Death or Life Without Parole?

AG Marty Jackley met with R.J. Johnson’s family yesterday to discuss their loss and the legal case against his murderers (I think calling them alleged would just be silly — even though they’ve pleaded not guilty).

The big question on the table is should the state of South Dakota seek the death penalty against the two “men” under arrest for the murder.

The Sioux Falls Dems had an interestingly timed forum last week featuring an anti-death penalty speaker. One of the main arguments that death penalty opponents use against the death penalty is the cost of the cases because of the extra requirements needed in death penalty cases as well as the appeals — they argue life without parole (LWOP) is cheaper punishment in the long run.  That is the accepted view on costs — although there are now some contradicting studies suggesting that LWOP is actually more expensive than the death penalty.  Should the cost be a consideration especially when SD is dealing with reduced revenues?

Another main consideration began with the AG meeting with the family…..what do the victims of this horrendous crime think would be appropriate.  If the family is adamantly opposed to the death penalty — should the state respect their views?  One of the other perspectives for the family that needs to be considered is the strain of the lengthy process involved in a death penalty case….it will be going on for years.  For some, that extended pain is not worth it. (It may be too early for the Johnson family to know what legal action will help bring them some peace….they are only just starting to grieve)

This is the second case, since March 2009, of a law enforcement officer being murdered in the line of duty.  The first case against Ethan Johns, who pleaded guilty to murdering Deputy Chad Mechels, avoided trial and the death penalty question with Johns sentenced to spending the rest of his life in prison.

How should the AG and the state of South Dakota proceed in the case against Rodney Berget and Eric Robert?

100 Replies to “Death or Life Without Parole?”

      1. Mr. Obvious

        It’s a long practiced part of a potential death penalty case for the prosecutor to get the family’s input on whether to go for the ultimate justice. Was Dave Nelson playing politics when he did the same thing in other capital cases? No, and niether is Jackley. It can be a deeply personal and painful decision in deciding the appropriate punishment and the family should have a say. Often times thier opinions will convince the prosecutor to NOT make it a death penalty case.

        1. tired of politics

          Mr. Obvious, I agree that it is important to meet with the family and see what their thoughts are on the appropriate punishment. But ask yourself why Jackley had to make this meeting known to the public.

          Anon, I’m pretty sure I know your identity by your typo and your over-the-top complimentary attitude toward those who can benefit you personally.

  1. 73*

    I would seek the death penalty. I’m not necesarilly an advocate for it but it seems appropriate in this case. They took a mans life for nothing at all.

    Times like these we know how fortunate we are to have Marty Jackley as AG.

  2. duggersd

    There are some cases where the death penalty is not only warranted, but it is almost demanded. This is one of those cases. As I recall, both of these men are violent and both of these men are lifers. So, what more can we do to them? And God forbid, one or another of them were to murder another guard or inmate, what would we say to the family of the new victim?

  3. anon

    Plea “not guilty”? My guess is they will try to argue that they only wanted to knock him unconscious or quiet him – not kill him – and in the heat of the moment, it all went wrong.

    Not pre-meditated – not warranting of death penalty? I wonder if they change the tune they sing before trial.

  4. Duh

    Absolutely the death penalty. 1) premeditated henious crime (whacking on the head, then wrapping the victim’s head in plastic so as to suffocate; and 2) murder of a federal officer. Both give you a free, immediate pass to the juice. Problem is, that’s too civil for those barbarians.

  5. Mike Buckingham

    If there is ever a case that deserves the death penalty this is it. Both of the accused were serving life sentences without parole, both had attempted to escape in the past and murdered Mr. Johnson during this attempt. For the protection of society and the prison system these two absolutely should be put to death. I will predict that if they are released to the general prison population again they will make another attempt to escape and willing to kill again during the attempt. God forbid if they should escape and are cornered in a public place or an occupied home. I hope the family understands the need for the state to pursue this action. My prayers will be with them during this difficult time and through the trial and lengthy appeals.

  6. springer

    Death penalty. They were already in prison forever, and if that is all they get again, how long until they decide to try again to escape or just kill another prisoner because he looks at them wrong? This is the only punishment that should be considered. And they should not have appeals in this case. They did it. That’s that. And if they think of pleading that their hitting him on the head in the heat of the moment was not planning to kill him, that is negated immediately by their purposefully wrapping his head in plastic to make sure he was dead.

