back to article New Jersey scraps death penalty

New Jersey's state assembly yesterday voted 44-36 to abolish the death penalty - the first state to do so since Iowa and West Virginia scrapped the punishment in 1965. The move was prompted by a special state commission's findings that the death penalty was "a more expensive sentence than life in prison, had not deterred …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Shock Horror !

    So someones realised, that when someone is killing another person, they don't actually think "Wow, if I beat this person to a pulp, cut of their head and then dump their body in the lake, I may get caught and may get executed"

    About time, to many innocent people get wrongly convicted, at least they get to try and get their lives back together.

  2. Ferry Boat

    Violet Beauregard

    The Supreme Court decision on "whether execution through lethal injection violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment" comes about because it seems the part of the injection that is supposed to be an anaesthetic might not work in all cases thus leaving you to experience the paralysis and heart stopping bit without being out of it.

    As you can see, I'm much more in favour of long sentences.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I don't get it...

    ... Where's the Paris Hilton angle?

  4. Greg

    *Polite golf clap*

    Nicely done, NJ. Took your time, but at least that's done now. Let's hope other states follow suit.

    I have this vision of all the prisoners on death row throwing a party right now.

  5. Chad H.

    Here's hoping

    The other 37 states, and the US federal government join us here in the civilized world.

  6. Spleen

    Good thing, bad reasons

    "a more expensive sentence than life in prison, had not deterred murder, and risked killing an innocent person".

    One wonders what their motiviation is for giving such a rubbish justification.

    Number 1 is only the case because of state incompetence. It's ironic that a mentally-impaired imbecile can kill someone in a few minutes with a cheap knife, and then the state takes years and thousands of dollars to do the same thing. (The electric chair and lethal injection aren't, of course, used to ensure a quick and painless death, or they'd use a shotgun to the head at close range - the point is to prevent inconvenient feelings of personal responsibility among the executioners and witnesses, which might otherwise result in unacceptably high rates of staff turnover and expense on psychiatry.)

    Number 3 is also true of incarceration and in fact any other punishment. Are we supposed to believe that it's not OK to kill an innocent man but it is OK to put him in prison for life?

    Number 2 is almost certainly true, but still debatable. It's a number-jugging game, you can read murder rates to tell you whatever you want.

    Governments should not have the power of life and death over their citizens. Period. That's it, that's all there is, that's a powerful enough argument that you don't have to waste time arguing with statisticians and psychologists about whether people do actually view the death penalty as a deterrent. The state kills enough of us through incompetence and negligence (Iraq, fuelling of terrorism, Stockwell, MRSA, etc) that we don't need to let them do it deliberately as well.

  7. b166er

    One step at a time

    To the people who have suffered at the hands of murderers: my sympathies always.

    To the people of New Jersey: I salute you.

  8. Peter Brown

    re: Good thing, bad reasons

    Number 3, it's not ok to imprison an innocent person, but at least there's a chance of undoing some of the harm caused.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    NJ not a safe place - nowhere is in the US

    Nowhere is a safe place in the US because if you're convicted of a Federal Murder anywhere in the US the Federal Government can have you executed. e.g. murdering a guard in a Federal Building means if convicted you'll end up on death row somewhere else.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waste of manpower

    Occasionally, I think the death penalty is a good idea for truly horrific crimes (look up the case of Corporal Suzanne Collins), but mostly it just seems like a waste. Why not get these people breaking rocks, sewing dresses, something? Look at the example set by that sheriff who was on the reg earlier this week. Put the lifers in pink shirts and make them live in tents and pick up litter for eight hours a day. Make the rest of their lives so pathetic, humiliating and uncomfortable that someone may actually think twice before committing murder.

  11. Spleen

    @Peter Brown

    Not really. You can't give them the years they spent in prison back, or repair the psychological and physical damage that they suffered as a result, anymore than you can resurrect the dead.

