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Crime Medicine Politics

Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs 1198

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The state of Oklahoma had scheduled two executions for Tuesday, April 29th. This in spite of myriad objections that the drugs being used for both lethal injections had not been tested, and thus could violate the constitutional right to the courts, as well as the 8th Amendment: protection from cruel and unusual punishment. After much legal and political wrangling, the state proceeded with the executions anyway. It soon became clear that the critics' worst case scenarios were coming true — Oklahoma violently botched the first execution. The inmate "blew" a vein and had a heart attack. The state quickly postponed the second one. 'After weeks of Oklahoma refusing to disclose basic information about the drugs for tonight's lethal injection procedures, tonight, Clayton Lockett was tortured to death,' Madeline Cohen, the attorney of Charles Warner, the second man scheduled for execution, said in a statement. Katie Fretland at The Guardian reported from the scene of the botched attempt to execute Lockett using the untested, unvetted, and therefore potentially unconstitutional lethal injection drugs." sciencehabit also points out a study indicating that around 4% of death row inmates in the U.S. are likely innocent.
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Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

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  • by Maury Markowitz ( 452832 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:37AM (#46877875) Homepage

    > 20 minutes of semi-conscious agony ending in a heart attack vs. breathing dirt

    False dichotomy. Everyone reading this would not be effected by either, as long as he's behind bars.

    Cue the madding crowds telling me why I'm wrong to hold my opinion

  • by delt0r ( 999393 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:37AM (#46877877)
    Why does the US still even have the Death penalty?
  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:42AM (#46877917) Homepage Journal

    Not all heart attacks kill. Many induce absolutely tremendous levels of suffering.

  • Re:crimes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:44AM (#46877945) Journal
    Well, that's okay then. As long as you only violate due process when the mob thinks the guy really, really deserves it then there's no problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:44AM (#46877947)

    So you're saying a justice system shouldn't try to be any better than criminals?

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:45AM (#46877975) Homepage Journal

    Some people think that the justice systems' job is the arbiter of karma, rather than preventing crime. I've not discovered a way to discuss these things with the former group. I'm not sure what you can tell that kind of person.

  • by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:46AM (#46877983)

    Generally when we as a society decide that we do not torture criminals to death, it is not because we don't feel the criminals deserve it, but rather that we as a society are better then that.

  • by acidradio ( 659704 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:48AM (#46878009)

    We have to pay for this monster to live for the rest of his life. We *all* pay taxes for that. It's expensive. Tell me how that doesn't affect us. A death-row inmate costs, what, $50-75-100K/yr to house and feed? We get no value from this. This is akin to toxic waste disposal. How many doctors, teachers, scientists can we hire for the amount of money we pay to house these people? How much further would we be as a society if we spent the money on getting ahead, not waste disposal?

    I'm sure I will get an argument that "All the appeals that death row inmates use before being put to death cost more than just imprisoning them for life!" Maybe if we cleaned up our unnecessarily exhaustive legal process that has basically become a job program this wouldn't be an issue.

  • Failed injection. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamesl ( 106902 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:48AM (#46878011)

    According to Robert Patton, the director of Oklahoma's department of corrections, when doctors felt that the drugs were not having the required effect on Lockett, they discovered that a vein had ruptured.
    This is not a problem related to the drug(s) used but incompetent administration.

    This in spite of myriad objections that the drugs being used for both lethal injections had not been tested ...
    How does one test lethal injections?

  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:48AM (#46878021) Journal

    Because of people like this. Or the person (or people) who thought it would be fun to put cats in a bag and beat them to death, or the guy who raped and killed an 11-month old.

    For these reasons, and a whole host of others, these people have decided the basic rules of society do not apply to them. As a result they need to be removed. Keeping them alive does nothing except waste taxpayer money on people who will never be productive members of society.

    That is why we have the death penalty.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:49AM (#46878029)

    “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”
      J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@carpanet.PERIODnet minus punct> on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:51AM (#46878039) Homepage

    I am actually mostly against the death penalty but I agree on this one. All this concern over suffering of someone you are planning to kill. It really strikes me as silly. If you really have the moral conviction to believe killing him is the right thing to do, then fucking grow some balls and do it. Shooting him in the head is many times more humane than this whole pseudomedical procedure of dressing it up.

