Death penality, okay with requisite criteria?

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Kvothe the Arcane
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#1
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#1
"Is the death penalty okay?" has been asked many times. Some agree with it but I've noticed that among most that don't, an overwhelming majority base their nos on the fact that people can be wrongfully convicted. That's a valid point.

So assuming that the death penalty is only used in certain cases. Perhaps for heinous murders where there's 100% surety that people are guilty (Video and DNA evidence, witnesses and a confession (and a lack of expressed guilt, i.e. no chance of rehabilitation), what would your opinion be?
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Pickles
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#2
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#2
(Original post by keromedic)
"Is the death penalty okay?" has been asked many times. Some agree with it but I've noticed that among most that don't, an overwhelming majority base their nos on the fact that people can be wrongfully convicted. That's a valid point.

So assuming that the death penalty is only used in certain cases. Perhaps for heinous murders where there's 100% surety that people are guilty (Video and DNA evidence, witnesses and a confession (and a lack of expressed guilt, i.e. no chance of rehabilitation), what would your opinion be?
It's a hard one IMO. It take a serious crime to face the death penalty, yet at the same time, is it right to kill someone that has done wrong - what do they learn from this and what does anyone gain from this..

Do you think it is acceptable?
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e aí rapaz
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#3
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#3
I don't agree with state murder, no matter what the person has done.
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miser
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#4
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#4
Even for people that have done terrible things, I don't think they should be put to death. The death penalty isn't about keeping society safe, it's about indulging people's desire for revenge. It's a dangerous and immoral thing in my opinion.
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Everglow
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#5
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#5
(Original post by miser)
Even for people that have done terrible things, I don't think they should be put to death. The death penalty isn't about keeping society safe, it's about indulging people's desire for revenge. It's a dangerous and immoral thing in my opinion.
This sentence hits the issue on the nail. The death penalty is simply a means of 'retribution'. That said, so many victim families say how little retribution capital punishment provides after they've watched a criminal being executed. Supposedly it provides closure and restores justice - but this is very often a mistaken belief.

The death penalty protects society no more than life imprisonment does. Indeed it could be argued that the British legal system is slightly soft with sentencing, but that digresses from the issue at hand. The hypocrisy of the death penalty is unprecedented and I find it hard to accept that any state should have the 'right' to take life, regardless of what one might have done. As cliched to say as this is, how are we any better than the criminal by enforcing the death penalty?

Furthermore, a few side points of interest: the death penalty is far more expensive than than life imprisonment (owing largely to legal fees) as the American justice system has shown; the death penalty categorically fails as a deterrent (statistical proof year-by-year from 1991); botched executions are still taking place in the modern day, leading to what can only be assumed as excruciating executions that are despicably inhumane. Clayton D. Lockett's execution in April this year in Oklahoma is a fine example.

Regardless of the offense, the death penalty is a shambolic disgrace.
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miser
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Reluire)
This sentence hits the issue on the nail. The death penalty is simply a means of 'retribution'. That said, so many victim families say how little retribution capital punishment provides after they've watched a criminal being executed. Supposedly it provides closure and restores justice - but this is very often a mistaken belief.

The death penalty protects society no more than life imprisonment does. Indeed it could be argued that the British legal system is slightly soft with sentencing, but that digresses from the issue at hand. The hypocrisy of the death penalty is unprecedented and I find it hard to accept that any state should have the 'right' to take life, regardless of what one might have done. As cliched to say as this is, how are we any better than the criminal by enforcing the death penalty?

Furthermore, a few side points of interest: the death penalty is fart more expensive than than life imprisonment (owing largely to legal fees) as the American justice system has shown; the death penalty categorically fails as a deterrent (statistical proof year-by-year from 1991); botched executions are still taking place in the modern day, leading to what can only be assumed as excruciating executions that are despicably inhumane. Clayton D. Lockett's execution in April this year in Oklahoma is a fine example.

Regardless of the offense, the death penalty is a shambolic disgrace.
Thanks for raising those other points. They really fly in the face of what a lot of people believe about the death penalty; people think it saves the country money, that it deters criminals and is reliable with minimal suffering. These are all decidedly incorrect as you point out.

Its failure as a deterrant I find particularly interresting because, with some inspection, I think it's to be expected. Murders are enacted either in the heat of the moment or are premeditated - if someone acts in anger, they aren't thinking of the consequences of their actions. And if the murder is premeditated, either they believe they can get away with it or are prepared to sacrifice themselves to a life sentence anyway. With such a severe sentence already on the table, is the criminal really going to be further deterred? No, probably not. It's just an intellectual masquerade - a contrived justification for a much more personal desire for retribution, as is betrayed by the passion with which people eagerly cry for lethal retaliations.
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Everglow
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#7
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#7
(Original post by miser)
Thanks for raising those other points. They really fly in the face of what a lot of people believe about the death penalty; people think it saves the country money, that it deters criminals and is reliable with minimal suffering. These are all decidedly incorrect as you point out.

