Returning to Support For the Death Penalty

 

shutterstock_126767585I supported the death penalty for many years. It seemed only just that a man convicted of a truly heinous murder deserved death, and therefore the state, reflecting the collective conscience of the community, had the right to avenge the brutal death of a murderer’s victim.

Then, about 20 years ago, I read Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot, and I changed my mind … though still with a sense that there were many flaws in the arguments against capital punishment. In The Idiot, the protagonist, Prince Myshkin, describes an execution by guillotine he had witnessed, and makes an impassioned case that executing a man, even with swift efficiency, was profoundly wrong because, in the moments before he died, the condemned man lost all hope and was driven to insanity. That made sense. It still does in the abstract.

A number of years later, the state of Montana executed one Duncan McKenzie. This loathsome human monster had kidnapped a young school teacher named Lana Harding, beat her, repeatedly raped her, and finally lashed her to a junked car with barbed wire and left her to die. The morning after Mckenzie’s execution, the sun shined a bit brighter and there was a sense of peace in the air. Mckenzie got his due, and so did Lana Harding and her family. 

That morning I regained my belief that capital punishment for truly vicious killers like Mckenzie is supremely just.

I do a lot of pro-life work. For the past three years, I have been the local director for the area’s 40 Days for Life campaign. I’ve spoken at many pro-life events like the local March for Life, which takes place on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. I’ve worked with high school students in the movement, and written much on the issue.

And I have determined that capital punishment is pro-life.

Many of my compatriots in the local pro-life organization disagree with me. Some see my position as poppycock. Their argument is that anytime a life is spared—even the life of a vicious killer—the cause of life is strengthened. Some call me a hypocrite. I take that in stride and remain firm in my belief that sometimes a killer’s death is the only way to ensure that life is seen as truly precious. The victim’s life, I argue, is affirmed by the execution of her killer. To leave so cruel a killer as Duncan McKenzie alive is an outrage. Mckenzie sought not only to kill Lana Harding’s body. He sought to destroy her soul. That is the very definition of an evil man.

My friends on the other side of the capital punishment debate argue that my position is wrong because it is grounded in the desire for revenge.

Well, yes. That is how it should be. The first and overriding function of any system of criminal justice is retribution. The community restores justice by exacting revenge on the criminal. If retribution were not the first principle of criminal justice, there would be no justification for punishing anyone.

So, I ask my abolitionist friends, if retribution is not the cornerstone of punishment, how can it be just to punish anyone? The usual response is that punishment is designed to rehabilitate the criminal and to protect the community, and that capital punishment obviously cannot reform the killer. Besides, I often hear, sentencing the killer to life in prison offers full protection for the community.

My  reply is “who cares?” A killer like McKenzie has committed so great an outrage against his victim and the community that it is irrelevant that he cannot be rehabilitated or that he can be taken out of society by life in prison. Lana Harding’s death cried out for justice. That, for me, is the end of it.

The usual fallback position among my abolitionist friends is that innocent men may be executed, and that such an injustice trumps the community’s need for retribution.

My reply is that the assertion that it is “better that 100 guilty men go free rather than that a single innocent man be put to death” is nonsense. To send 100 Duncan Mackenzies back into the world would be like releasing a deadly toxin into the air. To release 100 sociopaths is to risk condemning 100 innocent lives.

Besides, virtually every action by the state requires the balancing of risks and benefits. All human action carries the risk of error, but the community must still have the power to condemn barbarians.

But, my abolitionist friends respond, Christian teaching compels society, as a matter of mercy, to refrain from executing even a guilty man.

Really? The family of a brutally murdered loved one suffers horribly from the loss. It is a hard task to bear the pain and loss of a murder victim while the killer is still up wandering around. I can scarcely imagine the dread Lana Harding’s parents must have endured, not just at her murder but at imagining the fear and despair of their daughter. Her father must have awakened every day and berated himself because he was not there to save his child. The victim’s loved ones deserve the mercy of justice far more than does the psychopath who robbed his victim of her life and her humanity.

