Wednesday, December 14, 2005


The Death Penalty

I usually lurk here. But I've been thinking about the death penalty for the past couple of days, and while I'm not usually a wingnut, on this subject I am.

I respect the compassion of those who are against the death penalty. A phrase that has stuck in my mind is "I don't want to live in a society that...", something to the effect of: kills people with premeditation.

And really I agree with that. I wish America were a better place. I'm even willing to work towards that, but I think stopping the death penalty would be a counterproductive measure at this time.

One possible advantage of the death penalty is the additional scrutiny it brings to the criminal justice system. Earlier in the thread there is a list of comparative costs between cases involving the death penalty and those that don't. I don't know how to block quote, so I won't put it in this post, but most of those costs involve more seriously looking at the case against the suspect/convict. In addition outside the justice system people look much more closely at death penalty cases. I don't think we would have heard about Cory Maye if he had 'merely' been sentenced to life in prison.

I have my reservations on the death penalty and have done for many years.

I have this "thing" about taking a human life that I can't reconcile.

The only thing I would say is that if the death penalty should exist as a final judgement then let those who have been affected by the crime push the button, pull the lever or whatever.

The decision of a jury is a majority, unless the Judges instruct that all have to agree on either guilty or not guilty. Given that any decision is based on a majority then it would come down to a compromise (think about that.)

Many times the Law is a compromise where the final judgement lies on a majority. That's something that has been studied for years and still is studied. Yet that is all that we have.

If I was put in a situation whereby something horrid happened (God forbid it should) and I was told it would be me that would have to push the button, then I would ask myself if I would be able to do. It's fine for a Jury to make that decision and for the Judge to pass the order ... but then we are left with someone else to carry out judgement. If judgement was put in my own hands, I really can't say I could push the button.

In essence it is a Judge and Jury that become the executioners. If we had to be the ones to carry out such a judgement, then I think it would be totally different. For me (I can only speak for me of course) I would be taking a life regardless of what happened. I can't put my hand on my heart and say that I could do that.

If there is to be the death penalty, then I would say let the berieved be the ones to push the button. Ulitmately it would be them that actually takes a life ... not any Jury or Judge.

Just my take

I hope that makes sense.

Thanks FrankiE. Not too many people find my blog, so I mostly just use it to save comments on other peoples blogs.

I respect your views on this though I thought it had to be unanimous on the jury for the death penalty. If its just majority vote I don't agree with it.
Just another comment on the fly Frank.

We only have the Law, and the Law states we have a Jury. Based on any verdict it can only ever be said that *any* decision given by a Jury is by a majority and guilt or innocense is decided on that.

Yes, the death penalty does require a unanimous decision, but somewhere in that there must have been/are many cases where jurors have gone into juror session feeling a person innocent ... but then changing their minds. That has to be the case or otherwise you have a hung Jury *or* a case that goes on until such a time a decision is reached.

Miscarriage of Justice is not uncommon, if we don't accept that then we are burrying our heads in the sand. What I often think about is how that comes about. There have to be instances of where Jurors simply gave in to a majority, because the majority can't be wrong ... or can they? I think they can, but not by their own failings.

Tie that in with evidence, sometimes witheld, that comes out 15 years after a person has been incarcerated, and there lies the injustice. There are many such recorded cases.

Putting all the variables together, then many times it must come to a situation of compromise; where doubt has to diminish absolutely and jurors having to about-turn on their initial feelings in juror sessions; and that can happen purely by peer preasure of individual jurors that are foreceful above those that may not be.

Many cases are clear-cut; some are not so clear. In a nut-shell I think it fair to say that no legal system is infalable, but that is all that we have. I don't think anyone (myself included) would say there is a better way. But then show the balance of Justice to someone that served 15 years and then released as innocent for a crime he/she never commited, and there it is clear to all that the balance of Justice isn't an exact science or all-embracing fact.

By using the word "majority" itself it is stating that any verdict is not exact. That doesn't mean it's wrong ... but it does mean that miscarriage of justice can happen, and does happen.

No definatives from me Frank. Just thoughts on how the system works; and like I have already said ... it's all that we have and it's all that we ever shall have.

Just my thoughts.

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