CA death penalty poll shows dramatic consensus

posted at 12:10 pm on March 2, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Longtime readers know that I personally oppose the death penalty, and that mine is a minority opinion around here — and I’m comfortable with that.  If I wasn’t, I might look for moral support from one of the most hopelessly liberal states in the country, my native state of California.  Surely, if one state would have an electorate opposed to the death penalty, it would be the one who keeps cluelessly electing Democrats in a near-one-party government despite thundering towards fiscal and economic collapse.  Right?

Wrong:

By 2:1, CA Voters Back Death Penalty: 61% of registered voters from the state of California say they would vote to keep the death penalty, should a death penalty initiative appear on the November 2012 ballot, according to this latest SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KGTV-TV San Diego, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KFSN-TV Fresno, and KABC-TV Los Angeles. 29% say they would vote to eliminate the death penalty. Keeping the death penalty law in California is supported by a majority among all groups except liberals, who are divided.

Honestly, it’s not news that Californians support the death penalty.  They’ve repeatedly voted for it, and even bounced a Supreme Court justice off the bench for obstructing executions, the late Rose Bird thirty years ago.

What’s so fascinating is just how much Golden State voters support it.  More women than men want the death penalty to remain in place (63% to 59%).  Every age group has a majority supporting it, from younger voters at 57/31 to seniors at 62/29.  Majorities of black and Hispanic voters support it, even while opponents claim it gets applied in a discriminatory fashion against minority defendants.  It’s no surprise to see 70% of Republicans supporting it, but 56% of Democrats do as well – and even a plurality of self-described liberals want it as an option (48/44).

How popular is it, geographically speaking?  In the San Francisco Bay area — the liberal bastion of California — 56% of voters support the death penalty.  The other bastion of liberalism, the Los Angeles megalopolis, supports it 64/27.

I suspect the reason for this might be the continued oxygenation of Richard Ramirez, one of the most evil criminals ever, who continues to languish on Death Row more than 22 years after being sentenced to death in the Night Stalker murder/rape/robbery spree of the mid-1980s.  His continued oxygenation also provides a pretty good example of what’s wrong with the death penalty in California, too, but the thought that a parole board or a governor could set this lunatic free is probably enough to make the death penalty look like a good option to keep in hand.  And frankly, even though I oppose the death penalty, as someone who lived through the Night Stalker nightmare, I find it hard to blame California voters for that belief.


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ed,

I have a question. is Santorum against the death penalty.

gerrym51 on March 2, 2012 at 12:12 PM

In the USA we have great freedoms. People agree if we abuse these freedoms, then there should be the option for severe punishment. Makes sense.

Paul-Cincy on March 2, 2012 at 12:13 PM

The death penalty is also popular Europeans and Mexicans, it’s just that their elites feel it to be icky.

Why Mexico doesn’t have it is the real question. At least in America, prison breaks are not common, whereas there the cartels routinely break out murderers.

NoDonkey on March 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM

“Majorities of black and Hispanic voters support it, even while opponents claim it gets applied in a discriminatory fashion against minority defendants.”

Generally, the victims of “minority” offenders are also themselves “minorities”. I’m sure folks living in Watts and South Central are far more concerned about violent crime and appropriate punishment then the denizens of Bel Air.

holdfast on March 2, 2012 at 12:15 PM

In Los Angeles, we prefer Judge Dredd.

John the Libertarian on March 2, 2012 at 12:18 PM

I suspect the reason for this might be the continued oxygenation of Richard Ramirez

That, and Charles Manson and his gang doing what they do. Some of them doing on the outside now, IIRC.

cozmo on March 2, 2012 at 12:19 PM

I do support the death penalty. but i took a class on the prison system and there are issues in who actually gets executed and who goes free.

Donald Draper on March 2, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Interesting that they view death penalty as a necessary punishment because to stop the idiocy of the people that they elect to office.

pedestrian on March 2, 2012 at 12:21 PM

People’s guts tell them instinctively that if you kidnap a two year old, rape her and skin her alive, you don’t deserve to live.

Blake on March 2, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Generally, the victims of “minority” offenders are also themselves “minorities”. I’m sure folks living in Watts and South Central are far more concerned about violent crime and appropriate punishment then the denizens of Bel Air.

holdfast on March 2, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Yep. They have no problems sentencing people to death in Alameda County (Oakland).

Blake on March 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM

granted we were learning from the “critical theorists” perspective so everything else in the class was ridiculous marxist propaganda.

