Serious Death Penalty

In the last session of the supreme court, besides the massive ruling for gay marriage, there was another large, important case that ended very interestingly. The case was whether or not the new drugs being used in lethal injection execution constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." Since most of Europe cut off America from drugs used for lethal injection, states have been forced to experiment with new drugs for lethal injections, that would still be painless. Unfortunately, this experimentation resulted many in many infamous cases of people who were being exectuted feeling extreme pain for prolonged periods of time, after having a new drug used on them, Medazolam (I might be off on that name, maybe misspell). The case was decided 5-4 in favor or keeping the drug legal, on the ground that "the inmates had failed to identify an available and preferable method of execution and failed to make the case that the challenged drug entailed a substantial risk of severe pain." After that, something unprecedented occured. Two dissenters asked to read their dissent aloud, one saying firmly that this drug was cruel and unusual, one saying that the death penalty is inherently cruel and unusual. Finally, on of the majority asked to read his decision, indicating obvious strong feelings between the judges. This issue seems to be something that people feel strongly about all over the world, so what are your thoughts? Do you think that the death penalty is inherently cruel and unusual, or fair? What do you think about this new drug? Is it in particular cruel and unusual? For those outside the united states, what are your thoughts on this?
 

Adamant Zoroark

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I have always held that the death penalty is inherently "cruel and unusual." I really don't give a shit if you can make it painless or not; you're still killing someone. Oh, I'm sorry? They killed someone? Well, just because someone killed someone doesn't mean you get to kill them.

All you really need, though, is to just consider the possibility of executing someone who never committed any crime. If I recall correctly, this is actually why the United Kingdom stopped using the death penalty. In fact, 18 of the 329 convicts proven innocent thanks to the Innocence Project spent time on death row, so that alone is testament to just how possible it is that we will execute an innocent person. Murphy's law - anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and in this case, when an innocent person gets executed, even those who staunchly believe in eye for an eye morality would not be able to argue that it wasn't murder. You can release a wrongfully imprisoned person; you can't revive a wrongfully executed person.

That sums up my thoughts on capital punishment.
 
Killing someone is a huge deal and should only happen if it's overall preferable to everyone involved including the person being killed. Euthanasia is a more obvious example of this, and certain situations when trying to apprehend a criminal can apply as well. I'd like to think that maybe the government theoretically could kill a criminal as an act similar to euthanasia, but as of yet I haven't thought of a scenario in which that can happen. At the same time, I hesitate to call anything "inherently bad" because I find that many people do this as an intellectually lazy way to examine morality, with highly negative consequences.
 
Well, they can always bring back hanging if inmates can't think of a better method, or power up the electric chair. Or expand firing squad, since only a few states use it still. Then again I always though the guillotine was pretty fast and painless, if not a bit more unsightly.
 
The death penalty itself should not be forced upon an offender. The option to purposefully kill the offender should be given to the individual as an alternative to life in prison. If they find that it is, in fact, the better option for them, they should be provided with a quick, lethal, efficient method of death, unlike the recent substances in the lethal injection. In short, if the individual is to be put to death, at least try to be more humane about it.
 
Well, they can always bring back hanging if inmates can't think of a better method, or power up the electric chair. Or expand firing squad, since only a few states use it still. Then again I always though the guillotine was pretty fast and painless, if not a bit more unsightly.
Guillotine is not one of the five legal methods of execution across the states (hanging, electric chair, lethal injection, firing squad and gas chamber), I assume this is because it kills the exact same as hanging (snapping spinal cord) while being a bit less graphic. I've never heard of the guillotine being used recently.

The problem with the other forms of execution for many people are that there are documented cases of each causing people extreme pain. The firing squad for obvious reasons, the electric chair sometimes taking more than one shock to kill, the gas chamber taking too long and causing people to turn purple and gasp, and hanging resulting in strangling/beheading if done improperly. Until Europe cut the US off, lethal injection was pretty much used in all executions, as it was widely seen as the most humane way of execution, if that exists. As this is no longer the case, the states will have to do something.
 

Bughouse

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Whether or not you personally agree with the death penalty, and it's clear Justices Breyer and Ginsburg don't... it's an indefensible position that it is forbidden by the constitution as "cruel and unusual punishment" in the 8th amendment.

"Nor shall any person ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," part of the 5th amendment, clearly implies that as long as due process of law is given, the death penalty is allowable. Furthermore, that same 5th amendment begins with "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury," which explicitly allows for capital punishment even more clearly.

