Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tookie's Dead!

And the crowd went wild!

I am a bigtime supporter of capital punishment. I believe that it is the ultimate way for society to demonstrate its rejection of a criminal's behavior and wrongdoing. It also demonstrates our confidence in the system...we are willing to impose the ultimate punishment on a defendant because we have total confidence in our belief system. We know that our laws are right and we are willing to execute those who insist on living outside those laws.

It shows our society values the lives of its innocent citizens. If someone takes your life, we show respect for your life by imposing the ultimate penalty on the criminal who deprived you of it. If we allow a killer to live, we allow him (most murderers are men) the chance to enjoy a life. Even a life behind bars has values (especially because of the Constitutional mandates on treatment of prisoners).

I recognize the strengths of arguments against the death penalty...the most compelling of which is that an innocent person could be executed. There are chances for error in all human endeavors; but reducing the chances of errors is a matter of procedure. Ideally, prosecutors, judges, and defense counsel should work together to develop a profile and a set of procedures for identifying cases where errors might have occurred...this could then be used by Governor's and parole boards in ruling on requests for clemency. Sadly, the death penalty defense bar would never agree to such a project...because its successful conclusion would make it more likely that people would be executed (the existence of the profile and procedures would increase the confidence of the states that many of the killers were fairly tried and not likely to be innocent).

Let's face it, most killers on death row are going to claim that they are innocent. They count on the fact that the public and the press are not intimately familiar with the facts of their cases and the evidence used to convict them. Look at Tookie; look at Mumia....both of these men were convicted after significant amounts of evidence were presented at trial...there was no reasonable doubt of their guilt (of course, maybe their victims were killed by replicants beamed down from the Starship Enterprise, but that is not reasonable). Yet, they declare their innocence and people around the world believe them. I have seen the anti-death penalty crowd at work...they take pot shots at the evidence, come up with alternate explanations, and loudly condemn the process

Anyways, time to go to work.


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