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The death penalty

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Re: The death penalty

#26

Post by AndyinPA »

:thumbsup: :biggrin:

:yeahthat:


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Re: The death penalty

#27

Post by Foggy »

Yeah, and that was a good thing. I like Australia, and besides, most of the ones who were transported would not be eligible for the death penalty today.

Some people commit such heinous crimes that the DP does seem appropriate. But I agree, our legal system is imperfect and occasionally innocent people - especially innocent people of color - get convicted. So I'm generally against it, but then you get someone like Randy Kraft, who was driving around with a dead Marine in his car and a list of 65 other people he'd killed in the trunk (called the boot in Australia). A friend of mine was one of his lawyers, and we both agreed, if there was anyone who ever deserved the DP, it was him.

It's a :pickle:


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Re: The death penalty

#28

Post by Lani »

Suranis wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:00 am I hear that policy was tried before, and resulted in Australia. :shark2:
It was done in what became the US as well. When the revolution ended, Parliament decided it would have to send convicts to Australia instead of America. For some reason, that doesn't show up in school history books.


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Re: The death penalty

#29

Post by roadscholar »

Lani wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:08 am
Suranis wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:00 am I hear that policy was tried before, and resulted in Australia. :shark2:
It was done in what became the US as well. When the revolution ended, Parliament decided it would have to send convicts to Australia instead of America. For some reason, that doesn't show up in school history books.
Georgia. Known as a virtual penal colony early on.

I learned it in history class! Of course, that was 50 years ago...


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Re: The death penalty

#30

Post by zekeb »

roadscholar wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:59 pm I learned it in history class! Of course, that was 50 years ago...
Anymore history isn't what it used to be.


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Re: The death penalty

#31

Post by bob »

roadscholar wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:21 amBut I can’t help thinking it has acted as a deterrent occasionally... not when murder is the goal, but ancillary murders. Do we really think it has never happened that a pair of criminals has discussed sticking to armed robbery, trying not to then shoot someone, making it capital?
"I concede your point, learned colleague, but under the substantial-participation doctrine, if my acts in further of this felonious conspiracy do not cause or contribute to the homicide, then my exposure to capital punishment, coupled with the growing delays in judicial proceedings, is fleeting at best and my anticipated term of incarceration will be comparable once sentencing enhancements and other adjustments are factored in," is a statement no putative robber ever said.

Deterrence has multiple aspects: does the heightened consequence (death vs. a life sentence) create a benefit (a lesser (or no) crime) that justifies the cost (the heightened legal safeguards, extra penal security expenses, etc.). If it costs a billion dollars to save just one anticipated victim, there are bean counters who will say the cost isn't worth the benefit. And governments make these kinds of hard, cold decisions all the time.


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Re: The death penalty

#32

Post by zekeb »

What if a prisoner, serving a life sentence for murder, decides to kill another prisoner? He has nothing to lose if the only available penalty is another life sentence. Now what if he knows the death penalty will apply if he kills his fellow prisoner?


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Re: The death penalty

#33

Post by roadscholar »

bob wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:19 pm
roadscholar wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:21 amBut I can’t help thinking it has acted as a deterrent occasionally... not when murder is the goal, but ancillary murders. Do we really think it has never happened that a pair of criminals has discussed sticking to armed robbery, trying not to then shoot someone, making it capital?
"I concede your point, learned colleague, but under the substantial-participation doctrine, if my acts in further of this felonious conspiracy do not cause or contribute to the homicide, then my exposure to capital punishment, coupled with the growing delays in judicial proceedings, is fleeting at best and my anticipated term of incarceration will be comparable once sentencing enhancements and other adjustments are factored in," is a statement no putative robber ever said.

Deterrence has multiple aspects: does the heightened consequence (death vs. a life sentence) create a benefit (a lesser (or no) crime) that justifies the cost (the heightened legal safeguards, extra penal security expenses, etc.). If it costs a billion dollars to save just one anticipated victim, there are bean counters who will say the cost isn't worth the benefit. And governments make these kinds of hard, cold decisions all the time.
Sure, bob. But my wife's best friend spent 35 years as a parole and probations officer, and I guarantee you there have been criminals who made exactly the calculation I described.

That said, it is hard to justify the stunning costs involved with even a single death penalty case.


