Life Without Parole vs. Death

Here's one the reasons Mark Geragos argued to the jury in the Scott Peterson death penalty trial that it should return a verdict of life without parole instead of death. The full transcript is here.

Prison is an awful, awful place. Scott Peterson, if you vote to spare his life, will be placed into a cell that is roughly the size of a king size bed. Roughly encompasses you four jurors right here. That's the size of his cell. And he would be in that cell roughly the size of a king size bed for the rest of his life. He will die in that cell.

Scott Peterson in that cell will have a bed to lay on, and he will have a cold metal toilet, and he will share that cell with a friend. That friend will be his cellmate. That may change.


And he will stay in that cell every single day until he dies. And while he's in that cell every single day until he dies, knows that at any time, if he tries to leave to go out for a half an hour, for fifteen minutes, to go exercise, or go to the shower, that he's going to have to look over his shoulder at all times. That he's going to be a marked man. That he's going to be in danger at any moment of some other inmate administering the death penalty to him on the spot, because he will be biggest target in any prison where he gets placed, whether it's Pelican Bay, whether it's Mule Creek, wherever he goes. It's not some kind of a country club.

This is not a minimum security facility. He will be at the highest Level 4 of the California Department of Corrections every day for the rest of his life. And one of those days some guard is going to walk by, and some guard when he walks by six months from now, or a year from now, is going to knock on the cell and say, Peterson, your mom is dead. And a year after that, six months after that, another guard is going to walk by and bang on the door. Peterson, your dad is dead. Six months, a year after that, five years, ten years after that, your brother John is dead. He's not going to be out there enjoying anything. It's not any kind of a picnic for him.

I'm not asking you to do anything but cherish the fact, cherish the idea, that there does not need to be any more death in this case.....

The fact of the matter is, is if you think Scott Peterson did this crime, [if] you think that there [are] two Scotts, both of those Scotts are going to be put into a cell and left there to die until he does. There is no alternative. He's not coming out. Nobody gets out when it's life without parole. The judge instructed you as to that. There is not going to be, the alternative is that you strap him on to a gurney at some point and you stick a needle in his arm, and you inject poisons, and you put him to death like you would a dog. That's the alternative.

Later on in his argument:

I'm not asking you to nullify the death penalty. I'm not asking you to abolish the death penalty. I'm asking you to take a look at the mitigating factors, asking you to take a look at the aggravating factors. I'm asking you, I'm begging, really. I'd get down on my knees if it wouldn't look so contrived. I would do whatever it takes to beg you to not, to not put Scott Peterson to death.

Scott Peterson, the guy that I have sat next to, that I have invested, invested all this time, one who for eight years, by all accounts, seven years by all accounts, loved Laci and cared for Laci, the Scott Peterson whose mother, as you saw, it would destroy. His father who, as you saw, it would destroy. Whose extended family, as you saw, would be destroyed. And to what end? What is that going to do for us? What, at the end of the day, does killing him, does putting him down, as opposed to letting him stay in a cell the size of a king size mattress, what benefit? How do we revenge anything? What do we do there?

And, at the same time, what does that do for the Rochas? How does that help Sharon? How does that help Ron Grantski? Or how does that help Brent or Amy? How does that idea of sticking a needle in his arm, strapping him on to a gurney and killing him, how is that going to help you? None of this is going to.

This is the most awful situation you can even imagine. None of this is going to bring back Laci. None of this is going to bring back Conner. Even if you believed that he did this horrendous act, which you must in order to convict him, even if you believed that, there is nothing, nothing that putting him to death is going to do except just cause more ripples in this case, turn this into a riptide.

....So all that's being asked of you is to punish him with life without parole and just not kill him. That's all I'm asking is just don't kill him. End this cycle now. There is no reason to put him to death. The law does not require it. In fact, the law is the opposite. The law is, is that he should receive life without. To kill him at this point serves absolutely no purpose.

