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Old 16th February 2022, 07:17 AM   #281
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Old 16th February 2022, 07:18 AM   #282
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Have you mentioned unicorns more than 9 times in your postings? Is that grounds for summary dismissal of all you post?
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Old 16th February 2022, 11:13 AM   #283
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The case of Cameron Todd Willingham is a sad example of how someone can be executed for a crime he didn't commit.

I watched a Frontline documentary that included interviews with members of his community and jurists in his trial. I was horrified by the witch hunt attitudes I saw. Conservative evangelicals concluded from photos of the scene that Willingham was into Satanism. Why? Because he was into heavy metal and had Iron Maiden posters on his wall. The attitude of angry dismissal of the evidence later presented in his defense struck me as an appalling refusal to be wrong, and a determination to execute someone they'd already declared to be evil.
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Old 16th February 2022, 11:33 AM   #284
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The reason I'm against the death penalty isn't so much about the power of the state, chance of killing the innocent, etc. It's the collateral human cost. It is a killing that is not absolutely necessary.

Extinguishing human life is traumatic no matter if it is justified. Having the death penalty puts people in a position where they have a civic duty to be either directly or indirectly a party to a killing. It toxifies public life.
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Old 16th February 2022, 11:39 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
The case of Cameron Todd Willingham is a sad example of how someone can be executed for a crime he didn't commit.

I watched a Frontline documentary that included interviews with members of his community and jurists in his trial. I was horrified by the witch hunt attitudes I saw. Conservative evangelicals concluded from photos of the scene that Willingham was into Satanism. Why? Because he was into heavy metal and had Iron Maiden posters on his wall. The attitude of angry dismissal of the evidence later presented in his defense struck me as an appalling refusal to be wrong, and a determination to execute someone they'd already declared to be evil.
The arson science in that case might as well have been alchemy. It's kinda amazing how much the common assumptions underlying that turned out to be dead wrong.

The hostility to the pretty obvious conclusion that this execution was unjustified is what I sort of was getting at in my last post. A prosecutor that is willing to kill someone for a crime is probably not going to be capable of ever accepting he may have caused a death by mistake. Neither will anyone else complicit in that case. It would be traumatic to an extreme.
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Old 16th February 2022, 04:41 PM   #286
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The Beyler report

Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
The case of Cameron Todd Willingham is a sad example of how someone can be executed for a crime he didn't commit.

I watched a Frontline documentary that included interviews with members of his community and jurists in his trial. I was horrified by the witch hunt attitudes I saw. Conservative evangelicals concluded from photos of the scene that Willingham was into Satanism. Why? Because he was into heavy metal and had Iron Maiden posters on his wall. The attitude of angry dismissal of the evidence later presented in his defense struck me as an appalling refusal to be wrong, and a determination to execute someone they'd already declared to be evil.
I know this case well, but strangely I had never seen this documentary. I am watching it now, and I have learned something new. Thank you.
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Old 17th February 2022, 08:51 AM   #287
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flashover and backfire

Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
The attitude of angry dismissal of the evidence later presented in his defense struck me as an appalling refusal to be wrong, and a determination to execute someone they'd already declared to be evil.
Given that a number of nationally recognized fire science investigators have offered their conclusions, there is no doubt in my mind that no evidence of arson exists in this case. Flashover has confounded more than one fire investigation. The angry dismissal that you noted may be an example of the backfire effect, although the existence of this effect or at least one's ability to measure it, has been debated.
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Old 17th February 2022, 09:23 AM   #288
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
It really is this simple. Forget the specific case of Gacy, who was 'obviously guilty' and look at the other 'obviously guilty' executions, where 'obviously guilty' turned out to be horribly wrong.
Like Tafero, DeLuna, Stinney.....
There is good reason to believe that a minimum of 4% of US capital convictions are wrong.
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Old 18th February 2022, 12:32 PM   #289
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Samuel Gross and coauthors

"According to a study published today [in 2014] in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ď[A] conservative estimate of the proportion of erroneous convictions of defendants sentenced to death in the United States from 1973 through 2004 [is] 4.1%.ď That percentage is more than twice as high as the percentage of inmates actually exonerated and freed through court action. During this same period, only 1.6% of those sentenced to death have actually been exonerated and appear on the Death Penalty Information Centerís (DPIC) list of exonerations."Link
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Old 18th February 2022, 11:54 PM   #290
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Like Tafero, DeLuna, Stinney.....
The first two still seem like very likely candidates for guilt in their cases.

