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Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?

Lauren's cord blood post inspired me.  I know we talked about this a few months ago, but we've gained so many new posters since then that I thought we might get some new opinions in.

What are your feelings on the death penalty, and why?

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Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?

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    I'm on the fence on this one. I think putting a murderer to death is hypocrisy at its very worst. "No, you can't kill anyone, but it's ok for us to kill you." But I also think some people just deserve to be put to death. Which then makes me feel weird because I go, "Well who the hell made me everyone's moral compass?"

    At the very core though, I think whether or not a state practices the death penalty should be left up entirely to the constituents of that state. Vote, if you feel one way or the other.
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    I think its more of a punishment to have to be stuck inside of a cell for years and years.

    I'm on the opposing side.
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    For the record, I've studied this quite a bit in school, so I have a very strong opinion.  I'm abstaining from contributing until we get a few answers so that I don't influence the answers right from my orginal post.  I didn't want to taint the waters by starting the post off with an opinion from the get-go.
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    edited January 2010
    fry 'em. bring back Ol' Sparky (retired at Huntsville, now they just get the shot).

    I don't think it's a punishment at all to go to prison. it's expensive (at least in the state of Texas) to maintain prisoners. prisoners have their room, board, and healthcare paid for. they learn trades. they have exercise yards to stay healthy. they get to watch tv. pretty much only the prisoners on death row don't get these perks. I think it's more of a punishment once you're out of prison (can't get a job, have to check in with parole officer, limitations on where you can live and work and have a life).

    but, that's just my opinion. I'm a pretty old-fashioned Texan most of the time.
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    Yeah, I didn't want to be first either.

    I was raised Catholic which in this case actually influences my opinion a lot (it doesn't on other things). I don't believe that the state should have the right to put someone to death.

    More practically speaking, with appeals and all of that, life in prison usually turns out to be cheaper anyway. At least that's what I've heard.
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    I wish I had a more concret opinion on this, but every time I hear about someone being execute in the state of Louisiana, I have this debate in my head. I honestly can't decide one way or the other. I think it's very presumptuous for a government to assume the right to decide whether someone lives or dies, so I guess I fall more into the I'm against it camp.
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    There are people who don't deserve to live - murderers, rapists, and child molesters for sure.  If the collective judgement of a panel of 12 impartial peers and a judge educated on the laws that govern that land agree that a given person is among that segment of the population - I'm all for it.

    I think the state should have minimum evidence requirements for the death penalty to be available.  I think there should be mandatory appeals.  But I also think the appeals process should have a time clock.  If there's a valid reason to delay (waiting on evidence to be processed, etc.), fine.  But a delay for delay's sake is not cool.  Once your two years for appeals are up - lights out.  We should not continue to pay to house, feed, and treat medical issues for someone condemned to death.
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    Personally I think the family and friends of the victim should be allowed to do to the murderer, what the murderer did to the victim.

    I am for the death penalty.  They still get 3 meals a day, a free college education, exercise time, tv, contact with family and freinds and the ability to be alive unlike their victim. 
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    Damnit, my coworkers are leaving for lunch and I'm going with them so I'm going to miss this.  Short answer is a lot like Lauren's...I don't think we should kill people, but many disgust me so...eh.

    Looking forward to reading the opinions when I get back! :)
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    I'm on the fence about it.  On one hand, I see how it's an appropriate punishment for, say, a child murderer and rapist.  On the other hand, I don't really think it's appropriate for the state to dole out life and death like that.  I think a better punishment would be the rest of their life in jail (but then again, it's costly).  Most countries in Europe don't have the death penalty, and they still have a functioning society - in fact, in a way it puts us on the same level as Iran and Saudi Arabia.  As I'm so indecisive, I'm in favor of the status quo - let the states decide, though, personally, I would never be able to give out the death penalty if I was on a jury. 
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    Momo, I can't say for sure because none of my family has been murdered/raped/any other really terrible thing, but I highly doubt the concept of an eye for an eye actually makes anyone feel any better. It does not undo the awful that has been done.
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    Oh, and I also worry about killing an innocent person.  I'm sure it's occurred more than anyone would like to admit, because mistakes do happen.
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    I'm very much against it.  Even if I think the person is the most despicable human on Earth.  For one thing (I'm going to address people's posts but I'm not going to say who because I don't want to scroll up and down), a lot of people that WOULD get the death penalty are actually in solitary confinement.  Alone, in a cell, for 23 hours a day.  That IS punishment. 

    Also, Pell grants for inmates are no longer as widely available as they used to be.  In some states (I don't know if it's the case for all) they're not available at all.  So no, they don't necessarily get a free college education.

    Like a PP, I find it to be the height of hypocrisy.

