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Cameron Todd Willingham Part 2?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    A Georgia parole board today will meet to determine whether to extend clemency to Troy Davis, a convicted cop killer in Georgia who is set to be executed on Wednesday:


    Some facts:

    * Three jurors from the trial are now asking that Davis be spared execution. "I no longer believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Davis was the shooter," one of them has written.
    * A new witness is set to testify who says that an on-scene witness is the actual killer.
    * Seven of the nine trial eyewitnesses have either recanted or backed off their stories - another is the other suspect.
    * For whatever it's worth, Jimmy Carter has spoken out for a grant of clemency.

    Can we please get rid of this punishment once and for all? Forget your personal philosophy for a second. Among many, many other practical reasons to get rid of it - for example, the fact that it is so inconsistently applied - there is just too much chance that the wrong person can be put to death.

    But back to this case: It will be interesting to follow today the decision of the Georgia parole board.

    In a related column today, Leonard Pitts writes that the applause at the recent GOP debate reveals a lot of the support for the death penalty for what it is: "Downturned thumbs in a Roman arena, vengeance putting on airs of justice, the need to see someone die."


    YGBFKM Guest

    No fan of the death penalty. Or Leonard Pitts.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Pitts's column isn't particularly airtight - he does what I don't like, which is assuming a straw man premise and launching your attack from there. But I thought that sentence was worth posting. Plus, the column is what led me to the news story.
  4. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    In these straitened times, it's also much cheaper to seek and impose a life sentence. So, practical as well.
  5. So I should put aside my personal philosophy for this thread, but consider yours?

    Esp. the Pitts opinion? Riiiight.

    I will step aside and allow you to rail for the righteous though.
  6. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    A little off topic:
    But when did executions start getting scheduled for 7 p.m.? They used to be at midnight. But the last few I've seen on the news have all had 7 p.m. times.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    And meanwhile in Connecticut, the second guy is going on trial for the invasion of the doctor's home and his family, where the two guys allegedly robbed, tied up, raped, beat and set their house on fire the doctor, his wife, and their two teenage daughters. The doctor somehow escaped and survived, and the other three died.

    The first guy got the death penalty, and the second one faces it if convicted. The doctor has been campaigning for to keep the death penalty, and the effort to ban it failed in the legislature:


    Sorry, but I think the penalty needs to stay, for when there's no doubt of guilt. In this case, the guy was convicted on the basis of nine people testifying against him. Now seven of them are recanting. This is why there are appeals, which take so long.

    It's nice that Pitts found some victim's family members who are against the death penalty, like he did at the end of the story. I'm sure he can also find some family members who not only would want to see their loved one's killer die, but they'd be willing to fire the gun, lower the lever, or flip the switch.
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Pitts did - the family of the slain cop in the Davis case.

    So when there's "no doubt of guilt," the death penalty is OK? How do we define that then? When there is "some doubt," I take it that life in prison is all right with you? What if there is "no doubt" that someone committed the crime, but there are doubts about the way the circumstances were presented by the prosecution? What about mitigating factors about the defendant's upbringing or mental state? Perhaps you scoff, but the mitigation strategy works with juries. Big-time.

    This isn't an attack on you so much as an attempt to illustrate how difficult some of that kind of line-drawing can become.
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Uh, no. I was trying to keep the focus of my argument to the fallibility of the system/process rather than the abstract philosophical question about whether the death penalty is a proper undertaking for a government.

    What did I write that suggested otherwise?
  10. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Very well, let's define it this way:

    Caught on video tape? Yep.
    DNA evidence? Yep.
    Or more than, let's say, three eyewitnesses who are unrelated to each other, or have no friendship with each other. Yep

    Defendant's upbringing? Tough shit. Shouldn't have killed in the first place.
    Mental state: Depends on the circumstances.
    Reasonable doubt, but yet results in conviction: Nope
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    If there is a reasonable doubt, then there is not a conviction.
  12. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Defendants get convicted anyways, even with reasonable doubt. Doesn't make it right, though.

    I'm referring to something, where, for instance, some guy tries to rob an old lady. Old lady falls down, has a heart attack and dies. Robber wasn't trying to kill her, but she died nonetheless. I wouldn't give the guy the death penalty, but I would give him life in prison.

    On the other hand, the Timonty McVeighs of the world need to die. And so he did.
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