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August 7, 2010

26

the death penalty… stop the madness!!!

by Andrea O'Connell

I live in Florida.  If you  live in a death penalty state, too, then you and I, We are the People who the State Attorney Office serves when they find cause to charge an individual with a crime and/or put them to death.

We the People, though not “present” in the courtroom, are represented in good faith by the State Attorney’s Office.

In the Casey Anthony case, in Orlando Florida, these good people are Jeff Ashton and Linda Drane-Burdick.  And of course, the Judges: the popular and kind Judge Stan Strickland, and the serious and even tempered Judge Belvin Perry, (who does seem to have a sense of humor, but of course, the courtroom is not place to show it.)

These are good people, all. And they are doing, with honor, the work that the People of the State of Florida would expect.

I don’t want to dishonor these good people as I rail and I scream about the death penalty.  All these fine folks who are working diligently for justice for Caylee, are doing their job….

However, and you can holler at me all you want, they didn’t HAVE to go with the death penalty in this case, did they?

Remember, they originally had it on the table, then took it off, then put it back on – after the discovery of the body?

Judge Perry, the Judge overseeing the Casey Anthony case in Orlando, Florida, recently ruled on eight motions put before him regarding the death penalty.

Eight arguments denied.

The heretofore Defense attorney, Andrea Lyon, attempted to argue that the death penalty was unconstitutional.  Not so, says the Judge, as he must follow the law.  He must follow the law, bad or not, he must follow it.

Andrea Lyon had an uphill battle anyway.

The death penalty IS unconstitutional and unconscionable, in my mind, anyway.  The death penalty belongs in Third World Countries, but not in the United States of America – the land of  the free and the proud.

According to the PEW Charitable Trust organization, there are still 38 states who allow the death penalty.

Time and time again you’ll hear this study and that study declaring that the death penalty does nothing to thwart murderous villains from acting as they will.  But, jail does stop them.  Jail works, for the most part.

I don’t want Casey Anthony sentenced to death, and she very well may be, though it will be overturned on appeal if she is.  I say that because her second trial will take place with a real lawyer who will focus on her mental illness, as should have been done at the outset of this trial, I believe.

Being in jail and facing the certainty of death changes the criminal, for the most part.  Time and time again I have read how the criminal does a 360 about-face, becomes more human and totally repentant.  So, how do we play God and kill such a person?

In the name of God, is capital punishment part of His teachings?  Isn’t God a totally forgiving God?  Why we won’t emulate the forgiveness versus relying on a vengeful God is something I will never understand.  It reeks of contradictions.

Death is too final and we are merely mortals.

What if we make a mistake and we put to death the wrong person?  It has happened time and time again.  That has got to bolster the argument AGAINST the death penalty. Right?  Wrong.

But, I’m singing in the wind. Who is listening?  Nary a soul.  Does anyone think about this anymore?

Did you know that in Utah a prisoner was killed by firing squad very recently?

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

….bullets to the heart, and

Done.

In the name of the people of Utah, in the name of God and the law, a human being was placed before a firing squad and killed for the wrong he did to society over 25 years ago.

25 years ago. We kept him alive for 25 years only to kill him.

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26 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hilde
    Aug 7 2010

    Andrea~~ I have mixed Feelings about the DP. I always thought no one has the Right to take some one’s Life, no matter what, but it really isn’t as simple as that at least in my Opinion.
    What would I do if some one would torture and kill one of my Children or Grand Children or any of my Loved Ones.
    Would I not want the Perpetrator to pay with his Life too? I honestly can not answer that Question since I had thank God never to deal with that kind of Tragedy.
    I also don’t believe Casey A. will get the DP even if it is on the Table should she be convicted, I would think she might get Life in Prison without Parole.
    I realize lots of People don’t believe in the DP but I do believe we still have one of the Best Legal System compare to other Countries despite it not being flawless.
    Any One who lives in one of the States which has the DP knows if they commit a heinous Murder that they might get the DP if convicted.
    At least in this Country the Criminal has a Right to a fair Trial and has to be proven guilty without a reasonable Doubt, that is more what they can expect in some foreign Country.
    The Best Way not to have to worry about getting the DP
    is to not commit a cruel and heinous Crime.
    That is just like always my Opinion.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 8 2010

      Hi Hilde,

      thank you for your thoughtful response. I hear what you’re asking, and so many people feel the same way as you do. So many people do wonder how they might feel if their loved one was tortured and murdered as Caylee was.

