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Equal means equal, hypocrites.
02:58 AM on 11/17/2012
"For example, in our country there are countless families broken with loved ones sitting in prison cells and on death row. Many of these prisoners have serious mental illnesses, which may have contributed to their crimes, yet continue to suffer without adequate treatment. Other prisoners continue to endure untreated psychological trauma, themselves victims of physical, emotional or sexual abuse."

So...let's execute them and solve those problems.

If you end another's life, you forfeit's so very fair.

I defy anyone to explain why the guilty murderer deserves a BETTER fate than their innocent victim?

How do you call that just?
09:37 PM on 11/16/2012
Whether we morally support or oppose the death penalty the following facts are true for me as the sister of a murder victim:
1. Killing someone else will not bring my brother or any murder victim back.
2. The death penalty did not deter my brothers murder and does not deter the thousands of murders that occur in states with the death penalty.
3. There are hundreds of thousands of unsolved murders in the US.
4. We are wasting limited criminal justice resources on capital case prosecutions when we could be solving insolvent murders.
5. We have an alternative to the death penalty that prevents the potential of executing an innocent citizen.
Equal means equal, hypocrites.
03:02 AM on 11/17/2012
With all due respect to your loss...there are others who have lost loved ones who are eaten alive by the thought of their loved one being in the ground while their killer watches cable TV.

Whose lives are ravaged every year having to go to parole hearings to relive the trauma of the killer's horrific crime just to keep a callous parole board from releasing the person who destroyed their family.

Those people, not the killer, are the ones who have my sympathy.

That you can forgive and forget doesn't mean you should get to decide that for them.
06:20 PM on 12/10/2012
If you are referring to life without parole, with prison overcrowding that is no longer a given.
08:12 PM on 11/16/2012
Thank you for this thoughtful and useful article. One additional thought: I wouldn't assume that all who voted against the measure are actually "pro" death penalty. There are people who oppose the death penalty who would find it very difficult to vote for mandatory life imprisonment without any possibility of parole (LWOP). I'm one of those people.

It is one thing to urge, in a particular situation, that a jury sentence a specific person to life in prison without parole, or that a given defendant in a particular situation plead guilty in return for a life sentence rather than risk execution. It's another thing, entirely, to *institutionalize* the practice, in all cases, of sentencing people to life imprisonment without any possibility of parole. One-size fit all solutions are rarely wise.

I honestly don't know what I would have done as a California voter, but I can imagine myself voting against the measure based precisely on the values you espouse. Retribution alone is not justice; neither is the unfair and ineffective tactic of trying to defer some people's potential future behavior by killing the person in front of you. Violence never comes out of a vacuum, and more violence is never the solution. Let's seek transformative justice that would hold people accountable for their actions, find meaningful and constructive ways to honor all victims and those who loved them, and search for ways to prevent future violence.

Thanks again for continuing this important conversation.
12:50 PM on 11/17/2012
Typo alert. I meant "trying to DETER someone's future behavior," not defer it. - virginia raymond
04:17 AM on 11/18/2012
08:01 PM on 11/16/2012
"On Election Day, 52 percent of voters cast ballots to keep the death penalty.
Such a small margin suggests that voters may be inching closer to abolishing capital punishment."

Using that "logic" one could make the same argument that people are also moving closer to Romney!
Mack Hopkins
07:40 PM on 11/16/2012
Tch, justice, only humans could be dumb enough to think that such a thing exists. There is no such thing as justice in this world, it is practically a miracle if it ever truly occurs. Whether you execute them or lock them up, not only are you punishing them, but you are punishing everyone who cares about them. Friends and family, anyone who would miss that person or feel pain at the deprivation of them would be made victims. The courts may call it justice, but when someone is being locked away for life or executed, is the pain of his or her parents not equal to those of the victim's parents? All we are doing is lessening the pain of some victims by adding more.
Regardless, I love the death penalty. I think we should make it quicker and easier (but of course following the most thorough and detailed investigations as possible) and just cut them all down. We need to reel in this population, so let's start with the prisons.
06:21 PM on 11/16/2012
We are the California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. We are a group of 720 family members who do not believe the Death Penalty gives us a sense of justice. This year alone we spent countless amount of hours have been sharing our stories.
Equal means equal, hypocrites.
03:07 AM on 11/17/2012
What about family members who have lost loved ones for whom the death penalty DOES give a sense of justice...?

What would you say to them?
06:15 PM on 11/16/2012
Hmmmm...when Obama received 52% of the popular vote, Liberals called it a "landslide." When something liberals don't agree with receives the same percentage of the vote, they say it won by "a small margin."
07:55 PM on 11/16/2012
Good point.
04:28 AM on 11/18/2012
lol, I agree. I was going to make mention that the 'margin' being low would be possibly due to lack of voter turn out, yet doesn't matter, because it still passed by whatever percentage is needed. so don't start 'assuming' that all California citizens are 'reconsidering' the death penalty. It should be just and it should be swift. One appeal, then do away with the heinous criminals who took lives away, and the families of the killers have their family member to blame for their own grief their relative committed such a heinous action against another human being.
01:54 PM on 11/18/2012
I agree with you. I wasn't even going to address the actual death penalty issue, but I live in Texas and like the way this state does things, so you're preaching to the choir. Sure and swift suits me just fine. :-)
05:11 PM on 11/16/2012
According to this author, justice means everything EXCEPT considering the suffering of the victim, or the victims family, or holding the offender accountable. His notion of "justice" is certainly convenient for criminals, but not for anyone else.