    I don't see it as particularly positive that they can still be let out to mumble a prepared statement along the lines of "I'm just happy that it's over and I want to move on with my life", rather than what they're actually feeling, which is probably "I'd never once had a murderous thought, let alone towards a ten-year-old girl, but by God I want to f***ing kill the incompetent and unimaginative twats that put me in here now, and my ten years in this hellhole have given me plenty of time to imagine a thousand different ways of doing it, of which I shall now recite my top ten favourites."

    The whole system is deeply flawed, and will be as long as the job of the police is to secure a conviction, rather than getting it right as to who did it. I'm not saying our jails are full of innocent people - they're mostly full of drug-addled morons - but there are far more miscarriages of justice than most of us ever hear about. The success rate for accurately prosecuting non-obvious crimes would probably be about the same if we put Wikipedia in charge of it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    Miscarriages of justice are caused by a faulty Criminal Justice System.

    There is nothing wrong with the punishment. People get squeamish about it because they question whether the person is "Really Guilty". Therefore, the doubt is based on the Police, Lawyers, Judges, Juries, Media (yes, the media certainly do play a part in the circus); not necessarily the punishment being meated out.

    As for barbarity, few things are crueler than locking someone in a cage - not to mention all the other crap that goes on in prison.

    Don't just pick up the first person and build a case around them. - (in true CSI) Follow the Evidence!

    If they're guilty punish them.

    If they're innocent leave them alone - until you have enough solid evidence (not some wish-washy uncorroborated/circumstancial bollocks).

    In short-then; restore peoples faith in the Criminal Justice System, then people will have faith in the punishments.

  13. Ovid


    You're dealing with quite a few misconceptions and those justifications are not "rubbish".

    First, the reason the death penalty is more expensive than life in prison is due to mandatory appeals and prisoners fighting for their lives. Because of the legal rights granted to those prisoners, the cost of the lawyers, judges, investors in repeated long trials quickly becomes prohibitive. However, since we already know that we put innocent people to death despite the lengthy appeals process, scaling it back to make it more cost-effective is likely to lead to more innocent people being convicted.

    As for "not deterring murder", no, it's not debatable. This is a subject that has been repeatedly studied and for you to call it a "number-juggling game" merely shows that you really don't have any background information on this. In fact, the reasons the death penalty doesn't deter murder turns out to be twofold: it's either a crime of passion or it's not. If the former (most murders are), it happens spontaneously before the guilty party thinks of the consequences. If it's the latter, the guilty party tends to plan and assume they won't get caught. Thus, no deterrent effect.

    You also wrote:

    "Are we supposed to believe that it's not OK to kill an innocent man but it is OK to put him in prison for life?"

    That's a false dichotomy. No one is claiming it's OK to put an innocent man in prison. However, if they've been incorrectly convicted, you can't apologize to a dead man or give them *any* hope of regaining their life.

    As for the death penalty, let's face it: it's not about protecting society (life in prison does this better since there's a lower cost to society) or about rehabilitating the prisoners (since they die). It's all about retribution and retribution is merely a pretty word for revenge. By supporting the death penalty, we're telling our children that revenge is an acceptable motivation for behavior. How enlightened :(

  14. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down


    Oh, dear. And you were doing so well (well, you weren't really, but never mind) until you suggested CSI as a model for real-life police work.

    I hope there's some real police officers reading this, they'll be snorting donut chunks out of their noses after seeing that one.

  15. Chris C

    One more thing

    Oh, and the people claiming that "capital punishment does not result in a lower murder rate" is *not* debatable are complete idiots. It most certainly *IS* debatable. You have literally no proof to back up that statement. The *ONLY* way to prove it would be to start from a resettable position and move forward with no capital punishment, then reset back to that position and move forward with capital punishment. The fact that the number of murders is the same or greater now (with capital punishment) as it was in the times without capital punishment does not show anything.

  16. Ian
    Thumb Down

    Re: Life-for-a-Life

    "There is nothing wrong with the punishment."

