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View Diary: Troy Davis, a defender's perspective (99 comments)

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  •  It's an argument that has appeal (5+ / 0-)
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    Joe Hills Ghost, Pozzo, Matt Z, kyril, DawnN

    My point is that we haven't particularly moved the debate much by relying on appeals to the collective conscience.  The debate has been going on for decades and more than 60% of Americans still support the death penalty.  Life without parole is less expensive and still provides for compliance with all constitutional safeguards.  You can't say the same thing about summary execution.

    You can also still make all the same arguments about the racial disparity, chance of executing someone innocent, etc., but it's put in context to which people can relate, i.e., keeping an eye on the pocketbook.

    •  fair enough (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darmok, kyril

      While this is fairly widespread belief that it's cheaper to execute instead of "Giving them three squares, tv, weightrooms, medical care etc for the next 40 years" I don't think it's really one that provides the basis for support for the D.P. I think you can win this argument and it won't advance the anti DP cause significantly.

      •  Maybe (6+ / 0-)

        It is an argument that it out there, but I don't know if it's been made forcefully.  Subject to the information I cited elsewhere that suggests that maybe pro-death penalty is declining, I'm just saying that maybe we need to mix it up and/or take a slightly different tack.  

        The other problem - pointed out by the diarist - is that we're talking about some pretty awful people on death row.  Anyone familiar with criminal justice issues knows that landmark cases don't usually involve the innocent; the Mirandas of the real world are usually highly unsympathetic folks.  People have a hard time looking beyond this.  So, if we continue to try to sway the death penalty argument by trying to stir up public support based on an occasionally sympathetic inmate, we may be waiting a long time.

        I'd love to think that Americans would naturally gravitate to doing what's right, but this is just one example where we obviously haven't so responded.  My point is to mix a bit of morality with the pragmatic.

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