Support for death penalty drops

Support for death penalty drops

death penalty, wolverton, cagle, July 21, 2014A new Field Poll shows support for the death penalty dropping to its lowest level in 50 years. The Times reported:

After a series of botched executions raised questions about the use of capital punishment across the United States, support for the death penalty in California is nearing an all-time low among state voters, according to the findings of a research poll released Friday….

Support for the death penalty in California reached a high in the mid-1980s, with more than 83% of voters supporting the use of capital punishment. That number has dropped sharply in recent years, falling from 70% in 2010.

The Times’ liberal bias is showing in that report. Actually, here are the reasons support has dropped:

1. People feel safer because crime has been dropping in recent years for a variety of causes, including:

  • Higher gun ownership, which scares off criminals.
  • Proportionally lower numbers of men ages 15-25, who commit the bulk of gun crimes; the 1960s to 80s were the years the Baby Boomers — 70 million strong, including 35 million men — were in that age cohort.
  • The spread of cell phones, which makes it easier to call for help.
  • Tougher sentencing laws for violent criminals.

2. The lack of executions in California due to court challenges. This means no publicity and controversy over executions, which means people don’t know about the heinous crimes of inmates on the Green Mile. Only 13 people have been executed in California since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

The last person executed in California was Clarence Ray Allen in 2006, who had been on death row since 1980. According to CBS News:

Allen went to prison for having his teenage son’s 17-year-old girlfriend murdered for fear she would tell police about a Fresno market burglary.

While behind bars in 1980, he directed a hit man to kill seven witnesses, including Bryon Schletewitz, whose family owned Fran’s Market. Schletewitz and two clerks — Douglas Scott White and Josephine Rocha — were slain. Two others in the market were injured.

The killings landed Allen and hit man Billy Ray Hamilton on death row.

Because Allen’s killing spree continued even when he was sent to prison, he was a poster boy for how capital punishment reduces crime.

The execution immediately before him was of Stanley Tookie Williams III. According to NBC News, his execution sure got a lot of publicity:

The case became the state’s highest-profile execution in decades. Hollywood stars and capital punishment foes argued that Williams’ sentence should be commuted to life in prison because he had made amends by writing children’s books about the dangers of gangs and violence.

But people also found out why he was executed. NBC  News again:

Williams was condemned in 1981 for gunning down convenience store clerk Albert Owens, 26, at a 7-Eleven in Whittier and killing Yen-I Yang, 76, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, 63, and the couple’s daughter Yu-Chin Yang Lin, 43, at the Los Angeles motel they owned. Williams claimed he was innocent.

Witnesses at the trial said Williams boasted about the killings, stating “You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him.” Williams then made a growling noise and laughed for five to six minutes, according to the transcript that the governor [Arnold Schwarzenegger] referenced in his denial of clemency.

3. California is a more liberal state than it was even a decade ago, when a pro-capital punishment Republican governor was elected. It’s true that Arnold Schwarzenegger went liberal in many areas once in office, but the perception was that he was against tax increases and for budget cuts; and he did uphold his law-and-order image by approving the executions.

Kashkari death penaltyIn his 2010 campaign, Brown said he would uphold the law on the death penalty. But in 2012, he backed Proposition 34, which would have ended the death penalty in California. Voters rejected it, but by the narrow margin of 52-48, indicating a ban probably would pass today.

The death penalty isn’t even on the radar screen of the 2014 gubernatorial election. A search of GOP candidate Neel Kashkari’s website found nothing at all on the issue. (See nearby screenshot.) The Issues section of his Website insists, “Jobs and Education. That’s it.”

We can expect the courts will continue to hamstring the death penalty until an initiative is passed in a few years banning it. In California, capital punishment is a dead letter.

Those who believe killers should be killed have another reason to move to Texas.

16 comments

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  1. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 15 September, 2014, 10:46

    Most people haven’t had a loved one murdered by a thug. I bet if you took a poll of those who have had a loved one murdered that support for the death penalty would be 99%. It’s like the old joke goes “A conservative is a liberal who got mugged”. 🙂

    If I was in charge murderers would get executed by the same method that they murdered their victims. No more, no less. Now, it would have to be proven over and above beyond a scintilla of doubt that the murderer was guilty (ie. confession, video tape, etc…) But once any possibility of innocence was eliminated – kill them by the same method that they murdered their victims.

    Even the good book says “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot…..”

    Reply this comment
  2. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 15 September, 2014, 21:17

    A pound of flesh:

    “Thyself shalt see the act.
    For as thou urgest justice, be assured
    Thou shalt have justice more than thou desirest.”

    Reply this comment
  3. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 15 September, 2014, 22:49

    Thou talkest in gibberish. Sayest what thou meanest. Or goest awayest.

    Nothing followest.

