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Is it really a death sentence?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Jedi Writer, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    "The court finds that weight of the evidence as outlined above supports the jury's verdict of death," he said. "The motion to modify the sentence is hereby denied."
    With those words today Judge William Mudd today sentenced David Westerfield to be executed by lethal injection for the murder of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam.

    The murder of the little girl and the ensuring investigation and trial caught up the residents of the San Diego area unlike any other event in its history. Today was the final chapter in that event. Or was it?

    Westerfield will bring the death row population in California up to 617. Since the death penalty was instituted in California over 25 years ago only 10 people have been executed. So lets do the math. In 25 years, 627 plus people have checked in and only 10 have checked out. So that means David Westerfield is going to die on death row all right. But he is going to die of old age or some illness, just like just about everyone else.

    So what is the point in having a death penalty? People who get sentenced to death for the most part will never be executed and the trend of the speed at which people sentenced to die are executed is slowing overall.

    Meanwhile virtually all of the rest of the world or at least the part we deal with has abolished the death penalty and as a result if someone commits a murder in this country all they have to do is get out of Dodge and into one of those other countries. The country they go to will likely not allow extradition if the person is facing a possible death sentence. And if the person who commits the crime also happens to be a citizen of the country they flee to, you can almost absolutely forget about them being sent back. In many cases they will not be prosecuted in their own country. And to be circular even if they do get extradited back here and are sentenced to death they wont be, ala David Westerfield.

    So what is the point?

    Again the issue is why should we keep it since we are not going to enforce it?

    Sure you can say you are for it and we need to enforce it but the fact is we are never going to do that at least in the context of the making it practical.

    Even if we all got behind the death penalty and started changing the enormous system the regulates or controls execution to greatly speed up the rate it still wouldnt be fast enough.

    If we started this coming Monday to execute one guy a business day on death row in California it would take over two years to go through the lot. Do you think that will ever happen? Of course not!

    So regardless of the philosophical or morality argument, what is the point of the death penalty?
  2. FrankF

    FrankF #55170-054

    Since the death penalty is rarely carried out in California, perhaps there is no point... other than the statement it makes to the condemned person, "It is the order of this Court that you Mr. Westerfield are a worthless piece of shit".
  3. mike

    mike mesmerized

    perhaps Kalifornia and the exalted Gray Davis ought to take some notes from Texas?
  4. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Well, in his case he's a child molester and murderer, so let's just make sure he's put in the general prison population. His new girlfriend/cellmate will probably take care of him in time.
  5. mike

    mike mesmerized

    In the general population and have the correctional counselors be sure to let everyone know what he is in for, and that if anything happened to him, oh, well, they didn't see anything ;)
  6. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    Are you thinking that it is cheaper for Westerfield to have an 'accident' while in prison then to execute him after years of appeals? "Oh we are sorry, Mrs. Westerfield. We don't know how Mr. Westerfield got into the general prison population.." ;)
  7. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    Thankyou JW! I've been wondering the same thing for a long time now, and the very point you raise is one of the reasons (not the most important reason, but one nevertheless) I am against the death penalty.

    I've had many debates with people who often use the following argument to support the death penalty: "Why should my tax dollars be used to keep this peice of trash alive". Well, that's what is going to happen anyway. Even in Texas and Florida, two of the most notorious states for execution, a death row inmate sits for an average of 10 (TX) to 11 (FL) years on death row -- at about $53/day (TX) and $73/day (FL). That amounts to a lot of tax dollars. Some estimates put this cost above the cost of putting someone in the general prison population, however, it seems most state prisons do not separate capital case costs from non-capital case costs, so it's not a strong argument either way. It can be argued, however, that capital cases spend more time in the courts than non-capital cases, for obvious reasons. This is an unnecessary burden on the Justice system, and represents an additional cost (often to the tax payer) above and beyond the costs of simply keeping an inmate on death row.

    Of course there are other reasons I do not support the death penalty (but I'll admit, there is one special circumstance where I almost do support the death penalty... can you guess what it is?), but the above argument that it costs just as much, if not more, to place a man or woman on death row, is certainly a good reason to question its merit.
  8. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    That's what I'm talking about...

    It's simple... Kill someone here, we kill you back.
  9. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    The appeals process moves at a snails' pace. To complicate the situation further, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has jurists decidedly anti death penalty and they routinely 'help' the inmates on Death Row. Instead of taking 20+ years to kill these people, a shift in the judiciary might be precisely what's in order.

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