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Sun Nov 17, 2013, 06:35 PM

DEATH PENALTY I taught a peace and justice class this morning

and the discussion was about the death penalty. This is at a fairly liberal congregation and I was surprised at how evenly split the class was about it. How do you feel about the death penalty?
22 votes, 0 passes | Time left: Unlimited
yes for capital offenses
7 (32%)
leaning yes for capital offenses
0 (0%)
ambivilant
1 (5%)
leaning no
0 (0%)
never
11 (50%)
only for treason in a time of war
0 (0%)
only for war crimes
1 (5%)
other explain
2 (9%)
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Disclaimer: This is an Internet poll

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Reply DEATH PENALTY I taught a peace and justice class this morning (Original post)
gopiscrap Nov 2013 OP
cali Nov 2013 #1
gopiscrap Nov 2013 #2
hrmjustin Nov 2013 #3
Blue_In_AK Nov 2013 #4
Logical Nov 2013 #9
Blue_In_AK Nov 2013 #10
Logical Nov 2013 #13
BlueJazz Nov 2013 #5
GeorgeGist Nov 2013 #6
Brickbat Nov 2013 #7
Logical Nov 2013 #8
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #27
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #11
Logical Nov 2013 #14
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #16
Logical Nov 2013 #21
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #23
Logical Nov 2013 #24
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #41
Logical Nov 2013 #59
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #28
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #34
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #35
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #36
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #37
pipoman Nov 2013 #44
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #47
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #55
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #63
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #64
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #65
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #66
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #68
sarisataka Nov 2013 #58
aikoaiko Nov 2013 #61
nomorenomore08 Nov 2013 #69
petronius Nov 2013 #12
gopiscrap Nov 2013 #50
pipi_k Nov 2013 #15
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #29
pipi_k Nov 2013 #42
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #46
pipi_k Nov 2013 #49
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #62
nomorenomore08 Nov 2013 #71
nomorenomore08 Nov 2013 #70
undeterred Nov 2013 #17
JaneyVee Nov 2013 #18
caraher Nov 2013 #19
rrneck Nov 2013 #20
sir pball Nov 2013 #22
XRubicon Nov 2013 #67
LostOne4Ever Nov 2013 #25
Demeter Nov 2013 #26
Live and Learn Nov 2013 #30
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #31
Tierra_y_Libertad Nov 2013 #32
gollygee Nov 2013 #39
gopiscrap Nov 2013 #52
defacto7 Nov 2013 #33
Major Nikon Nov 2013 #40
Iggo Nov 2013 #38
Bad Thoughts Nov 2013 #43
Nye Bevan Nov 2013 #48
Bad Thoughts Nov 2013 #54
Calista241 Nov 2013 #45
stevenleser Nov 2013 #51
stevenleser Nov 2013 #53
MicaelS Nov 2013 #56
nomorenomore08 Nov 2013 #72
Decaffeinated Nov 2013 #57
idwiyo Nov 2013 #60
Laelth Nov 2013 #73

Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 06:36 PM

1. never ever.

 

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Response to cali (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 06:37 PM

2. that was my take also

generated some pretty interesting discussion

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 06:44 PM

3. Never.

 

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 06:49 PM

4. I've always been opposed.

I'm thankful we don't have the death penalty in Alaska.

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:47 PM

9. That surprises me actually. I would assume that state did. n-t

 

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Response to Logical (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:56 PM

10. Our constitution is very progressive.

No DP, and a very strong privacy clause which is responsible for marijuana being virtually legal here since a 1975 court decision, legal abortions since before Roe, and civil rights protections for our Native population in place before the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Also the citizens of the state own the natural resources in common, which is why we get a permanent fund dividend every year.

This was a Democratic state before the oil boom brought all the Texans and Oklahomans, ALEC, Koch Bros. etc. up here. I'm looking forward to it running out so they'll all go home.

