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Death Penalty. Execution by appointment

Updated on September 16, 2013

Death Penalty

"One of the factors that make life bearable for all of us is the uncertainty of the hour of our deaths."

The United States today remains one of the few Western nations to maintain the Death Penalty as a sentencing practice. However change is a foot and I and many others look forward to the day that it will no longer be used in the United States

For we Australiana need only turn to the last man hanged in Australia Ronald Ryan in 1967.
These is still now, 45 years on, considerable doubt that Ryan was the guilty as charged.

Despite much loud public outcry at that time
Ronald Ryan met his maker. and swung from the gallows. The decision was left to the absolute discretion of the then Premier of Victoria, Henry Bolte.

Ronald Ryan should have had the chance to 'clear his name' but he did not.

Recently the Australian Federal Government enacted legislation that prevents any Australian State Government ever reintroducing the Death Penalty as a sentencing option.

Historic context

On 6th of April 1857, Leo Tolstoy saw a 'Guillotining' in Paris which haunted him for the rest of his life:

"When I saw the head part from the body and each of them fall separately into a box with a thud, I understood not with my mind but with my whole being--that no rational doctrine of progress could justify that act..."

Two novels The Trials(der prozess 1925) by Franz Kapka and The Outsider by(Le Estranger 1942) Albert Camus both sensitize the imperfections of the Criminal Justice System.

Many respected thinkers are convinced that the best societies are based on a firm unyielding position to all forms of violence conducted by all including instruments of the State.

During his term as prisoner Oscar Wilde wrote; The Ballad of Reading Gaol(1898) in which he invokes the emotions surrounding a hanging:

"And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,

None knew so well as I:

For he who lives more lives than one

More deaths than one must die."

George Orwell's Essay on a Hanging(1931) is a recollection of his year's as Policeman in Burma when he took part in an execution. He wrote of the condemned man being walked to the gallows:

"At once in spite of the men who gripped him at each shoulder, he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on a path. How incredible a sight, the feeling of such sensitivity from a man about to meet his maker...

Of course one might including myself and many others argue in certain extreme circumstances a person should be killed. Barry Jones in his book A Thinking Reed notes: " If a man held a child at gun-point, threatened to kill him/her I would probably order him to be picked off by a sharpshooter; if their was no alternative. But this is not the equivalent to the situation where an offender is captured, rendered harmless, put into a high security gaol, tried, convicted, sentenced and goes through the appeal procedure, in which his death becomes a matter of choice rather than necessity to those imposing it. "

I and many others have come to reject the notion of the eye for an eye, death for a death approach which is implied a moral equivalence between the criminal and the State: "If he can do it why can't we?"

In Australia often the decision to hang was up to the mind set of a Premier's of each State at the time. South Australia's Thomas Playford authorised several hangings between 1944 and 1964.

Capital punishment provides a reinforcement to what are sometimes regarded as common sense views about life. In the United States retentionist's argue:'The community has to defend itself. We kill the enemy in war and crime is a war on society." Well yes and no under the Geneva Convention, once captured, Prisoners of War are securely held; As signatory to The Geneva Convention they do not execute them.

Crimes of Passion

"It's always puzzled me how we can show our outrage at the crime of murder by killing the perpetrator. The murder may have been committed in a fit of passion, or it may have been provoked, or the murderer may have a mental disorder in which normal human empathy is lacking and therefore cannot understand what all the fuss is about. But the executions are carried out in cold blood by people who know full well the horror of what they're doing. The victim's family may be excused the desire to see the murderer killed, and I might feel the same way under those tragic circumstances. But the executioner must pull the switch, or inject the poison, and then go home to his family and have dinner. This has always seemed perverse to me."

  • DNA evidence freed Ray Krone after 10 years in prison, (four on Arizona's death row).
  • Without any physical evidence, Gary Gauger was sentenced to death.
  • Ronald Keine, was 10 days away from the New Mexico death chamber when another man's confession got him a new trial.
  • Dennis Williams lived on death row 25 feet away from the electric chair. If not for DNA testing he would be dead.

Financial considerations

A comprehensive study by an experienced and leading academic in the area of public policy has concluded that If the state(North Carolina alone) stopped trying to execute killers in alone it would free up $11 million a year, at 2010 figures.

Philip Cook, an economist at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy. says that "There is little return on the dollars spent on seeking the death penalty ."- Of the 1,034 people charged with murder in North Carolina in 2005 and 2006, prosecutors initially sought the death penalty against about a quarter of them. Only 11, though, were sentenced to death for their crimes.

One could imagine the financial savings alone from a change in policy that would see the elimination of the the death penalty to the whole of the United States.

Death Penalty in Australila

On the 19th of February 1951, there was triple-hanging at Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne, Australia, of Jean Lee, Robert Clayton and Norman Andrews for the atrocious murder & torture of an illegal bookmaker, William(pop) Kent in Carlton in November,1949. Convicted by a jury with no recommendation for mercy, the judge sentenced them to hang. They appealed successfully, on the admissibility of certain evidence against their conviction and sentence to the Victorian Full Court, and a new trial was ordered. However the High Court of Australia reversed the full court decision and the original verdict was restored. Eight months were spent under the shadow of the gallows. On execution day Jean Lee was the first to go at 8.00am in an understandable state of collapse, strapped to chair. She was the last woman to hang in Australia. The two men were hanged simultaneously at 10.00 am. Clayton's execution was bungled, and he twitched on the rope for more than fifteen minutes. Barry Jones [2007] A Thinking Reed.

