On air: Why capital punishment would benefit every country

See pics of today’s broadcast here.

Rusty Hubbarth is a Texan, a lawyer and a campaigner for capital punishment, and he’d like to talk with you.

He’s a leading member of the organisation Justice for All, and he’ll be on Tuesday’s show making the case for the death penalty. Texas executes more people than any other state in America, a situation he whole-heartedly supports.

If you want to talk to him, let us know. But this isn’t just a US debate…

We’ll also be joined by guests who have relatives who’ve been executed and murdered. All will be discussing the role capital punishment plays in America, and those of you elsewhere, we want to hear whether you want it available to the justice system in your country.

Japan’s execution rate is rising, South Africans want to death penalty but their constitution prevents it, and China and Iran execute criminals regularly.

Wherever you are, we’d welcome your perspective, and how you view execution both as a punishment, as revenge, and as a deterrent.

157 Responses to “On air: Why capital punishment would benefit every country”

  1. 1 Tom (of Melbourne)
    November 18, 2008 at 03:00

    Why aren’t countries that practice capital punishment among the safest places on earth?

  2. November 18, 2008 at 03:50

    Three quick questions for Mr. Hubbarth:

    1. I’ve yet to see any statistics that show capital punishment is an effective deterrernt. Do you have any?

    2. Assuming that the function is not to be a deterrent, then the only motive for the death penalty is revenge. Is revenge a proper motive for a penal system?

    3. Ignoring the ethical aspects of points 1 & 2, how do you guarantee the justice system NEVER makes a mistake? We all know that many mistakes are made and, to my mind, even one innocent person executed is one too many. Or do you think a few innocent deaths are a price worth paying?

  3. 3 Bruce Sickles
    November 18, 2008 at 10:08

    I’ve said it before but I’m not shy about saying it again. Killing is killing. It is historically common for the human race to kill whatever stands in its way. Genocide is looked upon as the most abhorrent of solutions and yet some people persist in their belief that genocide upon the criminal mind is a viable solution, It is my belief that anyone who is willing to use death as a solution to a problem is a criminally insane individual that should seek help.

  4. 4 VictorK
    November 18, 2008 at 12:59

    @ Bruce Sickles: so you are incapable of distinguishing amongst the following examples of killing: a serial murderer who gets a thrill out of it; a man defending his wife and children from attack; a Serb executing bound and hooded Bosnian Muslim men and boys; a woman slaying her would-be rapist; a Jihadist sawing off the head of a Western female aid worker; the state on behalf of the community for a breach of the law (such as the murder of a child); a Sudanese Arab following his sincerely held belief that black Africans are sub-human; a suicide bomber who wants to ‘send a message’; a man who kills in the heat of the moment on some provocation; a professional hitman; etc…

    I’ll forbear commenting on your closing observation about the ‘criminally insane’.

  5. November 18, 2008 at 12:59

    The death penalty should apply just when the crime is murder on intent and not in self-defence.. The death penalty is hard and unacceptable when the crime is, for example, drug trafficking or theft. Countries like China and Iran apply the death penalty in cases when the offenders need just imprisonment and rehabilitation.

    Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are some of the countries whose laws allow the execution of even minors. There was the case of a girl who was executed for “lack of chastity”. Now there is a call for the end of child execution .

    What is unacceptable is the swift execution of the accused when it emerges that the evidences were wrong and the supposed culprit was just a victim of the miscarriage of justice.

  6. November 18, 2008 at 13:20

    The death penalty is a most controversial and emotive issue of our times. Depending on one’s personal perspective and experiences, individuals are quick to pass judgment.
    I personally think the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who remain when their loved ones’ lives are untimely stopped should have a greater say in deciding on what should happen to those who are responsible for the pain in their hearts.
    Instead of asking the family of every murdered person for their position on the fate of the offender, a referendum could be held to decide on this issue.
    This is not revenge, but justice in action. It might not be ideal, but at least the wishes of the population in the country are seen to be listened to.

  7. 7 Tilak Pokharel
    November 18, 2008 at 13:20

    There are two kinds of deaths — one, the person who’s going to die doesn’t know about his or her fate in advance; and the second, the person knows about it in advance. This is the difference between a death and capital punishment. This is the fundamental difference between the two deaths. In this world, you never know when you’re going to die. So, accident-caused deaths are different from intentional killings. Even if you (Hubbarth) want to see somebody, maybe a terrorist, die a grisly death, put him or her in a jail for life.

    Those who don’t respect other’s life, like a terrorist, don’t care about their own death. So, killing them at once gives them eternal freedom. On the other hand, capital punishment produces more radicals. I have an example of human tendency to support this. During the insurgency years in Nepal, when police tortured somebody, a rebel, in a village, let alone killing him, the entire village used to get inspiration to revolt. That way, torturing or killing the man meant the born of hundreds of other such men. This simply doesn’t help.

  8. 8 Tom Hastings
    November 18, 2008 at 14:04

    The death penalty is a leftover from a more barbarous era of humankind. We simply add to the level of violence when we kill. I did not punch my sons to show that punching was wrong and I hope humanity can evolve past the notion of capital punishment. Justifying violence is the easy part. Creating alternatives requires a more advanced, intelligent and humane society. Perhaps even Texas may aspire to that someday (I say this loving my dear Texas friends, some of whom I’m in communication with almost daily).

    As an aside, I wonder why WHYS is so determined to spend its time flirting with the most retro thinking in the West? Why not try to grow, to learn compassion and stronger techniques of nonviolent conflict management and intercultural work toward collaborative advancement? I suppose you could even do that from Texas, but it’s really hard to countenance the lingering Bush mentality. Monbiot and others have written about it in amazement and it’s just so counter-evolutionary.

  9. 9 Brett
    November 18, 2008 at 14:05

    *pulls out stick and stands over the dead horse*

    You could argue that abortion would benefit every country, you could argue that plenty of ‘bad’ things could / would / do benefit every country. Capital punishment is lame, its nothing more than an attempt to seek selfish revenge because people don’t know how to cope with something that happened that was generally out of their or their loved ones control, or be the bigger person and stop a cycle of hate and violence. State sponsored killing, its sanctioned, therefore is ok, right? It’s ok to play God and take anothers life, as long as the courts say so.

    *rolls eyes*

    The ethical argument coupled with the fact that the court system is FAR from flawless leans me toward the side against capital punishment. Of course just as the pro-war fanatics who claim that civilian casualties are justifiable collateral damage, so will the same argument be made that innocent executions at the hands of the state due to an individual being wrongly accused are justifiable if looked at in the context of ‘the greater good’.

  10. 10 Munyoro
    November 18, 2008 at 14:14

    Lets be frank, we might have diverse opinions on punishments that matches extreme acts against humanity but what most of agree with is that we all treasure our right to life… why punish by death? Why not punish by extreme physical strain, both mentally and physically?

  11. November 18, 2008 at 14:18

    Those who can benefit from capital punishment are:

    a) those who don’t want to spend their whole life in prison. So they prefer death as it was the case with where hundreds of prisoners serving life sentences in Italy have called on President Giorgio Napolitano to bring back the death penalty.

    b) The relatives and friends of the victims who seek revenge and tough justice.

    c) the state economy as it will be spared the expenses to keep the offenders alive till their natural death.

    It’s up to society to decide the ethics of whether or not to execute offenders while considering the merits of execution case by case.

  12. 12 Tony
    November 18, 2008 at 14:39

    One main reason.

    It should only be for Capitol offences and the reason is saving money. It costs mo ney to keep some one in prison for life.

  13. 13 Dan
    November 18, 2008 at 14:53

    I believe that people opposed to capital punishment have lost their moral compass.
    I believe that evil exists and must be eliminated. When a particularly heinous murder is perpetrated by an individual and society defines that it rises to the level of being elligible for the death penalty then punishment should be relatively swift.
    Allowing one to remain on death row (or life in prison) for decades enjoying HBO, excellent health care in excess of what an average citizen enjoys, can get married, have children, is allowed to place guards lives in jeopardy as there is no longer a deterrent is insane.
    Where is the concern for the families of the victims and helping them to heal. Keeping a murderer alive continues to torture the family of the victim.

  14. 14 Bruce Sickles
    November 18, 2008 at 14:55

    VictorK-your forebearance is greatly appreciated…and what I can distiguish is that we should not be setting ourselves up as GOD. Life and death are the domain of our Lord and mankind is here to learn how to properly deal with the problems of the world. To send our problems to the Lord to deal with is shirking our responsibility…let alone a cowardly refusal to rise above the KILLING of people. Perhaps you see the easy way out as an answer but I think you should face your demons and repent.

