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Old 11-29-2019, 03:52 PM
yourself yourself is offline
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People are not dogs. People can be reasoned with and are generally not foaming at the mouth mad all the time to the point that they are biting others.

I live in a state without a death penalty since Sacco and Vanzetti were executed for a crime they did not commit. Anti-anarchist and anti-Italian and anti-immigrant sentiment played a huge role in this. It is too easy to lock up innocent people. The more innocent people locked up, the number of innocent people sentenced to death increases.

I practiced in IL and Iowa for a number of years. Iowa has not had the death penalty since the early 1960’s. Before that, in the 1930’s, the inmates serving life petitioned the governor of the state on behalf of two death row inmates facing imminent execution. They noted that there were several hundred murderers among them, some with crimes more heinous than the two men facing death. Fairness would dictate that the men be resentenced to life. Of course this did not work, but it was interesting to note that the life inmates knew the injustice and arbitrary nature of the death penalty well enough and were passionate enough about it that they petitioned the governor.

In Illinois, it took around 20 exonerations to bring about a moratorium on the death penalty and the eventual removal of the death penalty from the law. Then gov. Ryan freed 3 people directly from death row in the process because of actual innocence. And it was in part about corrupt cops in a particular area who would beat confessions out of people. This is not limited to IL - there have been overturned death penalties in most jurisdictions due to things like a corrupt crime lab, bad policing, false confessions, corrupt psychologists offering opinions on future dangerousness, etc, etc, etc. at the same time, they executed John Wayne Gacy.

The Class of ‘72 is instructive - those were the men and women freed from Death Row when the Furman decision came down. They included people like Manson, as ell as your more ordinary murderer and a few rapists. Many were eventually released and there are a few books on the topic if you are truly interested, but the crux of it is that the vast majority of the Class of ‘72 never committed another act of violence. Only like 6 went on to murder again (one was a serial murderer who got out in Texas because Texas had an overcrowding problem and released a lot of people before they were ready).

Here's the other thing about the death penalty that is problematic - besides victimizing the family of the condemned, it victimizes the staff forced to carry out the executions. You should hear from some of the people who have come out of the system broken by their participation. Those folks and their families become victims when they participate in executions.

So, those who know me know about Shane. Before I was an attorney, when I was around 22, Shane came to live with me for a year, give or take, after his father's death when his mom could not cope. I liked the kid - he was gangly and goofy and had a good heart, but, about 10 years later, he killed a man, tried to kill his wife, and kidnapped their daughter, his former girlfriend. There is no doubt about his guilt. In the state where this occurred, had it been an election year, I am sure he would have faced death. Instead, he got LWOP +10 (+10 because there was a gun involved). He has been down around 20 years.

There are phases that a person goes through when they know that the only way they are getting out is through a toe tag parole. Most contemplate suicide. A lot get involved in addictions - blotting out the world with drugs. The key to living in prison for the rest of your life is to create a life in prison. There is plenty he is contributing while in prison, and since he is not a gang member or thinking about getting out, his attention is on where he is at and who he is with. Close friendships are possible in prison. Learning is possible. Finding a job and volunteer work is possible. Creating a life inside is possible.

And even with LWOP, there is still hope. Laws change. Clemency is possible. But, you need to work for it every day for a few decades.

Lining a person up to be shot? No. I have a friend whose brother was shot by the State of Utah. The trauma that man and his family have endured because of it? I would not wish that on anybody.
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