Death Penalty: Yay or Nay?

Just this past week, the Dallas County DA has announced that he wants to re-examine almost all of the pending death row cases to see if DNA evidence might exonerate some of the people in jail. This comes after Patrick Waller was released from prison over the summer when DNA tests revealed he was innocent.

I’m thinking about doing a project for my business about this topic, so I’m hoping some of you might share your views on this subject. Are you for or against the death penalty? And why or why not?

I can’t go into any more details about my idea right now, but if anything comes of it, my blog readers will be the first to know! 🙂

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23 responses to “Death Penalty: Yay or Nay?

  1. Against. Punish death with death? Makes sense right? No. Like Martin Luther King said or was it Gandhi:”An eye for eye leaves everyone blind” Killing a man solves nothing. The murderer in jail is the proof of that. He killed and now hes screwed.

    And then there’s the innocent man here.

    And I’m a sucker for redemption.

  2. I am very much against it. For me it is not n(just) the morality of it (although I am not convinced that it is the right thing to do from a moral standpoint either) but it is the practicality of it. There have been so many miscarriages of justice – people who have served years and years in prison only to be exonnerated – that I think it is so hard to be 100% certain. Even where people plead guilty, there could be coersion of some kind. It also puts the ‘taking of life’ onto the governor (who I understand can grant clemency) and onto the persons responsible to doing the actual deed. I think it’s an easy way out for someone who has committed a heinous crime – much better to spend the rest of your life paying and putting something back into the community through prison industry. I am not convinvced that it makes a sufficient deterent, either.

  3. Thanks for the responses so far! Dave – that’s a good point. It makes me think of another question. Remember my post where I asked if everyone was corruptible? Kind of on that vein, is there a point where someone can’t be redeemed anymore, where they are so far gone they can’t be reached?

    Kate – Very well thought out! Interesting point about how an execution could actually be viewed as an easy way out. Hmm…

    Btw, I just realized that my question was very leading, lol. I showed an example of someone falsely jailed and then said, “So, what do you think of the death penalty?” LOL. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not writing surveys. 😛

  4. Hey Dube,
    I love how you tackle these subjects and this is a big one. Personally I’m torn and if you really want to know I’ll tell you why. First of all, I’ve had some experience with criminals, way back (in another life) I worked in a half way house whose job it was to help mainstream former convicts (most drug abusers) back into society and hopefully into a better life for all concerned. And I can’t tell you how many times I was conned into believing some of the most heartbreaking stories you’d ever want to hear. Only to find out they had stolen money while I was looking the other way or worse. On the other there were those who truly wanted to change and did and the admiration I felt for those people was beyond description because of the enormous effort it took for them to turn their lives around.

    But here is what I know, every incarcerated individual on the planet will insist they didn’t do it, they are innocent and while it may be true that sometimes people end up in jail for doing a crime they didn’t do, it’s usually a fact that there are a litany of others which they did do and nevery received punishment for – so in my mind, it’s life evening the scales. The truth is, that most people in jail have committed crimes for which they owe some debt to society to. Period.

    The crimes for which people recieve the death penalty are generally heinous crimes, it’s not about smoking a joint or even pounding the crap out of somebody, it is usually for murder, attempted murder, serial rape, torture, etc. We are talking about some very serious harm often irreparable (for the victims) done. And too, as far as I know there has been no form of therapy that can reverse these hideous complusions, so releasing these people back into society will only result in more crime of the same sort and more victims who really have a right not to be murdered and tortured. I have a particular revulsion for those who prety upon children, raping and murdering them. I cannot see any worth to a person who has done such a thing. I also cannot see how it is fair for them to continue living and breathing when they have denied that right to an innocent person only in order to feed their hideous desires. So, yeah I’d be okay with the death penalty in those cases.

    That being said, I’d also be okay with those on death row all getting dna tests so that if there were an innocent among them wouldn’t suffer that. However, dna doesn’t always play a part. Some criminals manage not to leave any but it doesn’t mean they havent’ done the crime.

    I also don’t think that capital punishment is about ‘an eye for eye’ personally I don’t believe it is a solution developed from the viewpoint of revenge. I believe it is a solution that society has developed in an effort to protect the rest of society because they have no alternate solution which will assure safety for society at large from these predators.

    Our system of justice gives the individual countless opportunities to prove their innocence otherwise people would not be on death row for 20 years. It’s not as though we are a bunch of heathens who just say guilty and then throw the guy into the death chamber – otherwise this particular person you cited wouldn’t have been able to prove their innocence right? So, I guess in the end, yes, I do believe in the death penalty. Until society can find a way to cure psychotics of committing these types of crime on the rest of society, I see no other solution.

    Annie

    PS – Sorry for the very long answer

  5. I think some crimes warrant the death penalty, period. If the death penalty happens to be a deterrant to others, which I doubt, that’s a bonus.