    Jurors are rarely 12 "impartial" peers.  There are many measures in place to help allow attorneys to get the "best" possible jury. 

    Executions and the cost to keep an inmate on death row are much more expensive than keeping someone in prison for life. 

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    our justice system in canada is a joke in my opinion...

    i don't know enough about different policies per state to really have a strong opinion but i think that if the crime warrants it then the penalty should match the crime. "eye for an eye" so to speak.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:62ff1938-f65c-41fb-837a-cd9ebf87e418">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE] More practically speaking, with appeals and all of that, life in prison usually turns out to be cheaper anyway. At least that's what I've heard.
    Posted by ac_in_dc[/QUOTE]

    That's what I've heard too, but I wasn't sure if that has changed since the last time I did my research about it.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:9c0c6c41-1816-4ca6-827b-2d7626aa18c4">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE]fry 'em. bring back Ol' Sparky (retired at Huntsville, now they just get the shot). I don't think it's a punishment at all to go to prison. prisoners have their room, board, and healthcare paid for. they learn trades. they have exercise yards to stay healthy. they get to watch tv. Posted by pooh8402[/QUOTE]

    This. I'm in the "an eye for an eye" camp. And prisoners have access to way too many things that law-abiding citizens have to pay for if they want them (like cable tv, a workout area, and a college education).
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    Also, murders and violence rates tend to go UP for a several month period following a public execution.  Obviously the death penalty is not doing a good job with deterrance, and is simply being used as punishment and revenge.  The government's job is NOT to get revenge.

    In addition (while I may or may not agree with this), it remains that most forms of execution can fall under the domain of "Cruel and unusual punishment" and while many proponents of the death penalty thinks this is ideal, our Constitution clearly states that our country is against this.  So executing someone in such a manner is in direct contradiction to policies laid forth in the Constitution. 
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:ac0be9fc-adad-4500-875a-97db8629e4a6">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Oh, and I also worry about killing an innocent person.  I'm sure it's occurred more than anyone would like to admit, because mistakes do happen.
    Posted by sarahmk5[/QUOTE]

    Yes, the number of exonerations on death row are a little too high for my comfort.  But even if there was a way to decide without a shadow of a doubt that the person was in fact guilty, it wouldn't change my opinion, until the other issues I put forward were also addressed.
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    I think rotting in jail is much worse then just being put to death.  However, I don't want to pay for them to rot in jail.  I am for the death penalty. 

    It makes me so mad that people are on death row for 20-30 years, sometimes even longer.  I believe in our justice system though.  While not always accurate it does give a criminal their fair share to fight the death penalty and if all appeals are exhausted it should happen right away. 

    I also get upset that they have so many controversial topics about the death penalty injections being inhumane.  Really?  There was nothing humane about your crime, when you're dead you won't remember if you had to be poked 8 times to get a vein. 

    There's so many unknown factors.  But with forensics the way they are these days I wholeheartedly believe the person that is supposed to be behind bars will be. 
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    Considering a lot of jails have full out gyms, libraries, computer rooms, and college the myth of sitting in a cell by yourself is kind of out the window.

    I guess I am against it morally from a distance, but at the same time if any one ever molested my neice, or murdered my mom or something I would be ALL about them dying.
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    I'm against it. While I am agnostic, I feel that if there is a higher power, the person commiting the crime will be judged even more harshly in the next life. If there's nothing after this one, then spending 40 years rotting in a cell is more of a punishment then a quick end.

    But really, I feel all human beings are equal to some extent. So no human being has the right to take the life of another, even if that person is a judge or someone working in the legal system. Period. It's crazy to tell someone "You committed such a heinous crime by killing someone that we're... going to kill you." Yeah, no. Besides, *I* would NOT want to be the one making that decision. I don't think I really trust anyone else to do it as well (as evidenced not just by the moral implications I've enumerated, but also by the numerous times people have been falsely convicted.) My main reasons are the ones listed above, but those false convictions also have to make you question it.

    FWIW, my parents are very pro-death penalty.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:d169c75c-6480-4d2a-90af-ed877096915c">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Executions and the cost to keep an inmate on death row are much more expensive than keeping someone in prison for life. 
    Posted by JK10910[/QUOTE]

    Really?  I didn't know that.  So everyday existence in a jail cell for life would be less then their road to an execution? 

    What about if the executions happened more quickly?  How would that affect the cost?  Just curious.
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    Re: killing innocent people that PPs brought up.

