Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them - Isaac Asimov

The lesson in this tragedy is….

Well, can’t say I am surprised to learn that an evil person did research to make sure a state had no death penalty before committing a heinous murder, as this story says he did:

Smirnov arrived in Chicago last weekend, using the Internet to locate Vesel’s home, Berlin said. He then used a GPS tracking device, which he glued to Vesel’s car, to track her movements via the Internet, Berlin said.

He was waiting for Vesel when she went to her car in the parking lot of the Windsor Office Park in Oak Brook, Wednesday night. “He ran up to her, he began shooting, he reloaded and shot her some more,” Berlin said. “She fell on the ground and he kept shooting. He shot her numerous times.”

Smirnov then fled the scene, calling Chicago police to tell them he had killed a woman in Oak Brook, Berlin said. Chicago police contacted Oak Brook authorities, and Smirnov turned himself in to a Romeoville police officer. Eleven shell casings were recovered at the scene, Berlin said, and investigators found the gun in Smirnov’s car.

Berlin said Smirnov had done research on the Internet to determine if Illinois had the death penalty, deciding to go through with Vesel’s murder when he discovered it does not.

Of course, the people that don’t like the death penalty will tell you it is never a deterrent, and when horrors like this happen and we discover the lack of the death penalty did factor in, they will ignore it because realty shouldn’t be allowed to mess with that narrative. Me, I understand the death penalty, because some people plainly need killing.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/15/11 at 05:54 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/15/11 at 07:47 AM from United States

I think the idea that he would not have killed anyone if the death penalty were in force is ridiculous.  This just changed where, not whether.  There is little objective evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect.  And plenty of evidence that it burns millions of dollars, drags out trials and gives liberals various cause celebre.

You also have to balance this against the fact that Illinois’ death penalty was in such shit shape, that death row inmates were being exonerated left and right.  It was George Ryan—a Republican—who threw his hands up and declared the moratorium.  Is preventing the odd death like this worth potentially executing innocent people?

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 08:57 AM from United States

There is little objective evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect.


There is plenty of evidence.  Especially since the person who committed the act, that placed them in the Death Penalty, is dead and unable to commit the acts again.

And plenty of evidence that it burns millions of dollars, drags out trials and gives liberals various cause celebre.


That is not a factor of the Death Penalty.  The Death Penalty is 100% effective in preventing those convicted, from committing the crime again. 

The above items are a societal affects to the penalty.  Appeals trials drag on, and cause delays, which in turn burn millions of dollars.  Using that as a justificaiton, because the same argument can be said, then no enforcement of any Judicial judgmeent should be levied. Liberals will look for any cause to increase their celebrity.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 09:09 AM from United States

And plenty of evidence that it burns millions of dollars, drags out trials and gives liberals various cause celebre.

So, your beef is not with the fact that the death penalty exists, but with the long, lengthy, costly, circle jerk of an appeal system that we have in place. Most death penalty cultures don’t have this dragging on, not only is it costly but it is not fair both to society and the particular victims, this needs to change.

Is preventing the odd death like this worth potentially executing innocent people?

Red herring, you are injecting a standard of perfection when dealing with human endeavors, sorry, but humans will never be perfect. I can spout of the usual disclaimer as good as anybody, no one wants to see a single man wrongfully accused, of anything, but mistakes will always happen even in the presence of a society hell bent on eliminating them. The legal system, with all its rules of evidence and procedure, jury instructions, and venues for appeal provide a fairly accurate system for determining guilt of innocence, trotting out an example of some poor sap wrongfully executed as a reason to ban all capitol punishment denies the will of the people and their right to determine what kind of society they want.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 09:14 AM from United States

I think the key here is that the draconian gun laws in Chicago were a major deterrent.  Oh, wait, scratch that.

Here we go, the key is that the draconian gun laws iun Chicago made sure his victim was defenseless at the time.  Interesting case where the guy ignores one law (murder), benefits from another (gun control), and was only concerned about a third (the death penalty).

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/15/11 at 01:43 PM from United States

I think the idea that he would not have killed anyone if the death penalty were in force is ridiculous.  This just changed where, not whether.

So your point is that if she lived in Texas, where they would have killed his ass for this, he would have waited until she went elsewhere to kill her? WTF! Isn’t that precisely why everyone should have the death penalty? If anything, the fact that he can and shopped for somewhere where he could commit murder and avoid the death penalty, proves that the death penalty has a deterrent factor. That you then say he would have murdered somewhere else, that else being where he wouldn’t face the death penalty, backs that assertion. Your argument smacks of insane. Did Moogoo hijack your keyboard? Jeebus!