Stinney...yeah, let's go back to 1944 on this one...

As I say, there is no doubt that there have been some unjust executions. Particularly in the distant past. That is why I am an advocate for reform.

I am not an advocate for giving lifelong support to clear-cut murderers, though.

Last edited by Warp12; 18th February 2022 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 19th February 2022, 04:43 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
The first two still seem like very likely candidates for guilt in their cases.

Stinney...yeah, let's go back to 1944 on this one...

As I say, there is no doubt that there have been some unjust executions. Particularly in the distant past. That is why I am an advocate for reform.

I am not an advocate for giving lifelong support to clear-cut murderers, though.
Why stop there? If we closed all the prisons, we could save a ton of money.

(For the sarcasm deficient, see my post below)
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Old 19th February 2022, 05:17 AM   #292
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I think you might have something there Warp12.

I mean, there are between 6,000 to 8,000 murder cases that go unsolved every year anyway (roughly 40 to 50% of all murders go unsolved in the US):

https://projectcoldcase.org/cold-case-homicide-stats

Since 2000, if you include the execution of the innocent, we have roughly more than 130,000 murderers out there anyway, so what's the point of having anyone in prison?

Plus, the reason many of those executions take years is because of all those reforms that are already in place. If we do more reforms, it might even double that time and cost.

Just think how much money we could save in prison and court cost if we just gave everybody guns, disbanded all Law Enforcement, and made every single day "Purge" day, just like in the movies:

https://www.imdb.com/list/ls022338172/

Yup, I think you've got a great idea going through that wonderful head of yours Warp12.

</sarcasm>
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Old 19th February 2022, 05:28 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
As I say, there is no doubt that there have been some unjust executions. Particularly in the distant past. That is why I am an advocate for reform.
Other than abolishing large parts of the mechanisms currently in place to prevent unjust executions, for what specific reforms do you advocate, and what actions have you taken tin pursuit of bringing about those reforms?

Dave
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Old 19th February 2022, 06:04 AM   #294
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Corpus Christi case

The Innocence Project has a 2021 article on Carlos deLuna. "It [the documentary The Phantom] follows a re-investigation into Mr. DeLuna’s claim about Mr. Hernandez by Columbia law professor Jim Liebman and his team, who later documented their comprehensive findings in a book titled The Wrong Carlos, an article in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and online."

The Guardian has an article on the Carlos de Luna case. "What they discovered stunned even Liebman, who, as an expert in America's use of capital punishment, was well versed in its flaws. 'It was a house of cards. We found that everything that could go wrong did go wrong,' he says." The article also indicated that this was an incompetent investigation. "Then there was the crime-scene investigation. Detectives failed to carry out or bungled basic forensic procedures that might have revealed information about the killer. No blood samples were collected and tested for the culprit's blood type. Fingerprinting was so badly handled that no useable fingerprints were taken. None of the items found on the floor of the Shamrock – a cigarette stub, chewing gum, a button, comb and beer cans – were forensically examined for saliva or blood."
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Old 19th February 2022, 09:02 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
.....
As I say, there is no doubt that there have been some unjust executions. Particularly in the distant past. That is why I am an advocate for reform.

I am not an advocate for giving lifelong support to clear-cut murderers, though.
You are unwilling to grasp that upon conviction, every murderer's case is "clear-cut," no matter whether witnesses were mistaken or lying, whether police intimidated witnesses or suspects or outright lied, whether evidence was mishandled or concealed or just not collected, whether prosecutors lied, and worse. What "reforms" would prevent all this? You have also refused to explain how the community and society benefit from killing people unnecessarily.

