Day 120 Question 120

Day 120 Question 120:

Do you believe in the death penalty?

 I expect to get a lot of commentary on this subject.  I chose this topic because I watched a documentary last night called Into the Abyss.  The documentary was about two boys that murdered three people when they were 18 years old.  In 2010 they were 28 years old and one was scheduled to be executed on July 10, 2010.  These two boys murdered 3 people and their motive for these actions was to steal cars.  Three innocent people lost their lives just so these 2 boys could joy ride in stolen sports cars.  I found it funny (funny is probably not the best word) that in the documentary both boys were being interviewed from jail and both claim innocence and point the fingers at each other.  The scene of all crimes shows that they were both blatantly guilty of several crimes.  Both boys had been in and out of jail several times prior to this.  One of the boys fathers had been in prison for 10+ years at this point and he was given a 40 year sentence for murder.  The whole scene was very saddening.  These boys stood no chance in society because violence and crime were what they knew while growing up.

Do I believe in the death penalty though???  I have to say I do not.  I do not believe that killing someone as punishment to show them that killing someone is wrong is the right method of doing things.  Trust me I understand that my feelings could completely change if it was someone that I loved very much or if I had a child that was harmed, molested or murdered.  From this moment right here, right now though, I just don’t see it as a fit punishment.  The government is committing just as much of a crime as the perpetrator.  I don’t understand what is being solved or what justice is really served.  I know a lot of people would argue with me about the cost of keeping an inmate in prison that would most likely not have any sort of chance for rehabilitation.  I, personally, cannot condone that argument.  No matter what, a human life is being taken and I do not believe ANYONE should be allowed to kill another human being…even if the other human being is a complete monster.  Two wrongs do not make a right.  I do, however, believe that this country needs to get off their ass and stop making these jails a fun factory for prisoners.  When I was in high school, out class visited the local prison, and during the tour we witnessed inmates playing basketball, playing foosball, hanging out cutting up with each other.  If someone commits a crime then they need to be punished…close them away in a cell with nothing offered to them.  Extremely violent offenders should be in a room with 4 dingy walls and a mattress on the floor (I suppose a toilet and sink should be provided too).  I believe that rehabilitation should always be strived for and counseling/therapy should be very intensive but outside of this time, a prisoner should have absolutely no perks…in my opinion they really should not even be allowed books.   I would rather see an inmate die from insanity from sitting alone in a room of just four walls then being executed at the hands of the government.  Execution, in my opinion, is just too easy of an escape route….I would say that it is too easy of a way for the government to save money but let’s face it, how long does an inmate sit on death row…..a very long time….and in that time the cost is going to keep going up and up and up.

Our government and judicial system in this country is extremely screwed up.  I watched the movie The Ides of March the other day and it brought a new perspective to me in regards to government.  I am unsure if there is any politician that can be truly trusted….or law enforcement official or judicial official for that matter.  I have learned that money talks and it is sad but so many of these people can be easily paid off no matter what the circumstance is.  I watched another documentary a week ago about a woman who was in jail for 27 years for being involved with her husband’s murder.  Her husband forced her into prostitution and he beat her severely for several years.  He stalked her when she tried to leave and threatened her life regularly.  She had a “friend” take care of the matter.  She didn’t want him killed but she wanted him roughed up.  She was served with a life sentence.  In the state of California, with the details of this crime, this woman should have never severed more than 6 years.  Instead the government officials kept her there and hid court documentation that could have freed her.  People were paid off and others just didn’t want to deal with the extra paperwork so they just kept denying her parole.  It was outrageous the amount of illegal actions were taking place.  Can you imagine the cost of keeping this woman in prison for 21 years longer than she was supposed to actually be there.  It absolutely disgusted me.

I will always live a happy life and try my hardest to focus on the positive.  I will do what I need to do to achieve peace and achieve many more good days than bad but I cannot lie and say that I have lost faith in many people and aspects of this country.  I hate that I believe that honesty and truly caring about your country and your people is a thing of the past.  I hate that we live in a “Me Me Me” society and we have become extremely lazy.  I do not believe in the death penalty because it solves nothing.  When you execute someone, you allow them to win (at least that is what I think).

I ask you to remember that this is strictly MY opinion.  I am sure people will tell me I am wrong or debate me which is completely fine.  I understand that my feelings could change if I were to have a family member killed or if I had child and found out he/she was molested.  My first animal instinct might be to kill them with my own hands…I could never know unless that situation were to arise.  In this moment though, I do not believe that the death penalty is an appropriate form of punishment.  Honestly, I do not think that our men should have killed Bin Laden (yes pause for gasp).  I would must rather have him suffering in a highly violent prison amongst United States prisoners (that loathe him) than just point blank shoot him and kill him.  The extremists that followed his lead believed in suicide missions (i.e., 9/11 plane hijackers).  In my opinion, killing him meant nothing.  I don’t know the circumstances and it may have been “self-defense” but if it wasn’t, I do not believe justice was served.  Killing him was just too easy.

