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View Full Version : Clemency for all IL death row inmates.


Taft
Jan 13, 2003, 02:57 PM
This hasn't been posted here yet, though I'm sure many of you have heard...

Illinois Governer George Ryan has commuted all of Illinois current death sentences to life in prison. Ryan had put a moratorium on executions while he was in office after investigations revealed that 13 of 25 of capital convictions between 1977 and 1998 were found to be faulty. After failing to convince the IL legislature to reform the process of capital prosecution and execution, Ryan offered clemency as a final act before leaving office.

This is big news and I'm sure it is a subject of heated debate. Especially here...:)

Stories:
http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2003/01/11/ill_death_row/index.html
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0301130130jan13,1,7522481.story?coll=chi%2Dnewslocal%2Dhed

Taft

Shrek
Jan 13, 2003, 03:08 PM
I have no opinion on this. I'm neutral when it comes to the DP. In other words, I haven't made a decision as to wether or not I support the DP. 'Nuff said.

rainman::|:|
Jan 13, 2003, 03:17 PM
i used to fully support the DP, now i'm not so sure. No, i take that back, i am sure. The government doesn't need to kill it's own people, period. But i do think life inprisonment with no parole should be mandatory in a lot of cases. If the penial system worked, there would be no need for the death penalty.

pnw

Cappy
Jan 13, 2003, 07:22 PM
Originally posted by paulwhannel
i used to fully support the DP, now i'm not so sure. No, i take that back, i am sure. The government doesn't need to kill it's own people, period. But i do think life inprisonment with no parole should be mandatory in a lot of cases. If the penial system worked, there would be no need for the death penalty.

pnw

There are a number of arguments to this and can say that I really haven't put alot of thought into it to judge the situation. The one comment I can make in response to this idea is "who pays for it?" If someone truly without doubt has commited a crime that the general public views by their morals as deserving of death, why would they as tax payers want to pay to support these criminals for life? Prisons have been overcrowded for quite some time so now so now we have:

a. prisons needing expanded.
b. new prisons needing built.
c. lesser penalties on those committing less serious crimes.

I know I don't have all of the facts but for those I have at the moment I would say that Ryan was out of his mind looking to go out in a controversial manner to garner attention away from his other issues.

ibjoshua
Jan 13, 2003, 07:26 PM
Great news!

This was headline news here in Oz so I'd be shocked if there was anyone that hadn't heard about it.

It's a shame the reasoning is based on the unsafe convictions rather than the fact that it is simply wrong for the state to kill people.
But either way it is a step in the right direction.

i_b_joshua

Taft
Jan 13, 2003, 08:07 PM
Originally posted by Cappy


There are a number of arguments to this and can say that I really haven't put alot of thought into it to judge the situation. The one comment I can make in response to this idea is "who pays for it?" If someone truly without doubt has commited a crime that the general public views by their morals as deserving of death, why would they as tax payers want to pay to support these criminals for life? Prisons have been overcrowded for quite some time so now so now we have:

a. prisons needing expanded.
b. new prisons needing built.
c. lesser penalties on those committing less serious crimes.

I know I don't have all of the facts but for those I have at the moment I would say that Ryan was out of his mind looking to go out in a controversial manner to garner attention away from his other issues.

This is actually a fallacy.

First, the price of the legal process necessary to execute an inmate is enormous. Because we want to be ABSOLUTELY sure before we execute a criminal (and even the most right leaning person would probably agree on that). Because of this it is extremely expensive to go through the due process of ensuring a capital criminal's guilt, even to the point of competing with the price of locking a criminal up for life.

Second, the number of criminals on death row pales in comparison to those in posession for drug related crimes. We are sitting here justifying state-sponsered killing by saying we need to kill a few inmates to free up tax dollars when an enormous percentage of prison inmates are in for simple drug possession. If the government got out of the business of managing our lives, we'd have more than enough room in our prisons.

I am completely for the abolishment of the death penalty.

Taft

ibjoshua
Jan 13, 2003, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by Taft
If the government got out of the business of managing our lives, we'd have more than enough room in our prisons.
It's ironic isn't it? The libertarians and gun enthusiasts often go hand in hand with anti-drug types.
For them it's alright for you to carry a gun which may kill someone else, but go and consume drugs that will only harm yourself (potentially) and wan you locked up for years at great expense.

I am completely for the abolishment of the death penalty.

Taft
Hear Hear

i_b_joshua

MacRumorSkeptic
Jan 13, 2003, 10:40 PM
It's ironic isn't it? The libertarians and gun enthusiasts often go hand in hand with anti-drug types.
For them it's alright for you to carry a gun which may kill someone else, but go and consume drugs that will only harm yourself (potentially) and wan you locked up for years at great expense.

You have no idea what a libertarian is if you think think their pro war on drugs. Look at their website (www.lp.org) to see for yourself.

ibjoshua
Jan 13, 2003, 11:43 PM
Originally posted by MacRumorSkeptic
You have no idea what a libertarian is if you think think their pro war on drugs. Look at their website (www.lp.org) to see for yourself.

what I meant was libertarian with a small L. You may be right though perhaps I used the wrong word. If you don't aunderstand what I was getting at I'm happy to elaborate for you.

i_b_joshua

MacRumorSkeptic
Jan 14, 2003, 12:52 AM
what I meant was libertarian with a small L. You may be right though perhaps I used the wrong word. If you don't aunderstand what I was getting at I'm happy to elaborate for you.