He wanted to make sure he couldn’t face the death penalty, so he took advantage of a state where idiots took that option away. That he bothered to make sure he could not be put to death tells us that the odds are very high he would not have killed her if he then would be without an option to avoid the death penalty.

There is little objective evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect.

I think this case proves it does quite well.

And plenty of evidence that it burns millions of dollars, drags out trials and gives liberals various cause celebre.

Ah yes, we should abandon it because idiots have distorted and abuse the system! And once they ban the death penalty they will call incarceration for life cruel & unjust, and do the same to that. Eventually we will end up with a system like most of the Western European countries have, where about the only crime that can get you a lengthy service is not bowing down to the almighty government, and criminals run the show. At least here in the US where we can own weapons for now, people then can take the law into their own hands and get some justice, but like the Europeans do, I bet the libs running government will want the maximum penalty for them.

Seriously Hal, in my experience, whenever I get them finally talking, I find out that the left hates the death penalty because they are all crooks and empathize. They basically don’t have much of a problem figuring out they would love to commit some crimes and get away with it, and if they don’t get away with it, as with everything the left does, they want to make sure they are insulated from harsh conseqences. Maybe what we need to do is tell all these lefties this guy is possessed by Bush. Him they all felt fine killing. Morons the lot of them. Like I said: some people need killing, and we as a society are not doing the rest a service not doing so.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 02:23 PM from United States

I think this guy just chose the best location for the crime.  If all locations were equal, I’m sure he would have still done it.  I’m with Hal (not surprisingly).

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/15/11 at 02:53 PM from United States

There is plenty of evidence.  Especially since the person who committed the act, that placed them in the Death Penalty, is dead and unable to commit the acts again.

No there really isn’t.  The alternative to the death penalty is usually life imprisonment.  If you read up on this - Freakonomic has good chapter on it—it can be shown that increasing prison sentences and less strict gun control law reduce crime.  But there is no deterrent effect of the death penalty.

Rich, I see your point about perfection.  But if we fuck up and someone goes to jail, we can always compensate him.  If we fuck and execute him, there’s nothing we can do.  And I would argue that the death penalty is more prone to fuck-us because of the restriction of jury pools to those who have no qualms about the death penalty (and are therefore less likely to be sympathetic to the defense).  If you read up on this, it’s frightening how easy it is for for the system to go wrong.  Prosecutors and cops have strong motivations to get convictions.  Most of those exonerated were convicted based on mistaken eye-witness testimony or bullshit forensics.

The “will of the people” means nothing to me.  If the death penalty is a miscarriage of justice, that trumps any opinion poll.  Moreover, the will of the people is very divided on the subject.

I think this case proves it does quite well.

Anecdote is not data.  People who have looked at the data say otherwise.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 02:53 PM from United States

There is plenty of evidence.  Especially since the person who committed the act, that placed them in the Death Penalty, is dead and unable to commit the acts again.

Just Google Kenneth McDuff. He should have been executed in the 70’s. Because of the commutation of all death penalties he was eventually paroled. He went on to kill 8 or 9 more people before he was caught, convicted and executed.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/15/11 at 02:55 PM from United States

Let me put it this way: one of the things we talk about a lot on this blog is how government has too much power, government is incompetent, government is prone to both screw up and get stubborn about admitting it screwed up.

Do we really want to trust that government with the power of life and death?

I’m not anti-death penalty.  But I’ve moved to a position that leans that way simply because I don’t think human institutions can be trusted with that kind of power.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/15/11 at 02:57 PM from United States

Because of the commutation of all death penalties he was eventually paroled.

See, but now your conflating two problems: the death penalty and parole.  Leave these guys in fucking prison forever.  I blogged a couple of years about Susan Atkins, he Manson killer who wanted to be paroled because she had cancer.  And I said she should fucking die in prison.  I have no problem with jailing murderers for life.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 03:13 PM from United States

I was unaware that foreign nationals could just drop by a gun store in Seattle and pick up a pistol and ammo....

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 03:19 PM from United States

And I would argue that the death penalty is more prone to fuck-us because of the restriction of jury pools to those who have no qualms about the death penalty (and are therefore less likely to be sympathetic to the defense).

Wow, that was quite a leap. I know you did not mean to stereotype but that sure sounded like all death penalty advocates are ignorant red necks, incapable of critical thinking and evaluating the evidence. I could make the same argument about bleeding heart liberals (usually anti death penalty)who will, regardless of the evidence put forth, will assign some lame sociological factor mitigating the actual crime and favor to acquit.

