So, I was reading an article at CNN about the court holdings for J. Holmes and came across this nugget:

"Deciding whether to pursue the death penalty is a long process that involves input from victims and their relatives, said Chambers, adding that a capital case would require a finding of either extreme indifference or deliberation."

I haven't been one to follow death penalty cases, really, but this came a bit of a shock to me... I understand that for the families of victims of murder, the need for closure and a sense of justice, but at the same time, this procedure set off warning bells in my mind. If it's justice to be served, and not revenge, why should the families be consulted? If the death penalty is revenge and not justice, then it stands to be refined or eliminated.

The other part of this question begs what do we do with the perpetrators of such heinous crimes? Whether or not Holmes is found mentally and criminally insane, he is a danger to society. I know the gut reaction is to put him down like a lame horse, but when it comes to peoples' lives, even the ones who take the lives of others, isn't that the time to think clearly, with precision and without emotion?

I grew up in Texas, where the death penalty is a given. I never really made up my mind on it. It seems that too many innocent people have been killed under this system, but when you have someone who so obviously committed the crime, is it right to take his life--and if so, shouldn't it be without vengeance, done as a preventative measure for the safety of society (to ensure he cannot take another life)?

What do you all think about the death penalty, in general, as well as specific to this case? What should be done? And what do you think about families having a say as to whether the death penalty should be sought for the murderer of their loved ones?

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Replies to This Discussion

Sorry, here's a link to the article in question:

Colorado shooting suspect to return to court

I'm having computer problems, so I can't check that link right now, matter what the circumstances, I am opposed to the death penalty for many reasons.  The main two are the expense to the taxpayers (years and years of appeals, etc. for each case), and the possibility that an innocent person has been convicted by mistake or by malice. 

I recently read a short article that nearly 200 innocent people have been released from prison since DNA testing became reliable.  Not all of them were on Death Row, but even so....

IMO life without the possibility of parole is the only answer.  A killer should be placed in solitary, if possible, to give him or her the rest of their life to think about what they did, not only to their victims, but to the families and friends of the victims.

The buybull belters believe in the old Mosaic law, 'An eye for an eye, etc."  That's as barbaric as the rest of their holey book.  If we were to follow it to the letter, we would still be executing criminals by stoning them to death.  "Jesus" never said that was wrong, so....

I like your response sk8eycat and I feel similarly. There have been many mistakes in the justice system. I agree. DNA has exonerated many on death row.

 I'm opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances;it's use in places like Texas is nothing more than a "I'm tougher on crime than you" by politicians, Rick Perry is a prime example of this approach. One minute he's waving a bible the next he's signing a death warrant

As sk8eycat mentioned, the cost of keeping a prisoner on death row for years is never revealed to the taxpayers. The states which have repealed the death penalty, generally have done so because of the cost not because they might execute the wrong person.

As for families having a say whether the death penalty should be sought I have mixed feelings, at least allow them to make a victim impact statement.

It's been years, but I have seen cost comparisons between just keeping "lifers" in prison and the long string of additional legal motions, actions, appeals, and investigations when the death penalty is applied.  ALL paid for by us.  Room and board and lack of freedom for life is a lot less expensive.  (I think Texas has been different..."W" ordered more quick executions duriing his term as Gov. than anyone else in the history of the US.  I don't know if Rick Perry has "beat his record" yet, but it's shameful, no matter how you look at it.)

Whatever the penalty, I do believe that survivors and families, who are also victims IMO, should be able to face the perp after sentencing to tell the convict how his/her actions have damaged their lives.  But that should not have any effect on the actual sentence. 

But...then...I'm ambivalent on the subject.  Victims of rape and child abuse need to testify about the emotional damage done to them before any verdict or sentence is delivered. 

I read FFRF's "Black Collar Crime Blotter" every month, and I don't think child rapists are sentenced severely enough very often. Pedophiles apparently are never "cured," and should be locked up for life.  No matter what restrictions are put on them, the ones who are out on parole always go back to their old ways.  Just my opinion.

It's complicated.




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