capital punishment?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by OptimusRoo, Sep 14, 2015.


do you believe in capital punishment?

  1. yes

  2. no

  1. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Recidivism is one protection afforded by capital punishment but I think the far larger benefit is in the deterrence of would be murderers. I asked the anti capital punishment crowd for examples of innocent folks who have been executed. Bells responded with 5 examples, 2 of which occurred nearly a century ago. The most recent conviction occurred more than 2 decades ago and the execution occurred more than a decade ago.

    In all of the cases there is no proof of innocence. In the 2 older cases which are nearly a century old there is certainly overwhelming evidence justice was not served and the evidence of guilt was weak at best. Those cases are a clear miscarriage of justice which would now not be tolerated. Under current rules, those 2 cases would have been thrown out of court and the individuals would not have been even tried. But Bells had to go back nearly a century to find those 2 cases. Criminal justice has changed dramatically since then. Rules of interrogation have changed (e.g. Miranda Rights). There was the whole civil rights movement. So it isn't reasonable to equate the current judicial system with the judicial system of the early 20th century.

    James R and I had a discussion with respect to error rates earlier. James cited a study indicating a 4% conviction error rate. I haven't found any relevant evidence of wrongful executions.
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  3. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Interesting. I disagree about the social bent of your argument though. It's my belief most murderers either think they'll get away with it, or do it in a burst of passion. In either case, the deterrent value is bypassed: you're either too good to get caught or you just don't think about it in a burst of rage. I don't think people sit down and work out their likelihood of going to the chair vs. life in prison. Either way, your life is done.
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I said the the family withheld the information until they had been promised humane treatment, including psychiatric evaluation and care rather than capital punishment.

    Recall the argument: I was providing an example of the difficult to demonstrate but essentially common sense point that the prospect of severe punishment at government whim discourages informants, especially those close to the suspect (who are often very important in the kinds of crimes that attract death penalties).
    Not according to David Kaczynski, or anyone else in the family - they felt betrayed, and said so, when Reno sought the death penalty. You understand what "betrayed" means?
    Coercing a plea to avoid an insanity defense broke the promise of psychiatric evaluation and care made to the family. It also deprived the suspect of his legal rights and options. And that kind of coercion is your idea of a benefit of capital punishment?

    You've been presented with overwhelming statistical patterns, and examples of judicial malpractice, and racial patterns in capital cases, and wrongful convictions in capital level cases reversed by happenstance, and so forth.

    Given that, what would your estimate be of the mathematical probability that all 530+ executions in Texas in the past thirty five years or so were of rightfully convicted, genuinely guilty perpetrators?

    Here's a proposal: you can have your fantasy of killing some bad guys and scaring the rest. But if it is ever shown that a US citizen has been wrongfully executed, the lead prosecuting attorney and sentencing judge are each guilty of involuntary manslaughter, with a minimum sentence of one year and one day in Federal prison.

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
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  7. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    A burst of rage murder isn't premeditated and therefore not murder and not punishable by death.

    Additionally, even if there is no deterrent value as you believe, it has other values. It helps streamline criminal justice after criminals have been arrested and charged, Kaczynski being a case in point. Once arrested and charged Kaczynski cooperated and confessed in order to avoid the death penalty. That saved millions in court costs and it keeps Kaczynski in prison forever. In other cases murders have confessed to additional murders and revealed burial locations and provided other information and material helpful to victimized families and it's helpful in developing police murder profiles. So the next time it happens police profilers might be able to better identify suspects.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  8. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    actually in the US third degree murder is not premeditated. also second degree is when you want to kill them but did not plan to do so in advance.
  9. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    And when was the last time someone was sentenced to death for 2nd or 3 degree murder?

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    The discussion is about capital murder PJ...oops.

    Third Degree Murder Law & Legal Definition
    Third degree murder can be defined as homicide committed with the intention of causing bodily harm, but not necessarily death. It can be a killing that results from indifference or negligence or recklessness.

    second degree murder
    n. a non-premeditated killing, resulting from an assault in which death of the victim was a distinct possibility. Second degree murder is different from First Degree Murder which is a premeditated, intentional killing, or results from a vicious crime such as arson, rape, or armed robbery degree murder
  10. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    YES you have, repeatedly, and as repeatedly proven to you that assertion is not supported by anything you have posted and it has been repeatedly proven false. The family didn't withhold information...period. The family wanted psychiatric care for Kaczynski and they didn't want the death penalty, but there was no deal. It wasn't a quid quo pro. Show me where there was a deal for "humane treatment"...LOL. All prisoners are guaranteed humane treatment it's the law. Don't look now but your right wing government paranoia is showing.