Donald Draper on March 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Most reasonable people realize that the Death Penalty is the Nuclear Option for criminals.

You never negotiate away the Nuclear Option when dealing with nutjobs.

rwenger43 on March 2, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Even George Fox, founder of the Quakers, that most pacifistic of Christian sects, supported the death penalty for those who commit acts of treason. It’s sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but there it is. As for me, I must admit to be somewhat torn by the issue. I think of Christ’s injunction, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,’ when He saved the adulteress from execution. And then, of course, there was the injustice of His own execution.

And then I’m confronted by the evil represented by monsters like Richard Ramirez or Ted Bundy or Otis Toole, and see no other way to deal with such men other than to put them down. Paraphrasing FBI Agent and pioneer profiler John Douglas, ‘I don’t know if the death penalty deters such men but their execution guarantees those men will never hurt or kill anyone again.’

troyriser_gopftw on March 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM

If Ramirez were freed he could run for and win a demorat senate seat.

Bishop on March 2, 2012 at 12:29 PM

The phrase ‘kill or be killed’ comes to mind, only paraphrased. ‘Have killed – then be killed.’ Punishments should always fit the crime that was committed.

It’s articles like this one that give me reason to believe there’s still hope for humanity, just as yet.

The Nerve on March 2, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Richard Ramirez needs to reduce his carbon footprint – permanently.

PackerBronco on March 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM

The phrase ‘kill or be killed’ comes to mind, only paraphrased. ‘Have killed – then be killed.’ Punishments should always fit the crime that was committed.

The Nerve on March 2, 2012 at 12:29 PM

That is the epitome of justice – to be punished exactly for the crime(s) you’ve committed. No more and no less.

The punishment for a convicted murderer is EXECUTION. Anything less than that is an insult to the victim and a mockery of the legal system. And that includes the sentence of “life without parole”, which we’re issuing because giving the death sentence offends the hanky-stomping pu$$ies.

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Texas just did one Wednesday evening and right before the needle went in he confessed and ask for forgiveness from the family of his victim.Touching.

docflash on March 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Too bad we can’t do something about all the judges and lawyers in Kalifornia who do everything they can to obstruct the implementation of the death penalty. They’ve yet to meet even one of the supposed “deadlines” as each case moves through the appeals system. Perhaps it’s time to start imposing prison sentences on them. That would get things moving.

GarandFan on March 2, 2012 at 12:37 PM

So you’re saying that deterrence is a definite factor in Californian’s support of the death penalty?

Very interesting given that most opponents dismiss the deterrence argument almost off-hand.

joejmz on March 2, 2012 at 12:38 PM

We have a lot of people on Death Row, many of them as evil as Ramirez, or more so. Just go through the case histories some time, but pour yourself a stiff drink, first.

irishspy on March 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM

If Ramirez were freed he could run for and win a demorat senate seat.

Bishop on March 2, 2012 at 12:29 PM

…and that’s exactly why other California Democrats prefer him to meet his maker, a.k.a. Satan, rather than to give him an opportunity to run.

Archivarix on March 2, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Very interesting given that most opponents dismiss the deterrence argument almost off-hand.

joejmz on March 2, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Said opponents, if brains were C4, wouldn’t have enough to blow their hats off. Something that deters criminals 100% of the time is nothing BUT effective; and unless someone actually figures out how to raise zombies it will always be that way.

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 12:43 PM

And frankly, even though I oppose the death penalty, as someone who lived through the Night Stalker nightmare, I find it hard to blame California voters for that belief.

I’d oppose the death penalty too if all states did it in such a fashion as California.

Twenty-two years on Death Row? There is something wrong with the process. It took three years from apprehension to trial. The trial itself spanned eight months. Then after the penalty phase the first round of appeals only ending in 2006 (16 years after being sentenced to death). Ramirez killed 14 and yet it is all too likely he will die of old age before he is ever close to actually being executed. This isn’t justice this is some liberal’s idea of delaying the death penalty to the point that it is meaningless to the families of the victims seeking justice. Some governor or court might as well release this animal if the state isn’t more serious about using the death penalty.

Happy Nomad on March 2, 2012 at 12:44 PM

So you’re saying that deterrence is a definite factor in Californian’s support of the death penalty?

joejmz on March 2, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Deterrence isn’t a factor. You kill 14 and are still alive 26 years after apprehension, 22 of those years on “Death Row.” Ramirez has spent nearly as much of his life behind bars for these murders as he lived prior to his apprehension. Where is the reason why any killer would be deterred by this kind of “justice?”

