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Sunday Poll: Should Missouri follow Nebraska and abolish the death penalty?

May 31, 2015 Crime, Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll 6 Comments
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Last week the conservative legislature in neighboring Nebraska voted to override their governor’s veto of a bill to repeal their death penalty:

Lawmakers in Nebraska overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of their vote to repeal the death penalty, making it the first Republican-controlled state in the U.S. to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973. The vote was 30-19.

As we reported Tuesday, Ricketts, a Republican, vetoed the legislation flanked by law enforcement personnel, murder victims’ family members and state lawmakers who support capital punishment. Opposition to the death penalty in the conservative state came from Republicans who were against it for religious or fiscal reasons, as well as from Democrats and independents. (NPR)

Of course, just because a neighboring state does something it doesn’t mean we should follow them. Still, this is a good public policy subject for a Sunday Poll.  The poll is at the top of the right sidebar of the desktop layout, it’ll close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson




Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    While there are certainly crimes that probably “deserve” the death penalty, given how things have evolved, in how it is, ultimately, carried out in contemorary American society, it makes far more sense to just abolish it and switch to life without the possibility of parole (as the maximum sentence). Doing so would both bring a quicker closure to the victim’s families and friends and would save taxpayers money, both from fewer, expensive, appeals. It took 4 years to execute Tim McVeigh (for the Federal Building bombing in OKC), with few, if any, appeals, and it took nearly 20 years to carry out Missouri’s most-recent execution, after multiple appeals. Just lock ’em up and throw away the key – courts and lawyers are far more expensive than the gray-bar hotel and baloney sandwiches!

    • Mark-AL says:

      Your logic is sound, IMO, but I disagree necessarily with your argument. To address the issue of today’s poll, first I guess society has to decide what they’re trying to achieve through incarceration: punishment or rehab. I suppose a bank robber can be “rehabbed”. Probably little argument there, but no guarantees. To execute a murderer, however, or to sentence him to life without parole is essentially saying that a murderer is incapable of being rehabbed. I wonder if that’s a safe position to hold. “A MURDERER IS INCAPABLE OF BEING REHABBED”–who’s to say? So, under your scenario, in this case of murder, we’re saying that the objective of incarceration is obviously “punishment”–that the murderer can’t be “cured”. Murder is defined as taking the life of another individual. So how do we deal with a parent who locks his kid in a closet for 10 or 20 years, essentially taking away that kid’s life (a living hell form of murder–a lot more painful than a quick shell in the head) (his past and his future are all screwed up)? Do we sentence him to 7 years in prison? Do we sentence him to life without parole? Death? (Recently, the courts awarded 7 years!!!!!) Can that person who warps his kid for life ever be rehabilitated–a parent whose actions essentially ended a kid’s life, a parent who committed a slow and ongoing act of murder…to his own kid? (People lock up cows and enjoy their tender veal. This guy locks up his kid because his kid has behavior problems!) But we’re dealing here with semantics, and we have to decide what “murder” really is! To take it a step further, some psychologists argue that a murderer CAN be rehabilitated, so why would he deserve life without parole vs the guy who essentially ended his kid’s life–and only got 7 years! Or…the guy who swindles a family out of their life savings….essentially destroying the family: when caught, does he deserve 7 years? Life without parole? Certainly not the death penalty! But then again, he did destroy a family’s security and happiness…their life. (I wonder if I’d rather live next door to a murder who outright shot someone in the head, or someone whose kid who’s been relegated to a closet for the past 10 years !)

      I think many “absolutes” are dangerous when it comes to administering issues of law. And I think this is one of those areas that deserves case-by-case consideration. (I was brought up to believe that murderers and rapists/molesters (especially) and swindlers should be dealt with behind the shed–no questions as! But I’ve changed my position on that–somewhat.)

      • JZ71 says:

        Defining which punishment fits which crime, as well as defining “rehabilitation”, is a whole ‘nuther, and much larger, discussion than death penalty or no. Unfortunately, much of our legislating, be it for punishment, for drugs or for guns, is a knee-jerk reaction to a worst-case aberation, not some stupid, “common” criminal act. Take the case playing out in Colorado, where a likely-deranged man killed and wounded multiple people in a movie theater. While the death penalty is certainly appropriate, I doubt that most people would question life-without-parole, just to get closure, yet there are certainly people who would love to see him drawn and quartered after covering him fire ants.

        I agree, most of us go through a young-and-stupid phase, but most of us don’t do anything truly horrendous, and criminal acts should have consequences, some even serious and/or draconian. Sure, it sucks if you’re one of those 0.0001%, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that shooting multiple people and/or a law enforcement officer is not the greatest life choice . . .

        • Mark-AL says:

          I can’t imagine how one would consider the issue of death penalty vs life w/o parole without first clearly understanding what we’re trying to achieve through our prison system. So before hand out absolute sentences, we probably should know all the facts relating to the overall, IMO. We need to know if the current prison structure is more rehabilitative or just punitive–and whether society accepts its current structure as OK and appropriate. Before I decide to use friction piers vs belled caissons, I need to consider the soil’s engineer’s report, and the time to do that is before the drilling operation, not after.

          • JZ71 says:

            You’re way too reasoned and rational to survive as a politcian . . .

          • Mark-AL says:

            ……….my kids and several concrete contractors around the country might agree with you…!


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