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Botched execution should give pause

January 20, 2014

In 1906, the state of Minnesota held its last execution of a murderer. William Williams was hanged in the Ramsey County Courthouse basement, in the middle of the night....

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Jan-23-14 5:47 PM

JR: I have the nerve to disagree with you, however, I totally agree with you on time I just wish I had written my post as eloquently.

(Sheeesch...this can't go on much longer.)

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Jan-23-14 9:48 AM

I have had two clients murdered and the experience was horrible. I've also testified in a murder trial. I didn't know the victim but I saw his wife and three children in the courtroom and their faces remain vividly in my mind 20 years later.

I have a real problem with killing people. The only reason it seems we have capital punishment is for people to gain a sense of vengeance. It is well established that capital punishment doesn't deter crime. It's also more expensive than incarceration for life.

So, in the end all we get is a social benefit from executing people by demanding that they "pay for it" with their own lives. If we are truly a society that abhors violence why do we then choose violence as a means to make "them pay" ? How can we say we are better than the killers when we end up being killers ourselves ?

Let the disagrees begin... (let me know why you disagreed if you have the nerve)

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Jan-22-14 8:58 PM

mnsotn: I hear what you're saying.

Two points:

Has the murder rate in Minnesota increased or decreased relative to states that have the death penalty? I would bet that there is no statistical difference in the number of murders per capita between the aggregate of states that have the death penalty versus those that don't. If there is no difference, then the death penalty is not a deterrent. If it's not a deterrent then what purpose does it serve other than be a means for revenge? If it's only in place for revenge then we are no better than the murderers.

The bigger question, that can't be ducked, is whether or not the law is applied equally and fairly. From everything I've read on the subject, it is not. If it's not applied equally and fairly, then it's not justice--rather, it's some strange form of legal vigilantism.

If someone killed a member of my family I would want blood. But, what I would want isn't necessarily what's right for the whole of our society.

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Jan-22-14 7:31 PM

Until you have had a friend or family member murdered at the hands of someone else, you will never understand fully why this state should have the death penalty.

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Jan-22-14 6:01 PM

HopeMaria: I think there a couple of issues here.

First of all, is the death penalty a deterrent? Every study I've ever seen says that it is not, largely because murder is not a rational act.

Secondly, is "the law of the land" fairly administered and without prejudice? If you look into death penalty statistics you'll find an overwhelming inequality of justice. The poor, the Black, and the mentally ill are executed in vast disproportion to the rest of the population. If there is no equal justice, then there is no justice--period.

Lastly, the death penalty says more about who we are as a society than it does about how we maintain an orderly society. Are we a barbaric society? Hope not. But those folks in Ohio and Texas seem to be proof otherwise.

I think Minnesota did the right thing early on.

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Jan-22-14 1:15 PM

Svensota. I think you're oversimplifying the issue somewhat.

In any society (a civil one at least) there are rules to obey and consequences to pay if you choose to disobey. I know that if I go out and rob someone at gun-point, I am going to lose my freedom by going to prison. Those are the rules. If I commit a brutal murder in a state with capitol punishment, then I also know I may be handed the death penality. After all "it's the law of the land" so to speak.

How I can support the death penalty but not abortion is very simple. Unborn babies have committed NO crime. (as an aside, I am only in favor of the death penalty in the most extreme cases where there is absolutely NO DOUBT about the person's guilt.)

Why don't we just stop just stop killing all humans?? That would be fabulous, wouldn't it?? Sadly I don't see it happening. but hey, at least for one moment in time we agree on something!! :)

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Jan-22-14 12:41 PM

HopeMaria: Does it make sense for the state to commit the same crime as the criminal? Is murder justice?

Murder is murder.

How can someone be in favor of capital punishment but against abortion?

Why don't we just stop killing all humans?

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Jan-22-14 8:48 AM

Executions should be as quick and painless as possible, but you had to have committed a pretty heinous crime to end up on death row so I am not goint to lose any sleep over it. (like vikingfan said, he didn't care about the pain and suffering he caused his victim and the victim's family) What I find really ironic (and I will probably be attacked for this one) is that so many people who are against the death penalty are pro-abortion. that makes no sense to me whatsoever.

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Jan-21-14 3:40 PM

Ban the death penalty? I think we should reinstate it for the most heinous crimes. Some people cannot be rehabilitated. Maybe the writer of this editorial should visit more of these thugs in prison and spend some quality time with these people to see which side of the grass they belong on.

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Jan-21-14 7:04 AM

Lets not forget that this person was a murderer. Think about all the pain he caused for the victims family and the victim. I really don't care if the murderer's death was painful. Lets not forget the victim.

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