Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Attitudes about capital punishment

K always tells me that as soon as there's a case where it is proved that we've executed an innocent person, people who support the death penalty will change their minds. But I don't think he has that right. I presume that folks who support the death penalty recognize that we execute an innocent person now and then, but they feel that is an acceptable cost for what they perceive the benefits to be.

So in this case, I think they're comfortable saying this:
Here's what you get for a life: you'll watch your kids die in a fire, then we'll wrongly accuse you of killing them (by burning them up in a fire, no less) and then we'll execute you. Sorry about your life, bud. Cost/benefit analysis, don't you know.
Here's a link to The Innocence Project. They can use donations.


love johnson said...

I am very pro death penalty. And I also believe that, generally speaking, the appeals process takes much too long.

That being said, the appeals/review process should take long enough to make as certain as possible that the wrong person isn't executed. How long that is, I don't know.

I would think that these days, with the technology and DNA testing and whatever else is out there, the odds of arresting and convicting and executing the wrong person should be very low. At least I hope so.

I cannot think of anything much worse than to be accused of a very heinous crime, arrested, tried and convicted and knowing you did not do it. I don't know how many fall into this category, but I'm sure it's more than I think.

Those who get the next step in that progression (execution) who did not do it have to be an even smaller number - again, at least I hope so.

Anonymous said...


Stephanie said...

This guy had been in jail since 1992 and executed (in TX) in 2004, so 12 years is too little time for the truth to bubble forth.

Thanks to Anon for the link to the New Yorker article (which was the impetus for Herbert's opinion piece).

I've said it elsewhere. Reading crim pro cases in law school turned me into a liberal. It also turned me anti-death penalty. Our justice system may be the best in the world, but it is flawed to a degree that convinces me it is immoral for the death penalty to be applied.