View Poll Results: Death Penalty - For or Against?

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Thread: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

  1. #65
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Quote Originally Posted by Amalie View Post
    But if we had the death penalty here, would we not allow appeals which take time and in the meantime we would have to provide accommodation, food, prison staff etc. Keeping a prisoner imprisoned for several years would be expensive but, on the other hand, without the benefit of appeal we risk executing someone who may be innocent.

    I do take your point though and don't imagine that we would ever have the equivalent of Death Row here but I thought the website gave an interesting view of the US judicial system if only to show that the death penalty does not deter others (i.e the register of prisoners and crimes committed). I don't think the death penalty worked here either, if someone is going to commit a crime such as murder, they probably do not think about the consequences.
    Oh, we'd certainly have a process of appeals, and it'd need to be a thorough one. But we don't have the US system. For a start, we don't have a written constitution the way the US does. And while, in many ways, the constitution is a good thing, it does present plenty of opportunities for lawyers to mount challenges.

    Bear in mind, a LOT of the appeals that are mounted over DP cases in the US aren't mounted with any hope or expectation that the appeal will succeed. Some, naturally, are, but a lot are procedural. A lot also seek to hunt out any minor constitutional issue that hasn't previously been resolved and challenge it. Not challenge it because it casts any dount on guilt or innocence, but because it can be challenged.

    And, if it's challenged, it will take time to hear. How long depends on the nature of the issue, but some issues go through several hearings and, potentially, right up to the US Supreme Court, and that can take years. Meantime, the DP finds itself on hold, and that is what leads to some Death Row inmates being there for years.

    Okay, I hear people saying, if there's an issue to be decided, it needs to be decided before the DP is carried out. Well, true, but the US system is set up in such a way that there are DP lawyers that use the appeal system simply as a delaying tactic. As I said, they appeal knowing that it won't work, but also knowing that it will take time. That isn't my assumption, by the way. Some of those DP lawyers have taken part in TV documentaries, or written articles, where they've stated that that is the objection. In other words, it isn't about the case in hand, it's about delaying the punishment because they believe that, regardless of what the law says, and regardless of the offence, and regardless of the offender, that the DP is wrong in all circumstances.

    Well, they're entitled to hold that view. And they're entitled to use the law to achieve that end if they do it legally, and as far as I'm aware, they do do it legally. But they're playing the system, using technicalities rather than respecting the clear intent of the law. And that is why when we don't use the US system of jurisprudence, we can't use the costs attached to it to determine what costs would be here.

    Amalie, I'm not saying what costs would be here. We can't know what they'd be without knowing what the system would be, and especially what the appeals process would be and if there'd be any special provisions given the permanence of the penalty. I can't honestly see how it could be as high as the US given that our system is nothing like as obtuse as the US system, but until or unless we have laws, we can't know what it's cost.

    My point, however, is that the US costs aren't a viable way to assess costs here.

    And let me give you another example of differing systems. The rules regarding admissibility of evidence are very different here to in the US. The US uses a principle called the fruit of the poisoned tree, the metaphor being that if tree is poisoned, so is the fruit. For instance, if a confession is obtained as a result of illegally obtained evidence, is the confession admissible? In the US, it is not. It's a constitutional amendment to protect Fourth Amendment rights.

    In the UK, the situation is very different.

    Suppose evidence is obtained by a wire tap. When confronted with such evidence in a police interview, the accused confesses. So, now you're got a recording that was obtained illegally, and a confession that might only have been obtained because of the recording. In the US, the jury will never hear, or indeed know of, the confession or the recording.

    As I understand the law (and any lawyers on here may correct me), in the UK, the recording would probably be inadmissible, but the confession probably wouldn't be. It would be admissible unless it either fell foul of s.78 of PACE, or unless the judge felt it would have such an effect on fairness as to be inadmissible.

    Now, let's get back to those US constitutional appeals. Suppose it was found that whoever filled in the form requesting authorisation for that wiretap put the date in the wrong box, or put 1st January 2007 when it should have been 1st Jan, 2008? Is the wiretap legal? Well, there's a matter for appeal, if that didn't come out at trial. And if it does mean the wiretap was illegal, then in the US, not only does the wiretap go but so does the confession. Yet, has it made any material difference to whether the accused committed the crime, or to the nature of the crime?

    Similar provisions relate to the results of searches.

    US rules on admissibility are very complex, and being no lawyer, I'm certainly not overly familiar with them. But there are rules, for instance, about who can be searched in a car, and under what circumstances. Suppose police pull a car over for a "traffic" violation. The car has a passenger, and the passenger is guilty of something. Can the police search the passenger? And, if the stop was illegal, can the passenger challenge the search, or can only the driver challenge it? Because, if the search was illegal, nothing found in it can be used. According to the California Supreme Court, only the driver can challenge the stop. If that's the case, the police can stop any car, legally or otherwise, and anything found on the passenger would not be fruit of the poisoned tree because the driver would be the only one that could challenge the search, so the Fourth Amendment poisoned tree logic would not protect passengers.

    But what if the passenger was a fugitive already? What if a warrant was already in existence for his arrest?