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Re: The death penalty

#34

Post by LM K »


At least 4.1% of all defendants sentenced to death
in the US in the modern era are innocent, according to the first major study to attempt to calculate how often states get it wrong in their wielding of the ultimate punishment.

A team of legal experts and statisticians from Michigan and Pennsylvania used the latest statistical techniques to produce a peer-reviewed estimate of the “dark figure” that lies behind the death penalty – how many of the more than 8,000 men and women who have been put on death row since the 1970s were falsely convicted.

The team arrived at a deliberately conservative figure that lays bare the extent of possible miscarriages of justice, suggesting that the innocence of more than 200 prisoners still in the system may never be recognised.

The study concludes that were all innocent people who were given death sentences to be cleared of their offences, the exoneration rate would rise from the actual rate of those released – 1.6% – to at least 4.1%. That is equivalent in the time frame of the study, 1973 to 2004, of about 340 prisoners – a much larger group than the 138 who were exonerated in the same period.

“This is a disturbing finding,” said Samuel Gross, a law professor at the University of Michigan law school who is the lead author of the research. “There are a large number of people who are sentenced to death, and despite our best efforts some of them have undoubtedly been executed.”

The research team deployed statistical devices to put a figure on the proportion of cases of hidden innocence. In particular, they deployed a technique known as “survival analysis”, to calculate the percentage of prisoners who have been taken off death row but who might still be innocent.

They also applied “sensitivity analysis”, to take into account possible cases of exonerations where the released prisoner is nonetheless guilty, and to ensure that the overall findings erred on the side of caution.

The study, published in a prestigious journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, does not solve perhaps the greatest single riddle of the death penalty: how many innocent people have actually been put to death in modern times. That remains a haunting unknown.

But Gross is clear that such final and irreparable injustices have occured.

“If you look at the numbers in our study, at how many errors are made, then you cannot believe that we haven’t executed any innocent person – that would be wishful thinking.”

Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which supplied some of the data on which the study depends, said “every time we have an execution, there is a risk of executing an innocent person. The risk may be small, but it’s unacceptable”.

The ballpark figure of at least 4.1% innocence is higher than previous studies looking at exoneration rates that had smaller sample sizes and were more restricted in their remit. It is also considerably higher than the estimate given in 2007 by the conservative US supreme court justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote that American criminal convictions generally had an “error rate of .027% – or, to put it another way, a success rate of 99.973%”.

The authors comment tartly with respect to Scalia’s skills as a statistician: “That would be comforting, if true. In fact, the claim is silly.”

The single largest group of innocent death row inmates are neither exonerated and released nor executed, the study suggests. Rather, they are left in limbo, somewhere in between those two extremes of fortune.

Gross and his co-authors estimate that 36% of all those sentenced to death between 1973 and 2004 – some 2,675 people – were taken off death row after doubts about their convictions were raised. But they were then put on new sentences, usually life without parole, that mean they will almost certainly die in prison.

The study concludes chillingly that “the great majority of innocent defendants who are convicted of capital murder in the United States are neither executed nor exonerated. They are sentenced, or resentenced to prison for life, and then forgotten”.

Gross said that this explains the 200 or so missing people highlighted by his study – men and women who are innocent and yet have not been exonerated. In most cases, they have probably been moved off death row.

Because they are no longer under the threat of execution, they are no longer treated as priorities within the criminal justice system. They can no longer draw upon the help of experienced legal teams, and they may not be entitled to appeals. As a result, their chances of clearing their names plummet.

“The best efforts of the judicial system are only devoted to prisoners when they face execution,” Gross said. “In many cases when people are released from death row, little or nothing is done to deal with the equally bad injustice they now face – that they will spend the rest of their lives in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.”
The study:

We present a conservative estimate of the proportion of erroneous convictions of defendants sentenced to death in the
United States from 1973 through 2004, 4.1%.
This is a unique finding; there are no other reliable estimates of the rate of false conviction in any context. The main source of potential bias is the accuracy of our classification of cases as true or false convictions. On that issue it is likely that we have an undercount, that there are more innocent death row defendants who have not been identified and exonerated than guilty ones who have been exonerated in error.