.  Prosecutors and cops have strong motivations to get convictions

No doubt true, but I would submit that there is so many constitutional protections, so much care taken in crafting legal procedures where the accused is not only given the benefit of the doubt (innocent until proven guilty) but the burden to prove guilt is the prosecutions, and that the system does provide for the best chance to find facts and dispense justice.

Let me put it this way: one of the things we talk about a lot on this blog is how government has too much power, government is incompetent, government is prone to both screw up and get stubborn about admitting it screwed up.

Again, all true, but where big government usually holds all the cards and influence, and can easily maintain its power, the legal justice system is constantly evolving, constantly correcting errors both in procedure and in how it dispenses justice, making it better and more efficient. Where the federal government is still bound by a 200 plus year document, the criminal justice system changes all the time, with one primary goal, to do its very best so that no innocent man is found guilty.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 03:25 PM from United States

I have no problem with jailing murderers for life.

Ya know, that would solve the problem. I’m sure there are many people like myself, not real stoked about the death penalty in general and who could very easily go to forgoing all executions if we could guarantee the the murderer would just stay behind bars. I think life without the possibility of parole would sate most American’s desire for justice (or retribution).

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 04:11 PM from United States

Again, all true, but where big government usually holds all the cards and influence, and can easily maintain its power, the legal justice system is constantly evolving, constantly correcting errors both in procedure and in how it dispenses justice, making it better and more efficient. Where the federal government is still bound by a 200 plus year document, the criminal justice system changes all the time, with one primary goal, to do its very best so that no innocent man is found guilty.

I’d agree with this, but condemning people to death should wait until after the system is fixed, not before.  If you were the father or son of the person wrongfully executed, I’m sure you’d agree with me.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 05:13 PM from Germany

No there really isn’t.  The alternative to the death penalty is usually life imprisonment.  If you read up on this - Freakonomic has good chapter on it—it can be shown that increasing prison sentences and less strict gun control law reduce crime.  But there is no deterrent effect of the death penalty.

Too bad life imprisonment only means life in selective jurisdictions and the federal bureau of prisons. At my job I see on a daily basis people who have murdered, been released and then committed the same crime again. Hal You can put your faith into harsh prison sentences all you want, but people who have spent most of their adult life in prison (drug dealers for example) couldn’t give two shits.  As a matter of fact almost every suspect dragged before the federal court where I am employed has served prison time for some prior felony.  Prison time DOES NOT deter recidivist criminals. Furthermore the Federal Court system at least contains no mandatory life sentences for murder.

Since you trust prison to be an adequate deterrent to murders, one of my district court’s “harsher” judges handed down a 360 month sentence to a man convicted of double homicide. He will be out in 30 years with good behavior.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 05:40 PM from Germany

I know nobody wants to hear this, but this might well be the kind of person who, lacking the ability to simply buy a gun at the shop across the street, could not have gotten access to one.

the legal justice system is constantly evolving, constantly correcting errors both in procedure and in how it dispenses justice, making it better and more efficient.

Quite the romantic view. The primary evolving most justice systems have done over the last decades is satisfy people’s demands for harsher and harsher punishment.

I have no problem with jailing murderers for life

I do. That doesn’t mean every murderer has to be paroled. The focus should be on the prevention of crime here. There are a lot of people in prison for murder of whom we can reasonably assume that they present no further danger. Not releasing Susan Atkins is just petty. I know you prefer to call it justice, but in the end, we can choose to be a society that embraces a little big of forgiveness (you know, the Jesus thing), or we can go harping on about “justice” even when there’s no reason left why we should.

And yes, there is a risk involved every time you let someone leave prison; just as there is a risk every time you let someone leave a courtroom due to assumption of innocence. Or whenever you let someone have a gun. I’m willing to carry my part of these risks.

in my experience, whenever I get them finally talking, I find out that the left hates the death penalty because they are all crooks and empathize.

If your ramblings are getting any more illogical, I’m going to start to worry.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 05:56 PM from Germany

Quite the romantic view. The primary evolving most justice systems have done over the last decades is satisfy people’s demands for harsher and harsher punishment.

Clearly you lack any experience with the judicial system. 

I do. That doesn’t mean every murderer has to be paroled. The focus should be on the prevention of crime here.