...You are not forced to come to a unanimous decision. [The Judge] is never going to tell you that you must come to a unanimous decision of death in this case, ever. All he's going to tell you is that each one of you, each one of you has sworn an oath to give the law and the facts your consideration. If you believe, as I'm begging you to, that this is a life worth saving, all I'm asking for is you to hang on and vote for life.

There is nothing that requires unanimity here. There is nothing that requires that you vote death. In fact, I humbly, humbly submit to you that the law requires, based on all of this, that you vote for life.

.... I'm going to give this decision over to you and pray and hope that this, which is obviously the biggest decision that anybody could ever be given, the most profound decision that anybody could ever have to do, and that you will do what I consider to be the right thing, which is not to kill, and perpetuate the whole new generation of victims, and ... [not]to commit an act that is irreversible, irrevocable, but to give some measure of compassion and mercy or sympathy to Scott, to his family.... and I think in a strange way the Rochas.

If you've forgotten the details of Scott's case, you can access all the pleadings, orders and transcripts here.

Scott's 470 page appeal brief, filed this week, is available here.

Why did this jury return a death sentence? Read the appeals brief section on how the jury was selected and how people who opposed the death penalty on principle were excluded without even being asked whether they could put their views aside and follow the law. California's voir dire rules in capital cases seem to be in conflict with decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. See the section on the brief starting on page 72. Here are the court minute orders on juror selection , showing which jurors were excused for reasons related to the death penalty (scroll down to March 22, 2004.)

It's bad enough that jurors must be death-qualified to sit on a capital jury -- they should be life-qualified -- the test should be whether they could impose a life sentence even if they find the defendant guilty. Voir dire should allow the defense the opportunity to question prospective jurors and select ones they think will listen to their mitigation evidence and reach within themselves to a find a reason to save their client's life, no matter how heinous the crime.

While the U.S. hasn't reached that stage yet, and possibly never will, California's rules and the process used in Scott Peterson's case, do not seem to me to comport with what the Supreme Court says is required by our Constitution.

In 1985, in Wainwright v. Witt (1985), the Supreme Court said jurors in capital cases should be disqualified only if they hold beliefs which would "substantially impair" their ability to follow the law in deciding between between life and death. (Until then the test was even stronger: In 1968, in Witherspoon v. Illinois, the Supreme Court held the Constitution only allows jurors to be excluded if they make it "unmistakably clear" they would "automatically" vote for life over death or would not be able to judge guilt or innocence impartially.)

California law and the process used in Scott Peterson's trial, in which many prospective jurors were dismissed based solely on their questionnaires (see p. 19) in which they stated they opposed capital punishment, without questioning them further on whether they could put those views aside and determine the sentence based on the law as instructed by the judge, seem to violate even the relaxed standard of Wainwright v Witt.

Nor is it harmless error. In Gray v. Mississippi, the Supreme Court found that the State exercised its peremptory challenges to remove all prospective jurors who expressed any degree of hesitation against the death penalty. It held:

Because the Witherspoon-Witt standard is rooted in the constitutional right to an impartial jury, Wainwright v. Witt,...and because the impartiality of the adjudicator goes to the very integrity of the legal system, the Chapman harmless-error analysis cannot apply. We have recognized that "some constitutional rights [are] so basic to a fair trial that their infraction can never be treated as harmless error." Chapman v. California,... The right to an impartial adjudicator, be it judge or jury, is such a right. ... As was stated in Witherspoon, a capital defendant's constitutional right not to be sentenced by a "tribunal organized to return a verdict of death" surely equates with a criminal defendant's right not to have his culpability determined by a "tribunal ' organized to convict.'

While the Supreme Court upheld death-qualified juries in Lockhart v. McCree, it also said:

[A] defendant convicted by [a death-qualified] jury in some future case might still attempt to establish that the jury was less than neutral with respect to guilt . . . [and if] he were to succeed . . . the question would then arise whether the State’s interest in submitting the penalty issue to a jury capable of imposing capital punishment may be vindicated at the expense of the defendant’s interest in a completely fair determination of guilt or innocence . . .

