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Capital punishment makes the news mainly when there are questions of discrimination, innocence, gross injustice. It says something about our society that a number of executions quietly proceed on schedule. Clear guilt, heinous crime, these things do not inspire much sympathy or outspoken criticism. There seems to be a certain class of inmate for whom capital punishment is not questioned.

One of these is due to die in Arizona in about an hour.

The story of Thomas Kemp is summed up in this article from today's AZ Daily Star. It's not pretty. There is little question of guilt, and Kemp's lack of remorse inspires little in return. The racist motivation for the murder just makes it worse. The details are shocking and available in the link. I don't see much point in C&Ping them in here. I have no intent to apologize for any of it. I can think of no special reason why such a fellow should be allowed to live.

Except that it's everyone's right to live, and I have no reason to be especially worried that he will ever pose a threat to society again. It isn't necessary to take this man's life in order to keep the community safe. There isn't any demonstrable utility in it. It is demonstrably a financial waste to have pursued this process. It's just short of twenty years since the crimes took place -- any notion of speedy justice was lost decades ago.

There aren't any comments on the Daily Star site, but from experience, I know that if there were, it'd just be a few twits cracking jokes about cheap rope and cutting back on the appeals process. The conservative solution to ineffective capital punishment is to make it cheaper, quicker...more risky. Even if there is no demonstrated effect of deterrence, it is their excuse, to imagine that there could be. Yet they can't imagine ever being on the business end of an unjust execution.

And the criminal justice system is so fraught with injustice, I wonder sometimes if they're right to dismiss the risk...for themselves.

I may be jaded, but I still find it appalling that in this supposedly 'Christian' nation, such a fundamental shift in notions of justice -- from 'eye for an eye' to 'turn the other cheek' -- has so utterly failed to take hold in this country. The justice system is so vengeful. And this unnecessary, useless, unjust practice is perhaps the best example of that craving for vengeance that leads to injustice. The absolute worst kind; the kind for which there is no recompense, once a prisoner has been killed.

Anyway, the next scheduled killing is set for May 16th for one Samuel Lopez. There is a brief mention in the news piece about a "brutal rape and murder". My guess is that it won't merit but a brief mention as well, in a couple of weeks. Just a recitation of the nastier details, something to reassure anyone who gives it any thought at all.

10:49 AM PT: http://ktar.com/...

Thomas Arnold Kemp, 63, was given a lethal injection at the state prison in Florence as he lay strapped to a table in the death chamber. His time of death was 10:08 a.m.

The death puts Arizona on pace to match its busiest year for executions and makes it one of the busiest death-penalty states in the nation.

Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 8:43 AM PT: http://azstarnet.com/...

Little late now, but anyway. Although this article is ostensibly about the attorney being disturbed by his client's violent shaking during the execution, the paper makes sure to repeat the crime details again, as if somehow offering apologetics for possible suffering of the condemned.

The attorney for an Arizona death-row inmate executed Wednesday said he was "very disturbed" after seeing his client shake for several seconds upon receiving his lethal injection, and he wants to find out if the man experienced any unnecessary pain.

...

"It was unmistakable. He was shaking very violently," said Gabrielsen, who has witnessed one other execution. "We're very disturbed by that."

...

Jonathan Groner, an Ohio State University surgeon who has studied lethal injection extensively, said high doses of pentobarbital are associated with seizures and that may have caused Kemp's shaking.

"The problem is the people that give it are not physicians. They try to push it as fast as possible," Groner said. "It's nothing anyone would do in a hospital or medical center. It's not a very good way to kill people."