Exactly, which is why murderers should be speedily shot within a few years of committing their crime.  Again, the dead won’t commit any crimes.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/15/11 at 06:01 PM from United States

Wow, that was quite a leap. I know you did not mean to stereotype but that sure sounded like all death penalty advocates are ignorant red necks, incapable of critical thinking and evaluating the evidence

That wasn’t the stereotype.  But the restrictions on death penalty juries are very strict and very canted against the defense.  I, for example, would not be allowed on one.

Rich, I think we’re in agreement.  I’m not against the death penalty at this stage, but I’d be happy to see it go in exchange for more life without parole sentences for guys like the one Alex blogged about.

Posted by on 04/15/11 at 06:56 PM from United States

I’d agree with this, but condemning people to death should wait until after the system is fixed, not before.  If you were the father or son of the person wrongfully executed, I’m sure you’d agree with me.

But as I pointed out above, the system will never ever be fixed because what you mean by “fixed” means perfection where there is never a mistake made, and we being humans can never live by that standard. And no, I would not agree with you because by your own standard we could never enforce the death penalty, remember, the bar is “Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”, not beyond ALL doubt. 

Quite the romantic view.

OK, but one based on many many years of experience in that field. Not to sound condescending but have you ever taken a criminal justice class in college? Most police agencies go through quarterly training where new laws and new procedures are discussed and implemented into their duties. The stuff they got away with years ago now is codified and criminalized. Same with the D.A.’s office, new court rulings come down the pike almost monthly. Ever sat on a felony jury? judges instructions, rules and guidelines whereby juries decide verdicts, these are always refined and changed, and always with the defendant and his civil rights in mind.

Rich, I think we’re in agreement.  I’m not against the death penalty at this stage, but I’d be happy to see it go in exchange for more life without parole sentences for guys like the one Alex blogged about.

Me to. Part of me being obstinate, my clinging to the idea of the death penalty is to put my thumb in the eye of those snooty Euroweenies, the ones that think we are uncouth barbarians. But yes, I would give it up in a minute knowing that the murderers would never see the light of day. And the families of victims would go for this to, they just want closure. Frying the guy does not bring their loved one back but throwing away the key will provide them a sense of justice and finality.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/15/11 at 08:36 PM from United States

Let me put it this way: one of the things we talk about a lot on this blog is how government has too much power, government is incompetent, government is prone to both screw up and get stubborn about admitting it screwed up.

Do we really want to trust that government with the power of life and death?

As long as they have to go through a jury of the people to get it? Yes. This is one of the things the constitution tells government it is responsible for.

I’m not anti-death penalty.  But I’ve moved to a position that leans that way simply because I don’t think human institutions can be trusted with that kind of power.

I am not pro-death penalty either, Hal. I am however vehemently opposed to the left’s current crusade to ban it though, because I know they will not stop at just banning the death penalty. Once they get that they will go after life without parole. Then against long sentences period. Eventually, as I already pointed out, the only crimes punished harshly will be those that hurt the left’s grip on power. And the great unwashed majority of the anti-death penalty crowd, mostly leftist twits, feels far more empathy with hard core criminals than the victims.

Society breaks down and stops functioning when we have no harsh consequences to actions that cause t great harm. If anything the least 70 years and the direction we are headed in should prove that.
I would love for us to all be left alone to live our lives, enjoy the fruits of our labor, and have to face the consequences of our actions. But the left’s war to force equality of outcome - for the non-elite of course - and to absolve people from the consequences of bad decisions and behavior simply makes that an impossible dream.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/15/11 at 08:48 PM from United States

I know nobody wants to hear this, but this might well be the kind of person who, lacking the ability to simply buy a gun at the shop across the street, could not have gotten access to one.

Because he could not have bludgeoned her to death or ran her over with his car till she was dead, right? Dumb as hell.

I have no problem with jailing murderers for life

I do. That doesn’t mean every murderer has to be paroled. The focus should be on the prevention of crime here. There are a lot of people in prison for murder of whom we can reasonably assume that they present no further danger. Not releasing Susan Atkins is just petty. I know you prefer to call it justice, but in the end, we can choose to be a society that embraces a little big of forgiveness (you know, the Jesus thing), or we can go harping on about “justice” even when there’s no reason left why we should.

QED. Way to make my point for me Max. Why not let Manson fucking go too?

Once you commit murder, especially something as heinous and meaningless as this, you forfeit the right to a second chance. I am not talking about the guy that accidentally kills someone. I am talking about cold blooded shit like this or the crap Manson and Atkins did. These people, even if they find Jesus and turn into angels, should not be allowed to see the light of day. Their victim(s) certainly don’t get that chance. They shouldn’t either.

