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  •  Case in Point: Dahmer's spree of murders started (0+ / 0-)

    after his release.

     He'd been tried for and convicted ofsexually torturing an Asian youngster.

    On September 25, 1988, he was arrested for sexually fondling a 13-year-old Laotian boy in Milwaukee, for which he served 10 months of a one year sentence in a work release camp. However, in 1988 there was not yet a law requiring offenders to register when convicted of a sex crime against a minor. He convinced the judge that he needed therapy, and he was released with a five-year probation on good behavior. Shortly thereafter, he began a string of murders that would end with his arrest in 1991.

    What was the verdict in the case of the prisoner who stabbed him?

    LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:46:59 PM PDT

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    •  Dahmer is one of the reasons (0+ / 0-)

      why laws have been changed. Society makes mistakes and the fact the laws changed regarding sex offenders shows we learned from that mistake. However even though we know we are killing innocent people in the name of justice we aren't doing anything to fix that problem.

      How is that acceptable to you? What's the difference between a serial killer killing innocent people and the state killing innocent people. I'd argue the serial killer is more humane because it's over with faster without years of mental anguish to contend with.

      I'll add we will always have criminally insane people in our society. The death penalty does not change that nor does it deter them from engaging in criminal or even murderous behavior. We cannot predict with any accuracy how someone will behave in any given situation or whether or not they'll adhere to the social contract. Because of that our justice system has to be reactive instead of proactive. After all we can't put people in prison for what they might do. If we did that we'd all be writing this from our cells.

      When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix -6.0 -5.33

      by Cali Techie on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:56:49 PM PDT

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      •  You forget that we have people like Craig Watkins, (0+ / 0-)

        Dallas' new DA, who is working to exonerate those wrongfully convicted.

        I don't say the system is perfect. I do say in some cases it is necessary not to risk a particular criminal having the chance to repeat his or her crimes.

        I don't necessarily confine my argument as narrowly as you do. That you see a serial killer as more humane than the state is actually pretty appalling. I think we should put a stop to certain kinds of behavior, permanently, and publicize that.

        I suspect my list of things that ought to be capital crimes would appall you.

        I don't believe we can learn anything useful about how to prevent the next Vernon Howells by maintaining Warren Jeffs in a medically-induced coma to keep him alive. He's been sentenced to life in prison without parole in Texas; it took him less than a month to abuse his body into collapse. That, in my book, is suicide. He should be allowed to die.

        I'm not talking about thought police. I'm talking about ensuring proven predators don't have the opportunity to reoffend. I mentioned Dahmer. I've mentioned Howells and Jeffs.

        Can you show me a documented case in which a convicted child rapist or serial killer was rehabbed?

        LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:07:43 PM PDT

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        •  Watkins is to be commended (0+ / 0-)

          for actually wanting to serve justice instead of merely getting convictions. I like to think he's the rule rather than the exception, but from what I've seen that may not be the case. Humans are humans. We're flawed and we let our successes go to our heads, which then clouds our judgment. Most wrongful convictions are borne of investigators having a preconceived notion of what happened then they seek to prove it instead of finding out what really happened.

          When it comes to the serial killer being more humane than the state, put yourself in the position of the person who is about to be killed. In both cases the person to be killed comes to the realization his life will be ending in the foreseeable future. The serial killer may or may not taunt his victim offering false hope only to take it away over and over again. If he does it usually only lasts a few hours. With someone on death row, especially someone who is innocent that taunting goes on years. So comparatively the serial killer is more humane. That may irk you but that doesn't make it untrue. The serial killer is more cruel and often more violent but comparatively speaking it's over very quickly.