Originally posted to The Tytalan Way on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks, Abolish the Death Penalty, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

    by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:33:24 AM PDT

  •  I've rec'd you for doing the hard part (7+ / 0-)

    It's easy to get upset and roused to action about the possibly-innocent or the badly-represented or the terribly-unlucky.  It's harder to get that way about someone like this.  Personally, I'm not on your side about this and would contest the bedrock claim that it's everyone's (unconditional) right to live, but if you're going to make that case this is the case to make it with: one of the silent majority of death penalty cases, rather than one of the justly famous (because they're famously unjust) ones.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:58:16 AM PDT

    •  I understand (9+ / 0-)

      why those pushing to abolish cite the 'famously unjust' as you put it, and if by inspiring some sympathy we have less executions, that's progress. I can't knock progress. But I still find these uncomfortable silences problematic.

      Then again, I find a lot of things problematic, like the revenge impulse, even in myself.

      Anyway, no worries about not agreeing with me. My notion of the right to life is not unconditional, but I do think we're mostly past the point in this country where prisoners escaping to wreak mayhem is so common that society feels very threatened by it. Granted, the move toward private prisons in AZ is inadvertently undercutting that sense of security.

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:14:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am against the death penalty (6+ / 0-)

    Mainly because we end up killing innocent people. To be honest though the world won't miss this guy .

    •  I know, it won't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teklanika, a gilas girl, Hastur

      The fellow in question seemed to have no redeeming qualities, other than the fact that he's a human being. I just think our standards when it comes to treating human beings could stand some improvement. It's difficult though. Society offers mixed messages on the subject.

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:18:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i'm against the death penalty because to (9+ / 0-)

      kill in order to prove killing is wrong is wrong.

      i've had the opportunity to be put to the test about how i really react to this when a friend was brutally murdered and i realized he would have been on the frontlines fighting against the death penalty in his own death.

      killing is wrong - whether by an individual or by the "state" in "the name of the people".

    •  But that's not the point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      auron renouille, ivorybill

      Capitol punishment isn't about an individual being missed.  For me, it isn't even about the crime being punished.  

      It is about what kind of State we live in. What kind of criminal justice State.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 03:31:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, exactly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus

        This particular individual is deserving being imprisoned and forgotten.  The issue is whether the justice in killing 100 guys like this outweighs the injustice of killing the occasional innocent person, or the mentally ill, or minors who simply do not have full adult competence and responsibility, etc. etc.  It does present in stark contrast some moral issues though.  Reading this guy's story, it's only my concern for the system that would keep me from flipping the switch and starting the injection.  His own unique life as a human being is not sufficiently compelling. The systems issue causes me to oppose the death penalty.

        For some reason, this got me started thinking about the abortion debate, another "life" issue that's often seen only in black and white.  The Catholic Church objects to this man being executed because of his humanity and objects to the morning after pill because a zygote allegedly has humanity.  While the morning after pill or an abortion early on the continuum toward life disturbs me not at all, I confess to feeling strong discomfort about late term abortions unless the mother's life is at significant risk.  I know, I know, they are rare. So are executions.  The problem for me is these issues lend themselves to absolutist positions and slippery slope problems.  Had I powers I would never want, I'd trade this guy's relatively worthless life for the promise of a future life inherent in a third trimester fetus.  

        It's hard to get public policy and the state's role right, when life is a continuum rather than a binary yes/no issue, and when it's not always clear that every human life has some absolute value.  At least from my perspective.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 02:26:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Like your sig, btw-- (6+ / 0-)

    Of course this execution is the poster child for the death penalty.

    Trouble is, for every creepy s.o.b. like this guy, there is an unknown number of people on death row who are innocent, a number we know is much greater than zero due to faulty and/or fraudulent police work.

    Not that this guy should ever have gone free, but isn't life without possibility of parole heinous enough ?

    I went to the Innocence Conference in KC, MO a few weeks ago. Well over 100 innocent men and women were there, human beings who had done nearly 2000 years of time for crimes they didn't commit. And they had done that time with their families suffering, often becoming estranged, as they lost hope. Some had given up entirely, in fact, when a bit of truth accidentally came out.

