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Facebook Social Networks The Courts Crime

Can a Court Order You To Delete a Facebook Account? 761

Posted by timothy
from the seems-even-worse-than-no-internet-orders dept.
First time accepted submitter jaymz666 writes "Can a court really order you to delete a Facebook account? When Asher initially appeared in court after the July 20 accident, the judge told her to delete her Facebook account, Kittinger said. Asher did not take it seriously, and was charged with contempt of court when the judge learned her Facebook page was still active. Seems like a big overreach."
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Can a Court Order You To Delete a Facebook Account?

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  • Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shajenko42 (627901) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:49AM (#41399291)
    A court can order your execution, I'd imagine they can order the deletion of an online account.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:50AM (#41399307)

    Never apologize to these scum. There are penalties in place, already on the books, to cover DUI charges. Sentence this woman to her time or fines and let it go at that. Trying to micromanage people's lives is what the system now does, judges and the whole corrupt group of them on a sociopathic power trip.
     
    Never bow to these megalomaniacs.

  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:51AM (#41399323)
    She got off easy, after a DUI collision she should be in jail for a year or two.
  • Re:Probably (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:55AM (#41399387)

    This is the USA we're talking about. They are more likely to feel outraged about being told to delete a Facebook account than state-sanctioned murder in cold blood.

    In other news, gun proliferation is great (despite murder rates two orders of magnitude higher than civilised countries) but terminate a foetus and you're going to Hell.

  • Taunting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:56AM (#41399401)

    When you taunt the victims of your drunk driving accident with a flippant post, I am glad a judge can make you take it down, or even your whole FB account if you've shown that you're not responsible enough to use it wisely. If the judge can put you in jail I don't see why it's worse if he tells you to stay off of FB.

  • Re:overreach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phlinn (819946) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:57AM (#41399413)
    That's not actually true, although the legal system treats it as such. Constitutional means compatible with the US Constitution. Some things flatly aren't, even if the court says otherwise.
  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:00AM (#41399451) Homepage

    But in this case the court's decision is probably in violation to the first amendment and would be over turned by a federal court (or the USSC). Her facebook comment is within her rights to free speech even if in poor taste.

  • Re:Probably (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ciderbrew (1860166) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:04AM (#41399539)
    Civilized people don't have the death penalty.
  • Re:Probably (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:08AM (#41399619)

    The death penalty is very civilized. It saves the tax payer thousands upon thousands of dollars. And frankly, I see it as a release. Given the option of life without parole and death, I will take death over an 8'x6' room. Keeping people in jail for life, now THAT is not civilized.

  • Re:Probably (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:09AM (#41399635)

    1) Life in prison without parole is the death penalty with no one willing to carry it out.

    2) Animals that kill people are put down, people are just animals.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:11AM (#41399675)
    First, your claim is dubious, and second, it's not a defense of the US in particular because any culture would claim exactly the same. Take the middle east. On the one hand we're shocked that Muslims are venting their anger over some nutcase propaganda film against our embassies and the other 99.5% of "westerners" who had nothing to do with it... yet what did I just say? "Muslims are venting." I did NOT say "0.5% of the Muslim fringe is venting," or whatever tiny fraction it is that are actually turning to violence. Can you spot the hypocrisy?
  • Re:Taunting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hazah (807503) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:11AM (#41399677)
    Except there was no actual taunt. Carelessness at best. And a judge being able to do this to anyone is absolutely horrifying.
  • Re:Probably (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:18AM (#41399781) Journal
    Gun owners aren't the busculture, murderes are.
  • Re:Probably (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:18AM (#41399783)

    You're talking about a nation so pussified that a bunch of pissed off chavs RAN THE FUCKING COUNTRY while their police and law-abiding citizens just bent over and took it.

  • Re:Taunting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:19AM (#41399789) Journal
    When you taunt the victims of your drunk driving accident with a flippant post, I am glad a judge can make you take it down

    You can taunt your victims in person. You can taunt your victims by mail. You can taunt your victims by phone. You can taunt your victims via press conference (if the press considers you important enough to give you an audience). You can taunt your victims with frickin' sky-writing for all it matters.

