World Day against the Death Penalty

Aside from the inherent obnoxiousness of a tiny part of the world proclaiming a day for everyone, I figured since everyone is opening cans o’worms these days, I’d follow suit.
Here’s the source article for the World Day thing, and here in the 20031011 entry is a very interesting perspective on the matter that later wanders off into more generic “what’s the deal with Europe” speculations.
So, here goes. I think the death penalty is unnecessary and poses too many risks in terms of error to be worth it. I don’t think eye-for-an-eye is a rational basis for the law, and given the general incompetence of the government I don’t think it’s a good idea to give them that sort of power. If a very strong case could be made for deterrence, I’d treat it more seriously, but I don’t think one can be made that will outweigh the general repugnance of it.

That said, I fully appreciate the federalist manner (as outlined by my second link above) in which it takes place in the US, and I think that is important enough in its own right to warrant defending. Also, I think most of the European opponents and their ilk are full of crap when it comes to the moral indignation they continually spout our way about this. I think den Beste makes sound points about the fundamentally illogical approach they take to internationalized efforts like this one when it comes to wanting the US to take part and then ignoring that we are constitutionally unable to, and I think it’s a damned shame since it will be a source of endless, useless friction.

Huh. I agree 100% with everything Lizard_King said. Except that the judicial branch could get rid of the death penalty if it wanted to.

Why you little…oh, wait, just not used to anyone agreeing with me. Shit.

Except that the judicial branch could get rid of the death penalty if it wanted to.
I dunno about that. It seems to me that would be quite an abuse of power on their part (ie, while practically possible, certainly unethical ). I mean, I could see the Supreme Court getting rid of Federal capital punishment, and the State Supreme Courts getting rid of their individual ones, but any conflation thereof would be a big mistake.

While agree about the obnoxiousness of European leaders trying to impose their moral ideas on others, I’d like to point out that this is exactly what the USA are doing all the time. Except that they call it “spreading freedom and democracy”.

I used to be in favor of the death penalty. No more.

The primary reason is that it is arbitrarily applied. Some people commit and are convicted of exactly the same crime, and one will get the death penalty and the other won’t. Mainly a function of wealth. If a poor person had committed the crime OJ most likley committed, there’s no doubt that he would be put on death row; OJ, had he been convicted, would never ever have been in danger of being on death row.

Amen. But WE got the bomb, so stfu (that sissy French arsenal doesn’t count). :)

Well, I’ll agree to disagree. There’s nothing wrong, in my view, with the USSC saying “Capital punishment is barbaric, inappropriate in a modern democracy, and cruel and unusual punishment.”

I think you’re just looking for something to criticize on the EU, but yeah, the death penalty is an unfair abomination.

Did they or did they not declare a World Day Against The Death Penalty with a specific focus on critiquing the US (just as with the ICC)? That was the news item brought to my attention, and I thought it was an interesting point of divergence between the US and Europe. Also, I think the debate itself is still very much alive, and I am intrigued to see if there are any coherent defenses for it around here.
For instance, here in Philly Mumia Abu Jamal is still a hot topic. I am certain he did do the crime, and I could give a damn about a cop killer. Certainly the people defending him are the sort of hysterical leftists/black radicals that give that whole side of the argument a bad name. But I still don’t think he should be put to death by the state as retribution, or some sort of “warning” to future cop killers.

Jamal is an asshole who probably did it, yeah, but he’s extremely well-spoken and writes well. Of course he’ll get chosen as a heroic test case; what, you think they can find a more palatable one? Death row doesn’t attract saints.

I just don’t see how the EU declaring a “day” for the world is obnoxiousness, or why you have to make everything a refighting of the Iraq war.

To me, someone who shot a cop in cold blood is pretty unpalatable. I’m crazy that way. I understand the whole charisma thing, and the cop killing ties in pretty nicely with the sort of anti establishment types that draws. I see all the statistics about wrongful conviction etc, there’s got to be a bunch of them. In any case, I think a much more marketable case can be made by showing all the, say, rich white folks that got off the hook for heinous crimes rather than trying to deify some scumbag. It is pretty obvious that the death penalty is applied unevenly, and that’s a strong argument against it in general when tied in with the wrongful convictions.
I think putting a face on the bastards being killed does a disservice to an otherwise pretty respectable cause, because it’s a matter that should win on principle and reason. Anecdotal examples, even Mumia, harden opposition to changing the law; I don’t know a single conservative (and not a few otherwise liberal people) that doesn’t express an absolute loathing of him.

I just don’t see how the EU declaring a “day” for the world is obnoxiousness,

You wouldn’t, because you also think your words carry the weight of universal edicts. Also, because you share their opinions about American barbarism. Ergo, den Beste’s exposition might explain why you’re wasting your time.

or why you have to make everything a refighting of the Iraq war.

You brought that up, not me. Because I cite something as part of a continuing trend that is pretty difficult to dispute, I’m “refighting”? Whatever.

If punishment isn’t both cruel and unusual, it’s not punishment. I never have liked that phrase.

I think most people view it as a matter of degree rather than a binary.

I think most people view it as a matter of degree rather than a binary.[/quote]

Such as, say, the framers of the constitution.

I think the US (whichever branch that would take) could stop the death penalty, since it would take a whole lot of people who supports the death penalty actively, not just “I have no problem with the death penalty” but “any judicial system that lacks the death penalty is a system I disagree with and would want changed”. And I don’t think there are overly many of those.
I might be wrong though.

Oh, and I don’t think the death penalty is rational, moral or anything else that is positive.

I’d say you’re wrong about that, although it is certainly a good way of framing the debate. There are a lot of those people.

EDIT: Hell, I used to be one until I read Beccaria’s works on the law. A little 17th century clarity went a long way.

By the way, while giving it a Day is rather silly (on the other hand, a lot of countries do it, I’m sure) to me, the call to change a policy seen as inhumane and immoral by governments isn’t wrong at all. It’s what diplomacy is about, you talk, talk, talk and then you talk some more. It’s the way things should work. What are they supposed to do, start pushing for a regime change? ;)

The death penalty never really made sense to me. Why would anyone want to create a system where you effectively kill people? It’s immoral, it is :)

I think most people view it as a matter of degree rather than a binary.[/quote]

Such as, say, the framers of the constitution.[/quote]

Agreed, on all counts, but that’s why a different expression would be better. A sufficiently liberal court (by which I mean a group that doesn’t believe in strict constructionism at all, not a bunch of left wingers) could rule against any form of punitive action on the basis of that wording. Death penalty? The pinacle of cruel and (one hopes) unusual. Incarceration with a bunch of potentially HIV+ inmates who might share the wealth? Sounds horrifyingly cruel to me. Etc.

I think a flat prohibition against torture would work better and be more in line with the intent.

If you guys honestly think killing someone is more cruel than locking them up in jail conditions for 30+ years then you need to take another look at someone’s “life” behind bars.

People who want to do away with the death penalty should make that part of a larger revision of the retribution (err… “justice”) system.

Otherwise… killing them is the way to reduce cruelty.

Question for those who think the death penalty is inappropriate…

Assume someone kills your (sister/mother/wife/father/child) in cold blood.

At that point, do you think you’d still think the death penalty was wrong?