California’s Death Sentence

While residents of some States considered issues such as gay marriage and recreational marijuana use on election day, the people of California were faced with Proposition 34 – an initiative to repeal the State’s death penalty.  After all the votes were counted, the measure was defeated, with 53% of the people choosing to keep the death sentence on the books and over 700 inmates on death row.  Quite frankly, I was surprised.   I thought that, in this day and age, and especially in a State which tends toward a more liberal stance on most issues,  repealing the death penalty was a given.   While the margin for and against the death penalty was  a mere 6%, showing a trend that the those in favor of the death penalty is on the decline, it also means that there’s still work to be done if this Country is going to stop the practice most other countries have already abandoned.

I didn’t always support the idea of repealing the death penalty.  I’ve made my share of wisecracks about “firing up old sparky” and giving the bad guys the “hot shot”.   In the past 15 or 20 years, however, I realized that those kinds of statements and a thirst of revenge weren’t very smart or funny and didn’t serve any purpose.   The death penalty shouldn’t exist in a Country like the United States.   It’s barbaric, costly and doesn’t solve a damn thing.

My personal epiphany began when I helped a colleague – a good, smart and dedicated attorney in Connecticut, who I’ll call T.R. for the purposes of this post – with a death penalty case.  The client was Michael Ross, the State’s first serial killer, who had been on death row for nearly 20 years.   I won’t go into the gruesome details of his crimes.  You’re free to Google him and read all about what he did that landed him in the special cell, on that special prison block for 23 hours a day, 365 days a year.   I didn’t like Michael.  In fact, he and his crimes repulsed me.  The trips I made to death row to meet with him were both frightening and  sickening.  I dreaded each and every visit, and couldn’t wait for them to be over so that I could get the hell out of there.

My colleague had been assigned to Michael’s case simply because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Michael wanted to fire his team of public defenders because, as he saw it, they weren’t representing his interests.   What he wanted was for the State of Connecticut to make good on their sentence and execute him.   He had grown tired of the endless appeals filed by his counsel, more often than not, against his wishes.   He was frustrated, depressed and wanted to get the whole ordeal over with.   T.R., at the order of a Judge in the New London Court,  was appointed as Michael’s new attorney – a job that no one should have to have.   The assignment meant that T.R. was to see to it that the murderer’s interests were served and that he would, finally, be put to death.    Without going into some long-winded narrative as to how that process became a grueling, exhausting and war-like marathon, I’ll simply say that it came very close to destroying T.R.’s career and also came very close to driving everyone involved nearly insane.   The end came when Michael was executed in 2005 – the first execution in Connecticut in 50 years.

The upside of all of this unnecessary drama is that Connecticut did finally repeal the death penalty this past April.  It wasn’t accomplished through a referendum, but by a vote from the State legislature.  It was a hard-fought battle, with the votes divided along party lines.  Concessions were made, some in part to appease politicians, and others were out of respect for, and in response to the pro-death penalty pleas from Dr. William Petit and his supporters.  If you’re unfamiliar with the case, Dr. Petit was the sole survivor of a home invasion by two repeat offenders who held the family hostage one night,  raped and murdered Mrs. Petit and their two daughters and then burned their home to the ground.   The two men convicted of the crime will remain on death row, along with nine others, despite the repeal of the death penalty.  It wasn’t the best solution and it will mean even more years in appeals’ courts, but it’s a step in right direction.

I didn’t change my opinion about the death penalty because I feel sorry for these evil and reprehensible individuals.  Quite the opposite.  I think they should be punished for the rest of their lives.   The death penalty doesn’t do that.  It doesn’t do anything.  It only means that taxpayers spend obscene amounts of money on appeals, attorneys, unique and costly facilities designed for death row inmates, as well as the guards whose only assignment is to watch over these killers.  If you think it’s expensive to keep an average inmate in prison for the rest of his life, then you’d be gobsmacked by the cost to taxpayers for someone on death row.   That notion that we don’t want to feed and care for someone for the rest of their life is naive and ill-informed.  When it comes to that death row inmate, well, the cost is often two to three times that of the one doing life.

Had California voted to repeal their death penalty, taxpayers would have begun realizing a savings in the neighborhood of $137,000,000 a year.   That’s not chump change, and it means that those dollars could have been used in much more productive ways throughout the criminal justice system.   Prosecutors, public defenders and judges could be hired, alleviating backlogs, which has meant that those arrested for crimes languish in jail awaiting trial.   It was a costly vote, at a time when California, and other States, can barely afford to keep up with the caseload and already over crowded jails and prisons.