    Yes there is. It involves killing people. Which is wrong.

    (And don't post about self-defense, if you're already locked up in jail then

    you shouldn't be in a position to be a danger to anyone else. If you are then

    it's the jails that need fixing.)

    Oh and @spleen, I agree with you in that the main argument against the death

    penalty should be that the Government should not have the right to kill people.

  17. Sam

    The plain truth

    Say what you like, but the executed never re-offend. Or become a cult model. Or pollute the gene pool any more. Or cost money in accommodation and food once they are dead. Or get to spout off on TV documentaries about how they are hard, because they ain't there no more..

  18. TheThing

    @Chris C

    As one of the 'complete idiots' can I ask why I need to provide any proof? If you want to kill someone then I'd like to think that it would be up to you to come up with a reason or two why you think it'd be a good idea.

    Away you go....

  19. shroudy

    They determine their own fate

    When you take someone's life you show you have no value in life so therefore your own life is of no value. Capital punishment is just a means to follow through with this. Hate capital punishment? Don't kill anybody. How to you stop capital punishment? Nobody kill anybody.

  20. Morely Dotes

    Partly true

    "had not deterred murder"

    It has a 100% rate on preventing repeated murder, however.

    However, if the family of the victim isn't given the choice on death, or life in prison (or exile to some benighted barbaric area like Syria) for the convicted murderer, then a cage is our best existing answer.

    Coventry would be the best answer yet, though.

  21. Gary Hay

    We all know the real solution to this problem.....

    We should implement the running man gameshow idea.

    Televise it globally and it will all pay for iteself.

    Next global issue please.....

  22. Chris C

    My two cents

    I've always been torn on the capital punishment issue. Most times, though, I'm for it. In cases where there is absolutely no doubt that the convicted suspect is guilty of a violent crime (murder, rape [no, I'm not including consensual sex labeled as "statutory rape"], torture, etc), I'd personally be willing to execute the criminal. Putting someone in prison for life is meaningless. Most prisoners have better lives than a large portion of our non-jailed citizens. Putting people in jail for life just results in overcrowded prisons and drains on the economy.

    As for you idiots saying 'if someone was wrongly convicted, they can be released and move on with their life', you obviously have no brains. Go ahead and try moving on with your life. You'll have to deal with the media, people harassing and possibly injuring or murdering you (depending on what you were convicted of), and you'll have an incredibly difficult time getting a decent job (especially if you spent any considerable amount of time in prison, which basically makes you obsolete when you're released). That doesn't even go into the psychological effects and, for most people, the now-instilled desire to kill those who wrongly put you in prison and took away a good part of your life. Not for me, thanks. Given the choice between spending years in prison and then released somewhere down the road when they realize I'm innocent, and being put to death, I'll choose death. But alas, that is one of the freedoms we don't have in this country -- the freedom to choose whether to live or not live.

  23. Treacle

    The Plain Truth

    Yes Sam, the executed never re-offend. But then innocents who are executed never live free again either. Is it worth the revenge feeling to keep the 'death penalty' if we know (and we do in fact know) that some innocents will be executed accidentally?

    What if it was you? Falsely accused of "Murder One", unable to successfully defend yourself, and sentenced to death. You would fight with every inch of your life, through the web of appeals processes, to live. If you failed, then you would be erroneously put to death. How sad. An innocent man put to death, by accident.

    Is the entire death penalty system -- which is provable more expensive the life imprisonment -- worth accidentally killing innocent people?

    Oh, and death penalty vs. murder rates? The studies I've seen show that when there is a public execution, murder rates drop. But only for a short time (like 30+ days) and then return to their original levels. So no, death penalty is not effective deterrant. That plus expensive, plus the fact we kill innocents. Nah, not worth retaining it.

    And Ian & Spleen: "the Gov't should not have the right to kill people." Totally agree, but wouldn't that prohibit war too? I would hope so... :)

  24. thomas k.

