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Thread: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

  1. #61
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Again, I think the comparison is supposed to be between the odds of being executed on death row and being killed in prison.

    There are 3,263 people on death row in the US. There were 37 people executed in 2008, which means that the odds of being executed on death row are [some number calculation/year/person/whatever]. Supposedly, that number is lower than [number of people in prison/number of people killed in prison/year/person/whatever].

    That's what I think the originator of that statement was going for.
    Ah, I see. I too have no idea what he was trying to prove with that statement, but at least it makes a bit more sense now.

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC
    I don't think you can count that cost like that, as you could say the same about the opportunity cost of spending that extra money on catching/incarcerating the additional murderers who otherwise would have been deterred from committing murder. Further, I doubt that a dozen studies all missed that relatively simple variable.
    Every dollar that law enforcement spends on X is one dollar less they can spend on Y. So let's assume that executing people (and the costs associated with that) prevents murders. This is not necessarily a sufficient argument for going down that path if there are other ways to spend that money that prevent MORE murders. There is a very strong negative correlation between police presence and crime, whereas the studies I've seen suggest a much weaker negative correlation between executions and crime.

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC
    I mean incontrovertible evidence as in 10 eyewitnesses to a guy who walked into a church and shot 5 people before being tackled and arrested. Situations where there is no argument for "you got the wrong guy."

    In those cases, I think the probability of getting it wrong is essentially nil.
    That would call for a standard of proof that is even stricter than "beyond a reasonable doubt." Since the justice system already essentially says that you're being unreasonable if you doubt the convict's guilt, I don't know what legally-enforceable standard of proof could possibly be stricter than that.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 08-28-09 at 03:06 AM.
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  2. #62
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Every dollar that law enforcement spends on X is one dollar less they can spend on Y. So let's assume that executing people (and the costs associated with that) prevents murders. This is not necessarily a sufficient argument for going down that path if there are other ways to spend that money that prevent MORE murders. There is a very strong negative correlation between police presence and crime, whereas the studies I've seen suggest a much weaker negative correlation between executions and crime.
    The numbers on this are very unclear, but let's use the 2m v. 1m claim that I've seen thrown around.

    You're pointing out that if we had that extra $1m to spend on enforcement, it would result in less crime. I'm arguing that the crime prevented by that extra $1m would be far less than the 3-18 murders that would be deterred by spending the extra $1m on the death penalty.

    I think the correlation is actually much stronger the other way around.

    That would call for a standard of proof that is even stricter than "beyond a reasonable doubt." Since the justice system already essentially says that you're being unreasonable if you doubt the convict's guilt, I don't know what standard of proof could possibly be stricter than that.
    It's possible - just call it "beyond all doubt." It doesn't sound like there's much room there, but I do think there is a clear difference between your average case of "we think he murdered her, all the evidence points to it, fry him" and "we know he murdered her, he was caught in the act by 3 cops, a judge, a priest, and ashton kutcher."
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    It's possible - just call it "beyond all doubt." It doesn't sound like there's much room there, but I do think there is a clear difference between your average case of "we think he murdered her, all the evidence points to it, fry him" and "we know he murdered her, he was caught in the act by 3 cops, a judge, a priest, and ashton kutcher."
    I don't see how that's any different than "beyond a reasonable doubt." An unreasonable person, by definition, could still doubt the person's guilt in your example.
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I don't see how that's any different than "beyond a reasonable doubt." An unreasonable person, by definition, could still doubt the person's guilt in your example.
    Because "beyond a reasonable doubt" doesn't mean "beyond all doubt."

    If you were presented with a murder case where the person being charged had been seen fighting with the victim earlier that night, had said "you'll get yours later," had the murder weapon discovered in his closet, and had no alibi, most people would vote to convict on the grounds that the person almost certainly did it.

    I'm envisioning a question posed to the jury (or judge) post-conviction that says "do you believe that there is any possible way that this person could be innocent of this crime?"

    I can see a reasonable person voting to convict and yet answering "yes" to that question. It's simply creating an additional tier of proof.
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Because "beyond a reasonable doubt" doesn't mean "beyond all doubt."
    It means that your doubts are unreasonable. Anyone can have unreasonable doubts regardless of the amount of evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC
    If you were presented with a murder case where the person being charged had been seen fighting with the victim earlier that night, had said "you'll get yours later," had the murder weapon discovered in his closet, and had no alibi, most people would vote to convict on the grounds that the person almost certainly did it.

    I'm envisioning a question posed to the jury (or judge) post-conviction that says "do you believe that there is any possible way that this person could be innocent of this crime?"

    I can see a reasonable person voting to convict and yet answering "yes" to that question. It's simply creating an additional tier of proof.
    At the very least, I think you'd need an entirely separate jury for that, for psychological reasons. How many jurors would honestly be willing to send someone to prison for the rest of their lives, and then claim they aren't 100% sure? Not very many.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 08-28-09 at 03:26 AM.
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    There's a debate, but as the article notes, According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. When a dozen independent studies all come to the same conclusion, I consider that pretty strong evidence in favor of something.

    I don't care if it's one or a hundred studies, there's not nearly enough evidence to make a positive conclusion. Do you not think I could find a dozen studies that come to the conclusion that the death penalty does not work? I am sure they are out there. Besides, all of the ones noted in this article come from research done by economists, and according to many, they are seriously flawed. That is what I take from reading the article in it's entirety.

    Now here is something for you to read. Twelve studies done by economists convinces you that the death does deter, but amongst experts, 88.2%--a resounding majoity--think it does not.

    The results reveal that most experts do not believe that the death penalty or the carrying out of executions serve as deterrents to murder, nor do they believe that existing empirical research supports the deterrence theory. In fact, the authors report that 88.2% of respondents do not think that the death penalty deters murder—a level of consensus comparable to the agreement among scientists regarding global climate change. At the same time, only 9.2% of surveyed experts indicated that they believed the death penalty results in a significant drop in murder cases (56.6% completely disagreed with that statement, while 32.9% thought the correlation between capital punishment and lower homicide numbers to be “largely inaccurate”; 1.3% were uncertain)

    A Clear Scientific Consensus that the Death Penalty does NOT Deter | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog
    Last edited by Middleground; 08-28-09 at 09:18 AM.
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