Sure, what do you consider to be the difference between libertarian whether its with a big or little L?
The Libertarian party is from the definition of the word libertarian meaning their for individual liberty and small government. That includes ones freedom to do drugs so long as it doesnt harm another.

macfan
Jan 14, 2003, 12:53 AM
I'd like to see the death penalty abolished. There is no reset button when you make a mistake. We are a wealthy country that can afford not to have it.

Indeed, Libertarians, (big L) and libertarians (little l) are often opposed to the "war on drugs." Having a war on drugs is kind of like prosecuting someone for being an idiot, but there is a constituitonal right to be an idiot, is there not?

I do think that a constitutional amendment would be needed to abolish the death penalty. It is certainly not prohibited now.

The irony I see is that some of the same crowd that calls for legalization of marijuana are themselves smoking Nazis when it comes to tobacco use.

rainman::|:|
Jan 14, 2003, 12:59 AM
libertarians are a class of their own, or i should say *our* own. i'm a libertarian and proud of it :) card carrying for 4 years now. It's true that executing people costs more than life imprisonment. The libertarian answer would be to eliminate penalties for personal drug use (the government should NEVER make a law "for your own good", i'll be the judge of that thanks), even decriminalizing marijuana would clear up prison crowding dramatically. There'd be more than enough room to keep the violent unreleasable criminals inside.

I just don't like the government being able to have the power of life and death over a person, even if they're a horrific criminal. it's a rather barberic practice dating back thousands of years, amazingly enough it hasn't disappeared yet.

As for the comment about people supporting it... you're under the (mistaken) impression that majority rules. that's the great thing about america, it doesn't. High profile cases like women's lib, gay rights, civil rights, yes; but that's because there's such zealous opposition. If majority truely ruled, women could decide that all men should be castrated to prevent "testosterone" driven crimes, and we'd have to submit. Can't happen, because the law would recognize that men have the right to *not* be castrated. bad example, i know, but you get my drift.

:)
pnw

rainman::|:|
Jan 14, 2003, 01:01 AM
Originally posted by macfan
The irony I see is that some of the same crowd that calls for legalization of marijuana are themselves smoking Nazis when it comes to tobacco use.

All too true... People can see the point in smoking pot, not in smoking cigarettes. I fully support the right of the individual to chose what he puts in his body, how much, and when. from asprin to arsenic, it's not the government's body, it's mine.

:)
pnw

MacBandit
Jan 14, 2003, 02:38 AM
I too use to believe the Death Penalty was a must but now I think it is wrong to kill someone for nearly any reason. Though I do think that the 30k/prisoner/year is too high and prison should be just that prison. No luxuries!

I personally think that the governor should be responsible for the few inmates that were not only pardoned but released and if they commit a crime or kill someone he should have to do the same time that they do.

rainman::|:|
Jan 14, 2003, 02:53 AM
i don't understand why he pardoned them rather than commuting their sentence to life. i realize there are some serious issues questioning their very convictions but still, better safe than sorry, they could have been reviewed on a case-by-case basis...

pnw

alex_ant
Jan 14, 2003, 06:20 AM
Originally posted by macfan
The irony I see is that some of the same crowd that calls for legalization of marijuana are themselves smoking Nazis when it comes to tobacco use.
There is no irony there - I think the majority of the anti-smoking / pro-marijuana-legalization people would be all for legalizing pot as long as it would be illegal to smoke it anywhere where smoking tobacco wouldn't be allowed. In short - legalizing pot but treating it like tobacco.

cubist
Jan 14, 2003, 08:18 AM
In the DC area, a sniper terrorized the area, killing people at random as they put gas in their cars.

This has resulted in a lot of people becoming solidly pro-death-penalty.

Those who are against the death penalty are simply tossing things around in their mind; they have never come face-to-face with a genuine criminal predator.

If you've had your wife or child killed by a murderer, let's hear what you think. Otherwise you should keep your mouth shut.

MacBandit
Jan 14, 2003, 10:18 AM
Originally posted by cubist
In the DC area, a sniper terrorized the area, killing people at random as they put gas in their cars.

This has resulted in a lot of people becoming solidly pro-death-penalty.

Those who are against the death penalty are simply tossing things around in their mind; they have never come face-to-face with a genuine criminal predator.

If you've had your wife or child killed by a murderer, let's hear what you think. Otherwise you should keep your mouth shut.

That is the reasoning I use to have but I have since realized that killing another individual is wrong no matter how you look at it. Why make yourself like the one you hate?


