Was an Innocent Man Executed?

ExpectantlyIronic

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#1
Evidence for conviction came primarily from information provided by experts about the type of fire and the residue left that were said to point to arson. On the night of the fire Whittington was observed by onlookers trying to get back into the house to rescue his children, screaming and crying, “My babies are burning up!” The children, Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Ambe, were trapped inside and found later dead of asphyxiation. While crying and pleading and trying to get back into the house at various intervals Whittington also cried for neighbors to call the fire department.

[...]

[T]here was evidence at the time of the execution for some to inquire about a stay while information could be sorted out. Governor Perry, however, refused to allow it; and Whittington was put to death as scheduled in early 2004. That December the Innocence Project, that had asked earlier in the year for a delay of execution, commissioned four top fire investigators to conduct an independent review of the arson evidence in the Willingham case. What they found was “each and every one” of the indicators of arson had been “scientifically proven to be invalid.” The original investigators were high school graduates whose work was found by these independent investigators to have been done badly.
-source

I highly recommend reading the New Yorker article linked below. It's very engrossing, and since it's from The New Yorker, you can be sure it's reliable.

TRIAL BY FIRE - The New Yorker

There's plenty of reason to doubt that Willingham was guilty, and the evidence points to his being innocent, imho. Yet, he was still executed. How can we justify the death penalty, if there is even a chance that an innocent man be executed?
 
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Bananas

Endangered Species
#2
How can we justify the death penalty, if there is even a chance that an innocent man be executed?
For some the needs outweighs the risk. Personaly I cant see how you can take revenge and call it justice.
 

CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
#3
The death penalty isn't revenge. The death penalty is a sentence for certain crimes. Is putting someone in prison for life revenge? How does anyone think the death penalty has anything to do with revenge?
 

Bananas

Endangered Species
#4
The death penalty isn't revenge. The death penalty is a sentence for certain crimes. Is putting someone in prison for life revenge? How does anyone think the death penalty has anything to do with revenge?
Then why dont you tell me how executing someone is anything other than retribution?

I suppose it also serves as a detterent to some extent but if you could enlighten me to what else it serves that does not consist of some kind of retribution otherwise I will continue to consider it as an act of revenge.

So far all you've told me is it is a "sentence" which in no way exempts it from an act of revenge. Please continue.
 

CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
#5
Of course it does exempt it from revenge. It's a sentence for a criminal act. Just like probabtion is. Of course the sentence is much harsher than probabtion, but it's commenserate with the crime. You're free to consider it whatever you want and call it whatever you want. But calling it revenge is erroneous.
 

Bananas

Endangered Species
#6
Probation is at worse an act of repression, sentencing some to death is one extreme form of repression if you consider them the same. So on that point I still do not understand what purpose execution serves other than that of retribution. You are saying I am incorrect but you have still yet to give any kind of convincing argument to suggest otherwise.... what purpose does execution serve?


For your benefit I will explain how it is revenge. Just like the Old testament; An Eye for an Eye.
 
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PretzelCorps

Registered Member
#7
Of course it does exempt it from revenge. It's a sentence for a criminal act. Just like probabtion is. Of course the sentence is much harsher than probabtion, but it's commenserate with the crime. You're free to consider it whatever you want and call it whatever you want. But calling it revenge is erroneous.
Calling it revenge may be a little erroneous, but the death penalty is not ideal as a tool of justice --> You can at least somewhat make amends for wrongfully imprisoning someone, but you cannot take back death.
 

Mirage

Administrator
Staff member
V.I.P.
#8
The death penalty is no more revenge than any other sentencing. I don't get why so many people are so concerned about putting murderers to death. Somebody gets killed and instead of focusing on how terrible the crime was, it's as if people jump immediately to "let's make sure the murderer is still able to live out the rest of his life in peace."
 

PretzelCorps

Registered Member
#9
The death penalty is no more revenge than any other sentencing. I don't get why so many people are so concerned about putting murderers to death. Somebody gets killed and instead of focusing on how terrible the crime was, it's as if people jump immediately to "let's make sure the murderer is still able to live out the rest of his life in peace."
As I said in my previous post, the issue with the death penalty is not putting murderers to death; have at 'em --> The issue with the death penalty is the overly high number of wrongful imprisonments there are. The pro-death penalty side relies on a self-fulfilling prophecy. You may never actually hear about wrongful executions, but that isn't because there are none; it's because nobody ever bothers to ever look into an old case if the person in question is already dead.
 

Wade8813

Registered Member
#10
Then why dont you tell me how executing someone is anything other than retribution?

I suppose it also serves as a detterent to some extent but if you could enlighten me to what else it serves that does not consist of some kind of retribution otherwise I will continue to consider it as an act of revenge.
'Revenge' is generally used when a person who was wronged retaliates. In a death penalty case, it's quite possible that the only person who was wronged is dead (if the murdered person has no living friends/family).

As I said in my previous post, the issue with the death penalty is not putting murderers to death; have at 'em --> The issue with the death penalty is the overly high number of wrongful imprisonments there are. The pro-death penalty side relies on a self-fulfilling prophecy. You may never actually hear about wrongful executions, but that isn't because there are none; it's because nobody ever bothers to ever look into an old case if the person in question is already dead.
That's not entirely true - while the biggest argument against the death penalty is the people who are wrongfully convicted, there are people who would be against it even if we had a perfect justice system (as evidenced by some of the arguments against it - that we're stooping to their level, etc).