William Makepeace Thackeray wrote after witnessing a hanging in 1840. "In abstract form we understand , what Blood demands Blood means ! " But after seeing the hanging Thackeray was left with an awful feeling of terror & shame. "It seems to me" he wrote, "that I have abetted an act of frightful wickedness & violence and I pray God that it may soon be out of the power of any man to witness such a degrading sight."

In the United States between 1930 and 1967 there were 3859 civilian executions (54 per cent were blacks) & 160 were military.

The Sentencing of Death is also racially biased. It's racist, and the statistics show it. Two-thirds of any case involving a black or Hispanic killing a white result in the death penalty. Overall, a black person is 5 times more likely to get the death penalty than a white defendant in similar circumstances.

In the 1960's the death penalty seemed to be facing extinction internationally. Most countries in Western Europe ad long been abolitionist. New Zealand in 1961; Ireland in 1963; Great Britain in1965.

Abolition of the Death Penalty is well advanced in Western democracies with the exception of the United States. The Death Penalty was last conducted in Spain in 1975 following the death of General Franco.

A major reason for the United States NOT to ratify the United Nations convention on the Rights of the Child(1990) was that it prohibited the execution of children. A protocol regarded as an 'unwarranted interference' in domestic law.

Judgements normally inflame themselves towards revenge out of horror for the crime. That is precisely what tempers mine:my horror for the first murder makes me frightened for committing the second, and my loathing for the original act of cruelty makes me loathe to imitate it... (Micheal de Montaigne:"on physiognomy" )

Gas Chamber
Gas Chamber | Source

References: A Thinking Reed" Barry Jones 2007

Death Penalty Information Centre.


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    • christalluna1124 profile image

      christalluna1124 5 years ago from Dallas Texas


    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      The life in Prison sentence gives an innocent man an opportunity to clear his name. The death penalty does not.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      This hub carried such a controversial, yet interesting, topic. I think it's easier for many of us to have a view without having had an experience directly related to the subject of the death penalty. I do feel, however, if a person is found guilty without a shadow of a doubt for murdering a child, I think the death penalty is appropriate. That being said, then you approach the subject of whether anyone who is slain and was helpless at the time, should the proven guilty party be put to death. Children cannot fight back. An 80-year-old woman who might have been raped cannot fight back. A disabled man cannot fight back. Jurors render a guilty verdict when they believe without doubt that all the evidence indicates the accused is guilty. The legal process then upholds this verdict. Nobody likes to think later that an innocent man was put to death. Then it's back to the first thought...a convicted killer who admits to a crime, is found guilty--if it involves a child, he or she has earned the death penalty. Obviously, I struggle with this subject, but not, however, when it comes to children and defenseless helpless people of circumstances.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      I realize I am very late to this party, but read your hub with a great deal of interest. I have mixed feelings on this subject. On one hand I believe life in prison would be far more punishment than the death penalty. With death, at least it is all over with for the criminal. I do feel that the possibility of a death penalty may serve as a deterrent to crime, but not every criminal cares if they live or die. That would make the threat of death meaningless to them.

      I have to put this into personal terms to deal with it. If some bad guy raped and murdered my wife, I would be all in favor of the death penalty if he were convicted. I would go so far as to say I would see to it that the death penalty was carried out if by chance this criminal was released from prison.

      I have a personal friend that had his wife raped and murdered. This happened in a state where the death penalty is not in effect, and the criminal was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was paroled after 15 years, and almost immediately raped and killed another woman. This time he made the mistake of committing the crime in a state that allowed the death penalty, and he was executed. At least no other women will suffer rape and murder by his hands.

      We all know there is rarely any rehabilitation when keeping a criminal locked up for years. They emerge from prison harder and smarter then they were when they went in. And for many criminals, prisons are a revolving door they go in and out of many times in their life.

      I would go back to the fact that if the crime was committed on one of our loved one's, our thoughts on the death penalty might be different than if it were some stranger.

      Great thought provoking hub.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia


      Thanks for your remarks !

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

      This is clearly a well researched hub. In spite of being a member of Amnesty International for around 20 years there’s a lot of information here I didn’t know.

      You cannot teach a child not to hit by hitting them, and you cannot teach that those that would commit murder not to do so by killing them - or others like them.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      glassvisage thanks for your comment. Indeed your points are so true. More importantly there is too much room for mistakes or errors in Trials...

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for this comprehensive Hub. This is great information about the death penalty. California is considering legislation to replace the death penalty with life without parole; this would apply to those already on death row. I have to say that I would agree with this because I feel like it's too hard to be sure whether someone really deserves to die.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      butterbean Andrew Gubb & Jared Thanks for your comments!