The most charged question in this area is different: How many innocent defendants have been put to death? We cannot estimate that number directly but we believe it is comparatively
low. If the rate were the same as our estimate for false death sentences, the number of innocents executed in the United States in the past 35 years would be more than 50. We do not believe that has happened. Our data and the experience of
practitioners in the field both indicate that the criminal justice system goes to far greater lengths to avoid executing innocent defendants than to prevent them from remaining in prison in- definitely.
One way to do so is to disproportionately reverse death sentences in capital cases in which the accuracy of the defendants’ convictions is in doubt and to resentence them to life imprisonment, a practice that makes our estimate of the rate of error conservative. However, no process of removing potentially innocent defendants from the execution queue can be foolproof.
With an error rate at trial over 4%, it is all but
certain that several of the 1,320 defendants executed since 1977 were innocent.

It is possible that the death-sentencing rate of innocent defendants has changed over time. No specific evidence points in that direction, but the number and the distribution of death sentences have changed dramatically in the past 15 years. One change, however, is unlikely to have much impact: the advent of DNA identification technology. DNA evidence is useful primarily in rape rather than homicide investigations. Only 13% of death row exonerations since 1973 (18 of 142) resulted from postconviction DNA testing, so the availability of pre-conviction testing will have at most a modest effect on that rate.

Unfortunately, we cannot generalize from our findings on death sentences to the rate of false convictions in any broader category of crime. Capital prosecutions, and to a lesser extent
murder cases in general, are handled very differently from other criminal cases. There are theoretical reasons to believe that the rate of false conviction may be higher for murders in general, and for capital murders in particular, than for other felony convictions, primarily because the authorities are more likely to pursue difficult cases with weak evidence of guilt if one or more people have been killed. However, there are no data that confirm or refute this hypothesis.

We do know that the rate of error among death sentences is far greater than Justice Scalia’s reassuring 0.027%. That much is apparent directly from the number of death row exonerations that have already occurred. Our research adds the disturbing news that most innocent defendants who have been sentenced to death have not been exonerated, and many—including the great majority of those who have been resentenced to life in prison—probably never will be.

This is only part of a disturbing picture. Fewer than half of all defendants who are convicted of capital murder are ever sentenced to death in the first place (e.g., 49.1% in Missouri as in
ref. 24, 29% in Philadelphia as in ref. 25, and 31% in New Jersey as in ref. 26). Sentencing juries, like other participants in the process, worry about the execution of innocent defendants. Interviews with jurors who participated in capital sentencing
proceedings indicate that lingering doubts about the defendant’s guilt is the strongest available predictor of a sentence of life imprisonment rather than death. It follows that the rate of innocence must be higher for convicted capital defendants who are not sentenced to death than for those who are. The net result is that the great majority of innocent defendants who are convicted of capital murder in the United States are neither executed nor exonerated. They are sentenced, or resentenced to prison for life, and then forgotten.


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Re: The death penalty

#35

Post by LM K »



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Re: The death penalty

#36

Post by Frater I*I »

roadscholar wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:59 pm
Georgia. Known as a virtual penal colony early on.
Not really any different from today... :mrgreen:

I'll come in again...


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Re: The death penalty

#37

Post by bob »

THV11: New testing in Ledell Lee case finds 'unknown male' DNA on murder weapon:
New testing requested by the ACLU and Innocence Project in Ledell Lee's case has found DNA belonging to an "unknown male" on the murder weapon and a bloody shirt.

New DNA testing that was completed four years after the State of Arkansas executed Ledell Lee for the 1993 murder of Debra Reese was released on Friday.

The testing concluded that Lee's DNA was not on the wooden club or a bloody shirt found at the scene.

According to the test results, DNA of an "unknown male" was found on the wooden club that was reportedly used as the murder weapon and the shirt.

The testing concluded that there is "moderate support" that blood on Lee's left shoe could belong to Reese.

* * *

The Innocence Project and ACLU said five of the six hairs [found at the crime scene] tested for mitochondrial DNA excluded Lee as the source. Lee could not be "excluded as a potential source" in one of the hairs.

"Mitochondrial DNA testing analyzes DNA shared by all individuals in a common maternal line, including distant relatives; it can be used to exclude known individuals as the source, but cannot be the basis for absolute identification or individualization," the ALCU and Innocence Project said in a press release.
From what I understand, at the trial a criminologist testified to looking at the hairs under a microscope and concluding they were "consistent" with Lee's. (Such a methodology is no longer permitted.)

