Should death penalty not be unanimous?

December 14, 2008 23:58 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 71 comments

The Brian Nichols verdict has brought up the question about whether or not the death penalty should require unanimous support from a jury. Personally I think it should (be unanimous), however Rep. Tim Bearden of Villa Rica has a bill to require only 10 jurors to render a death penalty verdict. Bearden was on 11Alive tonight talking about it. Apparently he’s submitted such a bill before.

What do you folks think about this idea?

griftdrift December 15, 2008 at 12:03 am

Should be unanimous.

We shouldn’t let one aberration (and I’ve talked to some staunch anti-death penalty people who are scratching their head over this one) cause an overreaction.

This is the one part of the justice system where the is no do-over. It requires the highest standard possible.

Southwest GA Libertarian December 15, 2008 at 4:57 am

grift,

Ah, but this is where the infamous appeals process comes in.

If we still had the system of conviction and summary execution on the spot by the bailiff, then yes, we need to be as diligent as possible, because a man’s life is truly at stake.

As it is, we still need to be extremely diligent, but with the appeals process if the one or two dissenters turn out to have been correct, the appeals process should be able to pick up on that and commute the sentence.

debbie0040 December 15, 2008 at 7:24 am

No

9 of the jurors should be able to impose the death penalty or if 12 jurors don’t reach unanimous decision, then it should be left up to the judge whether or not to impose the death penalty.

The jurors that voted no to the death penalty in this case should be investigated to see if they committed perjury when they signed the form saying they could impose the death penalty.

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 7:45 am

debbie0040

You should move to the Middle East, Africa, China….if you want to intimidate people you do not agree with.

In a representative democracy the key is the ability to respect minority rights and views.

Your position of wanting to destroy people whom you disagree with is the seed that makes the Middle East a mess.

From what I read I more than likely would have voted for the death penalty. Yet unlike you I do not take this decision lightly. And your caviler attitude toward the death penalty only demonstrates that you are hypocrite via the pro-life issue!

You are pro telling everyone else is wrong if they do not believe what you do.

atlantaman December 15, 2008 at 8:02 am

Should be unanimous. We’ve put people on death row too many times in GA and had them subsequently released due to DNA evidence. What scares the hell out of me is the guys who didn’t have DNA technology available to them.

One thing I don’t agree with is allowing someone who expressed reservations about the death penalty to sit on a death penalty jury.

Chris December 15, 2008 at 8:30 am

It should not be easy for corrupt, power hungry and incompetent government employees to take someone’s life.

EastCobbSnob December 15, 2008 at 8:44 am

Goodness what a bad idea. For the state to impose the harshest penalty it has should absolutely require unanimity.

Bucky Plyler December 15, 2008 at 9:06 am

John,

It is totally compatable for one to be pro-life & pro-death penalty.

Whether you like it or not, many of our laws are based upon the ten commandemnts. The kill in “Thou shalt not kill” means murder in the original Hebrew. Murder has intent involved with the act.

Our laws also reflect the Biblical principles that detail when the death penalty is appropriate.

However, a baby in the womb is innocent of death penalty crimes & can be murdered for any reason. (no jury trial or even a hearing!) Now that makes alot of sense

Rolling Debbie , abortion, the death penalty, & the Middle East -China-Africa together is strange logic.

Debbie does have a good point. If all the jurors signed a legal statement affirming that they could support imposing the death penalty – what facts in this case caused them to change their mind?

I can’t imagine that Mr. Nichol’s testimony did it. Sure wasn’t those who witnessed & survived it. Don’t suppose it was the video tapes.

I think three jurors had their minds made up before they heard & saw the facts. If that’s so-would it not be perjury? How does that destroy them?

I don’t agree w/ Debbie’s idea about it being left up to the judge. Atlantaman is rigtt – it hs to be left in the jurors’ hands.

Tea Party December 15, 2008 at 9:07 am

Death penalty is NO deterent unless:

“If we still had the system of conviction and summary execution on the spot by the bailiff”

and then not much of a deterent, since criminals either don’t care if they ‘do die, do die, do die” or never think they will get caught.

We wasted millions on this case alone, if the death penalty ( which has NO deterent value) was off the table, this case would have settled and Brian would be long gone. Good riddance and hope you end up bunking with Sid Dorsey.