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:05 PM

13. Cool, thanks for the information!! n-t

 

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 06:53 PM

5. Never, Ever. There are seconds when I feel some horrible person should die but then I know there...

 

....are thousands of horrible people that have done worse and they will not even go to trial.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:37 PM

6. am·biv·a·lent

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:40 PM

7. Against it. I will admit to wanting it, or thinking someone deserves it, or hoping for some kind of

cosmic reckoning, but I reject the idea of killing by the state in my name.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:45 PM

8. No liberal should ever be for this. Disgusting. n-t

 

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Response to Logical (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:29 AM

27. Exactly

There's absolutely nothing progressive about the DP. It serves absolutely no purpose for society and given that our justice system is far from perfect, it insures innocent people will die.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:57 PM

11. It should be rare.


When its a heinous crime + certainty of agency + no compelling mitigating circumstances then I'm Ok with DP.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #11)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:07 PM

14. "certainty of agency" meaning what? n-t

 

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Response to Logical (Reply #14)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:13 PM

16. Beyond all doubt - not just reasonable doubt.


There are cases where it there is zero doubt that a person performed some behavior that led to a death.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #16)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:20 PM

21. Wow, here we go again......

 

So many DUers say this shit. I would imagine most juries that rule on capital punishment use that rule anyway.

And you realize about one person a year is let off death row because they are innocent?

25% of the people the Innocence Project has gotten released because of DNA evidence had CONFESSED to the crime because of abusive police tactics. I assume your "Beyond all doubt" would include confessions.

Do more reading. Jesus.

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Response to Logical (Reply #21)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:01 AM

23. yes, we've had this same conversation and it ended the same way.


Nice chatting with you.


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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #23)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:02 AM

24. Your theory is silly. "If you are really really super duper sure, lets kill him". LOL. n-t

 

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Response to Logical (Reply #24)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 11:04 AM

41. Here's how I see it

All of the other countries that have the death penalty consider toilet paper a luxury item. Now I suppose the possibility exists that the USA and all the other backwards despotic shithole countries got it right and the rest of the civilized world got it wrong, but I consider that more than just a bit remote.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #41)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 04:01 PM

59. Great point! +1000! nt

 

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #16)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:41 AM

28. So how do you define that legally?

There is not one form of evidence you can name that is infallible, even if you had a justice system that is 100% reliable (and no system of justice is). Death penalty cases already have a much higher standard which already drives the costs up higher than life in prison. Furthermore what could you possibly hope to accomplish by driving the costs up even higher? The DP serves no purpose to society or even victims. There is no deterrent effect and it simply drags out the misery of the victims through years if not decades of appeals.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #28)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 07:56 AM

34. With words. The same way we do other levels of confidence of evidence


We already instruct jurors that they don't have to reach a level of certainty - just beyond reasonable doubt. The legal definition is implied in the definition of beyond reasonable doubt.

To convict I can live with reasonable doubt, but to sentence with the DP one should be certain.

What do I hope to achieve? Justice.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #34)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 08:13 AM

35. The words for that are "beyond a shadow of a doubt"

Which is an impossible legal standard.

So what else have you got?

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #35)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:18 AM

36. Not impossible. But that's why the DP lshould be rare.


And that's all you get, sport.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #36)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:51 AM

37. All I got was abstract rhetoric

The best you could come up with for a reason for the DP was "justice" and it didn't get any better from there.

Just sayin'

Beyond the shadow of a doubt is the strictest standard of proof. It requires that there be no doubt as to the issue. Widely considered an impossible standard, a situation stemming from the nature of knowledge itself, it is valuable to mention only as a comment on the fact that evidence in a court never need (nor can) reach this level. This phrase, has, nonetheless, come to be associated with the law in popular culture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_burden_of_proof#Beyond_the_shadow_of_a_doubt

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #37)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 11:30 AM

44. "Widely considered"

 

doesn't mean true. I knew BTK, he came to my house 2 times on business. When he was questioned he admitted his crimes with information nobody but BTK could possibly know. Further he was linked through physical evidence to some of the crime scenes. Beyond a shadow of a doubt...it happens with some regularity..

That said, I am not sure the utility of the DP..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #44)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:11 PM

47. It doesn't mean the outlier is remotely pragmatic either

The standard of proof that exists is already incredibly high because our system of justice favors allowing many guilty to go free rather than wrongly punishing a few innocents. Now add to this the fact that capital punishment cases carry much higher standards of appeal than other criminal cases. So now we are to believe that even if such a much higher standard were actually achievable in the realm of possibility, that such a standard would also be achievable from a practical standpoint. Furthermore all of this assumes our system of investigation, charging, prosecution, and conviction are all never without failure and this is not even within a cab ride of reality. It's certainly possible that BTK wanted to be executed and the police fed him all the information. Is it likely? No, but neither is it beyond impossible, and that's what you are claiming is achievable.

Furthermore, every state in the union that has capital punishment has the right to establish their own legal standards and all of them do. What you are proposing would in all practical sense require a Constitutional amendment or at the very least a very unlikely Supreme Court ruling, all to preserve a piss poor method of punishment the rest of the civilized world considers barbaric.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #37)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:03 PM

55. Burden of proof IS an abstract concept.


That's just the way it is.