    Reply this comment
  4. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 16 September, 2014, 11:29

    What strange phenomenon that most liberal (and many conservatives too) Americans are silent about our nation killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians (men, women and children) who never hurt anyone during our bogus WMD invasion – yet they are vigorously opposed to executing people who murder other people in our own country.

    In fact, even after a totally failed operation in Iraq (now we have boots on the ground there again – another lie by Obama) most Americans are in favor of reigniting the war not only in Iraq but intervening militarily in Syria too!!! hah.

    We seem to be a bloodthirsty nation as long as the blood is not spilled in our own backyard. We have no problem executing innocent men, women and children 10,000 miles away. But we are nervous Nelly over executing our homegrown murderers. Very strange.

    Reply this comment
    • Bill Gore
      Bill Gore 16 September, 2014, 21:44

      EXACTLY! Bush/Chaney’s neocon shock and awe bombing are estimated to have KILLED aprox. 250,000 iraqui civilians. Here in ‘Murica its just silence, the ‘silence of the lambs’…

      Point is the state loves killing human beings. It kills with gusto, for any reason or for no reason at all. Why give the state/the government any more license to kill? Executions do not deter, they do not undo the crime or bring back the loved one, they do not bring ‘closure’. State executions always end up being a grotesque theatre of revenge that demean and degrade the survivors of the victim by sucking them into a sterile revenge fantasy, making an absolute travesty of our shambolic justice system.

      Reply this comment
      • LetitCollapse
        LetitCollapse 16 September, 2014, 23:44

        I believe the medical journal The Lancet reported north of 600,000. But who’s counting? No doubt the accurate number is in the hundreds of thousands. And those people did nothing to deserve death. Nothing. They were simply human beings living life and loving their family members.

        Those who choose to murder in our society are not innocent. They snuff out the life of other human beings like you would blow out a flame on a match. And that deserves the most severe punishment – execution. If a man takes a life with malice he should be prepared to forfeit his own as well. He should not have the privilege of playing cards, socializing with his buddies, watching tube, exercising or participating in any event that might bring him pleasure. He should suffer the same fate that he imposed upon his victim by the same method that he employed during the act. And this should be done ONLY with ABSOLUTE proof over and above beyond a scintilla of doubt that the person accused actually commmitted the murder. Eye witness testimony is not enough. Video tape, confession, DNA evidence, found in possession of the smoking gun at the scene of the murder, etc… The standard must be incredibly high for an execution to occur. Not just because a jury of 12 said so.

        Survivors of the victim do not have to witness the execution if they choose not to do so. That is their choice. Besides, the execution is not for the benefit of the family. It is for benefit of society. Human life is sacred. If a man takes the life of another with malice it is only fitting that he should sacrifice his own.

        But I must laugh at the democrats who are, by and large, opposed to the death penalty in the US. It looks as if most of them will back Obama and support a continuation of the war in Iraq and a brand new one in Syria! Even after all the carnage we’re responsible for to date. They don’t mind killing innocent people when they live 10,000 miles away. But lives of homegrown murderers should be spared at all costs!!! 😉

        Reply this comment
  5. Donkey
    Donkey 17 September, 2014, 08:43

    The way the state runs its “justice system” behooves all still with their ability to use logic and reason to reject the death penalty by the state.
    I have been a witness for a criminal case that has been going on for two years now. I have received filings, notices, dates, close to one hundred pieces, with no end in sight. There was a reason the sixth Amendment called for “speedy and public trials,” what we have now is nothing short of a circus act.
    The “system” we have now is not just to un-connected citizens. It should be seeking the truth as to what crime was committed, not spinning stories and scenarios drudged up in the ID of the police and DA’s, many of which are sociopaths, drunk with power. 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 17 September, 2014, 09:35

      Donk, just curious. You’ve heard about the mass murderer Scott Dekraii who murdered 8 people during a shooting in Orange County, right?

      Do you really think he deserves the right to exist in this world after what he did? To eat, to watch tv, to read, to exercise, to socialize, or engage in any other little pleasure in life? Imagine the pain Dekraii caused to all the family members of the desceased victims, who were in NO WAY connected to the problems that he had with his ex-wife – to include small children who lost their moms and dads forever.

      There is NO DOUBT that Dekraii committed those incredibly senseless murders. He was captured minutes afterwards and confessed to it. Do you think he deserves to live?

      Reply this comment
    • Ted
      Ted 18 September, 2014, 13:15

      LOL NOW the Duncey is a 6th A. expert!

