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SOCIAL: Death Penalty

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posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 09:37 PM
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The death penalty. The ultimate price to pay for committing a crime. Thirty-eight states currently have laws on the books making it legal. You can recieve the death penalty for murder, treason, in some cases rape, and in Florida you can die for capital drug trafficking. Many believe that this practice is barbaric, and has no place in civilized nations. On the other hand some believe this practice is just. An eye for an eye so to speak. The Libertarian Party has no official stance on capital punishment, leaving it up to the states to decide the issue.
 


Lets look at the arguments for and against capital punishment.

Reasons For Capital Punishment:

1. The Deterrent Effect: Statistics show that the death penalty is a deterrent to murder. There is a correlation to be found between a higher numbers of executions and lower murder rates.


2. Moral Obligation: It is our obligation to justify the value of human life by taking the life of an individual that murders another. The sole reason civilizations exist is to protect the individual.[1]

3. The Victim: Many people feel that to justify the death of the victim, and for their families and loved ones to have closure, the perpetrator needs to be executed. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.


Reasons Against Capital Punishment:

1. Innocence: Since 1973, 115 people have been exonerated from death row [2]. Obviously after some one has been executed, nothings going to bring them back.

2. Minorities: There is a disproportionate number of minorities sentenced to death. Many minorities dont have the resources to hire competent legal defense. 34% of all Death Row inmates are black.[2]

3. High Cost: The cost of a death penalty trial are exponentially higher then that of a regular criminal trial. Trial cost for death cases are about 16 times greater then trial costs for non-death cases. [3]

4. Its Barbaric: It violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel punishment. Many of our peers have already abolished the practice. [4]

1.www.wesleylowe.com...

2.www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

3.www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

4.web.amnesty.org...

I personally believe in the death penalty, but only in rare cases. Particularly brutal criminals such as serial killers should be put to death. I also think that anyone being put to death should have 100% proof of guilt.

Edited subject.

[edit on (8/20/0404 by PistolPete]




posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 09:41 PM
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"The Libertarian Party has no official stance on capital punishment, leaving it up to the states to decide the issue."

Thought about this as I am a proponent of CP, not so much as an eye for an eye but the economic and rehabillitative issues. But isn't this a state issue.

Edit for redundancy.

[edit on 20-8-2004 by intrepid]



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:04 PM
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Originally posted by intrepid
Thought about this as I am a proponent of CP, not so much as an eye for an eye but the economic and rehabillitative issues. But isn't this a state issue.


I think that is exactly what he is saying. The Libertarian party feels that the federal government should not play a roll in the individual states deciding whether or not to have a death penalty.

I would have to agree with that point of view. Each state should have the choice of how to apply the death penalty, and what circumstances warrant it being handed down as sentence.

I also am a supporter of capital punishment. My state has the death penalty, but rarely uses it.

EDIT for spelling

[edit on 8/20/2004 by phreak_of_nature]



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:07 PM
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Sorry, should have been clearer. As a state issue, why even mention it? Is there a party that WANTS to make it a federal matter?



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:12 PM
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Good question. I doubt any party will come forward with the stance that they would like to give the states less power. Whether or not that is the actual agenda.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:12 PM
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I'd be curious to see what the democrats think. Though I am against it, I think states should ultimately decide and rethink their process on how such cases are handled.

Now get ready for this, how about we have a one-free-murder rule. People wouldn't be so quick to violence for 1)fear of being killed, 2)killing and facing the consequences of friends/families of the victim. I know it sounds bad, but I remember hearing of an African? country with such a policy and they have the lowest death rate in the world. I just heard that from a friend though and haven't been able to find more information about it. There isn't much information about death rates from most of the African countries.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:31 PM
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There are several elements to this topic. You did a good job of summarizing the positions that the pro and anti penalty people usually fall back on. I will take a look at the con side of the argument as I am a supporter of the death penalty:

Minorities: The premise that minorities are subject to the death penalty more is false. The biggest separation is whites and blacks. The Bureau of Justice classifies homicides by white, black or other. Lets see how these crimes break down. Since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, more than half of those under sentence of death have been white. Looking at the homicide statistics since 1976, Blacks are 7 times more likely to comit homicide than whites:


Homicide Offending Rates per 100,000 Population by Race
White Black Other
1976 5.1 44.7 7.4
1977 5.3 42.3 8.3
1978 5.5 42.3 7.0
1979 6.0 45.2 9.5
1980 6.7 49.9 6.2
1981 6.1 44.8 6.2
1982 5.8 39.8 6.8
1983 5.3 35.6 6.4
1984 5.3 32.8 5.2
1985 5.1 33.3 5.6
1986 5.4 36.8 6.4
1987 5.3 35.6 4.9
1988 5.0 40.3 4.3
1989 5.1 41.9 4.3
1990 5.6 46.9 4.1
1991 5.7 50.4 5.4
1992 5.2 46.8 5.8
1993 5.2 49.3 5.6
1994 5.0 46.1 4.9
1995 4.9 39.1 5.1
1996 4.5 35.8 4.7
1997 4.1 32.4 4.5
1998 4.1 28.4 3.5
1999 3.6 25.5 3.9
2000 3.4 25.8 3.2
www.ojp.usdoj.gov...


Ah the anti death penalty people will point out that blacks are statisticaly smaller than whites in the population so lets look at the total numbers as well.




Homicide Offenders by Race


White Black Other
1976 9,467 10,523 362
1977 9,842 10,133 414
1978 10,293 10,329 361
1979 11,455 11,227 503
1980 12,935 12,911 354
1981 11,976 12,145 354
1982 11,524 10,943 414
1983 10,651 9,941 415
1984 10,709 9,270 358
1985 10,410 9,548 415
1986 10,981 10,700 497
1987 10,804 10,496 404
1988 10,417 12,040 375
1989 10,608 12,707 391
1990 11,790 14,281 394
1991 12,057 15,665 545
1992 11,135 14,804 609
1993 11,179 15,844 614
1994 10,895 15,036 558
1995 10,643 12,931 615
1996 9,844 11,985 584
1997 9,022 11,005 575
1998 9,089 9,760 471
1999 7,970 8,886 546
2000 7,880 9,316 466


Given the fact that there are more whites on death row than blacks despite blacks committing the same if not more homicides per year despite being a smaller percentage of the population, proves the point. if anything it seems that the death penalty is more biased towards non-minorities.

Innocence: I support the premise of the Barry Scheck Project that is DNA testing death row innmates. I do't know how he sleeps at night after the OJ trial but thats another topic. I would have no problem with a mandatory DNA test is applicable in ALL capital case appeals.

High Cost: Part of the cost is the endless legal appeals that can and have been abused by both the inmates and the judges themselves. The 9th Circut Court of San Fran is the biggest offender of the last minute stay. The whole process could be speeded up IMHO. However, most people do not care if the costs are more.

Its Barbaric: Hanging and Electrocution are barbaric, lethal injection is much more "humane" that the old systems of death. The bottom line despite the rhetoric of barbarism from the anti death penalty crowd the general opinion of the population is supportive of it. More to the point, what about the "humane" treatment the victem recieved? You never hear anything said about the loved ones and families of the victems. What about the barbarism that they felt?



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:44 PM
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Originally posted by intrepid
Sorry, should have been clearer. As a state issue, why even mention it? Is there a party that WANTS to make it a federal matter?


I would definitely like to see a National discussion of the death penalty and a new criteria established before it can be used. With the sophistication of DNA testing - I believe the death penalty should only be handed down in those cases where there is no doubt of guilt. If guilt of first degree murder is established through circumstantial evidence or solely through witness testimony using the guilt beyond a reasonable doubt standard then the maximum penalty should be life without parole.

I know this may allow a particularly clever murderer to avoid the death penalty - but the number of people that have been cleared of murder in recent years leads me to conclude that the ends would justify the means.

I have been a strong proponent for the death penalty most of my life. But after seeing the results of the Innocents Project I have had to reevaluate my position on this issue.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:51 PM
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Here are a couple of links that should help this discussion along

en.wikipedia.org...

en.wikipedia.org...



Given the fact that there are more whites on death row than blacks despite blacks committing the same if not more homicides per year despite being a smaller percentage of the population, proves the point. if anything it seems that the death penalty is more biased towards non-minorities.