My father would probably shake his head in disgust that I think this way….but I do.  I go with what my heart tells me….and punishing someone by killing them is never ever ever ever the right answer.  We strive for peace but we kill people every day….that just doesn’t add up to me.  This country needs to learn to prioritize but in my lifetime I doubt that will ever happen.  I now await the criticisms….please don’t go too hard on me ;0)

Whoah this is sooooo weird.  I just opened up my Yahoo email and this was the cover story (a little ironic maybe???):

Wrong man was executed in Texas, probe says

He was the spitting image of the killer, had the same first name and was near the scene of the crime at the fateful hour: Carlos DeLuna paid the ultimate price and was executed in place of someone else in Texas in 1989, a report out Tuesday found.

Even “all the relatives of both Carloses mistook them,” and DeLuna was sentenced to death and executed based only on eyewitness accounts despite a range of signs he was not a guilty man, said law professor James Liebman.

Liebman and five of his students at Columbia School of Law spent almost five years poring over details of a case that he says is “emblematic” of legal system failure.

DeLuna, 27, was put to death after “a very incomplete investigation. No question that the investigation is a failure,” Liebman said.

The report’s authors found “numerous missteps, missed clues and missed opportunities that let authorities prosecute Carlos DeLuna for the crime of murder, despite evidence not only that he did not commit the crime but that another individual, Carlos Hernandez, did,” the 780-page investigation found.

The report, entitled “Los Tocayos Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution,” traces the facts surrounding the February 1983 murder of Wanda Lopez, a single mother who was stabbed in the gas station where she worked in a quiet corner of the Texas coastal city of Corpus Christi.

“Everything went wrong in this case,” Liebman said.

That night Lopez called police for help twice to protect her from an individual with a switchblade.

“They could have saved her, they said ‘we made this arrest immediately’ to overcome the embarrassment,” Liebman said.

Forty minutes after the crime Carlos DeLuna was arrested not far from the gas station.

He was identified by only one eyewitness who saw a Hispanic male running from the gas station. But DeLuna had just shaved and was wearing a white dress shirt — unlike the killer, who an eyewitness said had a mustache and was wearing a grey flannel shirt.

Even though witnesses accounts were contradictory — the killer was seen fleeing towards the north, while DeLuna was caught in the east — DeLuna was arrested.

“I didn’t do it, but I know who did,” DeLuna said at the time, saying that he saw Carlos Hernandez entering the service station.

DeLuna said he ran from police because he was on parole and had been drinking.

Hernandez, known for using a blade in his attacks, was later jailed for murdering a woman with the same knife. But in the trial, the lead prosecutor told the jury that Hernandez was nothing but a “phantom” of DeLuna’s imagination.

DeLuna’s budget attorney even said that it was probable that Carlos Hernandez never existed.

However in 1986 a local newspaper published a photograph of Hernandez in an article on the DeLuna case, Liebman said.

Following hasty trial DeLuna was executed by lethal injection in 1989.

Up to the day he died in prison of cirrhosis of the liver, Hernandez repeatedly admitted to murdering Wanda Lopez, Liebman said.

“Unfortunately, the flaws in the system that wrongfully convicted and executed DeLuna — faulty eyewitness testimony, shoddy legal representation and prosecutorial misconduct — continue to send innocent men to their death today,” read a statement that accompanies the report.

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18 Responses to Day 120 Question 120

  1. Sometimes I sit on the fence depending on how horrific the crime, but for the most part I think that it would be more punishing to lose my freedom and contact with the outside world.

  2. Anastasia says:

    More than 100%, although I think the process is too slow. There should be a guillotine outside the doors to courtrooms. We’d save SO much money. Of course only in cases of absolute certainty, not our crazy “beyond reasonable doubt” LEGAL system which is in few ways a *justice* system.

  3. You just repeated many of the same arguments I have for being against the death penalty. I agree it’s an easy escape. Of course, like you, I don’t know how I would feel if I lost someone to the hands of a murderer. But I’d like to think that if anyone I love was killed by someone, I would want that person to sit in an isolated cell and be forced to think about what they did every remaining day of their life, not put out of their misery, which is how I view the death penalty.
    I also do not buy the financial arguments. As you said, they sit on death row for years and years anyway. And while they sit on death row, they are spending tax-payer money on appeal after appeal adding to the costs even more.
    But, bottom line, I can’t support the government doing what they are convicting others of doing.