    Reminds me of ...

    an old Ted Rahl cartoon, man talking to a politician(?):

    1st man: It costs $80,000 to keep a man in prison for a year.

    2nd man: ...

    1st man: It costs $36,000 to keep a man on welfare for a year.

    2nd man: ...

    1st man: It costs $2,000 to teach a man to read and write.

    2nd man: ...

    1st man: Well?

    2nd man: How much to let him die in a hail of bullets?

  25. JeffyPooh
    Thumb Up

    Falling tree / makes sound ?

    Is there any data available to estimate the number of 'innocent' (small 'i', the unknown reality) people languishing in jail that have not yet been, or will not ever be, able to prove that they are actually 'Innocent' (capital 'I', the legal status)?

    Given that society stumbles across innocent people in jail on a regular basis without even trying (!!), I estimate that the erroneous conviction rate is significant.

    One of my rules of thumb is the following:

    If you casually walk past a haystack and spot a needle, then the haystack probably contains quite a few needles.

    The problems stems from the motivators for the police and prosecutors. They're rewarded for moving forward and punished for reversing direction. Once you're in their sights, you're pretty much doomed (truth be damned).

  26. Mike

    It has a 100% rate on preventing repeated murder

    Bzzzt, sorry, thanks for playing. When the state executes the wrong person, they are also _not_ executing the actual murderer, and since they stopped looking for him, he can correctly assume that he's "gotten away with murder", and may indeed repeat the crime. Only if you assume that 100% of people convicted of murder are in fact guilty (which has been repeatedly proven false) does your statement follow. But then "If I had the wings of an angel..." :-)

  27. Eugene Goodrich

    It's still a death sentence

    The ability to put someone in jail for life, without possibility of parole (or for ten consecutive life sentences, or for 160 years to run consecutively, etc.) is a death sentence.

    The difference is just how someone is killed, how long it takes, and in what ways (and, naturally, how long) they suffer until they die.

  28. kain preacher

    @By Chris C

    "Most prisoners have better lives than a large portion of our non-jailed citizens"

    biggest line of bullshit of heard this year in this rag

    Prisoners often have to worry about being rape, stabbed or killed

  29. Sam


    Totally valid arguments Treacle, the certainty of detection is rising, however...

    There is also the degree of viciousness.

    What about the scrotes in Wales who beat up a young man for his phone and then dragged him into the sea to die? I'd pull the trigger/lever myself.

    And if the deterrent causing the murder rate to drop only lasts 30 days, then you execute at least every 30 days, simple.

    Plus they don't breed...Darwin in action.

  30. Rick Brasche
    Thumb Down

    what f**king innocents?!

    where do these bleeding heart "innocents on death row" stories come from?! Just because, after a decade, there's no witnesses left alive to retell the tale, or because after fifteen years a legal loophole or some fancy maneuvering got some guy off the hook, does *not* mean innocence!

    That's just a debate-fodder fantasy. Finding a guy with a bloody knife in his hand, the slaughtered victim under his heel, the guy signing a confession and showing the videotape of th murder being committed...then some lawyer saying the cops didn't put the video in the right plastic baggie and forgot to read off the Miranda rights in three languages before taking the confession on non-approved paper and no ACLU lawyer present, does not change the fact. getting cases thrown out is *not* proof of innocence. It's an artificial construct, a judicial fairy tale.

    Nor is it "innocence" or an "undeserved" execution when it takes multiple savage murders to get the courts' attention in the first place. Then when Prosecution fails (in it's legal gamesmanship versus the Defense storytelling and "what-if" wankerism) to prove one murder out of the rest (even if the others were proven) the case fails because some idiot made it a package deal.

