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Troy Davis execution temporarly delayed by Supreme court

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posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 02:38 PM
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Oh, by the way, is anyone here objecting to the execution of Lawerence Brewer? It happened at roughly the same time as Davis'. Brewer also said he didn't kill the victim. It would have been more impressive and forceful if the people opposed to the death penalty had criticised that execution.




posted on Sep, 22 2011 @ 10:50 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 





As it is, new evidence can release a man, but can't imprison a man already tried.


One of the cases that changed my mind was a guy in Texas. He was convicted of murdering his kids by arson. During the years he sat on death row the science of arson investigation changed. The theorys that landed him in jail had been disproven. A second investigation, by a person that trains investigators, showed that the fire was not arson. According to the new science it was nearly 100% certain that the fire could not have been arson.

Texas said that the new evidence was not even conclusive enough to commute his sentence. They still carried out his excution. New evidence that debunked the prosecutions entire scientific standing wasn't enough to save his life. Why?

Basically it boils down to neighbors saying he didn't look depressed enough when they saw him the next day. It doesn't matter that such events can cause mental an emotional shock. Sometimes the result is that it takes months or years for a person to deal with, or show signs of grief. He wasn't crying when he dug through the rubble of his burnt out home. So, the neighbors and cops decided he must be guilty of something.

Our system is the best we've got. Death should be taken off of the table though in most cases. Without strong video, audio, or DNA evidence too much is left up to conjecture.



posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by charles1952
Abrihetx,
How do we create a system that doesn't make mistakes? We can't. Yet, there must be a system for defining guilt and innocence. Do you have a system significantly different from the current one in mind? I'm assuming that you're basically OK with the current sytem, and only object to the use of death as a punishment option.

Am I correct so far?

Charles1952



Not so much, Charles1952. I'm no lawyer and I can't even begin to start drafting us up a new legal system. And And I do have issues with the current system, so I'm not totally ok with it. Many things are wrong with it, as you said. I know a guy that was arrested for aggravated burglary (and he did it) but he got off because he was the only one out of three that wasn't caught on the security cameras. Very messed up that he got away with this because he committed a crime. I understand why. The system is SUPPOSED to protect the innocent, but many times it ends up protecting the intelligent (or lucky) guilty, as well.

You are right in that I do not support the death penalty the way it is. I have no objections for cases where the convicted is conclusively proven to be guilty, but it should not be an option if there is doubt and it darn sure should not be an option based solely on witness testimony.



posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 09:18 AM
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reply to post by MikeNice81
 


Yes, that Texas fire case was sickening.

Something else that sickened me, said around the lunch table by a kind, intelligent person , was another reason to put lifers to death. He said it would save money to kill someone versus locking them up for life. Over the years I've come to realize how Hitler sanctioned state killings while governing kind, intelligent Germans.



posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 10:10 AM
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Dear MikeNice81,

I appreciate your note and what seems to me to be your openness.

May I report a bit of what I found on the case you were talking about? I'm not sure you should be so convinced of Willingham's innocence as you are. Here are a few quotes from an article I found, with the link at the end.

Willingham had a lot of excuses for the fire, Fogg recalled, including that a stranger entered the house and set the fire, that the 2-year-old started it, that a ceiling fan or squirrels in the attic caused an electrical short, or the gas space heaters in the children’s bedroom sparked it.


The investigators searched for electrical shorts, but found none; the gas-powered space heaters were off because the family’s gas supply had been cut off at the meter; and “we didn’t find a ceiling fan. Willingham said there was one, but we didn’t find any signs of one,” Fogg said.



Evidence of accelerants was found, but Willingham had an excuse for that, too. Willingham told investigators he poured cologne on the children’s floor “because the babies liked the smell,” he blamed a kerosene lamp for any accelerant in the hallway, and said spilled charcoal-lighter fluid happened while he was grilling, Fogg recalled.

Fogg agreed that there was a damaged bottle of charcoal lighter fluid on the other end of the porch away from the door, but the grill was in the side yard not on the porch when firefighters arrived. Fogg remembered four empty bottles of charcoal lighter were found just outside the front door.



For Hensley, the most damning evidence came from Willingham, who told officers that 2-year-old Amber woke him up. Firefighters later found her in his bed, with burns on the soles of her feet. Yet, Willingham didn’t take the girl with him when he fled, nor did he receive burns walking down that same hallway, Hensley pointed out.

Willingham was taken to the hospital where doctors did a blood-gas analysis on him, a standard test for someone who’s been inside a burning house.

“He had no more (carbon monoxide) than somebody who had just smoked a cigarette,” Hensley said.



From his seat at the defense table, attorney David Martin’s job was to fight tooth and nail for Willingham. Once it was over, though, Martin became convinced his client was guilty. He dismisses the Beyler report as propaganda from anti-death penalty supporters.

“The Innocence Project is an absolute farce,” Martin said. “It’s a bunch of hype, in my opinion.”

The defense team couldn’t locate an arson expert back then willing to say the house fire was accidental.

“We never could find anybody that contradicted Vasquez,” Martin said.


Willingham article



Our system is the best we've got. Death should be taken off of the table though in most cases. Without strong video, audio, or DNA evidence too much is left up to conjecture.

Would you mind if we talked about this issue separately? Thanks.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 03:08 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


Thank you for the information. I always like to see new evidence on a topic. I never believe that the door is closed on learning something new.