I’m a Roman Catholic, so I stand in fear and trembling when I make these arguments. The Church, however, has never held that capital punishment is intrinsically evil. The Catechism provides that execution is still an option as a matter of justice (the word used is retribution). The question of whether alternative punishments are available to satisfy the needs of the community is a prudential judgment. So, until the Church formally decides to disallow capital punishment, I’ll remain in my position — because to completely abandon the death penalty would cheapen life by granting immunity from death to those who brutally kill. The community would have effectively declared that a cold blooded killer’s life is of greater worth than the life of his victim. This would trivialize murder, and by extension, would trivialize innocent life.

 

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  1. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Mike Rapkoch: My reply is that the assertion that it is “better that 100 guilty men go free rather than that a single innocent man be put to death” is nonsense.

    Mike Rapkoch: The first and overriding function of any system of criminal justice is retribution. The community restores justice by exacting revenge on the criminal.

     When We discover that the state executed an innocent Citizen, then Who do We kill by exacting revenge? The lawmakers? The Citizens Who voted for the lawmakers? The jury? Those Who administered the drip or electricity?

    Mike Rapkoch: The family of a brutally murdered loved one suffers horribly from the loss. It is a hard task to bear the pain and loss of a murder victim while the killer is still up wandering around. I can scarcely imagine the dread [the innocently convicted’s] parents must have endured, not just at [Their] murder, but in imagining the fear and despair of their [child]. [The innocently convicted’s] father must have awakened every day and berated himself because he was not there to save his child.

    • #1
  2. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    So how, exactly, does that make the execution of Duncan McKenzie unjust?

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I understand, and agree in theory with, the point you are making, Mike–that it actually affirms the value of human life to take a person’s life who took someone else’s life.

    And perhaps these murder trials are always fair and accurate.  

    But I doubt it very much.  

    And if we do err and take a life wrongly, that makes us murderers.  How many times do we give ourselves a pass on that before we become as morally guilty as the real murderers?  Isn’t the only moral high ground we have for capital punishment our own record of not being murderers ourselves?  

    And if by chance we execute an innocent person, how is justice served?  Now, in my mind, there are two crimes.  

    That said, I understand how people feel about wanting to destroy the less-than-human lowlifes that commit some of the heinous crimes we have all read about.  

    Maybe we’re really talking about war here, about our right to kill our enemies. Not justice.  And in wars, we accept reluctantly that innocent people on all sides will die unfairly.  Perhaps that is what it’s all about. I don’t know.  

    • #3
  4. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    My friends on the other side of the capital punishment debate argue that my position is wrong because it is grounded in the desire for revenge.

    Well, yes. That is how it should be. The first and overriding function of any system of criminal justice is retribution.

    Oh? It couldn’t be something more mundane, like deterrence?
    It must be retribution? Revenge? How come?

    So… if retribution is not the cornerstone of punishment, how can it be just to punish anyone? The usual response is that punishment is designed to rehabilitate…

    None of them, in answering you, has even mentioned deterrence? How odd.

    When someone has been brutally murdered, the execution of the murderer responsible cannot be said to “repay” the loved ones of the murder victim – or God or anyone else for the life he has taken. The life he has taken remains taken. So what has been “restored” by his death? Perhaps nothing.

    Perhaps execution is a fitting punishment for brutal murderers mostly because execution tends to deter people from committing brutal murders, and so preserves innocent lives.

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I agree completely. You’ve described my position very well. I would prefer that capital punishment be reserved for heinous murderers. But, I don’t believe the risk of execution of innocents is as great as it’s made out to be. Especially with the advancement of technology. 

    And isn’t that ironic? Technology has worked to advance the cause of life in two opposite ways: DNA evidence helps convict the killer. Sonogram images help save the innocent.

    • #5
  6. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Briefly, prayerfully, and for the same reasons:  With you here, Mike.

