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A case to end the death penalty

 
 
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2005 08:28 pm
I gotta say it, I still like the idea of there being a death penalty for the Mansons and Raders, but that's about it. I don't see how anybody could read a story like this one and feel terribly good about the death penalty for anything short of Manson or Rader:

http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/13414774.htm

Elkins expected to leave prison today as prosecutor files to clear him
By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer

Clarence Elkins is expected to be released from prison today after prosecutors conceded his innocence and directed their attention to a convicted rapist.

Elkins, 42, and incarcerated since the day his mother-in-law was brutally slain in her Barberton home in June 1998, is expected to walk out of the Mansfield Correctional Institution by 5 p.m.

His wife, Melinda, who has led a personal crusade to win her husband's freedom and find her mother's real killer, along with his defense lawyers, Jana DeLoach and Mark Godsey, are currently waiting for prison officials to process Elkins' release.

He is expected to return to his Stark County home tonight. Officials say he will undoubtedly collect at least $700,000 in compensation for the years he spent in prison for crimes he did not commit.

Elkins received word during a phone call this morning from his wife and said: ``Praise God.''

``We're on Cloud Nine, we're bouncing off the walls,'' DeLoach said in a phone interview while en route to the prison today. ``For this to drag on for so long and then be over so quickly, it's amazing.''

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, whose office had resisted Elkins' release despite exonerating DNA evidence, today filed motions dismissing the case against him. The motion was approved by Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter, who signed an order for Elkins' release from prison.

At a press conference, Walsh apologized to the Elkins family while defending her office's stance in the case and announcing the focus on a new suspect.

Walsh said an investigation by her office and Barberton police showed that Elkins is innocent and that Earl Gene Mann is now the leading suspect.

Mann, 32, was never a suspect in the case until the Elkins defense team made him one following his rape convictions in 2001. Mann and Elkins coincidentally shared a prison pod, and one day Elkins picked up Mann's cigarette butt and sent it off to his lawyers.

The butt was tested for DNA and compared to crime scene evidence. The tests could not exclude Mann as a source of DNA at the crime scene.

The defense team DNA tests were paid for with money donated by people around the world who learned about the case through the media.

Elkins went on trial in 1999 facing the death penalty for the murder of Johnson and the rape of his 6-year-old niece, who witnessed the murder.

The girl later recanted her identification of Elkins.

Mann lived two doors away from Judith Johnson's home and has told investigators he was inside her home the day she was murdered, Walsh said.

In addition, Mann has taken and failed ``miserably'' five polygraph tests in the past two weeks regarding the murder, Walsh said. Although those test results are inadmissible in court, Walsh said post-test interviews given by Mann can be used and some of his statements appear to be incriminating.

In addition, Walsh said three pieces of DNA evidence now link Mann to the crime scene. She said the results are not full-blown DNA matches with astronomical numbers in the millions or billions indicating Mann is the source.

Rather, she said, the odds that someone other than Mann left a male hair found at the crime scene is about one in 4,000. In addition, the odds that male DNA found on the murder victim and on the girl belongs to someone other than Mann are less than 1 in 1,000.

Walsh called Mann a violent and ``very strange'' individual after viewing about 10 hours of tapes of his interviews with police.

Mann, in prison for raping three girls, is not due to be released until 2009, she said. He has not been charged in the Johnson murder and Walsh would not say when the investigation will be given to a grand jury for consideration of an indictment.

Tonia Braziel, who lived on and off with Mann, is a ``person of special interest'' in the case, according to Chief Prosecutor Mary Ann Kovach. She would not say if Braziel was taken into custody or charged.

Elkins' niece went to Braziel's home immediately after waking up from being raped and beaten. Braziel testified as a prosecution witness at Elkins' trial.

Instead of taking the girl inside or calling police, Braziel made the girl wait outside. She then drove the girl to her home blocks away.

Elkins' defense attorneys believe Braziel helped convince the girl that the intruder was her uncle. Prosecutors today said that Mann and Elkins bear a strong resemblance.

Braziel was convicted of child endangering as co-defendant in Mann's rape case.