When I first read the news that Connecticut had repealed the death penalty, I was shocked to find out that it only the 17th State, and the 5th in 5 years, to have done so.  Thirty three other States still sentence the convicted to death, and executions happen on a weekly basis all around the country.  Sometimes we’ve gotten it all wrong and people who did nothing at all are now dead.   That problem doesn’t occur as often as it once did, due in large part to new forensic technology and DNA evidence testing.   Eyewitness testimony is not taken as seriously as it once was – the truth being that witnesses are usually the least reliable source of evidence.   What we think we saw may not really be what we saw.   Witnessing a crime or being a victim of one is traumatic and can cloud our perceptions.  The longer it takes a case to go to trial, the less reliable our memories become.

I don’t know why the United States clings to the death penalty as a form of punishment when so many other civilized nations have realized its ineffectiveness.  Most of those other countries refuse to extradite criminals who have fled our borders if the death penalty is on the table.   There is a very simple and common sense answer for those of us who want the worst of our society to never see the light of day.  The sentence should be life without possibility of parole.   Yes, it means that the defendant will go to trial,  as he or she won’t be able to simply plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.  It’s a small price to pay, though,  in the interest of justice and the more costly alternative of 20 years in the appeals’ process.   It will also save the people who serve on juries from having to make a decision that can’t be easy to live with.  If you’ve ever watched a jury return a verdict or recommend death as a sentence than you know what I’m talking about.   Many of them are left so distraught that they suffer a form of PTSD, becoming the additional victims of the crime and the criminals.   The details and evidence presented during a murder trial are not for the feint of heart.  Asking them to sentence someone to death is more than we should expect from our neighbors, friends, families and co-workers.   It’s not right and it’s not fair.

If California puts this back on the ballot in the future, or if your own State does, think about your vote.  Think about what this says about us, as people and as a nation.  We’re better than this.  Keeping a punishment that is in step with North Korea, China and Iran doesn’t speak well for us.  The death penalty, by its very nature, is cruel and unusual punishment, and so is spending decades on death row.  An inmate who prepares for his death, having been given a date for his execution, only to have a last minute stay, suffers those moments for nothing.   Families of victims who have to testify for decades during the appeals’ process suffer the details and circumstances of the crime over and over.  That’s just as cruel and punishing.  We know better than to seek vengeance and we’ve evolved beyond being the blood-thirsty mob.   We can seek and find the right sort of punishment for the worst crimes committed but we don’t need to resort to killing anyone to achieve it.


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103 Responses to California’s Death Sentence

  1. melthehound says:

    Interesting, Empress. I guess I’m going to be the first asshole who says it.. I don’t care about the cruel and unusual punishment for these animals. The case you cite that you worked on where the guy Wanted to die, I think the state should have let him. I’m speaking of cases beyond all reasonable doubt here, I never want to see an innocent put to death. You cite the money numbers that could be saved by eliminating the death penalty in states that have it as it is 2 – 3 times more expensive than just keeping an inmate locked up forever. I’m going to cite an equation that’s pretty hard to argue with. 0(zero) times anything, is Zero. Meaning, again, in cases of beyond all reasonable doubt, get it done and it won’t cost anything more than the injection and time to dig the hole.

    I don’t have facts and figures to argue pro vs con with you on this subject. What I will say, or rather ask, is why I should care about those who are capable of doing the things that get them put on death row to begin with? Why should I care how they feel about being locked in a cage 23/7/365? I say why not 24/7? Unless their cages are welded shut, I’m all for expediting their trip to the dirt nap. I don’t care if they suffer and in fact, I’m happy that they do. I guess that makes me part of the blood thirsty mob and I realize that most likely, I am alone here.

    • mth, I don’t think that you’re alone in the way you feel at all. In fact, after Connecticut’s repeal, a poll showed that 62% of the State’s residents disagreed with the legislature’s decision. It’s a hot button issue, and I know that I’m not going to change anyone’s mind nor did I write this with the intent to persuade any opinions.
      The legal system has slowed the entire process down with delays, appeals and moratoriums on the death penalty, to the point where inmates are more likely to die from old age than they are to be executed. States would need to revamp the entire process in order to expedite trials and executions, and the chances of that happening are next to nil. No judge, jury or executioner wants to be the one that got it wrong without crossing all the “T”s and dotting all the “I”s first.

