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Debates Forum

  1. The Catbird's Seat
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    25 Mar '15 23:44
    Originally posted by quackquack
    I believe only a deluded person would feel that society somehow fixed their erroneous decision. To me once you convict a person they are publicly shamed. They likely end up divorced. Their friends move on. There family functions without them. They lose all meaningful connections. It is really superficial to think that a few luxury items have any m ...[text shortened]... there is little difference between what we did to that person and someone we wrongfully execute.
    So, the question is not so much elimination of the death penalty, but finding a more perfect manner of getting convictions. At least that seems to be the logic of what has been so far argued.
  2. The Catbird's Seat
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    25 Mar '15 23:55
    Originally posted by finnegan
    You are right that overturning a wrongful conviction after such an enormous term of imprisonment is not sufficient to restore anyone to the situation they might have been in had they never been convicted.

    Clearly, at the age of seventy, after five decades in prison, I would prefer to be cleared than to continue being held in prison. At that point in t ...[text shortened]... eatment, regardless of the fact that the poor guy was in any case totally innocent of the crime.
    The problem isn't the American prison system, or the number of Americans incarcerated. The problem identified is a relatively small number of cases of wrongful convictions. OK, ask the convicts, and they all profess innocence.

    There has to be a penalty for murder. Should it be execution or perhaps a $20 fine? Would a wrongful conviction really be that much better if the sentence were life without parole? Are there some crimes which demand a severe punishment?

    This week two men were sentenced for a shooting murder of a two year old child. In the penalty phase, the child's father is heard advising the defendants to kill themselves.
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    26 Mar '15 00:111 edit
    Originally posted by Sleepyguy
    A prosecutor has written a letter apologizing for his role in bringing about 30 years of imprisonment of an innocent man. In the letter he admits to missing exculpatory evidence by being incurious, that defense counsel was inexperienced and underfunded, that he himself was too young to be making such decisions, that expert testimony for the prosecution was ...[text shortened]... trusted with such things resonates. Any pro-death penalty types out there care to dissuade me?
    Indeed.

    The more I learn about the US justice system the more I have second thoughts like yourself.

    The entire system is broken, so why give them more power?

    Then again, is rotting in jail getting raped every day a better fate?
  4. The Catbird's Seat
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    26 Mar '15 00:25
    Originally posted by whodey
    Indeed.

    The more I learn about the US justice system the more I have second thoughts like yourself.

    The entire system is broken, so why give them more power?

    Then again, is rotting in jail getting raped every day a better fate?
    I wait to hear from the lawyers on this. I think there is a problem, but don't think our prisons or courts are the worst on the planet. These mistakes and injustices are by far the minority. Is there a perfect system? I doubt it.
  5. Standard memberfinnegan
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    26 Mar '15 00:57
    Originally posted by normbenign
    The problem isn't the American prison system, or the number of Americans incarcerated. The problem identified is a relatively small number of cases of wrongful convictions. OK, ask the convicts, and they all profess innocence.

    There has to be a penalty for murder. Should it be execution or perhaps a $20 fine? Would a wrongful conviction really be t ...[text shortened]... . In the penalty phase, the child's father is heard advising the defendants to kill themselves.
    I am not aware that all convicts profess innocence. Your amusing remark falls flat on many grounds. More likely they plead that their treatment is brutal and lacks all humanity.

    Yes a penalty is required for murder. On the whole, it is not considered civilised to place that decision in the hands of the victim's family, as in your example the father of a murdered child. You appear to side with Sharia law on this matter.

    Judicial murder is not a form of justice. It is a moral wrong in itself.

    The country that brought us Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and secret rendition is not one to look on as a model.

    You need to reflect that America's prison system imposes phenomenal social costs which no other country matches. The puritan streak in American politics and its frequent appeal to the voices of the mob have produced a vicious aspect to American justice that ought to bring at least a blush when you consider the way more civilised countries operate. (I would never count the UK as a model by the way.)
  6. The Catbird's Seat
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    26 Mar '15 01:001 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    I am not aware that all convicts profess innocence. Your amusing remark falls flat on many grounds. More likely they plead that their treatment is brutal and lacks all humanity.

    Yes a penalty is required for murder. On the whole, it is not considered civilised to place that decision in the hands of the victim's family, as in your example the father of ...[text shortened]... r the way more civilised countries operate. (I would never count the UK as a model by the way.)
    Your relentless attacks on the US prison and justice system ought to be tempered by doing some reading on other places where even short term incarceration amounted to a death sentence. No it isn't perfect.

    Besides, the argument here seems to be that even life imprisonment is far too punitive in the case of a mistake. Perhaps a slap on the wrist, and advice not to be bad again?
  7. Standard memberfinnegan
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    26 Mar '15 01:131 edit
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Your relentless attacks on the US prison and justice system ought to be tempered by doing some reading on other places where even short term incarceration amounted to a death sentence. No it isn't perfect.

    Besides, the argument here seems to be that even life imprisonment is far too punitive in the case of a mistake. Perhaps a slap on the wrist, and advice not to be bad again?
    So name us one or more of these countries whose systems, leading to the premature death of its inmates, you wish to set as a standard against which to judge the prison system in the World's richest country. When you have to set the bar as low as this, you are struggling. Why would you not wish to model your system on the very best available?

    There is a lot of middle ground between a slap on the wrist at one extreme and whole life imprisonment on the other. Apart from a vicious commitment to harsh punishment, what purpose is served by the continued incarceration of people who have often been imprisoned as teenagers or at least as very young men, and should - in an intelligent prison system - have had opportunities for education, therapy and reflection to construct a different personality over time?
  8. The Catbird's Seat
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    26 Mar '15 01:211 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    So name us one or more of these countries whose systems, leading to the premature death of its inmates, you wish to set as a standard against which to judge the prison system in the World's richest country. When you have to set the bar as low as this, you are struggling. Why would you not wish to model your system on the very best available?

