/knife/car at someone in the first place.
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I'm against it, for all the reason curlytori listed. Also, I don't know if I believe in God or not, but I just feel that it is not for human society to decide to take a life.
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It erodes a government's moral authority
It's not fairly administered
It keeps authorities from learning more about the criminal/crime
It's expensive
It appeals to our base primitive need for revenge

Most important to me, as I heard after Tim McVeigh's death, after an execution, the only person no longer suffering is the guilty one. It seems almost to easy and I'd rather they spend the rest of their miserable life locked up.
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68 people viewed this thread, but only 11 voted. C'mon people, it's anonymous.

For the record, I am against it for the reasons curlytori listed.
It erodes a government's moral authority
It's not fairly administered
It keeps authorities from learning more about the criminal/crime
It's expensive
It appeals to our base primitive need for revenge

Most important to me, as I heard after Tim McVeigh's death, after an execution, the only person no longer suffering is the guilty one. It seems almost to easy and I'd rather they spend the rest of their miserable life locked up.
Originally Posted by mandyv
I totally agree. And have to bring up a point I've heard people use FOR it. I've heard people say "I don't want so-and-so to be kept alive on taxpayers' money forever!" It's usually more expensive to execute someone than keep them alive, due to the many legally required appeals. Just thought I'd share.
The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.
-Speckla

But at least the pews never attend yoga!
I don't agree with it and when people do they usually, but not always, quote the 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth' part of the Bible I think that's wrong. I don't think we should be imparting justice based on a 2000 year old book. There is also the fact that if the executed person is found innocent after the execution it can't be undone, unlike if they were in prison they could be freed.
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No, I'm not for it. I have a respect for life and death, and I feel that God should be the only one to take lives.
68 people viewed this thread, but only 11 voted. C'mon people, it's anonymous.
Originally Posted by mazey
I think people are still sorting out how they feel about it. I used to be for and now i'm against.
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I'm using mandyv's post to branch off of because she outlined very well the major points of contention for the anti-death penalty argument.

I'd just like to get some insight into what drives the arguments against the death penalty. Personally, I voted yes. I think it does have its place in limited cases.

It erodes a government's moral authority
This first point, I won't debate. Everyone has a different opinion on how far the government's reach should be, and to what extent they are the moral guide for our daily lives.

It's not fairly administered
I'm interested to know how you mean this? Are you referring to along racial lines, or because different methods used in different states, or...? If the problem is in the application, then by all means, it should be reviewed. It doesn't necessarily mean we are incapable of administering differently.

It keeps authorities from learning more about the criminal/crime
What more should we expect to learn about a criminal that an often nauseatingly long legal process (hearings, trials, convictions, years that many spend on death row) won't bring out? Nothing stops authorities from further investigation based on other empirical evidence after the fact, witnesses, accomplices, friends/family of the convicted, etc.

It's expensive
Agreed. However, the costly appeals process often occurs regardless of whether the death penalty is determined as the punishment. I'd like to see some information on how many of these appeals in our system are direct results of death convictions as opposed to life or other prison terms. I'd be surprised if we don't find death cases contribute to a much smaller portion of these legal costs than the multitude of other cases. I may be wrong.

I do think the execution process is way too elaborate. I'm sure we can find a much easier way ($0.50 bullet?) to handle executions.

It appeals to our base primitive need for revenge.
It seems almost to easy and I'd rather they spend the rest of their miserable life locked up.
This statement would seem to appeal to that same need, no?
"You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you."
for all of the reasons already cited above. I am a criminal defense attorney, and in California at least, life without the possiblity of parole means exactly that. They never get out. I have even been to protests against the death penalty, and have made my wishes known to all of my family that if I were to ever be murdered, I would want them to let the DA know that I would not want the death penalty for my killer. That being said, I have never (thank God) lost one of my loved ones due to a criminal act. I always say that I am against the death penalty in theory, however, I think unless you are put in the position where you have actually lost someone to murder, it is difficult to truly say you do not support the death penalty. I certainly hope that if something that awful were to happen to my husband, mother, etc., I would be strong enough to not want to seek vengance, but I also know I could never possibly say what I would do until I was put in that position.
I'm somewhat on the fence on the issue, though I voted "yes" in the poll.

I believe that the death penalty as it is practiced today is not always just or practical for many of the reasons outlined above by others (the cost of the appeal process, unacceptable rate of false conviction, fairness in application, racial disparity)

However, all of my objections to the death penalty have to do with the way our system handles it - and some, like racial disparity, are problems with our justice system in general. I do not take issue with the basic concept that sometimes executing a violent criminal may be necessary and just.
"Beware the man of one book." --Latin proverb
I was surprised (and pleased) to see people saying they are against the death penalty. I am as well. I do find myself tested at times in my conviction (hearing the recordings of the plea in the Seattle case the other day being one of those times), but those are the cases in which I feel I must stick to it even harder... for all the reasons people have mentioned already.
I used to be srongly for the death penalty. The last few years have brought to light far too many cases where someone has been wrongly convicted. I have also been amazed at how many cases the prosecutors knew they had the wrong person but wanted to get a conviction or didn't want to admit their own mistakes.

It is awful when someone is murdered, but for us to possibly turn around and kill someone who is innocent is maybe even worse.

I do think I could vote for the death penalty if someone was caught red handed committing the crime and there was no doubt of their guilt. Since that rarely happens, I have to say I am now against the death penalty.
3b/c
I always say that I am against the death penalty in theory, however, I think unless you are put in the position where you have actually lost someone to murder, it is difficult to truly say you do not support the death penalty. I certainly hope that if something that awful were to happen to my husband, mother, etc., I would be strong enough to not want to seek vengance, but I also know I could never possibly say what I would do until I was put in that position.
Originally Posted by MichelleR
unfortunately, I am somewhat of a vengeance seeking person. I know that is not healthy, and in some ways it is better to forgive. I dont want to, but I really want someting more for (that person who murdered someone extramely close to me) than to be in a jail cell all day. I think the death penalty is justice. I will never, ever, ever have a chance of seeing my mom again, yet her convicted killer is living, and sorry, but I cannot get over that fact.

Despite everything, I was supporitve of the death penalty long before anything ever happened to me, so it is not like anything completely altered my thinking.
curlyshorty, I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to you.

And I agree with you. It all changes when you're on the other side.
Curlyshorty - Your feelings are completely understandable, and I'm sorry such a terrible thing happened to you. I agree that you have to be in the situation to really know what you would think on the issue.
Reminds me of a question I once heard: what is the purpose of punishment? Is it to "teach" the criminal something? Extract payment or restitution of some sort? Exact revenge?

I don't have the answers myself, it's just something I always think of when this issue comes up. And what is the meaning of revenge to a person who has been wronged? Obviously, it can't undo the harm that's been done - and can it possibly make someone feel better? (These are rhetorical questions, in my view - the issues have been around forever, and I don't expect to see them resolved. Just things to think about.)

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