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(Washington Post)   FBI had errors in 17 death penalty cases. Ooops   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 78
    More: Dumbass, FBI Laboratory, FBI, Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General, complete review, Innocence Project, expert witnesses, Forensic identification  
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4636 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Jul 2014 at 11:48 AM (42 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-30 09:07:50 AM  
...and this is sort of my issue with the death penalty.

Don't get me wrong, I do think that some folks would be better removed from the gene pool, and excised from this existence. But until our justice system is reformed, it isn't a great idea to hand out executions, when it is notably flawed. And that is the problem. You have prosecutors who make their bones with capital cases, you have public defenders who are overworked and overburdened, and no one seems to care all that much. You have folks who politicize justice, and get a sense of satisfaction for the death penalty, as opposed to it being a tragic end of human potential, and a social system that sees throwing humans away like so much garbage and has little interest in looking at the factors that lead up to crimes and working on eliminating them.

Until we can work on our justice system, I can't support the death penalty. Years as a bouncer, that gives me a certain tinge to my sense of justice, and it isn't entirely kind or gentle, but likewise, if we want to have justice, we have to look hard at how we apply it, and how we conduct ourselves as a society. Until we can do that, I'm not comfortable just killing folks willy-nilly...
 
2014-07-30 09:20:57 AM  

hubiestubert: ...and this is sort of my issue with the death penalty.

Don't get me wrong, I do think that some folks would be better removed from the gene pool, and excised from this existence. But until our justice system is reformed, it isn't a great idea to hand out executions, when it is notably flawed. And that is the problem. You have prosecutors who make their bones with capital cases, you have public defenders who are overworked and overburdened, and no one seems to care all that much. You have folks who politicize justice, and get a sense of satisfaction for the death penalty, as opposed to it being a tragic end of human potential, and a social system that sees throwing humans away like so much garbage and has little interest in looking at the factors that lead up to crimes and working on eliminating them.

Until we can work on our justice system, I can't support the death penalty. Years as a bouncer, that gives me a certain tinge to my sense of justice, and it isn't entirely kind or gentle, but likewise, if we want to have justice, we have to look hard at how we apply it, and how we conduct ourselves as a society. Until we can do that, I'm not comfortable just killing folks willy-nilly...


Very well said.  I would add that it is also applied arbitrarily and racism is a major factor due to the fact that juries are likely to contain racists.  You want a date with the needle?  Be black and have a white victim, your chances are good.
 
2014-07-30 09:31:50 AM  
If we have to execute 1000 innocent men to ensure that not a single guilty man goes unpunished, that's the price of freedom.
 
2014-07-30 09:37:07 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: If we have to execute 1000 innocent men to ensure that not a single guilty man goes unpunished, that's the price of freedom.


THIS!

Wait, what?
 
2014-07-30 10:13:00 AM  

hubiestubert: Don't get me wrong, I do think that some folks would be better removed from the gene pool, and excised from this existence.


A lot of people agree. There really are some detestable people about. My problem with the death penalty is that I don't believe anybody has the right to take a life, and it's especially dangerous to give that right to the state. And that concept has to be inculcated in people starting from an early age. You don't have the right to take somebody's life. If we start there, maybe we might get somewhere on the whole "Thou shall not kill" thing. It's probably stupid and naive, but that's how I see it. If somebody hurt any of my loved ones, I absolutely know that I'm not a big enough person to forgive. I would need the help of the rest of the people in our social contract to keep me from taking out revenge.

In the end, that's what an execution is -- vengeance. It doesn't bring anybody back. It doesn't help anybody. It's just more death.
 
2014-07-30 10:19:30 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: If somebody hurt any of my loved ones, I absolutely know that I'm not a big enough person to forgive. I would need the help of the rest of the people in our social contract to keep me from taking out revenge.


I recall Mike Farrel absolutely owning Sean Hannity when he asked the old "What if it was someone in YOUR family who was murdered?"  and he expressed basically the same sentiment.  Yes, absolutely I would want them dead, but that emotional state isn't a great place from which to shape public policy on the matter.
 
