Yet another reason to abolish the death penalty.

Started May 15, 2012 | Discussions
JasonMI
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Yet another reason to abolish the death penalty.
May 15, 2012

"Liebman and five of his students at Columbia School of Law spent almost five years poring over details of a case that he says is "emblematic" of legal system failure.

DeLuna, 27, was put to death after "a very incomplete investigation. No question that the investigation is a failure," Liebman said.

The report's authors found "numerous missteps, missed clues and missed opportunities that let authorities prosecute Carlos DeLuna for the crime of murder, despite evidence not only that he did not commit the crime but that another individual, Carlos Hernandez, did," the 780-page investigation found."

http://news.yahoo.com/wrong-man-executed-texas-probe-says-051125159.html

edwardaneal
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Re: Yet another reason to abolish the death penalty.
In reply to JasonMI, May 15, 2012

I would agree. our system has shown that innocent people can be and are convicted of crimes they didnt commit and our system has also proven that even if it could guarantee that innocent people would never be convicted the cost of implementing the death penalty is substantially higher than the cost of holding prisoners for life without parole

there is no upside to the death penalty

JMO

JasonMI wrote:

"Liebman and five of his students at Columbia School of Law spent almost five years poring over details of a case that he says is "emblematic" of legal system failure.

DeLuna, 27, was put to death after "a very incomplete investigation. No question that the investigation is a failure," Liebman said.

The report's authors found "numerous missteps, missed clues and missed opportunities that let authorities prosecute Carlos DeLuna for the crime of murder, despite evidence not only that he did not commit the crime but that another individual, Carlos Hernandez, did," the 780-page investigation found."

http://news.yahoo.com/wrong-man-executed-texas-probe-says-051125159.html

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brettmeikle
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Re: Yet another reason to abolish the death penalty.
In reply to JasonMI, May 15, 2012

couldn't agree more - one wrong state sponsored murder negates the justification for all the rest.
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Great Bustard
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It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to JasonMI, May 15, 2012

JasonMI wrote:

"Liebman and five of his students at Columbia School of Law spent almost five years poring over details of a case that he says is "emblematic" of legal system failure.

DeLuna, 27, was put to death after "a very incomplete investigation. No question that the investigation is a failure," Liebman said.

The report's authors found "numerous missteps, missed clues and missed opportunities that let authorities prosecute Carlos DeLuna for the crime of murder, despite evidence not only that he did not commit the crime but that another individual, Carlos Hernandez, did," the 780-page investigation found."

http://news.yahoo.com/wrong-man-executed-texas-probe-says-051125159.html

...but rather an argument for more competence in the investigations. Of course, I'm fully aware that asking for greater competence is like asking for Peace on Earth, but the consolation prize for no death penalty is life in prison. I'd say put a bit more effort into getting competent investigations.

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JasonMI
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 15, 2012

True, but here's a follow up article about even more death penalty cases which there was doubt on. Some were the result of shoddy investigation, but also a good case could be made that many deaths resulted in peoples' biases. The only way to overcome that--and be sure of it--is to not have the death penalty.

http://news.yahoo.com/mistaken-identity-10-contested-death-penalty-cases-171345217.html

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lownine
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Re: Yet another reason to abolish the death penalty.
In reply to JasonMI, May 15, 2012

One of the structural issues that makes it a tough sell, in Maryland where the death penalty is on hiatus, to argue that life in prison is a tough sentence is our system of show trials. It doesn't happen in every case, but too many.

First, there's the "show" trial, the one conducted for the family members of the victims and for the public and the press. That's the one where the defendant gets hammered. Soon after, maybe a year or two, the convicted then gets what amounts to a "new" trial that was all agreed to before the "show" trial was conducted. In the pre-trial phase the defense and prosecution and judge all work out a plan to drop the hammer at trial and then entertain a reconsideration down the road. It's like a two-act play except that the players do it with the knowledge that the audience leaves after the first act. When the theater has been cleared and the cameras are gone, the curtain goes up on Act 2.