If the death penalty is to be 100% gone, and not just de facto gone (it has been decreasing substantially), there would need to be a constitutional amendment. This language is clear. The founders and the constitution did not view capital punishment as cruel and unusual.
 

Adamant Zoroark

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Whether or not you personally agree with the death penalty, and it's clear Justices Breyer and Ginsburg don't... it's an indefensible position that it is forbidden by the constitution as "cruel and unusual punishment" in the 8th amendment.

"Nor shall any person ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," part of the 5th amendment, clearly implies that as long as due process of law is given, the death penalty is allowable. Furthermore, that same 5th amendment begins with "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury," which explicitly allows for capital punishment even more clearly.

If the death penalty is to be 100% gone, and not just de facto gone (it has been decreasing substantially), there would need to be a constitutional amendment. This language is clear. The founders and the constitution did not view capital punishment as cruel and unusual.
I really have no idea what you're trying to get at. You would only *need* a constitutional amendment in the case that what you want is already forbidden by the Constitution (sixteenth amendment allowing for income tax, for example) but there isn't a single section in the Constitution that forbids banning capital punishment. Sure, a constitutional amendment explicitly defining capital punishment as cruel and unusual would make it go faster, but it isn't necessary in order to abolish the death penalty.
 

Bughouse

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Simply put, you're just plain wrong. If a state wants to continue with capital punishment, there is no remotely plausible future in which a majority of justices would find it unconstitutional unless a new amendment explicitly disallows it, when it is currently implicitly allowed and there is a mountain of precedent in which the court has allowed capital punishment and defined when it is and isn't constitutional.

The Court has time and again upheld numerous cases involving the death penalty, as long as the methods the state uses comply with the Court's decisions in Furman v Georgia (mostly that it can not be applied arbitrarily or show clear racial bias, etc, but it must be noted that there was no majority holding in that case. No justice could agree with any of the others and there were 5 separate holdings, with no binding precedent.) as well as the subsequent decision in Gregg v Georgia. In that case, the Court found 7-2 that the death penalty was constitutional and that it "comports with the basic concept of human dignity at the core of the [Eighth] Amendment."

I know a big piece of Justice Breyer's dissent was that it still is applied arbitrarily and with some racial bias, which would therefore violate Furman (not that it is a binding precedent). I read the opinion. But 2 out of 9 is nowhere near a majority. Not when Brennan and Marshall dissented in the 70s and still not today. And at this point the court will operate under stare decisis: the question has already been decided in Gregg v Georgia. It's constitutional, and the court will not review its constitutionality overall barring extraordinary circumstances.

So as I said already... a constitutional amendment would be needed.
 

UncleSam

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I have no problem with executing criminals who are both guilty of particularly heinous crimes as well as reasonably believed to be a threat to others. It should only be as a last resort and not as a revenge measure (as it is used currently far too often).

I do feel that executions by lethal injection are performed solely for the sake of the people who watch (side note: no one should be allowed to watch another person be executed, because that is just some sort of sick revenge trip for the sake of providing 'closure' when there will never be any real closure for someone who has had a loved one violently taken from them), as they are substantially less humane than, say, death by firing squad; the difference is that death by firing squad looks more violent to the observer.

Don't let others watch, let them die in peace, and let them die as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

Finally, capital punishment is absolutely constitutional and would require an amendment to ban in the United States. That doesn't really mean anything to me philosophically, however. Legally it can practically be forbidden through banning various capital punishment methods, however.
 

tehy

Banned deucer.
considering the high amount of innocent death row prisoners and the high cost of execution, the solution seems pretty clear

unfortunately i haven't found a study doing a great cost comparison; they all point out the court cases and years of incarceration cost more but don't show how much it'd cost to keep them in prison for the rest of their lives (admittedly that involves many variables, but an estimate would've been nice)

does the death penalty really deter crime ? feel like it doesn't, maybe though. that deserves more discussion and research more than anything.
 
Death penalty is legal in my country, and it is used quite commonly. For example, drug trafficking and kidnapping acts are most certainly punished by death penalties. Hence, I guess the 'ruling by fear' has resulted in a very low crime-rate country.

I agree with trc. I personally think that death penalty is okay to be legal, but more sparingly and as UncleSam said, it should be the last resort or if the crime is devastating. For example, Tsarnev, the guy who did the Boston marathon bombing, IMO deserved death penalty. I feel that if you do not give a shit about other people's lives, then I should not care about your life either.

