The Republican Party $upport$ Death

How’s that for a catchy Coulter-esqe headline?

I’ve been reading the debate about the California Republican Party platform being posted over at the Flash Report and came across consultant Jill Buck’s query on what the position of the California GOP should be on the Death Penatly.

Here’s what she wrote:

In an email I got last night from my FR boss; my fellow “Flasher” Mike Spence; and Michael Schroeder, they put together a well-thought out draft that included this line:

The Republican Party is the party of life and protects the sanctity of innocent human Life from conception to natural death. By “natural death”, do we mean that the Party opposes the death penalty? Please share your thoughts, b/c I’d like to ensure they are included in the Drafting committee discussions on this issue.

By “natural death”, do we mean that the Party opposes the death penalty? Please share your thoughts, b/c I’d like to ensure they are included in the Drafting committee discussions on this issue.Jon Fleischman replied:

By “natural death”, do we mean that the Party opposes the death penalty? Please share your thoughts, b/c I’d like to ensure they are included in the Drafting committee discussions on this issue.Jon Fleischman replied:Jill, thanks for your thoughts on this. They operative word in this clause that is important is INNOCENT life. Someone who has been convicted by a jury of their peers for a capitol (sic) offense and has been sentenced to be put to death is no longer and “innocent” life. I support the death penalty, and would be open to making that clear in the document.Jon 

 For a definition of a capital offense,this is from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/capital+offense: capital offense n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the death penalty, called “capital” since the defendant could lose his/her head (Latin for caput). Crimes punishable by death vary from state to state and country to country. In some American states these offenses may include first degree murder (premeditated), murder with special circumstances (such as intentional, multiple, involved with another crime, with guns, of a police officer, or a repeat offense), and rape with additional bodily harm, and the federal crime of treason. A charge of a capital offense usually means no bail will be allowed.
 

 For a definition of a capital offense,this is from : n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the death penalty, called “capital” since the defendant could lose his/her head (Latin for caput). Crimes punishable by death vary from state to state and country to country. In some American states these offenses may include first degree murder (premeditated), murder with special circumstances (such as intentional, multiple, involved with another crime, with guns, of a police officer, or a repeat offense), and rape with additional bodily harm, and . A charge of a capital offense usually means no bail will be allowed. One could argue, the treason committed against the US by Scooter Libby for his role in outing a covert CIA operative, or the treason committed by Oliver North during Iran-Contra might warrant the lopping of heads, but I’m geting ahead of myself here.  I’m against that, even though I believe these men committed treason.

I also wonder if our soldiers being killed in Iraq are dying “natural deaths.”  Most are very young and being placed in harm’s way by a Republican administration who charted an ill-conceievd war.  Would the soldier’s death be considered “un-natural” in any way since it is taken so prematurely?

I would like to invite you to read this article from Sister Helen Prejean, the author of “Dead Man Walking.”  Its long but if you, my conservative reader, consider yourself a Christian, please read.

I am against the death penalty for all the usual reasons; it’s barbaric, it is not an effective deterrent to crime, and ..surprisingly, it costs taxpyaers way too much.  States who routinely put prisoners to death (Texas and Florida) still have some of the highest crime rates in the country.  I’ll have to check in with Rep. Spitzer on this, but does supporting life in prison for capital crime over the expensive-for-taxpayer option of the death penalty make me pro-criminial or not?

This is yet another example on how the Republicans cannot claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility.  Executions, while looking terrific on the resumes of conservative candidates out for the law and order vote, cost the state millions of dollars.  Below is a summary from a story in the LA Times in 2005 that details the high cost of the death penalty. 

