Back to back executions in Arkansas

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by bostjan, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I was just reading this article:

    Arkansas prepares for first double execution in US since 2000

    This is a pretty heated topic.

    But, in these two particular cases, there are specific concerns on both sides.
    All of these inmates in the back to back to back to back to etc. executions scheduled this month were scheduled as such because the lethal injection drug is expiring and the prison cannot manage to obtain more. On its own, that's a bad reason to execute someone. :ugh:
    The two inmates named in the article are in poor health. That's led to arguments that the executions will not likely work as planned, and it's also led to arguments that it'd be better for the inmates to die by lethal injection now than in the next few years of health complications in prison.

    But, the thing that struck me most odd in the article...

    Wat?

    Parole board?

    :scratch:

    Novice question, I guess, since I know nothing about parole, but, umm, how does a death row inmate end up in front of the parole board?! Do death row inmates get parole? Is there some other function of the parole board that has nothing to do with parole?

    Me, personally...I'm not against the death penalty. I guess I might be in a small minority around here, but, well, if you murder people, then I'm okay with you being erased from life on Earth. I know that mistakes are made, but, to me, that's a topic that needs to be tackled either way.

    Whatever personal beliefs I carry around, "this lethal injection drug is about to expire" being used as the premise for "execute everyone" is just as asinine as the military wanting to start a war because their bombs are about to expire. I mean, if I buy, say, some rat poison, and then never use, and it's about to expire, do I go down in the sewer to abduct sewer rats so I can use the poison before it expires? Obviously, no, that would be sick...
     
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  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I used to support the death penalty, but the more I realized how flawed the criminal justice system is the less I could stomach being complicit in state sanctioned murder of innocent or not-definitely-guilty people.
     
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  3. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I think the death penalty should be allowed and expediated for those who wish to die. Some sick mofos who are gonna get life would rather just pop out, and I feel that's their prerogative, should be their right. Life in prison is a sort of cruel and unusual punishment really, especially when considering what goes on here in the USA. I know some people might argue that they should be "rehabilitated", and by all means those who wish to be should be given that opportunity, but for those who don't... We could have some pysch evals to make it all kosher or something, but yeah.

    Also, lethal injection needs to be done in. It is surely less expensive, problematic, lower potential to botch death by firing squad.

    Or perhaps allow the person on death row to make a choice. I mean, if you gotta die, maybe you should have some say in how you go. Maybe we could build a giant tower somewhere and let people throw themselves off it; I bet that would be popular.
     
  4. Science_Penguin

    Science_Penguin SS.org Regular

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    I think no matter what they choose, a popular question would be "Can I do it on national television?"
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    3 executions so far, and it looks like one more scheduled for Thursday. From what I understand, the other four were stayed and there will be no chance of those stays lifting before the end of the month.

    The fourth inmate scheduled for execution is Kenneth Williams (not to be confused with Marcel Williams, whom I mentioned in the OP and who was executed last night), who was convicted of murdering a cheerleader in 1998 and sentenced to life in prison. Then, in 1999, he escaped from prison, murdered Cecil Boren (57) by gunshot, stole his car, and then killed another person (I couldn't find the name) in an automobile collision before police apprehended him. He was convicted of several charges for the escapade, but for the murder of Cecil Boren, he was sentenced to death in 2000.

    I would argue than in Kenneth Williams's case, there was a mountain of evidence that he perpetrated all of the acts of which he was accused, particularly the murder. Mr. Boren's wife, Genie has expressed that she wants to see Williams's sentence carried out before she dies of old age. It's been 17 years since the sentencing in court, and the Supreme Court has already looked into his case and is allowing the execution to proceed. I don't see any reason to stop the execution short of banning all executions.

    None of the other cases were as cut and dried as this one, but each of the eight men were convicted of murder, and in most of the cases, the murders were even more brutal than most. But also, in pretty much every case, the convict has appealed to the court over physical and/or mental health concerns.

    Where I grew up, in Michigan, there is no death penalty. Where I live now, in Vermont, there is no death penalty. Are these people more dangerous in some states than others?

    And to answer my own question from the OP, the parole board reviews execution cases before they are carried out, for whatever reason. The review does nothing, though, because the board has no say in the State's final decision to proceed or not.

    I agree. I mentioned in another thread a while ago, though, that the volunteer-for-death scenario could easily be exploited by the state, or abused by prisoners. "I volunteer for death." *eat's last meal - surf and turf - fillet mignon and lobster tail. "Naw, it was just a prank the guards pulled on me, I didn't actually volunteer."

    But yeah, hypothetically, if I were locked up in level 5 sodomy prison and given the option to check out with a needle of poison, guilty or not, unless I had a high level of confidence of an appeal working and getting out of there someday, I would opt for the needle.
     
  6. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    You can trot out all the "perfect" cases you want.

