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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    What is the magic number of people someone has killed to warrant no one minding the death penalty, though?
     
  2. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Revealing the method and scope of the American government's foreign espionage programs to the governments and leaders the US was spying on is probably murderable, at least in the sense that it will likely cost the lives of other American citizens. Do I have to harp on how ridiculous is to treat him like a good-doer whistleblower when he escaped with hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents to wind up housed by the Russian government of all people/places?
     
  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Expanding on that, the body of evidence is so overwhelming regarding his guilt that it's an undeniable fact.

    Even if you believe the conspiracy theories that he had more help or was merely the trigger man, he committed the act.

    While I'm an opponent of the death penalty, in cases such as this it's pretty hard to argue against unless we get to some of the more mundane points, like cost/benefit.
     
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  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    What is the threshold of deniability necessary to trigger the death penalty, though?

    In the case of the Arkansas inmate who had been convicted of raping and murdering a cheerleader, receiving a life sentence, escaping, and then murdering two more people in broad daylight, was there significantly more deniability as to his guilt? Would he be more, less, or the same amount of likely to murder again than McVeigh? Does it matter?

    In the case of McVeigh, what about several eyewitness testimonies that there was another triggerman? Should he not have also received the death penalty?! I guess it's a silly question since he was never arrested and is still at large. Oh well, I guess that's just kind of weird, knowing McVeigh was executed and no one was even bothering to look for the second guy just weeks after the crime was committed.

    It sounds like we agree on an ideological level, but I bet there are some semantics at play. For example, if I were to stand behind certain executions, I would have a difficult time telling people that I was opposed to the death penalty. Instead, I would consider myself a proponent of justice system reform.

    As much as I hate the thought of defending McVeigh, I think that a string of individual murders reflects on a deeper seated evil than a single incident that resulted in a large number of murders. On the other hand, the impact on society is worse with the single large event than a long string of individual events. To stand behind the death penalty, I think one either focuses on the impact on society or the psychology of the individual, even if both are taken into consideration.

    I suppose it's related to whether you see the justice system as something that should punish people or something that should protect people.
     
  5. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    If I supported the death penalty, which I still don't in its current form, I would say the threshold would be undeniable proof substantiated by even more undeniable proof and tangible unambiguous evidence.

    Honestly, I don't know the specifics of the case well enough to say. If there is a stack of DNA and recorded evidence, then I'd say it's on the same level as McVeigh from a "proof of guilt" standpoint.

    I don't really want to go down this rabbit hole, but everything I've read from legitimate sources has pretty much said that most of the evidence surrounding the "second guy" scenario is not reliable, see the history of eyewitness testimony.

    He did have accomplices, that's a fact, they turned state's evidence and testified against him. He received a life sentence for cooperating.

    I'm still opposed to the death penalty, even McVeighs, but as I said it's not because I think he's innocent, which he's not, or that he deserves reform, which again, I don't think he does.

    It's just for different reasons here.

    I completely empathize with those who want him dead. I get it. I'm not a machine. I know he was a monster. I will never defend him.

    I'm not against monsters being destroyed, I'm against the state dishing out death like it ain't no thing, which is what they've been doing for well over a century.

    I don't think any murder is "better" than enough, even if the state does it, hence my position.

    My position isn't about revenge vs. reform, but how poorly constructed our justice system is.

    Why not both? There are situations that demand one over the other. The idea that we can only have it one way is asinine.
     
  6. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    You can't hold someone accountable for murder without being able to prove intent. And certainly not if other people, who he never communicated with, did the murdering, on their own free will, by their own means. Indirectly causing death is not OK, but it's not murder either.

    Not that I think the guy is any sort of clean, but you can't be held accountable for other people's actions. Especially, if they are purely hypothetical at the time of The Choice. Otherwise, any president that declared a war (all of them) would have to be sentenced to death, after the end of their term.
     
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I'd be worried that such a set of rules is too circular. How much undeniable proof before the prosecutor seeks out the death penalty? A: Undeniable proof substantiated by more undeniable proof. :ugh:

    If you are against the death penalty (I know you are, Max, but I mean the general "you"), then the position of "Never" is nothing if not consistent. The current laws in place are arbitrary, which is spooky. Basically, the judge can sentence a person to death if 1) they are guilty of murder or crimes against the state, 2) the prosecution team is actively seeking the death penalty, and 3) a number of aggravating factors are proven. What those factors are and what the magic number of them is is determined by the state and varies wildly from one state to the next. This is ridiculous, at best. Take two people who commit exactly the same offence, just in two different geographic locations; one is executed and the other serves 20 years.