Studies have shown that jurors who are death-qualified for the guilt-phase are more likely to convict at the guilt phase.

One means of avoiding this would be to have separate juries for the guilt and penalty phase. Scott Peterson's attorney made the request, but it was denied, even though California law allows for it. (Sec. 190.4©.)

In the words of Former Justice John Paul Stevens:

The brutal facts of many capital cases "cry out for retribution," he argued, making it "extremely difficult for jurors to resolve doubts in favor of permitting a possible perpetrator of a heinous crime to go free." Most judges who preside at capital trials are elected, creating a "subtle bias in favor of death" -- since it's hard to face reelection having given a break to a killer. The jury selection process does the same. Prosecutors question jurors at length about their willingness to impose death; this creates an imbalance in juries, when prosecutors strike those with anxiety about capital punishment, and it creates an atmosphere "in which jurors are likely to assume that their primary task is to determine the penalty for a presumptively guilty defendant."

Also in that speech:

Finally, he pointed to the role of statements by victims on the impact of crimes -- statements that shed "absolutely no light on either the issue of guilt or innocence or the moral culpability of the defendant" yet can sway jurors "on the basis of their emotions rather than their reason."

I haven't studied the guilt phase issues in Scott Peterson's case in many years. But it seems to me the death verdict cannot stand, based on the questionnaire issue alone.

California voters have a chance to abolish the death penalty in November. The bill is the SAFE Initiative To Abolish Death Penalty. A former California Attorney General and District Attorney on Los Angeles explains his support for the bill :

I have seen the continuous drain on resources that a capital case carries: more state money for prosecutors prosecuting and those defending these time-intensive cases; single-cell jail space for inmates; special security; years and years of appeals; and more, all for 13 executions in 30 years with more than 700 now on death row....California has spent $4 billion on the death penalty since 1978.

Overall, the death penalty doesn't make us safer – better crime-solving can do that. I was recently inducted into the California Forensic Science Institute's Hall of Fame for my work in advancing forensic science tools such as our state's DNA database, which helps us find the guilty and exonerate the innocent. SAFE California will provide public protection by keeping those truly guilty of death penalty crimes locked up for life, and in the meantime saving us millions of dollars that will be invested in crime-fighting measures leading to the apprehension of serious criminals.

Our prior coverage of Scott Peterson's case since 2003 is assembled here.

The death penalty is nothing more than "an eye for an eye." As Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King said, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." As many others have said about lethal injection, "You wouldn't do a dog this way."

< Saturday Open Thread: Test Your Computers by Monday | Law Enforcement Cell Phone Tracking Rampant >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Capital punishment as a message (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by koshembos on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:56:35 AM EST
    It doesn't take much to conclude that our society doesn't value life highly. Even the pro-life crowd believes in our redundant wars that kill thousands and capital punishment.

    Our foggy moral stand has amorphic values instead of 'don't kill', 'help the poor' and 'heal the sick'. All we have is pro and anti something.

    It (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 02:49:59 PM EST
    is odd that the people who are labeled as being, "pro-life" because they oppose abortion rights - are so often pro-death when it comes to the issue of capital punishment.

    No, what is odd (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by me only on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 03:19:05 PM EST
    are people okay with killing the innocent unborn, but are so often pro life when it comes to the issue of those most dangerous to society.

    Either life is precious or it isn't (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by sj on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:34:11 PM EST
    And I make no assumptions about you -- I don't know you.  But I do know some so-called "pro-life" advocates whose compassion ends when the fetus transitions into an infant.  Then the baby and the parents in a low-income family suddenly become "lazy" and a "drain on society".

    And then when, upon some occasions, that disadvantaged child becomes a damaged, destructive adult those same people are okay with throwing him or her away because they are dangerous to society.

    Either life is precious or it isn't.  And a society should be better than it's most damaged, dangerous denizen.