Heh? How do you figure that? 75.1% are White in the Whole USA and 12.3% is black. How is it more biased toward non-minorities? Do you have any links with statistics showing the murder-rate per capita for Whites vs. Blacks?



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:09 PM
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The statistic that would interest me at this point in the conversation is how many blacks accused of black on black murder are sentenced to death? How many whites accused of white on white murder are sentenced to death?

Just a gut feeling, but I will bet that juries are more likely to hand down a lighter sentence to murders in black on black crimes.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:15 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
Heh? How do you figure that? 75.1% are White in the Whole USA and 12.3% is black. How is it more biased toward non-minorities? Do you have any links with statistics showing the murder-rate per capita for Whites vs. Blacks?


That was the whole point of my argument. If you look at the total number of murders, the number committed by Blacks who represent 1/10 of the population is equal to or greater than whites who comprise 75%. More whites than blacks are on death row despite equal numbers of homicides. Get it?

Look above, I posted the stats for per capital and total numbers


[edit on 20-8-2004 by FredT]



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:24 PM
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Originally posted by phreak_of_nature
The statistic that would interest me at this point in the conversation is how many blacks accused of black on black murder are sentenced to death? How many whites accused of white on white murder are sentenced to death?


I don't know if they have those stats. More from the same website above:


From 1976 to 2000 --

86% of white victims were killed by whites
94% of black victims were killed by blacks


I could not find a stat for death penalty on black on black crimes

Of persons executed in 2002:
-- 53 were white
-- 18 were black


Of those executed in 2002:
-- 69 were men
-- 2 were women


For the years 1976-2000 combined -

Black victims are greatly over represented in homicides involving arguments or drugs. Compared with the overall involvement of blacks as victims, blacks are less often the victims of sex-related homicides, homicide by poison and workplace killings.
Race patterns among offenders are similar to those among victims, except that black offenders are involved in a relatively large percentage of felony-murders (nearly six out of ten).

Of persons under sentence of death in 2001:
-- 1,931 were white
-- 1,554 were black
-- 27 were American Indian
-- 33 were Asian
-- 12 were of unknown race.

Fifty-one women were under a sentence of death.

The 364 Hispanic inmates under sentence of death accounted for 12% of inmates with a known ethnicity.

Among inmates under sentence of death and with available criminal histories:
-- nearly 2 in 3 had a prior felony conviction
-- about 1 in 12 had a prior homicide conviction.

Among persons for whom arrest information was available, the average age at time of arrest was 28; 2% of inmates were age 17 or younger.

At yearend, the youngest inmate under sentence of death was 18; the oldest was 87.



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 01:36 AM
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Politically, I am for the power to be given to the state for final judgement.

Personally, I am against it. I personally feel that the government should attempt to preserve life as it's primary goal.

Abortion - Only in cases of risk to the mother, and there need be a seperate doctor present to attend to the life of the child and to save it if at all possible (being that is their number one goal as well rather than what they have become).

Capital Punishment - Never allowed (if I had my way, but the population is generally against that idea considering the current prison and murder situation.) We seem to be throwing away good cheap labor for a reasonable sum that could be paid to those of his family who can use it.

War - Only when the cost of life is worth the salvation of innocent people (i.e. - genocide situations, and other murderous regimes). WW2 is a fine example of a noble fight. I only wish someone had fought us to save the Native Americans and/or Africans.

They all coincide for me, so they are not mutually exclusive.

Sorry for the personal notes, but I'll vote for the right of the state to decide and hope they choose wisely.



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 02:28 AM
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Racial Issue should have no bearing on whether the death penalty should be imposed. Personally,I think IF the punishment were severe enough for capital murder cases, brutal crimes, and other violent criminal acts the crime rate would be reduced significantly. The other part of the issue is that alot of these violent criminals will be released and pass you by on the street everyday with a very unlikely chance of them being completely rehabilatated or stabe. I know people can only pay for their crime once but it would be nice if the penalties were not so lax . Staistics also show most violent criminals are repeat offenders.
I say we bring back hangings, fire sqaudes & the guillotine. Any should work equally as well.
The whole prison should be made to veiw the event live as well along with the victims family & perputrators family (in a seperate rooms of course) I also think it could benifit some of the juveniles to veiw where their lives could end up and not think it is as it appears in a movie or rap song, and that it could happen to them.
Anyway it will never happen now but when it did I know crimes weren't nearly as likely to happen with white people perpurtrating them (or they weren't charged and someone else took the "rap") (African-Americans & Native Americans were usually killed by these methods and were usually innocent of wrongdoing. (except they were labled by "civilized peoples" as slaves and savages)



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 11:14 AM
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justus, you are correct, race, creed or religion should have no bearing on the sentence.