    • profile image

      Jared 6 years ago

      All you bleeding hearts disgust me!!! The fact you think that over crowding our prisons with serial rapists and molesters and murderers is better then what they get for their crime if it is the death penalty but you would want them to get life in prison.... wow. Maybe one day when its your son or daughter murdered, raped, or molested or perhaps all three then tell me you still don't believe in this as a just punishment!!!

    • Andrew Gubb profile image

      Andrew Gubb 6 years ago from Barcelona, Spain

      Very powerful hub, excellent work!

    • profile image

      butterbean 6 years ago

      and how much taxes r u willing to pay to keep a person alive ....after he kills a woman and two old people? me i am for pne .....tired of this....i say kill them all

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      C J Lee

      Thank you for your comment. Most appreciated.

    • C J Lee profile image

      C J Lee 6 years ago from NAPLES FL

      Hey Barry... A Very Difficult Subject to be RIGHT on. You have presented a lot of good facts. Thanks for your research. I appreciate your candor. Bottom line... who has the right to take a life? We say another human being does not. Does that mean that a government does not have the right either. Up for debate. On one hand, I agree with the financial burden issue, but should just the finances be considered? I don't know. I DO KNOW that I our taxes are supposed to be spent in a judicious manner on our behalf. I don't know if I trust the politicians enough to let them do the job right. So much in the news about "personal gain" in the offices. Policy isn't carried through based on laws/rules, but the next election... other altruistic reasons of the person/s in charge. I have personal views on the issue but it is as you say. There is no right or wrong answer for the question. We apparently aren't the right judge.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Studies underscore the huge cost of killing convicted criminals as appeals and legal challenges draw out the process, sending bills skyrocketing. And new anxieties about getting the verdict absolutely right are adding further to the expense by pushing the average time that condemned prisoners spend on death row to 13 years, compared with half that in the 1980s: so long, in fact, that since 1983 more than 400 death row inmates have died of natural causes while waiting to be executed.

      A Maryland study suggested that a death sentence - with all the trials, appeals and incarceration that it entailed - cost the state $US3 million, and more if the prisoner failed to be executed, whereas a life sentence cost $US1 million. An Indiana study put the cost differential as high as 10 times, while an investigation by New Jersey, which abolished the death penalty in 2007, revealed the cumulative effect: it found that death sentences had cost taxpayers an extra $US253 million since 1983.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      ahorseback Put aside the cruel & unusual aspect or the deterrence aspect. Thr error rate and cost of Capital cases is enourmous. I posted the research on this on my other Death Penalty Hubs. Then the cost is over a million dollars per capital case. It cost less to keep some one incarcerated for life & if their has been a mistake it caN BE rectified.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 7 years ago

      Then perhaps you could be fair in your discussion and put the pictures of this mans or any victims of violent crime in your hub too. Personally I feel no sympathy for the executed here and can look beyond the picture and hub to the probable victims. And if there is no punishment for crime ..then crime increases! Oh, thats right it already has , a thousand times. You have good heart to focus on death by anyone! But the 'careers ' of violent criminals must end .Stay well my friend .

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      ahorseback Whilst I sympathise with your brothers plight. I feel sure the driver never meant to kill your brother. Homicide murder and manslaughter are terrible crimes. But these crimes do not should not be duplicated by someone given a licence to do the same. A executioner acting on behalf of the state. There has beena push to get rid of the death penalty since the 1700.s

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 7 years ago

      Barry , Once a long time ago , I looked at my brother of eight years old lying dying in a ditch beside the road . He was run over and killed by a 3-4 time drunk driver. Who served around 3 years of a involuntary manslaughter charge . When he was finally caught for this crime , I believe in the death penalty for violent capitol crimes. The new DNA allows for positive ID of perpetrators. There is a fairly new move in social circles to irradicate the death penalty , I believe the death penalty is almost totally sybolic at this point. And that crimes must be punished. The shocking pictures you use to promote this hub are similar to the crime scene photos of many of the perpetrators, As well as the memories of my brothers death . I , personally ,believe juries should be made up of victims of crimes. To each his own oppinion, I understand. Great hub for discussion.

    • profile image

      Gunzalez 7 years ago

      Killing was never meant to be a tool in human hands

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      acanderson24 thanks for your comment ! You are free to link to this and my other articles. I look forward to reading your posts also !

    • acanderson24 profile image

      acanderson24 7 years ago

      This is a great article. The info is gut-checking....I am glad I made it by here to check this out. It is true that the death penalty becomes more "choice" than "Necessity"!! Thanks ...With you permission I would like to add a link to your article on all of my death penalty articles....

    • Modern Knight profile image

      Modern Knight 7 years ago from United States

      The crime rate is higher for black and hespanics. That is why they are executed in greater numbers. Simple math. Howvere I fear you say it is the racist white. The Death row inmate's should have opprotunity to prove their innocent. ALL evidence should be admissable in court, ALL! Maybe you should talk to the lawyers who hide and fight against evidence being shown in court. And I mean on both sides. I think they should have one year to appeal with all evidence shown to the jury. Their should be a court just for death cases to hear only them! Once all evidince is shown and taken in. If they are still found guilty then good bye to them. I dont want to pay for my sons killer to live, workout, play on the net, and marry so bimbo that thinks hes cool. But the law should make sure they are guilty!