Happy Nomad on March 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.

We coddle prisoners of the worst crimes imaginable.

That’s not “justice”. It’s not even mercy.

It’s just gutless. The dead are out of sight, out of mind.

Contemplating death row gives murderers the opportunity for remorse and reflection.

And it “sends a message” that we are a society that will not tolerate certain crimes.

NoDonkey on March 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Here in CA, the death penalty is alive and well, thank you very much…

… It’s called “Old Age”.

Seven Percent Solution on March 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

The best deterrent for most criminals would be a necessity to actually WORK in prison for 12 hours a day or face deprivation of food. But no, criminals have rights, and we’re too soft hearted to deprive them of sustenance, we’d rather pay more taxes and have our cars stolen and our daughters raped.

Archivarix on March 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Longtime readers know that I personally oppose the death penalty

I’m sure you have deep felt moral and religious convictions against the death penalty. But in the grand scheme of things. For some crimes it is the only fitting punishment.

Tommy_G on March 2, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Lately, I’ve been seeing the most ridiculous defenses by nuts for these cold blooded killers: Ramirez, he never tortured anybody. Yeah, right. A recent guy, Rodrigo Hernandez – he raped and murdered two women, they found his dna, he confessed twice, a copy of his taped confession is on the internet. Yet, nuts still claim he’s innocent. This Texas 7 guy they just executed – had 17 convictions for robbery. But of course, whackjobs claim he was never violent. Hello? What do you think the definition of robbery is???

Blake on March 2, 2012 at 12:51 PM

The best deterrent for most criminals would be a necessity to actually WORK in prison for 12 hours a day or face deprivation of food. But no, criminals have rights, and we’re too soft hearted to deprive them of sustenance, we’d rather pay more taxes and have our cars stolen and our daughters raped.

Archivarix on March 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

There’s even provision for that in the Constitution!

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Here in CA, the death penalty is alive and well, thank you very much…

… It’s called “Old Age”.

Seven Percent Solution on March 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

That’s cruel and unusual, we need to work on enabling our murderers to become immortal. – The Democrat Party

NoDonkey on March 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

California is a great example of turning the “will of the people” into a “cash cow”.

The “Death Penalty” is a great business.

Bullets are cheap, but then you couldn’t employ so many bureaucrats.

CrazyGene on March 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

There’s even provision for that in the Constitution!

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Eh, what provision? “Cruel and unusual punishment”? Tell that to my boss, please – he will sure as hell deprive me of sustenance if I don’t work well enough.

Archivarix on March 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM

The only things wrong with the death penalty is its not sentenced enough, it doesn’t happen often enough, and it doesn’t happen soon enough.

If they’re violent and unrepentant, AMF.

Speakup on March 2, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Eh, what provision? “Cruel and unusual punishment”? Tell that to my boss, please – he will sure as hell deprive me of sustenance if I don’t work well enough.

Archivarix on March 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM

13th Amendment
Amendment XIII
Section 1

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject t

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Rats, post was cut off.

“or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” is the last bit.

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I’m conflicted over it but it is undoubtedly a detterent to some criminals. In Texas if you kill a policeman the prosecution will always ask for and usually get the death penalty. The hood executed on Wednesday was a cop killer and it was relatively quick justice (11 years).

There are many instances where cops apprehend armed suspects and there is no exchange of fire. I’d suggest that some of these suspects are deterred by the near certainty that they will be put down if they kill a cop.

Of course it does nothing for the true psychos but it probably does something for the rest.

CorporatePiggy on March 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Yikes, that photo. I still get scared thinking about Ramirez.

Missy on March 2, 2012 at 1:04 PM

13th Amendment
Amendment XIII
Section 1

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to…

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Thanks for the lesson, and I bow my head in shame. We talk so much of Amendment XIV that tend to forgot there was the XIII’th before it.

Archivarix on March 2, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I’m against the death penalty too.

Support for the death penalty in California makes sense. If you believe that Government is always right, and that Government always acts in the best interests of the People, and that Government is, in the end, a wise protector, then you have no trouble with the Government executing a prisoner convicted, by a jury of his or her peers, of the wanton murder of another.

That said, I’ve served on several juries (civil and criminal but never for a capital crime), and I have no doubts as to the humanity — and fallibility — of both myself and my fellow jurors. The kinds of screwy reasoning — some of which is the natural consequence of jury intructions — that go on in the jury room give me great pause.