Coupled with “…We’ve put people on death row too many times in GA and had them subsequently released due to DNA evidence. What scares the hell out of me is the guys who didn’t have DNA technology available to them….” we have NO business imposing a death penalty. Overreaching prosecutors, prejudices, etc., all impart too much uncertainty in a fair and impartial verdict.

I say, a full and unanimous jury conviction, with very limited appeals, and a speedy conclusion in front of ‘at-risk’ kids or eliminate the death penalty completely.

The latter is my preference. The death penalty serves only a venal purpose to victims, now.

Tea Party December 15, 2008 at 9:15 am

@Bucky I respect your point, but cannot for the life of me understand the argument of pro-life AND pro-death penalty. I understand the words, but frankly, the logic escapes me.

Abortion is an abomination, horrible in all aspects, and I cannot believe anyone is pro-abortion. Pro-choice, lousy as it may be, is a medical necessity UNTIL all folks stop having sex until they are ready to have kids. Otherwise, a return to the days of illegal abortions is unthinkable. Since the latter is hardly practical, and the former is a wretching reality, Rv.W cannot be overturned.

Logic rarely rules in such matters.

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

Bucky Plyler

The point is simple, if you have a caviler attitude toward the death penalty than yes that person is a hypocrite if they are pro-life.

I would hope any jury member would take a long pause before putting someone to death.

As far as the Middle East, someone who wants to which hunt jury members like Debbie does have a similar attitude that has hurt places like the Middle East. In places like that ie Iraq they only they get along in general is when separated and or one side dominates the other.

If you have read the hateful spewing Debbie does against people she does not agree with it is similar to an Middle East attitude. BTW Spacey from the left had the same attitude.

If you think destroying people you disagree is what this country was all about you should re-read your history books. Our representative democracy was based on checks and balances that gave respect to minority views and rights. And that is why slavery, woman rights…. finally gave way to the Constitution.

I think many of you are addicted to the fight not what is best for your country!

Game Fan December 15, 2008 at 9:45 am

I think it should be unanimous. Also why hasn’t someone been fired for incompetence for letting him escape the courthouse and over power a female deputy?

“Nichols’ friends warned the DA’s office he might try to escape and one friend told prosecutors that Nichols planned to escape and asked him to leave a credit card in the pocket of the suit jacket he would wear to court. Nichols mother also emailed the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office to tell them she believed her son may try to take an officers weapon.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nichols

Bucky Plyler December 15, 2008 at 9:51 am

John,

As to your last point – ditto. Merry Christmas!

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 9:57 am

Bucky Plyler

Merry Christmas!

Icarus December 15, 2008 at 10:07 am

John,

In a rare attempt to defend Debbie, I’ll point out that the AJC had a story yesterday essentially saying that three jurors told the court during selection that they would have no problem selecting the death penalty, but told the other jurors during deliberations that they would not ever do so.

When I looked for the story today, I didn’t find it, but found one that was apparently written before the verdict stating that three jurors had told the court they had serious misgivings about the death penalty but were still seated.

If the first situtation was true, then Debbie has a point. People should not be allowed to lie to a court to get on a jury in order to stop a death penalty trial.

However, based on the other story, I’m wondering why these people were allowed to sit on jury in the first place.

debbie0040 December 15, 2008 at 10:17 am

One of the jurors that voted in favor in the death penalty asked one against it if someone had murdered 50 people would they think they deserve the death penalty and that juror said no. The three jurors may have committed perjury when they said they could vote in favor of the death penalty and if so should be charged.

John, you are the one that attacks someone that does not agree with your views. Get over your hate John and quit twisting what I said out of proportion. I simply stated that an investigation should be done to see if the three jurors violated the law. What is wrong with that? I did not say anything about hunting them down because I disagreed with their verdict.

Comparing what I said to the attitude in the Middle East is way over the top and uncalled for. Get over your hate, John. Seek treatment..

You have a real tendancy to twist words around on this blog.

Robbie Honerkamp December 15, 2008 at 10:43 am

The power to take a citizen’s life is the greatest power a government has over its people. Thus, it should only be used in exceptional circumstances when it’s truly warranted. Unanimous verdicts should be required.

The Comma Guy December 15, 2008 at 10:50 am

I am very much in favor of the death penalty. But I do not think the current requirements should be changed.