    • Yankee Reb profile image

      Yankee Reb 7 years ago

      I personally do NOT have a problem with an eye for an eye.

      Cruel and horrendous murders are committed multiple times per day and you want to worry about how they die??

      I say kill them the SAME WAY they killed their victim and their mother too.

      Perhaps IF their mother's life was on the line they would not commit a murder to begin with!

      SIMPLY SAID: Care about the devastation they created instead of the more compassionate way they will die for their own actions.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia


      Did you actually read my post ?

    • healthgoji profile image

      healthgoji 7 years ago

      I think it is an absolute joke that people want to ban it. It should definitely be in play. It definitely prevents the murderer from committing another murder.

    • rodolphe profile image

      rodolphe 7 years ago from Montreal,Quebec

      This is gruesome,I think they should outlaw the death penalty. Killers are sick OK, but we do not have to act the same as them. Of course they should not be left free to roam city streets, but well supervised and treated the best possible way. Sometime when they get a bit older they tend to change and regret deeply what they did to others.

      They should make them useful in jail, doing something worthwhile and interesting to do. This is a great hub.

      You are invited to visit my hub Gossip and rumors at work

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 7 years ago from Australia

      Wow! Again you've tackled a sensitive subject that has been well researched and written. Interesting to read the comments too but no way could I even glimpse at the gruesome photos. I agree that while capital punishment has no deterrent, why is a society saying it is okay to kill as long as you've got the law on your side? Mixed messages that just don't make sense to the logical side of my brain!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia


      If i though there was a real deterrant effect by having public executions. I for one would be advocating and writing about it. One would like to think that there are benefits to capital punishment some-place. Trouble is there isnt; In States where they have had public executions in the past there was no reduction in murders and other 'capital-crimes' in some States the figure actually rose-go figure that. Even the cost of Capital cases far exceeds the cost of housing and feeding prisoners for the rest of their lives. The reason being the error rate in capital cases is so high (68%) that multiple time consuming and costly appeals are the norm.

    • palmerlarryray profile image

      Larry Ray Palmer 7 years ago from Macon, Missouri

      While I am on the opposite side of this argument and feel that public executions would serve as a deterrent to crime and alleviate a burden off of honest tax payers, I do think you presented a well written argument for your side and I commend you on that. Excellent writing.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your comments StevoMc and Erin Rooney for your valued thoughts on this issue !

    • Erin Rooney profile image

      Erin Rooney 7 years ago from Arcata, California

      What a hub. The intertwining of graphic pictures and descriptions with the resounding words of authors like Wilde and Orwell was masterful. The death penalty is such a complex topic, I personally see it as a gross inconsistency of most spiritual and social ideals. I'm excited to read more of your stuff!

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Sometimes it is necessary to have all of us righteous people confront out outrage and ease in taking the life of another in the name of society.

      We need to look at the subject more humanely. Troubling are false convictions, and convictions of persons of color at such a high rate.

      Thanks for provoking thought and re-evaluation of values and ethics.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your support Paraglider fortunately there are more than just the two of us barracking changes the laws on this.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Hi Barry - you have my total support in this cause. Very well done!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Tony I have put more effort & research into this unsavoury topic than any other ...

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      The only possible justification for the death penalty is revenge, and then we have to ask, is revenge a worthy human emotion? And I would anser most emphatically, No!

      The death penalty is barbarous and unjust and unnecessary. It solves nothing and proves nothing. It's time we all realised that we humans are the only species that kills its own kind, and we don't need to, ever.

      Thanks for another excellent Hub on this very important issue.

      Love and peace


    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your comment Valerie belew

    • profile image

      Raven 7 years ago

      No one wants to hear you cry hair2nv

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      thanks for your comment !

    • hair2nv profile image

      hair2nv 7 years ago from Huntsville, Alabama

      First off let me say that the justice system is crummy but after a person is PROVEN GUILTY BY A JURY OF THEIR PEERS WITH CORRESPONDING EVIDENCE the consequence should fit the crime. I had a cousin that was like a sisiter to me brutally beat stabbed and murdered. I could not live in a world knowing that the women who killed her were living a tax free, peaceful life if they had been sentenced to death. The only reason they escaped that sentence is because my state at time did not have the death penalty. She, ( my cousin) will never have that opportunity to live a fulfilled life. Even though the THREE girls who killed her were not sentenced to death, I would not have been sad for one moment if they had. I think that if the crime is worthy of the death penalty then the death penalty it is. My cousin was 17 years old had not even begun to live her life. She will never graduate from high school or go to college or get married. Yes the Lord giveth but the lord also takeith away. But I said the Lord, and if you kill someone maliously and you are not the Lord then you too should die. In the confession given by the girls who killed my cousin, they said that she begged for her life, she begged! And they killed her anyway. How is that fair that they get to live. Don't get me wrong When someone gets the death penalty it is not a joyous moment for anyone. It is the LAW and just like the consequences for other crimes are carried out so should the DEATH PENALTY be. That is just my view on Abolishing the death penalty.