    I understand what you are trying to say. But as repeatedly pointed to you, there is absolutely NO evidence to support your belief. The Kaczynski family didn't withhold information at any time. They initiated contacted with the FBI to avoid further loss of life; not to get a plea deal for Ted or "humane" treatment - not everyone holds you kooky beliefs.

    Also as previously and repeatedly pointed out to you, David might have felt "betrayed" for a lot of reasons. David didn't say he withheld information in exchange for a deal or the government had reneged on the deal or otherwise made promises to him. There wasn't a deal...oops. David has never said there was a deal. As has been explained several times now, the government did make one promise to David and that was to keep his name and involvement secret and the government failed to do that and that is how the government betrayed David. Because someone in government leaked David's role in bringing his brother to justice.

    That is nonsense and if you had done a little investigation you would know that assertion is blatantly untrue. Do you have an proof of government coercion? No you don't. You are making shit up again and there was no deal for psychiatric evaluation made to the family. Do you not know Kaczynski refused psychiatric examination while in custody? So you are wrong on 2 count, there was never a deal or a promise, and it was Kaczynski who refused psychiatric examination.

    LOL, and so forth... and where is it then?

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    Show me one wrongfully convicted and executed since 2000.

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  11. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    taking a page from billy's playbook i see and lying about your claims when you can't defend them.
    seriously you used to be so decent but in recent months you've become unhinged and down right delusional in your arguments. literally 4 posts ago you claimed murder isn't murder. you made a claim about murder in general not capital murder. also second degree murder is punishable by death so it is a valid point.
  12. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    The subject is capital murder PJ.

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  13. Bells Staff Member

    I like how you keep moving that goal post.

    Read the study you keep citing yet, Joe? I am still waiting for you to post the conclusion of the study from the CBS news article. Obviously, you haven't read it, because if you had, then you would have been forced to accept that even they agree that a stance for the death penalty should not acceptable, due to the many issues that exist within the justice system.

    Actually, the subject of this thread is capital punishment. Not capital murder.

    Are you unaware that in the last 15 years or so, many states in the US have enacted laws that can result in capital punishment for crimes that are not murder?


    And many other states, for all sorts of reasons, from rape of a minor, to treason, kidnapping, drug trafficking (that one is Missouri), some aggravated assaults by people who have been convicted of a previous crime, espionage, and a few others.
  14. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    LOL...the only moving goal post is the one between your ears.

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    You mean this conclusion? "Within the advocacy community and legal scholars who are not as statistically adept, they will tell you it's still an open question. Among the small number of economists at leading universities whose bread and butter is statistical analysis, the argument is finished."

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    The article I referenced discussed the recent studies and the vociferous criticism of them from folks like you. Facts are facts Bells. The article concluded nothing, it just reported facts. It's what good journalism does.

    Well, a couple of things Bells, first there is a difference between a "bill" which you cited and a law. A bill isn't a law. Two, the US Supreme Court has ruled capital punishment for rape illegal...oops.

    "The death penalty in the United States is used almost exclusively for the crime of murder. Although state and federal statutes contain various capital crimes other than those involving the death of the victim, only two people were on death row for a non-murder offense (Patrick Kennedy and Richard Davis in Louisiana) when the U.S. Supreme Court addressed this issue in 2008. No one has been executed for such a crime since the death penalty was re-instated in 1976. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court in Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584, held that the death penalty for the rape of an adult was "grossly disproportionate" and an "excessive punishment," and hence was unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. The Court looked at the relatively few states that allowed the death penalty for rape and the few death sentences that had been handed down."

    Just because a legal statute says something, it doesn't make it law. Legal interpretations override statue.

    Yes, the thread subject is capital punishment however, the specific issue being addressed at the time was capital murder...oops. Context matters and you should know that. So I have to conclude you are being disingenuous.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So you don't know what "betrayed" means. The family thought they had a promise.
    The question is, and this is merely one of the issues with capital punishment: how many informants have never come forward, and how many will not in the future, because they don't trust a State that can kill its mistakes or inconveniences, use the threat of death for leverage on confessions etc, and betray informants in that manner?
    David Kazcynski said he was betrayed by the State - said they had promised psychiatric evaluation and care for his brother, in return for his information. The experience turned him into a lifetime opponent of capital punishment.
    Yes. The fact that Reno used the threat of the death penalty to pressure Ted into a guilty plea. You said that, remember? You posted that as a benefit of capital punishment.
    That's the first time you've tried that tack, not "repeatedly" or "previously" as you love to type regardless of fact,

