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What Do You Think?

June 03, 2007

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

Last week's poll question was: Do you support the death penalty?

"An executed prisoner gets the easy way out, and because the death penalty is so rarely used, it is not a true crime deterrent. Rather, I believe that a prisoner should live a very minimal life. Confine them to a jail cell 23.75 hours a day; allow them out only to shower; allow them no interaction with other prisoners; provide meals consisting of only the required nutrients in their cell; and allow their only reading material to be the Bible. If someone were to live under these conditions after a first offense, my guess is that the recidivism rate would be much lower, and thusly the murder rate would decrease."

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"Yes, in some cases? I say yes in ALL violent cases. Life in prison? Why? I don't want to pay to keep them alive. They're never going to get out and if they do, they'll just add to the low scum of society!"

"In cases like the Manson murders, killing Charles Manson would've made him a martyr to his cult following and would've done more harm than good. But when someone's a multiple killer - and not in self-defense (or if they kill a child) - they don't deserve to live! The adult justice system is meant to punish - the juvenile system is meant to rehabilitate. Why is it that the entire system seems to be going more in the way of the juvenile system? Are we THAT gutless that we can't make adults fully accountable for their actions?"

"How about yes in all cases. Any first-degree offense (sexual, murder, drug sales) should automatically get the death penalty, and not as we know it today. If they receive the death penalty, give them only the nutritional loaf and water (during) the time they do spend alive in prison. No more lengthy drawn out appeals process either; 30 days max. If they haven't proved their innocence by then, take 'em to the gallows pole!"

"Yes and no. Wrongly convicted have been found innocent because of DNA. A person who kills a child or sexually abuses a child leading to death should get the death penalty without question. A person who beats up a elderly person leading to death should get the death penalty. No questions asked."

"The chance of an error being made at trial is too great to let the defendant be subject to death as a penalty. Even now with the advances in technology, occasionally it found that the defendant is innocent, and then what if he had been executed?"

"Although you will never deter all murderers, the effect of deterrence will rise as the probability of executions rise. Because as the probability of executions rises, the fear of that punishment will also rise."

"I am against the death penalty but for cruel and unusual punishment. If you kill a child, you should be stuck in a cell with only bread and water. Also, they should have the cell pasted with pictures of the person you killed and recordings of their voice. Why should we do it. Let them kill themselves."

"From what I've 'heard,' prison life consists of three square meals a day, exercise room, large screen color TV, up-to-date library, a theater room, milk and cookies before bedtime, etc. Whatever happened to 'bread and water.' Oh, I forgot air conditioning."

"I would support the death penalty in violent crime cases, as long as it had a due and just appeals process (meaning one appeal and one only). I personally wouldn't support this in animal abuse cases and would vote against it if I ever was on a jury in which that particular case was being tried. In response to the first comment, I would think that corporal punishment (public hand chopping for convicted thieves) would be more effective than a PowerBar and a Bible in reducing repeat offenders."

"As long as there is life in someone, there is a chance to maybe save their soul. Many hardened criminals have changed with time. There is little to be gained by just killing them."

"I believe that there are cases where the death penalty is not only warranted, but should be mandatory. Taking a life in the commission of a criminal act, i.e. rape, child abuse, robbery and so on, should qualify a person to receive the death penalty, and be executed post haste upon conviction. Now, I'll add to that the person must be guilty beyond any doubt, not just reasonable doubt. Take for instance the current case, (Brandon T.) Morris. Lone inmate in the hospital, shoots and kills his escort, (Roxbury Correctional Officer Jeffery Alan) Wroten, kidnaps a cab driver. He is the only one capable to commit the crimes that he is accused of. He is guilty beyond any doubt."

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