    The fact of the matter is, the state has a less than 100% record of only killing the guilty. That's unacceptable. Over 140 have been officially exonerated since 1973, imagine how many more haven't but were still put to death.

    Anyone who is cool with that is either an objectively terrible person or just trying to be an Internet tough guy.

    You can talk about "we should do this" or "we should do that", but it's just not how the world works in reality.
     
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    You don't think that's an independent issue, though? Is it better to rot in prison for the rest of one's life than to be put to death?

    We're talking about folks who sit on death row for 20+ years.

    In my mind, the solution to miscarriage of justice isn't eliminating the death penalty, it's fixing the broken justice system. Once the justice system is fixed, then fix the penal system. If you want to remove the death penalty, then, to me, that's an elementary issue that's related, but not dependent on the other two things.

    If you think the death penalty is just plain old morally wrong, there really isn't an argument against that.
     
  8. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Yeah let's fix the justice system. That's easy. Should be able to get that done in an afternoon, especially in this political climate in such a forward thinking, respectful nation. :rofl:

    Prisons should be better too, like in just about every other first world country. But we'll probably see peace in the Middle East before that happens.

    The justice system is broken, no one is going to fix it, let's stop killing innocent people and writing it off as collateral damage.

    As for the choice between prison or death, why not ask the innocent people who spent years of their lives wrongly convicted.
     
  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Hmm, I expected a little better than the "your point has complex ramifications, therefore it is invalid" argument from you. :(

    Either way, the justice system is broken, death penalty or not, and changing from one to the other is not going to arbitrarily serve the justice system better or worse, either way.

    We did ask convicts. Asking innocent people behind bars is kind of impossible, since, well, they are behind bars because they have not been proven innocent. But, then again, this comes back to my recurring point, that the justice system needs an overhaul, and nothing short of that is going to fix the situation. "Proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" means nothing anymore, other than that you are guilty unless you have money or can prove your innocence.

     
  10. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire tinkerer/aspiring builder/8 string hoarder

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    The prison system is broken and hemorrhages money. We'd be better off repealing laws making it hard for convicts to get jobs so they at least have the chance to integrate back into society. If they keep causing problems then ship them to some hellhole blacksite in south america where they're never seen or heard from again. Everyone wins. The liberals get to crow that they got helped fix the prison system, criminals actually have a chance at going straight, and the streets get cleaned up of the truly deplorable ....bags. They'd have to build a lot of laws to make sure the system isn't abused like crazy, but for a hypothetical scenario I think it makes sense.
     
  11. PunkBillCarson

    PunkBillCarson SS.org Regular

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    I'm still not quite clear where I stand on death penalty, but here's a question. What do you do with all the mass murderers and child molesters if not prison or death? Let them back out and let them do it again? You say death penalty isn't the answer, and maybe it isn't, but do you have an appropriate alternative? Prison is cruel and unusual? So if not prison, then what? Free pass? Rape and kill whomever you want?
     
  12. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I don't remember anyone posing anything contrary. So far in this thread we've only just said that prisons need to be fixed, probably so that they are no longer institutionalized rape facilities.
     
  13. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Coincidently I expected just this type of off handed semantic put down from you.

    So, way to go. :rolleyes:

    You can't see the forest for the trees.

    As I said, the system is broken. We agree there. I just don't think any form of serious, meaningful reform is possible, at least for the remainder of my natural life.

    Even if we rewrite law from square one we're not going to remove human bias, error and malice.

    Based on the human element we'll never have a completely foolproof system.

    I don't accept any level of failure in the case of the death penalty. That means that I feel it needs to be removed from the table, even if that means the worst of the worst don't get put to death. I rather a million 100% guilty serial killers live so that one wrongly convicted death row inmate is not put to death.

    Saying we can "fix" this problem is naïve. We are the problem. Society is the problem.
     
  14. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin' Contributor

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    Well, I think it's fair to say that the American system of punitive prisons is cruel and unusual. Don't get me wrong, I agree that there are some people so evil and/or dangerous that the only reasonable way to protect everyone else is to kill them or sequester them away from society.

    But the truth is that MOST people in prison are not there for violent conduct. According to last month's data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, "Homicide, Aggravated Assault, and Kidnapping Offenses" accounted for 3.1% of the prison population and "Sex Offenses" comprise 8.7% of prisoners. Even if people who fall into these categories are considered to be beyond rehabilitation, and if prison is supposed to be a horrible, punishing, soul-crushing experiences for them, you've still got the remaining 88.2% of prisoners to deal with.

    And as it stands, the prison system is terrible at rehabilitating criminals. If the end goal is to return these people to society, prison should be a place where we prepare people for return to society once they are able to behave appropriately within it. Instead, it teaches them how to behave in isolated, corrupt, gang-riddled societies before releasing them back into the world where it's impossible for them to get decent jobs and housing (unless they happen to play sportsball really well *cough* *die in a fire, Vick* *cough*).