      Caylee was the innocent and I understand how so many could want death for Casey, since we know her as the cold and calculated perpetrator of the little angel’s untimely death. It is human nature, perhaps, to want to avenge such a crime and that is why the DP law was created, or so I’d imagine. The DP is law to meter out justice for the loved ones of the victims. But I don’t like that brand of justice because I think life and death belongs in the realm of God.

      Life is sacred and to snuff out any life, IMO, should not be acceptable under any law.

      Regardless, we have enacted criminal laws to try to curtail the criminals from acting against the constitutional rights of the innocents.

      But, no law will stop the murderous when they set out to murder. The last thing they have on their mind is “the law” they act out of hate, or something – who knows what. They act with malice that you or I cannot comprehend or begin to understand. Any person who would take the life of another person – well, they are not built like you or I… they will kill because they can and were made that way and there’s little we can do about it but to lock these people away forever in a segregated and controlled society like a jail….. then, let life unfold for that person in confinement, to die when they will, but not by our hand.

      The trick for us is to hope and pray these villains never cross our path….. ❤

      Reply
  2. Aug 7 2010

    I see it this way, Caylee was given the death penalty by her henious evil mother Casey and she did nothing to deserve it. She was an innocent toddler. Casey Anthony is not insane, she killed Caylee for her own selfish reason and because she could. For all i care they can put Casey under that same firing squad you spoke of above. No one told her to kill her baby so she made her own bed now she can lie in it or die in it one. Some may think i am very harsh and they would be correct as i have no sympathy what so ever for a baby killer.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 8 2010

      Hi Knight Owl,

      I understand how you can feel that way, many people feel just the same as you do and it’s natural to want to avenge a wrongful death, I know.

      Like Hilde asks, how would we feel if someone tortured and then killed our grandchild, or loved one? If God forbid, that happened, I still would not want death for that person. But, if that person were put to death to avenge such a crime against me or my family, I could not participate. That I know. I could not condone it, though I might feel a bit of “justice” at the thought, the reality of the “act” would not suit my conscious, if you know what I mean.

      My home was recently robbed and the burglars got away with my entire jewelry box which was filled with lovely things – lovely to me, and some expensive items, but nothing that would make anyone rich! Still, if those ugly persons who stole so much from me were caught, would I want, as revenge, one of their fingers cut off? No. Hell no. But, I would want them to pay me back with restitution.

      Stealing and murder are not the same thing, truly, but my point is that we are only human, even those who we assign to carry out justice for us, they are only human but must follow the law, and I understand that. But, I don’t like the law.

      Reply
  3. offthecuff
    Aug 7 2010

    The DP is a scary and heavy responsibility that humans must bear. Why do we have it? It is an answer to injustice. Forgiveness does not equal justice. Forgiveness and DP can go together. A criminal can be forgiven and even accept forgiveness, yet face the consequences of his actions.

    Three things make the DP especially scary to many.

    The first is, as you stated, that the DP decision is in the hands of our court system who are often wrong in their decision making—whether the criminal in question did the crime. But in this fear, you are calling into question the sovereignty of God, who oversees and intervenes in all things. We should always be astute and challenging our court system to be the best, but our society needs the backbone that our judicial system offers and DP is part of that backbone that keeps our society civilized and well-ordered. It is wrong to expect an overburdened society to financially keep these deserving criminals alive. God in His sovereignty places various men in leadership roles within his society to make these difficult decisions. If an “innocent” man dies or if a guilty one dies, both DP decisions are under the watchful eye of God.

    The second thing that makes the DP scary is that death appears to be so final—the point that you also bring up. However, in this thinking you are calling God into question about the afterlife. This life and death are not final and God offers abundant life after our fleshly death. He offers Himself to each man while man lives on earth to accept or reject. He is in ultimate control of all life and death, now and in the hereafter. We are easily scared and disturbed about the life to come, but perhaps there is another perspective on this. Everything is in the hands of God. Death in this world can be a blessing.

    The third thing that is scary in the DP, as you also stated, is that men are taking revenge through the DP, not offering forgiveness. But you are calling into question the avenging nature of God. God does not forgive everyone, although He is a forgiving God. This is not a contradiction with God. God avenges all sin through death. He sent His Son as a substitute for man. Christ took on man’s punishment and died for man the death that man himself deserves. However, only those who accept this gospel as truth and turn to God are then covered by Christ’s death. Only those covered by Christ’s death are then TOTALLY FORGIVEN with the condition that God is fully avenged. Those who reject God must still die for their own sins.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 8 2010

      Hi Off the Cuff,

      thank you for another very thoughtful response. I appreciate so much the time you have taken to explain your thoughts on the matter.