Its failure as a deterrant I find particularly interresting because, with some inspection, I think it's to be expected. Murders are enacted either in the heat of the moment or are premeditated - if someone acts in anger, they aren't thinking of the consequences of their actions. And if the murder is premeditated, either they believe they can get away with it or are prepared to sacrifice themselves to a life sentence anyway. With such a severe sentence already on the table, is the criminal really going to be further deterred? No, probably not. It's just an intellectual masquerade - a contrived justification for a much more personal desire for retribution, as is betrayed by the passion with which people eagerly cry for lethal retaliations.
As Marquis de Sade once said, the premeditated murder by the state that we call the death penalty is the worst kind of murder. As you mentioned with anger, people often act impulsively without thinking of the consequences. For example, in the US you would likely be sentenced to death for the murder of a cop which is something that could be completely unplanned and spur of the moment. Supposedly that is worse than the state premeditating and planning an execution in advance. I think de Sade makes a good argument because there has to be some level of sadistic intent in planning and orchestrating a capital punishment execution that doesn't necessarily exist in an unplanned capital offense.
So many legal systems are based far too heavily on consequences, in my opinion. If the cop dies, it's the death penalty; if he survives, it'll be life imprisonment without parole. But the act of harming that policeman is the same regardless of the consequence - so the act itself isn't actually particularly important compared to the effects of that act, it would seem. Anyway, I've digressed somewhat.

Again you've summed up the crux of the matter well in your last sentence. I'm yet to hear any justification of the death penalty that actually carries any real weight.
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miser
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Reluire)
As Marquis de Sade once said, the premeditated murder by the state that we call the death penalty is the worst kind of murder. As you mentioned with anger, people often act impulsively without thinking of the consequences. For example, in the US you would likely be sentenced to death for the murder of a cop which is something that could be completely unplanned and spur of the moment. Supposedly that is worse than the state premeditating and planning an execution in advance. I think de Sade makes a good argument because there has to be some level of sadistic intent in planning and orchestrating a capital punishment execution that doesn't necessarily exist in an unplanned capital offense.
So many legal systems are based far too heavily on consequences, in my opinion. If the cop dies, it's the death penalty; if he survives, it'll be life imprisonment without parole. But the act of harming that policeman is the same regardless of the consequence - so the act itself isn't actually particularly important compared to the effects of that act, it would seem. Anyway, I've digressed somewhat.

Again you've summed up the crux of the matter well in your last sentence. I'm yet to hear any justification of the death penalty that actually carries any real weight.
Well, the US justice system is a paragon of amorality in my opinion. It's not about justice - that's just the vehicle to maintain public support. The reality is it's a system of corporate profits and, as we've discussed, indulgence in vice.

The indulgence in vice I'd call sadistic, though I think it's thankfully a fairly muted kind of sadism, being that it's tempered by what's profitable. There's plenty of sadism in other country's 'justice' systems though, what with torture and so on. In those systems I think the punishments are ideologically motivated or in efforts put towards the preservation of power by means of oppression.

I think you and I agree on a lot of this so I'll air my core objection to the death penalty and all retributive punishment: I don't believe people have free will, or at least the burden of proof has decisively not been met, which seems important if we're to found our entire criminal justice system on the premise that people are morally responsible for their conscious behaviour. Beyond my criticisms of how retribution doesn't work and is counter-productive, it just seems completely morally untenable without a justified belief in individuals' moral freedom and responsibility.
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Everglow
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#9
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#9
(Original post by miser)
Well, the US justice system is a paragon of amorality in my opinion. It's not about justice - that's just the vehicle to maintain public support. The reality is it's a system of corporate profits and, as we've discussed, indulgence in vice.

The indulgence in vice I'd call sadistic, though I think it's thankfully a fairly muted kind of sadism, being that it's tempered by what's profitable. There's plenty of sadism in other country's 'justice' systems though, what with torture and so on. In those systems I think the punishments are ideologically motivated or in efforts put towards the preservation of power by means of oppression.

I think you and I agree on a lot of this so I'll air my core objection to the death penalty and all retributive punishment: I don't believe people have free will, or at least the burden of proof has decisively not been met, which seems important if we're to found our entire criminal justice system on the premise that people are morally responsible for their conscious behaviour. Beyond my criticisms of how retribution doesn't work and is counter-productive, it just seems completely morally untenable without a justified belief in individuals' moral freedom and responsibility.
I don't think the US can be excluded from criticism of torture, given the fact Guantanamo is somehow still open. Why Obama hasn't shut it yet I don't know. But yes, obviously it's a more prominent issue in oppressive and often theocratic states like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran etc.

