Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
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    14 Jun '19 20:581 edit
    Most Europeans here seem to regard the death penalty as wrong under all circumstances.
    Most Americans here seem to approve of the death penalty.

    In June 2017, Zhang Yingying, a 26 year old Chinese woman who
    was a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, disappeared.
    Brendt Christiansen (who had worked at the university) was arrested a few weeks later.
    It's a federal, not a state of Illinois case, now being tried in Peoria.

    We now know (even his defense lawyer has finally conceded it) that
    she was abducted (lured into a car by his claim of being a policeman),
    raped, tortured, murdered, and had her dead body decapitated and dismembered.
    He was reportedly caught on audiotape boasting that he had disposed
    of her dead body so cleverly that he never would be arrested.

    The defense reportedly has dropped its earlier notion of claiming his insanity.
    All the available evidence indicates that his crime was premeditated
    and carefully planned. Brendt Christiansen showed absolute indifference
    to the value of Zhang Yingyang's life. It's unknown to what extent
    racism or sexism could have influenced his dehumanization of her.
    He has not been charged with a hate crime.

    https://people.com/crime/scholar-decapitated-ex-student-lured-her-into-car-claimed-he-was-cop/

    "He took her back to his apartment, where he bound and raped her
    before stabbing her, prosecutors say.

    When she tried to fight back, Christensen choked her, later dragging
    her to the bathroom and injuring her skull with a baseball bat, say prosecutors.

    He decapitated her and disposed of her body, which has never been found.

    Authorities captured him on an audio recording explaining how he
    kidnapped and murdered Zhang."

    As far as I know now, there are no extenuating circumstances that
    could mitigate his guilt, though his defense may claim some
    (such as his supposedly troubled relationships with other women).

    Another possible defense strategy could be to appeal to any racism
    among jurors, hoping that they may dehumanize the victim and
    regard her life as less valuable than that of a white American woman.

    It seems to me that jury selection--from a pool in Peoria--was very important.
    The prosecution hoped to exclude all jurors with overt anti-Chinese bias.
    The defense presumably excluded Asian Americans, particularly Chinese Americans.
    Given that the death penalty is in play, the jurors presumably were vetted
    for their willingness to consider imposing the death penalty.
    This may account for a more conservative jury, but not one that's
    necessarily more sympathetic toward the victim.

    Given the facts known so far, what sentence would you pass on Brendt Christiansen?
    (I understand that some of these sentences may not be permitted in a federal court.)

    A) execution
    B) life in prison without the possibility of parole
    C) life in prison with the possibility of parole
    D) prison time, but less than a life sentence
    E) no prison time (de facto acquittal by jury nullification)
  2. Behind the scenes
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    14 Jun '19 21:142 edits
    @duchess64 said
    Most Europeans here seem to regard the death penalty as wrong under all circumstances.
    Most Americans here seem to approve of the death penalty.

    In June 2017, Zhang Yingying, a 26 year old Chinese woman who
    was a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, disappeared.
    Brendt Christiansen (who had worked at the university) was arrested a few weeks later.
    It's a ...[text shortened]... on time, but less than a life sentence
    E) no prison time (de facto acquittal by jury nullification)
    I am undecided on the death penalty, the only reason I'm not completely against it, is I don't want my tax money to provide food, shelter, and medical treatment for decades for a convicted murderer. As to the choice of punishment I'm leaning to option B - though option A wouldn't cause me any loss of sleep at night.

    I'm not surprised at this post however. It's just another cherry-picked case, where in a country of over 300 million people, an asian woman is the victim, and a predominately white jury pool from Peoria is automatically prejudged to be a racist one. A general theme that appears with numbing monotony in the vast majority in your posts Duchess.
  3. Zugzwang
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    14 Jun '19 21:503 edits
    @mchill said
    I am undecided on the death penalty, the only reason I'm not completely against it, is I don't want my tax money to provide food, shelter, and medical treatment for decades for a convicted murderer. As to the choice of punishment I'm leaning to option B - though option A wouldn't cause me any loss of sleep at night.