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 7 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      The death penalty is barbaric. I am ashamed that my country continues to engage in it, and feel that it puts the law on the same level as the criminal. law Officers don't need to be on the same level as criminals. We should expect more from them.

    • alexandriaruthk profile image

      alexandriaruthk 7 years ago from US

      I dont go for death denalty, the reason being that there is no such thing as absolute, there is a margin of error! How about those in which justice can be bought and those they found out later on that they are not the one who did it through DNA etc., Thank you for this hub, thought provoking,

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      ns1209 Maybe you can read my latest hub on the death penalty in America

    • ns1209 profile image

      ns1209 7 years ago from UK - England

      Amazing this hub still gets viewed! The death penalty is very controversial! I do think it should be used but only for very very extreme cases. E.g. someone raping a child and then killing them in a very cruel way and there is no doubt they committed the crime. e.g. there are cameras with evidence, DNA, witnesses and more! It is very sad but it should in my opinion exist in the most extreme cases but only once or twice a year. And I think children should be punished in the same way to if they commit such a hideous crime like the James Bulger case - makes me sick to think about it!

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Wow! All those years ago and you still get comments! Great Hub and glad to follow!

    • magnoliazz profile image

      magnoliazz 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Another thought provoking hub.

      With the advent of DNA, we can know for certain if someone comitted a crime, fire up old sparky!

      American prisons are no worse than living in a nursing home, it is pretty much the same. Maybe not as comfortable in the prisons, but the prisoners are not old and in pain either.

      I think there should be a death penalty, why should we have to pay to care for murderers for the rest of their lives? That includes medical, dental and vision care, plus God knows what all else. I am sure prisoners get to eat better than the low income and homeless of this country.

      Prison by itself is simply not enough of a punishment for murder.

      That's just my opinion.

      Dear Sixtyorso

      I think there is an increase in crime after an execution because it still is not real to these people.

      I think we should televise these executions, and we should not try to sanitize them either. You kill someone, you will be killed in a painful way!

      I bet that would scare these characters! Why should we have to live with these animals? They are bullies and they need to be put in their place!

      Sorry, thats how I feel!

    • profile image

      pastella13 7 years ago

      This is a really informative hub and you've researched it well. It's taken me so long to read through everyone's comments. Really controversial, and I have my opinions too. I think opinion is divided for and against as a whole, and I can see everyone's point of view, but if a heinous crime was purposely committed through an act or acts of pure evil, and there's absolutely no chance of mistaken identity, should that person be allowed to live? I don't know the answer, but I do know that in some cases the killers show no mercy to their victims.

      Really great hub, and I'm pleased I now know of your hubs.

    • howtoguru profile image

      Tyler Norwood 7 years ago from Texas

      Fantastic hub - I especially enjoyed the Spanish documentary video. I like how you have approached your viewpoint without too much bias. Thanks for this.

    • profile image

      ACADP 7 years ago

      The following is what the Australian Government and Australian media keeps secret about the last person legally executed in Australia. These are the facts that cannot be disputed, the facts that cannot lie, an Australian criminal justice system scandal.

      There is no scientific ballistic forensic evidence to prove that Ronald Ryan (last man hanged in Australia) shot a prison guard. Despite this fact, including mysterious missing pieces of vital evidence that would have cleared Ryan, serious ambiguities in the case, dire inconsistencies of all fourteen eyewitnesses’ evidence for the prosecution, and testimony from another prison guard that he fired one single shot (from a distance in a downward trajectory angle) that was heard by all witnesses, Ryan was convicted of the shooting death of a prison guard based solely on unrecorded untaped and unsigned allegations of “verbals/confessions” said to have been made by Ryan to police.

      Ryan was sentenced to death and hanged less than one year later and SEVEN days before his “unfunded” final appeal to The Privy Council had made its decision.

      For unknown reasons, ballistic forensic experts never scientifically examined Ryan’s rifle. There was no scientific proof that Ryan’s rifle had fired a shot at all. It was never proven by forensics that the fatal bullet came from the rifle in Ryan’s possession. Despite extensive search by police the fatal bullet and spent cartridge mysteriously went missing, were never found and were never tested by forensics. Eyewitnesses testified seeing prison guards aiming their rifles.

      For the record, under Australian Law police have to record all interviews in connection with a crime following extraordinary revelations of police corruption uncovered by various Australian Police Royal Commissions. These are the facts!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      THanks for you comment Lisa !

    • lisadpreston profile image

      lisadpreston 7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      This was an excellent article. I'm glad you put the horrible photo in it. Wake people up that hide behind our murderous government. As a reporter, I cover executions and actually have to be there. I stay outside and interview the protesters. My boss/partner has to actually witness them. As I stated in my hub, if people had to actually be apart of or witness the executions, we would not have capital punishment. I have stacks and stacks of all the case files of the men that have been executed in Ohio. After reviewing these cases in depth, I know many were innocent or had severe physical brain damage. And this is a racist society. Not too many rich white guys are sitting on death row. Thank you for bringing this subject to light. You have a new fan.


    • garcilazoand profile image

      garcilazoand 8 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Wow. That is pretty much all I have to say. Great article.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      In relation to your comment Springboard

      I agree some crimes that are some murder crimes are so grotesque that the offender should never be released back into society. These are a minority of the numerous murders manslaughter which occur in a moment of highly charged passion

      between people often close relatives that the victim knows.

