Thoughts on the Death Penalty - Piparskeggrsbok
Jul. 16th, 2009
06:52 pm - Thoughts on the Death Penalty
(This was a post I wrote on a list for a political group I recently joined. Be hale Y'all - Pip)
Hopefully, my words will add to the discussion.
I am for death as the penalty for certain crimes .
In the Anglo-Saxon Common Law upon which Thomas Jefferson based a good part of his thinking about what the government '...of the thirteen united States of America" would be, a differentiation was made, much like today, between murder and killing.
The main variance being, one took full credit for a killing. One might have to pay a price to heal the break with the community's "peace" in a killing, more or less depending upon the slain's "Manshot," aka wergild or blood price.
In a murder, one might not be slain in turn, depending again on the victim's place in society: wergild plus outlawry were the usual results.
But, there were times when one committed a crime against the community, which turned every spear against you and if the Earl or Sheriff didn't get you first, being slain out of hand was a distinct possibility...somewhat like the "frontier justice" of our westward expansion.
One could say, that depending upon circumstances, we have a crime (murder) or a civil matter (wrongful death).
For me, those who can be proven guilty, beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt, of crimes such as deliberate murder, contract killings, hiring said contractors, incitement to murder, rape of any sort (whether adult victim or child), serious bodily injury such that the victim will be unable to lead a normal life, incitement to such harm and such like...these are crimes where the perpetrator has forfeited their own right to life.
I would not oppose the creation of a special Federal appeals court solely for considering Capital cases.
The US Supreme Court would be the only authority for reviewing its decisions (besides a Gubernatorial or Presidential commutation or pardon).
If one is duly convicted and all courts at state level concur, the case would automatically go to this federal capital court. Each case would be given three years of full investigation by US Marshals, legal and forensic experts assigned to this court. The court would make its ruling, with the result being either death sentence confirmed, mitigating circumstance found and commutation to life, new evidence found that changes the level of the crime (say from cold-blooded 1st degree murder to emotionally fueled involuntary manslaughter) or acquittal. All confirmations of death sentences would go to the Supreme Court for automatic review. Other decisions would return the case to the court of initial jurisdiction for reconsideration in light of the ruling.
Death sentences would be carried out within 72 hours of confirmation by the Supreme Court...and, from having looked at the various methods used over the years, I think that hanging, when done in an exacting manner, is the most humane method of execution, save a large bullet through the brain stem.
I worked in prison ministry, within my faith, for a couple of years.
There is no "redemption" behind bars.
The men with whom I worked (it was a minimum security facility) were all guilty as charged. In our first meeting; I did explain I considered them to still be Out of Law and in process of paying their Schild to society. I was there to help them figure out how to complete the process and to act as a sounding board for their ideas about how to approach our Holy Ones. As I broached the subject in a courteous, non-confrontational manner, AND engaged them in conversation about what I meant, we did get along quite well. They accepted that in many ways they would be "paying wergild" the rest of their lives.
I could gladly work with them from there.
Quit doing it, not because of the men, we still correspond, but illness was my constant companion for most of the past 4 years.
Could I "drop the hammer?"
I have, in the line of duty., and hate having done so. But, I have done a lot of necessary things in life, which brought me no pleasure. They needed doing and I was "it" at the time. (And, if someone here read my intro elsewhere in these fora, "Peacetime" service doesn't necessarily mean Safe service.)
We owe it to a civil society to rid ourselves of those who have been proven, fully, to be a danger.
I would rather make a mistake with one innocent man than keep 100 who should be culled from the abattoir.