    I'm not surprised at this post however. It's just anothe ...[text shortened]... one. A general theme that appears with numbing monotony in the vast majority in your posts Duchess.
    First of all, I wrote of a 'possible' defense strategy being to appeal to 'ANY' racism in the jury.
    Mchill shows his usual poor reading comprehension in wrongly claiming that means
    that I concluded there must be racism in the jury or that this defense strategy would succeed.
    (As far as I know, Peoria has a tiny Chinese-American community.)

    In fact, this is not an 'average' case of murder. In addition to its exceptionally brutal
    nature, it has received major coverage in both the US and Chinese media.
    American university officials are worried that students from China (a lucrative market)
    may decide to avoid attending American universities.

    In 2017, after Zhang Yingying's evident murder was disclosed, more than a few
    Chinese students in the USA received appeals from their families in China, imploring
    them to return home as soon as practicable. I expect that her family now deeply
    regrets their decision to allow its only child to pursue her dreams in the USA.

    I would not be very surprised if some of the more hateful racists here have sympathy
    for Brendt Christiansen and would (privately) be inclined toward a lenient sentence
    or perhaps even a de facto acquittal through jury nullification.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Vincent_Chin

    "Ebens and Nitz were charged with second-degree murder, but bargained the charges
    down to manslaughter and pled guilty in 1983. They were ordered to pay $3,000 and serve
    three years probation, with no jail time, despite the fact that they admitted to the killing."

    Some racists here apparently approved of this extremely lenient sentence for two
    white men convicted of killing a Chinese American.
  4. Behind the scenes
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    14 Jun '19 22:27
    @duchess64 said
    First of all, I wrote of a 'possible' defense strategy being to appeal to 'ANY' racism in the jury.
    Mchill shows his usual poor reading comprehension in wrongly claiming that means
    that I concluded there must be racism in the jury or that this defense strategy would succeed.
    (As far as I know, Peoria has a tiny Chinese-American community.)

    In fact, this is not an 'ave ...[text shortened]... roved of this extremely lenient sentence for two
    white men convicted of killing a Chinese American.
    Yes, I know Duchess, me and 99% of the white males here all seem to have poor reading comprehension (what are the actual chances of that??)

    I would suggest Duchess, if America is as horrible and oppressive toward Asians as you suggest, Asians would be leaving this country, rather than moving here. That doesn't seem to be the case though. I would further suggest if these Asian students are as brutally oppressed and fearful as you suggest, they are free to move back to China, Korea, Viet Nam Japan or some other place where they wouldn't be facing the horrible oppression and racism you say goes on here on a daily basis.
  5. Zugzwang
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    14 Jun '19 22:481 edit
    @mchill said
    Yes, I know Duchess, me and 99% of the white males here all seem to have poor reading comprehension (what are the actual chances of that??)

    I would suggest Duchess, if America is as horrible and oppressive toward Asians as you suggest, Asians would be leaving this country, rather than moving here. That doesn't seem to be the case though. I would further suggest if these Asi ...[text shortened]... re they wouldn't be facing the horrible oppression and racism you say goes on here on a daily basis.
    "Another possible defense strategy could be to appeal to any racism among jurors..."
    --Duchess64

    Can the nearly illiterate Mchill explain why he misinterpreted my statement as
    equivalent to claiming that I know that this jury MUST be racist?

    Regarding the aftermath of the murder of Zhang Yingying, the issue was NOT so
    much that ethnic Chinese are being oppressed (though, in reality, discrimination against
    them is far from extinct) in the USA as it's simply a concern about violent crime in the USA.
    Even many white Europeans are concerned about the higher rates of violent crime in the USA.

    After a highly publicized case of rape and murder at an American university,
    how many young white women students there have not been urged by their
    white families to consider moving to somewhere safer? It's not about 'race'.

    The USA has a problem with violent crimes against women. Even though non-white
    women tend to be at higher risk, this problem affects white women as well.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    Statistically speaking, Zhang Yingying would have been safer (from murder) in China.
    The USA's intentional homicide rate was almost nine times as high as China's.