I haven't done much research on the topic of capital punishment since college. We could discuss it. I can't say I still have a lot of info to offer that would add much to the conversation. I would have to re-research any responses. So, it might be a slow conversation.



posted on Sep, 24 2011 @ 08:56 AM
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reply to post by MikeNice81
 

Dear MikeNice81,

It is a real pleasure to be able to talk with someone on ATS.

I agree that the exploration of factual material may not be too helpful. The true, relevant numbers will never be known and I'm not sure they effect the discussion much anyway.

Some of the things I'm interested in include:

Why is there such a strong desire for the death penalty? It appears to be part of our fundamental make-up from way back. While there have been many attacks on it from schools, religions, and governments, that strong desire still exists.

Assume the death penalty is eliminated and we go to life without parole, do we re-investigate each of those crimes? Will the re-investigations be available only for the rich or socially favored? Will the reinvestigations be conducted by the same police who conducted the first investigation? Will they be conducted by those with an agenda to find innocence, even if it doesn't exist? What about crimes with a slightly less penalty. Are those re-investigated, too? (These are not meant to be badgering questions, I'm trying to figure out what our new system would look like.)

What changes are needed to the legal system? If the courts say there must be irrefutable physical proof, then why bother having a trial? Show the proof and its over. What if a person found innocent is, by re-investigation, found to be the criminal? Should we then eliminate "double jeopardy" provisions? After all, a "final" verdict will never be reached in any case.

Willingham was executed 22 years after his conviction. Is there a time limit on re-investigations? Does all evidence in every case have to be perfectly preserved forever?

Will any system you and I can construct be acceptable to the people?

There are many avenues to explore if you care to. Let me know.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Sep, 25 2011 @ 08:34 PM
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Assume the death penalty is eliminated and we go to life without parole, do we re-investigate each of those crimes?


I don't believe it should be law enforcement's job to reinvestigate the crime. They should keep the evidence available in good condition until the death of the inmate or the inmate's release from jail. The act of reinvestigating should be up to the inmate or his designee. The cost of investigating every major crime twice would be too burdensome on the tax payer.




Will the re-investigations be available only for the rich or socially favored?


Not completely. There are charity organizations that do help with such things. I think the limitted resources actually help make sure that cases of high concern are most likely to be investigated.

Many inmates have access to legal libraries or reference materials in the prison. They are allowed to research and challenge their cases on legal technicalities. So, I don't think that inmates are completely cut off based on economic status.




If the courts say there must be irrefutable physical proof, then why bother having a trial?


I think the physical proof should be a requirement before any prosecutor can seek the death penalty. The purpose of holding a trial can be as simple as getting a reduction from murder to negligent homicide or manslaughter. Both offense carry lesser penalties and rarely end up as capital cases.

Plus, you can argue against evidence. A video may show only a limitted angle. DNA may prove sexual relations, but it can't prove that it wasn't consentual. It also can't prove that somebody else didn't use a condom and committ the act.

Even physical evidence can be misleading. Everyone should have the right to argue their innocence in the face of the most staunch evidence.




Willingham was executed 22 years after his conviction. Is there a time limit on re-investigations?


With the death penalty off of the table the limit would be sentence length or death of the prisoner. If capital punishment remains, 15 years sounds good to me. It really is an arbitrary number. However, with the rapid evolution of technology I don't think it would take much longer for science to disprove something or new techniques to develop.

I honestly think one of the big steps will be to curb lawyers trying cases in the court of public opinion. I think gag orders should be standard procedure in capital or potential capital cases. Too often we see lawyers grandstanding and attempting to effect the jury pool before a trial starts. The same happens with police officers handing out information during the investigation. The public has a right to know. We have to find a balnce that protects the public and the accused however.




Why is there such a strong desire for the death penalty?


I think there is an inate human desire for revenge against those that cause harm to others or society. Originally punishment was left up to the individual that was wronged. Only as a matter of social evolution did it become a matter for government. As society grew and changed crimes began being viewed as crimes against the community and eventually against the state. The longer the state was involved the more punishment became a matter of establishing "order" and social engineering.

The desire for punishment on a personal level hasn't evolved out of the first stage however. People still want retribution for percieved harm. However, as society grew and evolved it became common for severe violations of the societal norms to be viewed as attacks against the person as well. So, the individual seeks retribution for wrongs against the hive. Because an attack against the hive is an attack of their personal beliefs and the foundation of their self identity.

It wasn't untill the 1700's that the humanist movement began to see punishment as a chance for rehabilitation and correction. That was not a long time ago, in the evolution of the human pschology. It is still fighting against millenia of human nature and conditioning. Plus retribution makes people feel vindicated and safe in their beliefs. It reinforces the thought process they subscribe too now.

At least that is my opinion based on my limitted understanding of the subject.



posted on Sep, 25 2011 @ 09:06 PM
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reply to post by MikeNice81
 

Dear MikeNice81,
Yours was a wonderful post. I'm grateful to have found you. Please excuse me for the night, there's just too much here for me to handle as is.

It doesn't sound as though you're suggesting major changes to the existing system, it even sounds as though you would be willing to retain the death penalty option in a few, rare cases. But I'll re-read your stuff and get back to you.

With respect,
Charles1952



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