Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Death Penalty

Blogger and Law Professor Ann Althouse picks up on Ross Douthat's OpEd in today's edition of The New York Times, "Justice After Troy Davis".  I read the article in the "dead tree" version.

Ms Althouse picks the last para of the OpEd to quote:
Abolishing capital punishment in a kind of despair over its fallibility would send a very different message. It would tell the public that our laws and courts and juries are fundamentally incapable of delivering what most Americans consider genuine justice. It could encourage a more cynical and utilitarian view of why police forces and prisons exist, and what moral standards we should hold them to. And while it would put an end to wrongful executions, it might well lead to more overall injustice.
And, it is a reminder that every decision has secondary and tertiary consequences.  Collateral Damage is not limited to bombs.

The quote from Professor Althouse herself:
I've never understood why people who don't trust convictions agonize over the death penalty but blandly accept life imprisonment.
My thinking is that if folks were serious about ending the death penalty they would have taken on the hard case and not the one that appeared easier.  The same night Troy Davis was executed, out in Texas, Lawrence Brewer was executed for the heinous crime of dragging to death behind a vehicle a man based upon that man's race (he was Black).

And, Professor Althouse's point about life imprisonment is an important one.  Given our prisons, is life imprisonment a just response?  Flipping that around, is the European approach of releasing from prison murdering terrorists just, when they have been away for only 20 years or so?

My reason for being against the death penalty is that we should not be cutting short someone's opportunity to turn their life around and move toward eternal life.

Regards  —  Cliff

  My exception is for spies who have vital information that if available to an enemy could cause irreversible harm to our nation or its peoples.  In this case I care a heck of a lot more about the life of your Aunt Sadie (or her PFC Daughter in Afghanistan) than I do about some spy.  And I don't even know your Aunt Sadie or her daughter.

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