    There's been quite a bit of research on the matter and there doesn't seem to be any quantifiable data supporting that the death penalty provides a strong deterrent. Most of the things I can find to support the claim that it DOES deter crime comes in the form of hypothetical reasoning. There really isn't a strong case for it.

    So if the death penalty doesn't deter crime, we can simply stop doing it and spare us all the burden of endless appeals and stays (not to mention the moral 300 lb gorilla of state-sanctioned murder of the innocent).

    And if the prison system doesn't help redeem convicts and successfully re-integrate them into society, then it needs to be reformed.
     
  15. asfeir

    asfeir SS.org Regular

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    In Scandinavian countries, prisons look like hotels and the worst criminals are still treated very well. I think the strictest prison sentences over there is something like 20-30 year, yet the crime rates have been in decline over the years.
    I'm not very well informed about the USA prison system, but from where I stand (and I come from the middle east), it looks like a "civilized" version of middle age practices, where the prisons and the death penalties are used to scare people.

    Anyways I think the major problem in the USA lies deeper than that, and the solution could be a change of system which is a bit more to the center-left, where the government is actually interested in helping the society.
     
  16. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    C'mon, man - then how would we fund the mother-of-the-mother-of-all-bombs? :)

    But yea, the Scandinavian prison system is exemplary, but I would be less inclined to try something as radical in a country that has a far greater range of diverse socioeconomic niches, and a less homogenous population.

    Still shouldn't be killing people though, especially if it winds up costing more to do it than life in prison.
     
  17. asfeir

    asfeir SS.org Regular

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    I wonder if they used that bomb using the same "use before expiry" logic. :lol:

    I do agree however that it's not possible to implement a system like that just because it worked in another (very different) country. Still, the system seems so rotten that it looks like it needs a complete overall..
     
  18. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metal™

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    I feel like if you are a murderer or rapist you give up your freedom's. I don't think serving time in prison in general is cruel and unusual punishment. What is though, is locking up people in facilities not dedicated to one specific crime.

    When we lock people up for victim less crimes with murderers that's a huge freaking problem...I'll go as far as to say that make the problem/prisoner worse off in the long run.


    For profit prisons need to go and get facked as well.


    I could keep going but I won't :lol:


    Just my :2c:
     
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    "Put down?" That was genuine disappointment.

    Just the kind of person that I am, I don't want to say anything along the lines of "The justice system in the USA is broken, but it'd be too hard to fix it, so, oh well, ho-hum." In reality, that's not an unrealistic stance, by any stretch, but if we are going to have a discussion about the death penalty or the justice system, it just undermines the entire discussion. I mean, are you or I going to be able to single-handedly repeal the death penalty in Arkansas? Of course not. Does that mean we shouldn't discuss it? ...hmm, maybe we shouldn't discuss it. I don't know, - you're right, what good does it do? Nothing.

    I'm pretty pessimistic myself, but, in my opinion, your stance might be a little overly defeatist. There have been little reforms in the justice system in the US here and there over the years. The world is slowly becoming a better place to live. I believe reform is possible. Do you think a 75 year old person would say that there has been no significant change in the US justice system over their life? In the 1940's, there were still executions in the US for military desertion. Hell, even in the 1960's, people were being executed for kidnapping, robbery, and assault. I can't say for sure that the next 60 years will be anything like the past 60 years in terms of rate of change, but there's really no way to say for sure one way or the other.

    So your stance is that the death penalty should be off the table to save innocent lives. I respect that. I want innocent lives to be saved as well. However, we just see things differently, so we don't agree. My opinion is formed around cases like I pointed out above, in which two innocent people were killed by one escaped convict who had already murdered someone else. I place the lives of those two innocent people at a higher premium than the life of the escaped convicted murderer. I know you have the right to have the opinion that my opinion is stupid, but I feel like I've defended how my position is not illogical. :shrug:

    See, I don't think it is really a psychological deterrent, either, and, to me, that's not the point.

    So, what do they consider a sex offence? Is it someone peeing in public?

    Anyway, I strongly believe that the people convicted of violent crime ought to be kept separate from others. I don't think the guy convicted of gambling or tax evasion should be thrown in with the guy convicted of killing and eating people. I also don't really care about prison being "punishment," because I don't see the point. Take the dangerous folks and get them away from the productive non-dangerous folks.

    Yeah, but what about these eight five death row inmates in Arkansas whom the state wanted to execute before the lethal drugs expired?

    Of course, maybe it's best not to comment - maybe this thread was a bad idea.
     
  20. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metal™

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    Entirely different situation and my comments weren't really about their situation, which I should have made clear...I was just speaking in general.


    What Arkansas is doing is the definition of cruel and unusual IMO.
     

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