US authorities execute two mentally disabled prisoners in one week

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Everglow
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#1
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#1
(Original post by The Independent)
An American man with an IQ so low as to be classed as technically disabled was executed by the state of Texas last night, after another mentally disabled prisoner was killed on Tuesday night.

Robert Ladd, who was sentenced to death for bludgeoning a mentally disabled woman to death in her flat in 1996, died by lethal injection at 7.02pm, 27 minutes after the dose was administered.

In his final minutes Ladd, who has an IQ of 67, apologies to the family of the woman he killed, before telling the warden: “Let’s ride.”

As the lethal drug dose took effect, 57-year-old Ladd is said to have told wardens: “Stings my arm, man.”

On Tuesday another mentally impaired inmate, Warren Hill, who has an IQ of 70, was executed in Georgia after last-minute appeals also failed.

Hill, 54, sentenced to death in 1990 after killing fellow prison inmate Joseph Handspike while serving a life sentence for the murder of girlfriend Myra Wright, was declined an appeal based on mental disability after a court ruled that his life showed example of “self-sufficiency”.

He declined to make a final statement and was pronounced dead at 7:55pm local time.

Hill's lawyer, Brian Kamer, condemned the state’s decision, claiming that Hill possessed the mental age of a “young boy,” and described the execution as an “abomination.”

Despite the US Supreme Court’s ruling in 2002 that executing disabled prisoners violated the US constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, individual states retain the leeway to determine the standards.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-10013446.html

So what do we think about this? Should mentally disabled people still be eligible for capital punishment in the US? Should they even be held responsible for their actions given their mental state?
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JamesManc
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#2
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#2
If they do the crime they should do the time
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Good bloke
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#3
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(Original post by JamesManc)
If they do the crime they should do the time
If you read the article you'll see that they had served between 17 and 24 years of "time" and were only now being executed. A trite clichéd response is facile and, frankly, silly.

The issue is whether they understood what they were doing and whether they were legally competent. Not many people would think they were, I suspect.

The Land of the Free is as wedded to a barbaric justice system as the Islamic caliphate.
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The_Mighty_Bush
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(Original post by Good bloke)
The Land of the Free is as wedded to a barbaric justice system as the Islamic caliphate.
That's not really a true comparison though. The US isn't killing people for leaving Christianity or being gay etc.

The death penalty of any kind by governments is totally wrong and against human rights. The killing of those who have extremely low IQs is even worse.
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JamesManc
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(Original post by Good bloke)
If you read the article you'll see that they had served between 17 and 24 years of "time" and were only now being executed. A trite clichéd response is facile and, frankly, silly.

The issue is whether they understood what they were doing and whether they were legally competent. Not many people would think they were, I suspect.

The Land of the Free is as wedded to a barbaric justice system as the Islamic caliphate.
It doesn't matter if they "understood" what they were doing, or if they were "legally competent" which sounds like stupid lawyer speak, they are responsible for their own actions.
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Good bloke
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#6
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(Original post by JamesManc)
It doesn't matter if they "understood" what they were doing, or if they were "legally competent" which sounds like stupid lawyer speak, they are responsible for their own actions.
You are ill-informed , to say the least. The whole point is that they are not responsible for their actions, just as a child isn't.
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(Original post by The_Mighty_Bush)
That's not really a true comparison though. The US isn't killing people for leaving Christianity or being gay etc.
Both implement the death penalty for certain crimes, including murder. One may go further than the other but that isn't very relevant.

The death penalty of any kind by governments is totally wrong and against human rights. The killing of those who have extremely low IQs is even worse.
I agree.
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The_Mighty_Bush
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(Original post by Good bloke)
Both implement the death penalty for certain crimes, including murder. One may go further than the other but that isn't very relevant.
The death penalty is wrong and any country that practices it is in the wrong but I'm not going to agree with your attempt to say that the United States and an Islamic Caliphate are morally equivalent.
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(Original post by The_Mighty_Bush)
I'm not going to agree with your attempt to say that the United States and an Islamic Caliphate are morally equivalent.
I don't see how, in the context of their justice systems' use of the death penalty, you can disagree. We agree that the death penalty is wrong; they both use it; they are both barbaric.
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The_Mighty_Bush
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(Original post by Good bloke)
I don't see how, in the context of their justice systems' use of the death penalty, you can disagree. We agree that the death penalty is wrong; they both use it; they are both barbaric.
But their use isn't equivalent at all because:

The US has a more rigorous legal system that allows for appeal etc.
Islamic law means that women are worth less than men in terms of being eyewitnesses.