    And yes, you can taunt your victims on Facebook.

    The fact that she chose to do it at all makes her an ass, but it doesn't take away her first amendment right to act like an ass.


    That said - She may have agreed to delete her account as a condition of a lighter sentence. Personally, I have a problem with games like that in general, but since it happens, and she took the deal, she damned well better hold up her side if she wants to remain on the outside of a cage.
  • Site constraints (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmomo (256005) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:20AM (#41399813) Homepage

    What if the site did not allow for account deletion? Facebook arguably doesn't allow this. Maybe you can deactivate, but never delete. Even if it did allow deletion, what if it were some other site that did not allow it. How could the judge order something that isn't (easily) possible?

    Now, suppose the judge orders you to give your password, but the site TOS forbids you from giving out the password? Can a judge order you to violate a TOS?

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredrated (639554) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:22AM (#41399837) Journal

    Don't know much about the topic do you?
    In fact, the automatic appeals, lawyer fees etc. involved in attempting to execute someone are well known to cost the state far more than simply keeping the perp in jail for life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:22AM (#41399867)

    If they have deleted all your information, then how do they know to deny profile creation to your email address?

  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:23AM (#41399871)

    With due process.

    There was no due process here, at least none I saw. Just a judge going, "Take it down."

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:25AM (#41399905) Homepage Journal

    The death penalty is not cheaper. It is not a deterrent. There are also way too many cases of people on death row who end up being cleared. How many innocent people have we wound up executing? We'll never know.

    Even if you think the death penalty has practical value, though, the state should not be empowered to execute its citizens, period.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:28AM (#41399955)

    Why is any sexual contact occurring in prison?

    Those responsible should be charged with rape and confined in solitary so they cannot harm others. The fact that out prisons are also uncivilized is not a good argument for more barbarism.

  • Re:Taunting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:29AM (#41399959) Journal

    Well, according to how Facebook works, the analogy would be akin to the victims walking over to the perp's house to see the flippant remark posted on a piece of paper taped to the front door.

    IOW, the victims had to actually go out of their way, and actually go there to see it. How can that be taunting?

    Now if the perp was posting to the victim's wall, sending IMs, or suchlike? Okay, you may have had a better argument in that case.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:29AM (#41399961) Homepage Journal

    violent crimes in the USA are largely committed by certain few subcultures

    Do you have the balls to outright name these "subcultures"? The police subculture [wikipedia.org] maybe? Or perhaps Rich people? [trutv.com]

    Please clear this up, I fear you're making a thinly veiled racist statement about blacks and hispanics, or a classist statement about poor people. Crime doesn't fit any subculture; every culture has honest people, peaceful people, thieves and murderers.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:30AM (#41399999)

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty/us-death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-cost

    for those to lazy to click through here's the juicy:

    "Using conservative rough projections, the Commission estimates the annual costs of the present system ($137 million per year), the present system after implementation of the reforms ... ($232.7 million per year) ... and a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty ($11.5 million)."

    So, not only are you wrong from a pure economic stand point, the fact you try to justify civility as meaning "cheapest wins" is frankly testimant to how thoroughly uncivilised you are.

    If you do find yourself in a 8'x6' room feel free to administer your own desired form of justice FoC, but please stop supporting state sponsored murder on from a moral high-ground.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:31AM (#41400019) Homepage Journal

    rape is too easy way to get someone to death row on purpose.
    so are a lot of other things.

    but civilized people don't have death penalty because for the innocent it's too cruel and for the guilty it's too easy.

  • Re:overreach (Score:1, Insightful)

    by FitForTheSun (2651243) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:32AM (#41400039)

    Let me rephrase that.

    "I know what is Constitutional, and if the Supreme Court disagrees with me, then they are wrong. Whatever I think is right and everyone should agree with me."

    Yeah, dude, we all feel that way. We could fight about it, or we could appoint some people to sit on a panel and decide which blowhard is right and which blowhard is wrong. And in fact we did appoint those people, and we call that panel "The Supreme Court".

