People ask me why I oppose the death penalty

I say “because of the inevitability that we’ll convict and execute an innocent person, which is both morally wrong and absolutely avoidable”.

The reply is “give me some reasons to believe that could ever happen”.

And I respond “I’ve got 141 of them since they re-legalized the death penalty.  Including one very recently“.

“But they were never executed!  The system works!”

“Well, not for this guy.  They’re down to arguing over which judge has the legal standing to declare him innocent, which is  welfare for lawyers, and is just delaying the inevitable; crap  science and incompetent, lazy prosecutors killed an innocent man.  So what do we do about that?”

“Cut down on frivolous appeals!”


14 thoughts on “Inevitable

  1. I’d be pretty sceptical about the veracity of anything I read in the Huffington Post. Because, to the typical lefty, every single person in our prisons (well, except for the rich white guys) is a wrongfully convicted victim of police / prosecutorial railroading or incompetent defense counsel.

  2. Skeptical means “trust but verify”. The Huffpo story on Willingham was one of several I could have picked.

    And whomever prints the story, the underlying facts don’t change; the evidence that Willingham was innocent is pretty overwhelming.

  3. My objection to the death penalty is pragmatic rather than ethical.

    A government should never become comfortable with executing its own citizens.

    Certainly a government should not become comfortable enough to build the giant bureaucracy we currently have whose membership depends for its livelihood on the possibility of a state sanctioned execution.

  4. Old Judge Parker had it right. “It is not the punishment [that deters] but the certainty of it.” No one should be deprived of life without certain and convincing evidence. No one should be SPARED for any reason other than some reasonable doubt as to the absolute truth of the charge. No one should escape justice for any technicality. Trials must hereafter determine the truth of guilt or innocence, hand down the sentence, and only THEN consider whether there was ill intent or incompetence on behalf of the authorities. If so, that is a different trial– civil or criminal– with another search for the truth.

  5. Obsolete thinking, Mitch; trials and evidence are so 19th century. Any Progressive could tell you the correct method is for the Lord and Savior of the Nation to issue a secret Kill Order to bomb the entire neighborhood where the bad guy and all his suspected associates live. Cuts down on recitivism, saves a fortune on prisons and appeals, stimulates the munitions industry and Nobel Prize Winning Economist Paul Krugman assures we’ll all get rich repairing the broken windows.

    Get with the times, man, or be left pondering Prof’s question: “When is it moral for a group to do that which it is immoral for a member of the group to do?”

  6. KRod,

    I just showed you that the odds have been proven to be 1 in 300,000,000. Your objection is overruled.

  7. Mitch, I respect your opinion. I will not make perfect be the enemy of the good. I have no doubt some innocents have been executed, just as I know some murderers have been set free. Reading the vignettes posted at the Innocence Project site does not give me many warm fuzzies. A lot of those people looked guilty but the authorities botched the cases or else the crimes were carried out too well. Consititutional protection of liberty must be vigorously defended, but if a conviction stands the tests of appeals and reviews, what is the point of not carrying out a sentence on the remote chance that a one armed man is really the killer? Let’s not forget about the victims of murder and the loved ones left behind.

  8. I still can’t completely put aside the question “Should Donald Blum (killed Katie Poirier and one other back in the 80s), the guy that killed Dru Sjodin, and others who are guilty and convicted of raping and killing kids, receive the same sentence as someone convicted 3 times of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in a “3-strikes-ou’re-out” state?

    (Yes, let’s leave the whole “reduce drug laws” argument out of this, it was just an example of a crime FAR less heinous than murder w/CSC)

  9. Having read a couple of them, perhaps stiffer penalties for prosecutorial misconduct, including equally long prison sentences for the offenders might work to alleviate the problem of erroneous convictions.

  10. While I’m not really against capital punishment I also fear as Mitch does that it could be applied to the wrong person. Interestingly I just today viewed a video by Dennis Prager on capital punishment at the Prager University website. Briefly he discusses the “wrong man” scenario.

  11. As a pro-life activist, I object to state sponsored murder on moral grounds. As a common sense conservative I object to granting the state the power to murder someone who has been deprived of the freedom to fight back.

    Also, and this shouldn’t surprise anyone, I object to the judicial system where life and death is a matter of how much you can spend on a lawyer.

  12. The starting point for any such discussion should be: ‘Is it possible for human being to commit a crime so heinous that humanity is justified in putting him or her to death?’
    Everything else is details.
    Mitch’s argument is moot if, say, a man or woman confesses to murdering his or her children to achieve a selfish end.
    It is a diminuation of the power of the soul if we say that no person can commit a crime that deserves the penalty of death. Choosing evil is an option. We are men, not mice.

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