I do think that we should look at the jurors and their sworn answers to voir dire questions. If it should be shown that a juror or 3 did not participate in the deliberations or follow their oaths to fairly consider all sentencing options those jurors should be help accountable. That’s part of the problem with Atlanta. In a smaller community if a juror were to pull a stunt like this, they would be scorned and shunned by their friends and neighbors.

Romegaguy December 15, 2008 at 10:50 am

Just because Paul Howard is an incompetent boob who runs a crappy office and couldnt get a death penalty in this case doesnt mean that we shouldnt require unanimous verdicts for death penalties.

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 10:58 am

“The three jurors may have committed perjury when they said they could vote in favor of the death penalty and if so should be charged.”

We are running out of space to house child molesters, rapist murders and you want to throw someone in prison for not voting for the death penalty. Some people have a different degree or tolerance levels via the death penalty.

Do you think if someone blew up an abortion clinic they should get the death penalty?

Icarus December 15, 2008 at 11:18 am

“We are running out of space to house child molesters, rapist, and murderers ”

Then build more prisons. That’s fiscal stimulus you can believe in.

“Some people have a different degree or tolerance levels via the death penalty.”

Yes, which is why the potential jurors are asked specific questions about this before they are selected. If they lie during this process, then the taxpayers are out literally millions of dollars, and justice is thwarted, which is significantly more important.

“Do you think if someone blew up an abortion clinic they should get the death penalty?”

Absolutely.

Bucky Plyler December 15, 2008 at 11:24 am

If the bomber had intent to murder folks in the clinic -then absolutely yes. (see I’m pro-life & pro-death penalty)

Would a jury in Fulton Co. vote for the death penalty?

Tinkerhell December 15, 2008 at 11:39 am

If our appeals process works (and I say it pretty much does) then 10 people should be able to impose the death sentence. If we could somehow make absolute certain that all the jurors were “capable” of imposing such a penalty then I might agree with having a unanimous decision required. Until then it is wrong that some activist (or three) can lie, say they are capable of imposing such a penalty then sit through a case such as this & refuse to do so.

This man should be barred from stealing any more of my air but a couple of people who don’t believe in execution have prevented that despite the facts of the case.

The judge (a single person) should never have that power.

Goldwater Conservative December 15, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Well, after reading about how a bunch of people feel in the heat of the moment…and one person justify murder being reinterpreting the biblical definition, I remain unchanged.

No, being pro-life and pro-capital punishment is not consistent. That is not the question though.

We should not change our laws because of an emotion situation.

I am willing to bet my life savings that opinions will change again in our generation.

Death is not an effective deterrent. I, presonally, would have supported it in this trail…but I was not on that jury…I do not know. Fact of the matter still is that death is not an effective deterrent and is more expensive than life-w/o parole.

Furthermore, death qualified juries are ridiculous…They scew verdicts (not that Nichols would have been found not-guilty…he was guilty).

Now, I will wait to see how many of you call other conservatives in this thread “not conservative” because of a disagreeement. This lack of status quo is the reason that conservatism in America is a failed ideology. Nobody is a conservative because somebody will accuse them of not being conservative. The margin has been pushed so far to the fascist end of the political spectrum that it has become ridiculous.

Not even Senator Goldwater would be considered conservative anymore because of you fools.

griftdrift December 15, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Here’s the problem with the appeals argument.

For very good reason, the trial and appeals processes are discrete. Yes, appeals are corrective but they are corrective in matters of law. As we’ve learned in the Troy Davis case (whether you believe he is innocent or not) true innocence matters very little to appeals courts. Appeals courts almost universally default to the opinion of the jury unless there is something (i.e. a mistake of law) which could have caused the jury to be unable to do its job.

If we were to operate under the concept that the appeals courts are corrective in the manner that some are arguing, why have any gradiation of standards at the trial level? 10 out 12 to decide death penalty sentencing? Okay. Then why not on lesser cases make it simple majority? Why “beyond a reasonable doubt”? Why not instead simply require “preponderence of the evidence” in all criminal cases? After all the appeals system will wash it all out right?

But that’s not the way we do things. At the core of any criminal trial is the potential consequence of a government entity stripping away those inalienable rights we all possess. To us, there is nothing more precious than those individual rights and nothing so frightening as that government entity taking them away.