    If you want to, you can do the incredibly difficult work of learning and working hard to get yourself onto that panel. Or, on the other hand, you can be a blowhard on the internet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:33AM (#41400047)

    She hasn't actually been convicted yet from the sounds of things. So it is not something she "agreed to" as a condition of release. It apparently was imposed by the judge because he didn't like the content she had posted. Ordering her not to use Facebook for any purpose based on the content of one post has clear first amendment problems.

  • Re:Probably (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:37AM (#41400097)

    The word is "undue", not "undo". Thank you.

  • Re:Probably (Score:4, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:39AM (#41400125) Homepage Journal

    Civilized people don't have the death penalty.

    Any large group of people will have at least a few members that are VERY "uncivilized". And within that small portion is where the death penalty occasionally needs to be applied.

    The death penalty is for those that have demonstrated a complete, destructive, and unwavering lack of respect for the rights of others, and who are an unsalvageable and severe danger to their community. If you think YOUR community is completely devoid of uncivilized people, you are delusional.

    There are three camps for the support of death penalty. It's used as a deterrent, a punishment, and a protection for the community. It doesn't make a completely effective deterrent because some hardened sadistic people are ok to just rape and pillage until they finally get caught. Punishment doesn't provide anything more than emotional help for those injured. Removing them permanently from the community for its own protection, that has demonstrable, practical value.

    I like how they did it with Australia, dump them off on an isolated island where they're no longer a danger to their community, they can fend for themselves among the rest of the cutthroats. Don't need to kill them, let them kill each other since they all seem to agree that's the OK thing to do. Let their own values be the executor of their fate.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:42AM (#41400179)
    It's always funny when you tell proponents of the death penalty that it costs a huge amount more. In my experience, they generally suggest cheap ways of killing people. You know, because the logical first assumption would be not lawyer costs but that we were killing prisoners using thousands of diamond swords or something.
  • by AwesomeMcgee (2437070) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:45AM (#41400219)
    A judicial system based on judges making points in disregard of it's legal authority and the rights of the parties involved is a slippery slope. Some of the points may be well intended and effective in teaching the defendant a lesson, but that doesn't change the fact that the practice in and of itself is the definition of a slippery slope.
  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:46AM (#41400251)

    A deterrent means that the threat of the punishment prevents crime from happening in the first place - not that it prevents recidivism.

  • by jader3rd (2222716) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:47AM (#41400275)

    There was no due process here, at least none I saw. Just a judge going, "Take it down."

    Having a judge involved, and the defense attorney not objecting, is due process.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:53AM (#41400387) Homepage Journal

    If we are going to execute someone, should we really not give them full due process of law? Taking a life is the most extreme action available to our justice system. We owe it to ourselves to take every measure possible to ensure the accused is guilty of the crime in question under the circumstances related by the prosecution. This is why we have multiple appeals: so different individuals can take a fresh look at the facts and the trial and any previous appeals and see if anything went wrong.

    Even then, we stand a good chance of missing exculpatory evidence. For instance, there are death row convictions based on eyewitness testimony which are later ruled out by DNA evidence. This happens way too often, and it is naive to think we have caught or will catch every instance where an innocent person has gone to death row--just as a matter of statistical probability, we must have executed innocent people. There is no legal process to prove this since there is no victim to redress or petition the court (the victim is dead) so you will never see a court case where an executed individual is exonerated by a court of law.

    As the AC said, deterrence and recidivism are separate issues. The death penalty has been demonstrated to, at best, have no effect on murder rates. Some studies have shown it actually increases murder rates.

    In any case, this is all beside the point as far as I'm concerned, given that this is a power government should not possess in the first place.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:56AM (#41400427) Homepage Journal

    "Give me Liberty, or give me Death" was a statement of conviction, of being willing to die for one's beliefs.

    An individual being willing to die for their beliefs does not validate the government's power to oblige them.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:19AM (#41400765)

    The death penalty isn't a a deterrent because the class of crimes that it is reserved for are those that are nearly impossible to deter.

    The death penalty would make a fantastic shoplifting deterrent. Murder? not so much.