    Although I do think that acting in the defense of your family and a war against aggretion (defense of the homeland) are reasons to kill.

  15. 15 Dan
    November 18, 2008 at 15:07

    It is inconceivable that one can be anti-Death Penalty yet Pro-abortion.
    The two positions are mutually exclusive.

  16. 16 VictorK
    November 18, 2008 at 15:12

    @Brett & Tom Hastings: I read a story in the Independent a few years ago about the crimes being committed against women in the anarchy of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I’ve never been able to forget it.

    Several women (who belonged to the wrong ethnic group) were seized and repeatedly gang-raped by some thugs. The women were then skinned alive – just for the fun of it. Their assailants then forced them, raw flesh exposed over most of their bodies, into salt-water pools. Their ordeal ended when, hours later, their captors got bored and decided to call it a day, and wrapped tthings up by decapitating every one of the women.

    Ordinary people in a ‘developing’ country like the DR of the Congo instinctively understand that there is only one punishment for such behaviour. Only people in the supposedly advanced West (technically, yes, but often morally decadent), in the name of ‘compassion’ and ‘intelligence’, think it approrpriate to defend the right (?) to life of the kind of men I’ve just described.

    The ‘right to life’ depends on living according to the rules of society; breaching those rules forfeits that right.

  17. November 18, 2008 at 15:12

    Howdy James from Kenya here capital punishment here in Kenya should be allowed, when a grown man rapes a toddler,or a granny as is rife in Kenya. he has no place being sustained by my taxes.Capital punishment in Kenyan context should be reserved for the sickest psychos. Although it happens indirectly when cops craftily execute(shoot) a criminal they know will buy his freedom. Love you

  18. 18 Muthee
    November 18, 2008 at 15:14

    Hi WHYS,
    I don’t see the logic of executing someone as if that is a panacea to the suffering s/he might have inflicted on someone else. The suffering of the victim continues. In my humble opinion, a life sentence is better and possibly with lots of hardship so that at least that person has the opportunity to see his/her mistake and possibly reform. I think it might also give the victim some psychological satisfaction to see his/her tormentor suffering other than just killing them and that’s that. That way they don’t even have a chance to face the society that they wronged.

  19. 19 Dan
    November 18, 2008 at 15:22

    You have quite eloquently described the evil that is perpetrated and exists today amongst us and why Capital Punishment must remain.

  20. 20 Brett
    November 18, 2008 at 15:22

    @ VictorK:
    You have a very valid and good point, but what of the flaws in our court systems? Yes we have a very good system compared to many other countries, but until we are able to convict people with 100% certainty and not ever get it wrong, will wrongfully convicted death penalty cases just be a ‘necessary evil’?
    It’s bad enough that people are wrongfully imprisoned, but to be killed under the same pretenses?

  21. November 18, 2008 at 15:32

    I think every person who commits a harsh enough crime as to be handed a penalty of death by a judge should be shamed enough to end their own lives.
    I am very much for the death penalty, like I have stated before, in crimes that have been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt and all due process has been followed. I do not think that people should continue to pay tax dollars to support these people for years on end.

  22. 22 Dan
    November 18, 2008 at 15:49

    There is never a 100% certainty of anything other than that we all will die at some point.
    Therefore we must depend upon the system we have created to govern ourselves. Yes, there will be innocents deprived of their lives however look at the wars wherein innocents were deprived of their lives, or certain Islamic countries that decapitate or hang people for minor offenses or country’s like Burma who do not allow aid worker in and people die from disease and starvation.
    How can your heart not bleed for those deaths as well. The sad reality is that death stalks us all the days of our life and if there is no final judgment then all this is wasted time.

  23. November 18, 2008 at 15:56

    People who are for the death sentence should try it themselves and see what it’s like. First hand experience etc.
    The frailty and at time gross incompetence of the legal system, the corruption and chicanery that is all too often seen in the legal profession should be enough to put people off such a ‘punishment’, which as people have pointed out would appear to be wholly ineffective.
    I certainly would not want blood on my hands and my soul sullied by exercising such a practice.

    And btw. people who believe there is a similarity between the death sentence and abortion have got something quite fundamentally wrong.

  24. 24 Brett
    November 18, 2008 at 16:01

    @ Dan:
    How can your heart not bleed for those deaths as well.

    Oh it does, but this discussion is about Capital Punishment… I also touched on civilian casualties and drew a parallel to innocent state killings in my initial post. Being that I’m in America, I was focusing mainly on the American legal system and the flaws which deprive innocent people of their lives. I did note however that it was still better than many other systems.

  25. 25 Bruce Sickles
    November 18, 2008 at 16:07

    VictorK-I am moved by your story of the DR Congo women and their plight. It moves me almost to tears. That anyone would operate with so little regard to the rights and feelings of others is abominable.

    As you stated, this was several years ago and the criminals involved in that activity were faced with the death penalty when they got caught. Today those very same activities persist in the DR Congo. The death penalty was a constant in the DR Congo as well.

    I fail to see any progress. I see instead a society where death is the prevalent end of the day and nobody has any respect for life and the problem just gets bigger everyday.

    I persist in my belief that when society says that death is the best solution to our problems then our children grow up with an acceptance of death and no longer hold life sacred.

  26. 26 Roy, Washington DC
    November 18, 2008 at 16:09

    If you take away someone else’s right to live by murdering them, you forfeit your own right to live. Simple as that.

    @ Tony

    It costs money to keep someone in prison for life, sure, but at least here in the USA it actually costs more to execute them. The appeals process is very long and drawn out, and taxpayers get to foot the bill for it. This is a mixed blessing, because while it reduces the likelihood of executing someone who is innocent (not that this doesn’t happen — it does), it removes the argument of cost of imprisonment.

  27. November 18, 2008 at 16:17

    I quick synopsis of the argument I usually make for this.

    All things are relative. If you only have life to offer a violent gang member, serial killer, drug dealer, genocidal maniac then you have to offer him the opportunity to get back out on the street to get them to talk. Their information may be the sole catalyst of removing other violent criminals, solving unsolved cases, or breaking down a violent network. How many mob snitches spoke out to keep fro getting the chair? would you rather these callused killers negotiate for possibility of parole?

    The death penalty is a tool to be used as a negotiating point to retrieve information and to remove the criminals that can never have any positive affect on the community at large. You can never prove the reasons that a crime didn’t happen. You can prove the information gotten from an informant.

  28. 28 Alby
    November 18, 2008 at 16:29

    OK I will reserve judgment until I hear the argument from the Texan Lawyer! I really loved “no country for old men” and “there will be blood” to open my eyes to the culture and values out there, so dramatically different from my own and from my 300 yr old American family.

    I love hearing POV from my fellow Americans in far-flung places!

    It has been a real shocker to burrow in and pay attention during this last election cycle.

    My confidence though that such a grand dream for a far-flung Republic is any longer viable is shrinking…with 50% of the people just about ready to justify in their minds killing off the other 50%, but, I will stay tuned.

  29. November 18, 2008 at 16:45

    The problem with death penalty is basically that the government is saying that it’s okay to kill a person under specific circumstances. If it’s okay, then we only need to “negotiate” the circumstances to make them fit our needs. That’s why countries with the death penalties have usually higher crime rates than countries without. (Looking forward to at least 3 comments about the odd countries that are the exception. 😉 )

    A government that says one thing (you shall not kill) and does another (death penalty) is hypocritical and its citizens feel that. That’s why death penalty can’t work as a deterrent.

  30. 30 Dan
    November 18, 2008 at 16:48

    I understand. My point is that nothing is 100% and innocents do die needlessly and in error. Nothing is perfect but we need to weigh the good vs. the consequences of doing nothing.
    I believe life in prison punishes/abuses the victims families further. Also the victim cries out for justice. Life in prison for a brutal murder is not justice….in my opinion.

  31. 31 Anthony
    November 18, 2008 at 17:16

    @ Tom

    Look at this list of Murders by Country on wikipedia. You think that countries that practice capital punishment aren’t safe. Check out Irans rate, which is half of the U.S. It’s only getting more dangerous because we’re sticking our nose into their business.

    @ Bob

    What’s the difference really from spending your whole life in prison and getting executed?