And yes, there is a risk involved every time you let someone leave prison; just as there is a risk every time you let someone leave a courtroom due to assumption of innocence. Or whenever you let someone have a gun. I’m willing to carry my part of these risks.

Our constitution permits us the right to own a gun. It even tries hard makes sure we can not be hosed in court by our government or that once we pay for our crime(s) we can go back to society. It doesn’t permit us the right to murder in cold blood and then be given a second chance, however. That you try to make a connection between the right to own a gun and letting fucking murderers go free should frighten people.

If your ramblings are getting any more illogical, I’m going to start to worry.

Your ramblings followed by this personal attack sure as hell prove my point for me though. Max. Couldn’t have done a better job showing the insanity of those that think murderers that commit the most horrible fo premeditated crimes should still be given a chance myself. At least you didn’t demand we also free Mumia!

Posted by on 04/16/11 at 09:24 AM from United States

might well be the kind of person who, lacking the ability to simply buy a gun at the shop across the street, could not have gotten access to one.

The gun just made it easier - that he was going to kill her one way or another appears to be a given.

Bare hands, knife, baseball bat, random blunt object - people are pretty fragile if you know how they break…

Posted by on 04/18/11 at 09:11 AM from United States

Hal_1000 - and less strict gun control law reduce crime

And why would less strict gun control laws reduce crime?  (hint it would have to do with a parrallel result from Death Penalties)

Posted by on 04/18/11 at 09:14 AM from United States

Badman7 - Just Google Kenneth McDuff. He should have been executed in the 70’s. Because of the commutation of all death penalties he was eventually paroled. He went on to kill 8 or 9 more people before he was caught, convicted and executed.

Thanks for supporting my argument.  How many people did Kenneth McDuff kill after he was executed?

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/18/11 at 09:56 AM from United States

Thanks for supporting my argument.  How many people did Kenneth McDuff kill after he was executed?

Erm… zero?

Did I win a prize?

Posted by on 04/18/11 at 10:19 AM from United States

Thats the point.  The problem is not the Death Penalty, its the gaming of the system, usually not at the expense of those convicted of the crime.

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 11:12 AM from United States

And no, I would not agree with you because by your own standard we could never enforce the death penalty, remember, the bar is “Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”, not beyond ALL doubt.

But we don’t even have “beyond reasonable doubt” working properly in our courts.  Until the court of public opinion can be successfully extricated from the judicial system, innocent people will likely be on death row; e.g. Damien Echols.

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 12:09 PM from United States

6or7RabidSquirrels - innocent people will likely be on death row; e.g. Damien Echols

And the HBO Paradise Lost “Victim” is your poster child? 

He (Echols) and his cohorts were prosecuted due to the confession of Misskelley, and the mental instability of all three of them.  He’s not awaiting his lethal injection because of a funny hairstyle or black clothing, its because he’s batshit crazy.

How many HBO innocents, have doctors (in the metnal ward he was a guest of) stating they have “extreme physical aggression towards others” as one of the problems.  Did HBO tell you that Echols threatened to attack his parents?  What was your opinion when HBO disclosed Echols told a therapist that drinking blood gives him power. Is it considered sane and innocent to mutilate a dog (based on the testimoney of the person who found the dog’s corpse. A dog’s skull was also found in little innocent angel’s room after his arrest).

This is the same public idiocy that got behind the Ramo’s Compean boondoggle (they werent innocent either).

While all of the above (about Echols) is not enough (by itself) to prosecute him for the crime, all of the above, along with Misskelly’s multiple confessions (the second one was with his lawyer present) lead to a solid case for conviction.

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 12:14 PM from United States

This link ( http://tinyurl.com/3eaqgqj ) are the 500 pages of reports on the mental stability of Innocent Damien Ehcols. 

Theres a “little” more to the misunderstood Innocent than wearing black, listening to Marilyn Manson and drawing satanic symbols.

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 12:17 PM from United States

Sorry wish i could add to my posts after i click submit

Here is the Afidavit, from the Doctor hired by Echols defense (btw), that clearly details the absolute danger of this innocent “victim” of the system

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 12:18 PM from United States

I suck

http://tinyurl.com/3lx58fu

(can someone combine those last 4 posts?)