If anyone wonders why defendants don't look shocked or lost at the time of sentencing, maybe it's because they know it's not over.

Maryland...the state where a key legislator (and criminal defense attorney) won't allow the law to be amended thereby keeping drunk driving in the realm of a "boys will be boys" offense.

Stu

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Great Bustard
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to JasonMI, May 15, 2012

JasonMI wrote:

True, but here's a follow up article about even more death penalty cases which there was doubt on.

Oh, I'm sure there are several.

Some were the result of shoddy investigation, but also a good case could be made that many deaths resulted in peoples' biases.

I think you mean that peoples' biases resulted in shoddy investigations that led to unjustified deaths. Sure.

The only way to overcome that--and be sure of it--is to not have the death penalty.

http://news.yahoo.com/mistaken-identity-10-contested-death-penalty-cases-171345217.html

But, like I said, the consolation prize is life in prison for someone who's innocent -- not much of a reward. I'd focus my efforts more on trying to remedy the shoddy investigations. I'd say a 10% improvement there will do far more for "justice" than eradicating the death penalty.

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QuicksilverCA
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Re: Yet another reason to abolish the death penalty.
In reply to JasonMI, May 15, 2012

If you are going to have the death penalty then the burden of proof needs to be extremely high and even then it should only be reserved for some of the worst of the worst offenders.

The problem with a lot of these cases were innocent people are put to death is that you get overzealous prosecutors often with huge egos and add in poor or substandard police work then you have a receipt for disaster.

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DenWil
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Actually now is the time to start aggressive enforcement.
In reply to JasonMI, May 15, 2012

A guy walking away hardly qualifies as a smoking gun these days. The chance in 2012, given the current state of technology, of a complete innocent fitting every parameter of evidence for a given capital offense and then being convicted - and all the appeals... hang'em high.

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Wheatfield
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 16, 2012

Great Bustard wrote:

But, like I said, the consolation prize is life in prison for someone who's innocent -- not much of a reward. I'd focus my efforts more on trying to remedy the shoddy investigations. I'd say a 10% improvement there will do far more for "justice" than eradicating the death penalty.

If you don't kill the person, then you can, if it turns out he is wrongly convicted, give him what remains of his life.

If you kill the person and it turns out he is innocent, then you now have two murders.

Of course the state just says "Oops our bad" and no one is held to account for the second one.

Would you still feel the death penalty was OK if you were the one falsely convicted?

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Great Bustard
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Wheatfield, May 16, 2012

Wheatfield wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

But, like I said, the consolation prize is life in prison for someone who's innocent -- not much of a reward. I'd focus my efforts more on trying to remedy the shoddy investigations. I'd say a 10% improvement there will do far more for "justice" than eradicating the death penalty.

If you don't kill the person, then you can, if it turns out he is wrongly convicted, give him what remains of his life.

If you kill the person and it turns out he is innocent, then you now have two murders.

Of course the state just says "Oops our bad" and no one is held to account for the second one.

Would you still feel the death penalty was OK if you were the one falsely convicted?

No matter what the penalty was, I wouldn't feel it was "OK" if I were falsely convicted.

In the case of the death penalty, I'd rather have a more competent investigation that would be more likely to dismiss my case than to have a higher chance of spending the rest of my life in prison.

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Wheatfield
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 16, 2012

Great Bustard wrote:

Wheatfield wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

But, like I said, the consolation prize is life in prison for someone who's innocent -- not much of a reward. I'd focus my efforts more on trying to remedy the shoddy investigations. I'd say a 10% improvement there will do far more for "justice" than eradicating the death penalty.

If you don't kill the person, then you can, if it turns out he is wrongly convicted, give him what remains of his life.

If you kill the person and it turns out he is innocent, then you now have two murders.

Of course the state just says "Oops our bad" and no one is held to account for the second one.

Would you still feel the death penalty was OK if you were the one falsely convicted?

No matter what the penalty was, I wouldn't feel it was "OK" if I were falsely convicted.