    @ Brett

    So you must be happy that Richard Rimerez is still alive enjoying 3 meals a day, watching tv, and having women sending him letters all day about how they love him? There are certain cases where people should be killed.

    @ Everyone

    So my friends autopsy report was released recently. I found out my friend was STABBED 97 TIMES BY HIS WIFE, AND THEN THE WIFE KILLED THEIR 3 & 6 YEAR OLD. And she’s going for the insanity plea because she was DRUNK OFF HER BUTT when it all happened. I’m telling you all right now, honestly, if the court let me, I would shoot her in the head until her body became lifeless on the floor just like she did to my beautiful friend.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  32. 32 roebert
    November 18, 2008 at 17:23

    On Mondays I want the death penalty, on Tuesdays I don’t. It’s hard to be dogmatic about the matter because, even in a subject so ostensibly crass, there are many subtleties. I always ask myself: Would I be prepared to administer the penalty myself…be it the lethal injection, hanging, or whatever?

    It does seem more consistent with civilised refinement to keep those deserving capital punishment in prison for life….but, it should be for life.

  33. 33 Brett
    November 18, 2008 at 17:40

    @ Dan:

    Well put!

  34. 34 Lei, from the UK
    November 18, 2008 at 17:44

    Whether or not a person “deserves” to die, humans simply don’t have the right to make that choice. Life is a divine gift.

  35. 35 Roy, Washington DC
    November 18, 2008 at 17:51

    In response to Anthony’s post —

    Being drunk, insane, etc. shouldn’t be a defense at all. If you kill someone in anything other than self defense or a genuine accident, you should be held fully accountable. The insanity defense has, like certain other defenses, been abused to the point where it no longer really works.

  36. 36 Ogola Ben
    November 18, 2008 at 17:52

    Justice should ever prevail but killing is not justice. Its murder! ideally one would look at it as a way of increasing income for law practioneers! I mean when has a lawyer ever been put to death for failure to deliver his or her services? In any case at law schools, they are taught and adviced to be nelient to there fellow lawyers?

  37. November 18, 2008 at 18:12

    i think….ya they have to pay for your crimes,cos there a lot of families that wants to justice your own hands.

    no more,

  38. 38 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 18:16

    @ Anthony

    Would that be the first time in history voluntary intoxication constituted “insanity”? I have a feeling her defense is something other than alcohol, given that voluntary intoxication only provides a defense to specific intent crimes like burglary and larceny.

  39. 39 J in Portland
    November 18, 2008 at 18:17

    ?? for Mr. Hubbarth

    With the incredible number of overturned death-penalty cases due to new evidence including DNA results, how can we trust such a permanent punishment?

    I think the death of even one innocent inmate is too many.

    How do you resolve this concern??

  40. 40 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 18:19

    @ Katharina

    “The problem with death penalty is basically that the government is saying that it’s okay to kill a person under specific circumstances. If it’s okay, then we only need to “negotiate” the circumstances to make them fit our needs”

    We do that with abortion and voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.

    A patient couldn’t request a lethal dose of morphine if they were going in to get their tonsils out, but could if they had inoperable cancer.. Sometimes the patient doesn’t even get a say, and they terminate life support, all by permission of the government, by saying the decisionmaker cannot be criminall prosecuted. Someone is dead just the same.

  41. 41 Venessa
    November 18, 2008 at 18:24

    “The ‘right to life’ depends on living according to the rules of society; breaching those rules forfeits that right.”

    I couldn’t agree with this more!

    Anthony ~

    I am soooo sorry to hear about your friend. I am near tears right now thinking about it. My father was brutally stabbed to death as well. He was so mutilated that they couldn’t even estimate how many times he was stabbed. His murderers just wanted to see what it was like to kill someone, bragged about it and found the entire event funny. I get the lovely treat of reading their letters and trying to fight them getting paroled every so often. It’s quite lovely to relive and I believe with uncertain doubt that these men should be put to death. I’m quite unhappy that my tax dollars are giving these men a roof over their heads, 3 meals a day, an opportunity for education etc. They don’t deserve to live.

  42. 42 Jennifer
    November 18, 2008 at 18:28

    Re: The ‘right to life’ depends on living according to the rules of society; breaching those rules forfeits that right.

    I believe this is true. People who break the law and commit a crime horrendous enough to warrant the death penalty should be executed. It’s not just about revenge or even really an deterrent; it’s about facing the consequences of your actions.

    My question to Mr Hubbarth is what would the consequences be if we no longer employed the death penalty?

  43. November 18, 2008 at 18:42


    If it was proven either by confession or DNA or without any doubt, I agree the men that killed your father should be executed. I find it absolutley revolting that these people can taunt their victims families from inside prison with paper, pen, or computer access that we pay for. Then, they come up for parole because they cant afford to house them anymore. I have a better suggestion instead of parole…

  44. 44 Anthony
    November 18, 2008 at 18:42

    @ steve

    No, there is also the depression and anxiety, with other stuff through in the mix, she’s saying that huge amount of booze (along with my friend losing his job and not spending enough time with her) put her over the edge. I do remember her being anti-social, but I don’t care. She doesn’t deserve 3 meals a day, that we will be paying for, for the rest of her life. Like I said, give me the chance after her conviction and I would emotionally and logically put her to death by my own hands.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  45. 45 Anthony
    November 18, 2008 at 18:57

    @ Venessa

    This was hard happening to a friend, I CANT IMAGINE if this were to happen to my father, especially with the “doing for fun” aspect. Truly, they should be put to death, even more so than my friends “wife/killer”. What state are you in anyways???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  46. November 18, 2008 at 18:58

    so long as you extend your universally proposed death penalty to war criminals, i.e. just about every leader who promotes war over peace – not to be confused with “protection,” oldest racket in the book

  47. 47 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 18:59

    @ Anthony

    That sounds like the weakest case I have ever heard in my entire life of an “insanity” defense. If that worked, than every person who was depressed and had anxiety could get drunk and kill someone they don’t like. I wouldn’t fear too much about that defense working unless it’s someone with a 19th century view of women and doesn’t think they should be held responsible for their crimes.

  48. 48 Venessa
    November 18, 2008 at 19:00

    Mandie in Cape Coral, FL ~

    There is no doubt that these men committed the crime with both DNA and confessions. One of the men in particular had an infant child and his girlfriend would bring it everyday to the trial in hopes for sympathy from the jury. Now when he writes to the parole board he talks about how terrible it is that the only way his child gets to see him is behind bars. You know what, my father never even got to see me grow up, graduate from highschool or college, get married, see my first home, meet my neice and nephew, see my brother graduate etc. I firmly believe these men gave up all their rights to life when they chose to commit such a dispicable act. I’ve been deprived of having a father and with that came a lot of other problems for many years to come in my family.

    I realize that not all cases are black and white but there are many that there is no doubt of guilt for these people. They don’t deserve their “devine” right to life after disrespecting and decimating someone else’s. If I believed in God and Hell I would certainly hope they rotted in hell for eternity.

  49. 49 Venessa
    November 18, 2008 at 19:01

    Anthony ~

    I’m in Oregon. Initially one of them was given life without parole and the other sentenced to death. Now they both have life with possibility of parole. Absolutely sickening.

  50. November 18, 2008 at 19:02

    If we’re going to have a death penalty we should apply it to heads of state who go to war and kill people by the millions.

    Let’s start at the top.

  51. 51 Adam in Portland
    November 18, 2008 at 19:04

    If capital punishment works so well, why does Texas still have crime?

    If someone is truly that awful, just lock them up for life. What’s the problem? Capital punishment is needless vengeance.

  52. 52 Nikitas
    November 18, 2008 at 19:09

    I would like to know why we’re focusing on the opinions of southern Americans? Both yesterday’s discussion and today’s focus on the opions/issues affecting southern US-Americans. These people and their focus issues DO NOT represent those of the collective American conscience! Let’s get to issues that matter, please.

  53. 53 Dave in Woodland Washington
    November 18, 2008 at 19:10

    Illinois thought they only executed guilty people too, but learned that was not true. When ONE innocent person is executed, it makes all of us murderers. Some states still are not allowing DNA evidence that would clear the alledged guilty people on death row.

  54. 54 Bruce Sickles
    November 18, 2008 at 19:12

    Mr. Hubbarth, you have stated that Texas has the most capital punishment in the country and that only capital crime is punished with this form of sentence how can you claim this is a deterrent?

