Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sad Day in Tracy, CA

What in the world is wrong with us? Sandra Cantu, this pretty 8 year old girl, was found stuffed in a suitcase in a dairy pond near her home in Tracy, CA. Her autopsy is scheduled for later today. The grief for her family must be unimaginable. How tragic to lose someone this young and crippling to let thoughts run rampant about her last hours and moments on Earth. As someone that interacted with sex offenders during my years of service in law enforcement I can tell you that this type of deviant is simply the worst among us. To be definitive, there is no cure for the type of animal that did this to an innocent child. Recidivism rates skyrocket and even the touchy-huggy rehabilitation types find no statistics to back their theory of returning "rehabilitated" offenders back into general society.
My view on the death penalty has softened over time. I used to be a member of the "kill them all" chorus. Well publicized mistakes and cases of innocent men and women being convicted and in some cases executed for crimes they didn't commit seems just as dastardly. However, why do we fight so hard to modify laws that would adjust to a sort of legal common sense? Why does it have to be a death penalty versus no death penalty argument exclusively? Can't we modify the death penalty debate to include specificity and absolute knowledge? In other words, if DNA links the suspect to this girl's savage murder, light him up Jack. If eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence convict the suspect beyond a reasonable doubt without DNA, then let it be life in prison. And for you child molesters entering the prison system, don't drop the soap if you get my drift.
It doesn't matter whether or not the death penalty reduces the number of vicious crimes in each respective category or not. The death penalty remains in my eyes as a specific punishment for a specific person for having committed a specific act. Case closed. I've interrogated sex offenders myself and winced with a knot in my stomach while eliciting a confession. They like it, they want to talk about it. You have to rationalize with them and it is as sickening as anything you'll ever sit through. One guy told me about a three year old girl he abused and that she "wanted it." I wanted to tear his throat out with my bare hands. Thankfully I didn't but as I get older I'm happy to say I might handle things with a pipe if given half a chance.
When examining your own thoughts regarding the death penalty's place in society, try not to make it an all or nothing argument. If DNA connects the suspect to a victim scientifically beyond any doubt, it's barbecue or killer cocktail time. If evidence convicts him without the positive link of DNA it's life in prison. The important thing is to keep innocent adults and children safe from roaming predators that serve no benefit to society now or in the future.


dudleysharp said...

A horrible, sad outcome.

Please reconsider your stance on the death penalty.

The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

Often, the death penalty dialogue gravitates to the subject of innocents at risk of execution. Seldom is a more common problem reviewed. That is, how innocents are more at risk without the death penalty.

Enhanced Due Process

No knowledgeable and honest party questions that the death penalty has the most extensive due process protections in US criminal law.

Therefore, actual innocents are more likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment and more likely to die in prison serving under that sentence, that it is that an actual innocent will be executed.

That is. logically, conclusive.

Enhanced Incapacitation

To state the blatantly clear, living murderers, in prison, after release or escape, are much more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers.

Although an obvious truism, it is surprising how often folks overlook the enhanced incapacitation benefits of the death penalty over incarceration.

Enhanced Deterrence

16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses, find for death penalty deterrence.

A surprise? No.

Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.

Some believe that all studies with contrary findings negate those 16 studies. They don't. Studies which don't find for deterrence don't say no one is deterred, but that they couldn't measure those deterred.

What prospect of a negative outcome doesn't deter some? There isn't one . . . although committed anti death penalty folk may say the death penalty is the only one.

Even the premier anti death penalty scholar accepts it as a given that the death penalty is a deterrent, but does not believe it to be a greater deterrent than a life sentence. Yet, the evidence is compelling and un refuted that death is feared more than life.

Enhanced Fear

Some death penalty opponents argue against death penalty deterrence, stating that it's a harsher penalty to be locked up without any possibility of getting out.

Reality paints a very different picture.

What percentage of capital murderers seek a plea bargain to a death sentence? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.

What percentage of convicted capital murderers argue for execution in the penalty phase of their capital trial? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.

What percentage of death row inmates waive their appeals and speed up the execution process? Nearly zero. They prefer long term imprisonment.

This is not, even remotely, in dispute.

What of that more rational group, the potential murderers who choose not to murder, is it likely that they, like most of us, fear death more than life?

Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.

The False Promise

Part of the anti death penalty deception is that a life sentence, with no possibility of release, is a superior alternative to the death penalty. It's a lie. History tells us that lifers have many ways to get out: Pardon, commutation, escape, clerical error, change in the law, etc. There are few absolutes with sentencing. But, here are two: the legislature can lessen the sentences of current inmates, retroactively, and the executive branch can lessen any individual sentence, at any time. This has been, actively, pursued, for a number of years, in many states, because of the high cost of life sentences and/or geriatric care, found to be $60,000-$90,000 per year per inmate.

Innocents released from death row: Some reality

Furthermore, possibly we have sentenced 25 actually innocent people to death since 1973, or 0.3% of those so sentenced. Those have all been released upon post conviction review. The anti death penalty claims, that the numbers are significantly higher, are a fraud, easily discoverable by fact checking.

The innocents deception of death penalty opponents has been getting exposure for many years. Even the behemoth of anti death penalty newspapers, The New York Times, has recognized that deception.

To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row . . . (1) This when death penalty opponents were claiming the release of 119 "innocents" from death row. Death penalty opponents never required actual innocence in order for cases to be added to their "exonerated" or "innocents" list. They simply invented their own definitions for exonerated and innocent and deceptively shoe horned large numbers of inmates into those definitions - something easily discovered with fact checking.

There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900.

If we accept that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, we can, reasonably, conclude that the DNA cases will be excluded prior to trial, and that for the next 8000 death sentences, that we will experience a 99.8% accuracy rate in actual guilt convictions. This improved accuracy rate does not include the many additional safeguards that have been added to the system, over and above DNA testing.

Of all the government programs in the world, that put innocents at risk, is there one with a safer record and with greater protections than the US death penalty?


In choosing to end the death penalty, or in choosing not implement it, some have chosen to spare murderers at the cost of sacrificing more innocent lives.


Full report -All Innocence Issues: The Death Penalty, upon request.

Full report - The Death Penalty as a Deterrent, upon request

(1) The Death of Innocents: A Reasonable Doubt,
New York Times Book Review, p 29, 1/23/05, Adam Liptak,
national legal correspondent for The NY Times

copyright 2007-2009, Dudley Sharp
Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS, VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Pro death penalty sites

Essays: http://homicidesurvivors.com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

www.coastda.com/archives.html See death penalty
http://yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you on the Death penalty (in which we don't have in Norway, wish we did.)

Munan said...

As a San Joaquin County Sheriff, I tend to agree with the death penalty, but if you believe it's a deterrent, you are lying to yourself.
Someone who would be sentenced to death already has a number of other things going on in their head, and they don't fear death. Not until they're rational again does the though occur to them. So, without fear of the outcome, the murder will proceed.
You see, if it truly was a deterrent, people wouldn't be murdering each other.
There are better ways to deal with criminals than the "eye for an eye" mentality.

Anonymous said...

I am not agree with you because it is a low percentage of death.

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Anonymous said...

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