We’ve also seen it in the small number of capital cases in which a person ruled guilty and on death row is exonerated by new evidence — most often, nowadays, DNA evidence not available when the person was convicted.

My bar for justice is high. Given that justice is demonstrably imperfect, I’d rather that a million murderers languish in prison for life than one person be executed for a crime they did not commit.

It’s always possible to pull a person out of a prison cell, apologize to them, and walk them out the door if they are proven innocent after conviction, but it isn’t possible to bring them back to life if they’ve been executed.

Indeed, if you truly have a seamless garb with respect to the sanctity of human life, you cannot be for abortion and against capital punishment — nor can you be against abortion and for capital punishment. If you are either of these things, you are being dishonest with yourself.

unclesmrgol on March 2, 2012 at 1:06 PM

CorporatePiggy on March 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I’m pretty sure the guy they executed won’t kill anyone else.

Whereas convicted murderers serving time can murder:
1) Other inmates
2) Prison guards
3) Order or arrange for murders outside prison gates.

The death penalty is final and it works.

NoDonkey on March 2, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Said opponents, if brains were C4, wouldn’t have enough to blow their hats off. Something that deters criminals 100% of the time is nothing BUT effective; and unless someone actually figures out how to raise zombies it will always be that way.

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Agreed.

“Enlightened” people can call me whatever they want, but I refuse to believe that society’s ultimate response doesn’t deter some violent crime, and deter some violent criminals–who are already unreasonable people–from escalating their crimes.

What do “enlightened” people think deters criminals? Knowing that they might lose their opportunity for parole after 20 years? The possibility of spending 20 years in prison instead of 10? Or maybe the most violent offenders will only get 2 squares a day instead of 3?

Whatever the most effective deterrent is, you know that if the libs ever get rid of the death penalty, they’ll try to discredit the next-most effective deterrent next by discrediting its effectiveness. So let’s just keep the rules the way they are. We can’t afford to play this game.

rwenger43 on March 2, 2012 at 1:07 PM

MelonCollie on March 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Agreement, although I consider Life Without Parole to be a worthy punishment to give, too. They’re paying for their actions by making their life permanent confinement, and unlike death, we’re certain they’re receiving payment for what they did, whereas anything could happen to them after death. We lose track of them. They could have anything happen to them, even forgiveness, and boy that’s really a downside to consider about the death penalty.

The Nerve on March 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Agreement, although I consider Life Without Parole to be a worthy punishment to give, too.

The Nerve on March 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Life Without Parole is a punishment not for the criminal but the taxpayers – including the victim’s relatives, by the way – that have to continue paying for the “humane” treatment of a murderous animal. Most of them eat better in jail and have better medical services and gym facilities than they had outside.

Archivarix on March 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM

That’s awfully sad; no one should trust government institutions with the perfect execution of justice, and the death penalty requires the perfect execution of justice to be anywhere near ethical.

ernesto on March 2, 2012 at 1:17 PM

The Death Peanlty is becoming more popular in my state as well; latest poll had its support at 76% (Previously 66%).

Norwegian on March 2, 2012 at 1:18 PM

People’s guts tell them instinctively that if you kidnap a two year old, rape her and skin her alive, you don’t deserve to live.

Blake on March 2, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Good God Almighty…I wish I hadn’t read that.

tdpwells on March 2, 2012 at 1:19 PM

People’s guts tell them instinctively that if you kidnap a two year old, rape her and skin her alive, you don’t deserve to live.

Blake on March 2, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Wow, that link got my hackles up. If someone tried that on my little girl they would not see the next year. I would exact justice and it would be brutal and I would feel nothing for the monster.

I have made a point to many of my friends and I will mention it again here. The further as a nation we go from truly believing in God and an afterlife, the more we will become fearful of death. This fear will mold our views of any adult dying (transference) And we will be less likely to vote for killing even the most horrendous of people. In many states even Hitler would be given 3 hot’s and a cot (and cable tv, free weights, and exercise time). So if you call yourself a christian maybe you should reexamine if you truly believe in the afterlife…

Secondary to that argument is this for the athiest/agnostic crowd. If you cant kill a person after they rape and kill your child…do you believe you can kill them before they do it as they attack your child…how about during?

If you can kill them if you walk in on them raping your little girl, why do they suddenly regain their right to live after they orgasm?? I realize that is a graphic picture but too many people don’t really think about what these people do to children.