    and all it means is that you haven't read the links - David, and the rest of the family, felt betrayed by Reno seeking the death penalty, specifically, rather than the psychiatric evaluation and care they had been promised in return for their cooperation in the exposure of a family member to the power of the State. They said that, publicly. David made kind of a big deal out of it - turned it into a kind of crusade. This is historical fact, and you can find it in the links or by simple Google search -

    but you aren't interested, are you. Death penalty proponents are seldom interested in historical patterns of State abuse.

    No, she meant the conclusion in the actual scientific study, which you have not read.

    Btw: that quote there? The one you like? It's from a guy named Wolfers - here's a published study he wrote, that you have already been linked to but have not read:

    Not only did you not read that from links you were handed, but you did not notice the passing reference to it in article you keep citing - an example of the effect of such bias (passing references without quotes etc). Here it is for you:

    "We just don't have enough data to say anything," said Justin Wolfers, an economist at the Wharton School of Business who last year co-authored a sweeping critique of several studies, and said they were "flimsy" and appeared in "second-tier journals."

    And that's just direct deterrence - there is still net deterrence (various aspects noted above, from informant discouragement to opportunity cost), and after that the essential argument begins: is the benefit, if any, worth the degradation?

    Save yourself the trouble: no State should be permitted capital punishment. Just say no.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  16. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Actually, all that means you are either severely cognitively impaired or dishonest or some combination thereof.
  17. Bells Staff Member

    Not to mention your abhorrent dishonesty.

    The study that is cited in that article, Joe. Why have you not read it? I even posted part of the conclusion for you in an earlier post.

    You keep referring to this study in that CBS article, but you haven't even read the study. I have provided you with the name of the study and its authors, and where it was published and when. I have requested multiple times now, that you show some proof of having read it. Because had you read it, you would have found that its authors cited extreme caution for positions for the death penalty because of the issues with the criminal justice system and the discrimination that exists with it. I have asked you to account for your praising the system's alleged ability to weed out judicial errors and it allegedly removing innocent people from death row when removing anyone from death row counters the findings in the study you keep relying on. Since the study clearly notes that removing anyone from death row reduces the deterrent factor. You are yet to account for this. I have provided you with numerous studies from the body that governs criminologists, from a variety of lawyers, a study conducted by the scientific body that helps the Government write policy, who all discounted the Mocan and Gittings study because it was so badly done to begin with. The reasons have been listed again and again.

    And you are still to provide the conclusion of the study you are relying on in that CBS news study.

    Are you unable to read the study? Do you even know what it is called? Is the reason you are refusing to cite the actual study and its conclusion because the conclusion advises extreme caution in regards to the death penalty because of how it is not applied equally and because of the injustice that remains entrenched within the system?

    Do you know what "enacted" means when it comes to Statutes, Joe?

    And are you aware that Kennedy v. Louisiana is only in regards to child rape and that it did not remove the death penalty for crimes against the State, such as treason and espionage. Oops indeed.

    Ermm.. Legal statutes are laws. Courts then interpret those laws and look at things like precedents to do so. If the Supreme Court finds that a law is unconstitutional, for example, then this "interpretation" can "override" a statute of a section of the statute..

    And your comment was that it is only available for "murder". It is not. Correction of your repeated mistakes within context.. Oops indeed for you.
  18. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    LOL…says the pot to the kettle. The unfortunate fact is unlike you I have been very honest.

    And you know this how? You don’t. You are being dishonest again. Two, as has been repeatedly explained to you, whither I read the actual studies or not, it really isn’t relevant. Can you disprove or discredit anything written in the articles that have been discussed here? Can you disprove anything the renowned economists and Nobel laureate have said about the studies and the death penalty? Thus far you haven’t been able to disprove a single thing.

    Well actually, I have referred to two articles published by 3 very credible sources. You have published the name and when and where it was published? I suggest you read the CBS and AP article I referenced. It included the names of the authors and publication date and referenced additional studies which validate their conclusions.

    If you have provided all you claim, now is the time to show it. But unless you can prove the referenced articles have misrepresented the original studies, something you have yet to do, your efforts are obfuscation. What you did do was link to a paper written by a nonprofit group which rendered an opinion largely based on their opinions. They would have preferred different assumptions. That doesn’t invalidate the original studies. These studies have certainly raised the hair on the backs of folks like you who are opposed to capital punishment. As demonstrated by you and those like you, these studies have generated vehement visceral opposition…kind of like telling the emperor he has no clothes on.