  55. November 18, 2008 at 19:14

    A capital crime should attract a capital punishment: That is consistent with the rule of law and due process. E.g Murder should; attract murder

    Six things are wrong wit the argument against capital punismment

    1. It is to act AS IF one was holier than the saints

    2. It is to act permissively concerning criminality.

    3. It is to promote terrorism

    4. It can only hold if the proponents would give the rest of us an alternative measure that would ensure that the criminals give up their criminality.

    5. It woulds make moral the criminality of the USA government, the world greatest terrorist that kills every other person in order that Americans may live. Recall the last murder of eight Syrians without any provocation, the violation of the sovereignty of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, and the refusal to be compelled to answer for its war crimes at the United Nations World Court.

    Prince Awele Odor
    Lagos, Nigeria

  56. 56 Alison
    November 18, 2008 at 19:15

    I would like to ask the lawyer how many rich people they have on death row. And we know rich people do commit horrible murders. Just look at OJ.

    In a place where you can buy your way out of trouble with a fancy lawyer and defense or be wrongly convicted if you can’t pay for a good defense, I don’t trust our justice system at all, and it shouldn’t have the power to kill someone.

    I do understand the arguement that some people deserve to die, and I would agree. But I do believe that keeping 1000 murderers in jail for life is better than killing one innocent person.

  57. 57 Amy
    November 18, 2008 at 19:19

    The death penalty should be abolished in Texas and the rest of the country. While many cite capital punishment as a deterrent, it is really a form of vengeance predicated on the idea that it might bring closure to grieving relatives.

    Additionally, the justice system here in Texas is anything but fair. Public defenders in capital cases have been known to fall asleep, get drunk, and do a poor job of defending their clients hence the poor have little access to a fair trial.

    Finally, as we have seen in recent cases in Illinois, many people are wrongly convicted in capital crime cases. Many in Texas arrogantly believe that this could never happen here, even though officials involved in one recent execution have expressed misgivings about that particular outcome.

  58. 58 Oregon girl
    November 18, 2008 at 19:20

    1. There has never been a single study that proves capitol punishment deters crime…ever. Don’t be fooled by this consistent retoric.

    2. Humans are fallible…we hear several times a year a death row inmate has been released after proof of innocence. Can you really believe Texas hasn’t murdered an innocent individual?

    3. Until the population on death row reflect the country’s (race, socioeconomic status), the death penalty is biased and a scar on our humanity.

  59. 59 Anthony
    November 18, 2008 at 19:20

    @ Venessa

    Wow. Someone who kills for fun having the possability of parole. What does that say to the world? Can I ask you a very personal question, which you really don’t need to answer, but would you be willing to pull the switch on an electric chair with those evil men sitting in them?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  60. 60 kathy
    November 18, 2008 at 19:21

    Capital punishment is morally wrong for any country that sanctions it. Whether or not there is any evidence that supports the idea that it deters crime is not the point. The real point is that the sanctity of human life has been lost throughout the world and that mindset must be changed.

  61. 61 T.C. in Austin
    November 18, 2008 at 19:22

    Until we can be absolutely sure that every single person on death row is guilty, the death penalty should go away. A murder is a tragedy. The government murdering an innocent for a murder they did not commit is a travesty.

  62. 62 robert bogere (Uganda)
    November 18, 2008 at 19:23

    There’s lots of research showing that most prisoners commit crimes and end up in prison again (recividism i think it is called). does that mean we should stop sending people to prison?

  63. November 18, 2008 at 19:24

    I think we need to take a step away from how capitol punishment would affect the victim’s family; and gauge it on that standard. I think it should be looked at from a societal perspective–or looking at it as a ‘preventative’.

    The real question should be: is there room in society for people who murder other people? Is it acceptable to spend tax dollars sustaining someone who is in essence; a non-useful citizen who has done only damage?

  64. 64 Dawson McKinney
    November 18, 2008 at 19:24

    I don’t think it’s cool- people need to realize how its not right for people to punish others out of hate or anger- just out of law. punishment is a necessary rule, based off values, but if there is any emotional satisfaction then it is the punisher who is overly zealous. And laws are created to reflect our values, and values require people to analyze life as it comes in this dynamic world. Everyone and everything is connected, and sometimes circumstances lands an unfortunate blow to certain individuals. Even if their “thoughts” are “corrupt” or “horrbile,” it is we who are weaker if we get all angry and have to have some high and mighty execution. The world is a complex, constantly changing place, and one answer that may be right usually isn’t right for long. In the end, it’s thinking that your reasoning is correct that is likely the wrong choice.

  65. 65 Roberto
    November 18, 2008 at 19:24

    RE “” If capital punishment works so well, why does Texas still have crime? “”

    ——— Do pay attention. Only supreme court vetted capital murder convictions with proscribed death penalty are carried out.

    If not having the death penalty works so well, why does every other place in the US have crime of varied levels?

    You see, asking rhetorical questions is not a valid discussion.

  66. 66 Donald- Oregon, USA
    November 18, 2008 at 19:24

    There is always a problem of escalation when there is the death penalty involved. A criminal will run harder, fight more, and do everything they can to escape if they know they face execution when captured.

  67. 67 phaedra
    November 18, 2008 at 19:24

    People who kill people have no regard for life…including their own. So its logical that a death penalty can never be a deterrant. The killers are already disturbed for one reason another-better to address the problems at the source. But execution is easier than rehab or child development classes, and its a great way to get revenge. I say keep abortion safe and legal and a choice for each woman, teach child rearing skills to the uneducated masses, and we can maybe stop murder at the source. Thanks to your brilliant guest who is against the death penalty. Texas sucks.

  68. 68 Sheila
    November 18, 2008 at 19:24

    Hi Ros,

    Why are the most vociferous defenders of the death penalty also the most vigorous anti-abortion campaigners? If you are are going to be consistent then all human life is sacrosanct.

  69. 69 John
    November 18, 2008 at 19:27

    I know of situations where people have committed murder and served their sentence and are back on the streets in fact a close friend of mine pointed out that her younger brother’s murderer now back on the streets now lives within 3 blocks of her Mother and said they have seen him at the grocery store in the neighborhood!

    He was guilty of killing her brother and sentenced but due to her mothers grief she did not have the energy to go to the parole hearings to let her feelings be known that he should not get out on parole-his execution would have prevented given her closure and she would certainly not see him walking around her neighborhood alive and free unlike her son!!!

  70. 70 Bryce Ramsey
    November 18, 2008 at 19:27

    The death penalty is not right! It is illegal to kill people in our society. That is a stone cold fact. The nature of the killing is not important. It it not ok to kill people.
    As far as the death penalty goes, it is still the taking of a life. It has been written down long ago that taking a life is not the duty of men. Should a victim need revenge it is that persons duty to go above the law and do the killing. It is never the duty of a government designed to preserve life to take a life.
    In Texas the only person who has the power to stop the killing of a prisoner is the Governor of Texas. During the tenure of G. W. Bush he refused to stop the killing of all prisoners condemned to die. It was not because the people didn’t want to stop the murders it was simply because the Governor preferred to see those men die at the hands of his own government. The killers blood is on his hands. The Jury only found the defendants guilty of murder. They did not advocate for his death in the deliberation room.
    The Death penalty is as wrong as any killing. Who gave these judges the power to take life, yet the Killers of the world needed no authority to take a life. Where is the balance of power there? Who is done justice by the taking of a life. Perhaps we should allow suicide in prisons. We would not taking lives and the prisoners could apply justice to themselves.

  71. November 18, 2008 at 19:28

    What I meant was, we should stop looking at it as a preventative, or as ‘vengeance’ for the family. We should be looking at it more broadly, and figuring out how the individual is affecting society as a whole.

    Why sustain someone who disrespects and damages society?

  72. 72 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 19:28

    Didn’t that Life of David Gale movie take place in Texas? Pretty on point with the topic of today.

  73. 73 Anthony
    November 18, 2008 at 19:29

    If Saddam and terrorists can be given the death penalty, then why can’t evil murderers in the U.S. be???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  74. 74 Bruce Sickles, Falls City, Oregon
    November 18, 2008 at 19:29

    It is natural for a relative of a victim to wish to strike out and death would be the expected retaliation but should we not consider that someone in the troes of extreme grief are, in fact, temporarily insane.

    …not to mention anyone who condones death for another is not sane.

