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Death Penalty on the Ballot in California and Nebraska

Death Penalty on the Ballot in California and Nebraska

Is life imprisonment worse?

Voters in California and Nebraska will be deciding more than who goes to the White House. Ballots in both states include a question on whether or not to repeal the death penalty.

The Washington Post reports:

Voters in California and Nebraska will decide whether they want to keep the death penalty

When voters head to the polls in California and Nebraska on Election Day, they will get to weigh in on whether their states should abolish the death penalty.

These two initiatives, along with another ballot measure in Oklahoma, represent a sort of microcosm of where things stand nationwide on the death penalty. Most states still have the practice on the books, even if a dwindling number of states actually seek to carry out executions…

Competing initiatives in California

There are actually two death penalty proposals in California, and they are diametrically opposed: One would eliminate capital punishment, while the other would effectively speed up the death-penalty process.

California has not executed an inmate since 2006 because of concerns about its lethal injection protocols, and executions there have been rare in the modern era. But the state is home to 1 in 4 death-row inmates nationwide, with a bigger population of condemned inmates than the next two states (Texas and Florida) combined, so a decision to eliminate the death penalty would have a dramatic impact…

Nebraska’s death penalty bill turns to the voters

Nebraska voters are going to decide an issue that lawmakers battled over last year.

The state’s legislature voted to abandon the death penalty despite Gov. Pete Ricketts’s vow to veto the measure. Ricketts, a Republican in his first term, followed through on his pledge and vetoed the bill, but lawmakers overrode his veto and, by the narrowest margin possible, again voted to abolish the death penalty.

The fight did not end there, though. Supporters of the death penalty immediately said they would keep fighting the bill and pledged to get it onto the November 2016 ballot, following a campaign that included a sizable donation from Ricketts, who said he was “appalled” by the bill and called it “cruel” to victims of the people sentenced to death.

This video report from CBS News Los Angeles explains the California ballot question:

This letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times makes the case for keeping the death penalty:

The death penalty is about deterrence, not revenge

Vote no on Proposition 62, the ballot measure that would abandon California’s death penalty. It’s not about vengeance; it’s about deterring someone from killing you.

Everyone has his or her own private fear, their own private hell. True, some killers might not fear having to pay with their own lives for killing you, but some might. Some killers’ worse fear might be spending eternity in prison, and they would rather be executed. Life imprisonment, therefore, should always remain a punishment.

The minute you remove any possible punishment for killing, you are removing a deterrent for some potential killer. Keep the death penalty and keep life imprisonment. It’s not about their lives; it is about protecting your own life from those to whom the death penalty is a deterrent.

Featured image via YouTube.


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Killers get to die too easily. Let them suffer like they made their victims suffer. Bring back the chair.

Is life imprisonment “worse” (menaing, more harsh?) than death?

No, of course not. Given a choice between life imprisonment and execution, practically everyone chooses Life. Evidence for this is that Life Without is not infrequently offered as a plea bargain to those charged with capital crimes, and when it is defendants often accept it rather than risk execution.

The murk surrounding how the Supreme Court determines whether it is “cruel and unusual” is more interesting, as it inevitably gets to the root of the original intent vs. evolving document schools of Constitutional interpretation.

Capital punishment has become unusual in the USA, but is it “cruel”? It obviously wasn’t in 1791, but once one becomes unmoored from original intent, is there any way to decide that is not inherently subjective? For surely all judicial punishment is to some extent cruel, for if it were not how could it serve as a deterrent?

thalesofmiletus | November 8, 2016 at 9:57 am

Death penalty is already effectively dead in CA.

    No it isn’t. The new “death with dignity” assisted suicide laws have breathed new life into the death penalty.

    Oh, sure the state will not kill you if you commit murder.

    But get cancer or some other expensive disease? Then you must die.

    “Terminally Ill Woman’s Insurance Company Will Pay for Her Assisted Suicide, But Not for Chemo”

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    “My concern is for people who don’t have resources, who don’t have a choice.”

    “You read about Oregon denying someone a lung transplant, but, ‘Here, you can you have these pills.’”

    “That’s my fear about what this would become.”

    That’s what Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat who represents the San Diego area, told the Sacramento Bee in an interview published in July.

    Gonzalez is a Democrat who opposed California’s new physician-assisted suicide law, which was signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown, also a Democrat.

    Gonzalez is right to be afraid.

