Why is death row such a long process?

Discussion in 'Non Sci-fi Debates' started by Pulpy, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Pulpy

    Pulpy Banned

    In many cases, when one is sentenced to death, at least here in the states, it's usually years, sometimes more than a decade or even two, before the sentence is actually carried out; In the meantime, they linger on Death Row, eating away at public finances in both housing, feeding, clothing and caring for them, and in certain cases, appeals.

    Now, I can understand the necessity of Death Row if there is some doubt over the accused's guilt--as in the case with Troy Davis. But what about those convicts whose guilt is iron-clad and indisputable? Why should they not meet death soon after the sentence? I know, for example, of one killer who raped and murdered a woman and her two teenage daughters in 1989, as well as raping another woman prior to the murder, who is still alive despite being convicted in 1994 for his crimes. Oba Chandler is that dirtball's name.

    In most cases, keeping killers alive doesn't really aid police; Killers, especially serial killers, aren't quick to talk about where their victims bodies can be found or about other victims, even though they have nothing to lose--Keeping this knowledge inside and not allowing their victims' families that little slice of closure gives them pleasure.

    So, why do we keep those sentenced to death in prison for YEARS? Can someone explain this to me?
  2. SICON_Reaper

    SICON_Reaper SeƱor Seriouso

    Because the US court system is flooded with cases, and the prisoners must go through a long appeals process.

    Because there are so many people applying for appeal, the process takes years for higher courts to review everything.

    The simple answer for a solution to the problem? Stop arresting everyone for bullshit crimes. The massive amount of drug related arrests alone floods the courts with an insane amount of prisoners - all of whom are entitled to their appeals process.

    Unfortunately the prison lobby is run by corporations who have decided that the best way to make a profit is to increase punishments for minor crimes, to increase the number of crimes and to ream the state for everything they can while running the prisons like a gulag.

    So they lobby for harsher sentences for crimes, longer mandatory sentences, and to make more things illegal.

    That in a nutshell is why the US court system is broken. Strangle the corporations, do the hard work of getting rid of the bullshit laws and reduce the number of prisoners in the system, and you'd fix the problem with appeals.
  3. Citrakite

    Citrakite It's no fun if I can't trick you.

    We need Street judges.
    You are charged with penal code 416-118 and 618-443. First degree murder and Assault. How do you plead?

    I knew you'd say that.
  4. First off there are tons of appeals to make certain that the person is guilty and deserves death. That takes a long time. On top of that misinformation and anti-death agendas among some people means that there is extensive effort by people to stop any execution. No tactic is too low since they feel anything is okay if it stops an execution.
  5. Entropy

    Entropy Solidarity

    Because the state in this case is explicitly killing people, and it is obviously very hard to take back a wrongful execution.
  6. Firethorn

    Firethorn Cleric, Church of Weber

    Pretty much this. If it wasn't for the 'grasping at straws' part, executions could be done and over with in less than five years - and with full due process.
  7. BG45

    BG45 Lurker

    Right on the nose pretty much.

    Among the 273 exonorees from the Innocence Project for example, are 13 death row inmates who were found innocent with DNA evidence because of those appeals and because of people with an agenda to investigate their cases again.
  8. Senmut

    Senmut America Aeterna!

    Because of all the whiney, hysterically sobbing, bleeding-heart Libs.
  9. Fell

    Fell The Fattest Santa Temp Banned

    Hard, yes...

    But not impossible!

    *Maniacal Cackling, sounds of thunder*
  10. Pulpy

    Pulpy Banned

    I also don't get why we don't just execute people by firing squad. I'd imagine it'd be a lot quicker and a lot cheaper to just shoot them instead of the stuff they use in lethal injections.

    Also, if execution is supposed to be a punishment or a deterrent, why do we keep trying to make it more and more humane?

    Just to play Devil's Advocate--If a guy raped a girl and then strangled her or stabbed her or mutiliated her, and he dies simply by lethal injection--is he going to feel even half the pain, terror, fear and mind numbing horror his victim did? Even though he's dying either way, the killer still gets off a lot easier in the process of it than his victim does.
  11. They make executions more humane so the state (and by extension the public) doesn't feel so badly about it.

    At least that is the way I see it.
  12. Premier

    Premier MODETAR

    The purpose of state-sanctioned execution is NOT revenge, regardless of how much some socially disfunctional Internet Tough Guys and cryptofascism advocates would like that to be the case. Its purpose is NOT to make the criminal experience the same suffering he or she caused.
  13. PsyckoSama

    PsyckoSama Ia! Ia! Kamina fthagn!