      • melthehound says:

        Whether you can change anyone’s mind or not, you still present a compelling case for doing away with it, especially in the cash strapped states that have it. I would fear though that those dollars, had California done away with it, would not have been reinvested into the justice system. It’s at least worth considering before uttering the phrase, ‘fire up ole sparky’. In Michigan, we don’t have the death penalty, so it isn’t something I’ll ever have to decide. I tend to believe in eye for an eye however and that’s really the catalyst for my feelings on the subject.

  2. Beckygrey says:

    Very compelling story. One correction, they are correctional officers, correction officers or C/O’s. They are well trained professionals that risk their lives daily, to keep the convicted criminals inside, while we are free to come and go on the outside.

    • Becky, I have nothing but the utmost respect for those men and women and certainly meant no disrespect by referring to them as “guards”, rather than their official title.

      • Beckygrey says:

        Thank you. But their official title is Correctional Officers. Guard is an antiquated term which tends to demean and minimize the job/career. Just as you would refrain from calling a flight attendant, a stewardess the same applies.
        Just for a point of education. “When you know better, you do better” Maya

        • If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you would’ve noticed that I never demean or minimize anyone’s position or job title. In fact, having served in uniform as a “cop” – an equally archaic term – I never found the use of the word to be either demeaning or minimizing, I understand that people often use slang or colloquialisms without mockery or ill will. I have always written about the people who put their lives on the line with nothing but respect and gratitude for their service. I’m sorry to see that you assumed I was either uneducated or just didn’t know any better, when that simply isn’t the case. You made your point with your first comment and I acknowledged my unintended slight in my response. I’m hoping that we have a better understanding of where each of us are coming from, and can focus more on the topic at hand and less on nit-picking the words we use to make our points.

          • Beckygrey says:

            I agree. Part of understanding is knowing the frame of reference each of us have. Where you may feel it is nit picking, I may feel that it is pointing out something that may need addressing. You may very well be educated on the subjects, but others reading may not.Just to let you know that I have been a Correctional Officer/Sgt for 25 years and I too have the utmost respect for Patrol Officers. I train/instruct and advise them in diversity issues. I also have had a relative on “Death Row”, so I’ve been there on so many levels other than just theoretical. I have just started reading your blogs and this was an impressive piece.

  3. Nancy says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I was upset when my state (Calif) didn’t pass that law.
    The death penalty is barbaric. I thought this country was beyond it. Sad.

    • misszippity says:

      Nancy, barbaric is raping 2 lovely young women (young teens) and killing their mother and burning the house while they are tied to the beds — alive and begging for their lives while asking God to forgive them their sins against them. Putting the depraved and sick individuals to death is a just sentence and less barbaric than their own actions. We had a friend who was once a psychologist working for a federal prison – at a dinner one night he said he had finally come to the conclusion after years working w/ inmates that sadly there are indeed individuals who can never be normal/rehabilitated….they are so twisted they can’t be saved. You may not believe that, but you haven’t seen what he witnessed on a daily basis. The system takes too long, too many repeals, and death should come quickly – they are getting off easier than their victims who all suffered more than what an injections will cause them.

    I love reality T.V. but also have other interests lol.
    This country makes me sick, it’s supposed to be a free country and we have have men who mainly been running this country ( until recently) stuck in the 50’s trying to run it based on their views. I’m so tired of 60 year old men thinking they know whats best for woman! ( Like the one asshole who said if a woman is raped, she can shut her body down and prevent herself from getting pregnant) We have freedom of religion then we have law makers who say gays cant marry b/c that’s not what God wanted. Hell What ever happened to ( freedom of) religion not to mix with politics!

    • I personally would want death than spending life in prison! If I commited a gruesome crime, Im sure the victims family wouldn’t want me to get the punishment I wanted! You’re so right Aiken, it cost so much more money to keep them on death row other rather life! When these ass hats say why are we still paying for these ppl to eat, I just shake my head.

    • melthehound says:


      And what do you think should happen to the women who made the accusations of said rapes? Nothing? Just an “oops, my bad, sorry, good luck rebuilding your life fella”?

