Charles Manson

MetroGnome

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#91
If California hadn't suspended the death penalty in 1972 Manson would have been executed, and the US taxpayer would have saved the fortune they spent keeping that vile piece of shit alive and healthy for 46 years.

maximus otter
Actually, apparently it costs more to execute a guy than to have him in prison for life. For one thing, people often spend a decade or two on death row anyway. And then there are the huge legal costs to go through one appeal after the other.

When I think of deeply evil people, my sincerest wish for them is a LOO-O-ONG life. Hopefully way past their nineties. And hopefully spending the last four or five decades or so of it completely enfeebled, but still mentally with it so that they know what is happening to them. And then spending two or three years on their backs in intensive care, as one cancer after the other takes hold of them and is then fought off again, in the end requiring more and more of their bits and pieces to be amputated. And then emphysema. And so on and so forth.

Modern medicine can be worse torture than execution... :)
 

maximus otter

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#92
...apparently it costs more to execute a guy than to have him in prison for life. For one thing, people often spend a decade or two on death row anyway. And then there are the huge legal costs to go through one appeal after the other.
Executions are cheap. Indulging criminals with one nitpicking unsuccessful appeal after another is expensive.

When I think of deeply evil people, my sincerest wish for them is a LOO-O-ONG life. Hopefully way past their nineties. ...spending the last four or five decades or so of it completely enfeebled...one cancer after the other...bits and pieces amputated...emphysema. And so on and so forth.

Modern medicine can be worse torture than execution... :)
Yet amazingly, most condemned criminals prefer Option B (the long life). Odd, that.

I'm also assuming that you eschew all medical treatment for yourself and those for whom you have responsibility. Wouldn't want to prolong the suffering, eh?

maximus otter
 

MetroGnome

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#93
Executions are cheap. Indulging criminals with one nitpicking unsuccessful appeal after another is expensive.
True enough. But we don't know whether we are just indulging a criminal until all the appeals are done with. :)

One could of course make a good argument that justice should be seen to be done quickly, otherwise the death penalty will lose its value as deterrent, and the expense goes up and up. On the other hand, under such conditions there is little doubt that innocent people will end up being executed. So I guess society has to decide whether it can live with this. It appears that in the west, most societies decided they could not.

An added complication that just occurred to me: in countries where there is a private prison industry, someone might actually be making rather than losing money...

Yet amazingly, most condemned criminals prefer Option B (the long life). Odd, that.

I'm also assuming that you eschew all medical treatment for yourself and those for whom you have responsibility. Wouldn't want to prolong the suffering, eh?
Lucky for me I have no responsibility for anyone else, and thus I can only speak for myself. When I reach 70 or 75 or thereabouts, I will indeed begin to eschew all or most medical treatment. I have worked in the medical industry and have seen what it does to people's living standard, for no other reason than to siphon money from their medical insurance.

Incidentally, I am not so sure that all prisoners would opt for the long life. Do you know what conditions are like on most Death Rows? What if those are the conditions under which we kept our prisoners sentenced to life in prison, and what if life in prison meant exactly what it said? I think if Death Row prisoners were given the option to commit suicide, many of them would take it.

I actually rather like the idea one sees in movies about Samurai, that you can regain your honor by committing suicide (not so sure whether this was in fact very widespread among real Samurai, but you sure see a lot of seppuku in the movies. :) )
 

maximus otter

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#94
...I think if Death Row prisoners were given the option to commit suicide, many of them would take it.

I actually rather like the idea one sees in movies about Samurai, that you can regain your honor by committing suicide...
I will support enthusiastically any application you make to become a Prison Visitor!

;)

maximus otter
 

Yithian

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#95
If California hadn't suspended the death penalty in 1972 Manson would have been executed, and the US taxpayer would have saved the fortune they spent keeping that vile piece of shit alive and healthy for 46 years.

maximus otter
Civilisation isn't free.

Even if we were to do away with the lengthy appeals process (which would be highly irresponsible given the shocking miscarriages of justice that have come to light in recent years) and commence with the simple killing of serious criminals, the fact that the taxpayer would have been saved the expense of their continued existence would be an exceptionally weak argument for the change.

I assume you can appreciate that there need be no connection whatsoever between the expense and either the effectiveness or the appropriateness of a practice.

Civilised societies don't keep criminals alive just because they are controlled by the squeamish and weak-hearted, bent on seeing the best in evil people; they keep criminals alive because the majority of the tolerably educated is constant in its faith that we are capable of transcending a barbaric thirst for vengeance.

Executing criminals says nothing about the criminals and their crimes and an awful lot about the people who sanction that punishment.