Think about this:
Quote:
For every nine people executed, one person on death row has been exonerated.
https://eji.org/issues/death-penalty/

Plenty of information here.
https://documents.deathpenaltyinfo.o.../FactSheet.pdf

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Old 21st February 2022, 05:15 AM   #296
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How do your reforms address the problem?

Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
As I say, there is no doubt that there have been some unjust executions. Particularly in the distant past. That is why I am an advocate for reform.
Which executions do you think were unjust, and what reforms do you think would lower the odds of unjust executions like them in the future?
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Old 21st February 2022, 10:22 AM   #297
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The simplest reform is to abolish the death penalty. Here in Michigan it was abolished in 1847, and it's been unconstitutional since 1962. Nobody seems to mind.

Well, nobody with a normal mind. There are always a few DP groupies around. I think they regard it as a kind of human sacrifice, pleasing to the gods and beneficial for the crops.

Not that they could articulate their yearning as precisely as the above, but some people can only be understood from their emotions. Or better, their pheromones.
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Old 21st February 2022, 01:20 PM   #298
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
It kinda is.

Most countries do not have the death penalty

For those countries that have the death penalty, it's not the default for all crimes

In the states in the United States that have the death penalty, it's not even the default punishment for the crimes to which the death penalty can be applied.

The default appears to be that murderers should live - application of the death penalty is the very rare exception.

Look, I understand that it's difficult and time consuming to construct an argument and even more difficult to come up with one that stands up to scrutiny. It's far easier simply to reverse the burden on proof (as you have tried to do in the quoted post) or rely on catch phrases (as you have elsewhere in this thread).
Of the 195 recognised nations: 55% have abolished capital punishment in all cases (with a further 3.5% retaining it for exceptional circumstances, and 13.5% being functionality abolitionist.
The USA is in a small minority, along with China, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudans, and Yemen. It's in the even smaller minority, ~6%, who execute minors.
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Old 21st February 2022, 04:11 PM   #299
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Of the 195 recognised nations: 55% have abolished capital punishment in all cases (with a further 3.5% retaining it for exceptional circumstances, and 13.5% being functionality abolitionist.
The USA is in a small minority, along with China, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudans, and Yemen. It's in the even smaller minority, ~6%, who execute minors.
Japan also has capital punishment, and has executed 21 people in since 2018.
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Old 21st February 2022, 04:40 PM   #300
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
Japan also has capital punishment, and has executed 21 people in since 2018.

Interesting that they still do it by hanging and haven't gone thru the electric chair, gassing, and lethal injection route. One has to wonder why, given they are such a technologically developed country.
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Old 21st February 2022, 08:23 PM   #301
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kicking the can

Someone upthread implied that abolishing the death penalty and not putting any other reforms into place was not very useful. I agree with this sentiment. Abolishing the death penalty by itself just kicks the reform can down the road. Leaving a wrongfully convicted person in prison is better than executing them, in the sense that they might be released in the future. However, I have seen little interest in this country for preventing wrongful convictions or reversing them once they happen.
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Old 21st February 2022, 11:00 PM   #302
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
Japan also has capital punishment, and has executed 21 people in since 2018.
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Interesting that they still do it by hanging and haven't gone thru the electric chair, gassing, and lethal injection route. One has to wonder why, given they are such a technologically developed country.

What, no more harakiri and/or decaptitation?

It's almost as if people are not willing to put in any effort to living up to the stereotypes that movies put out about them.
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Old 22nd February 2022, 01:20 PM   #303
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
Someone upthread implied that abolishing the death penalty and not putting any other reforms into place was not very useful. I agree with this sentiment. Abolishing the death penalty by itself just kicks the reform can down the road. Leaving a wrongfully convicted person in prison is better than executing them, in the sense that they might be released in the future. However, I have seen little interest in this country for preventing wrongful convictions or reversing them once they happen.
I have heard an argument (I forget where) that the death penalty is more likely to result in wrongful convictions being overturned (compared to life imprisonment), as it creates more urgency and incentive to re-consider the safety of convictions. I don't find this a convincing argument for having a death penalty, but I do think there is an issue with nobody feeling responsible for potential wrongful convictions.
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Old 22nd February 2022, 03:32 PM   #304
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
What, no more harakiri and/or decaptitation?