2014-07-30 10:46:21 AM  
Why is it that the same people who insist that the government is too incompetent to even be trusted to administer a basic health insurance plan are fine with entrusting them with the power to execute citizens?
 
2014-07-30 10:58:58 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: Why is it that the same people who insist that the government is too incompetent to even be trusted to administer a basic health insurance plan are fine with entrusting them with the power to execute citizens?


And they can't even do that well. The botched execution last week in Arizona had to be a nightmare to watch.

I meant to post about Eva Dugan last week. She was the last woman hanged in Arizona, and why Arizona moved to gas chamber executions in the 30s. Her head popped off when she was dropped from the gallows. Classy, huh?

How could anybody participate in that and think it's OK? Am I crazy?
 
2014-07-30 11:04:53 AM  
well if they make a mistake, we can just bring the defendant back to life and release him or her, right?
 
2014-07-30 11:17:49 AM  
Well, this just confirms my beliefs that the death penalty should be severely limited in its use.
 
2014-07-30 11:19:37 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: My problem with the death penalty is that I don't believe anybody has the right to take a life, and it's especially dangerous to give that right to the state.


This is my problem with the death penalty.  Yes, it is abhorrent that it takes 2 or 3 hours of suffering to put someone down sometimes.  And yes, it is inexcusable that innocent people are sometimes wrongfully convicted and then killed.  But my objection to the death penalty is much more basic: I don't think the state should sanction the killing of human beings as long as there is no current threat.  Ever.  Wars happen, and cops sometimes have to shoot people dead.  But once the threat is relegated to a cage, the government shouldn't sanction killing as a mean to mitigate a now nonexistent threat.
 
2014-07-30 11:50:55 AM  
I'm surprised only that the number is so low
 
2014-07-30 11:50:58 AM  
I personally know several people who deserve the death penalty and violent crimes. But the application of the death penalty is so flawed, I wouldn't want to see them executed because there are innocent people on death row and in prison graveyards.
 
2014-07-30 11:51:16 AM  
s15.postimg.orgi.imgur.comi.imgur.comi.imgur.comi.imgur.com
 
2014-07-30 11:52:29 AM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: ecmoRandomNumbers: My problem with the death penalty is that I don't believe anybody has the right to take a life, and it's especially dangerous to give that right to the state.

This is my problem with the death penalty.  Yes, it is abhorrent that it takes 2 or 3 hours of suffering to put someone down sometimes.  And yes, it is inexcusable that innocent people are sometimes wrongfully convicted and then killed.  But my objection to the death penalty is much more basic: I don't think the state should sanction the killing of human beings as long as there is no current threat.  Ever.  Wars happen, and cops sometimes have to shoot people dead.  But once the threat is relegated to a cage, the government shouldn't sanction killing as a mean to mitigate a now nonexistent threat.


I think there is one threshold that justifies the death penalty - war crimes/crimes against humanity. If you can secure a conviction and for such a crime in an international court, the death penalty should be on the table.
 
2014-07-30 11:53:09 AM  
Those rascals!
 
2014-07-30 11:53:34 AM  

Crewmannumber6: I'm surprised only that the number is so low


Yeah, this - "only" 17? Suuuuuuuuuuuuure.
 
2014-07-30 11:54:30 AM  

Jiro Dreams Of McRibs: I personally know several people who deserve the death penalty and violent crimes. But the application of the death penalty is so flawed, I wouldn't want to see them executed because there are innocent people on death row and in prison graveyards.


This bears repeating. A lot.
 
2014-07-30 11:54:37 AM  
The findings troubled the bureau, and it stopped the review of convictions last August.

How can anyone think stopping the reviews was the proper action?  "Hey, boss during my reviews I found systemic issues."  "Good work! You're reassigned to field duty.  Here's a badge and a gun."
 
2014-07-30 11:56:03 AM  
I kind of have to agree with the general sentiment here in so much as I see very few, if any, practical application of the death penalty.  The appeals process is so lengthy, and so costly.  Convicts rarely, if ever, see an execution date.  The benefit to society seems to me to be minimal at best, if at all.