2005 Los Angeles Times Study Finds California Spends $250 Million per Execution

Key Points

  • The California death penalty system costs taxpayers more than $114 million a year beyond the cost of simply keeping the convicts locked up for life. (This figure does not take into account additional court costs for post-conviction hearings in state and federal courts, estimated to exceed several million dollars.)
  • With 11 executions spread over 27 years, on a per execution basis, California and federal taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each execution.
  • It costs approximately $90,000 more a year to house an inmate on death row, than in the general prison population or $57.5 million annually.
  • The Attorney General devotes about 15% of his budget, or $11 million annually to death penalty cases.
  • The California Supreme Court spends $11.8 million on appointed counsel for death row inmates.
  • The Office of the State Public Defender and the Habeas Corpus Resource Center spend a total of $22.3 million on defense for indigent defendants facing death.
  • The federal court system spends approximately $12 million on defending death row inmates in federal court.
  • No figures were given for the amount spent by the offices of County District Attorneys on the prosecution of capital cases, however these expenses are presumed to be in the tens of millions of dollars each year.
  • Source:
    Tempest, Rone, “Death Row Often Means a Long Life”, Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2005

      7 comments for “The Republican Party $upport$ Death

    1. Publius
      September 6, 2007 at 3:45 pm

      I read “natural” death to allow Republicans to oppose euthanasia.

    2. Dan Chmielewski
      September 6, 2007 at 5:44 pm

      I keep thinking about the phrase “natural death” and Terry Scaivo, who was effectively brain dead. Is brain death considered natural death?

    3. josh
      September 7, 2007 at 11:00 pm

      from what i understand, the democratic party of california has refused to take an official stance against the death penalty. i’m glad to see the opposition to the practice on this page, but look forward to the critique of the next (inevitable, unfortunatly) democratic governor that executes more and more prisoners here in california.

      sarcasm aside, i would like to see this site hold dem’s feet to the fire on this. let’s hope the readers and writers of this blog can get away from criticising the republican minority that is on the wrong side of this issue for ideological reasons and can focus on changing the mind of democrats who hold the power in this state who support the death penalty for reasons stemming from political expedience and monetary subserviance.

    4. Northcountystorm
      September 8, 2007 at 1:22 am

      josh— The California Democratic Party supports a moritorium on the death penalty until the death penalty can be fairly applied.

      But you should take note that 54% of California Democrats in the latest Field Poll on the issue supported the death penalty—gee, lots of political expedience and monetary subserviance in the rank and file. 67% of independents and 72% of the
      overall population also support the death penalty–wonder what their motive is. So for almost 3/4 of the states voters, your attempt to hold anyone’s feet to the fire on this subject will draw no interest.

    5. September 8, 2007 at 7:19 am

      Abortion is wrong, but it is a bad idea to try to overturn Roe v Wade. Women will still pursue abortions, but they will be at great risk if the procedure goes underground. It is best to educate young men and women about ways to prevent pregnancy. That will do more than anything else to reduce abortions.

      The death penalty is just plain wrong. It is uncivilized and barbaric. It is not something we ought to be proud of.

      As for euthanasia, I am no fan of it, but people ought to be able to end their lives if they are so sick that life is intolerable. They ought to be able to buy a potent pill or injection and do what they have to do. The government shouldn’t nag you all the way to the grave.

    6. josh
      September 9, 2007 at 8:04 am

      north-
      the monetary subservience is to the prison guard’s unions. you most certainly know this. and support for the death penalty is on the decline, so maybe if more of our leaders… oh, what’s that word… LEAD on this issue it might turn the tide even faster.

      besides which, somwhere between 50-54%he country thought going into iraq was a good idea. the dems didnt just buckle under pressure and vote for that war did they? oh, wait… okay, you’re point is taken. my apologies.

    7. Northcountystorm
      September 9, 2007 at 11:44 pm

      josh-it’s always illuminating to read the contempt some have for majority rule and for the people who need to be “led.”

      You’re the first person I’ve ever heard make the claim that the prison guards’ union dollars drives people to support the death penalty. Support of generous wages and pension benefits, yeah, I’ve certainly heard that one. But the 54% of Democrats (and 72% of the public overall–i know, an inconvenient fact for you) could care less about the prison guards. And consider that they and their legislators might actually support the death penalty on the merits.

      You need to get your progressive talking points straight. The prison guards and their big bucks are the bad guys who are blocking prison reform. Maybe you got your memos mixed up.

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