    • #6
  7. user_2505 Contributor
    user_2505
    @GaryMcVey

    Mike, we haven’t agreed on much, but we agree on this despite my lapsed Catholicism. Believers think that agnostics become that way out of fear of divine judgment; the grim fact is that many of us are this way because we despair of the likelihood of divine justice. So if there isn’t a God to do it up there, we are forced to deal with it down here. That means, like everything else humans do, that there will be mistakes. We accept the moral pain, and it is real, because to let unrepentant killers live among us would be a greater moral offense. 

    • #7
  8. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    I am the first one to argue in favor limiting the power of government to harm it’s citizens.  That being said, I favor the death penalty.  Do mistakes happen?  I’d be a fool to say they don’t, or that they don’t constitute an intolerable injustice. 

    With today’s DNA technology being pretty conclusive, it strikes me that mistakes are far less likely to happen.  It would be a reasonable balance if execution were only a sentencing option where such evidence exists…  and then carry out the sentence post-haste.

    • #8
  9. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    If the problem with certain killers is they seek to kill not only their victims’ bodies, but also their victims’ souls, then why is a largely painless execution a fitting punishment?

    Why wouldn’t it be more fitting to slowly torture the killer’s soul before taking his life? Perhaps by keeping him in solitary confinement until his day of execution. Perhaps by keeping him in solitary confinement indefinitely… Perhaps through actual torture…

    Just thinking out loud here. If grounding punishments in revenge is really the way it should be, then why not  really  ground them in revenge?

    • #9
  10. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Justice.
    The concept is Justice, not revenge.
    God said to Cain “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.”
    God gave a Law to Moses for His people to use as they sojourned here in this fallen world, after sin had corrupted everything.  He provided the death penalty so that justice could be known among His people.   It was not perfect justice, because it was administered by sinful men.  Nevertheless, it was administered according to Law, and not according to the whim of a ruler or the retribution of a mob.   In this sinful world we have to live with Man’s justice as a poor substitute for God’s Justice.
    God provides civil government so that the people do not have to live in chaos.   Civil governments are charged with administering man’s justice carefully.   
    The lack of care is troubling enough to give some Christians cause to oppose the death penalty, while most Christians understand that man’s justice must include the death penalty, and we should strive to improve on the level of care with which it is administered.  
    Christians can take either side of this debate.

    • #10
  11. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Cute avatar, incidentally. Cold and miserable, but adorable.

    • #11
  12. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    Mike Rapkoch:

    Besides, I often hear, sentencing the killer to life in prison offers full protection for the community.

    In a word – which I trust to be CofC compliant – CRAPOLA!
    I’ve seen more than one prison documentary which includes criminal enterprises being run within prison, including life-without-parolers ordering hits on people both inside and outside of prison. One showed a letter where a complex code was broken in which hits were ordered by a gang boss on [IIRC] 4 people, two in another prison, and two on the outside. So the community is hardly protected just because the perp is incarcerated.
    And that’s just one order they caught. I would proffer that more people are murdered by no-death-penalty inmates, both in person and by proxy, every year than innocents who might be put to death in many decades
    Will an innocent be executed? Possibly. Especially in small jurisdictions with limited pools of skilled defense attorneys. But fire trucks occasionally kill people on the way to fires. There is no way to make transport to a fire 100% safe. So should we stop sending out fire trucks?

    • #12
  13. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    In the harshness of my youth, I was for capital punishment.  For one thing, why should we spend a hundred thousand dollars or more per year to keep some murderer incarcerated?  Life without parole?  Say he’s 30 and lives to 80.  That’s millions of dollars.  I also happen to believe in reincarnation, so, “Better luck next life, buddy!”  Believing in reincarnation also gives a different perspective on  innocent, wrongly-convicted people’s being killed through capital punishment.

    My views have shifted for two reasons.  First, if we admit that the state can take a life for a broken law and extreme circumstances, who next decides what extreme circumstances are?  I trust government less and less.  I also know a lot more history and how capital punishment has been used in tyrannies.  It is better to have it illegal for all circumstances.  Tyrants may not respect such a law for long, but maybe long enough.  It helps create a culture of valuing life above the powers of the state.  The second thing is a question.  What effect does it have on the judges, the jurors, the wardens, the guards, and the executioners?

