I’m in a New Jersey State of Mind

There aren’t many reasons to envy New Jersey, but here’s one I heard about today:

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – New Jersey moved closer to eliminating the death penalty on Monday when its Senate and an Assembly committee voted in favor of making life in prison without parole the state’s top criminal penalty.

I believe the death penalty is a just punishment for a variety of serious crimes; however, I also believe the state is incapable of applying the punishment in a manner that is (a) equitable and (b) sure not to execute an innocent man or woman along the way. To paraphrase, it’s better to see ten guilty monsters spend their lives in prison than for one innocent man to have his life end with an injection.

I also realize that in a number of cases, there will be confessions to the heinous crimes committed, some certainly coerced, the bulk most likely not. However, this brings us back to the same problem of deciding a line of sufficient evidence to take a life, and that line will necessarily be flawed with the same disorders that prevent the state from guaranteeing that only the guilty die.

Such is the process of due process.

So, yes, I’m just as revolted as everyone else by the crimes of rapists and murderers and molesters and the like. I’m not, however, willing to trade the slaughter of an innocent to satiate the bloodlust of a victim, of society, or of myself, when an alternative that keeps us just as safe (assuming truth in sentencing), that attains the same result sans personal, vengeful gratification of the aggrieved, is available.

For those of you that would, imagine a day when perhaps it is you lying on the executioner’s table, needle in your arm, thinking “I did not do this!”

Well, yeah, but hey – so sorry! – we got those ten real bad guys so we’re nine up on the plus side!

5 Responses to “I’m in a New Jersey State of Mind”

  1. Angie Says:

    Okay. I imagined it. Still for the death penalty.

  2. andy Says:

    Seems easy to say when your chance of being the innocent person are slim to none, I guess.

    So, you honestly think it’s worth it knowing that in our system of sleeping defense attorneys and dishonest prosecutors, honest people may lose their lives when equally suitable alternatives to protect us exist?

  3. Brian Says:

    I understand that in most jurisdictions it is legal for ambulance drivers to run red lights while transporting people to the hospital in emergency situations. This is done because getting to the hospital quickly can mean the difference between life and death.

    Sadly, this policy also leads to the deaths of many innocent people when the ambulance driver crashes into them while running the red lights.

    I guess if we cannot use the death penalty because people in the justice system aren’t perfect, they make mistakes and some innocent person may get killed then we need to make the same argument about the ambulance drivers.

    Ambulance drivers aren’t perfect, they make mistakes, and therefore we should not allow them to drive above the posted speed limits or to run red lights otherwise some innocent person could be injured or even killed.

    Better that 10 sick people die than that a non-sick person is injured by an ambulance driver rushing to a hospital.

    And don’t get me started about those stupid life-flight helicopters that have a horrible record of crashing and killing entire teams of innocent health care workers.

  4. andy Says:

    Alas, your argument fails in that in the case of the death penalty, a suitable alternative exists that accomplishes the goals of punishment and protecting society (i.e. life in prison without parole). In addition, it offers the ability to remedy mistakes made in the original process that could never be undone if an innocent were executed.

    In the instance of the ambulance driver, we can certainly take steps to improve their safety, as we can build assurances into the legal system; however, the alternative of eliminating ambulance drivers from their roles is that, by necessity, many of those who call them will die from the lack of response. Period. There is no suitable alternative to the risk involved that would ensure the survival of many of those in medical need.

    In your attempt to be clever (or obfuscate), you’ve apparently confused apples with oranges.

  5. No Longer in a New Jersey State of Mind Says:

    […] took all of 22 days from my last post on the subject, but I finally saw the error of my […]

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