That’s why the standards for a criminal trial are higher than a civil proceeding. That is also why as the potential for government power rises, so do the standards. The more on the line, the more we as a society have to be sure.

It has to stay unanimous. For there is no higher point of risk to us all than the government removing the ultimate right. The right to live.

Southwest GA Libertarian December 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm

OK, a point I realized in the last few hours upon further inspection:

Rep. Bearden’s bill still requires a unanimous decision.

In the trial phase.

In other words, it still has to be unanimous that the defendent is guilty on the charges.

What Rep. Bearden’s bill then allows is a 10-vote majority in the sentencing phase in order to impose death.

The distinction is critical. A unanimous jury must still convict, but the jury does NOT have to be unanimous in the sentence. (Quick question: Does a jury recommend sentencing in any other trial outside of capital trials?)

Which, to me, makes it even more palatable. LP-Ga may still disagree with me though.

debbie0040 December 15, 2008 at 1:39 pm

A unanimous jury should be required for conviction but for sentencing a super majority should suffice.

This death penalty trial cost millions of dollars and you may have had three jurors that committed perjury. Death penalty trials cost much more than normal murder trials. You may have had three jurors that thumbed their nose at the taxpayers of this state ande were not being honest about their feelings about the death penalty. They cost the taxpayers the extra money death penalty trials cost. They stated to other jurors they would never vote for the death penalty.

Goldwater Conservative December 15, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Well, is all fairness, this trial should have cost less.

The heart of this argument really comes down to the politicization of the judicial branch of government. Prosecutor So-and-So could have gotten the life-w/o parole with 4 counts…there were what?…45 charges brought up in this case.

Fact is, politically, death was sought after. This was a slam dunk case for most any prosecutor. This case cost millions because of its nature and political implications.

Debbie, capital punishment cost more money than life w/o parole. The dollars and cents arguments hold in favor of abolishing capital punishment.

As liberal as I am, I do agree with Locke that a just government does reserve the right to punish those who break the social-contract with death. In our country it requires a unanimous decision. I believe in capitol punishment under extreme cases.

McVeigh, sure. bin Ladin, sure. Nichols, of course you are going to get a less substantial agreement. The jury was death-qualified and still did not decide in favor of execution. Did some lie? that is a matter of dispute. Many things are in dispute…that does not make them real (i.e. the Shroud of turin). If so, prosecute for perjury.

You were not on the jury. In my opinion, only those that served on the jury and were given all of the arguments can make the decision.

Tinkerhell December 15, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Now, I will wait to see how many of you call other conservatives in this thread “not conservative” because of a disagreeement.

One issue does not make or break a person from being labeled a conservative. Particularly this one issue.

Sarawara December 15, 2008 at 2:41 pm

The appeals process is the wrong place to hope any mistakes get sorted out, because the deck has been stacked so much against the defendant that it is far too easy for meritorious claims of innocence to be lost on procedural grounds. The AEDPA effectively limited those convicted of capital crimes to one federal appeal, and further limited that appeal only to those grounds for appeal that were first raised in state post-conviction proceedings. Getting all possible claims into a post-conviction proceeding requires a good lawyer, and sadly there are plenty of bad lawyers handling these sorts of cases for defendants. They don’t investigate enough, they don’t recognize constitutional arguments they could have made, or they simply shuffle your case from lawyer to lawyer while things are missed along the way.

If a defendant’s lawyer leaves a claim out that he should’ve included but didn’t for whatever reason, it is considered procedurally defaulted and cannot be raised in a federal habeas proceeding. (Yes, you can pursue ineffective assistance of counsel but that’s virtually impossible to prove under the current legal standard.)

Also, if you don’t know about a particular claim at the time of your state post-conviction proceedings, it is often procedurally defaulted unless you can meet a pretty high burden of showing that there was no conceivable way for you to know about it before you filed a new appeal. (This burden is usually only met with something like newly-discovered DNA evidence that exonerates the convicted.)

I’m pretty sure there was a Supreme Court case a few years ago that held only a jury, not a judge, can impose a death sentence in a case. So, it would be unconstitutional to allow judges to impose a death sentence when the jury hangs during sentencing. The Court has never decided the issue of whether the constitution requires unanimity among the jury in order to impose a death sentence, but most constitutional scholars expect that the Court would require unanimity.