    It isn't that people are okay with (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 08:26:37 PM EST
    "killing the innocent unborn," it is that they recognize that each woman should have dominion over her own body, and the right to make decisions about it.  Whether I or any other woman would choose to have an abortion ourselves has no relevance or bearing on what any other woman decides is best for her.

    And just as I don't want others making decisions for me, I also would not want to be one of 12 people responsible for sending someone else to his or her death, especially given the chance that we could later learn that that person didn't do what he or she was convicted of.

    I don't expect you to understand the distinctions I'm making; this is an argument that's been going on for decades.  But sj is so right in her comment: having respect for life goes far beyond just making sure that babies are born, and I haven't seen any evidence that Republicans or conservatives or the right wing have that respect.  It never seems to oocur to the anti-choice crowd that if there were more support options for women, they might, indeed, feel they could bring new lives into the world who wouldn't immediately fall into crushing poverty.  If women don't see a chance for their kids to make it, how can you blame them for sometimes choosing not to put them through that?

    As for the death penalty, this eye-for-an-eye thing just makes no sense; you don't teach respect for life by making vengeance acceptable.


    Ridiculous (1.00 / 4) (#24)
    by me only on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 08:56:16 PM EST
    My son was in a class of 8 last year.  Of those other seven children three of them were adopted.  Because there are not enough children put up for adoption in this country all three of those kids are from other countries, Vietnam, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.  Abortion is just the quick way out.

    And the whole, its my body argument is silly, unless you believe that someone should be able to abort at any point prior to birth.  If that is your belief, fine.  However, the overwhelming majority of people find late term abortions noxious.


    Authoritarianism reigns! (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 09:37:02 PM EST
    Frankly, it's your comment that's so utterly noxious you're stinking up the place. But keep trying to peddle the lie that ANYONE promotes late-term abortion, except to save the life of the mother or if the child would never be able to survive outside of the womb.

    Perhaps (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 09:43:30 PM EST
    you would phrase things differently if you were to acknowledge that the issue is not whether one is "pro-life".

    Whatever your point of view, the issue regarding abortion is not about whether you are pro-life. It is whether or not you are in favor of laws that restrict or prohibit a woman from choosing what to do about a pregnancy.

    And the issue regarding capital punishment is not necessarily that one opposes the putting to death of an evil person. There is the overriding consideration that the death penalty is final - and there are just too many cases where the condemned person has been wrongfully convicted.


    really? (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:52:15 PM EST
    So what woman's uterus are those convicted murderers living in anyway?  

    While I could give you a whole bunch of reasons why I am pro-choice and morally opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances, that sentence above is really all anyone has to know.


    I'm not really "Okay" (none / 0) (#11)
    by itscookin on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 03:46:50 PM EST
    with either one, but I see the necessity of both in "rare" circumstances, and neither is rare enough. Not all of us are inconsistent.

    Yes it is odd and I've (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:43:36 PM EST
    written about that a few times.

    I think it is hypocritical for those who rely on their religion to support their pro-life views also not to oppose the death penalty. A life is a life and it is not their place to determine which are innocent and which are beyond redemption, particularly when the tenets of their religion provide that such decisions belong to their Maker.

    The discussion has always reminded me of the debate over "choose life" license plates and whether they run afoul of the First Amendment. My suggestion:

    bq. Any state that authorizes license plates to display the words "Choose Life" must do so at the top of the plate, with the phrase "End the Death Penalty" at the bottom.


    choose life - end death penalty (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Philly on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 08:52:04 PM EST
    I agree it would be hypocritical.  However, obnoxious/inconsistant "party platforms" aside, most people I personally know who are pro-life are also against the death penalty.

    Catholic Church position on death penalty


    Speaking for myself only, I ... (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 10:06:46 PM EST
    ... prefer to not use the term "pro-life," which no doubt was probably conjured up by some right-wing PR wordsmith. Rather, I use the term "anti-choice" to describe these people -- because honestly, Jeralyn, that's what they actually are.

