Experts Expound

Experts Expound: the Death Penalty

Should California place a
moratorium on executions?

“No.”

“Yes.”

“No, no, no, no and no.”

“Yes. It’s probably time. It’s a barbaric practice. Hardly another civilized
nation in the world still employs the death penalty, and it’s unclear
whether it deters much crime in this country. A moratorium would give
Californians the opportunity to rationally debate the practice, hopefully in
a politics-free zone. (Of course, I fully realize that the Californians who
tend to debate these issues rarely do so rationally and almost never in a
politics-free zone.)”

“No. There is nothing in California’s record to indicate that we have
(executed), or are in danger of executing, an innocent person. Twenty-five
years is long enough to wait for justice to be done. The families of the
victims deserve more respect.”

“Yes. This business of pretending to be tough on crime has gotten out of
hand. Voters are concerned with traffic and illegal immigration, not
killing old, blind, deaf men who might have done something horribly wrong 25
years ago.”

“There already is a moratorium on executions: the appeals process. Tookie
Williams murdered four innocent people in 1979 and did not pay the price
until 2005.”

“No!!! It already takes more than a dozen years and several appeals before
an execution is even carried out. What’s more, there has never been a
question of guilt or innocence for anyone who has been executed. The delays
have all been on procedural bases or to lay blame for why someone became a
killer–moms drinking, daddy beat me or its society’s fault.”

“Once criminals place a moratorium on committing violent crimes, then it
will be time to place a moratorium on the death penalty. I have yet to hear
of a person on death row actually having a legitimate claim to innocence.”

“Definitely not: it’s just a way for death penalty opponents to try to
outlaw it altogether. There’s no evidence that an innocent person has ever
been killed here “by mistake.”

“Why? We should put a moratorium on San Francisco liberals chairing the
Public Safety Committee


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