And justice is a fine reason for sentencing someone.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #55)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 08:49 PM

63. It is anything but

In fact, I can't think of too many things farther from abstract.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #63)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:03 PM

64. What is the physical or concrete form of beyond reasonable doubt?


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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #64)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:20 PM

65. Your question makes no sense

No idea is physical. An objective idea that is well defined is the opposite of an abstract idea.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #65)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:41 PM

66. I think we disagree on the meaning of some key words here, so...


...I'll just walk away

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #66)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 01:13 AM

68. On that I can agree

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:18 PM

58. You sum up my former logic...

but over the years I have realized two things-
-one is humans will always try and bend the rules to subvert the intent so there is the chance a mitigating circumstance will be ignored
-two, killing a person does no one any good. I don't consider murder the best crime for the DP; crimes against children, the most heinous rape cases, genocide- those are when I consider should the perpetrator die. But I realize that the DP will not undo that which has been done.

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #58)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 06:46 PM

61. Truth be told -- I'm fine with my state or the US banning the DP


But as long as it is permissible, I want the option.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #61)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 03:42 AM

69. Certain crimes are heinous enough to make me hesitate for a second.

But overall, for the reasons already outlined, I totally oppose the death penalty and consider its abolition part of being a civilized society.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:58 PM

12. No DP, no exceptions, is my position

I have always considered the DP to be far more a reflection on the society than on the crime being punished - and ritualized killing by the state is not something any society should engage in...

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Response to petronius (Reply #12)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:39 PM

50. Exactly

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:12 PM

15. Very mixed feelings on this

I don't like it. It doesn't deter people from committing crimes.

Sometimes people convicted of capital crimes are later found innocent. Not just "not guilty", but innocent

And yet...

There's still a part of me that feels, if the crime is heinous enough AND the evidence is rock solid, I'm not exactly going to root FOR it, but I'm not going to get all weepy for the condemned, either.

Also, I try to imagine myself in the shoes of people whose family members have been murdered.

If they feel like the DP is appropriate, who the hell am I to tell them they would have no right to feel the way they do..."liberal" or not...

Yeah, it's so goddamned easy for us to sit here on our asses saying that no true Liberal should ever want the DP if it's someone else's loved ones who had the most horrible things done to them.

I'm not going to judge someone else's heart as long as I don't...and hopefully never will...understand what that loss and pain must be like. And so, for that reason, this is not a black/white issue for me.



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Response to pipi_k (Reply #15)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:44 AM

29. Appeals to emotion work both ways

Imagine if your spouse, parent, or child were on death row.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #29)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 11:14 AM

42. I'm not

blind to that possibility, either.


My opinions on various issues are hardly ever fueled by either logic or emotion, but are often a mixture of the two.

Which is why I can't see this issue in terms of black OR white.

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 11:41 AM

46. That's the way it is for most people

Empathy is one of the most highly valued human characteristics. But I'm not convinced the death penalty does anything for the victims' families. Capital punishment cases have much higher standards of appeal. So it simply extends their misery as they wait years or decades for final justice, and often the offenders die in prison anyway. I'm also not convinced satisfying a vengeful eye-for-an-eye bloodlust offers any meaningful closure or emotional benefit over and above life in prison with no parole.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #46)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:32 PM

49. One of the strangest

(IMO) things I've witnessed about victims' families with regards to the DP is that sometimes they will opt to forgive the criminal, and not fight for the DP.

For the exact reason you mentioned...they know that eye-for-an-eye will not bring their loved ones back.

So they forgive and go on. That, to me, is the height of humanity and mercy. I really don't know if I would be capable of such a thing.

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #49)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 08:46 PM

62. I agree

I'm certainly not a believer, but as the saying goes, "to err is human, to forgive divine".

Spending your life behind bars until your dying breath is certainly not getting off lightly and is arguably a worse punishment. I can't say I'd have such fortitude either, but I certainly hope I would. Regardless from a public policy standpoint it needs to be stopped, for a variety of reasons.

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #49)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 03:45 AM

71. IIRC that's what Matthew Shepard's parents did RE: his killers. Argued for life in prison

rather than the DP, essentially with the logic that nothing would bring their son back.