It's almost as if people are not willing to put in any effort to living up to the stereotypes that movies put out about them.

It occurs to me that one of the reasons these supposedly more humane forms of execution were developed, is to lesson the executioners close and personal experience with the victim.

Can those here imagine putting a noose around a persons neck. Feeling and smelling the victim and then pulling the lever. Compare this to one person inserting the catheter and all the executioner is doing is pressing a button.
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Old 22nd February 2022, 08:06 PM   #305
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Interesting that they still do it by hanging and haven't gone thru the electric chair, gassing, and lethal injection route. One has to wonder why, given they are such a technologically developed country.
Rope is cheap and reusable.
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Old 23rd February 2022, 01:23 AM   #306
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
Rope is cheap and reusable.
And not at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies with a conscience.

Dave
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Old 23rd February 2022, 06:48 AM   #307
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
And not at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies with a conscience.

Dave
The medicalization of execution is probably more for the benefit of the executioners, audience, and the public than anything. Using a guillotine is probably the most humane way to execute someone, but that's a bit too traumatizing for the spectators.

I suspect the reason lethal injection is favored is because it doesn't really seem like the state is killing someone. A person goes to sleep and then the curtains close. It's like watching someone get anesthetized for wisdom teeth removal.

Well, it was before these states started to experiment with sketchy cocktails because pharma companies won't sell them their preferred killing agents. Reports from the few botched lethal injections sound extremely disturbing.
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Old 23rd February 2022, 07:05 AM   #308
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Suburban Turkey is 100% correct.

I said it before but on a purely mechanical level killing someone isn't hard.

Killing someone and making it look clean and sterile is hard and that's what "we" (obviously throughout this post I'm using "we" in the non-directed sense) really want but won't admit it.

If we want to have the Death Penalty and our "concern" is that the executed is killed quickly with no chance for it to "go wrong" then... that's not that hard execution wise, no pun.

The example I used previously. Just drop a huge weight on their head. Like a big block of concrete or metal or whatever. Boom. Instantaneous destruction of the entire brain, instant total death. No chance of a few minutes of lingering consciousness like was a concern with the guillotine. No chance of missing like with firing squad. No chance of screwing up the dosage or the body have some weird counter-reaction the medicine as bodies sometimes do. No being at the mercy of pharmacological supply chains. No having to do the math right on the length of the rope so the neck snaps and you don't just slowly choke to death. No special training needed to operate it. The entire device could be built from scrap from any junk yard in a high school shop class and would fit on the back of flatbed. And the only maintance would be to hose to down, probably disinfect it after every use.

You could build it in an afternoon, put it in one of those thousand dollar pop up steel buildings on the prison grounds, do a couple of test runs with like a watermelon or something. Bring in the prisoner, do the deed, have a guy run a high pressure hose over it, spray it down with bleach, bring the next one in.

Cheap, perfectly humane (as in the manner of death), nothing to go wrong. Everything "we" say we want in executions.

But we don't do that. Or anything like it. Because it's would look and feel and sound just... horrible. Brutal, medieval, barbaric. It would be unpleasant for us.

Lethal injection? Cold, sterile, medical. "We" like that. That makes us feel better about it. Which is what it's always been about.

And that says something. Something we should take to heart.

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Old 23rd February 2022, 12:41 PM   #309
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paradoxically

Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
I have heard an argument (I forget where) that the death penalty is more likely to result in wrongful convictions being overturned (compared to life imprisonment), as it creates more urgency and incentive to re-consider the safety of convictions. I don't find this a convincing argument for having a death penalty, but I do think there is an issue with nobody feeling responsible for potential wrongful convictions.
I agree, and yet what you pointed out is a better argument than any other put forward in this thread for keeping the DP. Granted that's a low bar.
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Old 24th February 2022, 01:13 AM   #310
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As far as I am aware, in the USA, the state governor has the ability to overturn a death sentence. So, let the governor be the individual also to execute the miscreant. With an executioner's axe. The governor or the sentencing judge.