    The whole "he was innocent" argument is bogus. The legal system allows much more evil by letting murderers go free. If there's a "failure of deterrence" it's because, guess what, most murderers know it's practically *impossible* for them to be executed. How many murderers were incarcerated and convicted in New Jersey alone? How many were even suggested to get the death penalty? Of those who prosecutors tried to get a death sentence, how many actually got the scum onto Death Row? And of those, how many actually got put down like the rabid beasts they are? What percentage? Pretty good odds that it'll never happen-that's why the "deterrent' failed! A murderer has a better chance of winning a couple of bucks on a Lottery scratch ticket. Rapists, child molesters, etc have even *better* odds of avoiding the executioner. And that's just one state!

    If a murderer knows he's definitely going to ride the lightning, you can damn sure bet no one's gonna knock off a store clerk for 50 bucks. If a serial rapist knows for sure he'll get a big ol' shot of less-than-anesthetized heart stopping chemistry, he might just think twice. Unless he's psychologically unwell, you say. Isn't that how Orwell defined every criminal and politically incorrect thought? a disease to be cured? Is all human behavior a symptom, to be classed as a disease whenever convenient? Nothing we do, are we responsible for it? Do I care when the f**ker breaks into my home because "Satan" told him to, or I find him laughing in jail while my son is being buried after a drive by shooting? Does it matter a decade later when the SOB is back in a second or third time, and other parents mourn their family? Is justice served by "treating" this schmuck the first time? Was Society served and public safety handled by "rehabilitating" him? Not in the least!

    Long prison sentences merely give more time for more legal bullshit to break the system and avoid accountability and responsibility for criminals' actions, at the expense (not just money but public safety) of society.

    Worst case scenario: with the death penalty, there's a tiny chance you *might* catch an "innocent". Without the death penalty, *many* innocents *will* die. Do the math, if common sense has failed you thus far.

    The thumbs down is best used when thinking of a Roman emperor at a gladiatorial game. Put Them Down. Protect the innocent, protect society, for a change. The "save the crooks" isn't making things better anywhere.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @Rick Brasche

    "If a murderer knows he's definitely going to ride the lightning..."

    deterrence = punishment * detection rate * conviction rate * potential criminal's psychology.

    Execution vs life in prison doesn't change that equation a whole lot, especially if the last term is an "I won't get caught" zero.

  32. TheThing

    @ Rick Brasche

    You seem to have forgotten to take your pills today.

  33. Paul Talbot

    re: what f**king innocents?!


    Everything you have said is true - IF, and only if the person was guilty of the crime in question. I'm not sure exactly how many cases you have like the following we had in the UK, but check out the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and Derek Bentley for excellent examples from the UK (the first to jump to my mind).

    The first 2 were groups of people who were wrongly imprisoned for terrorist attacks due to police corruption. They were released after 20+years in prison because the death penalty had already been removed due to a massive miscarriage of justice in the first case. Sure, they would have been better off without the 20 years in prison, but under your definition 10 families would have been told "erm, yeah, sorry about killing your husband/father/whatever" instead of being returned to live out some kind of life.

    The problem with pro-death penalty people like you is that you always assume that just because a person has been convicted, he must be guilty even if a later appeal finds him innocent. What about these people who were guilty all along? I'm happy that my government no longer puts that kind of blood on my hands. It's a shame you're happy for these innocents to die needlessly, while the real culprits continue to live.

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Nick H
    Thumb Down

    Such horsesh%%

    It's doesn't deter because it's never been ALLOWED to operate. If people stay on death row for 5 years, people have no fear of it. If Johnny gang banger got fried a month after his verdict, I guarantee you it'd have an effect.

    The moral problem is only one of your opinion. I have no moral issue with it at all. You peace at any cost people live with your heads in the sand. Maybe you need to go back to nursery school.

  36. Andrew Norton
    Dead Vulture

    other side of the coin

    Are we also forgetting that the death penalty also UPS the requirement for violence. If you do something thats likely to get the death penalty, and there's a witness, what are you liekly to do. I know what I'd do, and thats 'remove' the witness. jail, I'd be less likely, but as it comes down to it, it's my life, or the witnesses, and I know which one I'll go for.