    If the people can't handle the blood shedding then they should admit they don't have the stomac for it and stop doing it; not try to dress it up and make it appear less barbaric.

  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:52AM (#46878055) Homepage

    It's one thing to claim about the drugs being untested .. and you can still probably claim they're untested, because all of the reports are suggesting that it was a blown out blood vessel, so the whole thing would've been botched no matter what drugs they had actually used.

    (and before you say I'm just against executions ... I actually think that prisoners who are sentanced to life without parole should be given the opportunity to be administered euthenasia ... but the costs of capital punishment as they curently exist are so high that it should only be reserved for those really, really horrible crimes (which this one would seem to be).

  • by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:55AM (#46878095)

    It is not justice if somebody is been given the death penalty and then gets 45 minutes of torture on top.

    There is a reason torture (or cruel and unusual punishment) is not legal. If we treat criminals not better then they treated their victims we're not better than they are.

    As a society we should strife to be better than our criminals and not hide our own cruelty behind words like justice and punishment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:55AM (#46878105)

    So you think people should be able to commit two crimes for the price of one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:55AM (#46878107)

    How are we any better if we drop down to the same level?

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:56AM (#46878121)

    Because of people like this.

    Given that the death penalty was in existence prior to his crime, yet the perp still did what he did, it seems that the threat of punishment was no deterrent. So if the death penalty is not a deterrent, why again does the US have it? It can't be to protect the victims, and I've seen figures that suggest locking someone up for life is actually cheaper to do (given all the appeals, special wings etc). The only conclusion I can realistically see is pure revenge by the rest of society.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:59AM (#46878153)

    So, the standard philosophical counterargument is "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind" but I suspect that despite the fact that the edgucated world as a whole had already resolved that capital punishment is immoral over a thousand years ago, you'll continue to lack empathy for those you feel "don't deserve it" so I'll argue from your point of view.

    Lets make several points so you can disagree with them directly if you feel you need to:
    1. Capital punishment costs orders of magnitude more money than Life in prison. The trials have to be rigorous, and therough, we have to be absolutely sure of the defendants guilt before we execute them. They get guarenteed retrials and the evidence has to be air tight. As a result, capital punishement trials costs states many millions of dollars each.
    2. Murder trials are very difficult on the victims family. In order to get a conviction the prosecution needs to present very gory details, interview the family on the stand in depth, etc...
    3. Prison is worse than death.

    So, if you want to save money, save the family grief, and punish the prisoner in pretty much the worst method available legally, let him rot in prison for the rest of his life. You don't even need to be an ethical person to know that it's the right thing to do from every perspective. When even the catholic church things what you're doing is too barbaric, you know you're doing something wrong.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:59AM (#46878165) Journal
    In that case, amend your constitution to say that it's fine to torture criminals once they've been convicted. If you're going to pretend to have the rule of law, then at least make a token effort to follow your own rules.
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:01AM (#46878191) Homepage

    Two problems with this:

    First of all, how do you decide who is a "waste of taxpayer money"? That seems to me like a slippery slope that could be applied to any group if the mob so deems it. Don't like a group? Declare their activities illegal and arrest them. Then declare that all they are doing is sitting in jail taking up taxpayer money and execute them to save some cash.

    Secondly, what about the estimated 4% of people on death row who are innocent. There are people who, for various reasons (e.g. overzealous prosecutors, incompetent defense attorneys, corrupt police planting/hiding evidence, etc), were convicted of crimes that they didn't commit. They sometimes sit in jail for decades trying to get cleared. Sometimes they do (having lost years/decades of their life), sometimes they don't (cleared after they die in jail or are executed). If you wrongly jail someone, that's bad but you can release them. It's not a 100% payback for the time wrongly spent in prison, but it is something. If you execute an innocent person, you can't "un-execute" them. They are dead and no amount of "Oops, our bad" will change that.