    I am not saying that everyone should avoid visiting the USA due to fear of crime.
    But people should be aware of the risks before making a well-informed decision.
  6. Joined
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    14 Jun '19 22:48
    @mchill said
    I am undecided on the death penalty, the only reason I'm not completely against it, is I don't want my tax money to provide food, shelter, and medical treatment for decades for a convicted murderer. As to the choice of punishment I'm leaning to option B - though option A wouldn't cause me any loss of sleep at night.

    I'm not surprised at this post however. It's just anothe ...[text shortened]... one. A general theme that appears with numbing monotony in the vast majority in your posts Duchess.
    Actually, Progressives have so rigged the system that it now is more expensive to put someone to death than to keep them on death row for a hundred years.
  7. Standard memberDeepThought
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    15 Jun '19 00:00
    @duchess64 said
    Most Europeans here seem to regard the death penalty as wrong under all circumstances.
    Most Americans here seem to approve of the death penalty.

    In June 2017, Zhang Yingying, a 26 year old Chinese woman who
    was a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, disappeared.
    Brendt Christiansen (who had worked at the university) was arrested a few weeks later.
    It's a ...[text shortened]... on time, but less than a life sentence
    E) no prison time (de facto acquittal by jury nullification)
    That he tortured her before killing her indicates that he is a sadist, he boasted about how cleverly he disposed of her body - not clever enough not to boast about it though, so there's high levels of narcissism, and low to non-existent empathy. He planned the crime in advance, but his choice of victim may have been opportunistic. This sounds more like a serial killer's MO (see e.g. [1]) than a politically motivated attack, you indicated that you do not know of any evidence that he had a particular aversion to ethnically Chinese people. With lust killers they sometimes choose their victims on the basis of sexual preference and aesthetic appeal rather than distain or just randomly (see eg [2]).

    An insanity defence simply isn't going to work. Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper [3], was diagnosed with schizophrenia after his conviction, and attempted an insanity defence based on having heard command hallucinations from a gravestone. The judge did not accept the defence, on the grounds that he was not so insane that he could not distinguish right from wrong. That Christiansen knew to hide the body indicates that he knew what he was doing was illegal and understood the consequences of being caught so can't argue insanity.

    The difficulties with the death penalty are well known. I wouldn't be upset if they executed him, but that is not the same as thinking it's right to. I doubt that a jury would be impressed by a racist appeal by the defence.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Bianchi
    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Dahmer
    [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Sutcliffe
  8. Standard memberDeepThought
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    15 Jun '19 00:02
    @Duchess64
    In answer to the question, I'd favour life, with an indefinite sentence (as opposed to without the possibility of parole).
  9. Joined
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    15 Jun '19 00:17
    @Duchess64

    “I would not be very surprised if some of the more hateful racists here have sympathy
    for Brendt Christiansen and would (privately) be inclined toward a lenient sentence
    or perhaps even a de facto acquittal through jury nullification. ”

    😂😂😂
  10. Zugzwang
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    15 Jun '19 00:22
    @deepthought said
    @Duchess64
    In answer to the question, I'd favour life, with an indefinite sentence (as opposed to without the possibility of parole).
    That's option C.

    "In England and Wales, the average life sentence prisoner serves around 15 years
    before being paroled, although those convicted of exceptionally grave crimes
    remain behind bars for considerably longer."
    --Wikipedia

    Brendt Christiansen may be ready to exchange information about where he
    disposed of Zhang Yingying's remains for avoiding the death penalty.
    I don't object to his avoiding execution. I would object if he's ever released on parole.
  11. Zugzwang
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    15 Jun '19 00:34
    @deepthought said
    That he tortured her before killing her indicates that he is a sadist, he boasted about how cleverly he disposed of her body - not clever enough not to boast about it though, so there's high levels of narcissism, and low to non-existent empathy. He planned the crime in advance, but his choice of victim may have been opportunistic. This sounds more like a serial killer's ...[text shortened]...
    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Dahmer
    [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Sutcliffe
    Brendt Christiansen was a PhD student in physics, apparently convinced of his own superior intelligence.