      However for the state to carry out the most henious of acts that it is trying to outlaw I will never agree with. Despite my moral belief I add too it the issue of making a mistake, or tampered or corrupted evidence including DNA & so called expert evidence. of unreliable witnesses and poorly conducted trials as well as the now huge financial cost of capital trials which now amounts to a million dollars in America.

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      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia


      Thanks for your well thought out comment

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      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I hear all of the arguments, and certainly I can sympathize with those cases where people have been executed wrongfully. It's part of the reason I classify myself as being conditionally for the death penalty. That is, the death penalty is only permissible in such cases where the proof and the evidence is overwhelmingly conclusive that the person being sentenced to death is the one responsible for the murder that he was ultimately convicted for. This includes DNA proof.

      While I can certainly appreciate when people use photos of executed individuals to make their case against the death penalty, I can only point out that there are a great many crime scence photos available as well (execution photos are not nearly as gruesome). Bodies which have been brutally mutilated, chopped to pieces, stabbed multiple times, burned alive...

      Many people have said that even if you sentence someone to death, it doesn't stop anyone else from still committing murder and is therefore ineffective and uneccesary. And I agree that it is not a deterrent. People have always and will always murder heedless of the potential penalty. But that's not, in my view, what capital punishment is for. It's not a deterrent in my opinion. It is a punishment.

      Like I said, it should be limited to very substantially provable cases where DNA evidence is irrefutable, and in cases where the murder has been brutally carried out, and in cases where the person has committed multiple murders.

      If you've shot someone fatally, perhaps this is not a capital offense, per se. But if you shot the person, cut the body up, and attempted to hide the body, the stakes have been raised, as has the level and brutality of the crime.

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      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      JJarman I found it very hard to comment on your hub as well !

    • Brightside profile image

      Brightside 8 years ago

      I definately don't agree with the electric chair, but I believe in the death penalty.

    • jjarman profile image

      jjarman 8 years ago from

      Very nice article; however, if you would like this one is written from first hand knowledge after dealing with the murder of my family.

      You notice no one has the guts to publicly comment on mine as it is with most of my writings. I get a lot of private fan mail but no one wants to be associated with my crazy ass! Well until they figure out who I am anyhow. Hint decipher Mine Blood.

      James R. Jarman

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      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      The electric chair as a method of capital punishment was abandoned in most states of America in the mid 1960's as it was regarded as cruel and unusual punishment therefore it breached the US constitution. Some of the examples include bleading from the orifices and ahead setting on fire to name a few.

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      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Well Bright side I have given the reasons in two of my hubs...

    • Brightside profile image

      Brightside 8 years ago

      I never knew getting electrocuted would cause one to bleed...does someone want to explain? Thanks.

      If someone rapes or kills in coldblood, is it not likely that they will do so again? Why should they have the right to remain alive? Living may be a right but you better darn well contribute to society in a helpful way, and if not be trying your hardest to do so. Otherwise you are a hindrance to others, and not even a neutral but a harm. Why should innocent people be harmed because of murderers and rapists? They shouldn't. And with the politically correct system nowadays, it is very difficult to even condemn somone to death, let alone go through with it. So chances of misconviction are very slim. And if you are not into anything you shouldn't be in to, it is impossible for you to be condemned if you are a good, honest citizen of the United States of America.

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      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Glen G if you do some basic research and reading on the topic and see the stats especially the journals you will see how injust the justice game has become on the issue...

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      Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      Disturbing photo, reminds me of that scene in The Green Mile where the executed prisoner catches fire. Horrible what we do to each other.

      Chef Jeff

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      christalluna1124 8 years ago from Dallas Texas

      Barry once again EXCELLENT and VERY WELL DONE! The picture brought tears to my eyes. Why does the state kill people to show that killing people is wrong? The logic escapes me. And your comment on the imbalance of race in the execution equation is right on the mark. Your articles are very moving, and heartfelt. I am also passionate about this topic (check out some of my articles and feel free to comment). Our most recent execution in Texas was of an accomplice who got execution, while the actual shooter got life and will be eligible for parole in forty years. Where is the justice there??? Texas is big on many things including executing offenders. We have earned the shameful title of "Texas the Execution Machine". I for one am ashamed that the beautiful state I live in has the highest execution rate in the nation, and yes, mostly blacks and hispanics.

      Regards, christal

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      Glen G 8 years ago

      So Denno66 are you saying the reason why they commit more violent crimes is because they are fighting their way up the social ladder ? something for me to think about...

      I kinda think it was because they are coming here and forming gangs or I guess (mini country's) would be better wording within our borders instead of simulating into our society....

      Mind you when I say "they" I dont mean all latino's I mean most of the one's on death row...

      racism I guess depends on where you are in the country, I still think it's just about gone, seeing the friends my kids have and seeing my friends children also, they all inter mix, not like when I was a teen in the 70's, we have all come a long way and me personally I see light at the end of the tunnel.....