    One story I heard was of a case with multiple persons convicted. One of them sought help from an Innocence Project. When the evidence was finally tested, the man who had sought help was not conclusively cleared-- but a co-defendant was ! That poor man had long since given up, certain there was no hope for him. Imagine !

    There were 19 exonerees there who were still in prison this time last year when the prior conference was held -- and those are the lucky ones whose lawyers and loved ones hung in there through the hideous appeals process.

    Some of those exonorees had spent  many years-- 20 or more ! -- on death row before the truth came to light AND a court bought the truth over the lies and mistakes that had convicted those innocent people.

    An expedited death penalty, the drum beat of many who just don't get how flawed our judicial process actually is, would have meant those people would have been long dead at this point.

    The memory of the joy on the faces --and especially in the eyes-- of those new exonorees and their families at the conference fuels my work on a daily basis.

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:31:03 AM PDT

    •  What I think we ought to offer in this country (5+ / 0-)

      is probably a conversation we can't have for at least another generation. The criminal justice system would have to get a lot more just, first.

      But thanks for what you've said. I can see why that would fuel you. The Innocence Project does good work, no question.  :)

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:42:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The PROJECT is actually many (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, teklanika, a gilas girl, Hastur

        There are affiliated groups all over the country, and in other countries, too.

        There were lawyers from Finland and the Netherlands at this conference, and last year from Ireland, the UK, Japan, Italy, Mexico-- I've probably forgotten some.

        Also, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck talked about progress made in China (!) towards making their system more fair.

        While I see that as a very long trek from where they are now, it is at least a glimmer of hope.

        I was in China in 2008 with a group of criminal defense lawyers when we talked with Chinese lawyers about the notion of Chinese courts using actual live witnesses and doing cross examination, instead of just having the prosecutor read the police report into the record and the judge ask the defendent why he did the crime ! (Yes, I actually was present at a trial where that happened.)

        So, believe it or not, it could be worse !

        I must be dreaming...

        by murphy on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 02:41:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Meh, I hate these kinds of cases. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hastur, tytalus, murphy, ivorybill

    I've tried but every way I cut it, I just can't handle the death penalty.  It's not so much that there aren't people out there who even deserve things that the Geneva Convention ban - there most assuredly are.  But as a state, should we be administering those things?  As a society, are we really harmed by sticking the Charles Mansons of the world in a concrete, cramped room somewhere for the rest of their life?  (Probably a bad example, since he'll get futile parole hearings every 15 years due to a quirk of California law at the time he was sentenced that led to his sentence being judicially modified a couple times).

    People who commit violent felonies don't go to federal prison camps, they don't go to halfway houses, they go to prison, often one of the most restrictive and unpleasant prisons in their states in the state system, where violence is so endemic that the staff can ill afford niceties that you may get at a minimum-security prison.  I don't think it's "coddling" to imprison murderers in that setting, and I'd much prefer being accused of that than be a facilitator of unnecessary state-sponsored violence.

    From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years I have endeavored...to develop...rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor...Rather than continue to coddle the court's delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved...I feel...obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed. It is virtually self-evident to me now that no combination of procedural rules or substantive regulations ever can save the death penalty from its inherent constitutional deficiencies... Perhaps one day this court will develop procedural rules or verbal formulas that actually will provide consistency, fairness and reliability in a capital-sentencing scheme. I am not optimistic that such a day will come. I am more optimistic, though, that this court eventually will conclude that the effort to eliminate arbitrariness while preserving fairness 'in the infliction of [death] is so plainly doomed to failure that it and the death penalty must be abandoned altogether.' (Godfrey v. Georgia, 1980) I may not live to see that day, but I have faith that eventually it will arrive.
    Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141 (1994) (Blackman, J., dissenting).  By the way, Nixon probably did more for progressives than he did for conservatives by nominating Blackmun - I could almost thank him for that.  Blackmun was one of our greatest jurists.

    I hate to get religious, but I'm reminded of the Talmud's teaching - metaphorical, of course - that killing a person is killing the entire world, and saving a person's life is akin to saving the entire world.  In light of those numbers, I vote for the deep, dark hole :).