    What if the basis for stopping the car was illegal, but the passenger was not only wanted (say, for burglary), but was carrying a gun that he'd used to murder a family during a burglary, and a video of him raping and torturing the victims before killing them? Would it be that, because the search was illegal, the gun and video would be excluded, but perhaps because warrant already existed, the detention of the burglar was legal, or would a wanted felon be freed because the whole search was illegal, only to be rearrested on the steps of the courthouse as he left court?

    That, incidentally, was based on a real case, though the passenger was convicted of drug offences, and I've made up the gun, etc, and the burglary. And the US Supreme Court overturned the California court.

    Which, in itself, brings me to another difference between US and UK legal systems. For anything other than minor offences (such as locally enforced parking violations, littering, rubbish-dumping, etc) the UK has national laws, at least in relation to England and Wales. Scotland's a bit different in some regards and N. Ireland has a few quirks too. But, for major offences and certainly including anything that the DP might apply to, either you're in the jurisdiction of the English (and Welsh) courts, or the Scottish Courts. In the US, you might find yourself in a case that appears to be the subject of State courts, but then turns into a Federal (national) case. Or, like that example above, the offence (drugs) might be a State issue, but the implications of either issues that crop up at trial, or procedural matters, might be Federal, or might end up going past a State's Supreme Court and up the the US Supreme Court.

    We don't have the same State and Federal distinctions as the US, and we don't have the same jurisdictional issues between then, let alone constitutional ones.

    Anyway, I hope that's given some flavour of why I say that any cost figures associated with how the DP works in the US aren't a valid guide to how it would work over here. It's why I said the costs are based on the system, and we have a very, very different system here. Many of the basic principles are the same, largely because the US system drew heavily on the UK system when it was created, but it's gone it's own way since in a number of absolutely fundamental areas, such as the poisoned tree logic. Our system is, basically, diametrically opposite to the US system in that regard.

    Incidentally, while I support the use of the DP here, in specific types of cases and with necessary safeguards, I think the whole question is academic, because I don't think it'll ever come back. It would certainly require either that the UK leave the EU, or that the EU make a fundamental shift in policy, and while the former is a vague (and probably undesirable) possibility, the latter is something I'd bet won't happen in my lifetime or the vaguely foreseeable future. So it's all hypothetical about what it might cost, because I don't see it happening any time soon, if ever.

  2. #66
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    I'm against it for several reasons:
    1. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing a human being is capable of which means that they forfeit the right to life.
    2. Institutional killings lower society to the same level as the murderer.
    3. It is rarely possible to prove something 100%, and even when they did do it, there may be underlying reasons for the crime- eg. Ruth Ellis suffered from a mental illness and was abused by her husband.

  3. #67
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen View Post
    Thats exactly what i meant. Certainly not just deport everyone Splash read what he wanted to read rather than actually think about what i put.
    It may well have been what you intended to imply, but the wording seems pretty blunt to me. It makes no mention of any kind of offending.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen
    The best way to save money is to deport ANYONE that isn't a born UK citizen back to their country of origin. Someone else can then foot the bill.
    As I said in my post: you're as entitled to your opinion as anyone else here, but please don't accuse me of reading some secret message between the lines when I was doing anything but.

  4. #68
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    But Splash.. when we're talking about penalties and crimes, surely you should take that context into it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Fortune117
    Kids are getting smarter, eventually no amount of parental controls will be able to stop them
    I guess we're expected to do quite well

  5. #69
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Were it not for the fact that the word ANYONE was in capitals I would probably have assumed that's what Blitzen meant, however the stress implied on the word suggested otherwise to me. On top of that it's a discussion about capital punishment, not the nationality of the criminals incarcerated in our jails.

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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Definitely FOR the death penalty in certain circumstances.

    In 1996 a certain Thomas Hamilton walked into a school in Dunblane, Scotland and slaughtered 16 children aged between 5 and 6 years old, plus their teacher. If he had lived (he shot himself) he would have been imprisoned for life, possibly in a mental institution, at huge financial cost to society.

    If my dog bit a child that dog would be painlessly 'destroyed'. To my mind the likes of Hamilton are less worthy of life than my dog. Killers such as this, and there have been many examples in recent years (though perhaps not as extreme), should be executed, not as a punishment, not as a deterrent, but simply to permanently remove them from society.
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Against.

    Not convinced by any stats to show there's less violent crime in places that have the death penalty so can't see the deterrent aspect. Seems to be society getting it's revenge which makes me a bit uncomfortable, call me an old liberal softy.

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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    There's no going back once you have sentenced someone to death, the wrongly convicted have no chance

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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortunate Son View Post
    There's no going back once you have sentenced someone to death, the wrongly convicted have no chance
    Of course there's going back after you've sentenced someone to death, and the wrongly convicted have an appeals process.

    It's a bit trickier going back after sentence has been carried out though, but that will be some time later.

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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Against because, as has been said, sometimes innocent people get executed. I also foolishly believe that society has a part to play, willingly or not, in the creation of those individuals who commit monstrous acts, and as such should bear the cost of its own existence.