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      Denno66 8 years ago

      Unfortunately, racism is alive and well in the U.S. It is indeed common for a Black or Hispanic on White crime to be pursued with more vigor than a White on White crime. Also, the afore-mentioned minorities, living in our still-racist society, are fighting their way up the social ladder as did the, say, Irish, in the nineteenth century. The propensity to commit more violent crimes would,indeed, make more sense than for Whites. However, State-sanctioned Death is still Murder.

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      Glen G 8 years ago

      hard to answer that without sounding like a racist but perhaps they did most of the major crime's...

      Hispanics here mostly stem from Illegal's that have no regard for our laws to begin with and if you look at the U.S. census reports the minority's soon will be the majority, in some states they already are with Hispanics leading the way

      maybe thats why there more of them on death row...but these are just my thought's that im sure can have hole's poked threw from every side..

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Glen G

      Thanks for your comment! But you might have good freinds who are coloured but that is irrelevant to the fact that colored people and hispanics are overepresented on Death Row

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      Glen G 8 years ago

      I tend to agree with bibowen, in some case's death would be the only true justice for victims of some crime''s done in a much more humane way then the victims death no doubt,also I'm not positive but I do believe the last to use the electric chair was in Florida (ole sparky)as it was known and now I think that's gone and lethal injection has taken its place.....

      As for racism, for the most part that's really a thing of the past, yes it still lingers about but for the most part gone, I have and can say proud to have good friends of color and my son has many.....

      Sadly thats a label that we will always be stuck with in the U.S. for the rest of time, much like Germany with Hitler...

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Bibowen. If the only people that were executed you might have a valid point but I would still favour life with no possibility of parole. The racism claim is not dubious the facts speak for themselves. And yes victims of crime deserve better support but that better support should not come in the form of a million dollar death penalty !

    • Bibowen profile image

      William R Bowen Jr 8 years ago

      It's unfortunate that your hub evokes sympathy for serial killers and rapists, rather than sympathy for the innocent, the victims of crimes. The "racism" claim is dubious at best. Let's say it's not racist. Would you favor the death penalty then?

      If a man rapes and kills a child he should be apprehended, tried, and killed by the government. No amount of hand wringing over murderers is going to change the necessity of the death penalty.

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      Rebecca E. 8 years ago from Canada

      Wow what a well done hub, I am please at such a thoughtful way you present these arguments. it is a controversial subject, but presented well, can be made "easier" to talk about with people of differing views.

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      sneakorocksolid 8 years ago

      Hey Barry! Great Hub! Well done! The only issue I have is the fact that a criminal has more rights than a baby. Killing is killing and alot of the opponents of execution still support abortion. We have to fix this or we are the hypocrites we fear we are. Peace.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your comments much appreciated !

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      griffstarr 8 years ago


    • Ivan the Terrible profile image

      Ivan the Terrible 8 years ago from Madrid

      Even though Tim McVeigh was guilty, both by admission and by proof of evidence, I did not rejoice when he was executed by lethal injection. It is a dilemma because should law abiding citizens be made to pay for a criminal's incarceration for life? Just the same it costs a lot of money to prove guilt and then execute.

      We no longer have capital punishment in Spain, even though there are times when some people demand it. I stand on the side of life without parole for vicious crimes, and no luxuries for the condemned. No TV, books, yes, but no luxuries.

      Still, in the U.S. there have been many people sent to their deaths even though later it was proven they were not the one who committed the crime. that happened in England and here in Spain under Franco, when political prisoners were executed at the whim of the state.

      Tough question, great hub. Thanks!

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      Kebennett1 8 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

      As long as people are still innocently imprisoned (which will always happen!) then the death penalty should be banned. How many times have we seen people released from prison years after being incarserated? With the newest technology one after another people are being proven innocent of past crimes which have stolen many years of their freedom wrongly from then. If they are given the death penalty then it is too late to free them. You don't come back from dead! I would rather a murderer live incarcerated until they die a natural death, than for one innocent person to die.

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      countrywomen 9 years ago from Washington, USA

      Misty - In India although sentence hasn't been abolished but it is awarded in the rarest of the rare cases. Now my take on this is that animals when they are terminally sick or mad as you mentioned then they are put down. This is because we humans have a higher consciousness and can decide what is less painful and appropriate for an animal.

      But when it comes to a very "bad" human being we still can't speak for that person and can still hope that at some point of time in future that person may be reformed. And by the way a person's life if taken away then he/she doesn't have enough time to pay for that punishment if given death sentence which is a quick end instead of life long process of atonement. Their should be adequate carrot/stick policy like bad behavior gets isolated wards with more work and so on. And good behavior gets all the luxuries you mentioned. And what if in the future it was found he/she was wrongfully framed then that person's life can't be returned. All said and done we should hate the "mischief" & not the "mischief maker" and through a reformation process if a change is bought than that should give greater happiness than punishing someone with a death penalty.

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      Cindy Lawson 9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hmmmm, interesting hub, but I have to ask, why should someone who murders another person, be the victim a child or an adult, get to spend the rest of their lives living in prison at the taxpayer's expense? If you have a mad dog that attacks people, you put it down, why should this situation be any different if you are sure the person committed the crime? These-days prison offers far more luxuries than many people innocent who live on the street. Regular meals, TV, heating, etc, this just doesn't seem right to me.