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 1:21 PM

You kill anyone and you should also be killed. Why must we support a killer for the rest of their useless life but harvest their organs first.

mixplix on March 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM

When former CA supreme court justice Rose Bird — who ruled against the death penalty in every single case that came before her — came up for a retention vote, there were sarcastic bumper stickers with the slogan: Save the Night Stalker — Retain Rose Bird.

She lost her election.

jwolf on March 2, 2012 at 1:24 PM

History tells us that it doesn’t matter how CA votes for a particular issue, if it doesn’t agree with the Left in the state they just go to some dopey judge who will simply overturn the law. CA does NOT operate by Demoratic means but by a whiny, tyrannical minority.

Weebork on March 2, 2012 at 1:28 PM

I remember in the late fifties, yeh, I’m a little old, that the death penalty was for murder, rape, or kidnapping. I strongly believe in it. Not only for the punishment but the prevention of future crimes by the same criminal or others and for the closure of the victims or family of the victims. My Sicilian tribe demands this, and yours too, if ever your the victim. We need to turn our culture back to this. That we can’t afford to be nice to convicted criminals, that execution is cheaper than life imprisonment, that medical treatment for criminals are shameful when such cost for treatment of others can’t be preformed. I believe the real change is coming not because our society desires it, most are never the victim or family of such and hence are not willing to change, but because our society can’t afford it. Money will talk soon, and like other third world countries, more will be put to death related to the cost of long term prison, excessive court challenges or delays, and lawyer fees. China never has this problem. Only time will tell.

SgtPete on March 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM

If you can kill them if you walk in on them raping your little girl, why do they suddenly regain their right to live after they orgasm?? I realize that is a graphic picture but too many people don’t really think about what these people do to children.

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 1:21 PM

You’re exactly right – and in cases like that one, part of me wants to take it a step further and demand that the same horrific acts be done to the perpetrator. See how he likes it. His death was far too easy.

tdpwells on March 2, 2012 at 1:30 PM

That’s awfully sad; no one should trust government institutions with the perfect execution of justice, and the death penalty requires the perfect execution of justice to be anywhere near ethical.

ernesto on March 2, 2012 at 1:17 PM

wow, pulling out the “ethical” card? Maybe I think you are a coward but I surely wouldn’t call you out on it…

(yes, that was an insult and a joke all in one)

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 1:30 PM

MelonCollie: Deterrence, as far as I’ve understood it in terms of capital punishment, is the theory that killing some convicted criminal will deter other potential criminals from committing crimes. (Note that this is not deterrence in the sense of stopping the convicted criminal from committing another crime.)

And, insofar as that goes, I think Lewis gives a very good argument why capital punishment, insofar as it is done for reasons of deterrence, is unethical.

The main thrust of the argument is that executing someone to deter others has nothing to do with guilt. Therefore, you could just as easily deter crime, and many would say deter crime more, if you executed an innocent person than a guilty person.

The only ethical argument for capital punishment is that the person deserves it for the crime they committed. I generally agree with this argument. However, let us not fall into the trap of thinking that because something is effective for a given purpose (i.e., that capital punishment is effective as a deterrent) that it is ethical.

Scott H on March 2, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Seeing the picture of The Night Stalker, my first thought was: ‘I wonder if dumbazz women are still sending him panties and marriage proposals’.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 2, 2012 at 1:30 PM

I have a serious problem with the death penalty. The scope of the crimes it applies to is far too limited, even here in Texas.

TXUS on March 2, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Archivarix on March 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Yeah, but the Permanent Life Sentence can be thought of as worse than the Death Penalty in some ways. You know, ‘Jesus is forgiving’, and such.

The Nerve on March 2, 2012 at 1:40 PM

The only ethical argument for capital punishment is that the person deserves it for the crime they committed. I generally agree with this argument. However, let us not fall into the trap of thinking that because something is effective for a given purpose (i.e., that capital punishment is effective as a deterrent) that it is ethical.

Scott H on March 2, 2012 at 1:30 PM

I agree. Deterrence is almost inconsequential to the criminal mind. Most people who contemplate these horrible acts think that they will never get caught.

Retribution alone justifies the death penalty.

Captain Kirock on March 2, 2012 at 1:41 PM

I used to support the death penalty until my divorce showed me how screwed up our ‘justice’ system is.
Until we can fix that, I’m not as comfortable with it as I used to be.
IF and this is a BIG IF there is absolutely no way that anyone could ever get convicted on crap evidence, then I would support it. But people get convicted on crap evidence all the time. Appeals are a crap shoot, because it’s the same flawed system and the same flawed people. We’ve seen prosecutorial misconduct, in Italy with that British girl what got killed and they tried to blame a satan worshipping American girl, and here with the Duke psycho-stripper rape case.