Walsh said she expects Elkins to be called as a witness at a trial if and when Mann is indicted. She also said Elkins' niece will be asked to testify.
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roverroad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 05:19 am
Regardless, there will always be a death penalty in the US, just like there will always be abortion.
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 05:52 am
That arguement does not hold water Roverroad. There was a stretch of time there where the death penalty had been abolished in the United States...it could happen again.
0 Replies
 
roverroad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 06:10 am
It was a very short time in our history. Even when it was abolished I doubt that it was the will of the people, but just an extremist government. Those governments never last. So yes, it could be abolished again but we have to go from far right wing politics like we are now to far left politics. And even when we have an extremely lopsided government it is still almost impossible to change something as major as the death penalty, and it would only be temporary. Especially since there are a lot of far left Liberals like me who support the death penalty.

Heck, even the Clintons support the death penalty.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 07:29 am
roverroad wrote:
Especially since there are a lot of far left Liberals like me who support the death penalty.


Even when you read stories like the one above? I mean, I still like the idea of hanging the Mansons and Raders, in theory at least, but I don't know how you'd keep from hanging innocent people at this point. In actual practice our entire judicial system is too much of a joke to like the idea of capital punishment being a part of it.
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 07:31 am
There is no argument in this article to end the death penalty.
Instead,what I see is a case where the justice system worked.

We have a man that was convicted of a crime,and after his appeals and new evidence,he was exonerated.
That is how the justice system is supposed to work.

BTW,I saw nothing in the article you linked to that said he was sentenced to death.
So how do you use this article as anti death penalty evidence?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 08:56 am
Do you think this is the first case of someone wrongly convicted of murder, gungasnake?
0 Replies
 
Ray
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 01:44 pm
How much of a deterrent is the death penalty? It's not working very effectively. Even then, there is still the question of human rights.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 02:19 pm
The death penalty is barbaric IMO Gunga whether or not innocent people are put to death. I commend you on taking this stance. There's never been much I could agree with you in the past.

Some argue that abortion is barbaric too...I haven't come to grips with that yet.
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 03:07 pm
I repeat,there was no mention in the article that the man was sentenced to death.
So,how is this a death penalty case?
0 Replies
 
roverroad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 03:51 pm
panzade wrote:
The death penalty is barbaric IMO Gunga whether or not innocent people are put to death. I commend you on taking this stance. There's never been much I could agree with you in the past.

Some argue that abortion is barbaric too...I haven't come to grips with that yet.


It's not barbaric at all. It was barbaric when it was done by hanging, firing squad or electric chair. Stoning and public beheadings are barbaric. Countries that show it publicly for sport are barbaric, we do it the most humanely and peacefully. They are unconcious before they even die, they feel nothing. If I ever ended up getting the death penalty I would hope it would be in the United States.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 05:39 pm
mysteryman wrote:
There is no argument in this article to end the death penalty.
Instead,what I see is a case where the justice system worked.


If the system had worked, the guy'd never have spent a day in prison. Very easy for this guy to have been executed.
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 05:49 pm
gungasnake wrote:
mysteryman wrote:
There is no argument in this article to end the death penalty.
Instead,what I see is a case where the justice system worked.


If the system had worked, the guy'd never have spent a day in prison. Very easy for this guy to have been executed.


Thats true,but it did work in the sense that he was exonerated because of new evidence.
The legal system did work,albeit slowly.

But I repeat,there is NOTHING that states that he was sentenced to death or that the death penalty was even a option.

So,how is this a case against the death penalty?
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 06:07 pm
Probably for the first time since I came across your name on A2K, Gungasnake, I agree with you totally. There are at least three arguments against the death penalty which spring to mind immediately:

1) It has been shown time and again that the death penalty is not a deterrent to capital murder. The statistics are unassailable. As a matter of fact, in the USA, states which do not have the death penalty tend to have a lower per capita murder rate than states like California, Florida and Texas where executions are commonplace. (I'll concede that this low homicide rate might be the reason why these state feel that capital punishment is not needed; that does not negate the argument, however: killing the killers in California, Florida and Texas obviously doesn't deter others from becoming killers.)

(2) As your example points out, Gunga, it is all too easy in this country for the innocent to be convicted. It happens all the time. If the innocent party is doing prison time, the mistake can be corrected. If that person has been executed, the sentence is irreversible.