    I'm not for the death penalty, doesn't work. I live not far from Georgia State Prison, where the executions here are done. Friend's father is a guard there, so I hear the tales.

    Executions ups the stakes. Fear just makes people afraid, and that makes them more liekly to do extreme things. Humilliation, however, works a lot better. How many thugs with ASBOs will continue to reoffend, if instead of a month in jail, they have to have their naked arse lashed a few times, with all their mates and everyone else laughing at them. Prison is a badge, humilliation is a stigma. Yobs would certainly think more carefully about their mates and neighbours and the grannies cackling with laughter at 'mini-him' as he is about to take 3 of the best.

  37. Steve


    I don't personally think that there is anything here that's 100% certain other than having a lot of people worked up.

    I can see comments from both camps above with interesting logic. i.e. the bit by Math Campbel stating that two wrongs don't make a right could equally be used to justify a complete "no punishment is right system." Ethically I can't agree with this line of reasoning. Two wrongs don't make a right, however, the ideal can not be applied to any workable system.

    As a thought, if you were to use as an argument that person A stole a pack of gum from the store and thus did a wrong to the store owner and society by breaking a law, shouldn't suffer any punishment whatsoever citing two wrongs don't make a right, I can only see bad things coming about if our legal system were to adhere to that ideal.

    When a society makes a law, the judicial system has to determine how to enforce it in such a way as to where it serves society. At the very core that is the idea behind a justice system that is separate from a legislative system. In order to function society must have a means of protecting itself.

    As for punishment, specifically capital punishment, I just am undecided about what to think about it. I do know that there are times where for the "good of society" death might be required. Imagine this, Ghandi was / is a wonderful human being, yet technically upon being thrown in prison, he gained power and influence (rightly so) and eventually effected great change.

    What if there was a moral opposite of Ghandi in a human being? What if Hitler was imprisoned after World War 2 and not executed? Could he have eventually effected change in the opposite direction that Ghandi did? He certainly had a lot of followers and his moral compass was completely gone. So in those extreme cases where no matter how good a prison is, the prisoner inside becomes powerful to those on the outside this would be an instance where "society must protect itself" could have a viable argument.

    What of Polpot? House arrest for extreme mass murder and ethical cleansing. Was this a better solution than what we did with Hitler? Would we as a society have been okay with cleaning up the death camps knowing that the diseased mind that created Auschwitz was living in a house just down the road?

    Thought of it another way, what to do with bin laden? One day this will be a question for all civilized society. As a religious leader, would it not be impossible to hold him in any prison without inspiring further acts of terror by his followers still on the outside in vain attempts to have him freed?

    I abhore the death penalty, morally I can't understand how anyone could want their society to actively kill people. Yet, logically I can't find a way around it as there are cases where society, in order to function, must be able to protect itself. As such if it is right for society to protect itself in the extreme cases, then the only question remains do we trust our courts enough to wield the power to end someone's life? It is them after all that we as a society rely upon to judge both the extreme and mundane cases alike.

    I don't know how to ask our judges, juries, police, and lawyers to judge fairly with the power of death in their hands. Such a decision can never and should never be an easy one. Yet I don't know if it is possible a case can never be made for society to need them to have that exact extreme power.

    I look forward to hearing replies to this. As this is a topic I am honestly undecided on.

  38. Adrian Crooks

    @ other side of the coin

    @ Andrew Norton

    That's an interesting point of view. One that should always be considered, but I tend to minimalize (sp?) fear based decisions that benefit those causing the problem. By lessening a punishment for fear of what the criminal may do is to allow the criminal to take control. I firmly believe that the crime belongs to the criminal, such that enforcers should never uphold an agreement to benefit the perpetrator of the crime. But if an enforcing body allows for the benefits of a criminal directly due to the crime they have or may commit, then they accept the encouragement of the criminal/crime.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not good...

    I find it very hard to believe that its cheaper to give a life sentence.