  7. bschwartz

    Before choosing the death penalty, the jury should be made to go to counseling at a center run by the ACLU and then be forced to go home and come back in 72 hours so they can think on it and make sure that is what they want. Then and only then should they be allowed to choose that sentence unless someone can come up with another back door process to delay it…

    1. Bill Fleming

      Hard not to find parallels with the pro-life ideology on this issue, not the least of which is: “What are you willing to have your government do on your behalf?” I have to say that if there could be a justification for executing someone, this would perhaps be one of those cases.

      But I can’t go there. I can’t put it together that the Government has life and death control over it’s citizens. The authoritarian sword cuts both ways, and I’m not willing to surrender the power.

      1. PNR

        But government has that power. Government is, by definition, the power of coercive force – to kill, detain, or confiscate the property of individuals. The objective in view with this power ought be justice and, well, the Preamble to the Constitution rather nails it.

        There are four questions, then, as pertains to government. What restrictions or limitations *can* be made on that power? What restrictions *ought* to be placed on that power? By whom shall that power be exercised? And how shall that power be exercised?

        A legitimate case can be made in this case that the lives of these men ought be required of them. Anything less would – in my opinion – amount to the state placing a higher value on their lives than they placed on the life of Officer Johnson. I would not gladly, but would willingly, carry out such a sentence.

        1. anonymous

          If executing these two men will deter other prisoners from using such drastic measures to attemp escape than I support the death penalty.

          I believe using the dealth penalty will cause other inmates to reconsider an attempt to escape that involves violence.

          1. PNR

            It’s not murder. Government is what it is – physical force and, ultimately, the authority to kill. Wishful thinking will not change that.

      2. duggersd

        The 5th amendment provides for capital punishment and a person cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process. In the case of killing babies, the baby is not allowed due process. Also, I do not accept you characterization of executing a prisoner who has had due process as “murder”. Webster defines murder as this: the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought. Execution is not unlawful.

    2. Name

      Easy to see the parallels are far apart. These guys had attempted murder in the past. They committed it now. They are not innocent lives as the baby is. I find it hard to believe that you even equate the lives of two killers to that of a baby.

  8. Truthinator

    Hate to bring this up, but you have to wonder why RJ was ever put in a position to be murdered by these scum. He should never have been in a vulnerable position with them. That being said, I say take the pragmatic approach. What costs the taxpayers the most? Appeals or paying to keep them alive for the next thirty or forty years? Regardless of what the jury decides, it is very clear that the penal system absolutely must fix the weakness that allowed them to murder RJ. I would volunteer to go visit each of these guys for eight to ten minutes in a room without a video camera….

    1. PNR

      Yes, it is. Para 2266, Catechism of the Catholic Church: “…the traditional teaching of the Church has acknowledged as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty.”

      Para 2267: “If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means…”

      I think this satisfies the “extreme gravity” criteria and, given that both men were essentially already in for life and yet still murdered Officer Johnson, one can easily defend the notion that bloodless means are insufficient in this case.

  9. springer

    Yes, security probably needs imrpovement for the guards. BUT, that in no way affects what these two (I hesitate to call them humans) did. They had absolutely no regard for the life of the guard. They will have no hesitation to act violently again as they are already in jail forever. Sentence them, no appeals as it is abundantly clear they did it, and then carry out the sentence without the whining, crying about it.

    1. Truthinator

      springer you are absolutely right. I bet there is a lot of talk about security measures in the penal system – in a private, government sort of way. Now the punishment should fit the crime.

  10. Name

    If we are reforming prisons why not start by making these guys and other inmates shave and get a hair cut. I’d like it if our inmates looked like they were in military. I believe they’d feel better about themselves if they didn’t look like JOE DIRT.

    But for this case it would send a strong message to other prisoners not to attemp espace if they used the death penaly on these two.

  11. Arrowhead

    If these prisoners who are apparently already lifers were given life again what is to keep them from attacking another guard if they get the urge to escape again?