Really the blame here should go to the DA’s office, rather than the unanimity requirement. There is no reason anyone strongly opposed to imposing the death penalty should have made it onto the Nichols jury. That is a failure of the judge and the DA to conduct proper voir dire, because the willingness to follow Georgia law–including imposition of the death penalty if warranted–is a duty of a properly qualified juror. Anyone who was not capable of doing that should have been dismissed for cause. Anyone who the DA’s office suspected would be unwilling to do that should have been the subject of a peremptory strike. I know they had a hard time finding a jury because of all the publicity, but to have allowed 3 hardcore anti-death penalty jurors onto this panel is just incompetent. I could see one getting through, but not three. And one such juror would probably have had a harder time being the lone holdout.

I am opposed to the death penalty on principle, and yet I would not have been the slightest bit bothered if Nichols were sentenced to death. I am really bothered by the stark contrast between this, a classic case of a murder caught on tape committed by a man who never denied for a second that he did it and would do it again, and the marginal cases or those where guilt is in serious dispute. If it can’t be imposed fairly, I think we shouldn’t have it at all.

atlantaman December 15, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I’m always amused when pro-abortion types try to point out the inconsistency of being anti-abortion and pro-death penalty. In order to prove the inconsistency, and demonstrate that murder is the common bond between abortion and death penalty, you have to acknowledge the “fetus” is a human life. As someone who is anti-abortion, I’d rather be put in the position of having to explain the nuanced differences rather than having to acknowledge the killing of unborn babies.

From my perspective it’s not the same thing. An unborn baby is a untainted virgin human life, where people up for the death penalty have committed crimes beyond the scope of comprehension. Essentially they’ve wasted their lives.

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 3:05 pm

debbie0040

If you were on a jury and they blew up an abortion clinic and a person died would you vote for the death penalty?

And if you or anyone voted no should they be sent to prison?

Icarus December 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm

“And if you or anyone voted no should they be sent to prison?”

John, the question is not that someone who serves on a death penalty case must vote for death.

The question is that if a person answers a question before being seated that they could admisister the death penalty, and then tells the other jurors during deliberations that they would never consider the death penalty, then have they lied to the court?

So John, I’ll ask you, are you saying that if someone lies during a court proceeding that they shouldn’t be punished?

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm

atlantaman

The point I am making is not the inconsistency being pro-life and for the death penalty. My point is the death penalty is a very serious decision that should not be taken lightly. As I said I am for the death penalty but people who are quick to condemn a jury member making that tough decision are hypercritical who claim to be pro-life.

And wanting to throw someone in prison over this tough choice is flat out wrong. It is not like the jury let the guy go. And to compare a person with a moral dilemma via my abortion clinic example or this situation via perjury testimony in a murder trial, arm robbery, bank fraud…is perversion of priorities.

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Icarus

We are using hearsay, none of us heard what was exactly said and in what context. Second do you know the exact questions the prosecutor used in examining the jury and the answers?

I would be very cautious before going after any jury member in this type of situation.

Goldwater Conservative December 15, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Tinkerhell,
you would be amazed at how little a person can differ and be labeled a traitor…let alone a defector from any ideology.

atlantaman,

nobody is pro-abortion. Get over your extremist tendencies. Everybody is pro-reduction. I do not encourage my daughter to get pregnant so she can get an abortion.

Konop is correct. This is no decision to be taken lightly. While you all may be fine sentencing somebody to death…I am not in favor of telling my daughter to have an abortion. That is her decision (choice) as it is a juries decision (choice) as to whether somebody should be sentenced to capital punishment. Making two teens marry is not going to solve the problem of unwanted pregnancy (i.e. Palin’s daughter,…whose “baby’s daddy” [aka boyfriend] is supposedly breaking up with now that your version of an election is over).

The two decisions are different, but in the terms as the argument for “life” is presented…they are the same.

Change the argument for the next election. Good luck overcoming human reason and rationality.

Might I request that you read any books other than the Bible for answers to logical argument and philosophical inquiry?

Icarus December 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm

“I would be very cautious before going after any jury member in this type of situation.”

Absolutely,

but to dismiss the possibility out of hand is also incorrect.

Bucky Plyler December 15, 2008 at 3:57 pm

John,

You’re right- you are the one who brought up the abortion angle. It’s as if you are saying that holding a pro-life position automatically cancels your opinion in this matter.