And, per the Innocence Project, it had asked Arkansas in 2017 to perform the DNA testing, but its execution drugs were expiring, so Arkansas denied the request because it wanted to hold executions before its supply had run out. Arkansas hasn't executed anyone since.
Edit: Four people were executed in that one week in 2017.


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Re: The death penalty

#38

Post by Maybenaut »

Jesus.


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Re: The death penalty

#39

Post by LM K »

bob wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 1:13 pm THV11: New testing in Ledell Lee case finds 'unknown male' DNA on murder weapon:
New testing requested by the ACLU and Innocence Project in Ledell Lee's case has found DNA belonging to an "unknown male" on the murder weapon and a bloody shirt.

New DNA testing that was completed four years after the State of Arkansas executed Ledell Lee for the 1993 murder of Debra Reese was released on Friday.

The testing concluded that Lee's DNA was not on the wooden club or a bloody shirt found at the scene.

According to the test results, DNA of an "unknown male" was found on the wooden club that was reportedly used as the murder weapon and the shirt.

The testing concluded that there is "moderate support" that blood on Lee's left shoe could belong to Reese.

* * *

The Innocence Project and ACLU said five of the six hairs [found at the crime scene] tested for mitochondrial DNA excluded Lee as the source. Lee could not be "excluded as a potential source" in one of the hairs.

"Mitochondrial DNA testing analyzes DNA shared by all individuals in a common maternal line, including distant relatives; it can be used to exclude known individuals as the source, but cannot be the basis for absolute identification or individualization," the ALCU and Innocence Project said in a press release.
From what I understand, at the trial a criminologist testified to looking at the hairs under a microscope and concluding they were "consistent" with Lee's. (Such a methodology is no longer permitted.)

And, per the Innocence Project, it had asked Arkansas in 2017 to perform the DNA testing, but its execution drugs were expiring, so Arkansas denied the request because it wanted to hold executions before its supply had run out. Arkansas hasn't executed anyone since.
This is unforgivable. Arkansas likely murdered Lee. (While I believe all executions are murder, cases like Lee's are unforgivable.)

A fascinating Frontline documentary on forensic science: The Real CSI


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Re: The death penalty

#40

Post by Lani »

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House voted Wednesday to add a firing squad to the state’s execution methods amid a lack of lethal-injection drugs — a measure meant to jump-start executions in a state that once had one of the busiest death chambers in the nation.

The bill, approved by a 66-43 vote, will require condemned inmates to choose either being shot or electrocuted if lethal injection drugs aren’t available. The state is one of only nine to still use the electric chair and will become only the fourth to allow a firing squad.

South Carolina last executed a death row inmate 10 years ago Thursday.

The Senate already had approved the bill in March, by a vote of 32-11. The House only made minor technical changes to that version, meaning that after a routine final vote in the House and a signoff by the Senate, it will go to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has said he will sign it.
https://apnews.com/article/south-caroli ... ce=Twitter


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Re: The death penalty

#41

Post by neonzx »

We're known by the company we keep....

Image

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45835584

Yes, we are so "exceptional"... :roll:


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Re: The death penalty

#42

Post by LM K »

Lani wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 5:49 am
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House voted Wednesday to add a firing squad to the state’s execution methods amid a lack of lethal-injection drugs — a measure meant to jump-start executions in a state that once had one of the busiest death chambers in the nation.

The bill, approved by a 66-43 vote, will require condemned inmates to choose either being shot or electrocuted if lethal injection drugs aren’t available. The state is one of only nine to still use the electric chair and will become only the fourth to allow a firing squad.

South Carolina last executed a death row inmate 10 years ago Thursday.

The Senate already had approved the bill in March, by a vote of 32-11. The House only made minor technical changes to that version, meaning that after a routine final vote in the House and a signoff by the Senate, it will go to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has said he will sign it.
https://apnews.com/article/south-caroli ... ce=Twitter
Well, in a disturbing was, this is progress. The torture of lethal injection is eliminated.

I don't know how I would vote on this if I were a lawmaker. As I've written previously, I believe that the death penalty is unethical, immortal, and typically torturous. On principle, I would want to vote against this measure.