    I just heard in the news that a man that had been in Angola prison for 30 years was acquitted with DNA testing. I think more innocent people have been executed than anyone is willing to admit. Also ditto JK on "impartial" juries. If juries were truly impartial, then the legal teams would have no say in how jurors are chosen, but there are entire legal teams devoted solely to picking a jury that will most likely give them the outcome they want.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:173e1f3d-6888-4c09-b606-c406f0c93e66">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we? : Yes, the number of exonerations on death row are a little too high for my comfort.  But even if there was a way to decide without a shadow of a doubt that the person was in fact guilty, it wouldn't change my opinion, until the other issues I put forward were also addressed.
    Posted by JK10910[/QUOTE]

    Based on your statements, it doesn't sound like you're open to believing that those issues can be successfully addressed. 
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    I am against it, because the justice system is fallible and innocent people are wrongly convicted all the time, especially if they happen to be African American. With life in prison, there is always the possibility that unjust convictions can be overturned, but you can't bring somebody back from the dead if you realize you made a mistake. Because we as humans are inherently fallible, we shouldn't be playing around with something so permanent as the death penalty.

    As for serial killers, there is a lot to be learned by keeping them alive and studying them.

    I'm all for life in prison meaning life in prison, though - I'm so glad that Susan Atkins wasn't released.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:2306e2b0-be0b-4937-b3aa-aaaead704793">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Considering a lot of jails have full out gyms, libraries, computer rooms, and college the myth of sitting in a cell by yourself is kind of out the window. I guess I am against it morally from a distance, but at the same time if any one ever molested my neice, or murdered my mom or something I would be ALL about them dying.
    Posted by MeaghanandMichael[/QUOTE]

    While you're right to an extent Meaghan, you're describing more minimum and medium security prisons, and convicted murderers are usually not kept in prisons like those.  They're more kept in max security, probably in solitary confinement.
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    edited January 2010
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:7952cb73-9e1c-4bef-b034-aae8d3acd06e">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Momo, I can't say for sure because none of my family has been murdered/raped/any other really terrible thing, but I highly doubt the concept of an eye for an eye actually makes anyone feel any better. It does not undo the awful that has been done.
    Posted by laurenclaire1386[/QUOTE]

    Agreed 100%

    I also think that everyone, somewhere, deep down, has some redeeming qualities. Most people have been loved by someone at some time. I mean, if my kid turned out to be a serial killer, it would hurt me to no end, and I'd fel really torn over it, but I would still love him. Or at least the memory of what he was.

    Very, very, very few people, if any, are 100% bad.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:d4cec994-33c2-4e92-bb77-c2cf7455b7f8">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Re: killing innocent people that PPs brought up. I just heard in the news that a man that had been in Angola prison for 30 years was acquitted with DNA testing. I think more innocent people have been executed than anyone is willing to admit. Also ditto JK on "impartial" juries. If juries were truly impartial, then the legal teams would have no say in how jurors are chosen, but there are entire legal teams devoted solely to picking a jury that will most likely give them the outcome they want.
    Posted by laurenclaire1386[/QUOTE]

    Yep, but that's available to both sides.  The idea is to eliminate jurors who can't be impartial. 

    If you can find an existence miserable enough for those folks to satisfy me, that'd be fine.  But, anything that qualifies as 'miserable enough' to me also amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, so I'm not sure how to get there. 

    Seriously - take the worst Vietnam POW camp and implement THAT here for murderers.  I'll go for that vs the death penalty. 
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_lets-friendly-debate-shall?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9df32616-24fe-40a7-92e5-394f5f104237Post:e0061a51-fd20-40b9-aa24-a8251db8c215">Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Let's have a friendly debate, shall we? : Really?  I didn't know that.  So everyday existence in a jail cell for life would be less then their road to an execution?  What about if the executions happened more quickly?  How would that affect the cost?  Just curious.
    Posted by Stackeye210[/QUOTE]

    I have to admit that I'm not positive.  But yes, it would make sense that if executions happened more quickly it would likely lower the cost.  But a lot of the drug out process is the fault of the legal system.  Inmates are entitled to appeals, and sadly, the justice system tends to be so inundated that it's just not possible to move through quickly.  Now, if there was a plausible way to speed up the process, then yes, my guess would be that it would lower the cost.  Whether or not it would make it lower than life in prison, I can't reasonably guess at.  But it certainly would be a possibility.
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    Squirrly, I fully admit that I am biased.  With my (admittedly non-expert, so someone do correct me if I'm wrong, please) knowledge of the legal system, I believe it would take a looooong time and resources that are not available to correct all of the things that make up my issues towards the death penalty.  I would like to hope that I'd be willing to re-evaluate along the way, but I can't for sure that I would do that.

    Also, the idea IS to eliminate jurors that can't be impartial.  But studies have shown that that is not always what happens.  IMO, most attorneys want the best possible court room situation for their client--that is what they are paid for.  And as Lauren (I think) said, there are entire teams of people that are paid to figure out what the best possible jury combos for aquittal or conviction are.
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