View Poll Results: What do you think of Capital Punishment?

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Thread: Capital Punishment

  1. #311
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kal'Stang View Post
    I'm assuming that the bold part there was in reference to the links I gave? Perhaps you didn't look at them close enough as there are European countries that are worse off than the US.

    All I can say is that you really need to start studying up on the problems that are going on over in European countries. Because if you think that they are more advanced than the US democratically...you have been drinking way too much kool-aid.
    I think you need to study European geopolitics a bit before you post such drivel. I have been very consistent in describing which countries should be compared for this purpose: advanced industrial countries with similar political and economic systems and history than the US. I specifically identified this as Western Europe and suggested that former communist countries were not comparable. This is clear as countries which are only relatively recently enjoying the benefits of liberal capitalist democracy are not comparable. The Baltic States and Poland for example were gangster states run by authoritarian regimes until the 1990s. Russia, which is of course European when it's major population centers are concerned, still has capital punishment and is still a gangster state.

    It's difficult to see how any misunderstanding could be other than obtuse and willful. The challenge to the USAs system of populist barbarism, when it comes to penal policy, is from an alternative liberal model that is practiced in Western Europe. In all those countries the murder rate is significantly below that of the USA. The countries in your survey who are worse than the USA, as I stated, are Latin American dictatorships or former communist countries.

    Don't get me wrong. The USA is of course on the whole a civilized country and no country in the world has it 100% right. But it is a country now whose penal system falls increasingly into disrepute. And it is clearly a system that doesn't deliver when compared to its peers. Many things in the USA are better than in Europe: the spirit of enterprise for example. But when clear evidence shows that the USAs performance on an issue can only be better than Columbia, South Africa, former USSR states and Poland, American nationalists just get blinded by a "my country right or wrong" myopia.

    The comparability is not based on a tribal rivalry between "Europe" (whatever that means) and America but on the basis of the hypothesis being proposed by me that those countries with well established democratic capitalist models and a more liberal penal policy, do better than the USA when it comes to "deterring" or preventing or avoiding violent crime. The hypothesis defines the comparable countries as Western European, not some silly adolescent Europe vs America rivalry.

    And your evidence proves my hypothesis to be correct.

    I don't know what you mean about the bold. I'm using the mobile application. As to studying Europe, I have been to and done business in nearly every European country (in West and East) and also the USA (many times) so your rudeness is misplaced. My arguments are not about American "democracy" but about penal policy which is one aspect of democracy ( concerned with individual rights and a particular portion of the social contract that liberal democracies have between governed and governments). You may choose to widen this discussion into a woolly mush of transatlantic name calling. My analysis is precise, focused and clear.

    You seek to widen the issue simplistically. On the wider issues of democracy and economic and political policy there is much that can be learned from each other, if chauvinist nationalists could ever see beyond their own blinkers.
    Last edited by Plato; 03-06-11 at 08:48 PM.
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  2. #312
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Why do you consider "former" communist countries not comparable? They're no longer communist so that no longer applies, and many of the former communist countries haven't been for years. Seems to me like you're just trying to ignore the evidence by narrowing the scope so small that you can't see the big picture.

    Next: Doing buisness in European countries and knowing how the court/penal system works are two totally different things. Not even comparable.

    So, did you hear about the murder trial for Amanda Knox in Italy? (a most decidedly western european country) She was convicted of murder despite every bit of evidence presented being circumstantial at best. After studying that case front to back with the available information that I had available she was wrongfully convicted by US standards. For example: the "murder" weapon didn't even fit the stab wounds of the victim. Another is that the forensic teams were handleing evidence without gloves and passing around evidence for each others "inspection". That alone would have been enough to get the case dismissed and the prosecutors giving a very loud scolding...at the very least, and the forensics team fired...at least in the US. Also before the case ever went to trial the media was blabbing all about the "facts" that were going to be be presented in the case and vilifying Ms. Knox, which taints a jury pool. What taints it even more is that the Jury panel is not sequestered during the trial, they are allowed to go home at the end of the day and come back the next day to hear more. I can just imagine the possibilities to be tainted with that being allowed...not to mention threats towards juror members to vote a specific way being able to happen. (no I don't think that happened in the case of Ms. Knox...but them being allowed to go home like that is certainly possible.)

    So, it sure seems to me that at the very least Italy's court system needs some major work. Seems that its more "guilty until proven innocent" over there than the "innocent until proven guilty" that is over here.

    Now lets look at some prisons of Westurn Europe compared to ours...

    In the US we've got prisoners that are given the basic necessities naturally...food, water, bed. However they also get free health care and medical assistance. Able to watch Cable TV. Able to get a free education in many different fields. Heck, there are even some states which allow a prisoner to get a sex change operation if they want one, and provide for the hormonal treatements as long as they are at the prison. In many respects they are treated better than the majority of citizens.