I totally understand about the 2nd chance issue as well as human rights and the wrong innocent criminal perspective though. Also, I do understand that some criminals have a history of bad childhood or memory which result them in committing criminal acts , and they are so poor they have to resort to them to have quick cash, etc.
 

Lee

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Whether or not you personally agree with the death penalty, and it's clear Justices Breyer and Ginsburg don't... it's an indefensible position that it is forbidden by the constitution as "cruel and unusual punishment" in the 8th amendment.

"Nor shall any person ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," part of the 5th amendment, clearly implies that as long as due process of law is given, the death penalty is allowable. Furthermore, that same 5th amendment begins with "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury," which explicitly allows for capital punishment even more clearly.

If the death penalty is to be 100% gone, and not just de facto gone (it has been decreasing substantially), there would need to be a constitutional amendment. This language is clear. The founders and the constitution did not view capital punishment as cruel and unusual.
I realise you are stating this as matter-of-fact and that you're not actually using it to defend the death penalty but please tell me that there aren't actually people out there who think a document written nearly 250 years ago is reason to keep the death penalty? I imagine the whole western world was using the death penalty 250 years ago but we were also shitting out of our first floor windows into the streets below because we hadn't quite mastered the sewage system. We've advanced a bit since those days but I guess the US is being a bit 'selective' with it's advancement on this issue!
 
Why does it have to be absolutely painless? You are talking about severe criminals.

Pros: Well, if you get rid of the criminal quickly, you don't need to spend tax payer's money feeding him for the rest of his life doing nothing.
The drugs and court processes required for the death penalty cost much more than feeding him for the rest of his life
does the death penalty really deter crime ? feel like it doesn't, maybe though. that deserves more discussion and research more than anything.
there are no statistics to show that the death penalty deters crime, as crime in states and countries without the death penalty is higher than in those without the death penalty.

I think that, depending on the person, that the the death penalty could be interpreted as "cruel and unusual" under the constitution, as the founders of the united states meant for the constitution to be flexible and adapt to the times. The founding fathers had no way of knowing we would invent bazookas, yet "the right to bear arms" does not include bazookas to the common person. Although it is highly unlikely that the current supreme court would interpret it as inherently cruel and unusual, it is possible in the future.
 
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Ortheore

Tournament Banned
My perspective on the death penalty or its alternative (life without parole) is that the most important thing is that the public are protected from these people. The whole point of the sentence in my view is basically saying "we've given up on you, there's no way you'll ever be safe to other people". The whole idea that a death penalty is a stronger deterrent from committing major crimes is really really dubious imo, when you're comparing life without parole and death they're just two different shades of really fucking bad as I see it. Not to mention that deterrents don't even matter for a lot of criminals who commit crimes of this nature, they do it anyway for whatever reason they have.

In the favour of the death penalty, I imagine that people who have suffered at the hands of the criminal in some way would feel more strongly that the punishment was appropriate. I imagine anyway, idk. Personally, I consider this to be the least important point at hand, it's far more important that people who are a danger to society are kept separate from society.

I often hear that the death penalty is more expensive than life in prison but it's something I've never seen any studies on, and frankly, I don't care enough to look it up (I'll wait for someone else to post them lol). If that is true though, I consider that a very damning argument against the death penalty. I don't buy the death penalty's "merits" as a more severe punishment, especially if the punishment's sole purpose is to make someone suffer rather than deter undesirable behaviour. So then I question which alternative is more efficient- if the death penalty isn't even cheaper and more expedient than life without parole, why the hell would you use it?

Notice how I haven't even touched on the enormous moral issues with the death penalty
 

Kinneas

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Your constitution has had so many amendments already maybe you guys should just make a new one.

As long as the criminal justice system is fallible then the death penalty can/has/will lead to innocent lives being taken. Unless you can show some really good cost-benefit analysis that is gonna convince me that allowing the government to kill innocent people is alright, I don't see any defence here.
 
I read a report about the Colorado Super Max sometime after the date for the Boston Bombers sentence was set, maybe it was on CNN or something. They had reports of inmates eventually becoming mad from being locked up in grey walls for so long that some flung feces at guards while others screamed randomly every night and there is of course around the clock suicide watch.

