Monday, September 15, 2008

Hot Topic #3--Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment: Right or Wrong?

To state my opinion up front, I am against the death penalty. For many reasons, but the first being that many, proven later, innocent people have either been put to death, or were about to be put to death when new evidence came up to acquit them. The court system is not without flaws. People are convicted ALL the time for crimes they did not convict. Further, I do not believe that *two wrongs make a right*. We teach our kids that violence is not the answer. Yet, if someone commits a heinous crime, society tends to think that killing that person is the answer. Do I think that rapists, child molesters, and the like are sick, horrible people? Yes. But life in prison seems like a suitable punishment to me. it's very confusing to me thata murder is a crime, but on the same token, the death penalty is acceptable.

Here are some facts i found on the Internet that are interesting. To credit the source, I found this info and stats on Very interesting site for those interested.

Executions cost more than life in prison.
$2 million per person vs. $500,000 (4x as much!). Free counsel for defense, for appeals, maximum security on a separate death row wing.
**So many people have, in discussing this with me, talked about the cost of keeping someone in prison. Yea, so much more to have someone executed.

The innocent may be wrongly executed.
Since the DP was reinstated in 1976, 82 inmates have been freed from Death Row. That's 1 Death Row inmate found to be wrongfully convicted for every 7 executed.
***To me, this is ATROCIOUS. 1 out of 7 should never have been killed, and yet, we still think this form of punishment is OK. Wow.

Is not a deterrent; crime rates have not gone down.
In fact, the murder rate in the US is 6 times that of Britain and 5 times that of Australia. Neither country has the DP. Texas has twice the murder rate of Wisconsin, a state that doesn't have the DP. Texas and Oklahoma have historically executed the most number of DR inmates, yet in 2003 their state murder rates increased, and both have murder rates higher than the national average.

Many Death Row inmates were convicted while being defended by court-appointed lawyers who are often the worst-paid and most-inexperienced and least-skillful lawyers.
The American Bar Association published guidelines for a good defense in a death penalty case: (a) attorneys with prior experience working a capital case, (b) 2 attorneys, 1 investigator, 1 mitigation specialist, and (c) fully funded to pay for travel, private eyes, evidence testing and other things needed to investigate the case. Yet no state meets these standards. And few states pay their state-appointed lawyers well enough to retain competent, effective lawyers.

Following our discussion from the other day, I also don't understand why many who oppose abortion and stem cell research and/or IVF SUPPORT the death penalty. Those who oppose all three of these things do so, because they believe it is the killing of a human life. What the heck is the death penalty then? Killing is either wrong or right. Choose. If we are going to be religious about it, then I believe that God would say that we should not get to pick who lives and dies. Only He gets to, right? It's all just so double standard to me.

Another interesting watch. I saw an awesome play at the Fisher Theatre a few years back with my Aunt that really, really made me think more about the death penalty and really supported my beliefs that it should not be in place anywhere. It is called The Exonerated. It was part of our season package, so it was not something I normally would have bought tickets to, but I was captivated. Amazing show, that really made me think. I highly suggest it.

Anyway, I leave you with my normal question. Thoughts?


Jennifer said...

The death penalty is nothing more than state sanctioned murder. I am against it 100%.

And I agree with you on the religious aspect. If a person or religious organization or political party is 'pro life' then be pro life all the way -- a life is a life. There are people and religious organizations that believe this and follow through all the way with their thinking.

Mindy said...

I am against the death penalty. For all of the reasons you state.

And I call people who are for the death penalty but against abortion because they believe in the sanctity of life hypocrites.

And "Christians" who are for the death penalty absolutely blow my mind. The New Testament is very clear about turning the other cheek, forgiving seventy times seven, and revenge belonging ONLY to God.

colfin2002 said...

I am against the death penalty. On a basic level, if the person is indeed gulity, then putting them to death does nothing. If they are alive, they can think about what they've done... assuming there is a conscience in there!

What I don't agree with, on some level, is the "rights" that prisoners have. I think that if they are convicted of a crime, they should give up some of their rights. I'm not talking ALL across the board... just certain ones.

Being a free American citizen has its privileges and if one is convicted, some of those rights should be removed. With that, don't even get me started on the rights that illegal immigrants have!

.................Nancy said...

Wow, it costs 2 MILLION dollars to give someone the death penalty?? 2 million per person? How can that cost that much?

Andrea said...

Hhhhmm...just out of curiousity...why is someone who's Pro-Life but for the death penalty a hyprocrit, but not the other way around? I guess I'd like to hear the thoughs of those who are Pro-Choice and Anti-Death penalty.

Me? Personally...I'm against the death penalty. I can't fathom taking ANYONE'S life...a murder OR an unborn child.

Lori H said...


For me, that question is easy. When someone gets an abortion, at least in my mind and scientifically, you are not killing a human. You are stopping a cell(s) from turning into a human. At the point most people are getting an abortion, the fetus is not viable on it's own.

If on the other hand, one believes that at the moment of conception, there is a human, then I can see why your question would pose a problem, but I personally do not think conception=human life.

If that made sense, LOL.

Mindy said...

I'm pro-choice and anti-death penalty. I feel that women have the right to choose - but I don't feel like the government has a right to kill someone.

I do not agree that life begins at the moment of conception. If I believed that - I would believe the forms of birth control pills I have used in the past were abortion, since they stopped a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. I would also be considered a "self aborter" - as I've had uterine ablation and while I still produce eggs, a fertilized egg cannot implant itself in my uterine lining as it is nothing but scar tissue.

I don't see abortion in the first 6-8 weeks of pregnancy as murder, though I wouldn't have an abortion myself.

And while I am pro-choice, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, pro-abortion.

I see the death penalty as state sanctioned murder. Plain and simple.

Hobby Chef said...
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