    This is why the death penalty - if it is to be kept - should only be applied exceedingly sparingly and only after a TON of legal maneuvers that are skewed towards the defendant not being executed. Better to keep a guilty person alive and in jail than to execute an innocent.

  • by biochozo ( 2700157 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:02AM (#46878197)
    Nitrogen hypoxia. Cheap. 100% effective. Readily available. Doesn't torture the inmate. Why don't we use it? Apparently it's not satisfying our need for justice to equal revenge.
  • by delt0r ( 999393 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:04AM (#46878223)
    Yea because otherwise everyone will be evil. I mean its lucky the US has the death penalty because it has deterred so many of the evil fucking people. Oh wait, the US has one of the worse rates of violent crime. States with the death penalty don't have less of this crime. It is not a preventive nor a deterrent.
  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:04AM (#46878233) Journal
    The 'problem' is that in these United States, we want to maintain the fiction that we're civilized beings, and that translates into 'sanitizing' the process of ending the life of a violent criminal by injecting them with 'humane' substances that are lethal yet (allegedly) painless. While I'm not an advocate of bringing back hangings, or Texas' long-standing tradition of Old Sparky (electric chair, if someone actually doesn't know), an expertly-aimed round from a large-caliber rifle right between the eyes will end someone's life quickly and relatively painlessly, especially relatively-speaking in comparison to the pain and suffering some of these 'people' inflicted on their victims. Of course as previously stated that's way too much horror-show stuff for the general public to stomach, which is why we don't do it anymore. The general public just wants violent, death-row inmates to fade away, no screaming, no blood, no horror or discomfort of any kind.. really, execution by lethal injection is designed to be humane for everyone else, with it being humane to the criminal being executed just as a side benefit; it allows everyone left behind afterwards to feel like they're not as bad as the person who was just killed.

    All that being said, and if they're so fucking concerned about 'being humane', then I don't know why the hell they don't just give criminals being executed a lethal dose of morphine and be done with it. Will kill them in short order, and they won't feel a damned thing on the way out.
  • by Linzer ( 753270 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:05AM (#46878243)

    “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”

      J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

    The very same quote popped up in my mind immediately. However strange it may feel to refer to Tolkien on this issue, this particular quote has something unusually profound and humane to it. I ascribe it to Tolkien's experience in world war I, when death must have become very real and familiar to him.

  • by Rashkae ( 59673 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:06AM (#46878251) Homepage

    Leaving assite entirely the debate over death penalty to begin with, when we have to put down our pets, vets don't seem to have any trouble putting them to sleep, (and then inject more and more until sleep becomes permanenet.) Maybe the state just needs to fire to their medical experts and hire some country vet?

  • by Travis Mansbridge ( 830557 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:06AM (#46878261)
    Unless they happened to fall into that 4%. Then that murderer/rapist walks free while an innocent man is tortured to death for no reason.
  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:08AM (#46878289) Homepage Journal

    Oh, right, I forgot how okay pointless suffering is if an anonymous poster on the internet says they don't mind. I can be so forgetful.

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vyse of Arcadia ( 1220278 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:09AM (#46878305)

    There are a lot of bloodthirsty people here on Slashdot.

    I think it's a good thing to try to move away from the, "He made others suffer so he should suffer," mentality. Punishment, capital or otherwise, should be about rendering the criminal incapable of commiting futher crimes to protect the populace. It's self defense, nothing more. Making sure that criminals suffer is barbaric. It turns my stomach a bit, and I liked that cinnamon roll.

  • by Extremus ( 1043274 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:09AM (#46878315)

    That cost, even if it is correct, it is negligible in the face of: (a) the risk of murdering innocents, when other methods of containment exist; (b) the shame of being one of only developed countries in the world that still implement archaic methods of containment; and (c) the fact that this sort of person and his mental condition is ultimately a result of his own unfavorable context imposed by society.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:12AM (#46878359) Journal

    Learn the difference between justice and vengeance.