    • #13
  14. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Cute avatar, incidentally. Cold and miserable, but adorable.

     Thanks. I realized after all this time that my empty avatar space suggested I was cold and miserable. So I picked a picture that proved it.

    • #14
  15. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    I thought Jonah Goldberg’s recent NR column on CP was worth quoting in part:

    “Radley Balko, a death-penalty opponent, in a piece in the Washington Post, says that ultimately both sides of the death-penalty debate have irreconcilable moral convictions. I think he’s right. As far as I’m concerned, Lockett deserved to die for what he did. Everything else amounts to changing the subject, and it won’t convince me otherwise.”

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    “My views have shifted for two reasons. First, if we admit that the state can take a life for a broken law and extreme circumstances, who next decides what extreme circumstances are? I trust government less and less. I also know a lot more history and how capital punishment has been used in tyrannies. It is better to have it illegal for all circumstances. Tyrants may not respect such a law for long, but maybe long enough. It helps create a culture of valuing life above the powers of the state. The second thing is a question. What effect does it have on the judges, the jurors, the wardens, the guards, and the executioners?”  

    Arahant, I share your first concern.  I am clearly more cynical about our justice system than other people.  I’m not familiar with any murder cases personally, but I have seen myriad problems in other areas of the justice system.    

    I’m not sure I understand your second concern.

    • #16
  17. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Eeyore:

    Mike Rapkoch:

    Besides, I often hear, sentencing the killer to life in prison offers full protection for the community.

    In a word – which I trust to be CofC compliant -[XXXX]! I’ve seen more than one prison documentary which includes criminal enterprises being run within prison, including life-without-parolers ordering hits on people both inside and outside of prison.

     I agree. It’s often seemed to me that the argument that prison removes people from the community relies on a belief that the other prisoners are not sufficiently human to require similar protection. By keeping our worst inmates alive, we brutalize an already brutal system.

    While I’m proud of America’s resistance to liberals on capital punishment, each murder, rape, or beating in prison seems like a moral stain, punishment inflicted on the innocent or, at least, without due process. Punishment in the full, state, sense, because the inmate, an American citizen, is prevented from fleeing or protecting himself against the abuser.

    There are many who will give money to death penalty activists on the basis that they do not want innocents to suffer, rather than giving money to criminal defense charities that actually reduce innocent convictions.

    • #17
  18. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    I should clarify, though, that I don’t agree with the promotion of revenge, or see its application here. Any physical suffering seems exceedingly mild and momentary, while fear of death is not universal and certainly not universally severe.
    Prison is only unpleasant for some, too; the UK prison I knew best had a substantial portion of inmates who would commit crimes immediately or almost immediately on release on the basis that their friends and family were inside and they preferred life there to outside. Humanity is too diverse to guarantee suffering through any punishment (although I’m guessing that few enjoyed the stocks). Better to focus on maintaining the rule of law and on minimizing the suffering of innocents (including those wrongfully convicted).
    Perhaps when we develop better cryogenics we’ll be able to freeze a decent portion of our criminals and punt the problem semi-permanently down the road. Until then, I don’t see an alternative to death for the worst of the worst.

    • #18
  19. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    James and Eeyore:

    I agree with both of you that sending a vicious killer to prison for life is best for protecting society. A good example is a particularly horrible man named Willain Gollehon. In 1985, Gollehon beat a woman to death with a baseball bat and was sentenced to life (or its equivalent in years). In 1990 he used his weapon of choice, a baseball bat, to beat another convict to death on prison ground. In 1992, he was convicted of 5 counts of felony murder arising out of a prison riot that, as I recall, left 8 convicts dead. He is now on death row. There was NO QUESTION of guilt in his first conviction (or the others for that matter). Had he been executed swiftly for the first murder there would have been no second murder. Even the prison riot deaths may have been prevented as he was a ring leader.