  75. 75 Jason Maurer in Portland Oregon
    November 18, 2008 at 19:29

    How can capital punishment send a message that “human life is precious” when its very purpose is to end human life?

  76. 76 David
    November 18, 2008 at 19:29

    Since he is advocating state sponsored murder, does he also advocate, if a jury so says, maiming and torture if convicted?

    Also, would he support death of the convicted at the hands of the victim in the manner the victim was harmed. In other words, if a family member is murdered a member of that family must murder the convicted in the same manner as the crime?

    Finally, let’s remember this man is advocating a State law (or set of laws) that murders the mentally disabled.

    The plain fact of the matter is that there are no statistics whatsoever that support the notion the death penalty effectively deters crime.

  77. 77 Natalie
    November 18, 2008 at 19:30

    Shouldnt people try and focus more on rehabilitation? And if that doesnt work, maybe solitary confinement. Here in kenya some of the jails have physical punishment like being beaten or whipped everyday of your sentence. Killing them ( criminals) doesnt really make them pay. . . . And by the way their is some talk of castrating convicted rapists. . . .

  78. 78 Mohammud, Ethiopia
    November 18, 2008 at 19:30

    I think we cannot universally rule-out capital punishment all in all – be it in State system, religious or cultural. In parts of the world where prison is, sometimes, better than the normal life, life imprisonment do not simply work. I remember a case in Ethiopia where, in a locality, the state law failed to deter the slaughter happening in that locality. Finally, traditional elders declare that any one who kill another will himself be killed (executed) and over just few months, homicide has dramatically fallen.

  79. 79 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 19:30

    @ Sheila

    I don’t understand why anti abortion people tend to be pro death penalty, as I think both are wrong. However, if someone is more worthy of life, it would be an innocent child over someone who murdered someone else.

  80. 80 Nicole
    November 18, 2008 at 19:32

    I think it’s interesting that many of the people who support the death penalty are also the supposed pro-lifers. Isn’t cherry-picking who should live or die is sort of like playing God? Who really has the right to do that? We can decide who loses the priviledge to live in our society, but to kill them? That seems like a right no one should have. Killing people to show other people that killing people is wrong just makes no sense to me.

    Nicole in Austin

  81. November 18, 2008 at 19:33

    May I respectfully ask one of the death penalty advocates their thoughts on the executed prisoners who have been proven innocent after the fact.

  82. 82 Kathy in Austin
    November 18, 2008 at 19:33

    I have a question for any person who is deciding if they support capitol punishment:

    Would you be willing to stand in the room and pull the switch/ administer the lethal injection/ or do whatever the form of capitol punishment calls for to actually deliver death?

    I can not fathom doing that, yet my state does it in my name. It is no different than having me do the killing, and because of that, I abhor the death penalty.

  83. 83 Oregon girl
    November 18, 2008 at 19:34

    I have a family friend whose son is in prison for life without parole for doing a heinous crime. He committed the crime at the age of 20. He will NEVER get out, and will spend 50-60 years in prison. ..and that is as it should be.

    I work with someone whose pregnant wife was brutally murdered. Because of my friend’s testimony and work, the murderer was taken off death row, and will spend the rest of his life in jail.

    Looking from both sides of murder…it is hard to see how adding another death to those tragedies would improve the outcome.

  84. 84 Dan
    November 18, 2008 at 19:35

    I love all the bleeding hearts that cite unnamed studies or say that there never has been a study. What ever happened to common sense? Must someone always have a “study” to justify their existence?
    No system is perfect and innocent people will be executed. The world is not perfect and if people are looking for perfection perhaps they need to get on board the next flight off the planet.
    Letting a murderer live in luxury on Death Row for decades is Justice denied and torture to the families of the victims. I guess to the bleeding hearts they do not count.
    Lastly the victim deserves justice.
    What is disturbing is that most arguments from otherwise thoughtful WHYS people is bumper sticker arguments.

  85. 85 Venessa
    November 18, 2008 at 19:35

    Anthony ~

    It’s okay to ask. That’s where I struggle. The very emotional side of me feels like I would flip the swicht but there is another part of me that doesn’t think I could. However, that doesn’t change my belief that these men deserve to die and quite honestly it’s more humane to flip a switch or give them an injection compared to what they did to my father.

    I’ll add that my support for the death penalty has nothing to do with deterring crime. It has to do with the fact that these murderers devalued someone else’s life enough to take it and in my opinion they forfeit any fair treatment or consideration of their own lives. They could get beaten everyday by other prison inmates and I would have zero sympathy. When they do die it will not be soon enough. The fact that they would cease to exist when they die gives me great comfort. They can’t hurt anyone ever again. Some acts are so deplorable that no one should receive a second chance.

  86. 86 MeanMachine
    November 18, 2008 at 19:35

    Before this question can be answered, I believe, another question must be addressed. The effectiveness of the process. The degree or likelihood of an innoncent person being sentenced to and actually excuted. Also a high level of guilt must be established not just a guilty decision. Until and unless this program is effectively addressed the execution of citizens should not be used. Society must openly take responsibility for the percentage and number of people executed who were not guilty and society will address such mistakes. I do not support life in prison without parole or warehousing people. Society should not have the financial burden of supporting people in prison.

  87. November 18, 2008 at 19:36

    Being “proud” the the state that you live in executes people shows us around the world what the citizens of Texas are like at heart.

  88. 88 Jonathan
    November 18, 2008 at 19:36

    Because it doesn’t deter crime, the death penalty serves no useful purpose, and brutalizes the society that permits it.

    San Francisco

  89. 89 david hewett
    November 18, 2008 at 19:36

    What part of thou shalt not kill did you miss? It amazes me that a nation of so called christians can support the death penalty or be upset about helping the poor.Your hypocracy is seen world-wide.

  90. 90 Derek
    November 18, 2008 at 19:37

    I went to law school in CA and was very interested to see whether the implementation of the death penalty actually deters crime. Unfortunately, attempts to quantify the effectiveness are complicated due not only to the multitude of variables, but also to the politics behind each side, particular, I find, from the side opposing the death penalty. I have an inclination to oppose the death penalty, based purely on religious beliefs, but I would support the death penalty if it were shown that the it saved innocent lives. This is a typical Augustinian position, and not trivial as some of the opponents of the death penalty above seem to imply. If one is able to prevent the taking of innocent lives, but chooses not to, based merely on an opposition to violence or something illogical, there is a moral culpability.

  91. 91 Susan in Kabul
    November 18, 2008 at 19:38

    I have very little trust in police, district attorneys, juries and judges to dispense justice fairly. I used to work in a death penalty appeal legal office in Louisiana, USA in the late 1980’s.

    One of the main aspects of the injustice there was the racism of the Louisiana (in)justice system. There were blacks and whites who were prisoners on death row. However, almost all of their victims were white. The racism was that the justice system often didn’t bother to prosecute if victims were black–they placed less value on black victims.

    There were a couple of the prisoners in Louisiana who were Vietnam war veterans who came back to the US emotionally damaged or addicted to drugs. I wonder when Afghanistan or Iraq veterans who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will start to appear in the US criminal justice system?

    I don’t believe that taking a person’s life gives any justice to the victims of crimes or helps society to heal and have good relationships.

  92. 92 David
    November 18, 2008 at 19:38

    And a jury have NEVER been wring have they?

  93. 93 Stuart Austen
    November 18, 2008 at 19:38

    My attention was brought last weekend to the upsetting case of Teena Brandon, who was beaten, raped, stabbed and shot in 1993, by the film `Boys Don´t Cry´.
    She was somebody who only wanted acceptance and love, and was brutally murdered. Her killer John Lotter is currently appealing against his death sentence. I hope whoever decides his fate will not forget Teena´s suffering, and the 2 other innocent victims he killed. What I don´t inderstand is why he´s still alive.

  94. 94 david hewett
    November 18, 2008 at 19:38

    P.S. If only we would practice what we preach…

  95. 95 Avi
    November 18, 2008 at 19:38

    We must show the highest respect to life with disregard to how horrific crime was committed and never execute someone, this will send the strongest message to all.

  96. November 18, 2008 at 19:39

    Why you do not have a murder victim survivor who supports the death penelty on the air?

  97. 97 Brett
    November 18, 2008 at 19:39

    So what do all those have to say who have been claiming that you don’t want your tax dollars wasted to keep someone alive? When even more of those same tax dollars you are so concerned about are wasted killing them?

    Or are you ok funding the killing of someone you feel should be denied the right to live, and feel its a justifiable [higher] cost?