    Now lets look at France...

    France: return of the convicts

    I would quote part if it but I seriously think that it needs to be read in whole to get a good picture of what is happening over there.

    Now I'm not saying that the US has the best prison system in the world. Lord knows that its not. And my position has not been that it is the best. There is definitly room for vast improvement. However to say that it is worse than any other country and pretend that other countries are angels compared is nothing more than idiocy.
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  3. #313
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Kal'Stang View Post
    So, did you hear about the murder trial for Amanda Knox in Italy? (a most decidedly western european country) She was convicted of murder despite every bit of evidence presented being circumstantial at best. After studying that case front to back with the available information that I had available she was wrongfully convicted by US standards. For example: the "murder" weapon didn't even fit the stab wounds of the victim. Another is that the forensic teams were handleing evidence without gloves and passing around evidence for each others "inspection". That alone would have been enough to get the case dismissed and the prosecutors giving a very loud scolding...at the very least, and the forensics team fired...at least in the US. Also before the case ever went to trial the media was blabbing all about the "facts" that were going to be be presented in the case and vilifying Ms. Knox, which taints a jury pool. What taints it even more is that the Jury panel is not sequestered during the trial, they are allowed to go home at the end of the day and come back the next day to hear more. I can just imagine the possibilities to be tainted with that being allowed...not to mention threats towards juror members to vote a specific way being able to happen. (no I don't think that happened in the case of Ms. Knox...but them being allowed to go home like that is certainly possible.)

    So, it sure seems to me that at the very least Italy's court system needs some major work. Seems that its more "guilty until proven innocent" over there than the "innocent until proven guilty" that is over here.
    I went through this whole case with Ethereal (RIP) some months ago and I disputed the fact that just because the Italian system is not the same as the US system doesn't mean it is inferior. Very few countries sequester juries during court cases. Many don't need to because they have laws of sub judice, meaning the media may not discuss the pros- and cons- of a case until a verdict has been reached. If you have that law, and apply very heavy punishments for breaking it, why would you need to sequester juries? That's just one aspect.

    The main point about this however, is that Amanda Knox is not awaiting execution. Italy does not have the death penalty, so there is no chance of them killing the wrong person.
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  4. #314
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    I went through this whole case with Ethereal (RIP) some months ago and I disputed the fact that just because the Italian system is not the same as the US system doesn't mean it is inferior. Very few countries sequester juries during court cases. Many don't need to because they have laws of sub judice, meaning the media may not discuss the pros- and cons- of a case until a verdict has been reached. If you have that law, and apply very heavy punishments for breaking it, why would you need to sequester juries? That's just one aspect.

    The main point about this however, is that Amanda Knox is not awaiting execution. Italy does not have the death penalty, so there is no chance of them killing the wrong person.
    The point that I was making is that here in America she never would have been convicted at all. Because we have a stricter system in which it isn't as easy to convict here than it is in Italy. As such Ms. Knox would never have been in danger of the DP here either.

    As for the rest of your post that deals with Italy's court system. Yes it is inferior. You singled out the jury bit there and totally ignored the rest of the post relating to Ms. Knox. Also I gave another reason about sequestering juries that you ignored also that didn't have to do with the media at all. Also despite the law of "no listing pro's/con's that you mention it does not stop them from listing the evidence that the prosecutors say they are going to use/have or the police say that they have, while totally ignoring anything else. That taints the jury pool before the jury is even selected. Another thing that taints jury pools, especially during a trial where they can go home at the end of the day is loved ones opinions. They talk about the case to a loved one and the loved one puts in thier two cents which the juror probably never would have considered had he/she been sequestered. In things like this most people will listen to a loved one more than a defense lawyer or a prosecutor and form thier opinions/thoughts accordingly despite the fact that the loved one wasn't even in the court room to get the full picture (ie things that the juror may not have mentioned to the loved one).
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  5. #315
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Kal'Stang View Post
    The point that I was making is that here in America she never would have been convicted at all. Because we have a stricter system in which it isn't as easy to convict here than it is in Italy. As such Ms. Knox would never have been in danger of the DP here either.
    This kind of supposes that miscarriages of justice do not occur in the US system and that is clearly nonsense. I'm not claiming that she may not have a reasonable case for appeal, I'm just saying that despite your conviction that she is innocent, that she would never have been convicted in the US, well we'll have to wait and see what the court makes of the evidential discrepancies you claim exist.

