Sometimes the bastards deserve to die..

Man chokes woman nearly to death and drops her five year old daughter in alligator infested waters.  Mom survives, daughter is killed.  If this guy truly committed this atrocity, I have absolutely no problem with him paying for this crime with his life.  None.



Filed under sanctity of life

34 responses to “Sometimes the bastards deserve to die..

  1. Right there with you, John.

  2. But only if he gets tossed alive into alligator-infested waters.

  3. Yes. I struggle with the death penalty on many grounds. Cases like this, though, bring it into sharp perspective.

  4. I, too, go back and forth with my feelings on the death penalty. But, with my own daughter turning 5 next week I didn’t even have a second thought. I believe he needs to suffer a good deal.

  5. I would have no problem pushing him in with the ‘gators myself.

  6. I definitely have no problem with his being gator bait!

  7. Pingback: Music City Bloggers » Blog Archive » Justification For The Death Penalty?

  8. nm

    Except, you know, if he were a millionaire he’d be able to hire good enough lawyers that he’d just get a life sentence anyway. Knowing that, I can’t get so pleased about having a poor man executed. That’s the injustice that makes capital punishment so wrong, it seems to me.

  9. “I’m saddened for both families,” said [Defendant] Braddy’s attorney, G.P. Della Fera.

    Now can you sympathize a little with me when I roll my eyes at such comments, John?

    I see your point, but are you aware of the defenses (defense teams) now supplied–per statute, to Capital defendants in Tennessee?

  10. nm

    My impression (perhaps incorrect) is that the Capital Defender’s office gets involved only after a death penalty has been imposed. That is, a defendant is convicted, sentenced to death, and then the Capital Defender starts working on appeals while the convict sits on death row. It’s a great deal better than nothing, but doesn’t help indigent or even middle-class defendants in the first instance.

  11. I believe this is why the Lord gave us piranha.

  12. Ned – I have to say if one of my family members committed such a horrible crime, I’d be grief-stricken – for the victim and my family. I’m not going to be some kind of weight on who gets more grief, but this kind of horror affects more than just the victim.

  13. NM – I’m generally against the death penalty for reasons of inequity. The death penalty IS generally going to be applied to the poor and especially to a poor person of color. When Bush was governor of Texas, they were executing folks whose lawyer fell asleep during the trial, as well as people who dysfunctional.

    On the other hand, some crimes, if the deed can be clearly pinned to the accused, are worthy of death because of the heinous nature of the crime..e.g. Timothy McVeigh. The amount of money in his bank account and the color of his skin is irrelevant in such times.

    And, such times, imo, are few and far between.

  14. I’m with LeBlanc, I’d gladly push him in with the gators, but only after I pulled the trigger to make him bleed. Bastard!!

  15. nm,
    The rules in TN covering capital defenders is found here (Rules of Supreme Court 13-3), and I think indigent defendants are far from rail-roaded these days. But I’m not sure the wisdom of discarding policy simply because of what may be only perceived (due to high-profile acquittals) advantages that very affluent suspects have in our system. Even if the advantages are real, perhaps it is worthwhile to address the advantages rather than toss the otherwise valuable policy.

    Regarding grief of the parties, my point is that the attorney’s comment reeks of moral equivalence.

    In my view, a capital murderer getting the death penalty is justice, a millionaire capital murderer getting acquitted or receiving a lighter sentence is injustice. It seems that if I believe the death penalty is a just punishment, I will concern myself more with the latter injustice.

  16. nm

    Ned, I checked into your Capital Defenders link and did a little checking around on the TN state website. The program you refer to pays lawyers to represent indigent defendants in capital cases, but it isn’t what I think of as a genuine Capital Defender Office, which has a paid, full-time staff of lawyers who only do death penalty defenses. Basically, what the TN law you link to does is make sure that the lead lawyer for an indigent capital defendant has some experience in capital trials, and is up on their CLE. It doesn’t ensure that s/he is really properly trained. It’s like the difference between having a Public Defender’s Office and making sure that lawyers for indigent defendants get paid: the focus is on two different things.

    So, sadly, I will have to change my assessment from “a great deal better than nothing” to “better than nothing.”

  17. ned, you really should sit in on the Death Penalty Legislative Study Committee meetings so that you can get a more accurate picture of what is really going on with indigent defendants in capital cases.

    I believe it would be enlightening to you.

  18. While I would disagree with your conclusions, your statement of what it provides is fairly accurate. Well, except that required training related to Capital Defense is different than merely being “up on CLE” (though they certainly could overlap) and courts are not indifferent to the quality of lawyers assigned to handle these cases.

    And regarding people who are full-time anti-death penalty lawyers, it’s HIGHLY debatable whether their existence/presence in the system helps to achieve more justice . . . though it certainly increases the expense of prosecuting capital cases and the likelihood that poor murderers get a shot at acquittal or reduced sentences like (the relatively rare) millionaire murderer.