We'll line you 'hang 'em high' types up for the post of state rapist. Next time a woman is violated, we'll have you go to work on the perpetrator in the name of justice. We'll make it really unpleasant--put the proper fear of God into them: that'll show the world what a nasty piece of work they are!

His object all sublime
He will achieve in time —
To let the punishment fit the crime —
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment!
Of innocent merriment!
 
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#96
Executions are cheap. Indulging criminals with one nitpicking unsuccessful appeal after another is expensive.



Yet amazingly, most condemned criminals prefer Option B (the long life). Odd, that.

I'm also assuming that you eschew all medical treatment for yourself and those for whom you have responsibility. Wouldn't want to prolong the suffering, eh?

maximus otter
Many people on death row have been found to be innocent following one nitpicking appeal after another.

Even in the UK prisoners have been cleared of murder after spending 15 - 20 years in prison. If capital punishment had still been in place then at least scores of innocent people would have been executed.
 

maximus otter

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#98
Many people on death row have been found to be innocent following one nitpicking appeal after another.
Many people on Death Row have had their convictions overturned. That's an entirely different matter.

Allow enough time for witnesses to die/forget/be influenced by the transitory fame of a fleeting TV appearance/the party in power to change/enough heartrending TV dramas about miscarriages of justice...

Even at my low pay grade I've met one or two excuses for men out from under whom I'd cheerfully kick the stool.

"Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf."

George Orwell, "Notes on Nationalism"

maximus otter
 
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#99
Many people on Death Row have had their convictions overturned. That's an entirely different matter.

Allow enough time for witnesses to die/forget/be influenced by the transitory fame of a fleeting TV appearance/the party in power to change/enough heartrending TV dramas about miscarriages of justice...

Even at my low pay grade I've met one or two excuses for men out from under whom I'd cheerfully kick the stool.

"Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf."

George Orwell, "Notes on Nationalism"

maximus otter
Are you suggesting that the Birmingham Six, Guilford Four etc were actually guilty?

I don't see what an Orwell quote has to do with you trying to smear people who were found guilty on the basis of forced confessions, faulty forensics and lies.
 

Yithian

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"Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf."

George Orwell, "Notes on Nationalism"
Nice quote; wrong context.

He's making the same point as Kipling when he chides those who take pleasure in 'Making mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep," but neither is an injunction to commit more violence than is necessary.
 
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The very first word of my response was "many", not "all".

maximus otter
Would you care to cite the cases where you don't think convictions for murder should have been overturned?

We could link to the Appeal Courts findings and you would have the opportunity of pointing out where you believe the Judges erred in matters of Law.
 

maximus otter

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Would you care to cite the cases where you don't think convictions for murder should have been overturned?

We could link to the Appeal Courts findings and you would have the opportunity of pointing out where you believe the Judges erred in matters of Law.
You do remember that we're talking about Charles Manson and the US process, don't you?

maximus otter
 

Yithian

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You do remember that we're talking about Charles Manson and the US process, don't you?

maximus otter
Well you were the one who broadened things out talking about nitpicking appeals, favouring executions instead.

But it is about Manson. He was just a two-bit crook posing as a messiah who wouldn't even be remembered if the original tenant (who had crossed Manson) had been in the house rather than Sharon Tate.
 

maximus otter

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A recent study found that a conservative estimate for the number who were given the death penalty who should not have been convicted is 4.1% in the U.S.
I'm confident that Manson - the subject of this thread - is one of the 95.9%

maximus otter
 
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To add some spice to the debate:

Charles Manson’s Science Fiction Roots
How L. Ron Hubbard and Robert Heinlein influenced a murderous cult.
BY JEET HEER
November 21, 2017

In 1963, while a prisoner at the federal penitentiary at McNeil Island in Washington state, Charles Manson heard other prisoners enthuse about two books: Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) and L. Ron Hubbard’s self-help guide Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950). Heinlein’s novel told the story of a Mars-born messiah who preaches a doctrine of free love, leading to the creation of a religion whose followers are bound together by ritualistic water-sharing and intensive empathy (called “grokking”). Hubbard’s purportedly non-fiction book described a therapeutic technique for clearing away self-destructive mental habits. It would later serve as the basis of Hubbard’s religion, Scientology.