What!? They don't like the idea?

PS Instantaneous Destruction and Instant Total Death were great death metal bands.

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Old 24th February 2022, 01:49 AM   #311
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Just drop a huge weight on their head. Like a big block of concrete or metal or whatever. Boom.
16 tons.
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Old 24th February 2022, 08:52 AM   #312
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Originally Posted by The Common Potato View Post
As far as I am aware, in the USA, the state governor has the ability to overturn a death sentence. So, let the governor be the individual also to execute the miscreant. With an executioner's axe. The governor or the sentencing judge.

What!? They don't like the idea?

PS Instantaneous Destruction and Instant Total Death were great death metal bands.
You've not met many governors or judges, have you? A lot of them wish they could do this. At least a lot of the ones willing to sign a death warrant.

Of course, most of them wouldn't be capable of swinging the axe hard enough, but make it a gunshot between the eyes and they'd be totally on board.
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Old 24th February 2022, 09:54 AM   #313
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The CJ system is too unreliable to have a death penalty. There are too many miscarriages of justice to risk executing anyone.
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Old 24th February 2022, 10:30 AM   #314
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
The CJ system is too unreliable to have a death penalty. There are too many miscarriages of justice to risk executing anyone.
Isn't that an argument for addressing the CJ system, not the penalties? An innocent person serving life without parole and no real procedural way to reopen the case without conclusive proof of innocence (and even then sometimes not) doesn't seem great either.

I guess that's the other thing about the idea that a life sentence is reversible. The procedural bars to getting a case overturned based on a freestanding claim of actual innocence are staggering, especially once the case has fully been through the system. Governments are under no compulsion to fund such an attempt either so without innocence projects and the like and those groups are never going to come anywhere near to touching every sketchy case with what amounts to a life sentence. I've done that sort of cold case work and it's extremely labor intensive both because investigating old things is hard and because once one starts to look promising the state will try desperately to frustrate that investigation.

Plus nobody serving life or facing a death sentence is out anything if they are lying about possible exculpatory evidence and that can be both demoralizing and exhausting. I don't blame them for trying, really, but it is really annoying.
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Old 24th February 2022, 10:35 AM   #315
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"Keep killing potentially innocent people because, hey it's hard to overturn life sentences too" is a weird argument.
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Old 24th February 2022, 12:49 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
"Keep killing potentially innocent people because, hey it's hard to overturn life sentences too" is a weird argument.

Calling a life no parole sentence a "life" sentence is misleading. It is a death sentence, just with no definite termination date. You are sentenced to die in prison.

Every year you spend in there reduces your statistical life expectancy by up to and sometimes over 2 years depending on the conditions of confinement, race, age when incarcerated etc. etc. The system is in the business of stripping life away. That there are these rare cases in some states where they actually kill is a sideshow.

It's about emotion. That's fine that it is, but saying the system isn't good enough to straight kill someone but good enough to put people in jail for years and take even more years off the back end of life via reduced expectancy just strikes me as fuzzy.

Given the amount of time California takes to execute prisoners (some have been on there about 40 years), and that death row is more secure and by some accounts has better conditions than being in general population, I'd not be shocked if getting a death sentence in California results in a greater life expectancy than getting a life without parole sentence there. That's an extreme case, but gives an idea of what I mean.
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Old 24th February 2022, 12:52 PM   #317
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Originally Posted by Suddenly View Post
Calling a life no parole sentence a "life" sentence is misleading. It is a death sentence, just with no definite termination date. You are sentenced to die in prison.
Ooooookaaaay.
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Old 25th February 2022, 06:14 AM   #318
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
"According to a study published today [in 2014] in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ď[A] conservative estimate of the proportion of erroneous convictions of defendants sentenced to death in the United States from 1973 through 2004 [is] 4.1%.ď That percentage is more than twice as high as the percentage of inmates actually exonerated and freed through court action. During this same period, only 1.6% of those sentenced to death have actually been exonerated and appear on the Death Penalty Information Centerís (DPIC) list of exonerations."Link
How many is 4% of the 11 who were actually executed last year? I get "less than 1, = ZERO."
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Old 25th February 2022, 06:29 AM   #319
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
How many is 4% of the 11 who were actually executed last year? I get "less than 1, = ZERO."
That doesn't have anything to do with...like, anything. Nor does comparing bad kills to the population at large.