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 03:22:46 PM PDT

    •  An interesting case can be made (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ivorybill

      comparing such a 'deep dark hole' to the death penalty itself, and finding execution to be the more merciful option. It also says something about our society that our prisons at times represent an alternative that looks like torture.

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 03:58:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I agree. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, ivorybill

        I've heard reports (second- and thirdhand) from colleagues who talk about individuals that others represented who faced the DP and forewent appeals after the first, automatic appeal because having a date certain was less anguish than spending 20-25 years engaging in habeas petitions and PCRs and DNA petitions and every other sort of legal process a person could think to file.  No matter that you have a library and don't have to provide for your self and everything else, prison is a deeply unpleasant place, and the sort of administrative segregation that a a serious, violent felony gets you put in for the first 3-5 years of your time, although it shouldn't be punitive (some states seem to misunderstand this), is still anything but pleasant.  Lifers and DP inmates are often ineligible for much of the prison's programming (education, life skills, job training, substance abuse treatment), if any, on the grounds that limited programming resources should be allocated to people who will actually be able to apply the learned skills upon release, whereas lifers and capital defendants are just preventing a probation-eligible defendant from bettering him or herself.

        Sure, once you get moved to general population, maybe you can have a TV and a radio, you can go out on the yard (one of the biggest things in inmates' lives, I've found - a lot of frequent fliers practically rank prisons' yards like we rank restaurants on Yelp).  But imagine knowing that you'll be living that way for the rest of your life, never having control of anything you do, knowing that you have no hope to see anything beyond those fences, knowing that all of your dreams as a child can never come true, knowing that you'll never again do something so simple as sit on a couch or try to figure out which milk carton is which...  For the guilty violent felon, I'm satisfied with that punishment, and unlike the DP, that level of punishment doesn't lead me to feel that being a judicial officer requires me to seek forgiveness from the Divine.

        For what it's worth, I'm couching this in terms of Jewish faith, but I felt that way even before then - there's a certain... ickiness... to feeling that you're a part of a system that systematically kills people who are already incapacitated within the prison system (I use this to differentiate from military action, which is a different question, but I've still seen them conflated, disingenuously imho).  Yes, ickiness, it's the technical term, consult any psychologist and he or she will be able to gladly provide you with peer-reviewed papers about emotional ickiness :).

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:32:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "are we really harmed" YES (0+ / 0-)

      "As a society, are we really harmed by sticking the Charles Mansons of the world in a concrete, cramped room somewhere for the rest of their life? "

      YES.

      Those people

      A) rape/kill/assault  prison guards/nurses /teachers on a daily basis.

      and B) consume massive amounts of resources on the order of every 1 man year per prisoner to keep them there.

      So we have ~3 million prisoners in the united states.

      that is 3 million man years we spend PER year to keep them there.

      That speaks very strongly to fact that we should

      A) have far fewer people in our prison system.
      B) Get rid of the truly vile a lot quicker.

      •  What if the guy you THINK, even BELIEVE (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus

        is "truly vile" is actually innocent ?

        In many, many cases the truth is not known.

        Oh, people may think they know, may even be quite sure they know-- but they don't.

        For insight, I suggest reading "Picking Cotton" -- co-written by a rape victim and the man she wrongly believed for years was her rapist. She was convinced that her very careful observations made it possible for her to identify the right person. Except she was completely wrong.

        Mercifully, this was not a death case.

        The good news is, the truth came out through a set of circumstances that were quite unlikely. And they are now the best of friends, going around telling their story to whoever will listen.

        It is that kind of certainty and actual uncertainty that makes the death penalty completely unacceptable.

        If a mistake has been made, and we compound it by killing an innocent person, how are we to live with ourselves?

        I must be dreaming...

        by murphy on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:36:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I dont trust eye witnesses (0+ / 0-)

          at all.. not in the slightest.