      You go girl! LOL

      Reply this comment
  6. SoCalSteve
    SoCalSteve 17 September, 2014, 10:47

    Despite the wails of protest from the Vengeance Lobby, the vast majority of Californians understand that our entire corrections system needs fixing to keep those who are dangerous in prison, move those who aren’t out, and save taxpayers billions of dollars. Even a great “liberal” like Newt Gingrich recognizes that the Red States are doing the right thing to reform the system and that California needs to follow suit. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0917-gingrich-prop–47-criminal-justice-20140917-story.html

    Reply this comment
  7. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 17 September, 2014, 11:18

    “Despite the wails of protest from the Vengeance Lobby, the vast majority of Californians understand that our entire corrections system needs fixing to keep those who are dangerous in prison, move those who aren’t out, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.”

    How is keeping dirtbag murderers like Scott Dekraai (who murdered 8 people in cold blood) housed in prison with free food, free medical care, free books, free TV, free conjugal visits (if he can find a willing partner)for 30 years or more saving us money? We just need to reform the death penalty law so that we execute dirtbags like Dekraii within 5 years of his conviction. There is NO DOUBT that Dekraai murdered 8 people! HE CONFESSED TO IT AND WAS CAPTURED RIGHT AFTER THE MURDERS WITH THE SMOKING GUN!!!!

    Why not have some compassion for the family of the victims!!! For the small children who lost their moms and dads???

    I bet you supported our military going into Afghanistan to kill Bin Laden and the terrorists involved in the destruction of the World Trade Centers and the murder of 3000 people, weren’t you? That’s vengeance, isn’t it? At that time did you claim that the “Vengeance Lobby” was behind our troops hunting down the terrorists??

    Yet you oppose executing cold-blooded murderers like Dekraai?

    Your argument makes no sense to me. None at all.

    Reply this comment
    • SoCalSteve
      SoCalSteve 17 September, 2014, 16:23

      Obviously, you didn’t read Gingrich’s op-ed. This is NOT about whether Scott Dekraai should be executed. It is about fixing our system so that thousands of people who are unnecessarily jailed for minor crimes are moved out of prison. THAT will save taxpayers billions of dollars.

      When I speak of the Vengeance Lobby, I speak of those whose default position is always incarceration. You know, those whose answer to everything is “lock em up and throw away the key.” No rehabilitation, no parole, no forgiveness. And, whenever possible, execute them. Whenever someone tries to reform the system so not everyone is locked away to rot, the Vengeance Lobby accuses them of being soft on crime. You know, left-wing Socialists like Newt Gingrich.

      And we won’t even talk about all the people who have been on death row for years but are ultimately exonerated due to new DNA evidence and such. I guess we should have just gone ahead and executed them anyway and then said “ooops.” SMH

      Reply this comment
  8. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 17 September, 2014, 17:14

    “This is NOT about whether Scott Dekraai should be executed.”

    It most certainly is. This is a discussion about the death penalty.

    “It is about fixing our system so that thousands of people who are unnecessarily jailed for minor crimes are moved out of prison.”

    I totally agree. But it’s got nothing to do with the death penalty. Oh, and I don’t read Gingrich op-eds. I’m old enough to remember what a scam artist and political hypocrite he was while in office. His wife was dying of cancer while he was doing floosies on the side, then he had the nerve to talk ‘family values’. I can’t stand the guy. Why would I care about what he thinks, let alone read his opinions?

    We simply need to take cold-blooded murderers like Scott Dekraai and execute them within 3-5 years of conviction. Simple. That would save many millions of dollars. There is NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that Dekraai murdered EIGHT innocent people. Why let him live? Let him have ONE appeal then kill him, preferrably the same way he murdered his victims. And if they showed it on pay-TV I’d watch it too. Dekraai is a scumbag and doesn’t deserve to have a pulse.

    You are talking PRISON REFORM. Not DEATH PENALTY REFORM. Stay on topic. The article is about the death penalty. Most of us are for PRISON REFORM. Haven’t you heard about AB 109? They are letting inmates out way before their sentence is up. Isn’t that what you want? Would you still be for prison reform if an ex-convict hurt or murdered a loved one of yours? Just curious?

    Reply this comment
  9. SoCalSteve
    SoCalSteve 18 September, 2014, 14:45

    I agree with you about TV. But take it one step further. Put it on regular TV so everyone…not just people who get off on such things…gets to see what a real execution looks like. A lot of the people who pontificate about executing people don’t have the cajones to actually watch it happen. You put it on a network, betcha support for the death penalty will drop like a rock.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 18 September, 2014, 15:36

      Easy solution for that. On the same network broadcast prior to the execution show photographs of the bodies of the murderer’s victims and explain in detail how they were murdered. I bet support for the death penalty would skyrocket!

      For any issue it’s ALWAYS important to tell (or show) BOTH sides to the story. Otherwise it becomes nothing more than propoganda.

      Murderers like Dekraai should meet the same fate as those they murdered. What’s fair is fair.

      Reply this comment

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