    In theory, the California law has safeguards ensuring that suicide is solely the patient’s choice. “Before the drugs can be prescribed, two California doctors must agree that the person has no more than six months to live,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “It is then the patient’s choice whether to take the drugs. Those who want to must affirm their intention 48 hours in advance and must take the drugs on their own, without help.”

    Oregon’s Example

    But there are many ways to influence people, to get them to the point where they do state that their intentions are to die. And the example of Oregon, which enacted physician-assisted suicide in 1997, provides plenty of reason to be concerned that people, especially those who are low-income, are susceptible to ill-intentioned persuasion.

    >>> Read More: Purported Safeguards in Physician-Assisted Suicide Are Ripe for Abuse

    Dr. William Toffler, an Oregon doctor, wrote in The Wall Street Journal in August that “the regular notices I receive indicating that many important services and drugs for my patients—even some pain medications—will not be covered by the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s Medicaid program” were “concerning.”

    “Yet physician-assisted suicide is covered by the state and our collective tax dollars,” Toffler, who is also national director of Physicians for Compassionate Care, noted. “Supporters claim physician-assisted suicide gives patients choice, but what sort of a choice is it when life is expensive but death is free?”

    Take the case of Barbara Wagner, whom Gonzalez was likely referring to in her remarks. Wagner was a lung cancer patient whose case attracted national attention in 2008, after her insurance company told her it wouldn’t cover a drug costing $4,000 a month her doctor had prescribed but would cover the drugs required for a physician-assisted suicide, according to ABC News. “It was horrible,” Wagner told ABC News at the time.

    “I got a letter in the mail,” she recounted, “that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.”

    Health Care Costs and Physician-Assisted Suicide

    The situation in Oregon and Washington, which legalized physician-assisted suicide in 2008, also support the worries of Gonzalez and others about the financial incentives created by legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

    “Last year, over half the patients who committed assisted suicide in Oregon relied on the government for their health coverage or had no coverage at all,” wrote Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in Public Discourse earlier this year. “Over three-quarters of those dying under Washington’s assisted suicide law were partly or completely dependent on Medicare or Medicaid.”

    >>> Read More: How Physician-Assisted Suicide Endangers the Weak, Corrupts Medicine, Compromises the Family, and Violates Human Dignity and Equality

    As health care costs continue to soar, physician-assisted suicide could potentially draw more interest as a solution. Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon fellow at The Heritage Foundation, warned in a March report about that possibility.

    “Given the increasing number of elderly patients in modern societies, their increasing longevity, and the increasing cost of treating their chronic illnesses,” he wrote, “[physician-assisted suicide] will increasingly be seen as a cost-effective option and one that the elderly should be encouraged to consider.”

    Other Voices Than Brittany Maynard’s

    In his statement about signing the bill, Gov. Brown emphasized his personal experience.

    “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” he wrote. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

    But while Brown shares the view of the late Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old who chose to end her life after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and to speak publicly about that decision and advocate for physician-assisted suicide legalization, others—including those who have faced terminal illnesses—have thought differently.

    “It takes a long time to come to terms with a disease, especially a terminal illness. And then you start thinking: OK, this is new me, this is the new normal, and I can still appreciate every moment.”

    Those are the words of Maggie Karner, a 52-year-old woman who knew all too well what she was speaking about. Karner, who also had terminal brain cancer, was a vigorous advocate for life, fighting against legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

    Karner passed away last month. Her daughter, Mary Karner, a nurse, wrote in The Federalist Tuesday:

    I hope and pray that her legacy will continue to inspire caring American voters to support those choosing to squeeze life for every drop that it has to give. Support hospice and palliative care programs that give true meaning to ‘death with dignity.’ Let those fighting illness and disabilities know that they are precious, no matter what. They should never have to feel for a second that they might have a ‘duty to die’ just because the option is available.

    (Kara Tippetts with her children)

    Last year, when Maynard had announced her choice to end her life but had not yet died, mom of four Kara Tippetts penned an open letter to her, writing, “In your choosing your own death, you are robbing those that love you with the such tenderness, the opportunity of meeting you in your last moments and extending you love in your last breaths.”

    Like Karner, Tippetts knew firsthand what Maynard was experiencing. She died this March, after battling breast cancer for nearly three years.