(3)And finally, of course, there is the question of the morality of such punishment. This question comes into play particularly in cases where the convicted killer, after having spent a couple of decades in prison, appealing the verdict and/or sentence, seems to have become completely rehabilitated. This is now a different person from the one that was convicted in the first place. If rehabilitation and repentence do not lead to redeption, what is the point of our prison system? To punush only? Seems very unchristian to me (not to even mention anti-Budhist and contra-indicated in the basic tenets of both Judaism and Islam.) I refer you to Deuteronomy 32:35; Isaiah 61:2 and Jeremiah 51:6. And if you don't wish to accept Old Testament refernces, I refer you to Jesus' famous statement, "Let him who is without fault cast the first stone." Taking revenge is not a valid argument unless one rejects all the moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition. That, of course, is your prerogative but if you do so, then you must admit that you reject these teachings outright.

All that said, I, too, feel it's a travesty that Charles Manson is still alive.
0 Replies
 
Stevepax
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2005 06:17 pm
The most important reason I can think that the death penalty should be abolished is that I don't believe the inmate should escape punishment by being set free through death. I think they should abolish "death row" and make these guys live in the actual prison population. The longer, the better!
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2005 01:42 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
Probably for the first time since I came across your name on A2K, Gungasnake, I agree with you totally. There are at least three arguments against the death penalty which spring to mind immediately:

1) It has been shown time and again that the death penalty is not a deterrent to capital murder. The statistics are unassailable. As a matter of fact, in the USA, states which do not have the death penalty tend to have a lower per capita murder rate than states like California, Florida and Texas where executions are commonplace. (I'll concede that this low homicide rate might be the reason why these state feel that capital punishment is not needed; that does not negate the argument, however: killing the killers in California, Florida and Texas obviously doesn't deter others from becoming killers.)

(2) As your example points out, Gunga, it is all too easy in this country for the innocent to be convicted. It happens all the time. If the innocent party is doing prison time, the mistake can be corrected. If that person has been executed, the sentence is irreversible.

(3)And finally, of course, there is the question of the morality of such punishment. This question comes into play particularly in cases where the convicted killer, after having spent a couple of decades in prison, appealing the verdict and/or sentence, seems to have become completely rehabilitated. This is now a different person from the one that was convicted in the first place. If rehabilitation and repentence do not lead to redeption, what is the point of our prison system? To punush only? Seems very unchristian to me (not to even mention anti-Budhist and contra-indicated in the basic tenets of both Judaism and Islam.) I refer you to Deuteronomy 32:35; Isaiah 61:2 and Jeremiah 51:6. And if you don't wish to accept Old Testament refernces, I refer you to Jesus' famous statement, "Let him who is without fault cast the first stone." Taking revenge is not a valid argument unless one rejects all the moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition. That, of course, is your prerogative but if you do so, then you must admit that you reject these teachings outright.

All that said, I, too, feel it's a travesty that Charles Manson is still alive.


Kill them all and let God sort them out.

When does one persons life be come more valuable then anothers? An innocent gets to die but the guilty get to live. They might not be free but they live. What is the average amount of time someone gets sent to jail for murder? 5 years 10 years? I don't think that sounds like justice. Justice should not be rehabilation it should be punishment plain and simple. Isn't the number of poeple who fall off the truck kind of high? Don't really have the ability to look it up but I have heard that it is quite high. If that is so then what is the point of using jail as place to make criminals "better people". You kill someone or rape someone and you get to live somewhere for free, eat for free, get a free education, watch TV, read books, attend church and even get to see vistors. When you think about it prison doesn't sound all that bad. To be honest it is almost like being in the military on deployment except I don't get to see loved ones.

Prison should be about punishment and nothing more. If you are innocent and found guilty then sorry. I would rather send one innocent person to jail then let 10 guilty people off. When it comes to the death penalty I feel the same way. I still think the punishment should fit the crime. In a case like this I think it is good that they found the right person and I hope he ends up in person very soon. I think it is very good that he is being paid back for the time he spent in jail. I know it doesn't equal what has happened to him but at least they are trying.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2005 04:48 pm
Baldimo wrote:
Merry Andrew wrote:
Probably for the first time since I came across your name on A2K, Gungasnake, I agree with you totally. There are at least three arguments against the death penalty which spring to mind immediately:

1) It has been shown time and again that the death penalty is not a deterrent to capital murder. The statistics are unassailable. As a matter of fact, in the USA, states which do not have the death penalty tend to have a lower per capita murder rate than states like California, Florida and Texas where executions are commonplace. (I'll concede that this low homicide rate might be the reason why these state feel that capital punishment is not needed; that does not negate the argument, however: killing the killers in California, Florida and Texas obviously doesn't deter others from becoming killers.)