I would rather see the government out of the execution business.  Not because I'm oh so anti death penalty, it just doesn't seem to make sense, and its the one punishment that can't be undone.

And FTR, if someone I gave a shiat about was murdered, I would much rather see the perp spend the rest of his/her life in prison.  There's too much bad karma that goes along with pushing for the death of another human being, no matter how bad they are.  You can have it...
 
2014-07-30 11:56:45 AM  
I'll never understand why the people that distrust the government most are most unwilling to believe that said distrustful government's employees would never make a mistake, never lie, never cut corners.
 
2014-07-30 11:57:39 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: If we have to execute 1000 innocent men to ensure that not a single guilty man goes unpunished, that's the price of freedom.


I think it's better to allow a few guilty persons free than to unjustly punish a single innocent person. Sadly, the justice system is made by and of humans and is thus flawed. So some innocents are unjustly punished AND many guilty persons go unpunished.
 
2014-07-30 11:57:48 AM  
Although FBI policy has stated since at least the 1970s that a hair association cannot be used as positive identification, like fingerprints, agents regularly testified to the near-certainty of matches.


Interestingly enough, in 2004:

The FBI no longer testifies that fingerprints are 100 percent infallible. "There's going to be, I think, variability anytime there's a human involved in the process," FBI expert Melissa Gische told FRONTLINE.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/real-csi/ca n- unconscious-bias-undermine-fingerprint-analysis/
 
2014-07-30 11:58:53 AM  
Full
Blown
Idiots
 
2014-07-30 12:00:31 PM  

UNC_Samurai: I think there is one threshold that justifies the death penalty - war crimes/crimes against humanity.


What defines a war crime, and would that definition be as fluid as "Weapon of Mass Destruction"?
 
2014-07-30 12:00:38 PM  
Ladies and gentlemen, Emeril presents the 17 egg omelet.  BAM!
 
2014-07-30 12:00:52 PM  

mama2tnt: Crewmannumber6: I'm surprised only that the number is so low

Yeah, this - "only" 17? Suuuuuuuuuuuuure.


That they know of.

Investigated.

Admitted to.
 
2014-07-30 12:00:55 PM  
This brings up one positive aspect of capital punishment cases for innocent people: They get a lot more attention than life, or life without parole.
How many people will end up in a prison graveyard because of that?

It looks like reviews of fact in criminal cases have been getting better and faster (still agonizingly slow) during my lifetime, and I hope that continues and fewer innocent people languish/die for something they didn't do.
 
2014-07-30 12:05:12 PM  
I feel anger for the one who took Mother's life - an anger I *cannot* control.

static.guim.co.uk
 
2014-07-30 12:06:19 PM  
Fortunately when you execute someone you can totally bring them back to life when you find out they were innocent.
 
2014-07-30 12:10:51 PM  
That's sad but they're with Jeebus now.  They're Jeebus' problem and Jeebus can handle it.  That's what we pay him to do.

He sure isn't feeding starving kids in Africer.  More of them then ever.
 
2014-07-30 12:11:00 PM  

hubiestubert: Don't get me wrong, I do think that some folks would be better removed from the gene pool, and excised from this existence. But until our justice system is reformed, it isn't a great idea to hand out executions, when it is notably flawed. And that is the problem.


that's not the "problem"

if we had a magical machine that could root around in someone's brain and tell with 100% accuracy if a suspect was guilty or not, it still would not justify the state using execution as punishment

that's the key problem - you have to first sit down and say that it can ever be morally acceptable for a government to kill a human being that is posing no immediate threat
 
2014-07-30 12:12:29 PM  
Would it be better to forgo the death penalty and just strip them of all rights and ship them to an island where they can form their own society. If at any point they are found innocent, they get to leave the island, if they so choose.
 
2014-07-30 12:14:18 PM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: A lot of people agree. There really are some detestable people about. My problem with the death penalty is that I don't believe anybody has the right to take a life, and it's especially dangerous to give that right to the state.


