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Inmates who "change" while on Death Row
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Thread: Inmates who "change" while on Death Row

  1. #1
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JimKay's Avatar
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    Inmates who "change" while on Death Row

    This discussion is happening on the Garza thread. To keep that thread from going OT I'm suggesting we relocate it here.

    The easy question regarding Garza, or Karla Faye Tucker, is: If they hadn't been placed on Death Row, what would they have become? Anyone with enough consciousness to understand their imminent doom (not something all inmates will have) is bound to change as a result. They may become more hostile, like the financial-adviser/biker recently executed in Texas, or they may seem to become more decent. Bear in mind, they're all in a very restricted, controlled environment. Misbehavior is quickly dealt with. They're not out on the streets or within the general prison population, where their internal self-control mechanisms are more free to operate. DR inmates are closely watched and regulated.

    Take the actor Vincent D'Onofrio for example. In various roles he's played a serial killer ("The Cell"), an alien insect ("Men in Black") and a quirky but effective police detective (Law & Order: Criminal Intent"). Is he any of those, or only an actor? Is Garza or was Tucker what they portray, or only actors? The facts remain that they were convicted and sentenced to die. That our legal system allowed them sufficient time between sentencing and execution to reflect on their lives and create new personas is no reason to overlook their heinous acts or mitigate their sentences.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Richard86's Avatar
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    Perhaps if the condemned during their incarceration had done something, or many things, exceptionally noble then a commutation should be at least considered.

    Things like saving the life of a prison guard, voluntarily offering to assist law enforcement to arrest associates in gang related crimes, freely offering to help where they can in crime prevention programmes, agreeing to drop their judicial appeals and show genuine remorse for their original crimes. They should of course do these not because they want to be reprieved, but because they genuinely want to leave a more positive mark on the world than they currently will.

    I'd can't exactly define such a standard, but it would take more than a religious conversion. I honestly don't care if you've found God or a dog. Tucker and Garza wouldn't meet it.

  3. #3
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    There are instances where I believe condemned men have made honest conversions and would not be a danger to society if they were allowed to live. Far more frequently I believe inmates act as if they are reformed creatures in an attempt to sway support and sympathy in an attempt to gain clemency. However, whether the conversion is real or not is immaterial to the issue. Whether they are currently dangerous men that are a threat to society or have become the most gentle soul imaginable, they are facing death for crimes that are beyond comprehension. They earned their punishment and a later conversion cannot undo what they have done in their past.

    I always look to Sean Sellers when this conversation comes up. Since I grew up in Oklahoma as the son of a police officer and voracious reader of all things legal I have been familiar with this case since I was 11 or 12 years old. His actions were frighteningly devious and despite his age his death sentence was deserved. (Even if it wouldn't be legal today and likely wouldn't have been handed down if LWOP would have been an option.) However through my study of the issue I firmly believe he was a good and decent man at the time of his death. His religious conversion isn't something any of us could fully judge, but I tend to believe it was legitimate. The simple maturity that comes with age undoubtedly helped as well. When he was strapped to the gurney I believe he was a decent human being that could have been an asset to society. However if given the power to stop the execution I would not have done so. He may have changed, but the actions of his past did not disappear. The people he killed are still dead, the pain he caused is still real. Nothing will ever change that.

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    Banned TheKindExecutioner's Avatar
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    They should change into a corpse!

    They still have to pay for their crimes!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard86 View Post
    Perhaps if the condemned during their incarceration had done something, or many things, exceptionally noble then a commutation should be at least considered.
    Thumbs up! In fact as I understand it there is a trail stage, followed by a punishment stage. But it appears that the execution may take 15 or more years to be carried out, so it seems to me that would be an ideal time to re-examine the punishment stage and to find out if the convict has changed! ‘to decide death a jury must decide if there is a ‘future threat to society’, well given that the convict is already in jail he is not a threat to society, is he?

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    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    He or she could escape, murder someone inside prison or order hits on people on the outside. So, that person could most certainly go on being a threat to society from inside the pen until their eventual death.

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    Senior Member CnCP Legend FFM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackadder View Post
    Thumbs up! In fact as I understand it there is a trail stage, followed by a punishment stage. But it appears that the execution may take 15 or more years to be carried out, so it seems to me that would be an ideal time to re-examine the punishment stage and to find out if the convict has changed! ‘to decide death a jury must decide if there is a ‘future threat to society’, well given that the convict is already in jail he is not a threat to society, is he?
    The original initiative that led to their crimes still exists with them, and so, they can still be motivated to kill again. Just look at serial killers or child killers; they would all easily kill again. So, the argument that they 'change' is utter nonsense. FACT.

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    Senior Member Member OperaGhost84's Avatar
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    How seriously inmates think about what they've done shows in their last statements, most of who use it to bitch, moan, and cry about how done wrong they were by the state, their family,"the man", their own race, and Optimus Prime to explain why they're about to get the Hot Shot. But I do believe some inmates do legitimately repent for their sins and seek absolution which is why I think that all inmates should be left in their cell with a Wakizashi the day of his execution.
    I am vehemently against Murder. That's why I support the Death Penalty.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Moh View Post
    He or she could escape, murder someone inside prison or order hits on people on the outside.
    Well they could do that while they are waiting for the needle! So no change there than.

  10. #10
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Richard86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackadder View Post
    Thumbs up! In fact as I understand it there is a trail stage, followed by a punishment stage. But it appears that the execution may take 15 or more years to be carried out, so it seems to me that would be an ideal time to re-examine the punishment stage and to find out if the convict has changed! ‘to decide death a jury must decide if there is a ‘future threat to society’, well given that the convict is already in jail he is not a threat to society, is he?
    As Moh says, a convict could escape, or murder someone in prison (another prisoner or staff member). Although certainly if the only aggravating circumstance used to seek the death penalty was that the inmate presented a future danger and the inmate has since become an ordained minister who's deeply sorry for his violent past then that aggravating circumstance (and death sentence) would become untenable. Although I don't know of many cases where future dangerousness is the only aggravating factor, it'll usually include something else. The only murders that can't necessarily argue future dangerousness are crimes of passion, and they don't tend to end in death sentences.

    I don't think expressing remorse for the crime or a religious conversion is enough to commute the original sentence, plenty of people do express remorse for their crimes or undergo religious conversions, it's not anything special, but I think if there are tangible things that the condemned has done to pay back for their crimes (such as saving the life of a prison officer, as in Willie Lloyd Turner or Wilbert Lee Evans) then a commutation should certainly be considered, but not automatically issued.

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