    Just a question.

  98. 98 Venessa
    November 18, 2008 at 19:40

    Sheila ~

    I am pro-choice too. Not everyone struggles with that dichotomy

  99. 99 Tom D Ford
    November 18, 2008 at 19:40

    An eye for an eye. Wasn’t that the Code of Hammurabi?

    This Rusty Hubbarth character really is living in the past.

    Don’t we have thousands of years of learning about laws and justice since Hammurabi?

  100. 100 Nikitas
    November 18, 2008 at 19:41

    What about the media’s role in the death penalty? Should someone’s execution be televised state or nationwide? I certainly do not think so. The American media are likely to take an execution and turn into ratings. Isn’t any individual entitled to a private death, seeing as their paying the ultimate price. Not only is this person condemned to death but also made to suffer publically. Their personal story to be exposed to the American public. I remember being a young lad in British Columbia Canada and following the execution of a man in Washington state. I did not understand the story all that much but I remember being traumatized by the media coverage of it and not understanding it. Laws of course in Canada restrict the public access of legal actions such as this but a large part of public television in Canada is broadcast from the USA.

  101. November 18, 2008 at 19:41

    I haven’t heard anyone yet mention that we ought really to be talking about the CAUSES of the crimes for which some people believe capital punishment appropriate – as with many of the aspects of the living in the west, if we were spending the same amount of money on education and an effective medical system as we (USA) do on the prison system, we would greatly reduce the desperation and ignorance, not to mention mental health issues that lead to terrible crimes, thereby actually reducing (or perhaps, dare I say it?) eradicating the ‘need’ for capital punishment.
    It’s an example of treating the symptom rather than the cause.

  102. 102 Timijin
    November 18, 2008 at 19:41

    I personally support the death penalty for the proven beyond a reasonable doubt commission of heinous crimes. However, I do not support the unequal enforcement of the law in this regard! When we see the socio-economically privileged get “preferential treatment, members of the justice system suppress evidence, fail to follow-up on leads, ignore information contradictory to their biased beliefs about who is guilty and the like, it is extremely difficult to simply support the death penalty w/o considerable reform! People who take a life w/ premeditation or in the commission of a crime should be publicly executed with extreme prejudice. An animal who kills a person is immediately hunted and killed. After their day in court, two-legged animals should receive the same fate! Coddeling is not a deterant.

  103. 103 Dan
    November 18, 2008 at 19:42

    @david hewett

    The CORRECT translation is “Thou shalt not MURDER”

  104. 104 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 19:42

    @ Portlandmike

    I would be more proud of a state with a death penalty than a town like Portland where half the kids have needles hanging out of their arms on the street.

  105. 105 Anthony
    November 18, 2008 at 19:42

    @ cost of death penalty

    It’s only that expensive because OUR SYSTEM MAKES IT THAT WAY. Those on death row, which is much more expensive than regular convicts, because thats how our system is set up. Forget being on death row for decades, KILL THEM ASAP!!! That way it will be an expensive trial, but thats it!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  106. 106 Joshua
    November 18, 2008 at 19:43

    Another fact to consider is no system is perfect!! And this is no different with cases where the death punishment is an option in a justice system!! what i would say is that the system must be more prudent so as to avoid instances where an innocent person is sentenced to death!!
    the whole point is that justice must be administered!!

  107. 107 Sigursteinn Nordfjord - Iceland
    November 18, 2008 at 19:43

    When I hear the advocates of capital punishment talk about it as being justice, it seems to me that they have replaced the word revenge with justice. If a civilian commits murder out of revenge, he is punished. So is it okay if a justice system does the same?

  108. November 18, 2008 at 19:46

    If the family of the victim has a say in the penalty, they become targets for revenge if they decide for execution.

  109. 109 Brett
    November 18, 2008 at 19:48

    To the advocate for the death penalty (host)

    “Take care of that problem” And “Take care of the people on death row”

    Wow, what a high regard for human life.
    Feel free to come back with a “Well they started it with their actions” response…

  110. 110 David
    November 18, 2008 at 19:48

    Jeeze. We have a problem of overcrowding in our prisons- not of people on death row. Nice conflation of facts there.

    This is the type of person that ‘there is no talking to’.

    San Francisco

  111. 111 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 19:49

    Your anti death penalty guest was being a hypocrite. The pro-death penalty guest mentioned some person from 10 years ago who was released, and she criticized him for mentioning a case from 10 years ago, and not today, but she mentions cases I read about incompetent attorneys that I read in law school 7 years ago, and were years old when I read them!

  112. 112 Tom D Ford
    November 18, 2008 at 19:52

    Boy, you sure have to wonder about someone who is so enthusiastic about killing people; I wonder what can slake Hubbarths’ thirst for killing people.

    Let him be the executioner?

    What would fulfill him?

  113. 113 Letourneau Mathieu
    November 18, 2008 at 19:53

    I’m french, and there is no capital punishment since the 70’s.

    Because there is no sense to resolve violence by violence ??

  114. 114 Addy in Liberia
    November 18, 2008 at 19:53

    Hello.I strongly believe the most EQUITABLE judicial response ever to murderers,is the death penalty.

  115. 115 Mohammed Ali - Shanghai
    November 18, 2008 at 19:54

    Hi Ros,
    I was a regular contributor to WHYS before coming to China and since then I haven’t been able to contribute because of obvious reasons.

    I think this is a very interesting topic that will obviously generate a lot of interest from those who oppose the capital punishment and those support it.

    When we all take into consideration that LIFE is PRECIOUS and is worth living, we come to the conclusion that no one has the right take the life of another person for no apparent reason.If hooligans, gangsters, barbaric and wicked individuals go about murdering innocent people, I think they deserve execution by the law.

    On the other hand, I don’t think people should be executed for crimes like adultery, fornication, etc. as it is been done in other countries. Death penalty should be metted against those who murder innocent people.

  116. 116 Zack - USA
    November 18, 2008 at 19:55

    Let’s be fair: We should only have capital punishment
    if our political leaders and police are held responsible for the lives lost because of their decisions. I mean, if we want to remove highly dangerous people from the gene pool, shouldn’t that include the West’s war criminals and criminal cops? This is not the state of affairs now.

  117. 117 Joshua, Uganda
    November 18, 2008 at 19:56

    this is the law of the Land: what you sow is what you reap! in the world the justice system demand an eye for an eye…. so i think its that God gives those on the jury the right to pass judgment, even the death penalty

  118. 118 Ashim
    November 18, 2008 at 19:56

    I don’t believe in capital punishment. But people who are burden to the humans should be eradicated. Who shold be punished and who made the law should be difined properly and the people who are facing capital punishment should get a second chance before they are send on a green mile. Americans are the leaders and the arabs follows them about the capital punishment. Just yesterday i hard that there were almost 70 capital punishment in the state of Texas only. Are these people really deserve that i am not sure about it. in my country, we have live behind the bar. That is the true punishment for an offender for the justice. But who will fill the bill to keep these people in the cell for their entire life that is why they rather kill them then to keep them alive from the tax payer’s money. But i think every one deserve a second chance and only the last option should be capital punishment.

  119. November 18, 2008 at 19:56

    I support the death penalty.

    The death penalty is there to punish to criminals and that’s that.

    No questions asked.

    As for the issue about the criminals’ family grieving for the death, that is not a problem. The criminals are punished once more, now they understand with their own death how the victims’ family feel, seeing their own family as such.

    Here in Singapore we have very strict laws and it is there to keep order, and till now it is still very peaceful.

    Imagine if a country don’t utilize capital punishment. The criminals must be thinking, “Oh, I’m not going to die for it anyway. I’ll just kill him anyway.”

  120. 120 Kwabena
    November 18, 2008 at 19:57

    A support capital punishment for crimes such as armed robbery, murder and terrorism. If these sentences are often carried out i think our world would be safer.

  121. 121 Denise - San Francisco
    November 18, 2008 at 19:57

    Killing by anyone is barbaric and I don’t want to have my state or country to kill in my name.

    Killing does not solve any problems or bring back victims.

  122. 122 Luke
    November 18, 2008 at 19:58

    even the staunch conservatives in the united states should oppose capital punishment, as it costs more to pursue a capital punishment case than it does to keep a prisoner in jail for the rest of their natural life! documentation here:

  123. 123 Phil - Sandusky, Ohio USA
    November 18, 2008 at 19:58

    Are they pro life? 9 times out of 10 they are which counters their principles.