    As for the rest of your post that deals with Italy's court system. Yes it is inferior. You singled out the jury bit there and totally ignored the rest of the post relating to Ms. Knox. Also I gave another reason about sequestering juries that you ignored also that didn't have to do with the media at all. Also despite the law of "no listing pro's/con's that you mention it does not stop them from listing the evidence that the prosecutors say they are going to use/have or the police say that they have, while totally ignoring anything else. That taints the jury pool before the jury is even selected. Another thing that taints jury pools, especially during a trial where they can go home at the end of the day is loved ones opinions. They talk about the case to a loved one and the loved one puts in thier two cents which the juror probably never would have considered had he/she been sequestered. In things like this most people will listen to a loved one more than a defense lawyer or a prosecutor and form thier opinions/thoughts accordingly despite the fact that the loved one wasn't even in the court room to get the full picture (ie things that the juror may not have mentioned to the loved one).
    Well, I only mentioned the sequestration issue because I was merely using it as an example of how the processes of US justice are not necessarily applicable elsewhere, and not necessarily superior, as seems to be your assumption.

    Talking to loved ones while under oath, in the UK system at least, the only one of which I have direct knowledge, is strictly forbidden. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but the penalties are clear and I'm fairly certain the vast majority of jurors take their responsibilities very seriously.

    I think there are lots of problems with the discussion of case details in the media prior to trials. I feel pretty certain that had the media circus around the OJ trial not totally twisted the perceptions of the jury, there may have been a very different verdict. And that jury was sequestered. Clearly sequestration isn't much of a guarantee of anything.

    BTW, you're not Ethereal in disguise are you? Your posting style and some the things you say about this case are strangely reminiscent.
    Last edited by Andalublue; 03-07-11 at 08:57 AM.
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  6. #316
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Juiposa View Post
    Thats basically what condoning an action is... :S
    Perhaps you meant 'condemning".
    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Light View Post
    The systems that ensure freedom and liberty are breaking down and fundamentalism is growing. Nobody is righteous anymore.


  7. #317
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    Kalstang

    It seems you are having some difficulty understanding my argument. I referred to the US penal system. On the standards of a fair trial, except in those cases where ancient English and American liberties have been set aside recently (Gitmo or Bradley Manning), the USA is broadly comparable with the group I was describing of advanced liberal democracies. I suggest you start a thread on Knox if you want to engage that case although I would also say that the lack of sub judice rules in the USA is a weakness of the US system.

    My point is very specific. If you have a system that is broadly progressive in terms of sentencing, prison alternatives, parole, rehabilitation, care for the criminally insane, then you have less crime. To make thus case I could focus on one country and have evidence for my hypothesis. As I said, it is not a sports league. But for you to suggest that former communist countries are comparable with the USA, France, UK, Italy... demonstrate a deep ignorance as to the nature of these societies (particularly those from the former USSR on your list). Post 1990s these were gangster societies with massive poverty and economic devastation. The legacy of communism and it's scars on these societies were long standing. Furthermore my advocating the superiority in this respect of Western European penal systems over American ones, does not mean I think Europe does not have its problems. The comparison is relative.

    One factor that also has to be brought into account I'd the US gun laws- another factor which distinguishes the USA from Western European democracies. Now it is quite possible that my argument could fail because it identifies the wrong cause of the differences on murder. The increasing availability of illegal guns and the emergence of gangs in Europe is fueling violence in Europe.

    It is however clear that the numbers provide a challenge for a US conservative: in prosperous European countries with substantial experience of democracy and the rule of law, the incidences of violent crime, murder, killing of police officers etc. are significantly lower. The problem is that the American conservative couldn't care less, and would prefer to wallow in his own stink rather than admit that there could be the slightest thing outside America that could provide a lesson for them. They remain comforted that they are still better than Columbia, Russia, South Africa....
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  8. #318
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    Re: Capital Punishment

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  9. #319
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    When incontrovertible evidence exists that a person committed a particularly heinous act that society deems suitable for capital punishment, then the convict should be executed. Don't bother with the guff that doubt always exists. That's nonsense. Modern forensics makes it possible, when done correctly, to put the criminal at the crime scene with the victim. A man's DNA is in the five year old girl that he kidnapped and raped. His skin is under her fingernails. Her hair and blood and DNA is in his car. His tire tracks are at the scene where teh body is found. All that added together makes a closed case, the only question is how long should the victim's family and the taxpayers have to wait to get rid of this guy.

    Tighten the standards on what a reasonable doubt is, and when no reasonable doubt exists, expedite the execution of the convicted murderer.

    The legal system shouldn't be allowed to finance lawyer's careers with an infinitude of appeals. Appeals that are found to be baseless or frivolous should not be tolerated and lawyers filing such should face punitive action from the courts.

    It's past time to restore sanity to the American legal system.

  10. #320
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    A society which chooses to kill members of that society is deeply dysfunctional. There is no level of proof high enough.
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