To Execute Or Not

Bill Mattocks

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What is the racial disparity in total number of crimes worthy of the death penalty?

No one knows. Despite the fact that a lot of studies of racial disparity in death penalty have been done, and all of them (as far as I know) say that yes, there is a definite bias against minorities, what is not accounted for are the overall number of cases in which the death penalty COULD have been applied for, but for whatever reason, the prosecuting attorney chose not to seek it.

It has been often reported by the authors of those studies that District Attorneys across the US routinely refuse to provide that information - according to the UCR requirements, they do not have to, either.

Im betting more men then women get the death penalty...it is "sexist" too?

I don't know. However, if it is inequitably applied to anyone - is that a good thing? I'd be against it if it were inequitably applied to rich people versus poor (or vice-versa). Equality under the law is one of our founding principles.

What is the disparity in the race of VICTIMS??

That's actually the crust of the biscuit, you see. The overwhelming highest number of death penalties awarded on a percentage basis are to black men who kill white men. Not black on black, or white on white, or white on black. It appears to be the race of the victim that makes for the most clearly racist verdicts.

The "death penalty" isnt more expensive. The legal process in getting people there is more expensive.

That's the intent of the argument, I think. They mean the overall cost of getting down to it. Since we afford legal protections to all, and we are exceedingly careful when it involves the forfeit of life, there are long drawn out appeals, which the state (and therefore the taxpayer) has to pay for.

I'm guessing you knew that, though.
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Bill Mattocks

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Keeping convicts from the death penalty from an economic standpoint is pretty pathetic. The ones who cameup with that need to get something a little bit better.

I think the people 'coming up with that' are state governments facing huge deficits.

Most people seem not to be paying attention to California - due to their prison overcrowding problem (a federal judge has run their state prison medical system for years, having 'taking it over' some time ago), the state is planning on simply releasing thousands and thousands of violent criminals onto the streets - they cannot AFFORD to keep them locked up anymore.

http://www.reuters.com/article/wtMostRead/idUSTRE5190CB20090210

U.S. judges seek massive California prisoner release
Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:04am EST
By Peter Henderson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Federal judges on Monday tentatively ordered California to release tens of thousands of inmates, up to a third of all prisoners, in the next three years to stop dangerous overcrowding.

As many as 57,000 could be let go if the current population were cut by the maximum percentage considered by a three-judge panel. Judges said the move could be done without threatening public safety -- and might improve a public safety hazard.

The state immediately said it would appeal the final ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Thank you for demonstrating my point. Although blacks are far more likely (6 times!) to commit murder on blacks (your links), they are more likely to receive the death penalty for committing murder on whites (my links).

And somehow that isn't racist? Seems odd to me.

EDIT: And just on the chance that your link was meant to refute my statement that DA's typically don't report, blah, blah, blah, I said that they don't report the number of homicide prosecutions in which they could seek the death penalty but choose not to. You won't find that in FBI crime stats - it isn't there. It's up to the discretion of individual DA's all over the country.
 

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What she said.

While I suspect she may be a bit of a nut. Her basic point on the racial disparity in death penalty stats is sound.
 

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Hmmm..what is the racial make-up of most juries during penalty phase?
 

Bill Mattocks

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Hmmm..what is the racial make-up of most juries during penalty phase?

Don't know, it doesn't matter. Again, the question is not figuring out why the death penalty is given more often by percentage to blacks than to whites, but that it is the case. It exists - therefore, the system is not equitable.
 

Bill Mattocks

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That would be another case of inequality before the law, wouldn't it? Again, if it is true, you prove my point for me. Call it 'geographical inequality' if you like - the point being, the system is inequitable. Our legal system calls for equal justice under the law. This is yet another reason the death penalty isn't.

You're really grasping at straws, but I appreciate the fact that most of your links support my statements! :asian:
 

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"Equal Justice"..hmmm....Racial disparity aside..what is the percentage of legal convictions? Is the sentence "just"?

The point here isnt that the recipients aren't deserving...just that the balance isnt "fair" right?
 

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Race of death row inmates.

Haven't totaled em up but it looks like more white criminals have actually been executed...balance the % of population with the % of offending...add 3..carry the .02 divide by 6...ahhhh hell.
 