  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by richard.cs (1062366) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:25AM (#41400851) Homepage

    I would like to include rape for the death penalty but the Supreme Court has said no, that's too cruel.

    You absolutely should not have the same punishment for rape as for murder. Doing so gives rapists a big incentive to kill their victims: without the victim as a witness they're much less likely to get caught and if the penalty is identical....

    This should hold true whether you think the death penalty is a good idea or not.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:25AM (#41400855)

    Hypothetical extreme example: If you met a girl at a bar, went to bed with her, only to discover later (via arrest) that she was jailbait, and a judge demanded that you get a castration in order to avoid 10-15 years in prison, would you do it? Many (I daresay most) would, while others would not.

    Apples and oranges. You're discussing sentencing options after conviction/plea deal. TFA is about a bail hearing.

    The judge in question wanted the offending Facebook post removed as an indication that the defendant was "taking it seriously" and would, in fact, show up for her trial; it was a bail condition, not a sentence.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:54AM (#41401317) Homepage Journal

    You know, I don't think I've ever suggested a 'cheap' way of actually doing the execution? I've suggested nitrogen asphixiation as a method that's painless and doesn't mess the body up, require somebody with medical training(and thus Hippocratic Oath to deal with), or restricted, hard to obtain chemicals. You just need a reasonably airtight room and some tanks of nitrogen(available from the local welding supply).

    I've mostly suggested streamlining the appeals process, eliminating some of the duplication of effort, and restricting the death penalty to the 'worst offenders'. We're not just talking 1st degree murder. My general standard is '3 or more killed, or deliberate torture in addition to the murder'. You don't try to sentence a 60 year old doctor who killed his wife by poison after catching her cheating to death. You go for the under 25 year old gangbanger 'executioner' who killed 6 people with his bare hands with that sentence. The second isn't containable in a minimum security prison, the first is.

    Plus, one thing to realize is that prison costs can vary wildly. A Life in prison without possible parole sentence is the normal replacement for death, but those who receive it are often not 'average' convicts. You might be able to warehouse them cheaper than maintaining them on a death row, but I will call 'foul' when anti-DP groups cite costs and use average incarceration figures, incuding minimum security prisons*, when most of those being convicted of murder are going straight for max, which costs 3-10 times as much as minimum. Even then, you have the problem that when they hit 60 and start needing medical care provided by the prison system... In the end, I conclude that any savings are 'it depends on the specific case', and shouldn't really be considered that much. The decision should be on the basis of 'the dudes just that dangerous', or 'what they did was just that wrong'.

    *Though I'll admit that not all do.

  • Re:Probably (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:13PM (#41401579)

    I have seen no data on gun proliferation that indicates that allowing guns into the hands of law-abiding citizens increases murder rates. It does increase death in assaults and home-invasions.

    This is a trick statement used by politicians and NRA members. I understand what you are trying to say, but be aware that your statement is self-fulfilling since people who were law-abiding prior to using their gun in a crime will no longer be in that same category afterwards and can be conveniently overlooked.

    For all we knew, Amy Bishop was a law abiding biology professor before she went on a shooting spree next door to the building I'm in on the UAH campus and killed three colleagues and seriously wounded three more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:34PM (#41401919)

    The second an innocent person is executed by the state, every single one of us is guilty of murder. And there's a very good chance that it's already happened.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:29PM (#41402639) Journal

    Thousand times this.

    Personally, I am a proponent of death penalty in a sense that I see it as a moral and fitting punishment for certain crimes (e.g. multiple counts of premeditated murder or rape, or torture killing). However, the possibility that an innocent person might be executed makes it completely non-viable to me.

    Interestingly enough, Jews had that same argument ages ago regarding the various applications of death penalty prescribed in Torah (for adultery, murder etc). And, millennia ago, they have arrived to the same conclusion: it's far more damning to execute an innocent person than it is to let the criminal walk. And so unless there is absolute, unwavering certainty that a given person is guilty - and no-one can be absolutely certain in that, since even our own senses can betray us sometimes - the only moral choice is to completely abstain from the practice.