  12. caheidelberger

    A young man was killed by farm machinery last weekend. In response, we don’t destroy the machinery; we learn to control and be more careful around the machinery.

    Suppose the victims’ family wanted the men drawn and quartered, or lowered very slowly into a pool of pirahna. Or suppose the victims’ family was convinced the men had become devout Christians and wanted the men released to do missino work. Obviously there is some level at which you would say the victims’ family’s desires have no legal weight. Fortunately, we operate by the rule of law, not the rule of individuals.

    By the way, Bob’s suggestion of anti-death-penalty counseling for the jury is the smartest comment here.

    1. 73*


      Did the machine have the intent to kill or was it an accident? If the machine was like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator I’d opt for the death penalty.

      1. 73*


        The intent of the death penalty is not to torture the convicted but to prevent another attack by the same people or others.

    2. Jeff J.

      Hey Cory – I agree with you that the family’s wishes should not be considered in the decision as to whether to seek the death penalty. The death penalty is not about vengence or revenge, but about deterrence. The question is whether it is in the state’s interest to execute the guilty.

      In this case, sentencing them (again) to LWOP in no way, shape or form deters them or others from committing the same crime, under the same circumstances. These individuals have left the state with one option to use in hopes to deter this in the future. In my opinion, the state should exercise that option. Again though, the goal is deterrence.

      As far as the comparison to the 72 hour rule with abortion, it is an interesting comparison, but in the end an invalid one for many people, including me. As others have already stated, the difference is that of an innocent versus someone guilty of a heinous crime. There is a world of difference.

  13. Lee Schoenbeck

    It is not necessary to resort to conjecture or opinion about the position of the Catholci Church on the death penalty. Section 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, given the commetns above, would probably suprise a couple of commentators above — at least as applied to the facts in this instance.

      1. Bill Fleming

        …are you talking about this part?

        ‘Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent’

      2. PNR

        2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor. If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae].

        I think this qualifies as one of those rare instances, though I think the late Pope mistaken concerning the rarity of such cases. I also think there is a distinction between a justification for the death penalty and a decision to mercifully withhold such punishment. In other words, the State may legitimately impose the penalty in cases where, in the judgment of the Church, it would be wiser to be merciful. The articles (2266 and 2267) of the Catechism seem to assume that where mercy may be wise, the death penalty is unjustified (and thus restraint is not really mercy). This is a confusion of categories. Still, the Bible does call on us to, in justice, remember mercy.

    1. Stace Nelson

      Just as a person has the right to defend themselves, their family, and their property, the “state” has a duty to defend its citizens against legitimate threats and extract justice. Just as the “state” is authorized to use deadly force to protect its citizenry against enemies foreign, it is obligated to protect innocents from enemies domestic. As the sage Mr. Schoenbeck already started to point out, there are biblical references abounding in which the shepherd is justified in protecting the flock from predators.
      Even more specifically “government” is exonerated in direct statements that it beareth not the sword in vain Romans 13:4, 1 Peter 2:14, etc.

      Having dealt with capitol offense cases, there are different levels of culpability that are required before a criminal can even be considered for the death penalty. The law effectively differentiates between the different levels of violations worthy of the death penalty. As our country is justified in protecting law abiding citizens from invading armies, so is our governments justified in protecting the populace against those that have demonstrated they are a threat to those law abiding citizens around them.

      As far as the comment about a waiting period? The “state” has a waiting period of years in which death sentences are reviewed, rereviewed, appealed, reappealed, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

      I am good with having to defend my position on the protection of unborn children and the support of the death penatly here or at the Pearly Gates.

  14. Spartan76

    CAH, what a ridiculous anaolgy. The farm machinery did not, I repeat did not plan to commit an illegal act, and then when things went horrible wrong decide to committ another horrible crime.

      1. Bill Fleming

        I imagine that there are any number of felons behind bars who would just as soon kill you as look at you, especially if you wearing their ticket out op the big house and they could get close to you. So, what to do, springer, kill them all?

    1. springer

      We have to realize that the pro-abortion people don’t consider an innocent unborn baby a living person, which justifies ending that life. But a born person who is guilty of murder is another story, just because that person is breathing air instead of residing in his mother’s womb.