Bill Mattocks

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"Equal Justice"..hmmm....Racial disparity aside..what is the percentage of legal convictions? Is the sentence "just"?

The point here isnt that the recipients aren't deserving...just that the balance isnt "fair" right?

That is a tautology. Those who are sentenced to death are not entitled to fairness in sentencing, because they are sentenced to death, and people sentenced to death are not entitled to fairness. Circular logic doesn't work.

'Deserving' is not a judgment you or I are entitled to make, according to our Constitution. In Caldwell v. Texas (1891) Justice Fuller said this about the Fourteenth Amendment: "By the Fourteenth Amendment the powers of the States in dealing with crime within their borders are not limited, but no State can deprive particular persons or classes of persons of equal and impartial justice under the law."

Everyone is entitled to equal justice under the law. If not, then we do not have justice at all.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Race of death row inmates.

Haven't totaled em up but it looks like more white criminals have actually been executed...

Again, you seem to be really grasping at those straws, my friend. You're starting to flail about.

More white criminals doesn't mean anything in terms of percentage. Think about it - there are a lot more white people in the US than black.
 

Archangel M

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That wasnt my question...if the balance was acceptable would you be for the death penalty.
 

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Again, you seem to be really grasping at those straws, my friend. You're starting to flail about.

More white criminals doesn't mean anything in terms of percentage. Think about it - there are a lot more white people in the US than black.

But statistically blacks are 6-7 times more likely to commit a crime deserving of the penalty.
 
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I am of mixed mind on the death penalty.

I am not in favor of the state taking human life. I do not think that the death penalty is an effective deterrent. However, I do think that the death penalty is the end of a particular person's ability to harm our society and our citizens. Some people are unable to live within the rules of society, and only the permanent solution of death will protect us from them in a dependable way.

One the one hand, while it may be cheaper to keep an inmate housed for life, an inmate who is alive remains a threat. A threat to the guard staff, a threat to other inmates, even a threat to people outside of prison, depending on his prison-gang connections. A person convicted and sent to prison for 'life' may not serve actual life. Even when that is the original intent of the judge and jury, things change - sentences get reduced, convictions overturned, and there is always the chance, however minimal, of escape. A convict who has been executed will not offend again, and that is the only finality the system offers.

On the other hand, I am troubled by the small-but-growing number of men on death row who are later found to be innocent due to DNA evidence that was not available at the time. I also find, as many governors of various states have, that the death penalty is inequitably applied, with a far greater frequency of death penalties given to black men who commit crimes similar to those of whites given lesser sentences. While a policy is essentially racist, I find it impossible to support. If that problem can be overcome, then I have no other objections to the death penalty in principle.

The 'financial argument' is an interesting one, because it does not address the one thing that could tip that balance the other way - by putting an end to 20 to 30 year appeal processes and endless frivolous appeals at the taxpayer's expense. China has a process which is far simpler, and the cost is limited to the cost of the trial itself. While I do not argue that we should follow China's policy of a bullet to the back of the head immediately after conviction, I think we could control costs by putting a cap on the number of years and appeals that convicts are allowed.

Good points Bill. There was a guy here in CT a while ago, that was in jail for, I think, about 20yrs, before he was found innocent. All that time wasted. Now he wasn't on death row, but still. And the Gov. of CT gave him a pretty hefty payment because of this.

Its amazing how long people sit and sit, before the real facts come out. Its too bad there wasnt a way to figure out innocent or guilt a bit quicker. Of course, if there is no doubt at all, as to whether or not the guy is guilty, then I'm all for pulling the switch. Why let him sit for another 10yrs filing appeal after appeal.
 
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MJS

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I am for the death penalty because some men do not fear prison. They fear death itself and prefer their victims to be dead while he is alive roaming the earth.

DNA evidence will continue to improve as well another truth finding tools so I would vote to keep the death penalty and it is cheaper than sentencing some sick pervert or evil animal to life imprisonment and it is far more safer for the prison guards.

Some crimes do not call for the death penalty.

Sometimes, 20 year sentences are appropriate.

Another times, the death penalty is appropriate.

They dont fear it, because its a country club atmosphere, not a prison atmosphere. With all the perks they get, who wouldnt feel right at home?
 

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