On the other hand, I fear what other drug cocktails prisons might experiment with as they try to continue using lethal injection. The subjects of the experiments could be only death row inmates.

Is it fair to ask correctional officers to shoot a person to death?

It's so sad that lethal injections are only stopping because the drugs are unavailable, not because the lethal injection process is torture.


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Re: The death penalty

#43

Post by Maybenaut »

LM K wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 6:07 pm Is it fair to ask correctional officers to shoot a person to death?
It’s not fair. But nor is it fair to ask doctors. And the doctors have an oath they can stand behind as a reason for refusing to administer the cocktail, as many do.

Best just not to have it.


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Re: The death penalty

#44

Post by neonzx »

Lethal injection of what?

Do you know how easy it is to kill a person with READILY available drugs?

Sedate the prisoner and put them them to sleep(drug induced coma)... and then morphine and it's over.

No, they want these death row prisoners to suffer. The cruelty is unspeakable. They want a spectacle.


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Re: The death penalty

#45

Post by somerset »

neonzx wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 6:58 pm Lethal injection of what?

Do you know how easy it is to kill a person with READILY available drugs?

Sedate the prisoner and put them them to sleep(drug induced coma)... and then morphine and it's over.

Simpler still - just fill a chamber with nitrogen.
No, they want these death row prisoners to suffer. The cruelty is unspeakable. They want a spectacle.
Yeah :(


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Re: The death penalty

#46

Post by LM K »

neonzx wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 6:58 pm Lethal injection of what?

Do you know how easy it is to kill a person with READILY available drugs?

Sedate the prisoner and put them them to sleep(drug induced coma)... and then morphine and it's over.
States will have the same problem they have with lethal injection drugs. Any method of execution that relies on a vendor to provide the ingredients needed for execution won't work.

Correctional facilities need opiates for medical reasons. Correctional facilities can't risk losing access to opiates.

Many of the 32 states that execute inmates must make the name of their vendors publicly available info. By law, states must obtain their products directly from manufacturers.

This is why firing squads and electrocution are attractive to facilities that execute inmates. There is no need to worry about venders. No bullet company is going to refuse a contract with state and federal correctional facilities. The contract isn't specifically for executions. Prisons can share their electric chairs with those prisons that no longer have electric chairs.

A fascinating article about execution by gas.


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Re: The death penalty

#47

Post by Uninformed »



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Re: The death penalty

#48

Post by keith »

Foggy wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:11 am Yeah, and that was a good thing. I like Australia, and besides, most of the ones who were transported would not be eligible for the death penalty today.

Some people commit such heinous crimes that the DP does seem appropriate. But I agree, our legal system is imperfect and occasionally innocent people - especially innocent people of color - get convicted. So I'm generally against it, but then you get someone like Randy Kraft, who was driving around with a dead Marine in his car and a list of 65 other people he'd killed in the trunk (called the boot in Australia). A friend of mine was one of his lawyers, and we both agreed, if there was anyone who ever deserved the DP, it was him.

It's a :pickle:
In fact most of the people tranported to Aussieland were guilty of crimes such as stealing a half loaf of bread. Or less.

Which was not, even then a capital crime.


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Re: The death penalty

#49

Post by keith »

roadscholar wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:59 pm
Lani wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:08 am
Suranis wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:00 am I hear that policy was tried before, and resulted in Australia. :shark2:
It was done in what became the US as well. When the revolution ended, Parliament decided it would have to send convicts to Australia instead of America. For some reason, that doesn't show up in school history books.
Georgia. Known as a virtual penal colony early on.

I learned it in history class! Of course, that was 50 years ago...
Me too.


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Re: The death penalty

#50

Post by AndyinPA »

https://www.chron.com/news/article/New- ... 182121.php
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has signed into law a bill that forces death row inmates for now to choose between the electric chair or a newly formed firing squad in hopes the state can restart executions after an involuntary 10-year pause.

Two inmates who have exhausted their appeals immediately sued, saying they can't be electrocuted or shot since they were sentenced under a prior law that made lethal injection the default execution method.

South Carolina had been one of the most prolific states of its size in putting inmates to death. But a lack of lethal injection drugs brought executions to a halt.


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