Look, Mr. Nichols is the one who caused the problem here. A jury of peers had to hear the evidence , and it does not feel like justice has been served in light of the crimes. I think Icarus has the issue.

If this case had been tried in almost any other venue in GA-the death penalty would be handed out. Take the other issues out of the arguement.

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Icarus

And Debbie has made my point because she would never call for a jury member being sent to prison for not voting for a person who blew up an abortion clinic and killed someone.

That is why ideologues/extremist on both side are very dangerous people. The Unabomber was from the extreme left and Oklahoma City bomber was from the extreme right. Can you tell me the difference at the end of the day?

People like Debbie or Spacey who demonize the other side only foster extreme dysfunctional out of control behavior. And they never are reflective enough to see the grey in situations.

David Ballard December 15, 2008 at 4:10 pm

This strikes me as being a bad idea.

If I was a juror who opposed the death penalty, I might strategically vote “not guilty” during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial . The state would still, after all, need a unanimous verdict for a conviction. This law might have the unintended consequence of making it harder for prosecutors to sway liberal jurors to vote “guilty.” As a result, you might create a system that makes it easier for murderers to walk.

Under the current law, a anti-death penalty juror can vote guilty without fear of (for all intents and purposes) endorsing the death penalty. This allows prosecutors to secure more convictions and improves the chance that a murderer will get a substantial sentence.

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Bucky Plyler

No Bucky that is not what I meant at all. I am sorry for the mix up. I am only referring to people who are quick to judge others and show little reflection or understanding of the difficulty that comes with the decision of life or death.

As I said I was not at the trial nor heard any of the testimony. But from what I heard I know of the situation I would have voted for the death penalty. With that said I would not judge others harshly if they did not. And I would not be calling for them to be thrown in prison.

This is a very difficult personal decision. And someone as caviler and reckless about condemning others seems rather inconsistent with being pro-life.

I let good do the judging of others I just try to love my neighbors as best as I can. And I am far from perfect. That does not mean not to speak up, but I always try to walk in another person’s shoes!

Goldwater Conservative December 15, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Not that Mr. konop needs any defense…but hundreds of potential jurors are sequestered to root out possibility of a begrudgened juror.

Furthermore, I, personally, always request a “veil of ignorance” for juror in any trial. It is only fair.

John Konop December 15, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Sorry

…I heard and know…

…I let God do the judging …

Icarus December 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm

2 points for David Ballard, who went ahead and made the point I was going to make after we got this whole perjury thing cleared up.

Also, 2 points for Rome for this jewel:

“Just because Paul Howard is an incompetent boob who runs a crappy office and couldnt get a death penalty in this case doesnt mean that we shouldnt require unanimous verdicts for death penalties.”

dorian December 15, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Is being pro life and pro death penalty more or less consistent than being pro choice and anti death penalty? One position supports a child’s right to life while advocating for the possibility a murderer can be put to death while the other supports a mother’s right to kill her (unborn) child while protecting murderers under any and all circumstances. Quick someone google ‘hypocrites’ for me.

Rick Day December 15, 2008 at 10:21 pm

LWOP is exactly what he deserves. He is young and will spend the rest of his healthy life in prison. In the end, it will be cheaper on the taxpayers than the endless bleeding of defense and prosecution (on the public dole) death penalty appeals he will heap upon the system.

Nichols has already proven he will squeeze every nickle out of The Man™ that he can. That it stops here is Justice™.

No one should have the authority to murder. Especially the state.

I know many of you disagree because you use some Biblical™ justifications. But as defined in the legal sense murder is broadly and
most commonly entitled statutorily as homicide. The simple legal
definition of homicide is the killing of one person by another
whether the killing was intentional, accidental, justifiable or
otherwise notwithstanding.

I realize that the death penalty is codified. I know it has been upheld by SCOTUS in most cases. But that does not make it right. It merely makes it legally justified.

If I could I would tell the judge’s widow There will be no vengeance this day; there will only be punishment.

dorian December 15, 2008 at 11:15 pm

You know what Rick? If I could (after you told the widow that), I’d sick back and watch her slap the crap out of you for being such a sanctimonious twit. I mean, who are you? What gives you the right to tell her anything, and more importantly why should she care?