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:12AM (#46878363) Homepage Journal

    Because the morally superior group that retains the right to judge this guy just loves suffering so much?

    You know what I get out of a murderer suffering in agony? You know what amazing benefit society at large gains?
    Nothing. Nothing at all.

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:15AM (#46878387) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure why your personal lack of concern is even relevant.

    We've got a debate here that has two sides.
    1. "We think there's a higher principal to uphold as a society"
    2. *Comes in shouting about how little they care about the issue*

  • by ttucker ( 2884057 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:16AM (#46878407)
    It is easy to be cavalier until you consider yourself, or someone you care about, being innocent.
  • Morally I don't have a problem with the death penalty, but I don't think justice systems are accurate enough to bet human lives on.

  • by cheetah_spottycat ( 106624 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:17AM (#46878417)
    There are many known painless and very effective ways of killing a human being. For example, suffocation with Nitrogen gas. It will cause a state of euphoria, then unconsciousness, then death. No pain, dead simple (pun not intended), and 100% success rate. It's a no-brainer. Or a simple, massive overdose of pretty much any anesthetic will do. It does not take complicated mixtures. But it would mean, your convict would die "happy". And that thought would be too much to bear for the victims. The death penalty is not about justice. It is about revenge. It is designed to be gruesome, the suffering is intentional. The deliquent is no longer considered a human being, and the pig deserves to suffer. It seems to be consensus even here on slashdot.
  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:21AM (#46878491) Homepage
    At some point the whole prosecution process is so convoluted and loaden with the egos of the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, plea bargains and with public opinions and botched investigations that the outcome of a process has nothing to do with penalizing the perpetrator, but with butchering a scapegoat.

    At this point, the real question is: Why anyway?

    And no, I definitely refuse any notion that at some point a conviction is final. It is always preliminary, as it is always possible that new evidence pops up.

  • Jury Panel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Major Blud ( 789630 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:24AM (#46878539) Homepage

    I was recently assigned to a jury panel in a murder case. The state I live in has capital punishment.

    I went into the courtroom with a fairly solid conviction against the death penalty (excluding military cases, i.e. fratricide, where soldiers should be held to a higher standard and capital punishment could be considered a necessary component of discipline).

    As the evidence was presented, I started to question my beliefs. The defendant was accused of murdering and raping a 12 year old boy, and was a twice-convicted sex offender (why he wasn't already in prison is an entirely different question). This person showed no remorse for the crime, and if given life imprisonment, would still be able to see his friends and family....something his victim could no longer do. It really made me question my thoughts on capital punishment.

    In the end I wasn't chosen for the jury, and the guy was found guilty. I still believe that capital punishment is wrong and doesn't solve anything, but life imprisonment, although no cake walk, doesn't necessarily equate to justice or punishment...because let's face it, this criminal won't be rehabilitated and shouldn't be given the chance.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:28AM (#46878605) Journal

    There is probably very little overlap. Those saying "what's the problem with this?" are probably also the "I have nothing to hide" and "torture could save lives" crowd. Basically this is the crowd that wishes it weren't so taboo to use special salutes, marches and symbols to show their support for their ideology.

  • Re:crimes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:31AM (#46878631) Homepage Journal

    Your Constitutional Rights have freed you from morality.

    Oklahoma didn't realize anything wouldn't pass muster. They were shocked and horrified by a gruesome sight. They are afraid to face the reality of what they do; lethal injection is a long, slow, terrifying process which appears peaceful to the observer so that he may absolve himself of the commission of murder.

    An execution should be quick and gruesome. It should be visible death, not peaceful rest. A hanging, a beheading, shooting, a beating to death. A thing that shows us what we do so that we may face it and understand it is terrible but it is just. The more zeal a people have for a punishment, the more visible and terrible it should be so that the people are shocked and sickened back into the understanding of what it is they do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:35AM (#46878707)

    Of course I do consider that. I repeat, no system is perfect. There is far far more chance that someone who murders me or my family is brought to justice and put to death than the chance I or someone I love is wrongfully punished as you describe. Far greater.