Lets rephrase the question: Would you rather be subject to the death penalty, with no advantage to you if you are found innocent down the road because you have already been executed, or life in prison, where you can be given your freedom back if you are exonerated?

In the case of the death penalty, I'd rather have a more competent investigation that would be more likely to dismiss my case than to have a higher chance of spending the rest of my life in prison.

Abolishing the death penalty can be done by a few brave politicians with the stroke of a pen, what you are talking about is a complete overhaul of your justice system, including removing the politics and graft from it.
Which do you think is more likely to happen?

At least if you remove the death penalty from the equation, your lying, corrupt and incompetent police investigators and prosecutors can't actually murder innocent people.

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JasonMI
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Wheatfield, May 17, 2012

I was actually thinking more of this, because the racism issue.

At least if you remove the death penalty from the equation, your lying, corrupt and incompetent police investigators and prosecutors can't actually murder innocent people.

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Fresch
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to JasonMI, May 17, 2012

"the racism issue", what race issues?

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WoodMaven
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Re: Yet another reason to abolish the death penalty.
In reply to JasonMI, May 17, 2012

In most cases the reversed verdicts result from malfeasance by the prosecution during trial. Fix the system instead of making excuses.

In cases where the guilt is obvious - due to a preponderance of evidence or many witnesses - hang 'em behind the courthouse the day of the trial. The Texas major certainly falls into that category.

The problem with the death penalty are cause by the legal system. We SHOULD put to death mass murderers or those who commit horrible crimes when there is no question of guilt. If there is ANY question of guilt then I would not vote to execute.

JasonMI wrote:

"Liebman and five of his students at Columbia School of Law spent almost five years poring over details of a case that he says is "emblematic" of legal system failure.

DeLuna, 27, was put to death after "a very incomplete investigation. No question that the investigation is a failure," Liebman said.

The report's authors found "numerous missteps, missed clues and missed opportunities that let authorities prosecute Carlos DeLuna for the crime of murder, despite evidence not only that he did not commit the crime but that another individual, Carlos Hernandez, did," the 780-page investigation found."

http://news.yahoo.com/wrong-man-executed-texas-probe-says-051125159.html

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Great Bustard
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Wheatfield, May 17, 2012

Wheatfield wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Wheatfield wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

But, like I said, the consolation prize is life in prison for someone who's innocent -- not much of a reward. I'd focus my efforts more on trying to remedy the shoddy investigations. I'd say a 10% improvement there will do far more for "justice" than eradicating the death penalty.

If you don't kill the person, then you can, if it turns out he is wrongly convicted, give him what remains of his life.

If you kill the person and it turns out he is innocent, then you now have two murders.

Of course the state just says "Oops our bad" and no one is held to account for the second one.

Would you still feel the death penalty was OK if you were the one falsely convicted?

No matter what the penalty was, I wouldn't feel it was "OK" if I were falsely convicted.

Lets rephrase the question: Would you rather be subject to the death penalty, with no advantage to you if you are found innocent down the road because you have already been executed, or life in prison, where you can be given your freedom back if you are exonerated?

Depends on how often I'm being raped in prison. That's not a facetious answer, either -- how long will I have to endure the hell of prison before I am released? One year? Two years? Ten years? Twenty years? What are the odds my case is reviewed given I have no money after having been imprisoned? Who's reviewing my case and why, rather than having done it right the first time?

In the case of the death penalty, I'd rather have a more competent investigation that would be more likely to dismiss my case than to have a higher chance of spending the rest of my life in prison.

Abolishing the death penalty can be done by a few brave politicians with the stroke of a pen, what you are talking about is a complete overhaul of your justice system, including removing the politics and graft from it.
Which do you think is more likely to happen?

At least if you remove the death penalty from the equation, your lying, corrupt and incompetent police investigators and prosecutors can't actually murder innocent people.

Sayin that "lying, corrupt and incompetent police investigators and prosecutors can't actually murder innocent people" isn't much of a plus when these same "lying, corrupt and incompetent police investigators and prosecutors" can keep one in prison for life without the death penalty.