I started from the position of a lot of people that I'd support the death penalty if I knew that it could be dispensed fairly and justly, but I didn't have any confidence that we could do so because our institutions are fallible. Over time I've come to embrace the view that you're illustrating: that it's a fundamentally bad idea to give the state the authority to kill it's citizens  even when one of those citizens is a monster. I don't have to sympathize with monsters to see the potential for misuse that can (and does!) happen when we give the state that kind of power.
 
2014-07-30 12:14:23 PM  
Why do we still have a death penalty? It's long past time we should have moved on from barbaric shiat like that.
 
2014-07-30 12:14:29 PM  

Philip J. Fry: The findings troubled the bureau, and it stopped the review of convictions last August.

How can anyone think stopping the reviews was the proper action?  "Hey, boss during my reviews I found systemic issues."  "Good work! You're reassigned to field duty.  Here's a badge and a gun."


Case reviews resumed this month at the order of the Justice Department, the officials said.

Love how it took a court order to get the FBI to finish their own internal review.  Really builds the trust for overblown government bureaucracies.
 
2014-07-30 12:16:12 PM  
I need to fwd this story to my idiot cousin.  I ask him what if one person was innocently put to death in your pro death penalty world?  He says, 'it's a flawed system.'  What if it was you being put to death?  "it's a flawed system and that's ok.'  I really doubt you'd be saying that if it were happening.
 
2014-07-30 12:17:22 PM  

LeroyBourne: I need to fwd this story to my idiot cousin.  I ask him what if one person was innocently put to death in your pro death penalty world?  He says, 'it's a flawed system.'  What if it was you being put to death?  "it's a flawed system and that's ok.'  I really doubt you'd be saying that if it were happening.


Maybe you just have a flawed cousin.  Lord knows most of my family is like that.
 
2014-07-30 12:17:50 PM  

nekom: ecmoRandomNumbers: If somebody hurt any of my loved ones, I absolutely know that I'm not a big enough person to forgive. I would need the help of the rest of the people in our social contract to keep me from taking out revenge.

I recall Mike Farrel absolutely owning Sean Hannity when he asked the old "What if it was someone in YOUR family who was murdered?"  and he expressed basically the same sentiment.  Yes, absolutely I would want them dead, but that emotional state isn't a great place from which to shape public policy on the matter.


I know that if someone hurt the people I love, I would want to kill that person as painfully as possible. I'd make a guy like Dexter go "Dude, that's a bit extreme." But what if later I found out I'd killed the wrong guy?

I remember a story years ago about a father who learned that his son was nearly kidnapped by a man driving a red car. So he finds that guy and kills him. Turns out, that wasn't the guy. He was just some unlucky person driving a red car.

So that's why I don't support the death penalty, because too many innocent people are on death row. And here in Texas, we probably executed an innocent man because the investigators believed he set the fire that killed his family. Turns out, the investigators were idiots and it was most likely an accident. Oops?
 
2014-07-30 12:19:22 PM  
Or, how about we keep the death penalty but with the following change:

Should any prosecutor misconduct be found, prosecutor immediately substitute convict on death row with no appeal.

All prosecutor abuse or misconduct now carries minimum sentence of life in prison. Any evidence withheld by the prosecutor will have that prosecutor's hand immediately amputated by a rusty cleaver, said prosecutor will now have to seek their own medical care or bleed out. Their choice, really.

There. Now we can keep the death penalty.
 
2014-07-30 12:25:31 PM  

dr_blasto: Or, how about we keep the death penalty but with the following change:

Should any prosecutor misconduct be found, prosecutor immediately substitute convict on death row with no appeal.

All prosecutor abuse or misconduct now carries minimum sentence of life in prison. Any evidence withheld by the prosecutor will have that prosecutor's hand immediately amputated by a rusty cleaver, said prosecutor will now have to seek their own medical care or bleed out. Their choice, really.

There. Now we can keep the death penalty.


So innocent people convicted in good faith can still be executed?
 