    There is a l ...[text shortened]... ortunities for education, therapy and reflection to construct a different personality over time?
    How about the gulags? Turkish prisons are legendary, and south of the American border Mexican jails are no picnic.
  9. The Catbird's Seat
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    26 Mar '15 01:23
    Originally posted by finnegan
    So name us one or more of these countries whose systems, leading to the premature death of its inmates, you wish to set as a standard against which to judge the prison system in the World's richest country. When you have to set the bar as low as this, you are struggling. Why would you not wish to model your system on the very best available?

    There is a l ...[text shortened]... ortunities for education, therapy and reflection to construct a different personality over time?
    How about addressing the real problem identified by this thread, that of false convictions? I would not want to be incarcerated in the best jail in the world for a month, unjustly.
  10. Standard memberfinnegan
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    26 Mar '15 10:12
    Originally posted by normbenign
    How about the gulags? Turkish prisons are legendary, and south of the American border Mexican jails are no picnic.
    Okay so in your mind the richest country in the world and self professed land of the free aspires to a prison system better than the gulags???? Do you really not understand what I was saying?

    Of course, it is because some countries have even worse prison systems that the USA indulged for so many years (and possibly still does) in the process of "secret rendition" so that your prisoners could be tortures and mistreated more comprehensively than your own gulag (sorry justice system) permits.

    Still. None of those countries imprison more of their population than the USA does.
  11. Standard memberfinnegan
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    26 Mar '15 10:21
    Originally posted by normbenign
    How about addressing the real problem identified by this thread, that of false convictions? I would not want to be incarcerated in the best jail in the world for a month, unjustly.
    I addressed one of the issues provoked by this thread, which was that to my mind it is depressing to see the USA holding people in prison for such immense time periods without any evidence that the people involved could not be rehabilitated and released (probably on licence) to lead useful and reformed lives.

    Put it differently. The injustice of the conviction is aggravated by the injustice of the subsequent sentence and treatment. If I was unjustly convicted, I would not want to find myself in America's poisonous prison system, dehumanised and bereft of hope. Holding so many of your own population in conditions of such dismal hopelessness is as disgraceful as the USA's continuing engagement in judicial murder.

    Put it differently. You may dislike the way I interpret the thread topic but that is not my problem.
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    26 Mar '15 10:34
    Originally posted by normbenign
    How about addressing the real problem identified by this thread, that of false convictions? I would not want to be incarcerated in the best jail in the world for a month, unjustly.
    No matter how hard you try, there will always be false convictions.

    With that in mind, why ever risk the death penalty? Because victims need their revenge? Because the fear of being sentenced to death reduces the crime rate? Does it?

    And to that guy who said that 30 years in prison means you have essentialy lost your life: really? So if you get a 30 year sentence and you get out at age 55 being cleared of all charges and you could live for another 30 years, it wouldn't be worth it? Really?
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    26 Mar '15 10:521 edit
    Originally posted by quackquack
    Rigging a trial so an innocent man is convicted and spends 30 years in jail simply isn't fixable. Besides being subjected to all the abuses in jail and the public shame of being convicted, he lost thirty years of income, all relationships have moved on, and his skills, if any, are likely obsolete.
    To me the idea that "at least he isn't dead" when he' ...[text shortened]... has a thirty year gap in employment due to incarceration), society basically killed him anyway.
    so we might as well just kill them, right? at least we would save money.

    and if the convict is in fact innocent, we would avoid that awkward moment where we set him free and admit to ruining his life.

    pfff, who wants to deal with that drama.




    when i came to this thread i expected the "some innocents will suffer in order for the justice system to work" arguments. what i didn't expect is you saying we should just kill them all because you know what is best for them. you sir are one psychotic little duckling.
  14. Standard memberfinnegan
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    26 Mar '15 10:53
    Originally posted by Great King Rat
    No matter how hard you try, there will always be false convictions.

    With that in mind, why ever risk the death penalty? Because victims need their revenge? Because the fear of being sentenced to death reduces the crime rate? Does it?

    And to that guy who said that 30 years in prison means you have essentialy lost your life: really? So if you get ...[text shortened]... cleared of all charges and you could live for another 30 years, it wouldn't be worth it? Really?
    Maybe norm's idea is that these people ought to stop complaining about the injustice they suffer as they are not really humans like, say, norm is. He wants a prison system into which humans can be deposited and then utterly forgotten other than for the purpose of making a nice profit out of their incarceration. Never forget that the public cost of their incarceration is private profit for the American contractors supplying prison places.

    Many people imprisoned in the USA are as much political prisoners as Stalin's victims in the gulags, except that at least the latter were released after Stalin's death. The experience in Russia was also that people did not want to know the released prisoners, even close family, and acted as though they would prefer they had died because of the uncomfortable questions they raised about how their imprisonment had been made possible. Astonishing similarities are to be found because the USA is operating a foul and unjust penal system and does not want to confront the facts. These exposures of injustice are disturbing for their lazy, smug and self satisfied consciences.
  15. Standard memberfinnegan
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    26 Mar '15 10:54
    Originally posted by Zahlanzi
    so we might as well just kill them, right?
    Not what he said or implied. Some smug Americans like to argue that the exposure and correction of judicial errors demonstrates that actually everything is fine. That is a tactic to evade the demands for change.
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