    Hopefully the courts stop the appellate process and let justice be done. I’m guessing the other convicts as the prison will feel a bit safer once this bag of feces is ushered off this planet.

    • #19
  20. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    James Of England:

    I should clarify, though, that I don’t agree with the promotion of revenge, or see its application here. Any physical suffering seems exceedingly mild and momentary, while fear of death is not universal and certainly not universally severe. Prison is only unpleasant for some, too; the UK prison I knew best had a substantial portion of inmates who would commit crimes immediately or almost immediately on release on the basis that their friends and family were inside and they preferred life there to outside. Humanity is too diverse to guarantee suffering through any punishment (although I’m guessing that few enjoyed the stocks). Better to focus on maintaining the rule of law and on minimizing the suffering of innocents (including those wrongfully convicted). Perhaps when we develop better cryogenics we’ll be able to freeze a decent portion of our criminals and punt the problem semi-permanently down the road. Until then, I don’t see an alternative to death for the worst of the worst.

     I probably needed to discuss the retribution/revenge issue a bit further, but I’m trying to keep my OPs to 1200 words or less. I’ll follow up tomorrow.

    • #20
  21. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Arahant:My views have shifted for two reasons. First, if we admit that the state can take a life for a broken law and extreme circumstances, who next decides what extreme circumstances are? I trust government less and less. I also know a lot more history and how capital punishment has been used in tyrannies. It is better to have it illegal for all circumstances. Tyrants may not respect such a law for long, but maybe long enough. It helps create a culture of valuing life above the powers of the state. The second thing is a question. What effect does it have on the judges, the jurors, the wardens, the guards, and the executioners?

     Have you studied how tyrannies have used prisons? Does that make you think that prisons should be used?
    Similarly, have you spent any time in prisons? What sort of impact do you think that they have on the guards and the judges? If you haven’t spent time in prisons, mental health facilities would be a good proxy. If you’ve not known people in either, allow me to assure you that the impact on employees is not generally humanizing.

    • #21
  22. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    James Of England:

    Arahant:

    Have you studied how tyrannies have used prisons? Does that make you think that prisons should be used? Similarly, have you spent any time in prisons? What sort of impact do you think that they have on the guards and the judges? If you haven’t spent time in prisons, mental health facilities would be a good proxy. If you’ve not known people in either, allow me to assure you that the impact on employees is not generally humanizing.

     That’s the truth. I remember my first visit to the Montana State Penitentiary. My first thought was that if the earth were tilted every so slightly in the opposite direction the guards would be on the inside and the cons on the outside working as guards.

    I’ve been in prisons several states. I took a deposition in a civil case inside a Philadelphia pen. It was all I could do to stay focused since all I wanted to do was get out.

    It’s quite the experience to be around men who’ve murdered, raped, assaulted, or robbed.

    • #22
  23. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Jimmy Carter:

    Mike Rapkoch: My reply is that the assertion that it is “better that 100 guilty men go free rather than that a single innocent man be put to death” is nonsense.

     

    Mike Rapkoch: The first and overriding function of any system of criminal justice is retribution. The community restores justice by exacting revenge on the criminal.

    When We discover that the state executed an innocent Citizen, then Who do We kill by exacting revenge? The lawmakers? The Citizens Who voted for the lawmakers? The jury? Those Who administered the drip or electricity?

     If the state knowingly executes an innocent citizen, then that question will take some time in the courts, although obviously it would depend on the details of the case, and I don’t know of a modern occasion when this has happened. Is there an example you have in mind?
    If the state accidentally convicts the wrong man, then it is at worst guilty of negligence. If your argument is that we shouldn’t have capital punishment for negligent killings, then, well, yes. Sure. The bible, the overwhelming bulk of Americans, and the mainstream Anglo-American legal tradition are with you.

    • #23
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    MarciN: I’m not sure I understand your second concern.