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 04:06 PM from United States

I didn’t mean to imply he was definitively innocent, poor wording on my part.  I haven’t seen much of Paradise Lost, saw some snippets on youtube, but everything I’d read was through various sources online, primarily one that was a stockpile of serial killer info.  Can’t remember what the site was, but it was damn interesting. Actually, I think this is the site :

link

That said, I think there’s enough to reopen an investigation.  The fact that the entire prosecution hinged upon the confession of someone “borderline” mentally retarded is what begs the question from me.  I stole this from wiki, but the source is the link above - really good read one way or another, you should check it out -

“During Misskelley’s trial, Dr. Richard Ofshe, an expert on false confessions and police coercion and Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley, testified that the brief recording of Misskelley’s interrogation was a “classic example” of police coercion.”

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 04:07 PM from United States

I didn’t mean to imply he was definitively innocent, poor wording on my part.  I haven’t seen much of Paradise Lost, saw some snippets on youtube, but everything I’d read was through various sources online, primarily one that was a stockpile of serial killer info.  Can’t remember what the site was, but it was damn interesting. Actually, I think this is the site :

link

That said, I think there’s enough to reopen an investigation.  The fact that the entire prosecution hinged upon the confession of someone “borderline” mentally retarded is what begs the question from me.  I stole this from wiki, but the source is the link above - really good read one way or another, you should check it out -

“During Misskelley’s trial, Dr. Richard Ofshe, an expert on false confessions and police coercion and Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley, testified that the brief recording of Misskelley’s interrogation was a “classic example” of police coercion.”

Posted by on 04/20/11 at 07:35 AM from United States

And the supposed “coercion” is what the bleeding hearts focus on.

What they dont focus on is Misskelly made 3 confessions, two after conviction.  His first confession after a few hours in custody, and his father knew exactly where he was (he gave permission to the police to question him). The second confession was made while his lawyer was present. 

Both the First and Second confession are on tape.  His lawyer is heard telling him not to say anything, yet he does so anyways.  Doesnt sound like coercion, sounds more like guilty conscious

The third confession was given to a prison guard while incarcerated after the conviction. 

But wait theres more. 

The third innocent angel, Jason Baldwin, confessed at jail that he was involved and the guy he confessed to (Carson) passed a polygraph about it.

The bleeding hearts also neglect that Dr. Ofshe has published several papers that argue modern Police interrogation techniques are psychologically overbearing and should be thrown out.  ( http://tinyurl.com/3pejnux )

As to Misskelly’s “Retardation” (reading slow doesnt make you have an IQ under 70) why do people seem to want to picture him as Simple Jack in Tropic Thunder.  The heinous act he and his 2 cohorts committed is more inline with Tookie Williams..... oh wait yet another misguided bleeding heart Libtard Celebrity du jour.

In fact there is no conclusive physical evidence that anyone did it. However, someone did because you’ve got 3 dead boys. The case has never been about physical evidence but rather about confessions and behavior evidence.  That’s how real life works. There are weird inconsistencies in any case. No criminal case anywhere is 100% free of inconsistencies. You’ll find unexplained items, lost evidence, contaminated evidence, things that don’t fit. That’s why the judgement is based upon whether there is reasonable doubt, not all doubt.

Here’s a simple question, hell even “Simple Jack” Misskelly could answer it.  Where is anything, from the 3 convicted angels, that that claims their innocence?  You’ll find statements from their lawyers claiming innocence, you’ll find statements from his wife stating his innocence. But in all the interviews, the 3 angels have given, i havent been able to find their own claim of innocence. Next time Paradise Lost is on, pay attention when Baldwin is asked what he’d like to say to the victims family.

Posted by on 04/20/11 at 10:32 AM from United States

I’m glad this thread has been revived. I experienced a 2 day power failure when it just started to heat up.

I don’t think I was conflating parole with the death penalty. I was just rtying to give an example of how the death penalty, if properly applied, would have prevented 8 or 9 murders. Granted, I have a serious problem with parole. I work in criminal justice and am working on a degree in CJ. Parole is a miserable failure any way I look at it.

As for life without parole, Google Thomas Silverstein. He has killed 4 people since being incarcerated, three inmates and one guard.

Innocent people being executed? This isn’t for the weak of heart, but I think it’s possible it’s happened in the past and may happen in the future.

This is a good place for a Jack Webb Quote. “As long as we recruit from the human race we’ll never be perfect.” Or something like that. The system will never be perfect. Never. It’s silly for people to think it ever will be. We can only work to improve it.

I would like to see a higher burden of proof put on death penalty cases and perhaps fewer death sentences overall. I’m aware of a case here in Texas where a man was put to death for the arson death of multiple children. From what I understand the fire was quite probably accidental.