    I am "Pro-Life" (none / 0) (#37)
    by indy in sc on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:41:00 PM EST
    in every sense of that term.  I find the death penalty abhorrent.  I believe a real "culture of life" would lead all those who profess to be "pro-life" to be against the death penalty, to be pro-universal healthcare, anti-unnecessary wars, and the other things that allow living beings to live life.  

    I agree that it is hypocritical of people who are pro-life to be pro-death penalty, but as Philly pointed out, a lot of the people I know who are pro-life are also against the death penalty.  Too many are not.


    Not to mention just about ... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 07:00:50 PM EST
    ... everything else.

    i might agree with this, if, in fact, (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 02:15:14 PM EST
    scott peterson had been proven to have actually committed the crime in question, he wasn't. he was found guilty, not proven to have committed the act. the ME wasn't even able to determine the cause of death, much less how it happened. mr. peterson was convicted of capital adultery.

    the comment you are replying (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:47:04 PM EST
    too was deleted as being offensive.

    Silly comment (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 06:54:15 AM EST
    It WAS proven he actually committed the crime in question.  YOU may feel otherwise but your opinion does not make it so.  Jurors who were in the courtroom day to day and seeing and hearing all the evidence decided he committed this crime, and unless you were also there, it is silly to make the claim that it wasn't proven.

    It should be noted here ... (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 07:05:49 PM EST
    ... that a voter's initiative to repeal capital punishment is on the California ballot this November. Its passage would commute Peterson's sentence to life in prison.

    Let's hope Golden State voters do the right thing.

    I think the main reason people support the (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Slado on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:25:55 AM EST
    death penalty is it is the only way for them to be sure that the guilty party pays for the crime.

    If you don't kill them then there is a chance they get out.   Also they probably believe that it is more of a deterrence to committing murder in the first place.   Lots of books and studies about that but I don't think it keeps murders down.  

    Also I think it's much easier to support the death penalty when you don't have to feel or touch the person that is going to be murdered to pay for a murder.

    Murder is the ultimate crime and deserves the ultimate punishment but to me life in prison with no possibility of parole should be enough.

    I'm with you Slado... (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 09:17:52 AM EST
    some people do things so heinous they really do deserve to die...but I'm 100% against the death penalty for two reasons...there is no guarantee we won't execute innocents, and that can never be tolerated.  And society has to be better than a murderer, otherwise what's the point.

    it's a pity he couldn't (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:46:51 AM EST
    have taken just a few minutes of that time to chastise the jury for failing to do its job, and instead, convicting his client for the capital crime of having an affair. that jury should have been ashamed of itself. instead, at least one of them was already planning on making money off the trial by writing a book about it, a book certainly made all the more interesting by virtue of both the guilty verdict and death sentence. i hope that jury rots in hell, should there be one.

    no, life without parole isn't a country club sentence. it may well be worse than death. anyone who thinks otherwise should be invited to spend a week in a maximum security state penitentury, just to get a taste.

    One question: (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 10:00:14 PM EST
    How'd Laci Peterson, who lived in Modesto, end up in San Francisco Bay?

    I mean, it's not like she was a bad actor who was involved in drugs, criminal activity, or anything of the sort. Nor was she having an extramarital affair of her own, so there's no jealous lover to point the finger at.

    In my honest opinion, Scott Peterson did himself in by being proved a cad and a consummate liar. That he had recently commenced an affair with Amber Frey only weeks prior to his wife's disappearance no doubt contributed to hurors' skepticism regarding his alibis. But Mark Garagos offered two explanations concerning Laci's death that involved a prostitute and a Satanic cult, both of which bordered on the ridiculous.

    The defense couldn't explain away Scott's phone call to Ms. Frey, two weeks before Laci's disappearance, lamenting that he had "lost" his wife and that this would be the first Christmas without her, implying to her that he was a widower.

    Three weeks later, he told Ms. Frey via cell phone that he was in Paris with two friends, when he was actually calling her from a candleight vigil for his wife in Modesto.