The system, for all its flaws, is what we got. And the anti-death penalty nutjobs want it broken at any cost, at any price, and to hell with the collateral damage. Maybe you’ve been through unified appeals. Maybe you’ve done your share of individual sequestered voir dire. I don’t even know if your an attorney.

But what I do know is that the place to make laws is in the legislature. Where is Earl? He’ll back me up. So, if you don’t like the law. change it. I’ll even support it if it happens to be attached to a bill calling for jury trials for every woman who wants an abortion.

The Comma Guy December 15, 2008 at 11:41 pm

To serve on a jury where the death penalty may be imposed, there are 4 questions that jurors must answer to be statutorily qualified. I don’t have my Daniel’s handy, but I’m pretty sure the 4th question is about the ability of the juror to consider imposition of the death penalty if warranted.

Here’s the AJC story:
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2008/12/16/nichols_jurors.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

Interesting that the jurors who held out cited Nichol’s childhood as well as his mental illness as reasons for holding out. It should be noted that if they believed he had a mental illness, why didn’t they vote guilty but mentally ill during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial?

John Konop December 16, 2008 at 7:51 am

dorian

You said:

“I’ll even support it if it happens to be attached to a bill calling for jury trials for every woman who wants an abortion”.

Are you for the death penalty for a woman having an abortion? Under your logic you could charge the parents, boy friend/husband, doctor….if they in anyway were part of the decision.

Do you want all people involved to wear a “Scarlet Letter’?

I am against abortion but my goal is to reduce abortion not ostracize people.

Your other point:

“And the anti-death penalty nutjobs want it broken at any cost, at any price, and to hell with the collateral damage”.

I respect people who are not for the death penalty. In fact even though I do not agree with them the argument against the death penalty is very compelling, personal and thoughtful.

Luke 6:37-42 [37] “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. [38] Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” [39] He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? [40] A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. [41] “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? [42] How can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

BTW why not try walking in the shoes of others?

Goldwater Conservative December 16, 2008 at 8:31 am

No, dorian. Being pro-choice and anti-capital punishment is not inconsistent.

I probably do not speak for everybody concerning this combination. While the government does reserve the right (in my opinion) top execute certain criminals…it is still very expensive. Furthermore, part of the ongoing use of certain penalties is to deter the offense from being repeated by the same individual and others. Capital punishment has failed to be effective in this regard. Coupled with its higher cost than life w/o parole makes the method just counter-productive.

This is exactly why most educated people do not want capital punishment used around every corner. Should have Nichols gotten it? Only 12 people are to say…and they spoke.

It is one thing to complain about people for voting a certain way on a election day. In a trial it is different. Jurors are force fed all the information about a case…particularly given the nature of the Nichols trial. The jurors made educated decisions and many did not believe that the offense, in this specific case, did not warrant death.

I would like to think they would act differently if they were jurors on the McVeigh panel…or at Peterson’s trial.

On a different note…abortion will not be made illegal. An abortion is merely the removal of a parasitic organism from a woman’s uterus. We are not going to start convicting people for having cancer treated? Are we?

The abortion issue needs to be settled with secular and scientific language…it never will. (Meanwhile, with all the right-wing nutjobs being distracted by their religious baggage, our elected officials can get away with anything on Capitol Hill….hurry up guys, before these nutjobs have a chance to turn on Faux News).

reggiejg December 16, 2008 at 10:30 am

I don’t see a unanimous vote as being necessary. We’re talking about sentencing now, not guilt or innocence. He’s been found guilty. There was no debate about the guilt of Nichols. While the discussion of not requiring full agreement of the jury has gone on for some time, this case is clear evidence the discussion needs to be moved out front.

If you can’t impose the death penalty on this guy then the system clearly needs repair. That, or just do away with the pretense we actually have a death penalty.

Setting Nichols aside, there is a history of jurors, despite claiming they could impose a death penalty, having no intention of supporting the death penalty under any circumstances.

Since guilt has been determined and it’s simply a matter of sentencing, I think a 60 percent or 2/3 vote of the jury should be more than enough.

John Konop December 16, 2008 at 10:41 am

reggiejg

If you were on a jury and they blew up an abortion clinic and a person died would you vote for the death penalty?

And if you or anyone voted no should they be sent to prison?

Tea Party December 16, 2008 at 11:08 am

Goldie, you are usually much more temperate and I respect your 1st Amendment rights, but that remark was just SO OVER the top, in light of the Season, and everything else.