  15. oldguy

    Very interesting conversation.I am against all forms of killing but understand that sometimes it happens for the betterment of all like a abortion that saves the mom’s life. I think when a person is in jail they are subject to a differnt set of rules then law abiding people and thus the death penalty would be ok in this case.

  16. CaveMan

    A couple of years ago Rush Limbaugh stated that the last bastion of pure Christian faith left in America is the Catholic Church. This must be why so many liberals bash the Catholic Church.

  17. Lee Schoenbeck

    Flemdog –
    You got the last sentences correct, but I think for readers to fully appreciate it, they would need to see the first paragraph too. Look, I have always voted against the death penalty as a legislator, because I think if you are pro-life and don’t think the government should be allowing people to be killed, that should include all people. But, I have also been aware that there are a few vary rare instances that make that belief a practical impossibility in the state of reality. The CCD you quoted recognizes the same practical problem. This incident is about as close to the perfect storm of where many (if not most) opponents of the death penalty would agree with proponents – that “very rare instance”..
    By the way, that same concern reaches the protection of the guards, law enforcement and other prisoners. Just because a person is in prison, it doesn’t mean we should consider their life less worthy of protection from killers like these two.
    For those who think this is an easy or academic question, consider this. Most juries in South Dakota, when asked to return a death penalty, have not knee-jerk reacted. In fact, most have said no – in spite of the reality that every one of those cases involved a very bad person that did very bad things. I think our respect for life – all life – runs deeper than some want to recognize, and that’s a good thing. But, it doesn’t blind us to the reality of human safety and suffering (the matter at hand).

  18. Les

    This is an interesting conversation old guy. My take on this, both sides truly believe what they are speaking, from emotion not personal experience. I just heard 40% of all death penalty convictions where DNA could be used for double checking were not guilty as charged. I don’t know that’s a fact any more than most here know anything as fact in capital punishment issues. Emotionally charged statements.

    These are bad boys and do need to face the laws of man, but why would anyone who truly wanted them to pay would think a needle would hurt them more than a daily beating or life in the hole or so many other past forms of punishment.

    When we minimize life, at some point it becomes easy to find many elements to point the finger at. Obesity, 3rd strike, welfare recipients, sexual offenders, 3rd DUI, Barnie Maddoff, any one of the above can be termed detrimental to society when the casualness of taking life becomes common. Is it dead souls wanting more dead souls?

    1. Bill Fleming

      Les, (and Lee check me on this), if I’m reading the Church doctrine right, it’s not about punishment so much as it is denying the prisoner the opportunity of redemption, however small the possibility that he/she will find and embrace it.

  19. Spartan76

    Yes there probably is a system failure. You have 2 people incarcerated for life without parole, they murder a prison guard in an attempt to escape, so now how do you punish them, add another life term? No, in my opinion, death penalty.

  20. Reader

    Recently Bl. John Paul the Great was very opposed to the death penalty. Although his personal views never reached the CCD, it was his view that every nation in the mordern world has the ability punish with mercy and to incarnate without killing. Of course that means changing to the living conditions of these two men- these two children of God for whom Christ died.

  21. Name

    The Catholic Church is a belief system supported by documents from the god of Christianity. The wrongs committed within the Church was by men not the Church. The people who committed the wrongs are the ones that should pay the price.

    Remember hate is not the determining factor it is the position of society. What society chooses to do is the correct path. My agenda is much different than others or is it others agenda is different than mine.

  22. Duh

    The obivous fact that life sentences don’t work is this exact case. Here a lifer snuffed out another human being, a father, husband and grandfather. People should forfeit their lives in certain circumstances. I can guarantee the anti-death penalty crowd would most likely change their tune if that officer was their father, husband, brother, grandfather.

    What message are you sending to the remaining lifers if these idiots aren’t put down? If I was a lifer knowing that my circumstances wouldn’t change because society was filled with whimps to afraid to flip the switch, I’d go on an unmitigated rampage. Just like Mr, Nelson stated, I wouldn’t have one iota of a problem standing before my Maker after nuking a few individuals like that. Religious arguments are inappropriate and irrelevant here.