Ah I believe we've had this philosophical discussion once before. I too hold hard deterministic views that undermine our whole justice system. I'm surprised more legal defenses don't follow the lines of Clarence Darrow, to be honest. Leopold and Loeb avoided the death penalty from arguments of psychological determinism.
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miser
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Reluire)
I don't think the US can be excluded from criticism of torture, given the fact Guantanamo is somehow still open. Why Obama hasn't shut it yet I don't know. But yes, obviously it's a more prominent issue in oppressive and often theocratic states like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran etc.

Ah I believe we've had this philosophical discussion once before. I too hold hard deterministic views that undermine our whole justice system. I'm surprised more legal defenses don't follow the lines of Clarence Darrow, to be honest. Leopold and Loeb avoided the death penalty from arguments of psychological determinism.
Well in my opinion the death penalty is torture, since you're inflicting the literal fear of death on people for years. And the methods of death are far from being demonstrably painless.

I was just referring to US prisons for Americans protected by the rights granted to US citizens. If you go outside that then of course you have 'enemy combatants' and rights go out the window. You get detainment without trial, denial of habeus corpus, extraordinary rendition, and straight up torture. As for why Obama didn't get rid of it, he promised he would in his first presidential election, but after his election claimed it was not so easy to just release suspected terrorists as nobody wants them. I think that's a weak excuse but that's another conversation for another day.

I don't remember our previous discussion. I tend to remember when I meet a hard determinist because it's always interesting. But maybe you're right and I'm slacking. :top:
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Mackay
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#11
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#11
I could never place my trust and faith in a system which displays such brutality to one of its citizens. I am wholeheartedly against it. Reformation and rehabilitation should be above revenge and retribution.
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KJane
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#12
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#12
No. I think having the death penalty undermines murder being illegal.
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Mackay
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#13
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#13
(Original post by KJane)
No. I think having the death penalty undermines murder being illegal.
This.
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RF_PineMarten
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#14
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#14
I don't believe any of the moral arguments against it, like "it makes us as bad as them". It doesn't. Assuming no miscarriages of justice happen (which is basically what this thread is), the people killed by death penalty would be murderers and other serious criminals.
What's worse - killing a murderer, or killing an innocent person for no reason? Murder victims are usually innocent.

That said, you can't really introduce it for cases with "100% certainty" and expect it to remain like that. No matter how hard you try, innocent people will be caught up in it eventually. It is just not possible to guarantee that no miscarriages of justice take place. That is why I strongly oppose the death penalty.
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Mackay
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#15
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#15
(Original post by RFowler)
I don't believe any of the moral arguments against it, like "it makes us as bad as them". It doesn't. Assuming no miscarriages of justice happen (which is basically what this thread is), the people killed by death penalty would be murderers and other serious criminals.
What's worse - killing a murderer, or killing an innocent person for no reason? Murder victims are usually innocent.

That said, you can't really introduce it for cases with "100% certainty" and expect it to remain like that. No matter how hard you try, innocent people will be caught up in it eventually. It is just not possible to guarantee that no miscarriages of justice take place. That is why I strongly oppose the death penalty.
Seen the Life of David Gale?
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ForgetMe
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#16
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#16
Since there's no better punishment, I am for death penalty for serious crimes.

There was a story in Lithuania when 2 schoolgirls killed their classmate by slicing her up into pieces.

A woman has been brutally raped by a group of youth, they did insert various objects and therefore damaged victim's inner organs.

A man attacked a woman after she was going back home late and then battered her with a baseball bat until she was dead.

And many more.. Sorry but rehabilitation wouldn't fix these cruel people. I know that death penalty wouldn't fix anything unless there was much bigger punishment but definitely not rehabilitation...
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e aí rapaz
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#17
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#17
(Original post by RFowler)
I don't believe any of the moral arguments against it, like "it makes us as bad as them". It doesn't. Assuming no miscarriages of justice happen (which is basically what this thread is), the people killed by death penalty would be murderers and other serious criminals.
What's worse - killing a murderer, or killing an innocent person for no reason? Murder victims are usually innocent.
Are they? How do you know? How do you define innocent anyway?

It does make us as bad as them. Taking a life is taking a life. In fact, as has been mentioned already, many "murders" are done in the heat of the moment, so if anything, the death penalty is more callous because it's the premeditated taking of a life to suit our own whims.

Even so I don't subscribe to the idea that because somebody did a bad thing, their life is inherently worthless, so either way it's morally unacceptable.
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Jammy Duel
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#18
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#18
(Original post by e aí rapaz)
I don't agree with state murder, no matter what the person has done.
Murder is defined as unlawful, therefore it wouldn't be state murder.


The problem still remains in that, unless it also comes with a massive reform of the system, all the bureaucracy involved makes capital punishment incredibly expensive, not uncommonly to the point where it's not even worth exercising as a money saving method.
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james22
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#19
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#19
No. It serves no purpose, is expensive, and is cruel.
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KingBradly
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#20
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#20
If the death penalty actually reduced murders, I would support it. But I haven't seen any decent evidence to support that. I strongly believe that the prison system in Norway, which is more focused on rehabilitation, is far more productive.
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