    After all.. these murderous morons get 3 square meals a day... education... body work out... practically a better life than most people.

    Hows that cheaper than the death penalty again?

    And for everyone of you people to fret over the death of innocent man crap... .its just flat immature and totally "mental".

    Think about this for a second.... let's say someone kills someone you love..that murderer is caught... and they go to jail.

    Only to be let out again or spared with a life sentence.

    And then it repeats again.

    You would think very differently.

    Stop lying to yourselves and get back to reality.

    I don't like violence either... but something has to be done.

    All this life sentence crap is coming out of our pockets... we either spend more money on the prison system to give these people who are filth a comfortable lifestyle with bars... or on the lawyers who in my opinion.. are the ones screwing the justice system over.

    You want a solution?

    Start with that... and stop focusing on a total waste of mental effort.

    The Death Penalty is not the problem... its the people who issue it.

    IF your so worried about innocent people.. then figure out how they got there in the first place.

    I swear... the overall IQ of the world is going down the drain.

  40. Jon Teda

    The death penalty will come back to this state.

    This is just a confluence of Corzine and of gerrymandering in New Jersey. The majority of people in New Jersey want the death penalty but due to gerrymandering the Democrats were able to create this law. Everyone should not be surprise when, in about 4-6 years that the death penalty comes back. People in the UK can tut-tut and frown and make all the appropriate noises at that time.

    And by the way, is this site turning into The Guardian? Where is the IT angle?

  41. Joe Blogs

    Last Execution in Australia

    The last man ever executed in Australia was executed wrongly...

  42. Michael

    Michael, Cambridge

    'Had not deterred murder'. Is that why is called the ''death penalty' not the 'death deterrent'?

  43. Scott
    Dead Vulture

    World Peace... lmao

    So the death penalty is morally wrong.

    Even if the the guy/gal in question killed someone else.

    Even if the killer was defending their home.

    Even if the killed was invading their land with malicious intent?

    IS that really a basis for capital punishment?

    Sound an awful lot like somthing else to me.... but that's ok, cos those guys are paid to do that.

    The death penalty is pointless imo. Just serves to give the affected a sense of 'closure' apparently - as someone said earlier, it is just another form of revenge.

    However, the real problem is the crap judicial system - if there ever was a cause of innocent death, that would be it.

    Oh whats the point - those who support the death penalty wouldn't if they were on trial. I guess this is why we have leaders - to 'show us the way'. WE obviously need leaders, as we're unable to agree on anything.


  44. Colin Jackson


    Have you noticed that people in favour of the death penalty are, on average, rather strident angry types? They use words like 'brigade' and 'bleeding heart' like they actually mean something. Personally, I wouldn't let anybody with that much stored bile and pent up rage onto my Neighbourhood Watch committee, much less decide the fate of a human life.

    And that stupid "prison is a better life than most people get" meme just isn't going to die, is it?

  45. Dave Harris

    @John Teeda, Prick Brasche, et al

    Well you're obviously not from the UK, so why bother commenting on what such a bunch of pinko, Brit euro-liberal, commie-loving islamofascists have to say?

    Here in the UK (well, my home country anyway, I'm not there currently) a guy called Stephan Klistchko (sp) was imprisoned for the murder of a young girl in the seventies. When his conviction was quashed, because it wasn't him that killed her, he was released.

    He was arrested, and convicted, because he was "a bit odd". In fact, he had some learning difficulties, and had a mental age of about ten when sentenced in his twenties. He didn't understand what was happening to him at the time, and I doubt he understood much when he was released.

    He died shortly after his release. Are you telling me that he should have been killed by the state because, on release, his life was going to be crap anyway?

    Self-defence, or the defence of another who doesn't have the ability, is the only excusable use of potentially lethal force. Self-defence is not premeditated but is called for in extreme circumstances. Trust me on this one, I have used extreme violence when it's been called for and I will do again, should it be necessary. Thing is, I know when to stop. It's called the "use of minimum necessary force" which is the defining test of self-defence in most courts.