Go wash your fingers out with soap.

Icarus December 16, 2008 at 11:12 am

Minus 2 points for Tea Party.

The proper response should have been, “You kiss your mother’s ass and go straight to hell, Loser.”

debbie0040 December 16, 2008 at 12:03 pm

John Konop 12.15.08 at 4:07 pm

Icarus

And Debbie has made my point because she would never call for a jury member being sent to prison for not voting for a person who blew up an abortion clinic and killed someone.

John , there you go again putting words in my mouth. Get a life !! Please show where I EVER said at any time the words you attributed to me above. Put up or shut up. You do that to many posters on this blog…

debbie0040 December 16, 2008 at 12:06 pm

John, your opinions mean nothing to mean and just because I and others do not respond to your wild, baseless accusations does not mean they are true. Some ridiculous accusations from little ridiculous people are not worth responding to. You are one of those little people that are not worth responding to.

Icarus December 16, 2008 at 12:14 pm

“You are one of those little people that are not worth responding to.”

And yet you responded incorrectly. Twice. See above.

Minus 4 points.

Goldwater Conservative December 16, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Tea Party,

Which part was so dirty?

I assume it was the very last part about how the GOP uses these kinds of wedge issues as a distraction. They do…because it works.

Icarus,

If there is a heaven or hell…you and I have the same odds of going to either. Do you really take communion with that mouth?

I am a winner. I was able to retire in this country. Good luck to you.

Southwest GA Libertarian December 16, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Just realized something about pro-choice/anti-capital punishment types:

They are willing to let one person order the execution of one of the most innocent in our society, yet they are unwilling to let 10 people order the execution of one of the most guilty.

Which is more likely to be making a decision based on emotion, the 1 or the 10?

Which victim had a choice in their action, the unborn child or the defendant on the capital charge?

With great power (freedom) comes great responsibility.

Icarus December 16, 2008 at 12:27 pm

GC,

If you’re going to keep up with the inside jokes around here, you have to read PP every day. INCLUDING weekends.

John Konop December 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm

debbie0040

Than you should answer the questions and stop attacking me.

ONCE AGAIN

If you were on a jury and they blew up an abortion clinic and a person died would you vote for the death penalty?

And if you or anyone voted no should they be sent to prison?

rugby fan December 16, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Adding to what Icarus said, you will need to be constantly thinking about Peach Pundit to keep up with the inside jokes.

However, there is one issue we are all deadly serious about: and that is getting Paul Broun sworn in.

Icarus December 16, 2008 at 12:44 pm

I should probably also add, in order to keep up with the inside jokes, you also have to read ALL the threads about Macon, no matter how painful it may be.

Now, back to getting Paul Broun sworn in…

Tea Party December 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm

GC: I get ya, making a point about GOP or Dems using extremist language to perpetuate a ‘wedgey’ issue. (Those issues that get stuck up a voters butt-crack and hurt…)

I knew you weren’t going all ‘hateful’ on us. You are too good a poster for that.

Anyone want to join me and donate any ‘points’ left to avoid reading about Macon or Augusta, for that matter. Sorry Erick, but your town is more boring than folding sox.

debs and kono should get a room, this is starting to sound like political foreplay.

I miss spacey.

Icarus December 16, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Every town can’t have a Snuggles, TP.

debbie0040 December 16, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I will answer your question one last time. In the future I will not respond to you. You are not worth it..

I believe that ANYONE that commits pre-meditated murder, and they are of sound mind, should get the death penalty. If a someone serving on a jury commits perjury filling out a jury questionaire, then yes I think they should be tried for perjury.

John Konop December 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm

debbie0040

Do you think blowing up an abortion clinis is pre-meditated murder?

debbie0040 December 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm

yep I do

John Konop December 16, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Debbbie

If that is the case you are not being a hypocrite over judgmental but not a hypocrite.

dorian December 18, 2008 at 8:41 am

John, I tried to read your post three times, but after a few words it just came out all garbled. I mean, it’s like you’re the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon. You know “Mowopmwopmwop”. I think the just of it was something about your being a Jehovah’s Witness. Anyway, I could tell you STILL haven’t read that book.

John Konop December 18, 2008 at 9:41 am

Dorian

You should deal with your anger issue.

Anger Management Techniques

http://www.anger-management-techniques.org/

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