    If you are grieved by tragic stories like Maynard’s, there are ways to help, such as fighting for better, more comfortable care for the dying. But true compassion doesn’t end life earlier. True compassion doesn’t create a system where people, especially those without significant financial resources, are vulnerable to pressure to end their lives sooner.

    “Please remember patients like me who don’t want to commit suicide but instead want our right to live out our days without the risk of abuse or the subtle pressure to comply with state-sanctioned suicide,” Karner said.

    Patients like Karner deserved to be remembered. It’s unfortunate that California disregarded her advice, and took a step toward becoming a culture where only some lives are cherished.”

    It’s the leftist culture of death. Murderer’s lives are cherished. They must live so a five year sentence for grand theft or taking a job as a prison guard potentially becomes a death sentence. The #BlackLivesMatters crowd smiles.

    But in the “duty to die” states those selfish oldsters and chronic disease sufferers have to get with the program and get it over with damned quick. And since they’re not getting the hint and dying as rapidly as possible we can free up those hospital beds for the care of “usefull mouths” let’s make it mandatory for them to take the lethal drugs. Or if not mandatory unavoidable.

    But remember children those same lethal drugs constitute cruel and unusual punishment when applied to murderers.

    My head hurts.

    Like I said on another comment thread I used to like Crazy Town fifteen or twenty years ago.

    “Crazy Town- Butterfly”

    Now that I’m twenty years older and live there 24/7/365 in this Obamanation, not so much.

      thalesofmiletus in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 11:25 am

      That’s the Death Panel — get your terminology straight.

      OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      “Terminally Ill Woman’s Insurance Company Will Pay for Her Assisted Suicide, But Not for Chemo”

      Funny thing about that article. Insurance companies often denied treatment before the law was changed. What about her appeal? She manages to get an publicity for her complaint, but doesn’t file an appeal.

      While she claimed that her support group had similar experiences, there is not one quote from any other victim. I am always convinced by a sample size of one when I hear what I want to hear.

      OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      Impressive. All I an do is paraphrase the Bard.

      “It is a word salad
      Spewed by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing”

      OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Still waiting for an answer to the question: If the agents were just doing their job, why did they break the law and spill to Giuliani?

      I guess when you can’t deflect a question you just move on.

        ORDA, did somebody in grade school teach you there is no such thing as a stupid question? They were wrong. Nobody broke the freakin’ law and nobody “spilled” to Giuliani.

        Amusing, isnt’ it? Tens of thousands of Clinton’s stolen federal records later, thousands of these illegally retained federal records were classified and therefore Clinton compromised them to foreign intelligence services to the detriment to her country solely for the sake of her personal convenience, ORDA wants us to believe it’s Giuliani who broke the law.

        It’s like having Charles Manson making a citizen’s arrest because the motorcycle cop chasing him as he fled the LaBianca murder scene went 40 in a 35mph zone.

        Who says lefties don’t have a sense of humor. ORDA, do you have a P.O. Box where I can send you a Christmas present? I’d like to send you a case of Summer’s Eve douche because I can tell your vagina hurts a lot.

          OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm

          So he did get leaks. Weren’t you talk by your parents that 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Don’t answer. It is another stupid question and you are a liar.

          Arminius in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm

          Shorter ORDA: “So what if Hillary gets Ambassadors and FSOs and SEALs killed. DJT, ORDA hears, cheats at golf. See, two wrongs don’t make a right.”

          Clearly I’m absolute scum for preferring the golf cheat to the Ambassador killer.

          Arminius in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm

          Maybe we can all take up a collection. I think ORDA is going to need a couple of cases of Summer’s Eve.

          OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 3:12 pm

          So 2 wrongs do make a right?

          Arminius in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 3:23 pm

          Only if you think cheating at golf is the moral equivalent of being a serial killer.

          Arminius in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 3:28 pm

          ORDA, how long have you thought people who exceed the speed limit by more than 5MPH but less than 10MPH should be executed?

          I mean, we wouldn’t want two wrongs to make a right.

          Kill ’em all.

          OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Arminius. | November 8, 2016 at 8:21 pm

          Folks, we have a winner. Arminius has decided which wrongs can make a right. We no longer need investigators, legislatures, prosecutors, courts or judges. Arminius will decide all. Arminius will determine which evidence is admissible and who will be held accountable. All hail Arminius the Schm…

I will agree that there are valid agruments both for and against the death penalty.

Though the hypocrisy of the left is stunning – Extreme efforts to protect the right to kill the innocent (abortion) while extreme efforts to save the life of murders.

