Death Penalty

Published on May 2016 | Categories: Documents | Downloads: 49 | Comments: 0 | Views: 287
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As long as one is comfortable with the idea that killing innocent people is OK if it gets you something you want, limiting appeals - and thus ensuring the death of innocent people - would be a great way to save money. Personally I'd rather thin the herd by offering free birth control than killing innocent people. Having a death penalty not only virtually guarantees sentencing innocent people to death (see http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-and-death-penalty ) but ensures that the guilty go free (generally no further investigation is done once someone has been convicted of a crime unless there is someone still alive to complain). While it's true I have a nasty temper and can hold a grudge for an impressively unreasonable amount of time, I'm not a fan of killing innocent people or letting the most brutal of murderers go free even when it doesn't cost us hundreds of millions of dollars a year. There's also the fact that states with the death penalty have a higher murder rate http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/deterrence-states-without-death-penalty-have-had-consistentlylower-murder-rates#stateswithvwithout and I don't want to be murdered. While of course it's possible the higher murder rate leads to people being more familiar and comfortable with killing people, and thus the high murder rates lead to the death penalty rather than the reverse, I can't help but wonder about the psychological effect of having the government tell its citizens that when someone really pisses you off, the correct and proper thing to do is to kill them. I am not comforted by the fact that if the prosecutor doesn't tell the jury I'm white, in California my killer is a lot less likely to be executed. Those who kill non-Latino whites are over three times

more likely to be sentenced to die as those who kill African-Americans. Those who kill non-Latino whites are over four times more likely to be sentenced to die as those who kill Latinos. In cases where only one victim was killed and no other felony was involved, those who kill non-Latino whites are over seven times more likely to be sentenced to die as those who kill African-Americans. In cases where only one victim was killed and no other felony was involved, those who kill non-Latino whites are over eleven times more likely to be sentenced to die as those who kill Latinos. Nor am I comforted by the fact that if I am killed in a city rather than in the country, my killer is much less likely to be killed. http://www.aclunc.org/docs/criminal_justice/death_penalty/racial_and_geographic_disparit ies_in_california%27s_death_penalty.pdf
I am also not comforted by the fact that, as a woman, if I kill someone I'm much less likely to be killed. http://www.americanbar.org/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/irr_hr_fall96_genderbias.h tml Mind you, as a resident of California I'm much more likely to be sentenced to death than I would be in any other state except for Texas: From 1973 through 2005, the leading

states for sentencing women to death are California and Texas with seventeen each. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/FemDeathDec2005.pdf
I don't much care for the company we're in when it comes to which countries have the death penalty and which countries don't: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777460.html It seems that the more you know about the justice system, the more likely you are to have a problem with the death penalty as it currently exists. Former Department of Correction Commissioners of New York City, Mississippi, Wisconsin, California, Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Tennessee, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, the Female Command Manager of the North Carolina Dept. of Prisons, the Director of the North Dakota Department of Corrections and the Secretary of the Washington Dept. of Corrections, among others, released a statement, which said in part:

"As individuals, we differ widely in our belief in capital punishment. Many of us hold that the death penalty, if fairly and equitably administered, may have a role in American society. Others of us have sincere reservations about the use of this ultimate sanction. As endorsers of this Statement, however, we share the belief that other law enforcement priorities are far more important and urgent than capital punishment. The death penalty absorbs an inordinate portion of the financial resources and valuable time of the criminal justice system...The death penalty may fascinate the media and the public, but it is truly peripheral to our efforts to make this society safer." http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/front-line-law-enforcement-views-death-penalty#sxn5 The American Bar Association (hardly the most liberal or soft-on-crime of organizations) found the implementation of the death penalty so flawed that they recommended a moratorium on executions nationwide; when a bunch of lawyers can agree something is unfair (when they're not being paid to say so), you know you got troubles. http://www.abanow.org/2007/10/aba-study-state-deathpenalty-systems-deeply-flawed/ For a nationwide perspective, go to the American Bar Association website and do a search for "death penalty flawed". I warn you, however, that you will get 2730 results. The California Senate created the Commission in 2004 to investigate the causes of wrongful conviction and wrongful execution in California (please note no-one thought it necessary to question whether or not wrongful conviction and wrongful execution occurred in California) and to make recommendations to ensure that California’s criminal justice system is just, fair and accurate. John Van De Kamp, former Attorney General and former Los Angeles District Attorney, chaired the Commission. The remaining 22 members of the Commission represented every part of the criminal justice including the Sheriffs’ Association, Police Chiefs’ Association, the Department of Justice, and defense agencies. They set an agenda and addressed those items "in roughly the order of the frequency with which they are associated with erroneous convictions; mistaken eyewitness identifications; false confessions; perjurious informant testimony; inaccurate scientific evidence; prosecutorial and defense lawyer misconduct; and inadequate funding for defense services." They came to the conclusion that it would cost an additional $100 million per year to implement policies that would make the system less unfair. "Together the reports and recommendations in this volume present a hefty agenda of reform for the Legislature and the Governor, as well as many recommendations of best practices for prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges and police agencies. We hope that the implementation of these recommendations will reduce the risk of wrongful convictions in California. That risk will never be completely eliminated, as long as human error is possible. Because wrongful convictions leave guilty perpetrators free to victimize and deprive the innocent of their liberty, we should strive to do everything humanly possible to get it right." -Gerald F Uelmen, Executive director, California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice. http://www.ccfaj.org/documents/CCFAJFinalReport.pdf So, the best we can hope for is that we will execute innocent people less often...if we spend an additional $1,000,000,000 over the next ten years. I love you dearly, my friend, but I feel that those who support the death penalty are stepping off a cliff (albeit a moral rather than physical one) when they decide it is worth closing schools and killing innocent people to continue executing people. If we lived in a perfect world, where all lawyers, cops and informants were honest and all judges, witnesses and juries were omnicient, this would be a somewhat different discussion. But we don't, they aren't, and it isn't.

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