    You are referring to paper written by the nonprofit group. That isn’t the original study…oops. That paper was critique of the studies I referenced. The authors of that paper didn’t like the assumptions used in modeling. That is an opinion based on opinion. They found no errors in the data of the referenced studies. Further, you need to read the conclusion of that paper. They recommended more study no policy changes. While the nonprofit paper you referenced is critical of the referenced studies, and they don't like the assumptions made and used in the modeling. It doesn’t invalidate the studies.

    Oh, more ad hominem.

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    And this is relevant how? As previously pointed out to you, just because a statute exists, it doesn’t make it law, because statutes are constrained by legal interpretations. It’s one reason why I chose not to be a lawyer. With Republican domination of state legislatures, putting blatantly illegal laws on the books and fighting the inevitable court challenges has become a cottage industry for lawyers. The city I live in has laws on the books which are in clear violation of state and federal law. So as I told you in my last post, citing statue as you have done is misleading and wrong. Citing a statute without legal context is pretty meaningless and often outright misleading and wrong.

    LOL, why yes I am familiar with Kennedy v. Louisiana, it was the case I had in mind when I made my last post debunking your claim that people could be executed for rape. Had my keyboard not been malfunctioning, I probably would have included it in my last post.

    Did you not read or understand my last post? I referenced Coker v. Georgia in which the Supreme Court found the death penalty for rape juvenile or adult as excessive and unconstitutional. Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S.584 (1977), held that the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution forbade the death penalty for the crime of rape.

    "Kennedy case[edit]

    Kennedy v. Louisiana was a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court that resulted in United States Supreme Court litigation which expanded the Coker decision.

    “On May 22, 2007, the Louisiana Supreme Court held that it is constitutional to impose the death penalty for rape where the rape victim is a child.[31] Ruling on an appeal brought in the case of defendant Patrick Kennedy, Justice Jeffrey Victory wrote for the court that the Louisiana law allowing the imposition of the death penalty under those circumstances was consistent with Coker because an aggravating circumstance—the age of the victim—justified the death penalty.

    The case was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 (Kennedy v. Louisiana), thus expanding Coker to say that the death penalty is unconstitutional in all cases that do not involve murder or crimes against the State.”

    So the bottom line is your assertion and reference of a bill was wrong for all the reasons previously cited. Contrary to your original assertion capital punishment isn’t a remedy for rape. That is indeed an “oops” and a big one for someone who is supposed to be a lawyer. Just because a statute exists, it doesn’t make it the law of the land. Legal context is everything. And contrary to your assertion people are not executed or even sentenced to death for rape in this country because the Supreme Court has ruled that kind of punishment as excessive and a violation of the 8th Amendment.

    Isn’t that what I said in my last post? Isn’t that why I said you were wrong to cite statue without understanding the legal context? Because if you had, you would know your citing a “bill” without legal context was either blatantly ignorant or disingenuous. Contrary to your original assertion rapists do not suffer capital punishment in the USA.

    One more thing, statues can be overruled by any criminal court...not just the Supreme Court. Any criminal court can find and overturn statute, but the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the law. That's one reason why an appeals process exists. And when any court overrules a statute, the statute remains on the books. It just becomes unenforceable. So your citation of unenforceable statute as evidence people are executed for crimes other than capital murder is either a demonstration of ignorance or deception.

    And where is the evidence for that conclusion exactly? Show me one person since 2000 who has been executed for something other than murder? You can’t. Show me someone sitting on death row who has been convicted of anything but capital murder? You can’t. I suggest you go back and read my last post again.

    Just because there are laws on the books which allow for capital punishment for certain crimes it doesn’t make those laws legal as has been repeatedly explained to you here. There are many illegal laws on the books, as pointed out Republicans have made a cottage industry out of enacting blatantly illegal laws. That’s one reason we have an independent judiciary. That’s why we have a Supreme Court. That's one reason why we have an appeals process.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You have not read any of those studies - neither the ones directly named, nor any of the others referred to vaguely without names or quotes (hence the bias), nor any of the others to which you have been linked here by at least three different posters.

    All of your articles are in mass media outlets, and they misrepresent the science in the field. You may be gullible enough to accept such inadequate journalism as scientific fact, but others are not.