Also, I am about 70% sure that the current government would love any excuse to kill me since I don’t worship the god-king with sufficient adoration. Not fond of the government ever, but even less so now.

TABoLK on March 2, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I remember when the Night Stalker was still on the loose. I was at a bus stop in LA and tried to start up a conversation with this girl at the bus stop and she started to be visually upset and showing real fear.

Now I know I might be a scary looking dude, but not that scary.

A guy at the same bus stop also noticed her fear and commented to me that everyone in the area is spooked because of all the killing by the Night Stalker. I will never forget the look of fear on this girls face.

bbordwell on March 2, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Execution is also a great deterrent for those convicted of capital crimes they didn’t commit.

a capella on March 2, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I have a serious problem with the death penalty. The scope of the crimes it applies to is far too limited, even here in Texas.

TXUS on March 2, 2012 at 1:31 PM

+1

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 1:51 PM

“According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/us/18deter.html?pagewanted=all

These studies were commissioned by the heavy hitters against capital punishment.

Personally, I see capital punishment as punishment. Deterrence is an extra benefit. Though, what do you do with those who are sentenced to lwop but kill while in prison? Give them another lwop sentence???

Blake on March 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Agreement, although I consider Life Without Parole to be a worthy punishment to give, too.

The Nerve on March 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Every day a murderer is above ground is another day he can murder other convicts, guards, etc.

The state ducks its responsiblity to society when it doesn’t do it’s duty.

NoDonkey on March 2, 2012 at 1:54 PM

I personally oppose the death penalty

Too bad. It’s in the Constitution.

The federal government pay punish capital crimes and states can do as they please.

mankai on March 2, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Agreement, although I consider Life Without Parole to be a worthy punishment to give, too.

The Nerve on March 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM

If life in prison is equal to or worse than death, why aren’t perps plea-bargaining to get the death penalty to avoid life in prison instead of the other way around?

mankai on March 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Really? No anti-death penalty person will take on the challenge?

I want 1 person to answer this or I will assume you are all cowards not “ethical” as you would like to think of yourselves. Would you kill the man you just walked in on raping your 2 year old child? Remember, you are seeing this with your own eyes right in front of you. You see your child’s blood, and this guy is REALLY enjoying himself…what do you do?

Cmon, I want just 1 person to tell me they value the rapist/murderer over their own dead child…tell me, I dare you.

“Ethical” my a$$.

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 2:06 PM

The death penalty is so popular G-d levied it on Adam and Eve.

moochy on March 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Cmon, I want just 1 person to tell me they value the rapist/murderer over their own dead child…tell me, I dare you.

I’m not sure anyone needs to climb down the rhetorical ladder to get to the level you inhabit in order to take your “dare”, but are you aware of the murder of the Amish girls some years ago?

Read up. And quit trying to be such a mutt. We can all discuss this like adults.

I support the death penalty by the way.

moochy on March 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Airmonkey, I would oppose the death penalty in that case, because I would argue that me killing the bastard was completely justified by virtue of the fact that he needed the killin’.
This is a valid legal defense in some localities.

TABoLK on March 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM

As for me, I must admit to be somewhat torn by the issue…
troyriser_gopftw on March 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM

As someone who, like Ed, is opposed to the death penalty, I fully understand where you’re coming from. There are some crimes that are so unspeakably vile and disturbing that it’s hard to come to any conclusion other than, “that person must die.” I feel the same way in certain cases.

The problem for many DP opponents is, I think, that making exceptions inevitably leads to making more exceptions. Eventually, you’re going to get it wrong and an innocent person will be executed. We know it has happened before, and it’s almost certain to happen again. The only surefire way to prevent it is to not use the DP at all. In some cases, it’s hard as hell to maintain that position, and I admit that I could be persuaded to change it under the right conditions. But anyways, I just wanted to put that perspective out there. Sometimes I get the feeling that people assume the anti-DP crowd is simply too sympathetic to the worst our society has to offer, but that really isn’t the case for many of us.

humili mente on March 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 2:06 PM

You’ve got a lot more faith in the way our justice system is run than I do. I give you,…Eric Holder.

a capella on March 2, 2012 at 2:16 PM

I’m not sure anyone needs to climb down the rhetorical ladder to get to the level you inhabit in order to take your “dare”, but are you aware of the murder of the Amish girls some years ago?