          But there are more scientific/accurate ways to prove guilt. I trust those. Not people

          There CAN be certainty  

          •  Eyewitness testimony is surprisingly inaccurate. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            O112358, tytalus, murphy

            A lot of studies have been done on that; it's not people causing mischief, it's just that the mind is not designed to do what a court needs.  But there are definitely many other ways to get a conviction, and when eyewitness testimony is one of many, I think then it can become helpful to bridge gaps and glue things together, and a lot of major cities' police departments are doing some great work in testing and adopting peer-reviewed lineup procedures.  But cases where the conviction is based only or largely on eyewitness testimony just make me nervous.  Human beings simply aren't video cameras.

            "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

            by auron renouille on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:12:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  not necessarily (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tytalus

            In many cases there is no biological evidence or anything you can test.

            I have been at this for many years and nearly every time I pick up a new case I see how much we don't know and/or cannot prove.

            False confessions are a huge problem also. Another angle people mostly had no idea was an issue.

            I must be dreaming...

            by murphy on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:59:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  The data I can find (0+ / 0-)

        suggests that the resources spent per inmate on average is not that extravagant, but there is certainly a trend since 1980 of incarcerating an awful lot more folks than is necessary.

        In 2006, $68,747,203,000 was spent on corrections.[90]

        In 2005, it cost an average of $23,876 dollars per state prisoner. State prison spending varied widely, from $45,000 a year in Rhode Island to $13,000 in Louisiana.[13][88]

        Violent crime was not responsible for the quadrupling of the incarcerated population in the United States from 1980 to 2003. Violent crime rates had been relatively constant or declining over those decades. The prison population was increased primarily by public policy changes causing more prison sentences and lengthening time served, e.g. through mandatory minimum sentencing, "three strikes" laws, and reductions in the availability of parole or early release. These policies were championed as protecting the public from serious and violent offenders, but instead yielded high rates of confinement for nonviolent offenders. Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Only 49 percent of sentenced state inmates were held for violent offenses. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national "war on drugs." The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges. [23][24]

        "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

        by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:40:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The trouble is, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus

        Unless we're going to have a system that executes even more innocent people, administering the DP will remain more expensive than keeping in jail for the rest of their lives.  The DP requires numerous legal process to ensure guilt (which, on occasion, likely fails, which is the scariest part) whereas LWOP is arguably handled with the existing procedures (I have some quibbles with how some states handle DNA - prosecutors shouldn't be as scared of DNA testing as they are today when the likely outcome of such testing is usually to just reinforce the defendant's conviction, but it's otherwise workable).

        And yes, there are truly dangerous people in prison, and that's troubling to me.  Serving in a prison should be seen as the same sort of national service that military service is, and should conversely require the same level of professionalism that we expect of a soldier or officer.  But unless we're going to become China and execute people immediately after conviction, that's unfortunately the cost of being a civilized people.  There are jobs out there that can reach beyond the 9-to-5 of a normal job, be it an ER nurse or doctor, military service, teaching, or working in prisons, and while I think that we should acknowledge that some jobs take a physical and emotional toll that is often left unacknowledged, that doesn't mean they oughtn't be done.

        So while I don't disagree that we need to reassess sentencing policy - it's crazy that we have among the highest incarceration rates in the world - I don't think that the challenge of imprisoning the few Charles Mansons we have in prison should cause us to go about finding a way to execute them faster, let alone at all.

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:09:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agreed with many of you points (0+ / 0-)

          The reality is I am not sure if I support the DP with the costs of any system we are likely to create within the next decade or two. But I am not opposed to it on principal. So i take more of a back seat on the issue.

          But I degrees the biggest take away from my opinion is that we need to treat each convict less equally.

          The "liberal" shotgun approach to opposing the DP is just as likely to kill an innocent man as the conservative denialism   in the reality of today's world.