      • Beckygrey says:

        Some of those cases are mistaken identity especially when it comes to cross cultural/racial identity. Then there are those that lie because of it.

        • Thank you Becky Grey! No one said a damm thing about the woman! Actually the woman felt horrible the men were forgiving and called their selves victims of the system!

          • And the woman were happy the men WHO DIDNT DO IT GOT OUT AND THE POLICE WERE ABLE (SINCE SOME OF IT WAS COERCED CONFESSIONS, JUST TELL US YOU DID IY AND YOU CAN GO HOME) All white jury’s, believe it or not back then 20-30 years ago, a way to pick jury’s back then according to the female prosecutor on her sheet said look for thin ppl, LIGHT IN COLOR etc. We didnt have the sysytem back then we have now. Some of these men were never arrested and coincidently they were all black! Im not gonna comment furthur bc I have tooooooo much respect for Aiken! THANK YOU BECKY for getting it and nkt taking it somewhere else!

            • melthehound says:

              So now it’s about Race? You’re walking a mighty thin line there. If you’ve read here for any length of time, you’ll have seen that I have the deepest respect for our Empress and your implication that somehow I do not, quite honestly, is insulting.

              Like it or not, you chose to focus on the mistaken identity aspect of this, I just asked the question about someone convicted, serving life in prison, or having been put to death because SHE, the woman, got it wrong but, it’s okay because she felt bad about it.

              Your obvious hate toward those who have religious beliefs being part of the law making bodies of this country and your subsequent hate for the country itself is your own burden to bare. Separation of church and state has little to do with the lawmakers being free OF religion. What the amendment is for is to prevent the government from setting up or backing its’ own church and forcing the citizens to be a part of it.

              • Mary Beth says:

                People can argue about the 1st Amendment all day long. That’s what we have courts for. But how about just good old-fashioned respect for one another? I feel uncomfortable when people pray at public events because I don’t share their beliefs. They can pray wherever and whenever they want, even at public events if they do it silently and don’t infringe upon those who don’t share their beliefs. I don’t like anyone shoving their religious or political views down my throat. When we go to public events or to school, we shouldn’t have to have people chanting Hari Krishna, saying Christian prayers, shouting out the passages of the Koran, etc. Forget the laws. Just be respectful of other people and the fact that they don’t share your beliefs.

                • melthehound says:

                  Don’t discount the fact that others may find Your view, equally offensive. By asking people to ‘do it silently’ You are ‘shoving your views down Their throats’. Yes, A little respect goes a long way but only if it’s a two way street.

                • Beckygrey says:

                  Just a comment on this point. I believe in prayer and I do pray. The organization I belong to prays at the beginning of each meeting and I asked one day for them to be mindful that not everyone believes as we do. They started to pray at the next meeting and I had to walk out. We have Jewish members in our group and they were so respectful they just stood there durning the prayer. I only wish that the group was a respectful to them.

          • melthehound says:

            Isn’t it sweet that the woman felt horrible. That doesn’t give back what was taken way from the fellas though. You can take all the swipes at me that you want to but you’re the one that mentioned the subject and how awful the men treat the women.

      • lovemamaearth says:

        That’s a good point on the guys who weren’t guilty. Katie Couric had a story on last week I think, not sure where he was from.

        DNA isn’t the end all evidence though. Let’s say a woman has a date with her BF & they have sex without a condom and then she gets raped later by a creep with a condom & no evidence is left. Of DNA is planted.

        I wish there was such a thing as truth serum like you see on tv.

        • melthehound says:

          There are flaws in every system LME. Every form of punishment is subject to flaws as well. There is any number of ways to transfer DNA from one to another, that don’t involve sexual contact.

    • I can’t say that this country makes me sick because it really doesn’t. There are some things that need to be changed or improved, but the United States, at least for me, is still that place where opportunity and the possibility of good things exists. I’m just as frustrated by some of our leaders and representatives who think they know what is best for us, and that we don’t. Congressman Akin and his alien science regarding women’s bodies paid the price for his stupid remarks and was voted out of office.
      The separation of church and State doesn’t mean that members of our government can’t look to their faith for some guidance in the decision making process. Having said that, though, there are a number of them who have taken it to extremes, declaring that they know what God does or doesn’t want. It’s more than a little nutty to think that someone believes that they have a higher authority on their side. It crosses the line, however, when one’s religious beliefs overshadow reason and logic, while ignoring the fact that being a representative means working for the greater good of all Americans, not just those who share your personal ideologies.

