An interesting conversation is happening over on at Debs’ blog about the problems with capital punishment. The consensus seems to be that even though it is possible to condemn innocent people to death and that it has happened before and is likely to happen again, there is no need to be hasty. Generally speaking, capital punishment works.
One commenter, more or less opposed to capital punishment, agreed, saying:
…we should not throw out the system, until there is more evidence that it is not working. There are very few instances where the individual was found to be innocent after they we executed. It has happened however, so we need to keep improving our judicial review process. It will never likely be perfect.
And if it can never be perfect, if the system can and will execute innocent people, how much different than this is murder? Sure it’s a mistake, but unlike negligent homicide, here the intent of the state is always to kill the accused. The state now becomes an ipso facto murderer.
So here’s my solution: keep the death penalty, because some people certainly deserve to die for their crimes and at the very least should not be allowed to harm others (including inmates). And maybe, just maybe, there is an effective deterrent working here (though I personally doubt it). But….whenever an innocent man is executed, then execute the judge and the prosecuting attorney. For murder.
Can’t fail to work. Deterrence. Won’t know unless we try it.