          •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)
            The "liberal" shotgun approach to opposing the DP is just as likely to kill an innocent man as the conservative denialism   in the reality of today's world.
            What does this mean?

            "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

            by auron renouille on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:22:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  an example (0+ / 0-)

              If we have say 10 judges and 1000 prisoners.

              A judge is only going to be able to see so many cases.

              So say we pick a random 50 who would get picked up and reviewed no matter what.

              And the other 50 causes that the judges see are the result of political pressure.

              And say there is all this noise about little Hitler who we know is guilty,  getting executed.

              So little Hitler gets his case reviewed because people make a big fuss over him getting killed.

              Meanwhile the 900 other inmates who all had a better chance of there being some actual legitimate claim to innocence (at least when compared to little Hitler )

              Because we here on the left decided that murder is bad no matter what. The rest of the 900 more reasonable inmates get shafted because they do not get their second day in court.

              Resources are limited. Its not a gimmy gimmy gimmy situation where your favorite inmate deserves all the second chances. If that inmate gets a second look. That means another one does not.

              •  Problem with your argument (0+ / 0-)

                is that it's essentially the conservative argument. Even though you attack them and call them 'ass hats,' what you're advocating is their solution for saving money - set some arbitrary 'Joe Hitler' standard and throw to the wolves everyone that seems to fit that standard. That's their idea. Kill more people. Lower the standards. Screw the risk. Live with it (hopefully, not get executed by it).

                And again, I'll counter with the criminal justice system being untrustworthy in that regard.

                Best of luck if you keep posting comments here, it is late in Tucson and I am logging off for bed. But I will be interested to see if you tackle the liberal solution for saving money that I have expressed in other comments. Abolishing the death penalty saves all the money now being spent in the pursuit of killing a few dozen people a year.

                "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

                by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 11:04:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The idea (0+ / 0-)

                  that there not a set of criminals where is is no risk that they are innocent is nonsense.

                  And for some reason the rest of your statement ignored my own comments about not being a big supporter of the death penalty to due silly costs.. Even though you responded to them. O well

                •  The idea (0+ / 0-)

                  that there is not a certain set of criminals where there is zero risk of them being innocent is nonsense.

                  And for some reason the rest of your statement ignores the fact that I have voiced my lack of support for the death penalty due to silly costs. Even though you responsed to it... O well.

                  •  May I remind you that you said: (0+ / 0-)
                    B) Get rid of the truly vile a lot quicker.
                    That is support for the death penalty. And so is this expression of disdain.
                    So little Hitler gets his case reviewed because people make a big fuss over him getting killed.
                    Spin your way out of that one; maybe I'll check back tomorrow and see if you're still filing appeals here, so to speak.

                    "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

                    by tytalus on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:53:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  dude... read (0+ / 0-)

                      yes i support the DP theoretically no i am not an ardent supporter of the DP in practice due the crazy costs. That not terribly nuanced so you should be able to pick that up.

                      Yes I do think badly of serial killers and child murderers and rapists. lol I would wager to say that there is something wrong with a person who does not have disdain for these "people"

  •  For me... (7+ / 0-)

    the operative word in your post is the "allow", as in one can't see why the criminal should be "allowed" to live.

    For me, that's just the wrong foundation.  The criminal justice system isn't about "allowing life" or not, it is about administering justice, which does not take up the momentous decisions about "allowing" someone to continue living.

    Not in a modern, enlightened state, at least.

    You've reminded me again why I find the film Dead Man Walking, so compelling: it forces the issue to be about the death penalty only, not about any wiggle room on potential system errors or judicial discrimination.  And it doesn't give you an "easy" criminal to identify with, either.  You have to weigh your position on the death penalty itself, not your identification with the victim or your loathing of the criminal and the crime.

    Tipped and rec'd with thanks: its a hard but good reminder.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 03:29:35 PM PDT

    •  Good point about 'allowing' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl, engine17

      Just putting myself in the other side's shoes for a moment there, but it's insidious. I'll try to remember that.