Posted by on 04/21/11 at 07:40 AM from United States

Personally, I’m all for the death penalty, even in the case of “sick” individuals, if they’ve been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’ve perpetrated the crime.  But with so many innocent people exonerated, I’m okay with life imprisonment being the cost of doing business.

I’m interested in more info Sahrab, if you’ve got more links on hand, post them, I’d like to read them.

Posted by on 04/21/11 at 11:42 AM from United States

Best site I’ve found with details.

“He (Echols) and his cohorts were prosecuted due to the confession of Misskelley, and the mental instability of all three of them. “

Though Misskelley’s confession don’t contain any details that match with the investigations.

“How many HBO innocents, have doctors (in the metnal ward he was a guest of) stating they have “extreme physical aggression towards others” as one of the problems. “

Aggressive does not equal satanic cultist or homicidal.  He has a history of mental illness.  Anthony Hollingsworth, who testified seeing Echols close to the murder site the night of, had been convicted of statutory rape that he kept from investigators.

“Did HBO tell you that Echols threatened to attack his parents?”

This makes him a serial killer?  Not everyone grows up in a nuclear family.

“What was your opinion when HBO disclosed Echols told a therapist that drinking blood gives him power.”

He was a self-professed Wiccan.  While I can’t speak for Wiccanism itself, pagan groups can and do drink blood.  This doesn’t make him a murderer.

“Is it considered sane and innocent to mutilate a dog (based on the testimoney of the person who found the dog’s corpse. A dog’s skull was also found in little innocent angel’s room after his arrest). “

I haven’t been able to verify the truth of him being responsible for mutilating a dog.  That said, when I was a kid, I witnessed a group of my brothers friends, as well as my brother, torture and kill and enormous turtle.  I was mortified.  Around that same age, one of my best friend’s growing up actually threw a dead kitten at me, thinking it was hilarious.  Again, I was mortified.  To the best of my knowledge, none of them are serial killers.  And like it or not, skulls are cool, Damien had a small collection from various animals.  I originally went to college for archaeology, this does not astound me.

“While all of the above (about Echols) is not enough (by itself) to prosecute him for the crime, all of the above, along with Misskelly’s multiple confessions (the second one was with his lawyer present) lead to a solid case for conviction”

Miskelley “confessed” twice and recanted twice, and the details did not match details uncovered by investigators.  I couldn’t find info on the third confession…but what the hell is the point?  He confessed twice, recanted or not.  The kid is not right in the head.

“The third innocent angel, Jason Baldwin, confessed at jail that he was involved and the guy he confessed to (Carson) passed a polygraph about it. “

Michael Carson is his own worst enemy.  After getting out of prison, the guy served as a police informant in California who was eventually released for providing false information.

“But in all the interviews, the 3 angels have given, i havent been able to find their own claim of innocence.”

At face value, this is meaningless, and definitely not enough to convict.  But you’re wrong, and this wasn’t hard to find.

“Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. “When Burnett asked each if there were any reason the sentences should not be carried out, Baldwin said, ‘Because I’m innocent.’” [March 20, 1994, Memphis Commercial Appeal] “

I’m not saying they’re innocent, one or all, but I am saying there should be a retrial.  Too many things are iffy.

Posted by on 04/21/11 at 11:54 AM from United States

FYI, polygraphs are a farce.

“A 1997 survey of 421 psychologists estimated the test’s average validity at about 61%, a little better than chance. “

Posted by on 04/21/11 at 04:34 PM from United States

Polygraphs are nothing more than a tool to elicit confessions during an interrogation.

Rule 1 of interrogations - the only reason you are being interrogated is because they “know” you are guilty....

Posted by on 04/21/11 at 09:07 PM from United States

Links to Misskelley’s audio confessions.

1st confession: 

Q:  What did they use to tie them up?
A:  Rope
Q:  What color was the rope?
A:  Brown

The kids were, in fact, tied up with their own shoelaces.

Posted by on 04/21/11 at 11:05 PM from United States

Best site I’ve found with details.

Jive appears to be a die hard supporter with a definite point of view. You seem to assert that it’s an objective site when it’s clearly not.

Aggressive does not equal satanic cultist or homicidal.  He has a history of mental illness.