    So no deterrent for rape, however heinous, or any other crime except the kinds of murder Joe thinks will qualify, as all these States diligently follow Joe's prescriptions - this deterrent effect of yours is shrinking even from your fantasy perspective.

    So we won't see another public outcry for the execution of someone like John Walker Lindh, as fouled the air a few years ago?

    But we will see the executions of people like Bundy - who traveled to death penalty Florida for his last spree, in which he did not cover his tracks as before -, and McVeigh, who took all of his information about his terrorist connections and fellow vigilantes to the grave with him in avoiding life in prison. And we will see further betrayals of informants like the Kazcynskis, those who would come forward with suspicions and information about those close to them. What do you suppose that will deter?

    And we will continue to divert resources from addressing significant matters that bear on serious crime prevention, in pursuit of these statistical shadows of government cowing and Hollywood will-o-the-wisps of revenge.

    And this is OK?
  20. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    lying about the claims you made is dishonest. bells is the honest one here not you.
  21. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member


    Oh, and you know this how? Do you have my home bugged? Are you watching me 24/7? You are doing what you always do Iceaura, you are making stuff up. You are making claims you cannot possibly know. But, hey, it’s what you do. Have you read even one of the referenced studies in question? I doubt it and if you had I doubt you would have the ability to understand it.

    Two, as you have been repeatedly told, whether I have or haven read each of the 6 or more studies, unless you can prove the articles I referenced were materially incorrect, it isn’t relevant. And you haven’t done that. What you have done is make a lot of unsupported allegations and statements which are clearly false.

    The unpleasant fact for you is 6 peer reviewed studies have been conducted within the last 15 years which show capital punishment saves lives.

    So now mass media (i.e. credible news sources) are now not credible and inadequate? Well I guess that is a step out from your previous allegations of bias and poorly written. Don’t look now, but you sound just like our right wing conservative brethren. Just because your beliefs are not supported by fact and reason it doesn’t mean the media is biased.

    Before this you had no problems citing the “mass media”. You did it often, but not that the “mass media” reports something contrary to your beliefs the “mass media” is biased and poorly written.

    And you think that makes sense?

    What does Lindh have to do with capital punishment? He was not charged with capital crimes. He was not charged with murder…oops. We are talking murder here.

    Oh, Bundy didn’t attempt to cover his tracks as before….seriously? The guy escaped from jail multiple times. I think you need to beef up on the facts. You are doing what you always do Iceaura, you are making stuff up again. The cop who caught him for the last time didn’t realize he had captured Bundy.

    As we discussed before there is no evidence McVeigh had any additional evidence to give, and even if he had additional evidence, there is no indication that he would have divulged anything if he had been given a life sentence versus the death penalty. Since McVeigh’s execution we have not had another similar attack on a federal courthouse. All evidence points only to McVeigh. The unfortunate fact for you is deterrence worked in McVeigh’s case.

    You do have an imagination and a penchant for drama, bringing Hollywood into it now. Deterrence is crime prevention and capital punishment is deterrence, and evidence and reason do matter.
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    By the oblivious ignorance displayed in your posting here, combined with the assumption that you are minimally honest sometimes - that your entire agenda here is not the deliberate repetition of falsehoods. You keep posting things like this:
    So obviously you haven't read any of the several links.
    The article you linked originally, and have referred to ever since, was biased and poorly written and inadequate and not credible in its presentation of its topic. I know this because I read it, noticed a couple of holes, and compared it with the research it supposedly presented and the field in which it drew its conclusions. You omitted steps two and three, there.

    That's how you came to quote Wolfers as a supporter of your claims, and his quote as a conclusion of the deterrence-claiming economists. You were misled by the confusing way the quote was presented in the article, and you never checked it out.

    But that isn't the big problem with your approach. The bigger problem is that you really, badly, sincerely want the State to be able to kill the bad guys. And so you don't see the danger of it, or the cost.
  23. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Well, not surprisingly that is a repetition of your dishonesty, repeating it doesn't make it better or any less false. I asked you a number of questions, answer them.

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    Except there were no "holes" and you have done anything to prove your allegations of bias or being poorly written. If you are to be believed, one must believe that the nation's most preeminent journals are biased and publish poorly written articles. Funny, right extremist say the same things about these journals. Truth and reason are not biases or make for poorly written articles. Just because your beliefs are not consistent with reality it doesn't make truth and reason biased.

    Earth to Iceaura.... how about making some sense every once in awhile?

    The big problem is that with folks like you ideological beliefs trump truth and reason time and time again and you have no need of truth or reason. .

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