Manson was barely literate, so he probably didn’t delve too deeply into either of these texts. But he was gifted at absorbing information in conversation, and by talking to other prisoners he gleaned enough from both books to synthesize a new theology. His encounter with the writings of Heinlein and Hubbard was a pivotal event in his life. Until then, he had been a petty criminal and drifter who spent his life in and out of jail. But when Manson was released from McNeil Island in 1967, he was a new figure: a charismatic street preacher who gathered a flock of followers among the hippies of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. ...

https://newrepublic.com/article/145906/charles-mansons-science-fiction-roots
 

Quake42

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"I believe that the death penalty should be an option" is - I think - the simplest answer to that question.

maximus otter
I’m rather torn on this. Instinctively I would be inclined to support the *option* of the death penalty in extremely limited circumstances - crimes of an extremely heinous nature where there is no real question as to the perpetrator’s guilt and no indication of the slightest remorse.

There would, I think, be very few crimes to fall into this category. I’m thinking of people like Fred West, Harold Shipman and Michael Abedjalo. Of course, two from that list saved us the bother...

It is reasonable for society to express its revulsion at the worst crimes by requiring the perpetrator pay the ultimate penalty. On the other hand, can any safeguards be strong enough to eliminate the possibility of mistaken identity in every such case? If not, then maybe it’s better to err on the side of caution.
 

GNC

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I was reading about the man who's been in prison on a murder sentence for the past 25 years. He was innocent. That sentence has now been overturned and he is free. The death penalty would have seen him off ages ago. His life remains ruined, but at least he has a life now.

It's just too risky. Besides, there's enough violence in the world without encouraging the state to do more.
 

gerhard1

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Well you were the one who broadened things out talking about nitpicking appeals, favouring executions instead.

But it is about Manson. He was just a two-bit crook posing as a messiah who wouldn't even be remembered if the original tenant (who had crossed Manson) had been in the house rather than Sharon Tate.
If memory serves, the person to whom you refer was Terry Melcher. I think that Mr Melcher would have been remembered because his mother was Doris Day.

But that aside, while I concede that Sharon Tate being one of the victims made it noteworthy, the extreme violence the Family members did also contributed to the notoriety of the case. Besides, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were almost completely unknown outside of Los Angeles.

FWIW, I favor the death penalty. But I also believe it should be reserved for those cases where 1) there is absolutely no doubt as to the guilt of the accused, and 2) the crime committed was particularly terrible, cruel etc.

But it should be rare.
 

gerhard1

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Actually, apparently it costs more to execute a guy than to have him in prison for life. For one thing, people often spend a decade or two on death row anyway. And then there are the huge legal costs to go through one appeal after the other.

When I think of deeply evil people, my sincerest wish for them is a LOO-O-ONG life. Hopefully way past their nineties. And hopefully spending the last four or five decades or so of it completely enfeebled, but still mentally with it so that they know what is happening to them. And then spending two or three years on their backs in intensive care, as one cancer after the other takes hold of them and is then fought off again, in the end requiring more and more of their bits and pieces to be amputated. And then emphysema. And so on and so forth.

Modern medicine can be worse torture than execution... :)
The flaw in this argument is that the lawyers who make numerous appeals are the same ones who make this argument, so it's kind of a self -fulfilling prophecy.

Let me explain.

An appellate lawyer sees a legal issue from the trial that was decided unfavorably to his client. The process is that he (or she) makes a legal motion for mistrial or dismissal, which the trial judge denies. The lawyer then goes to the state appellate court where the issue is argued. If the decision is unfavorable to either side, it will go to the state high court. Unfavorable decision for the accused. Then to the US Supreme Court.

The next step is the federal district court for the jurisdiction of the trial court, then to the US court of appeals for the circuit of the trial court. Then the Supreme Court of the US once more.,

The issue finally being settled once and for all, the lawyer for the accused takes another legal issue and the whole process is repeated and then another issue, ad nauseum. What these appellate lawyers are trying to do is make it as expensive as possible so they can make this argument.

Please note that they are not doing this for personal profit, they are doing it because they want to see the death penalty done away with and this is one way to do it; by making it as expensive as possible. In short it is not greed that motivates these lawyers; it is idealism.

But even at this point the prisoner's legal options are not exhausted, for once the courts have made their final decision, the executive authority can be approached. This could be the state governors or the President of the US. A commutation can still be had, but quite often, this approach fails.

The law then takes it's course.

Strangely enough, the issue is often not decided on whether the accused is factually guilty; in the overwhelming majority of the cases, they are, but whether certain things should have been admissible as evidence. The accused may argue, for example, that a key piece of evidence should not have been allowed. They might argue that the weapon the accused used to kill with was improperly allowed or a confession was illegally obtained. Police in this country (and presumably the UK as well) don't often make this kind of legal error; they are too careful. And they are getting better about following the legal guidelines.