    State execution is not, in my book, the minimum necessary use of force.

  46. Dave Harris
    Thumb Up


    A beer to that man

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Overall I would say I am against the death penalty, accidentally taking an innocents life is not acceptable.

    However, what to do with a guilty child murderer caught red handed? bollocks to the death row process, just take them out back with a 12 gauge. They are of no use to society and the least amount of resources should be wasted on them. I don't mean that in any sense of revenge, just cold reality.

  48. Michael

    The purpose of the death penalty

    The purpose of the death penalty was to uphold the value of human life. Your life would be forfeit if you deliberately took the life of another human being.

    The death penalty would therefore be inappropriate, say for people who just lost vast quantities of personal data, or made promises about refereda which they subsequently broke, or presided over an education system whose standards were dropping faster than a fireman on a pole (which of course they can't do anymore because it might result in a legal action). Nor would the death penalty be appropriate just because your hospital was killing people because you weren't keeping it clean. Nor would it be appropriate to apply the penalty just because your department had no idea how many illegal immigrants there are in the country (apart from the ones that you had employed yourself) The list is endless. Health and safety Nazis, Christmas killjoys, Not-allowed-to-photograph-your-own-child morons, PC dead brains etc etc. It would be entirely inappropriate to execute any of them.

    But wouldn't it be nice if they were simply removed from their jobs? A bit like putting them out of our misery.

  49. Jon Teda

    @Dave Harris, Colin Jackson, et. al

    If Colin would look at Dave Harris he might reconsider his comment about whose side is "strident" and "angry".

    By the way, where did I comment about my position on this matter? Talk about knee-jerk - so many of you define the term.

    I merely wrote that New Jersey, the state where something called "Megan's Law" originated had reversed the death penalty by legislative fiat and not by the will of the people. It will in all probability be reinstated in one or two legislative cycles. It will definitely be a campaign issue for the next campaign for state governor.

  50. Josh

    Re: My Two Cents

    If prisons are getting overcrowded, maybe we should start killing off people who are caught stealing cars, or any other crime for that matter.

    Thank goodness Australia killed off that punishment decades ago.

  51. Wilbur

    Some numbers anyone?

  52. P. Kelsay

    @kain preacher

    "Prisoners often have to worry about being rape, stabbed or killed"

    Well thank goodness here outside the prison walls we are totally free from those worries.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Kill them all

    The bible demands 'a life for a life', and you can't say fairer than that. God demands a death and by christ we should give him one. So killers in NJ weren't scared of a death penalty? oh well, they'll be qauking at the thought of getting away scott-free. Why do we let these namby-pamby politicians get away with making these type of decisions. Bring back the hemp!

  54. Anonymous Coward

    My thoughts

    My two cents:

    The point of a penitentiary was to encourage repentance. Punishment used to be (in the US in the 1800s) simple, death by hanging or lashes etc.... Two problems occurred. First, people turned the hanging into a circus. Second, a philosophical view arose that stated that humans were only animals and needed to be retrained. The combination of these factors led to our prison system.

    Now, I don't think that their is a simple solution here. The fact is that execution is good in some situations. If someone committed a coldblooded murder and was clearly guilty, then I don't want to spend my tax dollars on stuffing them in a cell for decades. How does that improve them? I am not in favor of barbarism, but lets not be coddle those being executed either. They weren't coddling their victims.

    But, if you read the OT, God commanded that an investigation be made. If no criminal could be found to be clearly guilty, then they closed the case. They didn't go on a witch hunt.

    Might be a good thing to take some of these criminals of non-violent crimes and force them to work for the state to work for their own room and board. Teach them to work instead of crime and keep them out of trouble.

    I can't see how a prison is generally useful. Steal? Force them to work till they pay it off. What they skipped town? When caught, the sentence would be increased.

    Meh, just my ramblings, and not in a great order either. Sorry about that.

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