Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search
 

Demo_Chris

(6,234 posts)
Thu Feb 7, 2013, 05:54 PM Feb 2013

Reconsidering my opposition to Capital Punishment. Your thoughts welcome!

For most of my adult life I was opposed to capital punishment. Those who share this position on the issue all have their own reasons, but for me it largely came down to two things.

First, I have seen too many cases in which the justice system failed, the jury got it wrong, the evidence was flawed or doctored or inconclusive, and the defense inadequate and unprofessional. The second reason is moral and personal. I believe that a society that embraces the power to kill, even after a trial and all that, is a society that diminishes itself by devaluing life. As a liberal, I am always uneasy with government violence and power, and there can be no greater power than the power to kill.

However, I admit that the counter arguments are good ones.

The suspect gets a trial. It’s not one person deciding on his own that this suspect is guilty; it’s a random group of this person’s peers. The prosecution presents all of the evidence it can dredge up, and there are all kinds of rules -- all of which favor the defense -- restricting what the prosecution is allowed to present to this jury. The suspect gets to defend himself, he has a professional attorney, and we make sure of it even if he cannot afford it himself. He gets to challenge every bit of the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses, he gets to offer witnesses and experts of his own, and he gets to speak last, he is given the presumption of innocence, and he no one can compel him to speak if he chooses not to. The entire process is designed to give the defendant every conceivable advantage. Including the final decision; every person on that jury must agree the accused is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.

And if the jury does not all agree, he walks forever. Seems fair. But we don’t stop there.

If, after all that, the suspect is found guilty, before we execute anyone, we give him or her the chance to appeal over and over and over again. They can try to poke holes in any aspect of how the trial was conducted, and if they win even ONE of these appeals, the whole process starts over. With a system like that in place to protect the innocent, the people in favor of capital punishment have a strong case that the system is fine as is.

Yet even with all that, as impossible as it seems, we still make mistakes. It is not even a rare thing; we get it wrong all the time. All that and we still get it wrong and kill the wrong people. But there is an answer.

President Obama has proposed a BETTER solution, and one that has caused me to rethink my opposition to capital punishment.

First, he dispenses with these juries. Seeing how often they get it wrong, this is the perfect place to start. He dispenses with defense witnesses, defense cross examination, and even a defense altogether. This eliminates a great deal of time and cost and confusion. If you want the best results you need to have experts decide these things. He dispenses with the judge, and with him goes all those rules and time wasting formalities. He dispenses with appeals, and the years those can add to the process. And were that all not enough, for humanitarian reasons (to spare the poor bloke the stress and worry) he has proposed that we not even inform the suspect that he is on trial for his life.

President Obama’s system is simple, efficient, inexpensive, and humanitarian. It works like this:

A government official, in secret, reviews the information we have available, makes a decision on whether this suspect is a bad guy or not, and if he decides he is, the suspect and everyone in the general area are then blown into chunks of screaming steaming hamburger.

That’s it. Simplicity itself.

We don’t waste time and money on a trial, we don’t waste time and money on a defense, we don’t have any silly appeals, the bad guy never even knows its coming. Where all that not enough, no one is ever told. All of this nasty business takes place in secret, you aren’t even allowed to ask about it, and the good people in the public remain untroubled by the messy but necessary business of keeping America safe from bad guys.

Best of all, this new system is PERFECT! To date there has not been a single mistake. Every person obliterated in this way has been guilty of either committing a crime or potentially, one day, at some point, committing a crime. And this applies as well to the bad guy’s accomplices in the blast zone.

Therefore, with this in mind, I have reconsidered my previous opposition to capital punishment, and I salute President Obama for his bold solution to this problem.

Thanks for reading!

14 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Reconsidering my opposition to Capital Punishment. Your thoughts welcome! (Original Post) Demo_Chris Feb 2013 OP
Bush said he got the intel "wrong"... KansDem Feb 2013 #1
I'm assuming this is sarcasm and if so it's brilliant. n/t white_wolf Feb 2013 #2
Thanks, I appreciate it :) Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #7
Sometimes the sarcasm is so obvious that ashling Feb 2013 #3
Like the mix of part satire, part real, part snark...at least that's how I read it libdem4life Feb 2013 #4
Thanks! Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #11
FYI, those rules also restrict what the defense can introduce too. nt Deep13 Feb 2013 #5
Sounds complex. Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #8
It is, but it is ultimately weighted to the state. Deep13 Feb 2013 #9
When capital punishment just isn't enough... Kalidurga Feb 2013 #6
It also saves money on other things... hughee99 Feb 2013 #10
good point! nt Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #14
You're right. I'm all for this simple perfection Catherina Feb 2013 #12
Heh-heh :) Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #13

KansDem

(28,498 posts)
1. Bush said he got the intel "wrong"...
Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:06 PM
Feb 2013
A government official, in secret, reviews the information we have available, makes a decision on whether this suspect is a bad guy or not, and if he decides he is, the suspect and everyone in the general area are then blown into chunks of screaming steaming hamburger.



(0'20&quot

In fact, Bush said intelligence agencies "all over the world" got it wrong...

Are we to believe the "government official" of your post will get the intel "right?"
 

libdem4life

(13,877 posts)
4. Like the mix of part satire, part real, part snark...at least that's how I read it
Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:15 PM
Feb 2013

with lots of food for thought. Well done.

Deep13

(39,154 posts)
9. It is, but it is ultimately weighted to the state.
Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:28 PM
Feb 2013

The justification is that the state must prove guilt and obtain a death vote beyond reasonable doubt.

That's a side note. I see the OP's point, of course.

Kalidurga

(14,177 posts)
6. When capital punishment just isn't enough...
Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:18 PM
Feb 2013

get your extra judicial capital punishment... It's just like regular capital punishment, but with the potential for several innocent bystanders also being executed and without the unnecessary complications of a trial and everything.

hughee99

(16,113 posts)
10. It also saves money on other things...
Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:35 PM
Feb 2013

we don't have to provide food, shelter, clothing, transportation or even guards for the person before the execution.

Catherina

(35,568 posts)
12. You're right. I'm all for this simple perfection
Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:12 PM
Feb 2013

and what could be simpler than installing drone-architect John Brennan as CIA chief?

Thanks for making me see the light.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Reconsidering my oppositi...