    Regarding public defender’s offices and capital cases–I’m almost certain that all the major cities have PDs who are experienced, “full-time” defense lawyers with specialized knowledge and experience in DP defense. But OJ was less interested in getting a full-time, DP defense lawyers than he was in getting the best lawyers. I’m not certain that the constitution (much less common sense) entitles every defendant to the best representation.

  19. Ginger,
    I have been exposed to many of the cases and claims in Tenn related to capital defense/prosecution from my time in the Atty Gen til now, so I’m not completely unenlightened, but I would bet that some of the assertions in said meetings would shock me. That being said, too often the assertions of opponents to the policy of capital punishment are inclined to embellish their criticisms of the process of capital punishment so as to accomplish their policy objectives by means other than through legislation. Not that some of the issues raised aren’t sincere and that some of the failures/weaknesses exposed aren’t real, but they’re often taken out of context to great effect . . . “proponents” of capital punishment simply aren’t as inclined to push back or fight for capital punishment as those who oppose it. I know that I don’t want to fight FOR it, however, I am disinclined to relent to those who try to thwart it (apart from the legislature) even though they are in the clear minority. (I know, I know, the minority is growing–thanks to some excellent PR work and, again, the mild interest among DP supporters).

    Do you have a link to any of their meeting minutes or their claims?

  20. nm

    In states with a real Capital Defender Office, those lawyers in the office usually are the best. But that’s because, as I said way up-thread, their job starts only after the client’s already on death row; they’re appeals process experts, Supreme Court qualified, and all that. I’d give a lot of that up to get indigent defendants good representation up front, so that they didn’t end up on death row disproportionately in the first place.

  21. nm,
    Though I generally have seen (concluded) that claims of ineffective assistance are not meritiorious, I agree that an ounce of prevention is best in this area, but the problem is that my definition of what needs to be prevented is different than a person who unequivocally opposed to states executing people.

    And of course, the high-powered appellate operations would never go away, because (a) it is their last chance to subvert overturn a conviction or death sentence and (b) it is the anti-DP movement’s most effective means of mucking up the system and driving up the “cost” of DP prosecution.

    But I would assert that the disproportionate representation argument is not nearly as compelling when viewed in context and more than anecdotally. I think the argument is particularly persuasive/attractive to folks who already are opposed to the concept of capital punishment.

  22. By the way, John, I really like your header photo . . .

  23. Ned, thanks. I probably should have asked if they wanted to be exposed to the three or four folks who regularly read this blog, but what the hey…I really like that picture. It’s one of the few pics of myself that doesn’t result in involuntary grimacing.

  24. nm

    I would assert that the disproportionate representation argument is not nearly as compelling when viewed in context and more than anecdotally. I think the argument is particularly persuasive/attractive to folks who already are opposed to the concept of capital punishment.

    Well, if you look at the pool of those tried for capital crimes, those sentenced to die are disproportionately poor; more than that, if you look at the actions for which people are put on trial, the actions of wealthy people tend to be defined by prosecutors as less deserving of the death penalty. Or maybe the DAs just know that they’re less likely to get capital convictions when the defendants are wealthy, so they go with the prosecutions they know they can win.

    And I’m sure that all anti-death-penalty arguments are more compelling to those who are already actively anti-dp. But my impression is that for those who start out neutral on the question and end up anti-dp, the unfairness of the system based on wealth of defendant and wealth/race of victim is the second most common thing to put them into the anti-dp camp. (The possibility of executing the innocent is the most common.)

  25. And I’m sure that all anti-death-penalty arguments are more compelling to those who are already actively anti-dp. But my impression is that for those who start out neutral on the question and end up anti-dp, the unfairness of the system based on wealth of defendant and wealth/race of victim is the second most common thing to put them into the anti-dp camp.

    That’s true; but my point was that those who “start out neutral” shouldn’t be impressed with that basis. In context, and apart from a desire to justify/advocate-on-behalf-of-one’s position, it is not compelling.

    And I perceive that you don’t start out neutral on the question of whether gov’t should be able to execute people, as your first response was to claim egregious disparities between representation that led to poor people getting disproportionately sentenced to death.

    The race question is interesting . . . are you saying (or are other anti-dpers saying) that black murderers are disproportionately likely to get the death penalty because they’re black?

    Also, you said, the actions of wealthy people tend to be defined by prosecutors as less deserving of the death penalty . . . can you elaborate on that?

  26. So, if poor people who commit the exact same crime as rich people get executed and the rich person does not because he/she has better representation, and there is a clear pattern of that occurring throughout our history, you are saying that that is not a compelling reason to be against the death penalty?