  4. In the words of Jon Donne ….any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
    Do I believe in the death penalty? – The one thing I know is there is a lie in believe …

  5. rich says:

    i’m okay with the death penalty but only if it’s done MY way.
    1. there are no doubts about guilt. video evidence or confession or something without question.
    2. was not possible to be a case of self defense.
    3. repeat offender of something violent.
    4. 1st degree murder, not 2nd or 3rd or manslaugther.
    5. all cases of killing a police or similar officer in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree murder.

    i’m not saying i want this, but if you’re going to have a death penalty, then this is how i’d want it.

  6. I know things aren’t so black and white in life, but I simply couldn’t kill someone regardless of what they’ve done. In the end it comes down to the fact that I’m not God and, therefore, do not have the right to EVER decide when someone dies. :/

    Great post and good things to think about.

  7. Good post.
    I don’t believe in the death penalty either, but keeping prisoners in inhumane conditions seems a bit harsh. Some feel remorse and find redemption through therapy and being part of the prison community and a willingness to integrate. I would make them work for their keep, though, like in the old days building roads and railways, etc. Nowadays we have electronic tagging, so it should be easy to keep them under control without them doing a runner. Perhaps by feeling useful to society, they will see the wrong in their previous ways. Some (especially the young ones) could have murdered out of desperation with life and don’t really relish that way of life.

    For the truly evil ones, for the psychotic or psychopaths and without hope of cure, hard labour on the chain gang is the only answer. I wouldn’t keep them without them giving anything back. That’s how they’d get their exercise.

  8. My opinion is the same as yours Diane, I don’t believe that anything can be resolved or brought back by killing someone because they killed another. Of course if something horrific happened to a family member or friend I would be beyond devastated but killing them isn’t going to bring back the human life they took. Great post!

  9. Abby Rae says:

    I wrote a 30 page research paper for my Honors classin HS (1998) about this topic…I abhor the death penalty. It is an archaic and unevolved form of punishment. I’m pretty sure my guidance counselor thought I was cuckoo when I told her I wanted to counsel death row inmates like Sister Helen Prejean! Makes me giggle when I think about the look on her face! GREAT POST!!

  10. Paws To Talk says:

    We think sitting in jail is punishment enough. We know from experience because we were crate trained.

    Bella and DiDi

  11. I agree with you, I do NOT believe in the death penalty!! There is always that chance of a “shadow of a doubt”, being a paralegal, I know that there are innocent people in prisons all over. Sadly, our legal system is flawed. I love what Abby Rae said 🙂 I agree, great post!

  12. lushlili says:

    I agree with you that a person should suffer for taking the life of another person.

    The death penalty has been abolished here in Australia and our Federal government passing laws in 2010 to prevent the death penalty to be reintroduced.

    I do agree with you that prisoners have quite “good” living conditions in prison but I wouldn’t know how the government could introduce a way for them to suffer for their crimes before it turns into torture. Where would the line end before the government/society become monstrous and barbaric like these killers if we made them suffer like their victims did? I guess that would be another question to answer?

    I am in no way having a go at you. I do agree with you. Your post just made me think about it on a wider scale and how changes to the system could take place but then also cause new issues to arise.

    • Diane :0) says:

      I definitely agree. I agree in trying to rehabilitate as much as possible but where is that line where punishment become torture.

      • No torture necessary. Just make them work doig whatever needs doing to help society. Thay way, they are not having anything for free and they are contributing towards the good of all.

  13. Michael says:

    I watched the same movie about the boys who ended up with 40 year sentences just like their father. The most touching moments of that film were the ones where the father was discussing his past behavior and expressing the guilt and shame involved with having both boys also facing sentences nearly as long as his. I am sure if you asked that same man 10 years ago about how he felt about things his answer would be completely different, it is always interesting to see people grow and have complete psychic changes.

    • Michael says:

      …and I am also against the death penalty. I also disagree with the way our society views murderers; it’s almost as if violent crimes that lead to murder are far more accepted than any other; especially when it comes to self defense. I believe there are many ways to avoid killing someone altogether. Murder to me is the number one offense above all others.

  14. I agree with your position and thoughts. In judging another person……there is always room for a mistake or wrong judgement. What kind of message are we giving another when we do exactly what we say is “wrong”? I have this discussion with my young sons, and they can’t understand why there is the death penalty. In addition, we talk about how bad it is to be stoned to death, burned alive, put in a firing line, or hung (which is still barbaric), as they do in many Mid-East countries today, but we are hypocrites if we think that “our” way is better. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  15. Personally I lean toward the death penalty but not unless there’s complete assurance there’s not a shadow of a doubt… it’s a difficult position, and you’ve given meat to chew on, thanks Diane.

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