          You mention Dahmer killing after being convicted of child molestation. That conviction shows him to be a sick and perverted individual for sure, but it in no way showed how dangerous he truly was. We have running around in our society today a number of people who have been convicted of similar crimes, the majority of whom have not gone on to become brutal serial killers who keep their victims' heads in their refrigerators. If that were the case I'm certain child molestation would be a capital crime. Not all convicted child molesters re-offend and of those who do it's usually for the same crime, not murder. Many were very young themselves at the time. I personally know one young man who is now a registered sex offender because he kissed his girlfriend who was more than 3 years younger than he was. They had been dating for more than two years at the time and it wasn't a crime until he turned 18. Should he be sentenced to death? They're married now with two beautiful children.

          What about Mary Kay Letourneau the teacher who was convicted of having sexual intercourse with a 13 year old student having two children by him one conceived after her conviction? She has subsequently married the young man and they remain a committed "celebrity" couple to this day. Should she have been put to death? She has not since re-offended and from all accounts her life with the young man is a very happy one.

          Jeffs is in prison where he belongs being sentenced to life +20 making him ineligible for parole until he is a very old man, should he live that long. In his current state he is unable to harm anyone. Isn't that the point of being put in prison? Whether or not the state should be paying to keep him alive after his suicide attempt is a different question. Vernon Howell (David Koresh) is dead. He can no longer offend.

          When you look at the most infamous of serial killers a pattern of mental illness emerges. Jeffs isn't a serial killer, he's a religious nutcase who was raised by a religious nutcase. It's all he knows. When his father died he married all of his father's wives including his own mother. His is a case of inherited mental illness compounded by living in an environment that supported that illness.

          We don't live in a black and white one size fits all world. There's no way we can protect ourselves from every conceivable danger unless we all lock ourselves in prison and even then that's no guarantee we'll be safe so we might as well impose the death penalty upon adulthood. Oh wait there are children who have committed murder. Better get them before they're old enough to point a gun at anyone. (I'm snarking here). I'm arguing the slippery slope not to say that's what will happen but to show that there isn't any reasonable way we can make ourselves 100% safe from dangerous people without destroying society and ourselves.

          Danger surrounds us everywhere we go. We have no way of knowing whether or not the man standing in line behind us at the grocery store is a serial killer plotting how he's going to kidnap us in the parking lot and make us his first or next victim in a grisly and macabre string of murders or just a friendly old man buying ice cream for his grandchildren. To keep ourselves sane we assume the latter.

          When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix -6.0 -5.33

          by Cali Techie on Fri Sep 09, 2011 at 01:32:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Jeffs should be let die (0+ / 0-)

            even if it is what he wants. It's the surest way to tarnish his aura with his flock -- someone will figure out how weak and cowardly he really was. Keeping him on life support is, IMO, a waste of money.

            About those children who kill: I knew one. She was eight years old. She shot her stepfather because it was the only way she could stop him from strangling her (pregnant) mother. She is not, in my book, a murderer. The state of Missouri thought she acted in self-defense -- or at least the county prosecutor in the county we lived in the year after the moon landing thought so, and did not prefer charges. What her stepfather's family thought, I won't repeat; suffice it to say the remains of that family moved away --  I don't know where to, but I know it was out of the "Four State" area. Might have been somewhere around Phoenix. My dad helped gather up the money from the auction of all the farm equipment, and see to it that the money went to the widow.
            The farm went back to the bank.

            Jeffs, Howells, Dahmer ... yep. I'd say that level of child-rape is in and of itself the stuff of which capital crimes are made.

             I'm not going to excuse Jeffs on the basis of his "culture" or "religion" -- and nor will I so excuse Howells (aka David Koresh of the Waco siege) -- that's a false God they're worshipping and trying to draw others into worshipping, and you'd better believe they knew it -- otherwise why build compounds and coerce their victims into keeping secret what they did?

            Dahmer was preying on a much younger person. That's not the same thing as your married couple. You cite the infamous teacher who had children by the boy she molested. I'll city Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Sometimes years aren't as important as we think -- but Kutcher was at least of age to consent, first.

            LeTourneau, I think, should have waited until her beau turned 18.

            LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Fri Sep 09, 2011 at 10:13:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're missing the point (0+ / 0-)

              The world isn't as black and white as you like to think it is and you're ignoring the multitude of exceptions to your rules.