    Well, I mean, things like fingerprints and DNA tie a person to a place, but not a time. It is possible for a person to have his or her DNA at a crime scene without meaning that they are guilty of the crime. For example, if someone gets stabbed in a gas station restroom 24 hours after I happened to use that restroom, it'd be no surprise that CSI would find hair follicles matching my DNA somewhere in that restroom. If I cut myself volunteering to move scrap metal out of a church parking lot and into a recycling bin, then a dead body turns up in that recycling bin some days later, CSI would likely find blood matching my DNA at the crime scene. While it would absolutely make me a person of interest to question, it does not prove guilt.

    Now, I am not going to say that McVeigh was innocent, but there is a finite chance, however small, that they got the wrong guy. I know McVeigh admitted that he did it, but he was crazy. I know three witnesses said he was the guy, but those witnesses also were facing the death penalty if they didn't testify for the prosecution in McVeigh's case. Note that not a single piece of physical evidence mentioned in those witness testimonies was found. I know there were six pieces of evidence found on McVeigh that contained explosive residue, but the explosive used was fertilizer and fuel oil, two common substances. Now, was there overwhelming evidence McVeigh did it? I think so, but there have been other cases with similar amounts of evidence where the accused was later exonerated. How sure can you be? 99%?

    From my perspective, McVeigh admitted that he did it. He wanted to enter the defense that the government was conspiring to kill him, so he had to blow up innocent people as an act of self defense. That's all fucking crazy talk and his execution was justified. But I'm not going to say that we know exactly what happened or that I'm 100% certain he did it. So, if 99% certainty is good enough for me, and it's good enough for you, then there has got to be some magic number of % certain that is "enough."

    God, that was a wall of text.

    I mean, I'm just sort of confused. Almost everywhere that has the death penalty in the USA, it has to be unanimously reached by a jury. Meanwhile, cops and robbers are shooting each other out on the streets. In 2015, more than 30x as many people were shot and killed by police than executed.

    That's a noble and logical position. I just think that there are other ways to look at it which are equally logical. So, I will not say that you are wrong, even if I disagree with a couple of little things here and there.

    I think the idea of prison as a place for violent people to go so that they are not integrated into a society of nonviolent people is a pretty consistent position. Maybe I misunderstand what you are saying in the above quote. :shrug:
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    If anyone is still reading this thread, I thought to look into the next execution scheduled in the US, just to see what was up. I'm not cherry picking here, this is the next execution scheduled in the USA, and I was unaware of it completely until I had the idea to look up whatever the next execution is...

    Bryant Archer is a 40-ish year old father. He can't keep a regular job because he has psychological issues and a lot of physical problems. I don't personally know him, but I read a lot about him recently. He used to be a jovial kid with a bright future - at 17, a class clown in high school with a part time job at a fast food joint. His buddy Nathaniel worked with him, along with Tamika Collina, an 18 year old college student, Cuhautsemoc Hinricky Peraita, 17 years old with a crazy hairstyle, and Darrell Collier, a 23 year old manager and new father.

    On April 16th, 1994, Bryant was working at Popeye's chicken shack. Around midnight, two men wearing green bandannas over their faces came into the back door of the store, and ordered the money from the safe. Collier gave them the money and asked for them not to hurt anyone. The robbers ordered the employees into the restaurant's walk-in freezer and they complied. The robbers then shut the employees in the freezer, locked the freezer from the outside, and proceeded to leave, except one of the robbers turned around and opened the door to the freezer and opened fire with a .45 caliber handgun, striking all four employees inside several times. The robbers then stacked the bodies of the victims in a corner of the freezer and left the store. Archer, who was struck with three bullets in the chest and seriously injured, regained consciousness, dragged himself out of the freezer, and managed to reach the restaurant's telephone to call 911. He reported that he recognized one of the two robbers as Peraita from his unique hairstyle, but that it was the accomplice who fired the shots, and described the getaway vehicle as a Black Monte Carlo. Police responded to the restaurant, where they found Archer still alive and the other three already expired in the freezer. They then immediately proceeded to Peraita's residence, when they found him with another man named Robert Bryon Melson, 22, and $2000 in cash in a Black Monte Carlo driving near the house. Peraita confessed to the robbery, but claimed that Melson was the one who did the shooting. Police found a .45 caliber handgun shortly afterward with ballistics matching the murder weapon in a river nearby.

    Archer spent the following days recovering in the hospital under police protection, because he received multiple death threats from the families of the other victims.