      Yes, I agree, the DP is a heavy and scary burden… And, you’re right: Forgiveness does not equal justice. Justice stands on it’s own, and is in the hands of the good people like those in Orlando, who will act on behalf of We the People. The trouble is, these good people must follow a law that, IMO is not just, is not justice, is cruel and unforgiving and is wrong for a civilized society to carry out.

      I consider my self law-abiding. I would not willfully break any law, but I would not and could not follow or vote for the DP no matter how heinous….I truly could not…. I could not vote for war, either. I am not built that way…..

      Thank you again for posting here.

      Reply
  4. Hilde
    Aug 8 2010

    Andrea~~ You are a very passionate Person and I agree with so many Things You are saying in this Post.
    I really don’t believe ANY ONE has the Right to take some one’s Life.
    I would never want to watch an Execution under any Circumstances that I do know it would not bring any kind of Satisfaction for me at least that is the Way I feel at this time.
    Any Person which murders and/or tortures any Human Being will have to answer to a Higher Power eventually and it won’t be our Laws made by the People it will be a much higher Court.
    I do have Faith in the Justice which we all have to face someday, we all have to account for what we have done in our Life, there is no Way around that one.
    I do believe any Person who commits a heinous Crime against Mankind should be put in Prison for Life and never get a Chance to hurt any one else.
    This would present than another Problem, over crowded Prisons and Taxpayers Burden of supporting those Prisoners for as long as they live.
    The Way I see it there just isn’t an easy Answer. The only Thing we as the People can do, try to make or have Laws which our Conscience can live with.
    We live in a imperfect World with imperfect People in it,
    therefore all we can do is trying to accept the Things we cannot change and change the Things we can and hopefully know the Difference! 😉
    JMO

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 8 2010

      Hi Hilde… You hit the nail on the head: there is no easy answer, and we do live in imperfect world. That’s the conundrum, right there! And, yes, our prisons are terribly over-crowded, our poor system is nearly at the breaking point because we put non-violent offenders in there (drug abusers), over-burdening an already burdened system. But, the drug abusers break the law, too and the law is the law… LOL! Like you say, there are fewer problems than there are answers.

      We need a stronger gun ban, that’s for sure… However, that’s another topic for another day! 🙂

      Hugs Hilde….

      Reply
  5. Lona1
    Aug 8 2010

    Hello Andrea,
    thanks for a great article, but I have to agree with knight owl on this one.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 8 2010

      Hey Lona! I understand completely. You and Knight Owl are not alone in your opinion and I totally respect and understand where you’re coming from.

      Reply
  6. Aug 8 2010

    Hallo Andrea, I just found your blog by readomatic. Even though I am not from the US I just want to say it is such a relief to find someone saying what you did!

    I was about to think everyone wanted the dp in Florida. Let’s hope the law will change.

    In the seventies, the dp was abolished for a while as it was inhumane, then reinstated. In 1977 I think the first execution took place and soon the numbers went up per year. I can’t understand where people are coming from who want it, it is just too far away from my world.

    Amnesty International and the UN are doing their best to get rid of the dp, but the people have to vote for politicians with the power to do so I suppose.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 8 2010

      Hey Ina, I am so glad you found my blog! Yes, the DP is just horrid – it’s inhumane and egregiously uncivil in a “civil” society.

      I am aware of the work of Amnesty International and the UN, but wish they’d hurry up! Are you familiar with Sister Helen Perjean? She is the author of Dead Man Walking – a US film produced a few years back. She’s done a lot of work on the DP, too and lectures and fights like crazy to raise awareness.

      Here’s her site: http://www.sisterhelen.org/

      There are all kinds of You Tube videos of her speaking, too. She’s quite remarkable.

      Anyway, I thank you for your comments and for finding me!

      Reply
  7. Aug 8 2010

    “DP is part of that backbone that keeps our society civilized and well-ordered. ” I just don’t get that. There is nothing civilized in killing people.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 8 2010

      Bingo. Nothing whatsoever civilized – there is zero proof that the DP does anything to prevent murder.

      Reply
  8. connie
    Aug 8 2010

    I am a lurker and never write. The dp wow! We have people for and against. I am torn about it. LWOP sounds good but a lot of the evil people get out eventually that is not right either. LWOP should be LWOP then maybe we would not need the death penalty.

    I guess in a nation that kills babies through abortion the death penalty is ok.

    I believe in the laws of our nation. Sure some are flawed but this is the best system in the world.

    Sorry for rambling.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 8 2010

      Hey Connie,

      LOL! You did not “ramble!” I agree that our system is the best in the world, too. And, it’s perfectly okay to be torn about the DP because it is not an easy issue to sink one’s teeth into.