What FredT is attempting to show is that the arguement that a proportionally larger percentage of minorities are executed is false.
I think his research and statistics make it quite clear that is the case.

People who want to outlaw the death penalty because it is racist have only done half the research.



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 05:32 PM
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People who want to outlaw the death penalty because it is racist have only done half the research.


How bout outlawing the death penalty to reduce the murder rate. The murder rate from 2002 would put it at 5.5 per 100,000 for the USA. In Canada where the Death Penalty is abolished our murder rate is aprox 1.8 per 100,000 much lower than the US.

Stats from www.ccsd.ca...

[edit on 22-8-2004 by sardion2000]

[edit on 22-8-2004 by sardion2000]



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 06:05 PM
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Personally I am completely against all murder state sponsered or otherwise. I'm chiming in on this debate because the argument that black americans oppose the death penalty because of race.

W.E.B Duboise wrote: "The police system of the South was originally designed to keep track of all Negroes, not simply criminals; and when the Negroes were freed and the whole South was convinced of the impossibility of free Negro labor, the first and almost universal device was to use the courts as a means of re-enslaving the blacks. It was not a question of crime, but rather one of color that settled a mans conviction on almost any charge."

It is a matter of history that the courts were used for "legal" lynchings and after the civil rights gave birth to COINTELPRO many activist Americans found themselves the subject to the so called "justice system". As recently as 1997 activist and former Panther Geronimo Pratt was released from prison after serving 27 years for a murder he did not commit and many Panther's and activist still sit behind bars or in exile as political prisoners arrested and tried under the institution that Duboise described. It is this history of the misuse of the justice system that makes capital punishment unrealistic to many black Americans no matter what excuse is used.

In 1986 Reagan passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act that reinstated federally mandated mandatory minimum sentences and created the 100:1 ratio making crack coc aine the only drug to carry a federal mandatory sentence for simply posessing it. Crack was believed to be a deadlier drug than powder coc aine but in 1995 a commissioned report was released after extensive study of coc aine in both powder and base form. The scientist concluded there is no real difference between the drugs. But today, 10 years later, americans are still being sentenced under a law that has no foundation in truth. Nearly 84% of those americans are black.

With America being the leading jailer the world over specifically because of the 100:1 ratio--americans serving time under a misguided law--americans being falsely imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit because of political activism--americans being aquitted by dna evidence of crimes they didn't commit-- one can't say that race isn't a factor because of the history of race being the only factor.

www.famm.org..." target="_blank" class="postlink">Crack vs. Powder
Geronimo Pratt
What is COINTELPRO?
Of The Sons of Master and Man



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 06:57 PM
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I dont know if this is relivant towards what is being discussed here, but anyways the topic of the death penalty has been discussed to great depth on the polictical forum. Here is a link for those who are interested in what has been said on there.


www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 06:59 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
How bout outlawing the death penalty to reduce the murder rate. The murder rate from 2002 would put it at 5.5 per 100,000 for the USA. In Canada where the Death Penalty is abolished our murder rate is aprox 1.8 per 100,000 much lower than the US.

Stats from www.ccsd.ca...

[edit on 22-8-2004 by sardion2000]

[edit on 22-8-2004 by sardion2000]


So you're saying that the murder rate in the USA including the death penalty ia 5.5/100,000? The reason I think that the Canadian murder rate is lower is because of our countries control on guns.



posted on Aug, 24 2004 @ 03:48 PM
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Interesting, however I dont think murder is just down to guns, murder happens all over the world, here in britain I dont think guns are the main weapon in murder, its usually something horrific. I think if you want to lower the murder rate, then some form of policing will have to be introduce, or all weapons tagged.



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