Read up. And quit trying to be such a mutt. We can all discuss this like adults.

I support the death penalty by the way.

moochy on March 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM

You read up. The murderer/pervert killed himself before capture. The Amish community’s forgiveness meme after his death is meaningless. And it sure doesn’t mean that they value his life over their children’s.

Blake on March 2, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Dude. I remember that guy.Ramirez. The pentagram killer or zodiac killer or something—AC/DC guy.

ted c on March 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Read up. And quit trying to be such a mutt. We can all discuss this like adults.

So me calling people cowards is not ok…but you calling me a “mutt” is is somehow “adult.”

LOL! I have no issue with you calling me a mutt, I make a good attack dog. I bet you did not even see the hypocrisy…funny.

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Don’t forget that Californians get regular reminders that their tax dollars are going down the gullets of Charles Manson and his followers who avoided justice due some stupid behavior on the part of the federal government.

Odysseus on March 2, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Please use another picture on this thread. This animal killed a couple in my neighborhood back then. The people of east LA should’ve been allowed to finish him off.

lonestar1 on March 2, 2012 at 2:52 PM

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 2:49 PM

This was your original post. It had nothing to do with the death penalty enacted by govenment, but rather with an individual catching a criminal doing a vile act, and reacting to it..as an individual, not part of our formalized justice system which certainly allows an advantage to better funded or politicized defenses. Don’t you think all individuals should be entitled to equal protection under the law? Make the system consistent for all and I’ll agree there is a place for the death penalty.

Really? No anti-death penalty person will take on the challenge?

I want 1 person to answer this or I will assume you are all cowards not “ethical” as you would like to think of yourselves. Would you kill the man you just walked in on raping your 2 year old child? Remember, you are seeing this with your own eyes right in front of you. You see your child’s blood, and this guy is REALLY enjoying himself…what do you do?
Cmon, I want just 1 person to tell me they value the rapist/murderer over their own dead child…tell me, I dare you.

“Ethical” my a$$.

airmonkey on March 2, 2012 at 2:06 PM

a capella on March 2, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Even George Fox, founder of the Quakers, that most pacifistic of Christian sects, supported the death penalty for those who commit acts of treason. It’s sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but there it is. As for me, I must admit to be somewhat torn by the issue. I think of Christ’s injunction, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,’ when He saved the adulteress from execution. And then, of course, there was the injustice of His own execution.

troyriser_gopftw on March 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Christians should support the death penalty… because it IS Biblical. When you purposely take a life, you are killing a creation of God, made in his image. Therefore, per the Old Testament, your life is forfeit. Keep in mind that 1) the requirement was higher for proof (two firsthand witnesses), and 2) that witnesses caught committing perjury were to be punished as per the crime for which they testified as if they had committed it themselves!

Also, I think you are reading the story wrong of the adulterer who was caught and brought before Jesus. It is important to note that the crowd was circumventing the Law by purposely applying it wrongly. The Law said that BOTH the man and woman caught in adultery were to BOTH be executed. In this case, they caught them both in adultery, but only sought to have the woman punished. This was more a story in equal treatment under the law.

dominigan on March 2, 2012 at 3:28 PM

If Ramirez were freed he could run for and win a demorat senate seat.

Bishop on March 2, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Not that far-fetched. If he lives long enough expect Charles Manson to be handed a parole and a shiny, new walker by some “compassionate” judge or Democrat governor some day.

swinia sutki on March 2, 2012 at 4:22 PM

I think of Christ’s injunction, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,’
troyriser_gopftw on March 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM

I’m no theologian but I seem to remember him sharing the execution of two others at his crucifixion. And he said nothing about it being wrong. Only that one would, “be with me in Paradise” while one the criminals proclaimed their punishment just.

And Jesus spoke of (paraphrase)”Not abolishing the law, but fulfilling it.”

OBQuiet on March 2, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Justice is the assignment of reward or punishment on the basis of merit. That meritorious basis requires that punishment be meted out in proportion to the crime.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. The brilliance of Hammurabi is that his code is neither vindictive or lenient — it’s exact.