  124. 124 Herminio
    November 18, 2008 at 19:58

    Hello fron Spain.
    Above all, The State, The Nation, can not kill to its own citicens, never.

  125. 125 J in Portland
    November 18, 2008 at 19:58

    Thanks for another great show…….good job WHYS

  126. 126 EE Weiss, Larkspur CA
    November 18, 2008 at 20:00

    Since the Innocence Project – DNA testing – has started, +/-75 people have been found innocent in the United States. How can you justify killing innocent people? The court system is not perfect. It will make mistakes, and you cannot correct an execution

  127. 127 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 20:04

    @ Susanna

    The causes of crime? I don’t know. Perhaps greed? I can’t tell you about how many people I have read about being killed in Washington, DC over the years for their shoes, their coats, etc.. They see something they want, and kill the person who has it.

  128. 128 Bryce Ramsey
    November 18, 2008 at 20:05

    To think that a killer or any person who is locked away for life is useless to society is total bullshit. In most cases the individuals have proved that they are incapable of living within society. However living in a cage is not in society. Given that the society is safer once the dangerous individual is removed from it that is the end of the story. Once safety is established, in the particular case, the need to take a life is gone. The individual now condemned to live in a cage full of criminals has his own soul to concern himself with. Boethius was condemned to die and he gave us a brilliant philosophical work. He is not alone. The ability of a killer to restore his usefulness to society is an event, although rare, that cannot be ignored. Why should we still the mind of a killer or any criminal, when the prisoners works or story my provide some enrichment to the lives of others. Reform is impossible when dealing with the dead, and our society can use all the enrichment it can get. Murder has none of the qualities that improve the lives of others.

    What other prisoners have restored their value to society as a result of incarceration?

  129. 129 Nicholas
    November 18, 2008 at 20:06

    Welcome to the Wild West. I believe that the State/Govt. has no authority to execute murderers and other criminals. We had a common law tradition based on “Juris Naturalism” which recognized a Higher Law which all men were expected to obey. This may be expressed in the two laws: “Do all you have agreed to do.” and “Do not encroach on other persons or their property.”

    Murderers when convicted were asked to choose between making reparations or becoming outlaws. An outlaw could be killed like an animal or enslaved at the whim of their victims. There were no Police or Prisons. The State was miniscule and there were virtually no taxes. If a bounty hunter got the wrong guy he could face the same doom- Reparations or Outlawry. There were very few murderers but they made a big splash in the press. Today almost any big city has many more and much worse criminals than the Wild West variety. For Juris Naturalism remember the Nuremberg Trials.

    On the Abortion issue William Blackstone- in his Commentaries on the Laws of England referenced ancient Law establishing personhood at the Quickening in the Womb of the mother. Abortion was then Homicide or Manslaughter.

    Will Obama end the Torture Camps/Rendition and the US Foreign Policy of Genocide?… or will we see the Totalitarian Ratchet Effect like most other transitions?

  130. 130 Charlie Bradley
    November 18, 2008 at 20:06

    Those who are in favor of the death penalty have to ask themselves whether or not they believe in God. Anyone who truly believes in God would not support capital punishment. The death penalty is a reaction of anger which leads to revenge. The taking of human life for any reason is wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right. Victims of violent crime who are appeased when the accused/convicted are put to death will probably never get over there anger and remorse.

  131. November 18, 2008 at 20:07

    In general, capital punishment is a very difficult punishment and emotional situation regardless of what side you are on. As I have said before on this blog, I am not against the death penalty, BUT am far from being pro-capital punishment, BUT would not vote to abolish it, BUT it should be applied cautiously SINCE our criminal justice system is very bias towards specific groups of people as the statistics show.

    To answer the question:
    Yes, I’d recommend other countries support capital punishment, specifically, Austria. If there was ever a person who deserved the death penalty, it’s Josef Fritzl–the Austria man who raped his daughter and kept her as a sex slave for 24 years.

  132. 132 Steve
    November 18, 2008 at 20:21

    @ Jessica

    Don’t you believe in “proportionality” when it comes to crime? He may have held his daughter captive and had sex with her, for 24 years, but she’s still alive. To kill him for that would be excessive. You should only have the death penalty for murder. Life in prison for everything else that is heinous.

  133. 133 David
    November 18, 2008 at 20:22


    The simple question here is what would that accomplish? Would it correct the mental anguish of the woman? Would killing him erase the actions?

    This man was also very obviously unstable- would killing him prevent other people from having mental instability?

    The answer to all is no. It does not solve the problem and it does not help the victim in any way. Take the money used to kill him and actually *help* the woman.

  134. 134 Roberto
    November 18, 2008 at 20:27

    Rusty actually admitted to a fact that could be the best argument against the death penalty.

    IE that it is primarily applied to the poor who cannot afford good lawyers. It ain’t justice if it’s for sale.

    The anti-death penalty lady made some good points, but she hysterically accused the application of the death penalty of being racist when the stats in Texas don’t support her.

    I also noticed the anti death penalty advocates failed to bring up another salient point, the death by injection has proven to be inhumane, unreliable, and cause suffering, a good reason not to support the current system.

    You’d think they would at least advocate death by firing squad as the quickest, most humane method of execution, but then all the anti gun nuts would have a spontaneous infarction if that happened.

  135. 135 Frank Hartry
    November 18, 2008 at 20:45

    I am from Amanzimtoti South Africa..

    During the apartheid era i was totally against the death penalty but now, as with most South Aficans of all races, i want it re- introduced. In South Africa there are on average 19000 murders a year. Killers, if caught are given as little as 15 years with remission, for murder during a robbery and the same punisment if just the robbery is carried out. It does not make sense. South Africa is surrounded by neighbouring countries that does have the death penalty. ie Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Albeit the first three countries rarely uses the death penalty option, but it is still in place and the criminals fear it. All of these countries are safer to live than in South Africa. That is one reason why the criminals from those countries flock to the safety of South Africa to committ their crimes, Even Zimbabwe has very little actual crime. Botswana is the safest country in Africa and does not hesitate to use the death penalty for murderers. There in Botswana is an example of the death penalty being a deterrent. Of the 53 countries in Africa, as many as 40 have the death penalty in place. The 13 that do not have the death penalty, have the worst crime, headed by South Africa. Why did i change my mind and now want the death penalty. Five years ago, two men walked into a gay club in Cape Town and at gun point tied up 10 gay men and pushed them on the floor. They then, one by one slit the throats of all ten helpless victims. Each one hearing the next one screaming as he was killed and knowing that he was next. One man survived to tell the police and the murderers were arrested. Each received ten life sentences which to me was not enough for their horrific crimes. they should have been hanged as far as i am concerned and not enjoy three meals, free medical and television all day in comfortable prison cells.

  136. 136 selena in Canada
    November 18, 2008 at 20:56

    It is inconceivable that one can be anti-Death Penalty yet Pro-abortion.
    The two positions are mutually exclusive.

    Doesn’t the same thing apply to pro-death penalty and anti-abortion?

  137. 137 Frank Hartry - South Africa
    November 18, 2008 at 21:16

    Reading some of the comments i can see that many people would not have even wanted Ted Bundy to have been put to death in the electric chair, even if he did murder over 200 young women, as finally admitted by him. In those days of 1979, the whole world wanted Bundy to burn. Not now apparently.
    In one of our major cities Pretoria last night, two burglars broke into a house and hacked two women to death because they were unable to tell the killers where there was more money in the house. Typically, the killers have not been arrested and will definitely kill again. There is no deterent in South Africa not to.
    Murder of this kind are a daily occurence in South Africa. To hyjack a vehicle, a common crime here, the hyjacker will shoot the victim first, pull him or her out of the vehicle and drive off. Most such victims are killed in their home driveways this way. The syndicate head will tell the hyjackers what make of vehicle he needs, the hyjackers will look for the particular vehicle, follow the victim home and kill. 15 years jail if caught, Millions of South Africans are starving and these killers live in comparitive luxury in jail for a few years. Killers should be hanged,

  138. 138 Val Collins
    November 18, 2008 at 21:28

    Im living in Austin for the past 3 years and my heart shudders when an execution makes only the 3rd spot on the news .. thats not a deterrent.

    In my mind capital punishment is used as a cost effective method for the government to manage criminals .. to put my view simply .. if they are guilty they should rot in prison for the rest of their days .. if they are innocent they will have possible opportunities for justice to come to them.

    end of ..