    Yes, I can live with that.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:42AM (#46878805)

    Welcome to the internet. Most of the armchair criminal scientists here feel that the purpose of the justice system is to get revenge and slake the bloodlust of the accusers. In that aspect, society hasn't really advanced a whole lot since the dark ages. If you suggest that maybe the justice system is about rehabilitating criminals who can be rehabilitated and protecting society from the ones who can't, all of them will call you a hippy liberal who is soft on crime.

    Fortunately, most of those people don't have any actual influence on the justice system, but you still have to watch out for the ones that do.

  • by jthill ( 303417 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:42AM (#46878817)
    Of course, the defining characteristic of his depravity was his lack of empathy for others, his willingness to see them die horribly. It's what made him less than acceptable as a human. Go feel self-righteous all you want, history's got a long, long track record on people and cultures who punish brutally. Vengeance or justice, the motive doesn't lessen the act's effect. Doing things like that turns people into beasts. Your rage should worry you.
  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:43AM (#46878823) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, yeah. Pretending I'm endorsing the murder of one person because I don't support the torture of another.

    Great. That's extraordinarily dishonest and you should feel bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:51AM (#46878969)

    The problem is that a lot of us don't think our justice system should be a purely retributive system seeking vengeance upon those we consider "wastes of oxygen." (And no, the death penalty is not a deterrent.) Maybe this guy did deserve to die. But if so, then what about the next guy who not-quite-fatally shoots the girlfriend only once? Or the one who doesn't bury her alive, but just leaves her for dead? Or the one who just rapes her, and leaves her for dead, but didn't actually shoot her? Or the one who just rapes her?

    Where do you draw the line between "he deserves to die" and "he's scum, but we'll just give him life in prison"? There's a demonstrable racial bias in which "wastes of oxygen" get put to death and which have better lawyers that can get them life in prison, or eventually paroled. Given that there will likely always be such biases and imbalances in our justice system, don't you think it's a bit on the callous side to sanction the ultimate punishment on an inequitable basis like this?

    Complicating matters is the fact that sometimes the justice system just plain gets things wrong. Eyewitnesses are never 100% dependable. Confessions can and have been coerced. "Wastes of oxygen" that we were absolutely certain at the time "did it" turned out to be exonerated by later evidence. As the submitter referred to in his or her summary, we know that this is costing innocent people's lives.

    Personally, I would rather have the guy locked safely away where he cannot harm anyone else, but still around in case we find later that there were mitigating circumstances or the jury just plain blew a verdict. Plus, although YOU consider him a "waste of oxygen," people like me consider the fact that even locked away, he can still contribute to society in discouraging others from following his path or, if nothing else, in helping researchers study the criminal mind. There's absolutely no harm in sentencing people to life in prison instead of death, other than the mob's blood lust for revenge doesn't get satisfied. Sorry, but that's just not compelling enough to me to kill someone who poses no threat.

    And food for thought, once we give the state the right to determine who it is okay to kill who poses no threat, what's to stop the state from abusing that power? Do you honestly think that the government and the media have never colluded to present a narrative to The People to justify (and get away with) truly horrible things? What if it were YOU being railroaded through the system, with only one side (hint: not your side) of the story being presented for public consumption, and sentenced to death for something that you either did not do or that you did, but with extenuating circumstances that should be a mitigating factor in your trial, but that was suppressed for political expedience so that important people can be seen as "tough on crime"? How is it that you, who I am guessing were not on the jury or legal teams, or who otherwise has no first-hand knowledge of this case, are able to determine with 100% certainty that these guys are the "wastes of oxygen" that you believe them to be?

  • by coinreturn ( 617535 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:53AM (#46878997)

    Given that the death penalty was in existence prior to his crime, yet the perp still did what he did, it seems that the threat of punishment was no deterrent.

    Although I am no proponent of the death penalty, your logic is flawed. Although in this case the penalty was not an effective deterrent, there is no way to tell if it did deter others from committing similar crimes.