      • Melissa says:

        I can’t say either our country makes me sick, but some of our leaders make me angry and disappointed! Everything else you just said, I could not say it better. I understand what the other person meant by the show Dallas DNA. I couldn’t believe that so many people were in jail for crimes they did not commit. By Mel saying she is bringing race in to it, she just stated facts! Back then that is how they were told to pick jury’s. My grandfather is from Texas, I remember him talking about that 10 years ago before he died. It is history and facts, if she interprets that way, then that is on her, but I do not feel that people who come here should be chastised constantly by Mel for having different opinions or manipulate our words. This is not the first time it has happened. I don’t know if you read every comment, but if you look at Mel’s comments, it’s usually her going back and forth, not in a good way, trying to make us feel bad for the way we feel. I will say no more on this.
        Did you see the show Aiken? If not, I would encourage you to catch episodes on the web. It changed my mind about the death penalty. Finally getting to what this post is about lol. Some people are on death row who should not be. You never disappoint and we appreciate the work you put int to this blog. It’s nice to have someone who knows what they are talking about.
        May I be nosy and ask what kind of cases you normally take on?

        • melthehound says:

          but if you look at Mel’s comments, it’s usually her going back and forth, not in a good way, trying to make us feel bad for the way we feel.

          Pot – Kettle – Black.

          You Obviously don’t know me as well as you think you do. As for where I took a person’s post…. if someone doesn’t like being taken to task for what they say, then perhaps they should say nothing or be more careful about how they say it. Further, perhaps they should be careful of the use of buzzwords that are meant to incite when they post. If anyone wants to get down and dirty, I’m willing but No, I will not shut up about it. Even if that annoys You. The others, as well as yourself, as well informed and read as you think you are, completely missed the point of my question. I’ll state it again, in case you simply didn’t see it…

          And what do you think should happen to the women who made the accusations of said rapes?

          It had NOTHING to do with race, or religion, I didn’t bring those topics up At All. So I suggest, you climb down off of that high horse you are judging me from and learn some reading comprehension or at least, learn to read.

          • Melissa says:

            People don’t need to be taken at task for what they say or their opinion. I am not going to argue with you because it’s like talking to someone who isn’t there.
            You are on every blog causing a stir. I only said something this time because it’s what everyone else is saying and I think you were out of line!
            I will not engage with you from this point forward out of respect for Aiken, I do not want this blog to turn in to a argument because you’re not smart enough to think out side the box!

          • Beckygrey says:

            May I say… I said

            Some of those cases are mistaken identity especially when it comes to cross cultural/racial identity. Then there are those that lie because of it.
            What I meant by that was, the likelihood of mistaken identity increases across cultural/racial boundaries. (any) And there were cases where people lied because of those racial issues. (example: Emmett Till…just using the courts to do what townspeople used to do)
            It’s always uncomfortable when we meet with things that shake our sense of right and wrong!
            So I apologize for starting the firestorm.

        • Melissa, I will look for the program on the web and thank you suggesting it. And no you’re not being nosy – the last firm I worked for had specialists in a number of areas of the law – criminal defense, workers’ comp, medical malpractice and personal injury. Having retired about 7 years ago, I no longer have to deal with a caseload, but at the time, most of my work was with personal injury clients and other types of tort law. The one thing I promised myself I would never do was family law and I managed to escape from getting involved in those messes.