    They should all fry, but some of em’ get away with it because they have money, and that’s ok? Even if it can be shown that some of those poor people would have been exonerated had they had better representation?

    As one should be able to tell by my post, I’m not per se against the death penalty, but I understand why the governor of Illinois suspended the death penalty.

    You SERIOUSLY don’t think that race has nothing to do with who gets executed and who lives?

  27. nm

    No, Ned, I’m saying, on the basis of numerous studies, that people convicted of murdering white people are given the death penalty far, far more often than people convicted of murdering black people. And I’m saying that the prosecutor always has the discretion of what charges to bring. Most criminal actions can be interpreted as being any number of crimes; the prosecutors get to decide which ones to charge the accused with. And, again, wealthy people tend to be charged with crimes that won’t bring them the death penalty, while poor people accused of the same actions are more often charged with crimes that will bring the death penalty.

    What I find particularly interesting, though, is the fact that you assume that I “started out” opposing the death penalty. I didn’t.

  28. Nor did I. It was not until I started studying the statistics that I realized how unfair the system really is.

    ned, I am unable to locate minutes from the committee meetings as of yet, but they are available on streaming video at:

  29. nm,
    I didn’t assume you started out opposed to it, I deduced it–I may be wrong, but if I am, just say so.

    But the assertion that “killing black people isn’t a capital offense” has never stood up to scrutiny when I’ve looked into it. “Society” wants to deter crime that is particularly egregious–random victims, for example and most murders are committed by a person who knows the victim. For those that don’t fall into that category, we are particularly interested in deterring the crime. And those such crimes that fall into that category would more likely cut across racial lines and across socio-economic lines. So judging by the race of a victim and a perpetrator is not reliable . . . at least not for the point being asserted: that prosecutors care more about white lives than black lives.

    Indeed, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was more sympathetic/lenient toward those of a different race than vice versa when I was a prosecutor. I can’t speak for other prosecutors/judges/officers (all of whom were less politically Conservative than me, frankly), but I can say that I tried to work into the process that measure of perceived “fairness.”

    Most of my answer would apply to your questions, too, I guess. My point was more that we should work for positive changes in the system to make sure there is more justice (again, I realize that some people think any executions are unjust), and certainly not demagogue the issue. And, again, I don’t accept that the fact that some lawyers in America could obtain an acquittal is an indictment (clever pun intended!) on all other less-capable lawyers, or that such less-capable lawyers provide “ineffective assistance of counsel” as defined by law.

    Thanks for that link, Ginger–video will be just as interesting I think.

  30. nm

    I didn’t assume you started out opposed to it, I deduced it–I may be wrong, but if I am, just say so.

    I did say so. And I would have thought you’d need some facts to base a deduction on, but whatever.

    As for your personal experiences, I congratulate you. But the plural of anecdote isn’t data. For data on the impact of the victim’s race on application of the death penalty, including links to raw data, do a google on “‘death penalty’ race victim” and you’ll find a lot of it. (I’m not putting a bunch of links into this post because I’ve been having things get caught in spam filters a lot recently.) There are comprehensive studies of death penalty prosecutions by state, with race of defendant (not all that significant), race of victim (enormously significant), economic level, etc. all tested for significance. Also comparisons to prosecutions of similar crimes for which prosecutors didn’t ask for execution. These are studies that don’t depend on asking people “do you think this, that, or the other?” but that go right to the numbers about what has actually happened. You may find the numbers surprising. A lot of people do. And for a lot of those people (to return to my original point) the disparities that show up in the data are the sort of thing that form the basis of their opposition to the death penalty.

  31. Yeah, you “said so” after acting indignant that I was “assuming” something. I think you should just say so and not try to score some fallacy points. And I’d posit that it is more “interesting” that you didn’t start out opposed to capital punishment than that I deduced–based on your assertions on a host of other issues, that you were opposed. Gosh the tit for tat is tiresome.

    And true about anecdotes, but what people are thinking is pretty significant when imputing motives.

  32. nm

    Gosh the tit for tat is tiresome.

    To be sure, Ned.

  33. I just to send out a big thank you to NM and Ned for making it look like I receive a lot of comments on my blog. I’m well known in local blogger circles for rarely receiving comments. I know that I’d be delusional to think that my post way up there actually had much to do with all the comments (as in, the comments took on a life of their own), but hey..I take what i can get.

    thanks to all the other commenters as well.

    and, thank to the former governor Ryan for suspending the death penalty in Illinois a few years back, probably not politically expedient for a Republican.

    As stated much much earlier, state sponsored executions should be rare and far between.

  34. has something to do with it.

    Regarding Ryan, he had a lot of issues and if this was a principled decision, it would be one of his first, it seems. That being said, the system of prosecution in Illinois was definitely disturbing and drastic measures were needed . . .

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