    The defense couldn't explain away why he added two porn channels to his cable TV within mere days of reporting his wife missing, or why he sold her car soon afterward.

    The defense brought in a so-called expert who said that he could prove that Laci's unborn child had in fact been born, only he ended up looking like a fool before the jury.

    So again, we get back to my question. How did Laci Peterson wind up in San Francisco Bay, her body and that of her unborn son found in the approximate spot -- Pt. Isabel north of Berkeley -- where Scott was seen on his boat the very day of her disappearance?

    The only thing with which I can disagree with the jury in Scott Peterson's trial is the imposition of the death penalty, because I'm opposed to capital punishment. As far as I'm concerned, he's as guilty as sin of the crime for which he was convicted.



    Who wants to be selected as a jury (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 03:22:05 PM EST
    on a murder case where the death penalty is also a jury issue?  Your comment seems harsh to me.  

    WTF (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdm251 on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 10:00:49 AM EST
    I am surprised they convicted Scott Peterson, but he may be better off on death row, at least he has a chance of an appeal and decent cell

    Comment deleted (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 12:53:51 PM EST
    asking readers with pro-death penalty views to express them. This is a defense oriented site and I'm not interested in their views. Such views are allowed here in moderation, but not invited.

    I thought it was more... (none / 0) (#12)
    by unitron on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:31:05 PM EST
    I didn't see it so much as asking them to express them as to defend them, in light of the inevitable eventuality that someone is going to be executed for doing something which they did not actually do.

    I still defend the death penalty (none / 0) (#34)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:56:03 AM EST
    Yet I believe that in many cases innocent people have been executed. An example would be Todd Willingham in Texas.

    I defend the death penalty when used for the most egregious crimes and backed by the strongest of evidence of guilt and when embedded within a properly functioning justice system. The one in Texas -as the main example - is currently not functioning, hence I support a moratorium there until (assuming they ever do) they get their act together.


    Why? (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:07:43 PM EST
    What does the death penalty accomplish?

    How much should we respect it? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Lina Inverse on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:40:34 PM EST
    Far, far rightist here (e.g. far to the right of the current national Republican party):

    When you look at its actions, its incentive structures, errors (e.g. the Innocence Project's works), and the usual "corruption" of any big institution, especially one that isn't downsizing where it can as the crime rate has decreased, why should it have that level of trust?

    In theory, I believe in the death penalty; why is irrelevant because in practice our current "police-judicial complex" simply cannot be trusted with that irreversible power.

    I have quite a bit of company on the right, with people who've also taken a good look at this complex.  E.g. a lot of pro-RKBA types like myself (not that that's purely a position of "the right"), we're of course very much interested in the correct disposition of self-defense cases and have learned of too many atrocities there (and I'm not counting Zimmerman and Martin just yet).

    At the Federal level, there's the heinous history of the BATF after the Gun Control Act of '68, abuses that threatened to wipe out America's gun culture.  Their free reign was significantly curtailed by the Firearm Owner's Protection Act in '86, but atrocities continued with Waco being the extreme example.

    Ok, but please just stay on topic (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 05:51:13 PM EST
    of the death penalty. Good to know that some on the "far right" (your term) recognize the flaws in the administration of the death penalty in this country, even if they support it on principle.

    Sort of on topic? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Lina Inverse on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 06:26:25 PM EST
    I went into details of pro-RKBA activists because I know a substantial fraction of them are your natural allies "on the right" in this issue, and to try to establish our bona fides so you might be inclined to trust us.

    As the issue is currently cast (e.g. "soft on crime!"), with my perception that this is a center-right country with a more than average representative government, I don't see "the left" winning this issue by itself.

    If my perception of the police-judicial complex getting worse over time with few exceptions (e.g. the Feds really reigned themselves in after Waco and the roughly contemporaneous Ruby Ridge trial), it shouldn't be difficult to shake a lot of people's faith in the correctness of it, and that might do the trick for its most extreme official sanction.  We'll gladly help, if for no other reason than self-interest.


