Susan (
5 Sep 1996 18:31:35 GMT

Bob Keeter <> wrote:

>To an extent I have to agree with you on the alternatives. The only
>"perfect" method to insure that an innocent man is never executed is
>to abolish executions (not that I'm advocating that approach!). There are
>risks here though. First, the risk of freeing a person who has already
>proven a level of disregard for human life. Second, the problems with
>"absolute" sentences, i.e. Murder = execution. Are there any cases where
>murder would still be a crime but would not deserve execution?

I'm not absolutely sure about this, but my understanding is that not all
murders carry the possibility of a death penalty. At least in some
states, they have to have "special circumstances", such as multiple
deaths or particularly grisly ones. I seem to remember hearing this in
regard to the Simpson trial, because he was theoretically facing that
possibility because there were two deaths involved. So there are murders
which are already considered not appropriately punished by the death

> Is it right
>to saddle society with paying (heavily I might add) for the care and
>feeding of a person that the society has already determined can not EVER
>walk around free again?

According to the sociologist who has an office next to mine (and is a
criminology specialist), it actually costs more to exectue people than it
does to keep them in prison. This is because of the lengthy appeals
process, which costs the time of keeping the person in prison, as well as
the salaries of all those involved in the prisons and the appeals. Now,
you could argue that we just abolish the appeals process, which would
then make it cheaper to execute someone. But then how do you ensure that
the "proper" people have been found guilty and executed, and that all the
possible avenues for mistakes have been investigated and resolved? I
personally wouldn't want to rely on a single judge or jury to make that
decision in such a serious matter as life or death.

>As for what history suggests, I would offer one (somewhat sarcastic, but
>thats the way I am!) example; How many convicted murderers/rapists/etc have
>been released from prison on parole only to committ the same crime again?
>How many executed murderers/rapists/etc have failed to be rehabilitated?

I guess it depends on which side of the equation you find yourself. If
you are innocent and are executed (and there are a number of these that
are documented, up to and including very recent times-- again according
to my nextdoor neighbor!), is that better or worse than being killed by
someone who should be in jail? Maybe what we need to do is reform the
parole and prison process, so that we make a real effort (not just a
cosmetic one) to reform those who could be reformed and simply warehouse
the rest?

Just a thought!


>>"Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps."
>>-- Emo Phillips



"Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps."
-- Emo Phillips