Originally posted by paulwhannel
I don't understand why he pardoned them rather than commuting their sentence to life. i realize there are some serious issues questioning their very convictions but still, better safe than sorry, they could have been reviewed on a case-by-case basis...

pnw

As I understand it actually only about 3 people were actually completely set free and the rest of them had there sentence changed to life. If you reread the first post on the thread it says they were pardoned from the death penalty and sentenced to life. What it doesn't say is like I said just above that there were a few of them completely set free and as I said previously I think the Governor should be made responsible for those that he set free. Meaning he get's the same sentance that they do if they commit a crime.

sturm375
Jan 14, 2003, 11:13 AM
I support Ryan's decision on the Death Row inmates. In Illinois, the system is flawed, and until fixed, all cases should be suspect.

The Death Penalty is the law of the land, and as such I accept it. I will work to change it, but as long as people continue to seek revenge, instead of justice, I don't expect much.

One of the Letters to the Editors brought up an intersting point:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/letters/chi-0301140276jan14,1,3326214.story?coll=chi%2Dnewsopinionvoice%2Dhed

Incase the linke doesn't work:


VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (LETTER)
Other cases

Joseph DeTomaso
Published January 14, 2003

Lombard -- We know there have been people sentenced to die for crimes later proven not to have been committed by them. Something that should be considered is how many non-capital cases are there in which the defendant is innocent? Does anyone care about the people who are sitting in prison for lesser offenses that they may be innocent of? What makes us think the problems are limited to capital crimes?

Copyright 2003, Chicago Tribune

macktheknife
Jan 14, 2003, 11:15 AM
I had made a similar post on another thread, but here are my thoughts on the issue. I have no sympathy for child molesters, murders, rapists, etc., and I wouldn't shed a tear if these offenders were put to death. That said, I do not believe in the death penalty for the following reasons:

1) It is ineffective. It takes nearly a decade or so from arrest to execution. Unless you are willing to execute criminals on the spot (which of course raises questions about justice and fairness), you will not strike fear into the hearts of criminals with a decade-long process. As Enlightenment philosopher Ceasar Beccaria once said: "What strikes fear into the hearts of criminals is not the severity of the punishment, but the certainty."

2) It is expensive. It is more expensive to execute someone than just locking them up for life.

3) It is unfair. Minorities are usually more likely to be executed despite committing the same proportion of crimes as whites. And don't get me started on the recent moratoriums on execution that was imposed due to shoddy evidence or poor legal representation.

4) It damages our prestige. How can the United States, the defender of human rights resort to execution (a punishment usually reserved for countries like Saudi Arabia and China)?

Again, don't get me wrong: Nothing would make me happier than to see criminals suffer and realize the fate many of them so richly deserve. And I'm not going to say that if I or my loved ones were ever a victim that I would not want the criminal to be put to death: I probably would want "justice." However, from a purely cold and rational point of view, I think it would be in the interest of the U.S. to abolish the death penalty for the reasons that I have outlined above. The death penalty won't un-rape a woman, un-molest a child, or un-kill a man. Most importantly, it won't act as a deterant.

macfan
Jan 14, 2003, 12:58 PM
Some good points, but I'm not so sure about minorites being more likely to be sentenced to death. Most inmates on death row are white, and I have seen reports that whites arrested for murder are more likely to be sentenced to death that blacks arrested for murder. Not sure about the stats on conviction rates or the proportion of total murders committed by various races. So far as deterrnece goes, supporters would rightly argue that the individual meant to be deterred is the one being executed, and no one was ever killed by a dead man.

It is probably true that people who have had family members killed are likely to support the death penalty, but another reason to abolish the death penalty is because after I kill the person who raped or killed my family member, I would not be subject to the death penalty myself! (Why Dukakis didn't say something like this in the 1988 preseidential debate is beyond my understanding).

alex_ant
Jan 14, 2003, 02:47 PM
Originally posted by cubist
If you've had your wife or child killed by a murderer, let's hear what you think. Otherwise you should keep your mouth shut.
People who have had their wife or child killed by a murderer are rather biased, don't you think? Certainly if my wife or child were murdered, I'd want to beat him/her to death with my bare hands, but that wouldn't make beating murderers to death with one's bare hands the right thing to do. We should strive to behave better than by our primal instincts, which tell to get revenge, and instead work to forgive - if the killer wishes forgiveness.

alex_ant
Jan 14, 2003, 02:50 PM
Please stop citing cost of execution vs. cost of imprisonment in your arguments, unless you really do think of a human life as being worth X dollars. Do you really want to say you support / don't support the death penalty because it would be more expensive to execute them / sentence them to life in prison?

diorio
Jan 14, 2003, 02:57 PM
I used to fully support the dp, until I found out how many innocent inmates die. Until there is a 100% full proof way to make sure who is guilty and who is innocent, I will not support it.

macktheknife
Jan 14, 2003, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by alex_ant
Please stop citing cost of execution vs. cost of imprisonment in your arguments, unless you really do think of a human life as being worth X dollars. Do you really want to say you support / don't support the death penalty because it would be more expensive to execute them / sentence them to life in prison?

Arguements that point out the economic costs of the death penalty does not mean putting a price tag on a human life. Such arguments bring to light the opportunity costs of the death penalty and ask several important questions. Are we willing to spend more money to execute a criminal if or when there are better uses for the resources?