The US doesn't execute people for being gay or feminist or atheist or for getting raped or for speaking out against the state etc.

The US doesn't use more barbaric methods like stoning.

It isn't a necessary part of your argument to say this nonsense. Plenty of people like me will agree with you that the death penalty is barbaric. You don't need this rhetoric.
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(Original post by The_Mighty_Bush)
Plenty of people like me will agree with you that the death penalty is barbaric.
Then you do agree that the use of the death penalty in both justice systems is barbaric. All that talk of stoning and homosexuals is irrelevant. Just because one is more barbaric than the other doesn't prevent them both from being barbaric.
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Simes
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I think that "killing its citizens" should never be an acceptable function of any state.
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miser
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Is murdering intelligent people more or less immoral than murdering disabled people?

It's an irrelevant question. The state shouldn't be killing its citizens at all.
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Jemner01
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Why is their mental state relevant to their crime? If, in a trial, it can be proved that the defendant was mentally disabled/insane to the point where they had no control of their actions whatsoever then fair enough, but if the defendant is found guilty of murder despite their mental state I don't think more sympatyhy should be given simply because they're deemed mentally disabled. I can't say I agree with the death penalty, but considering the US's incarceration rates they need to get rid of criminals in order to make space for new ones. They could probably reduce the rate by stopping the war on drugs but that'll happen when hell freezes over.
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Simes
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(Original post by Jemner01)
considering the US's incarceration rates they need to get rid of criminals in order to make space for new ones.
That's just an argument to execute all criminals because it is cheap.
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Jemner01
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(Original post by Simes)
That's just an argument to execute all criminals because it is cheap.
Yes, and? It's financially viable, and some state governments have decided it's not morally wrong to execute criminals. I'm not saying it's correct, but it's the reality.
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Simes
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(Original post by Jemner01)
Yes, and? It's financially viable, and some state governments have decided it's not morally wrong to execute criminals. I'm not saying it's correct, but it's the reality.
So what is your point? That cost-effectiveness should be the deciding factor for dealing with criminals?
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Jemner01
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(Original post by Simes)
So what is your point? That cost-effectiveness should be the deciding factor for dealing with criminals?
No, that State governments have decided that the death penalty is necessary. My original points were that mental ability shouldn't play a role in severity of sentence, assuming the sentence is given despite metal ability (i.e a disabled person is charged with murder despite appealing for insanity/ineptitude), and that the US has such a high incarceration rate that they might even have to kill criminals to make space for more criminals. I never stated or even implied that coft-effectiveness is the deciding factor. I did say that the reality of it is that the death penalty exists whether we like it or not, and that it may be necessary to kill criminals to prevent the existing facilities for prisons becoming overpopulated. I also said that ending the war on drugs would be a better solution to overcrowding, because it would cut the rate of incarceration.
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Everglow
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Jemner01)
Yes, and? It's financially viable, and some state governments have decided it's not morally wrong to execute criminals. I'm not saying it's correct, but it's the reality.
(Original post by Simes)
So what is your point? That cost-effectiveness should be the deciding factor for dealing with criminals?
American capital punishment isn't cost effective though, as we know. The appeals process makes it all extremely expensive - more so than life without parole.

(Original post by Jemner01)
Why is their mental state relevant to their crime? If, in a trial, it can be proved that the defendant was mentally disabled/insane to the point where they had no control of their actions whatsoever then fair enough, but if the defendant is found guilty of murder despite their mental state I don't think more sympatyhy should be given simply because they're deemed mentally disabled. I can't say I agree with the death penalty, but considering the US's incarceration rates they need to get rid of criminals in order to make space for new ones. They could probably reduce the rate by stopping the war on drugs but that'll happen when hell freezes over.
So at what point is someone mentally disabled or 'insane' enough to negate their responsibility? Mental state should absolutely be deemed relevant. How can you hold someone responsible for their actions when their actions are the result of their illness or disability? They didn't choose to have them, and it's not as if they can resist their mental state so to say. The issue is with society not protecting these vulnerable people from committing such acts which they simply don't understand the magnitude of.
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Simes
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#20
The bit I am focusing on is:
(Original post by Jemner01)
the US has such a high incarceration rate that they might even have to kill criminals to make space for more criminals. I never stated or even implied that cost-effectiveness is the deciding factor.
Building more prisons is another solution. There is no restriction on doing that. Arbitrarily killing prisoners to make space for others is, well, random.

Do you kill the ones that have been in longest, or the sick ones, or those with most time left to serve, or the oldest ones?
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