    As for retroactive DNA testing, why not? We’ve got the technology today, so use it. There would be additional expense and elapsed time, but it seems only fair to all concerned to exhaust all possibilities regarding evidence in the case.

    Aren’t the “cruel and unusual” defenses usually about botched lethal injections? I’ve never understood that. If a dog can be put down painlessly with a single injection, why can’t humans be executed the same way?

    On the flip side, I do sometimes think about how terrible it would be to be imprisoned — or sentenced to death — for something you didn’t do. No one believes you and the evidence doesn’t support your claim, but you are innocent. I can’t imagine the despair.

  6. I used to for the death penalty. That was when I was young and idealistic. Now, I know better. Life is more than just black and white. It exists in many shades of grey. Situational ethics can definitely come into play with indiviudual cases. And anyhow, I’m against for one simple reason, better that a few guilty get away than one innocent be killed for something he truly did not do. I don’t care how many people would disagree, I don’t think an innocent person should suffer for something they never did. It outweighs and overrides any need for justice. And justice can be served with a life sentence. I willingly pay my taxes for such ideals.

  7. Maybe I should be more clear. I want a better option.. something that helps society and doesnt cost money but rather make it. Have them do work… make them build stuff on the moon.

  8. I am opposed to it being used the way it currently is.

    The death penalty should only be used in cases where an ideology caused the criminal’s actions. This prevents the criminal from spreading his ideology to other prisoners who may not be facing a life sentance and could continue carrying the torch of hatred.

    Otherwise, the death penalty is nothing more than revenge against a person for an offensive crime he or she committed. Scott Peterson, for example, is a jerk who murdered his wife and unborn child. But letting him live the rest of his life in prison will not endanger the rest of the population.

    Manson, on the other hand, was a cult leader and proved that he was able to convince people to commit heinous crimes for him. That makes him a danger to the civilian population, even from behind bars.

    Personally, I’d much rather abolish the death penalty completely and leave radicalized criminals in complete isolation from the rest of the prison population and outside world. But the ACLU would never stand for that. We at least already have them on the death penalty, so it’s better than the likely ending to my preferred option.

  9. It all depends on a bunch of different variables: the circumstances in which the crime was committed, the type of crime committed, the background of said commit-er, and a few other things. The Christian in me says that its wrong—the death penalty Only God has the right to judge and take a life. But the human in me says to fry’em until their brains ooze from their ears. An eye for an eye….

  10. Scottie,
    If the world lived by the eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth system of justice, the entire world would be blind and toothless. I’d be in favor of locking them in a room with no human interaction. Leave a rope and a bar hanging from the ceiling and when they get tired of their isolation, let them decide to end it for themselves. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper and considerably more ethical.

  11. not bad….I kinda like where your heading, Kevintracy, but don’t forget to leave a chair too…. If they can’t reach the bar, then what good is the rope? I suppose they could always macromay themselves to death…

  12. “..It’s a hell of a lot cheaper and considerably more ethical…”

    while we are on the topic, why not just forget the room and go for a tree outback somewhere? I mean if you’re looking to save taxpayer money and all. Why even give them a trial or a ‘room to go crazy in and hang themselves’? Ya still gotta feed them and give them a trial if you go that route, and that all cost money. Why not forget the whole system altogether and take matters into our own hands… Oh, wait; they used to have something like that called lynch mobs

  13. No need to apologize Scottie! I thought your comments were entertaining. 🙂 And no worries – I didn’t think your comments were “personality-challenged” at all (lol). But if you were having a tough day – well, we all do! In fact, I think mine was this entire week rather than just a day. 😉

  14. If there is DNA evidence that supports the conviction. I believe the punishment should be left to the desire of the victim’s family.

    If the death of a perpetrator gives the family some sort of closure, then the victim’s family deserves that.

    However, many families of victims are also opposed to the death penalty. If that is the case, then it makes no sense to pain the family further.

    Does that make sense??

  15. Housewife: You bring up a very interesting point. It reminds me, a little, of a case my criminal law class studied not too long ago about whether capital punishment is justifiable in a child rape case. Those types of criminals absolutely disgust me. But one of the many points that the Court brought up when rendering its decision was not wanting a child to, in any way, carry the moral weight of someone’s death, or having the child dragged into court for years to come over a death penalty case.

    There are so many sides to this debate.

  16. Pingback: Is anyone *not* redeemable? « Dube’s World

  17. I agree with Annie that the death penalty is a method of protecting society. I’d be happy to see it go if we had something better in place. On the other hand, I think it needs to be treated with the utmost care and I wish we could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone was guilty before we put ourselves in a position to take the life of another human being. So therefore, I would be all for DNA testing for people on death row. If the DNA tests exonerate them for the crime they are on death row for, then we would be abusing our criminal system to NOT set them free. We would be committing murder.

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