  • by mrbester ( 200927 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:59AM (#46879113) Homepage

    Or having executions at all. Civilised countries don't execute people, no matter their crimes.

  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:59AM (#46879121) Homepage

    Honestly, I think that is only the tip of the iceburg. The whole idea of punishing criminals seems pointless to me. How about rehabilitating them? If somebody is innocent, then we rehabilitate them and in theory that should go pretty quickly since they weren't particularly prone to committing crimes in the first place. If somebody is a likely criminal, then rehabilitation should involve whatever it takes to make them no longer a likely criminal. That doesn't necessarily mean locking them up at all, unless they're so prone to criminal behavior that having them out on the streets is a danger to society.

    Getting rid of the death penalty is like arguing that it is better for an innocent person to be raped in prison for the rest of their life instead of being executed. It kind of misses the point, and I don't think the way we run prisons in the US is appropriate for even the guilty, let alone the innocent.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:01AM (#46879163)

    A penalty is something you can walk away from and learn from it. Killing somebody does not qualify as "penalty", it is just murder. No legal fiction can fix that little flaw.

  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:09AM (#46879297) Journal
    Actually, victim's relatives often don't want it either. My mother was murdered in 2004 and my sisters and I all agreed not to pursue to the death penalty because we don't believe in capital punishment. The state was relieved because those trials cost them several million dollars. The dude got 150 years and possibility of parole after 75 years served - that is, when he turns 115 years old. He's never going to live as a free man again. In the meantime, we were free to grieve and resume our lives, which is what our mother would have wanted.
  • Re:Jury Panel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:15AM (#46879407)

    The solution to that is simple: This person is not a criminal, this person is severely mentally ill and likely in a very real sense unable to make a moral judgment. For that, closed mental institutions exist. You cannot punish people that are so damaged they are incapable of understanding what they did wrong. You can only exact perceived revenge on them, and that is exceedingly immoral.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:17AM (#46879447) Homepage

    He shot someone and watched as his two friends buried her ALIVE. 20 minutes of semi-conscious agony ending in a heartattack vs. breathing dirt.

    Of course that is not beyond what he deserved. This is not about what he deserved. The reason we don't torture people is because only people who are mentally damaged, like him, do that to other people -- regardless of what they deserve. I am not mentally damaged, so I don't want to torture people, and won't have my state doing it in my name. Civilized people don't torture people to death. We take bad people and remove them from society, ashamed that they were once allowed to roam free, but not made worse by allowing blood lust to take our minds.

    And if you are so inclined, you should seek help. If you're not going to do that, at least keep it to yourself. Pretend you're not a degenerate so you don't debase us as a society. Or, if you can't control it, at least have the decency to leave evidence when your monster drives you to some hideous act so we can catch you and put your deranged ass behind bars with the other animals.

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:23AM (#46879543) Homepage Journal

    I would prefer the guilty walk free over the innocent being condemned.

    You can't "undo" an execution or imprisonment. The guilty still have a chance at getting theirs.

  • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:23AM (#46879551) Homepage

    By the same logic then incarcerating them is holding them against their will. If you or I did it, it would be unacceptable but if the state does it, it's acceptable.

    As a society (but not necessarily individually) we've deemed it acceptable and legal that a state can incarcerate and sometimes execute someone for crimes after they've had due process. That's the difference between an individual behaving that way, and the state doing so.

  • by BenSchuarmer ( 922752 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:24AM (#46879563)
    Why are they experimenting with 3-drug combinations when they could just use sedatives? They work just fine for putting pets "to sleep".
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:27AM (#46879627)

    Capital punishment costs orders of magnitude more money than Life in prison. The trials have to be rigorous, and therough, we have to be absolutely sure of the defendants guilt before we execute them.

    That's exactly the same standard we're supposed to be using in non-capital cases too!

    It is not valid for death sentences to cost more than life sentences. The real problem is that people aren't getting competent and thorough defenses in the initial trial. I would argue it's even more of an injustice for those receiving life sentences because, without the permanence of execution, the public sees it as less of a problem worth fixing.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:36AM (#46879717) Homepage Journal

    Why does the US still even have the Death penalty?