    Melson's girlfriend said he left her company around 11 PM that evening and did not return. Melson's girlfriend testified that Melson had tried to coerce her into telling police that Melson was with her at the time of the murders. Melson's girlfriend also was able to describe the clothing he wore when she last saw him, which matched Archer's testimony of what the shooter was wearing, and matched with a set of clothing found at Peraita's residence. There, police also found shell casings positively matching the murder weapon and also green bandannas. The police were able to identify shoeprints in the mud by the rear entrance of the Popeye's chicken shack that matched Melson's shoes, including two pebbles embedded in the tread of the shoe.

    Melson was sentenced to death for the aggravated murder of a minor by 10 out of 12 jurors. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment for the other murders. Peraita was charged with robbery, but was later charged with an unrelated murder, years later, for which he is now on death row.

    Melson is scheduled to be executed on the eight of this month. Archer has said he will not attend the execution, because he has other obligations.
     
  9. Dredg

    Dredg Insignificant Contributor

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    If a state is going to execute people, stop wasting the tax dollars of its people by subjecting these people to decades on death row. Convict, Appeal, Uphold, Execute. 2 years tops.
     
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Robert Melson's execution was stayed on the basis of an appeal that the lethal injection drugs are cruel and unusual, which the court acknowledged as likely to succeed.

    If he wins his appeal, it will possibly be the end of lethal injection.
     
  11. Dredg

    Dredg Insignificant Contributor

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    So let's just put my cultural bias out there: I live in a state where I'm legally allowed to kill someone if I find them trespassing and my life or property threatened.

    That being said, I'm neither pro or anti execution. Never have I understood why lawsuits alleging that execution methods are cruel/unusual are allowed to move forward.
     
  12. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    They kill too many innocent people to expedite the process.
     
  13. Dredg

    Dredg Insignificant Contributor

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    Innocent people are dying whether they wait 2 weeks or 20 years, why does the timeline matter if the system is indifferent to the corruption at a prosecutorial level?
     
  14. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Because some have been saved due to having more time.
     
  15. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin' Contributor

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    Because we have the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights.
     
  16. Insomnia

    Insomnia Needs more strings!

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    If you're against the death penalty, why would you not be against killing them all quickly?

    I'm personally against it for murder (mass murder/genocide/serial killings/paedophilia is another matter...), so IMO, it depends what they've done.
     
  17. Dredg

    Dredg Insignificant Contributor

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    Yes, and in the majority of cases, the reason they're saved is because of judicial corruption from the start. The problem does not lie within the act of execution, it lies within the fact that state prosecutors and judges want to get re-elected, so they lock up as many "bad people" as they can and close cases with bad evidence.

    I'm well aware of our Constitution and specifically Amendment VIII, yet my point is that if execution via sedation then lethal injection is to be found cruel or unusual, that leaves Arkansas with electrocution. Would anyone like to say that electrocuting someone to death is less cruel than putting them to sleep?
     
  18. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    DNA evidence plays a large part as well. There are also cases where video/photographic evidence has come to light.

    These men aren't just getting off on technicalities.

    Calling lethal injection "sedation" is a stretch. It's much closer to suffocation.
     
  19. Dredg

    Dredg Insignificant Contributor

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    Absolutely, however the era of retroactive DNA testing will end (because legacy cases are fewer and fewer as time goes on) and with cameras becoming more commonplace in America (especially now that the general public is starting to realize the value of smartphones as recording devices), those gaps will narrow.

    The typical LI process is three drugs in three stages: induce unconciousness, induce respiratory and muscular arrest, stop the heart. I don't care to split hairs on whether or not step one is sedation, though the drug at the epicenter of the Arkansas LI debate is categorized as a sedative. The argument is whether or not it is the proper drug for its purpose, and whether or not it works. The biggest problem with the botched executions isn't the selective morals of big pharma, it's the fact that the drugs aren't selected and administered by doctors, or anyone who values the words of the Hippocratic Oath. an untested cocktail that was sloppily administered is why Clayton Lockett died horribly in 2014. This brings us back to the Arkansas cocktail, specifically midazolam, and the effectiveness of its purpose. While I do agree that we must stand true to our laws prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, I absolutely don't care if people like Clayton Lockett die a horrible death.
     
  20. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    It just comes down to how one feels about the margins, and I happen to feel that anything greater than zero is unacceptable when dealing with something so serious.

    I don't care how many monsters were painlessly destroyed if a single, innocent person was killed too. It's not at all worth it.

    :shrug:
     
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