    CAH, they really don’t have word that really captures your essence, but MORON is close. I’d like to put you in a room with those two miscreants and watch you share your liberal love with them. You’d be on the floor before you started.

  23. Lee Schoenbeck

    Bill –
    I’m no theologian, but I believe the denial of the oportunity for redemption is a significant part of the rationale for the position, but of course there is more. There is the question: “who is a child of God?” The answer raises the bar for our response to that person. There is also the question: “Who has the moral right to decide who lives and dies?” The answer is part of the bar you have to jump in that self-examination about the application of the death penalty in any instance, and in this specific instance. Thankfully, where life and death is involved, most people don’t take the decision lightly.

  24. Name

    Capital punishment is in accord with scripture that government has the authority from God. Government though has the responsibility to maintain civil order which in essence means killing adulterers or people who get tatoos would not be allowed. Read Romans 13

  25. i`p

    How can anyone argue for capital punishment and against physician-assisted suicide? This discussion about control, not justice.

  26. Name

    I was for Linda Hamilton killing the Terminator because he had intent to kill. Next time a feed grinder acts like the terminator lets put it to death also.

    Let’s hope these guys get what they deserve.

  27. SDMike

    Render unto Ceaser that is Ceaser’s

    Render unto Caesar?” is the beginning of a phrase attributed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels, which reads in full, ?Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar?s, and unto God the things that are God?s? (???????? ??? ?? ???????? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????) (Matthew 22:21).

    attributed to taxes, but also government authority. – Earthly punishments

  28. Anthony D. Renli

    In the vast majority of cases, I am against capital punishment. In the majority of cases, I feel life without parole is a better (more economical, more moral, more of a punishment). In the majority of cases, you have removed the criminal from the outside world so society is protected. They have the chance for a moral/spiritual (but not legal) redemption. And last but not least, if there is even the slightest chance they are innocent, they might be set free. As I said, I feel this way in the vast majority of cases.

    In this particular case, there are really three possible outcomes.
    1) Lock them up in solitary for the rest of their lives so they are no longer a danger to others. Feed them through a slot in the door and remove all human contact until they die (or more likely, kill themselves).
    2) Put them back into the general prison population, where as surely as the sun rises tomorrow, someone will be killed. Most likely them. Some guard or guards will take it upon themselves to protect themselves and others by arranging a pre-emptive strike.
    3) Put them out of their misery. Quickly, cleanly, and humanely. Much like putting a rabid dog down. It isn?t about punishment, because frankly, I feel that they are beyond recognizing punishment. It is about protecting guards and prisoners. Punishment is only effective when there is the slightest chance that they might learn from it?they have proven that they will not.

    Of the three?I actually feel that option 3 is the most merciful of the three options.

  29. Lee Schoenbeck

    Anthony –
    Interesting point: “1) Lock them up in solitary for the rest of their lives so they are no longer a danger to others. Feed them through a slot in the door and remove all human contact until they die (or more likely, kill themselves).”

    Imagine what an ugly punishment life in a small, walled box would be. I’m not sure that a quick lethal injection is sufficient punishment, and I am sure that it is easier punishment, than that small, walled box – with the loss of all life’s freedoms – that would strike me as a fate worse than death. It’s worth pondering

  30. Duh

    @ Bill “?religious arguments are the ONLY arguments there are, here, DUH.”

    No, the only legitimate arguments are the enforcement of existing state laws which authorize the death penalty in certian circumstances, this being one of them. Religious arguments were, no doubt, used in the formation of these laws. Already discussed. Move on.

  31. yoyoyoyoyo

    “Easy to see the parallels are far apart. These guys had attempted murder in the past. They committed it now. They are not innocent lives as the baby is. I find it hard to believe that you even equate the lives of two killers to that of a baby.”

    But I thought all life was sacred? Interesting to see where our pro-lifers stand on this.

    Anyway, if they are allready serving life sentences, and are still killing people, I see the death penalty as the only real viable option here.