Fact of the matter is, you're not solving anything by getting rid of the death penalty -- you're just sweeping the real issues under the rug instead of addressing them.

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Wheatfield
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 18, 2012

Great Bustard wrote:

Fact of the matter is, you're not solving anything by getting rid of the death penalty -- you're just sweeping the real issues under the rug instead of addressing them.

You are getting rid of the possibility of the state murdering it's own citizens. The death penalty has no upsides. It is not a deterrent to crime, it is very possible to inflict it on people who have done no wrong.

Both of these are good reasons for not sanctioning murder by the state. I realize Americans, as a group, seem to put a very low value on human life and an even lower value on justice, unless it is their own skin at risk, but the death penalty is all about vengeance and nothing else.

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Great Bustard
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Wheatfield, May 18, 2012

Wheatfield wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Fact of the matter is, you're not solving anything by getting rid of the death penalty -- you're just sweeping the real issues under the rug instead of addressing them.

You are getting rid of the possibility of the state murdering it's own citizens.

I don't have a problem with that, depending on what they are guilty of. What I have a problem with is convicting innocent people, death penalty or not.

The death penalty has no upsides.

It has an upside when someone who deserved to die is executed.

It is not a deterrent to crime, it is very possible to inflict it on people who have done no wrong.

I do recall studies showing that it is not a deterrent to crime. In addition, the current implementation of the death penalty makes it more expensive than life in prison (all the appeals), so that's another reason to get rid of it.

As for "inflicting it on people who have done no wrong", as I said, a minor point considering that the alternative is inflicting life in prison on people who have done no wrong.

Both of these are good reasons for not sanctioning murder by the state.

It's not murder, it's execution of a murderer. There's a difference, as much as some people would like to believe otherwise.

I realize Americans, as a group, seem to put a very low value on human life and an even lower value on justice, unless it is their own skin at risk, but the death penalty is all about vengeance and nothing else.

I'm all for vengeance, and, trust me, death by execution is for more humane than what I'd do to some of these scum. However, that is neither here nor there in terms of the point I am making. I want more care taken in insuring that innocent people are not convicted of capital crimes, especially given that the alternative to the death penalty (life in prison) is not much better, and, arguably, even worse for some.

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Wheatfield
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Great Bustard, May 18, 2012

Great Bustard wrote:

As for "inflicting it on people who have done no wrong", as I said, a minor point considering that the alternative is inflicting life in prison on people who have done no wrong.

Yes well, Americans have a long and proud history of killing innocent people, both domestic and foreign, and their continued predisposition towards considering the possibility of killing innocent people as a "minor point" really shows us what a sick bunch of psychopaths you are, as a nation.

This is a pointless discussion, I may as well be talking to my dog about why he ate the bowl of pasta that I left unattended on the kitchen counter as talk about the death penalty with an American.

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Great Bustard
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Re: It's not an argument against the death penalty...
In reply to Wheatfield, May 18, 2012

Wheatfield wrote:

As for "inflicting it on people who have done no wrong", as I said, a minor point considering that the alternative is inflicting life in prison on people who have done no wrong.

Yes well, Americans have a long and proud history of killing innocent people, both domestic and foreign, and their continued predisposition towards considering the possibility of killing innocent people as a "minor point" really shows us what a sick bunch of psychopaths you are, as a nation.

Yeah, we're not as good as the Russians (20 million Russians killed under Stalin), the Germans (I think we all know), the Cambodians (Pol Pot), the Japanese (Nanking), etc., etc., etc.

This is a pointless discussion, I may as well be talking to my dog about why he ate the bowl of pasta that I left unattended on the kitchen counter as talk about the death penalty with an American.

And here you are disparaging an entire culture simply because I feel some people deserve to be killed. Glad you feel that everyone deserves the right to live. I'm not so generous.

In any event, I don't know what your nationality is, but I don't need to drag it into this discussion to say that for you, specifically, a conversation with your dog might be more your speed.

Whatever works best for you.

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