Saturday, 30 July 2011

Capital Punishment

(expanded version of a comment on Guido Fawkes' blog)

After the IRA pub bombings (in fact after every outrage of this sort in, or even nowhere near, the UK) there are repeated calls for the death penalty to be restored. The Birmingham 6 and the Guildford 4 would have been dead long before the problems with their convictions were brought to light (if that ever would have happened)

a) How many miscarriages of justice does it take before you realise that Capital punishment isn't such a good idea?

b) it's revenge. That is not a reason for killing someone, though some people seem to think so. They need to show us why the death penalty is the correct response for murder or whatever. The burden of proof is with them and they can't do it.

c) We KNOW it doesn't work as a deterrant,

d) the drawn out appeals process in the US. People (usually blacks or people with low IQs or poor education) spend years on Death Row with the prospect of a gruesome death hanging over their heads. Lethal injection is definitely an improvement on gas chambersr and electric chairs*

Please don't tell me there are cut and dried cases. The concept of proof in the law is much much much more fragile than anyone realises. We're talking about "beyond reasonable doubt" which is NOT the same thing as proof.

Half of what we think we know is wrong anyway, or we have nowhere near enough evidence for. And for every case like this, where there is a confession (and maybe in some cases clear footage) there are hundreds where it's one person's word against another's.

Still convinced about the death penalty? Let me know, and I'll tell you why you're wrong

*for Christ's sake, who dreamt that up? I don't think Edison directly, but I think he was involved in discussions

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