Steve Gilbert: “I have a slightly more reasonable death penalty proposal than Steve Meyer’s Wheel of Misfortune: Given that in our democracy treason is the most heinous crime (and the first federal death-eligible crime), and that the bribery of public officials is arguably only one step below treason, why not add bribery of an elected official to the list of crimes punishable by death? Like that other Steve, I’m opposed to the death penalty. (As an appellate lawyer who represents indigent defendants, I know that our legal system is not sufficiently trustworthy to make me comfortable with its making decisions that can never be corrected.) While I recognize that there is no chance that such a proposal would be adopted, I’ve thought that it would be interesting to see what would happen if it were a ballot proposition here in California. Do you think that the many pols who have run on the pro-capital punishment bandwagon might have a different opinion if it were proposed that their friends and colleagues and contributors faced the ultimate penalty? ”

David D’Antonio: “Steve’s Wheel of Misfortune is totally unConstitutional, since it’s ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment, almost by definition. Justice isn’t quite that much of a lottery yet! My idea on how to deal with capital punishment is to require everyone who is involved in recommending or sentencing someone to die (so that’s the judge and the prosecutor and/or the jury itself) to sign a pledge that if the defendant is EVER found innocent, they will die as well. For most people, this changes the rules from ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ to ‘beyond ANY doubt’ which is a good thing to me, since you can’t undo an execution. You can’t really undo several years in prison, either, but you can attempt to compensate someone anyway. No so with capital punishment.”

Vince: “I found today’s article very disappointing (and downright frightening). Maybe it’s because I’m a lawyer who has worked on criminal cases, but I can’t imagine anyone making light (Steve is making light, right?) of topics as serious as the death penalty and white-collar crime. As the statistics indicate, the current system is laden with racism. In addition, many “white collar” cases are far from innocuous, particularly when hard working low and middle income people are bilked of their entire life savings and/or pensions. None of this should be treated in such a tongue and cheek manner.

 

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