    I know, horrible flaws in my logic, but it's an emotive subject, and I find it difficult to be objective over it.

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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogz View Post
    Against.

    Not convinced by any stats to show there's less violent crime in places that have the death penalty so can't see the deterrent aspect. Seems to be society getting it's revenge which makes me a bit uncomfortable, call me an old liberal softy.
    I'm in complete agreement.

    Also, how many innocent people have been "posthumously pardoned" from back in the day when Britain did have capital punishment?

    I find capital punishment as savage and barbaric as the crimes committed by those being punished.

  13. #76
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    Thumbs down Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Quote Originally Posted by Splash View Post
    Against, because if we're to be human then we should rise above the level of animals and the mob mentality.
    Darwin would like to have a word with you.

    Personally, I'm for it. The bleeding-heart liberal mindset that is so widespread these days sickens me. I remember a time when people still had the b--, er, guts to do what was needed, even if it were distasteful or hurt somebody's over-sensitive feelings. That's what's wrong with the world today...

    Prison time is a foolish notion for truly horrible crimes (like where 30+ years to life come into play) which, in the end, only penalizes the law-abiding citizen, since they have to pay for it. Parole should also be abolished.

    Quote Originally Posted by thestjohn View Post
    I also foolishly believe that society has a part to play, willingly or not, in the creation of those individuals who commit monstrous acts, and as such should bear the cost of its own existence.
    Bull. Society does not create monsters; each man/woman is responsible for his or her own actions. If they willingly break the law, they lose *all* "rights" granted by that law (other than right to a fair trial, etc.). Other than that, I don't believe in criminals having rights unless they prove their innocence. Why should they enjoy protection under the law when they willingly violated the security granted to others?

    As for the ones too stupid to know Right from Wrong...good riddance. These would not have survived without excessive aid anyways (Darwinism), and even then its unlikely. This sort of dead weight being removed from the equation only serves to improve the species as a whole. ^_^ The less time spent on fools, the better; Nature would have done the job eventually anyways.
    Last edited by 2Cold Scorpio; 12-11-2008 at 07:06 AM.

  14. #77
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Quote Originally Posted by 2Cold Scorpio View Post
    Personally, I'm for it. The bleeding-heart liberal mindset that is so widespread these days sickens me. I remember a time when people still had the b--, er, guts to do what was needed, even if it were distasteful or hurt somebody's over-sensitive feelings. That's what's wrong with the world today...
    And what happens when the police knock on your door, your lawyer fails you, you're tried, convicted and hanged for a crime you had absolutely nothing to do with? Who are your grieving family going to cry to then?
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  15. #78
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    While I'm not familiar with *all* of Darwin's theories I don't really see how "survival of the fittest" applies here. Based purely on that the murderer is a more fit person to survive than the victim.

    Or is there some other theory you're hinting at?

    As for

    If they willingly break the law, they lose *all* "rights" granted by that law (other than right to a fair trial, etc.)
    They lose "all" rights, except the ones you decide they get to keep? This isn't Guantanamo Bay or Mega City One, y'know...

    I did try to keep within the remit of this thread (ie to keep it brief), but the nature of this kind of discussion seems contrary to that...

  16. #79
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Quote Originally Posted by 2Cold Scorpio View Post
    Darwin would like to have a word with you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Splash View Post
    While I'm not familiar with *all* of Darwin's theories I don't really see how "survival of the fittest" applies here. Based purely on that the murderer is a more fit person to survive than the victim.
    Actually Darwin never specifically applied his theories to humans at all so I doubt he'd have much to say at all.

    And there's a theory that since we now have the ability to extensively manipulate ourselves and our environment we've effectively thrown off a lot of the effects of Darwinian evolution. What little effect it still does have on us certainly can't justify killing people in the name of justice, Darwin would be turning in his grave for suggesting something like that!
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    Re: Death Penalty Poll - In Brief

    Personally I'd like to see some of our prisons go the same way as the methods introducted by Joe Arpaio:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Arpaio began to serve inmates surplus food including outdated and oxidized green bologna[12] and limited meals to twice daily. Meal costs would be reduced to 90 cents per day; as of 2007 Arpaio states that he has managed to reduce costs to 30 cents per day. Certain food items were banned from the county jail, mainly coffee (which also reduced "coffee attacks" on corrections officers), but later salt and pepper were removed from the jail (at a purported taxpayer savings of $20,000/year).

    Arpaio banned inmates from possessing "sexually explicit material" including Playboy magazine after female officers complained that inmates openly masturbated while viewing them, or harassed the officers by comparing their anatomy to the nude photos in the publications; the ban was challenged on First Amendment grounds but upheld by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.[13]

    Smoking and weightlifting equipment were also banned. Entertainment was limited to G-rated movies; the cable TV system (mandated by court order)[citation needed] was blocked by Arpaio to limit viewing to those stations Arpaio deems to be "educational", mainly Animal Planet, Disney Channel, The Weather Channel, A&E, CNN, and the local government access channel.
    Personally I'd like to see that people who are doing time, actually having a hard time of it rather than living in relative luxury (and by this I mean better standards of living than some less well off people in our country)

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