There is only one real reason for imposing the death penalty. It makes it impossible for a dangerous, violent predator to reenter society. If a person is simply imprisoned, then it is possible that he will either be released or escape. If that person is executed, this chance for repatriation into society is removed. Studies, of the deterrence value of legal penalties in general and the death penalty in particular, have been done for decades and generally show that the threat of incarceration or death has little impact on the crime rate, except in the case of recidivism. Both death and extended periods of incarceration reduce crime by eliminating the criminal from society for an extended period of time, thereby reducing that person’s criminal activities.

But, this does not mean that the death penalty should be used widely or recklessly. Death is pretty final, for most of us, and it is difficult to redress mistakes which affect a person if that person is dead. And, human beings do make mistakes. Incorrect convictions have occurred, in the past, and procedures to correct these mistakes must exist and be given sufficient time to be implemented.

A classic reason for incarceration is “segregation”, or keeping dangerous people out of the population.

It isn’t deterrence and it isn’t punitive.

There are people in the human population that cannot be made “non-dangerous” anywhere ever. They are not “non-dangerous” in prison any more than anywhere else. They are inherently predatory, and will prey on all others the come into contact with, including other inmates. The two escapees from the New York penal system last year were prime examples.

The only way to deal with this small subset of humanity is to remove them from the planet. The death penalty works every time it is applied.

    OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to Ragspierre. | November 8, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    As long as you correctly determine who they are 100% of the time. I am certain you are familiar with the Innocence Project and the similar programs it spawned. There are literally (not figuratively) hundreds who were exonerated while on death row.

    I particularly despise the cases where DNA proves the convict did not rape the victim and the prosecution changes it theory. In the new theory, the victim had consensual sex with someone else and then the convict came along and killer her. Rape and murder would be the kind of heinous crime that would fit your criteria – as long as you get the right person.

    I know you are also familiar with a case in your state where it is highly likely that an innocent man was executed. Rick Perry made sure that the case was not forensically reexamined. He quashed a panel that was examining the science. Don’t you want the truth?

    As long as you cannot look at the naked lunch, you will have candidates like DJ Drumpf.

      And if they had not received the death penalties, they would be rotting in prison for life without the endless appeals that every DP sentence provides.

        OnlyRightDissentAllowed in reply to murkyv. | November 8, 2016 at 8:48 pm

        If I understand your point, the DP is a good thing because it affords better opportunity for appeal?

        I would think providing effective counsel and resources similar to those of the prosecution would be a better solution. It would also help if all lab work was done by truly independent laboratories. That would be expensive and time consuming. It would be inconvenient, but shouldn’t we spare no expense and be absolute in protecting the right-to-life of the accused?

        There is an article in a the 10/24 New Yorker about a NYPD Detective who switched to the ATF because the NYPD stopped investigating once they arrested a suspect. The ATF continues to investigate until the trial is complete. He felt that gave more opportunity to be certain. It turns out that an old murder case of his hinged on eye witness testimony. Through a series of coincidences and a CI he learned that an old case of his had put the wrong man in jail. It turned out that the real perp looked like the innocent man. Nobody would have ever known if the innocent man had been executed. Oh, well. Fascinating read

        I don’t know if you are one of those absolutists on the right to life, but if you are I don’t see how you could be for the death penalty.

The death penalty is barbaric, immoral and should be eliminated. In this modern world, all killing should be done by illegal immigrants, as God intended.

No more abortion rites carried out in the privacy of clinics?

What about Planned Parenthood channeling Mengele?

The Democratically-established Pro-Choice Church is appalled.

As for abortionists, they must be presumed innocent until proven guilty of aborting a wholly innocent… of aborting a human life.

In a fashion, the death penalty is on the ballot in Kansas too, as four of the sloppy liberal judges that Sebelius appointed are up for retention. We’ve never had a judge fail in their retention before, but maybe this year…

Here’s the actual language of the second resolution. I’d bet 90% of people who read it have no idea what it means.

“Changes procedures governing state court challenges to death sentences. Designates superior court for initial petitions and limits successive petitions. Requires appointed attorneys who take noncapital appeals to accept death penalty appeals. Exempts prison officials from existing regulation process for developing execution methods. Fiscal Impact: Unknown ongoing impact on state court costs for processing legal challenges to death sentences. Potential prison savings in the tens of millions of dollars annually.”