I believe this to be a deliberate downplaying of the actual situation. Damien Echols threatened to cut his mother’s throat multiple times. He threatened to kill his father and eat his flesh, threatening him in front of hospital staff. It’s not fair or objective to characterize these repeated violent threats under a simple “history of mental illness” while omitting these specifics. He also mutilated a Great Dane dog. Not “proof” of guilt by themselves, but MUCH different than the omitted facts characterizeration that is being asserted here.

Miskelley “confessed” twice and recanted twice, and the details did not match details uncovered by investigators.  I couldn’t find info on the third confession…but what the hell is the point?  He confessed twice, recanted or not

Again, I think you are misrepresenting the facts, relying on one-sided websites like Jive. Jessie Miskelley confessed at least 2 separate times. He actually fought with his lawyers because they didn’t want him to testify yet he insisted. Sounds like a guilty conscience to me. Furthermore, he confessed the entire incident with horrific details to sheriff deputies taking him to prison after his trial. Look, no one wants innocents to die for crimes they didn’t commit. But this case seems like too many people are following HBO Paradise Lost’s narrative without looking into the details before forming hardened “opinions”

Posted by on 04/22/11 at 09:02 AM from United States

Mook:

I wasn’t portraying it as objective.  Everything listed has a source to follow, so anything in dispute is ostensibly researchable. 

Listen to the confession yourself and compare it to the known facts of the case.  I actually took the time to do so, and the sheer amount of coaching that the investigator does is staggering.  The investigator continually coaches him into admitting details that weren’t even remotely accurate.  I found a more comprehensive list of discrepancies on that particular site, but since it’s not objective enough for you, you may want to research them yourself.

I believe this to be a deliberate downplaying of the actual situation. Damien Echols threatened to cut his mother’s throat multiple times. He threatened to kill his father and eat his flesh, threatening him in front of hospital staff. It’s not fair or objective to characterize these repeated violent threats under a simple “history of mental illness” while omitting these specifics. He also mutilated a Great Dane dog. Not “proof” of guilt by themselves, but MUCH different than the omitted facts characterizeration that is being asserted here.

Read my above post about turtles and kittens.  But, look, this is about proving, beyond reasonable doubt, that he, and two others, commited an atrocity.  The only damning piece of evidence is Misskelley’s confession AND HE DIDN’T GET THE DETAILS RIGHT.  Couple that with the obvious coaching by the investigators (listen to the audio yourself!) and I just don’t see the confessions as viable.  It is entirely possible that Damien Echols is guilty, hell, it’s possible that all three of them are.  Prove it in a retrial.  Everyone that argues against the convicted does so citing Echol’s personality and history of mental illness.  The one piece of evidence is suspect at best, but since it damns the person everyone wants to believe did it, it’s a-ok. 

I can’t stress this enough - listen to the audio yourself.  It doesn’t get more objective than that.

Posted by AlexinCT on 04/22/11 at 09:16 AM from United States

Read my above post about turtles and kittens.  But, look, this is about proving, beyond reasonable doubt, that he, and two others, commited an atrocity.

And that’s done in a court of law, with lawyers playing games, often times lying outright, a judge trying to referee, and a jury tasked with the decisions. Unless we are willing to say our court system is way too prone to fail - hence making it useless, since it can do the same for life imprisonment cases, making that the next bar to be attacked - there is no reason not to trust it to deal with death penalty cases.

Even the innocence thing leaves one wondering. How often do you get a straight up citizen, with no criminal record whatsoever, in court, accused of murder, with a prosecution hell bent on throwing his ass into the chair? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want our justice system to basically decide anyone with a criminal record is capable of murder, but I am also not naive enough to believe that most murders are committed by people that get desensitized to it because they do not give a shit about society’s rules.

What irks me are the clear cut cases where they still try to get these batsrads off. Or worse, where the left makes these monster into vitims and pretends they don’t deserve the death penalty. That’s disgusting.

Posted by on 04/22/11 at 09:56 AM from United States

What irks me are the clear cut cases where they still try to get these batsrads off. Or worse, where the left makes these monster into vitims and pretends they don’t deserve the death penalty.

I agree, and like I mentioned previously, I have zero sympathy for “mental illness”.  If you’re dangerous enough to take a person’s life, that is unlikely to change through therapy (and it’s already too late for me to care about rehabilitating you). 

Even the innocence thing leaves one wondering. How often do you get a straight up citizen, with no criminal record whatsoever, in court, accused of murder, with a prosecution hell bent on throwing his ass into the chair?

In the above case it trickled down from the investigators.  Echols probation officer, Jerry Driver, had a fixation on the occult even before the murders - they would patrol during the full moon trying to prevent possible sacrifices and such.

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