    Why does the US still even have fines? Why does the US still even have imprisonment?

    Answer any of these questions, and you'll have answered them all. Show the foolishness of any of them, and you'll have shown the foolishness of them all.

    I think the most popular answer, is that we have these things to punish criminals. HTH.

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:36AM (#46879729)

    So its unacceptable for them to behave this way, but its ok if the state does it?

    There is no moral equivalence. The state, in removing that man from existence, isn't preying on some randomly chosen innocent stranger with rape and murder in mind. That you find the two to be equivalent removes you from the pool of people who should ever weigh in on such subjects.

  • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:38AM (#46879743)
    We can give the other two back when we convict the wrong person.
  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:40AM (#46879779) Homepage
    I believe that the ability of making a difference between the cases where the death penalty is approbriate and those, where there is doubt and those where the defendant is innocent is so limited, that we should abolish the death penalty in general. I might make an exception if the people (investigators, prosecutors, judges) who caused someone later found innocent to be executed, are guilty of murder if they acted willfully (fishy plea bargain deals. obstructing or omitting exculpatory evidence etc.pp.) and second degree murder, if they just botched up totally.

    Besides that: I don't think the death penalty makes sense at all. It is no penalty, as it doesn't influence the future behaviour of the perpetrator. It is just codified revenge.

  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:54AM (#46879951)
    The very epitome of an ad hominem. Well done.
  • Re:so? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arker ( 91948 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @12:27PM (#46880395) Homepage
    "You're assuming that, statistically, African Americans statistically commit the same kinds of murders as others"

    No, I am not. That is explicitly controlled for by only counting capital murder cases.
  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @12:54PM (#46880799) Homepage Journal

    How about rehabilitating them?

    Well, I am all in favor of that, but how do you actually DO that? What if they don't want to be rehabilitated? What if they like raping and killing babies (that is what one of these guys did)? What if they pretend they were rehabilitated so that you would let them re-enter society and then they did it again? The crime that eventually got these guys on death row was only the last on their rap sheet. Some people are deemed fit to re-enter society and then go back to the prison several times over.
    I'm sure everybody would be happy to rehab instead of incarcerate if only somebody could come up with a rehab plan that actually worked.

  • Re:so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @01:03PM (#46880949) Homepage Journal

    Read that page again. The strongest documented discrimination is over the race of the victim:

    White Defendant / Black Victim (20)
    Black Defendant / White Victim (270)

    A black person who kills a white person is far more likely to be prosecuted and sentenced to death than vice versa.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @02:35PM (#46882321)

    When TFA includes this little gem of a statistic the problem becomes much more obvious. sciencehabit also points out a study indicating that around 4% of death row inmates in the U.S. are likely innocent.

    So we not only have a messed up legal and prison system that can get innocent people imprisoned for felonies, we have a messed up legal system that can sentence 4 out 100 people to die for crimes they never committed.

    The argument you are making (look at his crime) is simply an appeal to emotion which lacks logical merit. And look, I fully agree that certain people can not be rehabilitated. Should any people be legally killed while we have severe problems with both our legal and penal systems? Hell no. Should we be convicting people of felonies when society does not offer them any other option? (think of narcotics) Again hell no. Prison terms and real rehabilitation where possible? I absolutely agree with this approach.

  • by jbssm ( 961115 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @03:06PM (#46882699)

    None of you would survive in an open debate with me

    Of course not. It's mathematically proven that it's impossible to win a debate with a troll since the troll just keeps trolling any argument and evidence given by the other part.

  • Re:so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arker ( 91948 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @04:54PM (#46883853) Homepage
    There is a big difference between life imprisonment and execution that you are missing.

    With life imprisonment, it is at least possible for the system to realize a mistake has been made and partially rectify it. It actually happens shockingly often.

    Once an execution has been carried out, however, we can no longer even partially rectify the error.

    Absolutely we should support fixing the system more generally. But that should not stop us from also declaring a moratorium on capital punishment until that goal is accomplished.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.