      The important thing is that you are open to listen to other viewpoints without criticizing anyone for them. That’s the key….

      Thanks for being a lurker! That’s good, too! hope you’ll say hello more often. 🙂

      Reply
  9. jon
    Aug 9 2010

    I too have mixed feelings about the DP. In some instances, I think it’s entirely appropriate (why has the state of California kept a monster like Charles Manson alive for 40 years, for instance; he should have been executed years ago). In the Anthony case, I think they put it on the table to scare her and encourage her to own up to the murder but Casey being Casey, and Baez being Baez, they didn’t take the bait. Think how much better everyone involved would have been a long while ago if she had pleaded guilty and taken life without parole. Casey’s ego is too big though and I have a feeling she thinks she’s going to be found not guilty and head straight for the clubs once this is over, not that anyone at any of these places would want anything to do with her any longer.

    However, whether we agree with it or not, the law is the law and all we can do is abide by it or work through proper channels to have it changed. If it were to be changed though I think it would have to be nationwide through the Supreme Court as some states (I won’t name which ones) seem “death penalty happy”…

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 9 2010

      hey Jon,

      I will name the state…. uh, could it be Texas??? They are the worst offenders ever. But, I won’t go there…LOL… I don’t want to offend my dear friends from the great state of Texas…

      I think you’re probably right about the plea deal… the time to “deal” is before they put the DP on the table, but Casey refused to deal, and perhaps Baez discouraged her, too.
      What a shame.

      yes, it would have to be a measure that came before the supreme court, though they’re likely to kick it back to the states…. I don’t know how that would work…. will have to do a bit of research on that!

      Reply
  10. EDRN
    Aug 9 2010

    I have no mixed feeling about the DP…I am 100% for it. I am trying to figure how to voice my opinion so you all don’t think I am a “kill happy” person. I realize that stats show the DP is not a deterrent, but it certainly is to the person executed. I can easily imagine wanting death for anyone who murdered my family member. In this case, my opinion of Casey is that she does deserve the DP. She, imo only, killed a helpless child, hid her body and lied about it. She is the most dispicable kind of murderer there is. She is cowardly and the lowest of all speices that inhabit this earth. She has nothing to offer, no redeeming value, and should pay the ultimate price for her crime. Why should we pardon her crime and allow her live (off of our money) for the rest of her life? She needs to meet her maker and beg Him for forgiveness, before being sent to hell for eternity.

    Reply
  11. Andrea
    Aug 9 2010

    HI EDRN,

    Thank you for voicing your opinion… no one will think you’re “Kill happy!”

    If anyone deserves the ultimate penalty, it would have to be as a result of killing a defenseless child, that’s true. But, if someone is truly repentant for their act, and if they are rehabilitated but will serve live without the possibility of parole, and if the victims family forgives the person, then I say allow them to live out the rest of their days being recalcitrant and on their knees praying for forgiveness.

    I understand how you feel, I don’t share your views, but I do respect them….. 🙂

    Reply
  12. EDRN
    Aug 9 2010

    Andrea,

    You say we should offer the “truly repentant”and/or the rehabilitated LWOP..what should we do with the unrepentant and the non rehabilitated? Not being confrontational…just curious.

    Reply
  13. Andrea
    Aug 9 2010

    well…. if they refuse to live up to what they have done, and if DNA has implicated them, then there’s not much to do other than segregate that person for the rest of thier natural life until they “meet thier maker”, whoever their God is.

    I’ve read that though it’s expensive to keep prisoners alive for so long, it’s more expensive to keep them once they are sentenced to die. There is the automatic appeal process – that’s expensive, and the special treatment they need whilst on death row…. So, even though it’s not really a money issue for me, there is that piece of it.

    Franky, I also feel that killing the perpetrator is also a way to release them from responsibility. They become “free” once they are unburdened of life, in my opintion. My feeling is that it’s much more painful for the criminal to have to live out the rest of their pitiful life in confinement in a rotten place like a prison than for thier soul to be released to the heavans…….

    Reply
  14. jon
    Aug 10 2010

    Hi Andrea: Bingo! The Lone Star State it is………..

    Reply
  15. jon
    Aug 11 2010

    If I had my way, Casey’s punishment would be solitary confinement for life with the tape of Caylee singing “You are my Sunshine” piped into the cell 24/7. Cruel and unusual – maybe, but totally appropriate.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      Aug 11 2010

      I also think that is the ultimate punishment for Casey – If done right, she’s have to confess to get it to stop! I wonder how long she’d hold up? Very sad, and cruel and unusual, yes, but fitting nonetheless. ❤

      Reply
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