  139. 139 Josh
    November 18, 2008 at 21:42

    “Why aren’t countries that practice capital punishment among the safest places on earth?”

    Why is Mexico, a country that bans all firearms, one of the most dangerous places to visit? That kind of argument doesn’t work.

  140. 140 Josh
    November 18, 2008 at 21:48

    “I think it’s interesting that many of the people who support the death penalty are also the supposed pro-lifers. Isn’t cherry-picking who should live or die is sort of like playing God? Who really has the right to do that? We can decide who loses the priviledge to live in our society, but to kill them? That seems like a right no one should have. Killing people to show other people that killing people is wrong just makes no sense to me.”

    Do you also think it’s interesting that people might be able to differentiate between someone who is judged guilty by a jury of their peers for a terrible crime and an unborn child?

  141. 141 Venessa
    November 18, 2008 at 22:18

    I keep thinking abut the death penalty not being a deterrent for crime in the US. How can it be if the accused has endless appeals lasting many years even if there is no doubt of their guilt and these criminals know it. You can’t measure it as a deterrent if it’s not actually used.

  142. 142 David L.
    November 18, 2008 at 22:38

    I used to oppose the death penalty but when I learned the Bali bombers had been shot I was actually very happy that the world had been rid of these thugs. A few good hangings would make every country in the world a better place. Take Yigal Amir. Thirteen years ago he murdered the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He has enjoyed a wonderful life in prison and even gets to vote in Israeli elections. Meanwhile, other extremists are busy endorsing murdering any Israeli politician who even offers out feelers of concessions to the Palestinians. I suspect that had Amir gone to the gallows the fear of God would have been put into the West Bank Settler Crowd i.e. “Kill a Politician Today, Swing tomorrow!”

    I would challenge my friends in South Africa to vote out the ANC and replace it with a government that is open to properly dealing with killers. The African Christian Democratic Party has no quams about exterminating miscreants.

  143. 143 steve
    November 19, 2008 at 02:49

    @ Vanessa

    That is due process. You have to have it. But it is true, if there were no due process, the death penalty would be a far more effective deterrent, because you would pretty much immediately get executed, whereas at takes 10-15 years on average to get executed here. I think in a totalitarian state, without due process, it would be a very effective deterrent, but not in a free society that has due process.

  144. 144 Venessa
    November 19, 2008 at 06:15

    Steve ~

    I understand that part and completely agree that there should be due process. We are also talking about an imperfect system. Certainly some things are done quite inefficiently lending to the extended period of time it takes. And that goes for innocent people wrongly convicted. They are stuck in prison even longer because they can’t get through the due process. How is that fair to them? Why does it have to take 10-15 years, especially for those wrongly accused?

  145. 145 roebert
    November 19, 2008 at 06:33

    and…please…let’s try to extend the anti-death penalty sentiments to our friends and near-relations, the animals. Usually their only crime is that we find them edible.

  146. November 19, 2008 at 08:21

    Steve~ You say

    I would be more proud of a state with a death penalty than a town like Portland where half the kids have needles hanging out of their arms on the street.”

    That is a quite an exaggeration Steve.

  147. November 19, 2008 at 10:40

    capital punishment is just a revenge carried out when the offender is aware of it.not an ambush.


  148. 148 Yoshiteru Yanagita
    November 19, 2008 at 15:41

    Japan is one of the two developed countries which haven’t abolished death peanalty yet.Just as the current Japanese minister of leagal affairs said the other day,as for Japan,I also feel there is no need for Japan to abolish the extreme punishment,judging from the several cultural factors and its people’s character.To the contrary,I think Japan can get no benefit from abolishing the peanalty now.

  149. 149 Joe Farrington
    November 19, 2008 at 19:02

    I live in Guatemala, where we have capital punishment in effect. I think that all views a relative to the reality of which we live in. Here we have a judicial system in shambles and the prison system is runned by the inmates, in there we have the most barbaric people who have been convicted of horrible crimes and sentenced to death, sentence that is not carried out because the systemic weaknes of our goverment. Those criminals eventhough in jail are active and commiting the same horrible crimes by proxy, that they were convicted for, with the irony that I as a taxpayer pay for his food, healthcare and advanced studies in criminal activities.
    I donn’t know about you but the death sentence sounds good to me.

  150. 150 Bruce Sickles, Falls City, Oregon
    November 19, 2008 at 19:03

    I pesonally feel that the prison system is the problem. I have stated, unequivically that I oppose the death penalty but, I have no problem with the Pilgram’s solution. It seems to me the stocks were a very good deterrent.

    Of course I would apply the same punishment to anyone who caused someone to be punished falsely.

  151. 151 Frank Hartry - South Africa
    November 20, 2008 at 07:32

    There should be a step up of punishment for crimes such as murder. ie if a killer deliberately murders one person then he or she could well receive inprisonment for the crime. However, if he or she becomes a serial killer like Harold Shipman, the death penalty is surely justified as a punishment. Otherwise a serial killer will feel that if he is going to receive inprisonment for killing one victim, he may as well kill more until caught. The death penalty must mainly be seen as a punishment, as well as a deterrent.

  152. 152 natalie sara
    November 20, 2008 at 16:43

    my country has the death penalty for drug trafficking/ the misuse of drugs. my overseas friends find it terribly amusing, but there’s absolutely no law breaking here thanks to capital punishment. only the ignorant would go against such a law.

  153. November 20, 2008 at 16:58

    Capitalpunishment was invented,to SILENCE rebel CRITICS(Greece/Syracuse-Raid 413bcC.Silenced HYBRIS-whitnesses
    Only unimportend rebels were assigned to labour-camps!
    EXAMPLE, SADDAM HUSSEIN,was beheadded against his will!
    As-incumbent-‘CALIPH of Baghdad’he could abolish Dead-
    Penalty, so why didn’t he think of it,to save himself??
    Sincerely ” Prof.” MUSTER,Tech Univ.Delft-Holland 20Nov

  154. 154 Susanne
    November 21, 2008 at 12:47

    I am against capital punishment (1) because no human has the right to take the life of another, and (2) because NO person with the MONEY to hire actual defense lawyers gets it, but only POOR people who get free, so underpaid and overworked trainees to (not) defend them. Consequently, as Bob in Queensland points out above, innocent people are executed while the offender walks free. Bob also asks about statistics on effectiveness, just like Tom from Melbourne suggests: “Why aren’t countries that practice capital punishment among the safest places on earth?” Capital punishment DOESN’T WORK.

  155. 155 Emile Barre
    November 23, 2008 at 15:34

    Capital punishment treats the symptoms of the disease not the cause. Similarly, I understand AZT is helpful to Aids sufferers.

  156. 156 Dukinaldo
    December 1, 2008 at 13:27

    I just can’t happen to understand how can A state-constitution take a life from someone, they should prevent killings, treat killers try to help them (I agree with life imprisionment). I see capital punishment as a complete B.S that helps no one and does no good to society and it is pure revenge. It is like eye for an eye, but believe me you can never revenge someone ever, and people who do it are selfish and they do not do it for their loved ones but forthemselves. to make themselves feel good and not to bring the justice to the victim. I know how does it feel to want revenge. My father was killed by someone who came in the bar and killed him with a gun. And this person payed the price but it was not up to me to punish him (no matter how much I hate him) it was up to the people and society. Now he serves two life imprisionments, and I believe he would have turned time back and never do it. If they killed him he would have never felt sorry for what he did, he wouldn’t have time to think about what he did to my family, by taking father from me my back then 1 year old sister and my 12 years old sister back then.

  157. 157 Sharon
    May 12, 2009 at 10:58

    For all of those in favour of severe infliction of retribution, punishment and deterrence for committing capital crime, might like to look at the severe justice method meted out in this prison video. (the video is viewable at LiveLeak.com. Malaysian caning)

    It has been suggested that if this type of punishment was carried out on a regular basis throughout a preset term of imprisonment that included regular corporal punishment; it would serve as an equally (or more severe) alternative measure to capital punishment.

    It has been argued that in the event of a wrongful conviction, the prisoner will obviously have suffered unnecessarily, but at least been spared the irreversible result of having been executed.

    It has also been suggested as alternative to prolonged suffering by this method of punishment; that in the event of a 100% proof and initial admission of guilt the prisoner should also have the means of judicial appeal after a set period of time and can always request to be executed instead.

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