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Letter: Death penalty critics need to be aware of the victims’ suffering

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Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 12:28 am

An Arizona man executed suffers for hours longer than his victim. That seems to be an assumption. Are we forgetting about the victim?

Most critics of the death penalty don’t seem to think about the victim, and can only see one side. Were they so old they would have died anyway? Would the killing stop if they were given a life sentence? By the way, they will get out in about seven years.

A very short time ago a man raped and beat a woman within an inch of her life and then buried her alive. Is this the person you would like to put up at the Hilton? For some this is better than living on the streets, and certainly more benefits. No more searching for your next meal, medical couldn’t be better, just holler and get representation from the best lawyers, laundry done — makes you homesick just thinking about it.

If you’re the anti-law enforcement governor of California or our Attorney General Harris, they won’t be incarcerated for very long in my opinion. It seems to me politicians and federal judges contribute greatly to the increase in crime. Nobody seems to know who is crossing our borders. For those who do and become U.S. citizens need to be put on probation for 10 years if they commit a felony.

Ben Coleman


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  • M. Doyle posted at 4:20 pm on Thu, Aug 14, 2014.

    M Doyle Posts: 188

    I find it unfortunate that you find no wisdom in Ghandi's words. We can agree to disagree on that.

    By the way, didn't you commit the same "crime" you accused me of committing?

  • M. Doyle posted at 4:01 pm on Thu, Aug 14, 2014.

    M Doyle Posts: 188

    I'm sorry, I lost track of this discussion. I believe that the criteria I listed were established by the courts.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 8:52 am on Sat, Aug 9, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    I think you are misreading the Eighth Amendment which contains none of the criteria that you mention. That said, such a (mis) ruling would not surprise me. Truth be told. if you ignore the obvious damage it would do to the Constitution, such a ruling might be partially for the good since there doesn't seem to be much of a chance that we will eliminate error from our legal process in the near future.

  • M. Doyle posted at 4:48 pm on Fri, Aug 8, 2014.

    M Doyle Posts: 188

    Do you think the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause in the eighth amendment applies? The test for this includes: 1) the frequency at which the punishment occurs in society, 2) overall acceptance in society, 3) severity (i.e., the punishment fits the crime), and 4) if the punishment is arbitrary.

    I think in the future a case may be made on the eighth amendment alone. The death penalty is often arbitrary--it would seem poor minorities are much more likely to be sentenced to death than some other folks for equally serious crimes. And while the death penalty seems to still be widely accepted in American society, it is not in the rest of the world. Public acceptance may erode in the future.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 8:39 am on Fri, Aug 8, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    An aphorism for an aphorism leaves the whole world stupid.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 8:38 am on Fri, Aug 8, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    Yeah, the Founding Fathers were down with slavery. That is why we needed the 14th Amendment. From a Constitutional point of view, if you really want to prohibit the Death Penalty throughout the United States you probably need to pass an Amendment of your own. The current document certainly does not contain any such prohibition.

  • M. Doyle posted at 8:53 pm on Thu, Aug 7, 2014.

    M Doyle Posts: 188

    I agree. They owned slaves too, counted blacks as 3/5 of a person, and viewed women and children as possessions. Their genius was in creating a revolutionary form of government. On the cultural stuff, not so much. They were men of their time.

  • Christina Welch posted at 9:20 pm on Wed, Aug 6, 2014.

    Christina Welch Posts: 460

    Excellent observations, gentlemen. Just the possibility that a mistake could be made is a fair criticism of the death penalty to me. I also don't think the death penalty serves as an effective deterrent against crime, and this opinion has come to be supported by most people in the criminal justice field. I also believe the implementation of the death penalty can be racist and arbitrary. There's a lot of reasons the death penalty has its critics, and it's not about a lack of empathy for the victims and their families.

  • Ed Walters posted at 8:14 pm on Wed, Aug 6, 2014.

    the old dog Posts: 638

    Heuer: The idea of spending life in prison without parole in a 6` X 8` steel box is worse that taking a needle in the arm and going to sleep forever. I am not one to judge if the death penalty is necessary. Moonbeam and Rose Bird made up everyones mind many years ago, and the current AG feels the same way, and of course the good Governor. I agree with you, it costs big bucks to keep a murder`er locked up, bad thing about that, a human can adapt to just about anything, even going crazy.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:10 pm on Wed, Aug 6, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    My earlier statement aside, the Founding Fathers hung murderers and flogged criminals guilty of lesser offenses. I doubt they would have considered lethal injection to be cruel.

  • M. Doyle posted at 5:53 pm on Wed, Aug 6, 2014.

    M Doyle Posts: 188

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 3:19 pm on Wed, Aug 6, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1672

    This post got away before I meant it to.
    Correction - it should read twards the end, "then I DON"T want any part of it if we can't be assured the right person was caught."

    And additionally,

    However all that being said we need to seriously examine our need to put someone to death. We are one of the last civilized nations to still have a death penalty. Is it really necessary? Isn't life imprisonment without parole sufficient?

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 12:15 pm on Wed, Aug 6, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2677

    In principle, I strongly support the death penalty. The guilty individuals who receive this penalty usually deserve far worse. The only problem is that, more often than we would like to admit, innocent men and women end up strapped to the gurney. The case of the Texas man who was executed for an act of arson that killed his family, a crime almost everyone involved with the case now concede he did not commit, is just the best publicized example of this.

    If we kill a hundred or even one innocent man in the name of justice then we ourselves have become the murderers. True, we may not suffer any civil penalty for that crime but I think we can be sure that God himself will judge us for it when all is done.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 11:14 am on Wed, Aug 6, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1672

    Two wrongs don't make a right.

    I don't think it's a case of people forgetting the victim but they want to make sure we got the right guy who did it. If someone murders someone that's heinous. But if we execute the wrong person that's just as heinous. The two deaths don't make anything right.

    I have not been in disfavor of the death penalty but with mounting evidence that the wrong people get convicted of crimes I have little faith in our justice system to support it.

    That a murderer would suffer during an execution hasn't been a concern for me as well if we, again, are executing the right person. The evidence has to be direct and not circumstantial. It has to be an eye witness who knows the murderer not a passer by saying,yeah that guy (a stranger) did it. Memories fade and the eyes are easily tricked. Since capital punishment is done in the name of the people then I want any part of it if we can't be assured the right guy was caught. Cops and DAs are to anxious to make convictions, even if its the wrong guy.


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