The Death Penalty – For and Against

I always wonder how much thought someone puts into their views when they have a “firm” stance FOR or AGAINST on the death penalty. Most of the time people who are FOR the death penalty want anyone that was convicted of a murder and given the death penalty (as it stands now)…to be executed as soon as possible. For those people that are AGAINST the death penalty, no matter how heinous the crime or possibly due to religious and moral circumstances, they want the person to spend the rest of their life in prison and not be put to death. But I’m sure both sides may have fears of executing someone that might be exonerated of their crime after subsequent investigations and/or new technologies that might prove their innocence.

My stance on the death penalty is a more measured and fair way to both implement the death penalty in a fair way, as well as in a safe way to virtually eliminate the execution of an innocent person. I do understand that if you’re against the death penalty due to religious or moral reasons, that anything which includes a possible death sentence regardless of circumstances is not gonna change your mind.

My belief in the death penalty under severe circumstances is not because I think it acts as a deterrent. It might only deter that one killer, and it may not deter others. It’s also not about money, although it would cost much less to house someone on death row using my criteria because they would only be on death row for one year. And finally, my belief in the death penalty does not consider my moral or religious views for the simple reason that the murderer did not consider them either when he committed the crime.

However, I believe there are circumstances for the keeping the death penalty on the books and to also continue to use the death penalty…at least in a safer and sparingly way. If a person is convicted of a murder, before they could be given the death penalty they would have to meet certain criteria. If that criteria could not be met, but they had still been convicted of a murder, they would automatically get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

I believe if the following criteria are met, the convicted murderer would be eligible for the death penalty.

  • Corroborating evidence (fingerprints, DNA, circumstantial evidence) IN ADDITION TO an eye witness or multiple eyewitnesses (understanding that eyewitness testimony is not always reliable).
  • Murders caught on video or audio recordings showing a clear identification.
  • Murders in which the murderer confesses to the crime without undue stress.

If any of those criteria are met along with the conviction of a capital murder, then I believe the death penalty should be carried out. In fact, I believe the convicted murderer should get an immediate appeal within 90 days and if the conviction is upheld, he/she should be executed within 1 year of the original conviction. This would not only provide the FAMILY of the victim swift justice, but it would also reduce the millions of dollars that it “supposedly” costs to care and defend someone on death row. I want to repeat one more time…If the criteria could not be met, but they had still been convicted of a murder they would automatically get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Now, let me give some HIGH PROFILE examples here that should or should have received the death penalty.

  • Timothy McVeigh – The Oklahoma bomber. Thank goodness he was actually executed, but probably only because he did not fight his execution in the end. He deserved to die, he confessed to the bombing and the murders.
  • Jared Lee Loughner  – Attempted assassination of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and murdered 6 others in front a crowd of onlookers. He is currently serving a 7 life sentences, and unfortunately avoided the death penalty…although under my criteria he would be executed.
  • James Eagan Holmes – Murdered 24 people in an Aurora, CO theater in 2012, and sentenced to 12 life sentences….and he too would have met my criteria for the death penalty and executed (by now).
  • Steve Stephens – Currently being sought for the murder of Robert Godwin, a 78 year old innocent man, minding his own business after having Easter lunch with his family. And then this asshole posted the horrific video of the murder on Facebook. Again, this would meet the criteria for the death penalty in my opinion. (Imagine if you will…if that had been your father, grandfather, mother, son or daughter that was shot for no reason and then the video posted on a social media website for the world to see). I could NOT forgive and never forget.
  • Mark David Chapman – He murdered John Lennon by shooting him in the back 5 times. OK, I’m throwing this one in here because I don’t understand the sentence he was given. Mark David Chapman is currently eligible for parole, with his next parole hearing sometime in 2018. He should have been convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death…at least under the criteria I presented.

Again, I do believe that there are crimes that are so obvious, so blatant and so heinous that the perpetrator deserves the death penalty in their case.

Now this is occurring as there is a fugitive (Steve Stephens) on the run from law enforcement, but it’s also occurring during a time where our state, Arkansas is struggling with the constitutionality of the death penalty and/or the method of execution. Of the murderers on death row here in Arkansas,  I don’t know the actual circumstances (maybe a little about Jack Harold Jones Jr, convicted of a Bald Knob murder with the victims daughter as an eyewitness and also a victim herself that was strangled but survived…and he would/should be executed). So these men…may or may not meet the criteria I’ve outlined except for Jones.

That’s my opinion…same one I’ve had for a very long time. Any doubts they get life imprisonment, no doubts and criteria met, the death penalty.I want to stress that I believe that the number of persons on death row using the criteria above would GREATLY reduce the number of executions in the United States, it would virtually eliminate the possibility of executing someone innocent, and finally if indeed it cost millions of dollars to keep someone on death row, this cost would also be GREATLY reduced to both fewer people on death row and those that are on death row would only be there for one year.

And one last comment regarding the death penalty (using my criteria)…eliminate lethal injection and bring back the electric chair.

 

Author: Wally

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