    Death-row Inmates in the US have the automatic right of appeal as the ideology of the US justice system theoretically is that its better for a guilty man to walk than an innocent to go to prison.
  14. ACOG

    ACOG Soon to be Science Hero

    I've wondered why is that? If the guilty walk isn't there a nonzero chance of him committing another crime worthy of death? Wouldn't that make anyone who let him go be part of the death since they knowingly released him?
  15. That's why it should be switched to a nitrogen gas induced hypoxia system. Cheap, flawless, not dependent upon prisoner cooperation, no medical expertise required and considered the most humane way to kill someone.

    The purpose is to permanently remove a threat to society that is beyond any possible means of being re integrated into society as a normal, productive citizen. Otherwise they're using up resources and time better spent elsewhere.

    If the state decides to execute someone, it should do the absolute best possible to distance itself from any kind of brutality or inhumanity about it.

    Heck, why don't we just let the family at him with clubs and knives then?

    The death penalty is about removing a threat from society, not 'punishing' anyone. When we put down rabid dog that attacked and maimed people, we're not 'punishing it', we're protecting society. The same goes for undeniably dangerous criminals who cannot be reformed into safe, productive members of society.

    If it's reasonably possible to suggest reforming any criminal who commited grossly violent crimes worthy of bringing up the death penalty solution, I'd be against it and go for the reforming option.
  16. Avernus

    Avernus Abomination

    • Someone condemned to death generally isn't going to just give up on appeals.
    • Generally, death penalty cases are done sloppily; with bad evidence, incompetent defense lawyers who do things like get drunk or sleep though the trial, obvious racial prejudice, and so on. Which means they have an abnormal number of flaws to make appeals on.
    • And related to the above, it isn't all that rare for them to actually be innocent. But we don't want to admit it, so even an innocent man is going to have to make appeal after appeal and may well be executed anyway.
    • As said, you can't take it back.
    • Also as said, the courts are overloaded.
  17. Citrakite

    Citrakite It's no fun if I can't trick you.

    I've been a fan of the Guittoine myself. Nothing like a giant metal blade slicing of your head.
  18. Firethorn

    Firethorn Cleric, Church of Weber

    As counterpoints:
    • Somebody who's not on death row generally don't receive the support necessary to fully explore their appeal options.
    • It's my belief that DP trials are generally the 'best of show' - it's just that the screwups don't generally come to light short of the DP
    • Plenty of innocents are sentenced to LiP, especially for rape. Generally takes them many decades to prove it.
    • Neither can you 'take back' 3-4 decades in prison. Especially if you're found innocent - the prison just lets you out. You don't even get the support services given to released guilty prisoners. You might be eligible for SS - but the amount is going to be pathetic because you don't have a work history.
    • Yep, courts are overloaded. DP trials tend to get priority access, meaning Joe Blow convicted rapist tends to get ignored for long periods of time.
  19. Desert Fox

    Desert Fox Vulpes zerda

    Wouldn't simply pulling the death penalty off the table make it so there is more access to appeals for the less serious crimes. . . .
  20. Memphet'ran

    Memphet'ran Looking into the light

    Is poison and getting somebody to inject it really that expensive?

    Also IIRC the number of people executed in a country like the US is not all that big so I don't see why speed should be a big priority. It's not like we have so many executions that we really need a swift assembly-line operation.

    Personally I'm kind of partial to just killing them by removing all their organs including vital ones for transplantation, after anesthetizing them like you would for any other surgery. I realize it sounds kind of gruesome but I don't see why it would really be less humane than something like lethal injection: from their perspective they just go unconscious and never wake up. And it does sound like it would be efficient: you don't even need poison or any special procedure, just normal pre-surgery anesthesia, and you're getting something positive out of their death. I doubt it would be politically feasible in the real world though.

    Well, I have heard of occassional cases where people woke up during surgery so that might be an issue, but I imagine that's pretty rare.
  21. Pulp are you Andy Rooney? These threads titles all make me feel like I'm watching him.
  22. Lord Squishy

    Lord Squishy Shadow Cabal Member

    Andy Rooney isn't an insane lunatic.

    Besides, he tends to argue about more mundane things. "I hate telephone books!" "Chocolate chip cookies fucking stuck." "Shock and awe makes us look like stupid braggarts. Whoever wrote that should be fired."
  23. But that's because those are the only stories that get through 60 minutes editors. Clearly these are the stories that he couldn't get approved.