And once again, he can't avoid making the absurd comparison of the death penalty to "an eye for an eye", as if murder victims ever got the benefit of a police investigation, a fair trial with a chance to make their case, a sentencing phase, and 10-30 years of appeals. The notion that the death penalty and murder are the same is as ridiculous as claiming rape and consentual sex are the same. The fact that death penalty opponents have to keep resorting to such a blatantly false argument really shows the weakness.

The fact of the matter is that California voted DID reflect on the concept of justice, and showed that the death penalty is fully compatible with it.
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02:20 PM on 11/16/2012
First off there have been no more than 7 or 8 people executed in the last 20 or so years in California, which is small potatoes compared to texas, and the legal leg work to get the death penalty is a gigantic waste of tax payer money, especially when the end result will likely be the continuation of a life sentence and not a death penalty. I like the fact the death penalty serves as a threat to those willing to commit murder, but the downside is those who willfully kill multiple people are probably OK with going to the chair. Life sentences should be viewed as a long term project, take a big group of lifers, have some kind of work program to keep them productive but never let them out of jail since after all, they are felons.
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06:06 PM on 11/16/2012
California has executed fewer people than Texas in recent years because of a moratorium on executions that has recently ended. Calofornia has 724 prisioners on death row while Texas has 308. Both states execute less than one percent of murderers. For example, Texas now executes about 13 a year but had 1,126 murders in 2011. Texas juries sentence fewer people tro death now that they have the option of sentencing people to life without parole.
04:31 AM on 11/18/2012
Arizona Prisons have the right idea.
08:27 AM on 11/16/2012
What strikes me odd in all these discussions is that nobody seem to care what they are allowed to truly own in a country where death penalty is in use.

In such a country, whether you are a law abiding citizen or not you are not the unconditional owner of your life. At the end of the day, the government has the final say on one's life. Should a government be that powerful?

I always thought killing somebody is wrong because you have no right to take away something this authentically and completely belong to someone else. It is the first assumption/axiom/rule/etc. that you have unconditional right to your life. If there is a God-given right, this is the top of the list. One's life is nobody else's to take.

So when a government execute somebody, on the surface it tries to punish wrong doing by committing more wrong. But in reality it tells every citizen that the real owner of their lives is the government.
10:15 AM on 11/16/2012
Not exactly. When you commit a crime worthy of the DP, you forfeit your rights. Think about the victims.
11:36 AM on 11/16/2012
So you cannot have a right that cannot be forfeited?  Is that what you are saying?
06:28 PM on 11/17/2012
Isn't it the same thing if we kill them or not?
Doesn't the government 'own' your life if they can lock you up and tell you when and what to eat, what to wear, etc. You are still breathing, but you aren't living your life. You don't have any real choices.
I'm really asking, not being sarcastic.
06:58 PM on 11/17/2012
When I say life, I do not refer to its symbolic meaning. For example, for some, if they are not allowed to eat BBQ for health reasons, they might as well be death because what they will have without BBQ is not a life.

If there is anything that we own on this earth, it is our lives. This should be unconditional. Nobody, including institutions or human made entities or the whole society should be allowed to take it away from us.

Without unconditionally owning your life, what else can you really own?
Sandi K H H
03:40 AM on 11/16/2012
'Life' in prison too often isn't. And yes, they have it way better in prison than many who have never done anything wrong. Cruel and inhumane only applies to humans. People who choose to do things like kill children aren't human.
Earl J Hickey
My beer bottle is empty.
12:51 AM on 11/16/2012
I voted yes because its a waste of many millions of dollars, life in prison seems like a harsher punishment, and death row from what I have seen in the documentaries seems like a cushier experience than general population.
02:11 AM on 11/16/2012
i voted no because no amount of money would matter to me to have justice and life in prison is not a harsher punishment..inmates get it better than the homeless..
04:47 AM on 11/16/2012
how do you know that inmates have it 'better' than the you know any inmates on death row? the constant threat of rape, stabbings, months of solitary confinement and lock downs that threaten inmates sanity...believe me a 'life' in this environment is a much harsher punishment than death...for many of these men death will be a Gandhi said an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind...the rest of the world is appalled that the US supposedly the most civilized country stands with countries with appalling human rights records like Iran and China and insists on defending this barbaric practice which is not a deterrent...very very sad
Earl J Hickey
My beer bottle is empty.
05:11 PM on 11/16/2012
Where did you get this being homeless is better than prison? I have know people that were put in California state prison and they have said they would rather die than go back there.
Max Muchacho
A man many try to emulate
06:20 AM on 11/16/2012
So you believe the millions of dollars in expenses for the death penalty argument. What do ypu think is cheaper, executing the depraved muderer in a timely manner, or years of appeals, court appointed attorneys defending them, while we clothe, feed, house, and pay for all the of the above?
Earl J Hickey
My beer bottle is empty.
05:12 PM on 11/16/2012