2014-07-30 12:32:27 PM  

doyner: LeroyBourne: I need to fwd this story to my idiot cousin.  I ask him what if one person was innocently put to death in your pro death penalty world?  He says, 'it's a flawed system.'  What if it was you being put to death?  "it's a flawed system and that's ok.'  I really doubt you'd be saying that if it were happening.

Maybe you just have a flawed cousin.  Lord knows most of my family is like that.


What's even funnier is that I tell him it's more expensive to do that with all the appeals, paper work, workers processing it all etc vs locking someone up forever, even with all the programming, health care (mental/physical), education, food, shelter etc etc costs added.
/yeah, i think he's flawed.  kill'em all let god sort them out attitude
 
2014-07-30 12:35:03 PM  

doyner: dr_blasto: Or, how about we keep the death penalty but with the following change:

Should any prosecutor misconduct be found, prosecutor immediately substitute convict on death row with no appeal.

All prosecutor abuse or misconduct now carries minimum sentence of life in prison. Any evidence withheld by the prosecutor will have that prosecutor's hand immediately amputated by a rusty cleaver, said prosecutor will now have to seek their own medical care or bleed out. Their choice, really.

There. Now we can keep the death penalty.

So innocent people convicted in good faith can still be executed?


of course.

You want to keep the death penalty, then you've got to accept state-sanctioned negligent homicide as one of the associated costs.

I forgot to add, the jury that reaches the sentence of death have to actually do the killing. While looking the guy in the eye.
 
2014-07-30 12:35:19 PM  
bloatboy: ...It looks like reviews of fact in criminal cases have been getting better and faster (still agonizingly slow) during my lifetime, and I hope that continues and fewer innocent people languish/die for something they didn't do.

Thankfully, we flawed humans have groups like the wonderful people behind the Midwest Innocence Project (see "West of Memphis" movie).

If only we had more people and money to investigate ALL the death penalty cases fully.
 
2014-07-30 12:36:25 PM  

UNC_Samurai: I think there is one threshold that justifies the death penalty - war crimes/crimes against humanity. If you can secure a conviction and for such a crime in an international court, the death penalty should be on the table.


Lock 'em away.  Stick 'em in gen pop somewhere.  Killing other people when there is no imminent, or even foreseeable, threat is barbaric and wrong.
 
2014-07-30 12:37:36 PM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: I don't believe anybody has the right to take a life,


What about self defense cases?

ecmoRandomNumbers: and it's especially dangerous to give that right to the state


Absotively, for several very important reasons.
 
2014-07-30 12:39:05 PM  
1)  thou shalt not kill

2) Living proof of number 1, is that we cannot get it right among who is truly guilty.

3) Remember LE is comprised of individuals that cou d not even hack getting an education degree, and they have YOUR LIFE in their hands.

4) I repeat, NEVER, NEVER, on any matter talk to LE without a lawyer.  Nowadays you are guilty until proven innocent.
 
2014-07-30 12:44:05 PM  
"The inquiry includes 2,600 convictions and 45 death-row cases from the 1980s and 1990s in which the FBI's hair and fiber unit reported a match to a crime-scene sample before DNA testing of hair became common. "

Death penalty aside, we're potentially looking at people who have collectively spent several thousand years in prison for crimes they did not commit, because of negligence and/or malice on the part of people working for the FBI.
 
2014-07-30 12:52:03 PM  
soporific: And here in Texas, we probably executed an innocent man because the investigators believed he set the fire that killed his family. Turns out, the investigators were idiots and it was most likely an accident. Oops?

I wouldn't go so far as to say Willingham was innocent, in fact we will never know that.  The "fire science" used to convict him WAS bogus, and was SHOWN to be bogus BEFORE he was executed, that's the part that gets my blood boiling about that case.  He deserved a new trial, absolutely.
 
2014-07-30 01:00:00 PM  
I am pro law enforcement, seeing it as necessary to keep our lives safe and comfoy and farkable, but this article scares the shiat out of me.  Im sad for ANYONE rotting in prison knowing they are innocent and the FBI just decides to "stop doublechecking".  Jail for the people responsible and big money for those locked up.
 
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