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:38PM (#41402793) Homepage Journal
    I usually skip this argument, as it is so hard to prove conclusively what the effect is on the overall murder statistic. On one hand, there doesn't seem to be a substantial decrease in murders occurring as a result of capitol punishment. On the other, we don't really have any strong evidence that there isn't a very slight decrease as a small percentage of potential murders are deterred. It is clear that there isn't a huge impact, but the question then becomes something like, what is the decrease that is acceptable for the added costs incurred, financially and morally by using capitol punishment? Is saving 10 lives a year worth it?

    I think this question is a lot less clear cut than you think, and you are correct I am deliberately choosing to ignore it. I agree with you, but it is much harder to honestly debate than the points I made.
  • Re:Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:46PM (#41402897) Journal

    Not really.

    In theory, it's perfectly okay to give guns to so-called "law-abiding citizens." In fact, it's okay to give guns to convicted felons, pederasts, and escaped serial murderers. As long as they're not going to murder anyone else, and just use the weapon as a defensive weapon or a white knighter, we're all better off with them armed and none's the worse except the criminals.

    More importantly, in theory you want to keep guns away from people who will use them to commit murder. Murder is defined as an unjustifiable homicide, i.e. a homicide where a rational person wouldn't have determined that lethal force was necessary under those circumstances. It's justifiable if a rational person would determine lethal force is unnecessary as an observer or as a time-distant observer (i.e. hindsight), but where at that point in time the person would have lacked such judgment (for example, while under attack by someone with a knife, by which you could easily disarm them by hand, but at the time there is someone behind you and you fear that you can't evade the blade without it causing fatal harm to another person--but it "should" be blindingly obvious that bringing your arm in and up will easily clear the bystanders. Maybe you shoot this guy in the face instead, because at that exact moment you're just not that awesome).

    We can't predict individuals. We can somewhat predict groups and society as a whole. For our purposes, then, we decide that people who have been law-abiding in the past and who do not have anger management issues or a history of violence are probably not going to walk around shooting people with their new toy. We tend to assume that violent convicts aren't trustworthy with weapons. Sometimes the violent con is better than we want to believe and has grown as a person; sometimes the nice person is just a really mean fucker on the inside, or just snaps one day. It's hit and miss. In any case, there is the attempt to get guns out of the hands of the bad ones.

    In the end, the numbers that we care about aren't how many people were lawful before guns and became unlawful. The numbers we care about are how many people with guns used them in a lawful, socially acceptable, economically advantageous manner (i.e. the saving of innocent life is positive; the destruction of innocent life is negative; thus economically if we have more people safe and alive now than otherwise, we did it right). All other measurements are a matter of analysis--how many of our expected "law-abiding citizens" turned out as criminals? How many of the actually "law-abiding citizens" performed direct heroic acts? What level of deterrent did an armed citizenry provide? These are interesting numbers. The most interesting, however, is "how many innocent lives should have been lost given predictive trends, and how many were actually lost?" If more were lost than predicted, something is wrong; if fewer were lost, something is better than before.

    Your argument is attempting to provide that nobody should have a gun legally because you just can't know that a specific individual won't use it for crime. My argument is that you CAN know that criminals will obtain guns illegally, and you CAN know that a subset of people who have guns will use them for legal purposes of defense of themselves and neighbors, and that arming these citizens is more ideal than not arming them. All other factors are other arguments--such as an armed citizenry being a dangerous climate for violent crime, a deterrent, etc. Criminals tend to move to or develop where crime is easier and less risky; that's great, but even if it weren't true we'd still be at an advantage having a strong, armed non-criminal citizenry.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Thursday September 20, 2012 @02:06PM (#41403151)

    " Mostly we just see circumstantial stories about somebodies innocence."

    There are 140 of them.

    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-list-those-freed-death-row [deathpenaltyinfo.org]

    California could save $1 billion over five years by replacing the death penalty with permanent imprisonment.
    California taxpayers pay $90,000 _more_ per death row prisoner each year than on prisoners in regular confinement.
    http://www.deathpenalty.org/article.php?id=42 [deathpenalty.org]

  • by Asic Eng (193332) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @02:07PM (#41403179)
    I have never seen a good study of the actual proved innocent after death penalty administered, but I imagine the numbers will be very low.