The issue is that the death penalty should be for the slam-dunk no question worst offenders. 4% is damn near 1 in 20. And that's just the ones who were formally exonerated. More surely got by us.

If you think the most massive, irrevocable mistake you could conceivably make at a rate of 1 in 20 is a good batting average, apply it to... like anything else.

You make carousel horses, IIRC? What if 1 in 20 cuts were butchered as bad as they could be? Would that be an acceptable horsey?

What if 1 in 20 people at your Christmas gathering were erroneously killed by the State? You still nodding and saying the corpse falls into acceptable noise range? The dead body is only one out of a third of a billion Americans, right?

1 in 20 is absolute lunacy. It indicates the system is far too flawed to be entrusted with guessing correctly. While I can accept the death penalty in the extreme cases, we have a long way to go to collectively define how clearly an extreme has to be proven.
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Old 25th February 2022, 08:56 AM   #320
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post

The issue is that the death penalty should be for the slam-dunk no question worst offenders. 4% is damn near 1 in 20. And that's just the ones who were formally exonerated. More surely got by us.
4% is an estimate based on historical trends and is probably an underestimate. 1.6% is the actual percentage of exonerations, and even that is astronomical compared to other convictions:

Quote:
The rate of exonerations among death sentences in the United States is far higher than for any other category of criminal convictions. Death sentences represent less than one-tenth of 1% of prison sentences in the United States (7), but they accounted for about 12% of known exonerations of innocent defendants from 1989 through early 2012 (2), a disproportion of more than 130 to 1. A major reason for this extraordinary exoneration rate is that far more attention and resources are devoted to death penalty cases than to other criminal prosecutions, before and after conviction.
https://www.pnas.org/content/111/20/7230

There is no way to know if one of the 4% were executed, but it's a statistical lock that it happened at some point.

Which is tragic, but I'd submit even worse:

Quote:

This is only part of a disturbing picture. Fewer than half of all defendants who are convicted of capital murder are ever sentenced to death in the first place (e.g., 49.1% in Missouri as in ref. 24, 29% in Philadelphia as in ref. 25, and 31% in New Jersey as in ref. 26). Sentencing juries, like other participants in the process, worry about the execution of innocent defendants. Interviews with jurors who participated in capital sentencing proceedings indicate that lingering doubts about the defendantís guilt is the strongest available predictor of a sentence of life imprisonment rather than death (27). It follows that the rate of innocence must be higher for convicted capital defendants who are not sentenced to death than for those who are. The net result is that the great majority of innocent defendants who are convicted of capital murder in the United States are neither executed nor exonerated. They are sentenced, or resentenced to prison for life, and then forgotten.
(emphasis added)

The death penalty is bad for a whole bunch of reasons, but perhaps the biggest one is that it does this. It enables the system to put people in jail forever with little or no scrutiny because of the sense of relief of avoiding execution. It's a very shiny object that distracts people. So we not only have juries convicting for murder when there is lingering doubt, we have people having sentences commuted based on the same sort of doubts and then warehoused.

About 200,000 people are serving life sentences. That's at least 8,000 people. Probably way more. That's just the totally innocent. Not the people who were not sane but had insanity pleas rejected or people maybe guilty of manslaughter or had self-defense claims taking deals for life sentences rather than risk execution.


...and that's not considering the total number spending decades in jail that might get out when very old, people with parole eligibility that they aren't likely to ever be granted, or even all felony convictions altogether.
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