    It's worth noting that the defense earlier has explored some extreme strategies.

    "Suspect in kidnap and killing of Zhang Yingying may blame his mother’s pregnancy diet, court filings reveal.
    Brendt Christensen’s lawyers say the nutrition he received in the womb is relevant
    to their client’s complex case, as they seek to delay trial and oust judge."

    https://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2132685/suspect-kidnap-and-killing-zhang-yingying-may-blame

    That's the "his mother's pregnancy diet made him do it" defense.

    The defense reportedly also demanded details of conversations between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
    The defense may like to insinuate that Brendt Christiansen is the victim of a politically
    motivated federal prosecution, with Donald Trump trying to appease Xi Jinping.
    Another possible strategy could to be attempt to link the victim, Zhang Yingying,
    with China's government and appeal to popular American hatred of it (and thus her).
  12. Zugzwang
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    15 Jun '19 00:441 edit
    @mott-the-hoople said
    @Duchess64

    “I would not be very surprised if some of the more hateful racists here have sympathy
    for Brendt Christiansen and would (privately) be inclined toward a lenient sentence
    or perhaps even a de facto acquittal through jury nullification. ”

    😂😂😂
    For a long time, the defense claimed that Brent Christiansen was innocent and apparently
    insinuated that he was being framed by an overzealous politically motivated federal prosecution.

    Before his lawyer (belatedly) conceded that he killed Zhang Yingying, Brendt Christiansen
    received some sympathy or support (presumably mostly from white American men) on the internet.

    I was disturbed when a white American male friend of mine speculated (without
    offering any evidence) that Brendt Christiansen and Zhang Yingying were secret lovers,
    and that he might have killed her by accident during consensual rough sexual intercourse.
    How easy it is to defame a dead woman who's unable to speak for herself!

    But if Brendt Christiansen were set free, then he might rape, torture, and murder a white woman.
    Knowing that, even extreme racists may have a motive to avoid that possibility.
  13. Joined
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    15 Jun '19 00:47
    @duchess64 said
    For a long time, the defense claimed that Brent Christiansen was innocent and apparently
    insinuated that he was being framed by an overzealous politically motivated federal prosecution.

    Before his lawyer (belatedly) conceded that he killed Zhang Yingying, Brendt Christiansen
    received some sympathy or support (presumably mostly from white American men) on the internet. ...[text shortened]... rder a white woman.
    Knowing that, even extreme racists may have a motive to avoid that possibility.
    hunny I see the “extreme racist”! and its you!
  14. Zugzwang
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    15 Jun '19 00:50
    @mott-the-hoople said
    hunny I see the “extreme racist”! and its you!
    The lying racist troll Mott-the-Hoopie may hope that no one remembers his very
    long record of extreme racist (even by American standards) or white supremacist posts.

    So to what extent does Mott-the-Hoopie condone or approve of Brendt Christiansen's crimes?
  15. Joined
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    15 Jun '19 00:532 edits
    @mchill said
    I am undecided on the death penalty, the only reason I'm not completely against it, is I don't want my tax money to provide food, shelter, and medical treatment for decades for a convicted murderer. As to the choice of punishment I'm leaning to option B - though option A wouldn't cause me any loss of sleep at night.

    I'm not surprised at this post however. It's just anothe ...[text shortened]... one. A general theme that appears with numbing monotony in the vast majority in your posts Duchess.
    “I am undecided on the death penalty, the only reason I'm not completely against it, is I don't want my tax money to provide food, shelter, and medical treatment for decades for a convicted murderer.”

    Suppose there was a nationwide ballot measure as follows: “It is proposed to change all current and future state and federal death sentences for murder to life-without-parole sentences. This will cost the average taxpayer x dollars per year. Vote yes___ no___ .

    Assuming that you would vote to keep them alive if the cost were zero, what amount x would lead you to vote to keep the death penalty in place for them?
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