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 03:56:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you believe in the sanctity of life... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl, tytalus, engine17
      You have to weigh your position on the death penalty itself, not your identification with the victim or your loathing of the criminal and the crime.
      ...regardless of the circumstance that some may feel morally justifies ending another person's life, then you're on the right side of this one.

      The test of whether we're willing to stand up to the thugs that wrote voter suppression laws is this: Are you willing to hold hands with someone that needs hand holding in order to qualify to vote?

      by Richard Cranium on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 03:59:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tolkien said it all: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, Richard Cranium

        "Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:43:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've always struggled with "sanctity of life" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, ivorybill

        arguments.  Rhetorical questions: where does your sanctity end and mine begin?

        In a non-Trayvon Martin case, when the stereotypical murderous assailant is straddling me and about to shoot me, do I violate the sanctity of life by trying to grab a knife and slash him with it?  Do I violate it if a mugger holds a knife to my neck and I shoot him?  Do I violate it if I'm Chuck Norris and the mugger claims that he has a gun and I reach out and snap his neck? (yes, farcical, but go with me).  Do I violate it if the mugger does none of those things but says, "Give me your money or else," and I interpret "or else" to be a threat of imminent death and brutally stab him?

        Is it violated if a pregnant woman has a medical condition that would cause childbirth to kill her and thus has an abortion?  How about if she's just not ready to be a mother?  Or if she's of a culture that values male offspring over female and doesn't want to have another girl?

        I know that some of those examples are a little contrived, but that's why I get very squeamish about these things.  I don't think that the state should trying to work with terms as squishy as that, imho.

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 04:56:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  On the other hand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, murphy

    Also today Connecticut went the other way. Only 33 more states to go...

    Reality has a well-known liberal bias -- Stephen Colbert

    by ItsaMathJoke on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:33:23 PM PDT

    •  Indeed, that was great news (0+ / 0-)

      to see that bill got signed today. The practice seems to be on the decline generally speaking, although Texas and Arizona try to make it look otherwise. (and maybe a few other states)

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:56:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Im against the death penalty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, murphy

    My reason now is the same as always. Even if, IF, we decide its okay to kill a criminal of particularly horrific crimes (I dont think it is, just for full disclosure) the execution of even one innocent person collapses the entire thing.

    Especially in these days of DNA testing, a prisoner -- no matter how heinous his crime -- should be able to have the rest of his natural life to prove his innocence.

    (There was more i wanted to write, but this stuff makes me so upset that it was mostly rambling. And now my arm hurts. So I just wanted to get my major points in.)

    I always wondered what kind of person could do such a thing. But now that I see you, I think I understand. There’s just nothing inside you. Nothing at all. You’re pathetic and sad and empty.

    by kamrom on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:48:09 PM PDT

  •  Police officers are members (0+ / 0-)

    of the community and having more prisoners in jail is a threat to them.  and occasionally these kind of people do get out and kill someone new... its rare but it DOES happen.  

    The system could be made cheaper safer and LESS risky if both sides agreed to be more reasonable to this.

    The death penalty is expensive and risky because BOTH sides act like ass hats.

    On the conservative side you have them plugging their ears and pretending that no innocent man has ever been killed.

    and on the liberal side you have people supporting wasting millions and millions  in defense of people who are the most evil people you could imagine.

    The correct answer is to spend the resources on the "could be innocent" and let the "we have video taped and DNA evidence of you committing one of the most terrible acts in history" die quickly

    I normally hate the false equivalencies the media gives to climate deniers etc however this is one of the few examples where both sides are responsible.  

    •  No, sorry. I disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murphy

      I don't think 'both sides act like ass hats'. The liberal side of demands for appeals and further investigation is a response to conservatives who are perfectly willing to do 'justice' on the cheap. It is a response to a criminal justice system that is demonstrably untrustworthy.