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Response to pipi_k (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 03:44 AM

70. I don't judge them either. But it's with very good reason that we don't let them determine

the penalty themselves.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:14 PM

17. Dead Man Walking

changed my mind and heart on this subject. Thanks to Sister Helen Prejean for writing this book and for those who made it into a film.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:16 PM

18. Personally, I'm against it.

 

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:16 PM

19. Ummm...

Isn't the very definition of "capital offense" one that carries with it the threat of a death penalty?

I'm completely against it, BTW

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:18 PM

20. Never. Killing is wrong, I don't care why. nt

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 11:24 PM

22. Morally, eh. But practically, no.

Frankly I do think some people deserve to be put to death and I have no particular moral qualms with the DP - but justice is human and therefore fallible; the DP is completely incompatible with mistakes so I can't support it on simple practical grounds.

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Response to sir pball (Reply #22)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:09 PM

67. I see it the same as you

The system is administered by humans so there will be errors.

Say for argument sake the error rate is 1 in 5000, if there were 4999 no doubt guilty murders would anyone volunteer to be the innocent one to be executed with them? I would not and I would never ask anyone else to do it either.

Just lock them up...

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:51 AM

25. Never

Killing people to show that killing people is wrong is a bad idea.

And when we INEVITABLY kill an innocent person (we probably already have) there will never be justice for that person ever.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 02:45 AM

26. For crimes of horror or terror

 

Like Charles Manson's little expedition, Oklahoma bombing, truly outside the boundaries of understanding.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:56 AM

30. Never. Two wrongs never make a right.

Killing is wrong no matter who does it. I abhor the fact that it is done by the State in my name.

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Response to Live and Learn (Reply #30)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:57 AM

31. Most people should have learned that lesson in grammar school

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:59 AM

32. Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.

 

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. Friedrich Nietsche

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #32)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:06 AM

39. +1

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #32)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:44 PM

52. I fully agree

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 04:47 AM

33. Never.

No civilized society can stoop to uncivilized behavior and still be civilized.

Out of the question.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #33)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:38 AM

40. No country that's remotely civilized does

That alone should make the lightbulbs go off on its proponents.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:52 AM

38. Never.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 11:28 AM

43. Only for violent crimes against children. eom.

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Response to Bad Thoughts (Reply #43)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:14 PM

48. Even in those cases, surely life without parole is better.

Because then if someone is wrongfully convicted (and it happens) they can be released and paid compensation.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #48)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:51 PM

54. Reforming criminal justice is something that should happen anyway

And given the state of affairs, I don't approve the carrying out of any sentence of capital punishment. Nonetheless, that shouldn't stop convictions from taking place, particularly if high standards of proof are applied.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 11:38 AM

45. Mixed feelings


While I have mixed feelings, The DP is one of the few punishments explicitly allowed for and detailed in the constitution. This makes it difficult to say it's "illegal" or a "cruel and unusual" punishment.

Tbh, My mood on this seems to shift with the news. When there's not a high-profile case in the news I tend to be against it. Then every so often some dude comes up for execution, and he's the worst kind if human filth imaginable, and I'm a supporter again.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:40 PM

51. Never for me. But I know a significant minority of Democrats are in favor just like your experience

 

indicates.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:49 PM

53. I've always thought the discussion regarding DP in Judaism were worthwhile to read

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_and_corporal_punishment_in_Judaism

A good summary in the above wiki is:

Contemporary attitudes towards capital punishment

Leading rabbis in Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism tend to hold that the death penalty is a correct and just punishment in theory, but they hold that it should not generally be used (or not used at all) in practice. In practice the application of such a punishment can only be carried out by humans whose system of justice is nearly perfect, a situation which has not existed for some time or never existed at all.

Rabbinical courts have given up the ability to inflict any kind of physical punishment, and such punishments are left to the civil court system to administer. But the modern institution of the death penalty is opposed by the major rabbinical organizations of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Judaism

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 02:40 PM

56. People like Joseph Paul Franklin is why I support the Death Penalty, and always will.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/18/justice/death-row-interview-joseph-paul-franklin/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

And I'm not religious either. So don't try to bring any religious rhetoric into your argument.




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Response to MicaelS (Reply #56)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 03:49 AM

72. The guy's going to spend the rest of his life in prison no matter what.

What extra benefit is derived from executing him?

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 02:51 PM

57. Some folks just need to go away...

 

Hasan is a good example...

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 06:09 PM

60. Never.

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Response to gopiscrap (Original post)

Tue Nov 19, 2013, 06:50 AM

73. My gut says "never," but the Constitution says it's permissible for treason.

Until the Constitution's amended, treason is enough.



-Laelth

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