With these procedures and protections for the accused in place, miscarriages of justice sometime do happen, but they are not commonplace. Such cases as Derek Bentley and Timothy Evans in the UK come to mind and some question the guilt of these two men.

Another case where many people thought was an innocent man hanged was the A6 killer James Hanratty, but I understand that evidence has since come to light confirming his guilt.

Still and all we must be careful, as one of the strongest arguments against the death penalty is that it is irrevocable.

'Oops!!' somehow doesn't cut it if an error is made.
 

cycleboy2

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"I believe that the death penalty should be an option" is - I think - the simplest answer to that question.

maximus otter
My response to that - as a middle-class bleeding-heart liberal - is that for there to be a death penalty I'd like a 100% accuracy on something as, well, black and white as, er, being put to death. That's BEING PUT TO DEATH (if I could shout louder I would), not exactly an insignificant event (95.9% isn't even close). In the UK had we had the death penalty the Guildford Four, Birmingham Six and Stefan Kiszko, among many, many others would have been wrongly executed (ie innocent when killed by the state. In my opinion that is never acceptable).

In the UK the question that used to be asked about the death penalty was whether you would be prepared to pull the trigger, open the trapdoor etc and many blithely said yes, of course; but I think it was former PM Edward Heath who posed the question, would you be prepared to be one of the innocent people executed by mistake? Not me. Ever. I have moral disagreements as well, but I believe it's the practical arguments that are as important. When people and human emotions are concerned there can never be anything close to 100% accuracy; and if that's the case - which it is and always will be - the death penalty, for me, is a non-starter no matter how heinous or evil the crimes; the US, UK and other Western countries can afford to incarcerate prisoners for life and I feel the economic argument is facile beyond belief.

And going back to Edward Heath, he's a man who had experience of executions. From the Scotsman's obituary: "At the end of the war he had to take command of a firing squad to execute a soldier who had committed aggravated rape and murder. The incident made such an impact on him that years later some of his finest speeches in the Commons were against the death penalty."

And if one looks at the countries that presently use the death penalty, without resorting to Google I'm guessing that China and Iran top the countries most likely to use it. Not sure they're the countries the west should be considerng following.

But that's just me.
 

MetroGnome

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The flaw in this argument is that the lawyers who make numerous appeals are the same ones who make this argument, so it's kind of a self -fulfilling prophecy.

Let me explain.

An appellate lawyer sees a legal issue from the trial that was decided unfavorably to his client. The process is that he (or she) makes a legal motion for mistrial or dismissal, which the trial judge denies. The lawyer then goes to the state appellate court where the issue is argued. If the decision is unfavorable to either side, it will go to the state high court. Unfavorable decision for the accused. Then to the US Supreme Court.

The next step is the federal district court for the jurisdiction of the trial court, then to the US court of appeals for the circuit of the trial court. Then the Supreme Court of the US once more.,

The issue finally being settled once and for all, the lawyer for the accused takes another legal issue and the whole process is repeated and then another issue, ad nauseum. What these appellate lawyers are trying to do is make it as expensive as possible so they can make this argument.
What that means is that these legal issues are not trivial. They are literally issues of life and death. Which means we do in fact need top level court decisions on them, and the lengthy appeal process is necessary, whatever the motives of the lawyers.

I am on the whole against the death penalty, though not so fanatically that I'd wave posters against it. In a referendum, I'd vote against it, and that will be it. Perhaps my side wins the referendum, and the next day my brother gets murdered and then I wish we could hang the perp. Or perhaps the pro-death penalty guy wins the referendum, and the next day his brother commits a murder and ends up on death row.

These things can always come bite us in the ass. :)

Religion wise I am fairly agnostic, though I guess I'm a "cultural Christian." And from that point of view, I always think along these lines: the pro-death penalty folks argue that some people deserve to be executed. Yes, and maybe they do, too. But I always think: god help us if we all got exactly, precisely what we deserve. Perhaps that indicates that I'm just too much of a sinner myself... :)
 

CarlosTheDJ

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FWIW, I favor the death penalty. But I also believe it should be reserved for those cases where 1) there is absolutely no doubt as to the guilt of the accused....
The only way you can be sure of that is if the judge and jury witness the crime - video evidence, DNA, confessions...anything can be faked or misjudged, surely?
 

Heckler

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Surely the point of incarceration versus execution, is that society as a whole can be protected from individuals, who by their actions show they are unable to live according to the simple moral precept (religion aside) of "do not kill others" without lowering society to the same level as them by killing them.

Is it not the natural evolution of civilisation to stop seeking retribution in this way?
 
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