    If I may, (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 08:43:51 PM EST
    "......with my perception that this is a center-right country....."

    That is a perception that has been rebuffed here at TL numerous times. People "say" they are center-right, or conservative, but, when it comes to actual policy, they consistently vote for center-left, or liberal, programs. Social Security and Medicare are, but two, of the best examples of the duplicity in the difference between what they have been programmed to say and the reality of their actual day-to-day desires.


    I dare say (2.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:52:12 AM EST
    Most people really are "center - right" in terms of gun rights.

    It's a debatable point (none / 0) (#30)
    by Lina Inverse on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 11:28:27 PM EST
    But entirely irrelevant to the qualitative part of my proposition, that you have allies for the asking today in the part of the RKBA community that's in "the right".

    What on earth is (none / 0) (#46)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:09:57 PM EST
    "the pro-RKBA community"?

    right to keep and bear arms n/t (none / 0) (#49)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:57:11 PM EST
    Ah. The militias. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by sj on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 12:51:38 AM EST
    lina this thread is about (none / 0) (#54)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:13:56 AM EST
    Scott Peterson and the death penalty, not political views.

    And unfortunately this site (none / 0) (#55)
    by Lina Inverse on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:50:21 AM EST
    Is clearly not about "thinking big" and actually solving the problem of the US death penalty.  Pardon my presumption.

    If LWOP is so awful... (none / 0) (#28)
    by diogenes on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 10:06:36 PM EST
    Then why did Giragos ask for it instead of the death penalty?  A bit of voting with one's feet here.  You don't see death row inmates serving effective LWOP lining up to drop their appeals and get executed, either.

    And what the heck is LWOP? (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:10:28 PM EST
    Life without parole n/t (none / 0) (#50)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:57:36 PM EST
    Even knowing what LWOP was (none / 0) (#52)
    by sj on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 12:52:35 AM EST
    I couldn't make sense of that comment, either.

    obviously a lot of tangents here, but (none / 0) (#36)
    by leftwig on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:13:53 AM EST
    in just looking at the original post, is it being suggested that life without parole is a better punishment than death because it inflicts a life time of pain and suffering on the guilty party?  

    I am pro death penalty with limited scope.  For example, I believe KSM deserves the death penalty for sawing off the had of Daniel Pearl in front of  the camera and using it to recruit terrorists.  Any premeditated killing or attempted killing seems worthy of at least death penalty consideration.  

    I believe the penalty serves the dual purpose of punishment befitting the crime (take a life, have your life taken) and to protect society (prevent individual from killing again which happens quite often with murderers).

    Attempting to equate protecting the life of an innocent child to that of a convicted murder doesn't help the debate over capital punishment.  

    I'm not a fan of prison. (none / 0) (#38)
    by redwolf on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:55:55 PM EST
    I view prison as mental torture system and I don't believe anyone should be sent to prison for anything besides holding while awaiting trial or punishment.  

    That being said anyone considered exile as alternative to execution or life imprisonment?  We could ship people off to harsh environments like Liberia or other far away place and at least give them a chance to start over after screwing up.  Exile was an extremely common punishment for most of recorded history.

    What makes you think (5.00 / 5) (#39)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:59:07 PM EST
    The people in Liberia want our criminals?

    I am guessing Redwolf (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by vml68 on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:30:03 PM EST
    meant Siberia.... :-)

    Lotta very nice people (none / 0) (#48)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:12:14 PM EST
    live in Siberia, too.

    Yes, of course - let's send the worst of (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:38:01 PM EST
    the worst of America's criminals to someone else's country...

    Well, they could always (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by sj on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 04:00:03 PM EST
    be shipped off to the USA's moon colony.  

    Indeed (none / 0) (#43)
    by Lina Inverse on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 09:18:39 PM EST
    Loved that book (none / 0) (#53)
    by sj on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 12:54:06 AM EST
    I even worked it into an essay I had to write for one of my computer classes.