    The Colombia University Law School has done a study, which suggests the error rates are high: http://www2.law.columbia.edu/instructionalservices/liebman/liebman_final.pdf [columbia.edu]

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @02:16PM (#41403303) Homepage Journal

    but I imagine the numbers will be very low.

    On what basis to do you imagine that? Why is it that in this country, where we assume the government can't do anything right, somehow we assume it is near *perfect* when it comes to condemning people to death?

    If it turned out to be one in a hundred, then we would need to take a serious look at the processes involved. However, I have no problem with an error rate of one in ten thousand death penalty convictions being wrong.

    Alright, how did you decide that 1/100 is unacceptable, but 1/10000 is? Do you have a rational basis for where you draw the line, or are you going by your gut feeling? If you are going by your gut feeling, what makes you think that's a reasonable basis for deciding to execute somebody?

    There are two common styles of ethical reasoning you can use to approach a question like this.There is utilitarian reasoning, which maximizes the public good. At least under utilitarian reasoning at least you *could* come up with a conclusion that 1/100 errors is unacceptable but 1/10000 is, but you'd have to have to identify some approximately measurable good which you can set against the costs of executing an innocent man. You can't appeal to "justice", because that belongs to a *different* style of ethical reasoning: deontological ethics, which deals in rights and obligations. In that case it doesn't matter of the innocent defendant is 1/100 or 1/10000, his rights cannot be violated unless you can show that *not* executing him violates somebody else's superior right.

    In either case your feeling good or bad, satisfied or dissatisfied about executions has no bearing on the morality of capital punishment.

    This little strawman is always a fun one. Let me turn it around on you. If I knew for a fact that my child committed a crime that merited the death penalty, heck, even if I am the one who turned him in, I still wouldn't stand outside the prison with a sign that says, 'Fry the bastard.'

    I'll go out on a limb here and guess you don't actually have any children.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @04:20PM (#41404761)

    ... it is also that you are murdering innocent people.

    The person being executed is the one who has murdered innocent people. I know, you are referring to the state with your comment. However, the definitions say otherwise. "Law . the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law." Since by definition it isn't murder, then your claim is inflammatory. Killing, yes, murder, no. But this inflammatory use of terminology is a minor point that can be ignored once we understand you are doing it purposefully.

    In any group of convicted murderers, there are going to be some people who are innocent.

    Also wrong, under current jurisprudence. "Considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law." Now, this point does have some merit, in that you are assuming that all people found guilty of murder in a court of law would be executed and there may be some mistakes in some cases. However, the person you are replying to has already made execution depend on the circumstances of the murder, and "amount of physical evidence" and "statements of the accused" would most certainly be part of the conditions.

    In other words, you are arguing against all death penalty uses based on current usage, and the OP is arguing for it based on a different usage with stricter limits. "You can't do it at all because sometimes you do it wrong" is not a valid argument; "sometimes we do it wrong, so let's fix the errors" is.

    Whenever I talk to pro-death penalty people, I ask them if they would still support the death penalty if they or one of their loved ones was one of those one in a thousand cases where an innocent person was wrongly convicted,

    If one of my "loved ones" had been found guilty of murdering half a dozen people based on irrefutable physical evidence, had admitted to doing so, and showed zero remorse, I would probably still have an emotional hesitancy to execution, but the law is not emotional nor is it supposed to be. "Don't execute him because I love him" is a bit lacking in sufficiency when there were probably people who loved the half a dozen people he killed, too.

    And the short answer to your question would be "yes". I would still support the death penalty in general.

    Would you stand outside the prison when your child was executed with a sign that says, 'Fry the bastard',

    Of course not, and that's a stupid and insulting question. You can support the death penalty without having to stand outside any prision with any sign. I've never held such a sign, for example. Are you saying you question my honesty because I have not?

    when you knew they were only guilty of not having a good alibi and a good lawyer?

    When that was the sole basis of the conviction, then the conditions that the OP to whom you replied would not be met, and the person would not be sentenced to death.

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