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      Julianna 9 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Wow!! That was a shocking realization and sad at that, I am not for the death penalty however life in prison without parole works for me. It does amaze that here in the U.S. we still impose it, however I believe it is a rarity or maybe the maybe doesn't broadcast it to everyone in the U.S. I believe there are many innocent men and women on death row , as our goverment can be corrupt and they always tend to look for a warm body to close a case. What is frightening is that the ones who should be behind bars are roaming our streets, and some of them are innocent in prison fighting for their lives. I believe are country still has racism flowing through their veins or they would eliminate it altogether. :)

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      newcapo 9 years ago

      Excellent hub, very thought provoking. Glad folks are reading this.

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      talented_ink 9 years ago from USA

      That picture is definitely a hard one to get past, and in my opinion, it serves as evidence against the death penalty. I have to admit that I'm from Texas, the state with the most executions in 2007(26) and it's winning so far this year too, but while most Texan politicians see the death penalty as a means to reach a civilized end, I strongly disagree. If you break a law, there is a consequence and the death penalty is meant to be the strongest consequence, however, for a person to commit an act so heinous that death is the consequence, that person is apparently the least concern about their fate. Due to this fact, it's ridiculous to think that fear of death would stop the criminal. Now for those who feel that the death penalty protects citizens from these criminals, how can we justify violence to promote peace? A person kills someone else and so the only retribution is to murder that person? Sooner or later, the executioner becomes no better than the criminals they execute. Even with everything I have said, I have yet to mention what I believe is the most important one and that is the fact that "Thou shalt not kill" is one of the ten commandments. I'll get off my soapbox now, but this is a good hub.

    • profile image

      Ananta65 9 years ago

      History repeats itself... Wel.. hopefully you in South Africa learn from this history and do better than we have done :)

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      The reaearch here is prettty much the same but this profile will change over time as society levels out and more previously disadvantaged people have access to jobs, education and funds. Their children will then gain the benefits of that, but skip a generation or two and the rich spoilt kid syndrome will kick in as it has done in the USA.

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      Ananta65 9 years ago

      Moral consciousness is learned in childhood, Sixtyorso. Research in th Netherlands has showed that children who grow up in neighborhoods with more crime tend to become criminal too (let me rephrase that: the ratios are higher). Abusers were often abused themselves. The seeds are sown (or not) in childhood.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Ananta I think you are right but primarily it is a lack of moral consciousness that is the root cause. This seems to be the common denominator in high crime societies starting with government and big business

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      Ananta65 9 years ago

      Those figures are concerning, Sixtyorso. One could come to the conclusion that the existence of capital punishment has a preventive effect. On the other hand, is that worth it? I think not. The real answer? I think the real answer is utopian. We will always be fighting symptoms rather than causes, as the root cause is somewhere in childhood in the vast majority of the cases (sometimes mental illness is the cause).

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      another scary though along with the one million dollars wasted in capital cases...-+

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Yes it is quite scary how many so called "cold cases" are tracked down by DNA and as you say many people are being freed (in some cases after many years) bcause of DNA evidence. I suspect that in the past, a lot of cases are "solved" to keep crime statistics down and not neccessarily to find the real perpetrator.

      As you say there is no real answer. Incidentallly there are some statistics which show that everytime an excution takes place in the US , violent crime and murder increase! So or every argument there is a counter argument and statistics to back it up. BTW I am against capital punishment in principle too.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 9 years ago from Queensland Australia

      So what is the real answer? there is no real answer . Except we know by fact that there are now many innocent people being relaesed from Death Rows due to DNA evidence !

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      We do not have the death sentence in South Africa. it was abolished by the institution of of our new constitution. However , on the flip side, we have the highest number of rapes in the world (1in 4 woman will be raped in their life time). Violent crime, that is house breaking allied to murder and rape of the victims is reaching epidemic proportions. Hijackings with accompanying violence is extremely common. These figures have grown exponentially since 1994 when capital punishment was abolished.

      However, a long jail sentence is almost equivalent of a death sentence because of sodomy, and  rape resulting in Aids. Violence in the prisons is a problem . Gang activity and murder in the prisons do occur. Rehabilitation is not that successful.

      So what is the real answer?

    • profile image

      Ananta65 9 years ago

      In my definition one can not claim to be civilized if one uses violence. Even if there is guilt beyond any doubt a civilized society does not kill. There is a clear difference between defending, shielding society and willingly ending the life of a person.

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      Warren Samu 9 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Great Hub. I am also against the death penalty and you have my support here.

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      Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

      Thumbs up for a sensitive approach to such a controversial issue. This is the kind of thing most of us do not even want to think about, as if blocking it from our existence would mean that it does not happen. Shocking picture!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 10 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your comment...

    • teeray profile image

      teeray 10 years ago from Canada

      I rated your hub. Kind of speechless at the moment (graphic picture!).

      Thank you for the details and critique of an heinous punishment. I'm not sure how anyone could believe that it is reasonable to kill another person who is, as you said, "rendered harmless." I hope this hub will be read by many people, even if some of the content is rather 'raw.'