    1. duggersd

      I have always thought it interesting that people who are pro-life tend to be in favor of the death penalty and those who are pro-abortion tend to believe the death penalty should never be used. I believe life is indeed sacred and the taking of life from another human being is not something to be taken lightly. There are times when the crime is so heinous the only just punishment is death. I believe Donald Moeller fits this category. He should have been executed a LONG time ago. This case I believe also warrants the death penalty if they are found guilty. And if they are given life without parole and they kill another guard or an inmate, how can we face the family of the new victim?
      So yes yo-yo, pro-life people who support the death penalty have their reasons. We do not take it lightly. But how do you compare the killing of an innocent baby with the execution of a murderer? I am sure you can. But normal rational people cannot.

  32. Name

    I am a little more outraged that we pay the people who put their lives on the line to guard these violent people so little. We want them off the streets so bad that we are willing to pay a whopping $15 per hour?

    To me, that’s unpatriotic.

    1. Name

      As a whole we think we are under paid and others are over paid yet we refuse to pay gov workers what they are worth.

    1. duggersd

      Bill, assuming these two individuals have a trial and are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, what do you propose for a penalty? Life without parole? Wow that will scare them. And if, God forbid, one or both of these individuals were to murder another guard or an inmate or escape and kill another citizen, what would you tell the family of the victim? We had the chance to do something to make sure these individuals could never do it again, but instead we decided to give them another chance to murder someone?

      1. Bill Fleming

        Well, for one thing, Dugger, they shouldn’t get to work in the laundry any more. Solitary confinement, maybe? Maximum security? I don’t know. I’m not an authoritarian (obviously.)

  33. Doug Wiken

    This mostly proves that bad cases make bad law.

    The best argument against death penalties is that judges and juries at the behest of police and prosecutors and often public outcry too often convict an innocent man or woman.

    SD started off with a hanging of an innocent man.

    That these guys probably deserve death does not override the importance of not giving irreversible powers to those poorly suited for such powers…and that includes nearly all of us.

  34. Les

    Very good comment Doug.

    As we are celebrating the great Easter Season, I find it odd how so many are calling out in anger for death rather than fixing the system that allowed this in the first place. The enchantment of mob rule, crucify him, crucify him!

    1. El Toro Loco Grande "The Big Crazy Bull"

      Well hell, let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya. We should also protect mountain lions, wolves, and bears from the evil people too?

      The death penalty for a local threat to the community has the same justification as defending the nation against invading foreign forces; however, with 12 million violating our country, and idiots professing the same asinine sentiments about them, no wonder our country is in dire straits.

      1. Les

        I’ve seen young mothers in this last week holding newborns to toddlers and my thoughts were, how we have let our system degenerate into something that creates or allows creation of such monsters of this conversation without asking that question out loud Bull.

        I have heard nothing but revenge. We do not need to demand something our laws and public officials will do without all the clatter unless we believe mob rule should become the law.

        I have no problem personally hunting the lion, wolf, bear and have been known to tame many a crazy bull eliminating his future straw filling days on my ranch.

      2. Bill Fleming

        El Merde de Toro, let’s unpack that a little. Are you really advocating killing all the undocumented people in the US? If not would you care to clarify your statement here? Otherwise, I got your kumbaya right here, baby.

        1. El Toro Loco Grande "The Big Crazy Bull"

          Undocumented? Yeah Baby! What? Mexico & South America had massive shortages of paper and failed to give anyone documented evidence of their birth & legal residence? They are not undocumented, they are called ILLEGAL ALIENS.

          The USA has the right and duty to defend our borders from anyone who would invade our country. The illegals should be kicked out, they are a drain on this great country. Spout your liberal BS to someone who is ignorant enough to listen.

  35. NameRLM

    MessageI have a couple of thoughts on this.
    First, while my heart goes out to the families of crime victims, our penal code is not a legal “revenge” method for loved ones. When someone violates a law, they violate the law of the state, they violate the law of the entire people of the state, not just a close relative. To many times, we try to personalize the punishment, and involve victims.
    Here’s the deal. Bad things happen to good people. But when we pass laws based on how a victim feels, then I think we cross a line from justic to vengeance.
    that being said, I am mostly opposed to the death penalty. However there are a few extraordinary cases where it should be applied: Treason against the government of the US, the murder of a law enforcement office or prison guard while on duty, and specific serial killer (ala Ted Bundy)