View Full Version : Can anyone continue to deny that our system of justice allowing the taking of a person’s life for crimes committed is flawed?

30th April 2014, 18:37
I used to be a strong proponent of the death sentence. I am not staunchly against it. Want to know why? Just look at these two articles from just his single week in time.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Orders Probe Of Botched Execution That She Pushed For

From the article:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered an investigation into the botched execution of a death row inmate and issued a 14-day stay of execution for a second inmate who was scheduled to die.
...Lockett shook uncontrollably, writhed on the gurney and gritted his teeth for several minutes after the execution began using a new three-drug combination. Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton stopped the execution after he said a doctor determined Lockett's vein failed.
Patton said Lockett was pronounced dead of a heart attack about 45 minutes after the execution began.

And another one from today:

Shocking Number Of Innocent People Sentenced To Death, Study Finds

From this article:

More than 4 percent of inmates sentenced to death in the United States are probably innocent, according to a study published Monday that sent shock waves across the anti-death penalty community.
What the researchers call a "conservative estimate" about the number of wrongfully convicted death row inmates is more than double the percentage of capital defendants who were exonerated during more than three decades that were studied. That means innocent people are languishing behind bars, according to the study.
“The great majority of innocent people who are sentenced to death are never identified and freed," said Samuel Gross, lead author of the study and a University of Michigan Law School professor...

30th April 2014, 19:34
The US is a bit different from other places. The laws seem a bit draconian. I don't really agree with the death penalty, but when you look at what happens in the UK to somebody who is convicted of murder , basically they get a balloon with a funny face painted on it, Joke.
but the punishment really doesn't fit the crime, on average they get 8 years imprisonment , usually less. So it doesn't send a message to anyone, and the family of the victim feel anger and disillusionment with the system. So then we start thinking back to having a death penalty..............personnally i would be happy if life imprisonment meant life, in the UK it doesn't.

30th April 2014, 20:30
aheb... I certainly understand your thought here and I'm certainly not in favor of a slap on the wrist like 8 years for a murder, but the US has gone overboard the other way.

I don't have the article in front of me, but the vast majority of the death sentences are principally the result of a single "identification" by a witness which has been proven to be poorly reliable at best. It was once the case in the US Judicial system that the thought was it was better for 10 guilty people to go free than for 1 innocent person to go to jail. That is no longer the case.

Not only that, but in most cases the people on death row have had poor legal advise, most often performed by a public defender with little to no funds for investigation purposes. On the other had you have the "government" with unlimited funds for any type of activity on the prosecution side. In Ronald Regan's term as president the conviction rate for federal crimes was approximately 80%. Today that same conviction rate closes in on 95%. Has the government gotten that much better in 30 years or has the system broken down?

You want to see something equally as bad, but not involving the death sentence?

The Heartbreaking Story Of A Harmless Deadhead Sentenced To Die In Prison


Timothy Tyler was 25 when he was sentenced to die in prison.

Tyler, a Grateful Dead fan with no history of violence, got life without the possibility of parole for selling LSD to a police informant.

He'd never gone to prison before.

But a judge was forced to give him life because of two prior drug convictions — even though both those convictions resulted in probation.

At 45, Tyler has been in prison for more than 20 years and will likely spend the rest of his life there. He got the same life sentence as rapist and kidnapper Ariel Castro because of federal mandatory minimum sententence guidelines.
'Three strikes and you're out' no matter the charge

Congress enacted mandatory minimums — also known as "three strikes and you're out" laws — in response to the 1980s crack epidemic, and many states followed suit with similar laws. These laws force judges to impose strict sentences based on the amount of drugs sold without regard for mitigating factors like drug addiction.

Tyler, for his part, had a history of psychosis and bipolar disorder. He did break the law, though. He sold acid to friends for less than dollar a hit, and he was arrested twice for drug offenses. Then he got arrested a third time after selling larger quantities of the drug to a friend who turned out to be an informant.

Here is a video of what was happening with LSD in the 1960s at Harvard.

Life for Timothy Tyler for this?

1st May 2014, 17:20
I am not staunchly against (the death sentence)

Does this mean that you could eventually support the slaughter of human beings?

i would be happy if life imprisonment meant life

Do you mean... 'life' ?

1st May 2014, 17:50
I can't deny the system is flawed. It is corrupt, used against minorities, utterly dumbfounding what people are put in prison for these days.

The privatization of the prison system (and CPS, see Florida) doesn't help, more prisoners, more slave labor...

If the government is corrupt (and I think it is), the prison system becomes a marvelous tool of control.

The death penalty has nothing to do with justice anymore, and perhaps it never did.

1st May 2014, 18:02
Don't forget the fact that in the US people there is a hugely disproportionate number of people of color, those that are poor and have less education on death row. Not to mention developmentally disabled folks that have been pressured into confessing to crimes that they have not committed. I think we would all be shocked if we knew the real number of people that did not not actually commit the murder.

I also find questionable some of these "accomplice" cases.If someone is accompanying another that commits a murder then they too are responsible. In some cases that may be appropriate but in others it is unjust. The law in the US has lost the power to be reasonable. Mandatory sentences are a knee jerk response to past abuses, but it seems to me there are many more unjust sentences with the 3 strikes implementation than there were before.

This is a bit off topic but the insane "War on Drugs" in the US has created a tremendous increase in prison populations. I think there is a lot of money to be made here. I just happened to watch a Frontline episode called "Prison Nation" last night. In the state of Kentucky it costs the taxpayers an average of 87,000.00 dollars per year to house one inmate. I don't know the exact number but it is much more to house a death row inmate....I think the taxpayers are being scammed...what good citizen is going to refuse keeping people in prison ( I mean this sarcastically)?????? People lament the cost of housing criminals but no one seems to ask for accountability for the costs of doing so. Anyway crime and punishment is an interesting topic, and endlessly debatable.