              I agree Jeffs, Dahmer, and Howell are monsters, however they are the exception rather than the rule. There will always be people like them in the world. There is no sure way we can predict the future behavior of anyone. Steven Spielberg explored a world where people were arrested and convicted of future crimes in his movie Minority Report. It shows the flaws of predicting the future and even the most foolproof system can be wrong.

              There is no such thing as a perfect system therefore we should not be sentencing people to an irreversible punishment like death when all we need to do is lock them up for the rest of their lives. You cannot bring an unjustly killed innocent man back to life but you can correct a mistakenly convicted man who has been given a life sentence by freeing him and compensating him for the wrong perpetrated against him.

              That is why I'm against the death penalty. Life imprisonment without possibility of parole is sufficient to protect society from the worst of the monsters while providing a means for the wrongfully convicted to go back to the lives.

              When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix -6.0 -5.33

              by Cali Techie on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 07:00:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Irrelevant - they don't execute non-murderers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Techie

      anyway, so the fact that he committed murder after being released has nothing to do with the death penalty.  

      •  It might be time to change some more laws, Pizzuti (0+ / 0-)

        because there are "non-murderers" like Dahmer getting turned loose every day.

        LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:08:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But the counterargument (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cali Techie

          is that there is a penalty that can keep them from reoffending: life without parole. Just because Dahmer wasn't given it, either due to the decision of the judge, jury or legislature, isn't really an argument for the death penalty. If they refused to give him the lesser penalty, what makes you think that they would have given him the death penalty?

        •  Taking your argument to it's logical (0+ / 0-)

          and extreme conclusion we should sentence everyone who has ever committed a crime to death since they will likely re-offend again and possibly with an even worse crime. I can draw a line from someone getting a parking ticket and re-offending to the point of raping and killing. That doesn't mean it happens in all or even a significant number of cases.

          The law recognizes people make mistakes in their lives and gives them an opportunity to change how they operate in the world. People who are basically good come out of the justice system as better people. There once was a time where we had institutions housing the criminally insane that was attached to our penal system. This is where we sent people who were known to be insane and dangerous. They were usually sent there for life as opposed to being sent to prison and eventually re-released into society. For various reasons we no longer do that and I think it's a mistake because now we treat people with mental illnesses the same as we treat people who are not mentally ill although it could be argued that most criminals are in fact mentally ill.

          When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix -6.0 -5.33

          by Cali Techie on Fri Sep 09, 2011 at 01:41:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, eventually the guy who shot Reagan (0+ / 0-)

            will succeed in getting released, maybe even without supervision.
            Is that a good thing? Remember, he was found incompetent.

            I agree with that finding, by the bye, but probably from a completely different standpoint than that held by the judge who found him so....

            LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Fri Sep 09, 2011 at 10:02:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

              But look at Charles Manson. Still in prison after all these years. Every year he tries for parole and every year they deny it. He isn't the only one, he's just the most infamous. The fact he is still in prison shows the system works.

              It's hard to say what John Hinkley Jr. will do if he manages to get released. He's obviously mentally ill and possibly very dangerous. He was found not guilty due to insanity and remains hospitalized to this day. Will he be released? Maybe but not until he's deemed no longer dangerous to society. That's very different than completing a defined sentence or being placed on parole, neither of which require a psychiatric evaluation before release (maybe they should, especially for parole).

              When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix -6.0 -5.33

              by Cali Techie on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 07:20:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  So your solution: make government more dangerous (0+ / 0-)

          to society than criminals are.  Through dumping the concept that a punishment should fit the crime, drastically scaling back the idea of "cruel and unusual punishment" in our Constitution and sending people away to prison to life for lesser crimes?

          Currently, even our Conservative Supreme Court agrees that the death penalty for a crime other than murder is unconstitutional.  

          And even in Conservative Texas, it is not just murder, but murder plus another exacerbating factor that qualifies an offender/defendant for the death penalty.  

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