     For those involved in judicially-sanctioned discarnations, what does it do to their souls?  Even though it is judicially-sanctioned, they are still causing a death.  On this Earthly plane, they may be mentally reconciled to that, and like many here, be of the philosophy that, “He needed killing.”  But what is it doing to their souls?  Does being involved in causing the death of another human being change them in some way?  What if, like the warden or actual executioner, they are involved in several of these executions over the years of their career?  If it does do something to their souls, or if it just may do something, is it right that we allow themselves to put their souls in jeopardy in this way?

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    James Of England: Have you studied how tyrannies have used prisons? Does that make you think that prisons should be used? Similarly, have you spent any time in prisons? What sort of impact do you think that they have on the guards and the judges? If you haven’t spent time in prisons, mental health facilities would be a good proxy. If you’ve not known people in either, allow me to assure you that the impact on employees is not generally humanizing.

    Very true.  Still, taking life seems an irrevocable step further. 

    On the other hand, when I say I’m against capital punishment, it’s not like I am 100% against and going to go protest in front of wherever the nearest facility is.  I’ve swung more on the order of 50.1% against it.  Like Bartleby the Scrivener, I’d prefer not to.  I shall shed no tears for those who are deservedly executed, though.

    • #25
  26. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Arahant:

    “First, if we admit that the state can take a life for a broken law and extreme circumstances, who next decides what extreme circumstances are?” 

    We already condone the state taking life for broken laws, if you notice police officers carry firearms not just billy clubs.  That is a projections of the law and it’s ultimate enforcement.  Now we don’t want the police shooting every jaywalker they see, and we don’t want the death penalty available for every crime, not even for every killing.  That doesn’t mean we are incapable of figuring out limitations for these penalties.  Mistrust of the “state” is a good thing but you cannot separate it from the law and justice.  

    • #26
  27. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    “I shall shed no tears for those who are deservedly executed….”

    I disagree.  Each one is a story of brokenness and pain.  Murderers have parents, children, and communities.  

    Nevertheless,  on earth we must have man’s justice, as good as we can muster.  Our civilization must have bright lines that will be enforced.

    As a death penalty proponent, I also favor prison reform and fully funding special resources for public defenders in cases where the death penalty is in play.

    • #27
  28. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Arahant:

    If [executing criminals] does do something to [the executioners’] souls, or if it just may do something, is it right that we allow themselves to put their souls in jeopardy in this way?

    Seems to me putting our souls in jeopardy is a normal human trait. And perhaps, when we jeopardize our souls in order to protect others, there can even be something admirable about it.

    Policemen, doctors, prosecutors… many professions involve a degree of power over others that can jeopardize the soul. That by itself doesn’t make them unnecessary, though.

    • #28
  29. PracticalMary Member
    PracticalMary
    @

    For the Christian it’s spelled out as, An Eye For An Eye, or let the punishment fit the crime. The Bible also has rules on how to accomplish this. Of course the legal system does not follow them.

    Our prison system needs a major overhaul because there is no reason a prisoner should go in and fear the other prisoners.The cry is no money, but there is enough to support bailouts of big business, etc.

    In theory I’m for the DP but, in reality, I do not trust the system.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Rivers_Detention_Facility
    It sits there empty while jails are overcrowded.

    • #29
  30. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I disagree strongly with Libertarian death penalty arguments along the lines, “Capital punishment is morally fine, but I don’t trust the government to administer is fairly therefore I am against it.”  If this is your argument, then the solution is to reform the justice system so capital punishment is enforced fairly.

    As for the arguments that because we might execute an innocent man, we should ban all capital punishment.  This is arguing fringe cases as the norm.  Most murders are not 48 hour or Dateline mysteries.  Most murder convictions don’t hinge on DNA evidence, unreliable witnesses, or potentially forced confessions.  Most murders are very clear cut where the perpetrator is known beyond even unreasonable doubt.

    Also, just because the death penalty is available doesn’t mean is needs to be applied in every case.  In fact it should be reserved only for particularly heinous cases, or criminals that would present an ongoing threat to others (including other prisoners).

    • #30

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