      But to reiterate the point of the diary, even in the case of a prisoner whose guilt is hardly in dispute, I still oppose the death penalty as unnecessary. At this point, if our society is incapable of containing these threats, it is because of, again, the desire to do justice on the cheap.

      I know it's that way in Arizona, where private prisons are becoming a method for moving our tax dollars into corporate bank accounts, wasting money compared to state prisons, while making us less safe.

      "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:29:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You simply cant (0+ / 0-)

        house these people safely period. Not possible. Can you point to one "safe" jail for high risk convicts in the history or the world?

        Half my point was that the system is untrustworthy because we spend our LIMITED resources indiscriminately  instead of where it is worth it.

        You cant tell me that Joe Hitler who we KNOW committed MANY terrible terrible actions deserves the same level of appeals that Joe Blow who we are rather sure committed 1 terrible action.

        But when we get the anti capital punishment crowd pushing the way it does. That shit happens or even worse Hitler gets a better defense BECAUSE his actions were so terrible. And Joe Blow who may actually be Joe Semi Extenuating Circumstances gets the chair because we wasted our time fighting over little Hitler.

        Thats what your protests against Joe Hitler getting the ax result in.

        Conservatives need to realize that our limited resources for courts kills innocent people

        The liberal side needs to realize fight the BAD fight consumes valuable resources that dont appear out of no where and by doing so you drain  them from the good fight...resulting in the courts killing innocent people.

        Because bombastic either way kills innocent people.

        •  On limited resources (0+ / 0-)

          AFAIK the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado has a record of containing the most dangerous inmates. Although one might make the case that the methods use are cruel and unusual punishment or that the extensive solitary confinement is torture, this society seems to have an interest in not killing them. Or at least, society has no interest in confronting the situation.

          There is no such thing as 'Joe Hitler,' but even in the case I cited in the diary, the criminal justice system remains demonstrably untrustworthy and that, combined with the irrevocable state of being executed, necessitates an exhaustive appeals process. Put simply (and by others above) we wouldn't be spending as much of the limited resources if we simply abolished capital punishment.

          There were 43 executions in 2011. How much more money was spent over years, decades, that led up to those executions? Might it have been spent on incarceration instead?

          http://www.nytimes.com/...

          This article is dated (from 2009) but it does provide an example of the kind of money that could be saved.

          Perhaps the most extreme example is California, whose death row costs taxpayers $114 million a year beyond the cost of imprisoning convicts for life. The state has executed 13 people since 1976 for a total of about $250 million per execution.
          From the wiki link I cited above, in California in 2009 it cost $47,102 a year to incarcerate an inmate in state prison. So they can execute 13 people, or...they can house over 5000.

          "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." - Isaac Asimov

          by tytalus on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:45:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No such thing as a little hitler? (0+ / 0-)

            WTF have you not been paying atention

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            Heres another big list

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            I cant find the guys name but a year or two ago at most there was some creapy fuck who killed raped and murdered a few kids.

            He finally got caught because he kidnapped two siblings raped and killed one and did the same to the second. Except the kid survived a stabbing.

            There is no question that these people exist and that they are little hitlers and people do line up to defend them.

            I think thats a wiki page just listing a whole bunch of them.

            I am already aware of that story about California. For me it does nothing but reinforce my point.

            the anti death penalty group has not done much there besides jack up the cost so high that it has become a budget problem. Yet California still has not gotten rid of the death penalty.

            And still has the death penalty.

            What is accomplished by this?

  •  I'm surprised.... (0+ / 0-)
    "The so-called victim was not an American citizen and, therefore, was beneath my contempt," Kemp said and then referred to Juarez using a racial slur. "If more of them ended up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico where they belong."
    ....that Arpaio didn't ask for clemency for him, and for Shawna Forde.  Isn't that the whirlwind of the wind that comes out of Arpaio, Brewer, and the pro-1070ers mouths?

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Tue May 01, 2012 at 03:05:58 PM PDT

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