Stoic Patriot on March 2, 2012 at 6:37 PM

california as many will recall previously got rid of the death penalty-and crime escalated. there was a particular increase in serial crimes. right now there are quite a few serial killers-famous and not so famous- on death row in california. there was and continues to be a lowering across the country of crime rates but an uptick inn stranger-stranger homicides. the primary victims of serial stranger-stranger homicide aka serial killers are young women by about 70%.

in the mid 1920s in this country there was a rush to eliminate the death penalty-it does happen from time to time- and most states reinstated it because violent crime soared. like california- most states go back to having the death penalty.because when it actually is carried out- unlike in california where judges have hog tied it up-it works.

remember the manson family? they all got the death penalty. then it was revoked and they got life with the possibility of parole-like that was fair or just. there are quite a few very very egregious evil serial killers and multiple murderers convicted during the no death penalty dark days in california who only got life in prison- and they are all eligible for parole.

i’m doing a survey of death row in california right now-coincidentally. one guy actually sodomized a 21 month old baby girl to death-really the cause of death was the sodomy.do something like that you have punched your own ticket out of the human race. of the now 600+ death row prisoners there are quite a handful who are as evil and depraved as richard ramirez. there are several black male serial killers- you know the ones experts say do not exist-on death row for several astounding waves of violence committed concurrently in south central- and a couple of them killed more people than ramirez. bet you can’t name them without googling.

here’s the legacy of the last elimination/mass commutation of the death penalty in california. all these serial killers are currently eligible for parole:

patrick w. kearney aka the trash bag killer(21-35 victims)
juan corona (25)
edmund kemper (10)
herbert mullin (13)
loren herzog( deceased while on parole) aka speed freak killer (unknown # victims)
charles manson et familiy (7+)

rodney alcala -on death row now but committed bulk of his crimes after he was paroled for vicious rape/ attempted murder of young child.(5-unknown)

gov jerry brown recently released 80% of the murderers who were eligible for parole. of course californians approve of the death penalty- they’re going to need it for the crime wave coming.

mittens on March 2, 2012 at 7:54 PM

I, too, lived through the Night Stalker problem. And the poor creature needs therapy, if it would do him any good. The history of therapy doing criminals any good is dismal.

So for me it’s not a death penalty so much as a societal protective measure. While he lives there is a theoretical chance he can get loose. If he gets loose there is a very high likelihood that he will act again. Therefore removing him from society with his sooner than later death is what we have left.

There are some people for whom there is no excuse that a society can use to keep him or her alive. We may be put here to pray, as some declare. We certainly are not put here to be prey. A specimen of homo sapiens sapiens who has no apparent conscience is missing one of the very most critical elements of being a human being. So I do not see the rights of mankind belong to such levels of defect. So you either put them in a prison that is “never get out” or you kill them. Nobody has ever built the former. So the latter is left.

I do not want him or anyone else who is a total psycho-socio-path running around loose or even having a chance of running around loose. Sometimes the one must forfeit so that the many can live.

{^_^}

herself on March 3, 2012 at 8:25 AM

I suspect that some California liberals support the death penalty–for Conservative, whom they suspect of being the root of all evil. If data were to come out showing that most criminals are liberals, they would immediately oppose it.

njcommuter on March 3, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Longtime readers know that I personally oppose the death penalty, and that mine is a minority opinion around here

It’s time to admit your misguided opinion.

The state has the right to protect itself and the public. There ARE crimes so egregious that an appropriate sentence is death by lethal injection. When two men break into a home, rape, set on fire and kill three women, the death penalty is not only highly appropriate, it’s actual JUSTICE for the cold blooded criminal act. When criminals murder police officers, the result MUST be capital punishment to protect other officers and other citizens.

I Firmly believe if your wife, son, daughter or other close relative was murdered under certain circumstances that you would change your opinion, even if you wont admit it in public.

TX-96 on March 3, 2012 at 11:45 AM

If you are either of these things, you are being dishonest with yourself.

unclesmrgol on March 2, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Bull!

Solaratov on March 3, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Just the thought of people like David Carpenter being allowed to take another breath makes me ill.

But as you said Californians truly believe in the death penalty as they keep electing people who kill everything they try to accomplish. Unfortunately those voters are leaving the corpse and spreading their stupidity in Texas.

Zaire67 on March 3, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I have always viewed the death penalty as an oxymoron. I can tell you that if I had a child that died as violently as Amy Sue Seitz, I would not want to killer to be humanely euthanized, which is essentially what the death penalty amounts to. Where is the justice in a man who kidnaps, rapes, and skins a young girl alive, simply going to sleep after receiving a few shots in the arm?

eaglescout_1998 on March 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM