Law School Discussion

Poll

The jury recommended the death penalty in the Scott Peterson case today.  How do you feel about the verdict?

I think he should fry.
I think he should have been sentenced to life.
Not sure.

Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll

trogdor

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Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2004, 03:58:08 PM »
i just think it's ridiculous that we use the death penalty and say that it's a great deterrent and effective punishment for murder, etc., but then our crime rates are ballooning vis a vis other countries.  there's got to be another way. 

SanchoPanzo

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Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2004, 05:51:20 PM »
as i said, i didnt follow particulars of this case at all.  but, i would distinguish between showing sympathy and cheering.  there is a middle ground.  if the facts are as you and others have laid them out then perhaps no reason at all for sympathy.  but while you may feel someone committed an awful crime and now is receiving due punishment, that doesnt mean you should celebrate and cheer.  people should not celebrating death (again, with the exception of where a man's death removes a monster whose very existence can bring about death), just my take.

amelus, I am anti-death penalty. But I found your comment curious because you suggest that there are more heinous crimes than murdering your wife and unborn child so you can get a chance at another woman. I admit I have not followed the case closely so most of my information is second hand. But, my point is, what kind of crime would you use as an example of one that is more heinous than this one and deserving of the death penalty? I'm curious.



amelus

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Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2004, 07:12:11 PM »
in the part you quote i actually wasn't talking about whether someone deserves the death penalty more or less than someone who committed the crime you describe, rather i was talking about the idea of any random person taking joy in the murderer's death.  it goes more to how a person should react than to whether or not the punishment of death is proper or not.

with that in mind, the exceptions i was referring to were people whose very existence symbolized hatred and death.  pick any you want throughout history.  joy in their deaths can be different in that the joy is that a symbol of an evil ideology has been destroyed.  that in itself represents a removal of that terrible movement.  i dont think, no matter how heinous this crime is, that it falls into the above category. consequently i was simply saying that i think a person may not need to react with grief, but similarly, he or she shouldnt also find the death a cause for celebration.

hope that was a little clearer.

SanchoPanzo

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Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2004, 07:26:35 PM »
Agreed amelus. Thanks for the clarification.

laur0212

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Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2004, 08:35:28 PM »
A couple of people were talking about the standard of reasonable doubt (but I'm too lazy to quote right now).  I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said something along the lines of if you would convict your brother or your best friend based on the evidence, then you've crossed the line of reasonable doubt.  I don't think many juries adhere to that rule of thumb today, which is a pity, because it keeps the system from working the way that it was intended to work.

BIG H2001

Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2004, 08:54:46 PM »
i just think it's ridiculous that we use the death penalty and say that it's a great deterrent and effective punishment for murder, etc., but then our crime rates are ballooning vis a vis other countries.  there's got to be another way. 

Yeah, it's called better parenting, more effective role models, etc.  The system can't deter what's already screwed up in the first place, it's just there to ensure that these people don't hurt those who are actually upstanding citizens.

WoeIsMe

Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2004, 05:20:35 AM »
i agree with one of the TV analysts.  It's disturbing that a major part of the jurors' decisions were based on POST-CRIME behavior.  I'm not sure how relevant his personality in the courtroom after the fact is to determining guilt/innocence.  What is the use of even having a trial if this is the foundation of the evaluation.

Save the taxpayers millions of dollars, take Scott Peterson out to a game of putt-putt golf, and if you don't enjoy your time with him, conclude he's guilty of murder (the way he forcefully hit the ball against the windmill is aggregious) and send him to the death chamber.  Now where am I to buy fertilizer?

amarain

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Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2004, 05:57:45 AM »
Well, someone's personality is a factor in determining their probably guilt or innocence. That's why prosecutors try to show a pattern of behavior. And when someone lies about their alibi, that's pretty strong evidence against them. Of course, someone obviously shouldn't be convicted solely on that, but I don't think it's unfair to take it into account.

How can we really know what went on in the jury room? We weren't at trial, we didn't see all the evidence.

I don't know too many people who argue that the death penalty is a deterrent. It's not supposed to be. It's supposed to be the ultimate punishment for people who have crossed the very last line in society. Its purpose is to remove those people from society for good.

I agree with what someone said earlier, though. This should not have been a death penalty case. The death penalty is supposed to be reserved for cases of rape/torture/serial killings. The only reason they even sought the death penalty was because this was a high-profile case, and the only reason it was a high-profile case is because the people involved were young and beautiful. This kind of thing happens all the time. The number one cause of death for pregnant women is homicide (and it follows that those are similarly 'double' homicides if you count the fetus).
There was no real reason for this case to have been as big as it was.


i agree with one of the TV analysts.  It's disturbing that a major part of the jurors' decisions were based on POST-CRIME behavior.  I'm not sure how relevant his personality in the courtroom after the fact is to determining guilt/innocence.  What is the use of even having a trial if this is the foundation of the evaluation.

Save the taxpayers millions of dollars, take Scott Peterson out to a game of putt-putt golf, and if you don't enjoy your time with him, conclude he's guilty of murder (the way he forcefully hit the ball against the windmill is aggregious) and send him to the death chamber.  Now where am I to buy fertilizer?

buster

Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #38 on: December 15, 2004, 06:33:40 AM »
The death penalty as a deterrent has certainly been a big talking point for its supporters for a long time. I don't whether that's any less true today; if so, perhaps people have backed away from it because it's such obvious bull. The justification you cited below is, to my mind, much stronger.

I don't know too many people who argue that the death penalty is a deterrent. It's not supposed to be. ... Its purpose is to remove those people from society for good.

WoeIsMe

Re: Scott Peterson Death Penalty Poll
« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2004, 07:28:03 AM »
Well, someone's personality is a factor in determining their probably guilt or innocence. That's why prosecutors try to show a pattern of behavior. And when someone lies about their alibi, that's pretty strong evidence against them. Of course, someone obviously shouldn't be convicted solely on that, but I don't think it's unfair to take it into account.

How can we really know what went on in the jury room? We weren't at trial, we didn't see all the evidence.


i agree with one of the TV analysts.  It's disturbing that a major part of the jurors' decisions were based on POST-CRIME behavior.  I'm not sure how relevant his personality in the courtroom after the fact is to determining guilt/innocence.  What is the use of even having a trial if this is the foundation of the evaluation.

Save the taxpayers millions of dollars, take Scott Peterson out to a game of putt-putt golf, and if you don't enjoy your time with him, conclude he's guilty of murder (the way he forcefully hit the ball against the windmill is aggregious) and send him to the death chamber.  Now where am I to buy fertilizer?


we know to a certain extent what went on in the jury room deliberations based on their public interviews with the press.  In fact we know more about this based on their own interviews than they knew about Peterson.  Certainly if someone lies, it is pretty strong evidence they are a liar... not necessarily a murderer.  Most people have told lies and many people have emotionless personalities.  Perhaps these 2 in combination could prove guilt for any crime.  Once someone is found guilty of murder, this becomes fact, and the death penalty is then appropriate.  The question rests on what evidence was used to determine guilt.  Yes there is circumstantial evidence (Peterson fishing, bodies washing ashore, lying), but there is also ultra-circumstantial evidence which the members of the jury were talking to the media... "He didn't cry in the trial.. He didn't smile at me..  He didn't fall down on the floor, roll into a fetal position and scream for deliverance from God".