People keep saying that DP is cruel (it's not), yet somehow locking a human being with no hope of release for the rest of his life (who knows how long is that) isn't torture. Jail should be about punishment but also about rehabilitation, you are in there because you need to realize your mistakes and made sure that once you are set free, you have a low to no chance of repeating the offense.

If you have committed a crime so heinous, beyond repairing, being in total control of your actions, then the just punishment for you is death. The victims family would have justice and will no longer have aggravated feelings and thoughts of revenge, society won't have to fear that whatever criminal enterprise or knowledge the criminal had would be passed on to others, and ultimately the offender won't have to spend the rest of his miserable life locked up in a cage battling between two thoughts, escape or ironically, suicide.
 

Bughouse

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I realise you are stating this as matter-of-fact and that you're not actually using it to defend the death penalty but please tell me that there aren't actually people out there who think a document written nearly 250 years ago is reason to keep the death penalty? I imagine the whole western world was using the death penalty 250 years ago but we were also shitting out of our first floor windows into the streets below because we hadn't quite mastered the sewage system. We've advanced a bit since those days but I guess the US is being a bit 'selective' with it's advancement on this issue!
I'm not a fan of the death penalty, but the more I've learned about conditions in solitary in places like supermax, the more I've come around to it being a passable option in terms of humaneness.

However, it must be said that those two groups don't overlap much if at all. The people in supermax are not generally on death row, iirc. And life w/out parole in a lower grade prison where you don't face solitary... That's almost certainly the correct option, and not the death penalty.
 
I honestly don't care either way about death penalty but for fucks sake if a country supports it please don't feel sorry for the inmate by spending billions on making the right chemicals for the most "humane" way to kill them off. If you've already deemed them as scum and not worth living, just kill them. The US government is so busy trying to look like moral heroes on DP that they would spend more money on this matter than helping homeless children, homeless military war vets, etc.
 

MikeDawg

Banned deucer.
I don't see the problem with 'bullet to the head'. Cheap, quick, effectivive. ANYTHING is more humane than letting them for in maxi on suicide watch.

The only issue I would have is if the death penalty is more expensive. In that case, life in prison is preferred. Unless we can somehow lower the overhead costs for someone that requests the death penalty, then jumping through that hoop seems illogical. Maxi is a different (more expensive) story, though, so perhaps the dp is more cost effective there?

https://www.themarshallproject.org/...-the-death-penalty-is-becoming-more-expensive

Tl;dr article: Court is hella hella money (almost a mil) to do death penalty. They now have to get full mental history and etc which costs money. They have to hold them separately while trial is happening which costs money. It isn't that a bullet costs 500k dollars all of the sudden, its the money the state has to pay just to get the conviction to begin with
 
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The only issue i have with the death penalty if an innocent person is wrongly convicted and executed, which unfortunately have happened in the past. If we can clean up this issue, i fully support the death penalty. Prison is expensive, extremely expensive. I don't want my tax dollars to help these murders, rapists, and assorted criminals.
 
Judicial activism at its worst. The opinions of the court were mostly bemoaning opponents of the death penalty and trying to justify it on personal belief rather than in accordance with the law. This has included the assumption that the defence had to formulate an alternative to the death penalty, and the complaint that opponents have made it impossible to obtain the necessary drugs (in actuality, it's foreign governments clamping down on private sector involvement in human rights abuses).
 
I personally support the death penalty against people who have done mass murder as they are most likely mentally unstable and/or evil and will always cause problems regardless of where they are. Keeping them alive would be a waste of prison space and resources. The main issue I see with the death penalty is that it will without a doubt be abused and there will always be times were people who haven't committed a crime are given the death penalty and a while later proven innocent. I think it should be introduced but only for extremely severe crimes and the evidence that warrants a death penalty has to be absolute. I really could not give a shit about how they are killed, if you're receiving the death penalty you've probably done enough bad things throughout your life to deserve to suffer in your last moments.
 

DM

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The problem with the death penalty is this: what's the POINT?

There are three schools of mentalities when it comes to incarceration:

REHABILITATION: Kinda hard to rehabilitate a dead person.
DETERRENCE: We've been executing everyone we can get our hands on down in Texas, doesn't seem to be stopping other from committing similar crimes.
PUNISHMENT: Well, okay, that's it. We are killing people because of some sense of justice I guess?

US Americans have a constant bloodthirst; while many first-world countries outlawed capital punishment years ago, we cling to our outdated ideas of biblical revenge.
 

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