(2) As your example points out, Gunga, it is all too easy in this country for the innocent to be convicted. It happens all the time. If the innocent party is doing prison time, the mistake can be corrected. If that person has been executed, the sentence is irreversible.

(3)And finally, of course, there is the question of the morality of such punishment. This question comes into play particularly in cases where the convicted killer, after having spent a couple of decades in prison, appealing the verdict and/or sentence, seems to have become completely rehabilitated. This is now a different person from the one that was convicted in the first place. If rehabilitation and repentence do not lead to redeption, what is the point of our prison system? To punush only? Seems very unchristian to me (not to even mention anti-Budhist and contra-indicated in the basic tenets of both Judaism and Islam.) I refer you to Deuteronomy 32:35; Isaiah 61:2 and Jeremiah 51:6. And if you don't wish to accept Old Testament refernces, I refer you to Jesus' famous statement, "Let him who is without fault cast the first stone." Taking revenge is not a valid argument unless one rejects all the moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition. That, of course, is your prerogative but if you do so, then you must admit that you reject these teachings outright.

All that said, I, too, feel it's a travesty that Charles Manson is still alive.


Kill them all and let God sort them out.

When does one persons life be come more valuable then anothers? An innocent gets to die but the guilty get to live. They might not be free but they live. What is the average amount of time someone gets sent to jail for murder? 5 years 10 years? I don't think that sounds like justice. Justice should not be rehabilation it should be punishment plain and simple. Isn't the number of poeple who fall off the truck kind of high? Don't really have the ability to look it up but I have heard that it is quite high. If that is so then what is the point of using jail as place to make criminals "better people". You kill someone or rape someone and you get to live somewhere for free, eat for free, get a free education, watch TV, read books, attend church and even get to see vistors. When you think about it prison doesn't sound all that bad. To be honest it is almost like being in the military on deployment except I don't get to see loved ones.

Prison should be about punishment and nothing more. If you are innocent and found guilty then sorry. I would rather send one innocent person to jail then let 10 guilty people off. When it comes to the death penalty I feel the same way. I still think the punishment should fit the crime. In a case like this I think it is good that they found the right person and I hope he ends up in person very soon. I think it is very good that he is being paid back for the time he spent in jail. I know it doesn't equal what has happened to him but at least they are trying.


I reckon you're one of them there 'compassionate' conservatives, Baldimo. I particularly love your statement "I would rather send one innocent person to jail than let 10 guilty people off." It just so happens that this is the exact reverse of the Anglo-American maxim that it is better that 10 wrongdoers go free than that one innocent person should suffer. It is clearly embodied in the concept of "reasonable doubt" when deciding a defendant's fate. I pray to everything holy that, should I ever be accused of a crime, you don't wind up on the jury. It's not likely, of course. Prospective jurors are screened fairly carefully and sociopaths aren't allowed to sit in judgement.
0 Replies
 
Ray
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2005 09:02 pm
It is not the life of the person that we should stop, it is the action of the person. The law is not a revenge system.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2005 10:53 pm
Ray wrote:
It is not the life of the person that we should stop, it is the action of the person. The law is not a revenge system.


Tell that to people like Baldimo. They consider the law strictly a blunt instrument of revenge. Rehabilitation is a foreign concept to these people.
0 Replies
 
Mortkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Dec, 2005 03:51 am
Yes. I think we should adopt the French Adage-"To understand everything is to forgive everything"

Does everyone know how many racial insults poor tookie suffered during his life. One can imagine the pressure of racial hate building up in his head until it was intolerable.

Did Tookie have what the rich white kids had in their homes? No. Never. We nevertheless excoriate him for positing his essentiality.

It is society who is to blame for the murders committed by tookie and, yes, by most of the oppressed in this sick capitalistic society.

Until the playing field is leveled and true justice is restored in our country, there will continue to be abominations like the executions of people like Tookie.

NO ONE should have the right to have double the possessions of anyone else. That radical inequality is what creates the Tookies of the future.
0 Replies
 
 

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