  5. Vegas Chick says:

    Very interesting read and perspective, Empress. Thanks for taking the time and writing about something other than reality shows. I agree with you that every state should do away with the death penalty and change it to life without the possibility of parole. Not only does society need to be protected, the individual needs protection from him or herself. It’s mental illness, pure and simple and, unfortunately, the biggest black hole that has plagued our country and world forever. Everybody has issues. No one is immune from it either because no one has had a perfect life. We project our stuff on to one another all day, every day and most of us aren’t even conscience that we are doing it. Some people’s stuff is so dark that most of us cannot imagine the horror. I like to describe it as drawing a circle around yourself. For some, the circle is so small that they can’t see beyond the tip of their own nose. Others may not be able to see at all. They do not recognize what is going on with themselves mentally, psychologically and spiritually. In essence, it’s their reality. I learned this lesson when I was going through my divorce. With the exception of my personal physician, I was diagnosed by several as clinically depressed…here’s your Rx and thanks for stopping by. In reality, I was having a breakdown. I know that now but certainly not while I was going through it. However, I am smart enough to know that we aren’t capable of ‘seeing’ our own stuff so I listened to good friends and heeded their warnings and advice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way for the masses who suffer from some sort of mental illness. The people who fill our jails are very sick and, for some, medication isn’t going to fix them. However, I am sure that the reason that they committed murder, rape, etc. is because of SMI (serious mental illness). It’s the underlying cause and bipolar disorder, ADD, etc. are secondary. Sad stuff, really. It’s hard to have compassion and most folks aren’t able to widen their view to understand or, at least, consider it especially someone who has suffered personal loss at the hands of someone else. The one’s that do receive the gift of freedom and forgiveness is the ultimate key to our own indivdual happiness.

    • Vegas Chick, I’m so glad that you brought the issue of mental illness into the discussion. Most of us would never even contemplate killing someone unless our lives literally depended on it. In the case of Michael Ross, it was determined that he was a sexual sadist who couldn’t control his urges and refused to get help for his illness until it was too late. He was a product of an upbringing that went beyond mere dysfunction.
      Please don’t take this as my forgiving him for his murderous rampages. I know that there are people who have hellish childhoods and never use them as an excuse for murder or other violent crimes. He was a brilliant individual, a graduate of Cornell, and took some twisted sense of pride in the crimes he committed. He got caught because, in his mind, his “work” meant nothing unless he could get some recognition for it. For a while, he wrote articles for a local newspaper, explaining his superior intellect and the fact that, when he died, his brain should be donated to science in order to understand the mind of killers. He was finally a “somebody”, as unfathomable as that may be to the rest of us.
      I’ll even go so far as to say that soldiers and law enforcement officers experience temporary insanity when faced with a kill or be killed situation. That’s the reason that those men and women are given counseling and/or treatment for their ordeals.
      Inmates on death row and in general population serving life sentences descend into one of Dante’s circles of Hell, ending up in a zombie-like state. That’s the nature of the system and there is really no purpose served by trying to make them better or rehabilitate them. They will die behind bars, forgotten about by society and I’m not convinced that that’s a bad thing. I’m resigned to the idea that some people just can’t be “fixed”.

      • Vegas Chick says:

        People can’t be fixed unless they recognize that they need fixin.’ Same is true of any disease, i.e., alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. So, as you said, “they will die behind bars, forgotten about by society.” Considering that our society and/or government can’t seem to fix anything, it isn’t a bad thing, Empress. It’s the only logical solution.

        “The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.” ~ Ecclesiastes 9:3

      • misszippity says:

        I totally agree with your last sentence – some people cannot be fixed, and I don’t say that lightly. We are ALL going to die eventually, and I truly believe that life in prison, forgotten behind bars, and possibly in isolation is much more inhumane than receiving a needle and being put to sleep permanently. It breaks my heart when I hear of someone who was jailed for years for a crime they didn’t commit, but today our forensics are so advanced, it is much more difficult to convict the wrong person. I understand all of your and the others’ reasonings for abolishing the death penalty, but I am glad Ted Bundy and all similar sick people are gone for good – and that I am not helping to pay keep such evil creatures alive in our world. Justice should be swift for all concerned – take the money saved from death row sentences and put it toward a justice system that does just that: enough personnel to prosecute and execute as quickly as possible when the crime fits and someone is convicted beyond a shadow of a doubt.

      • Kaereste says:

        “…some people just can’t be “fixed”. I couldn’t agree more. Even if they “recognize” they need fixin.
        Some people are born broken and dangerous. Lock’em up and throw away the key. We don’t need court theatrics and billions dollar wasted on them. The death penalty doesn’t stop murders it just keeps the system going, keeps the prisoner entertained and the victim’s family in a state of despair.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dear Aiken,
    Dear Aiken,
    Hello, I first would like to say that I really enjoy your site. I can’t thank you enough for your insight on certain issues. You speak from the heart; you bring up good points and provide a forum for intelligent conversation that I later bring up to my
    Family and talk about. Not only that, you speak from experience and know what you\’re talking about. If by chance you do get something wrong, you certainly do not let your ego get in the way. Unfortunately, I will speak from experience as well; I am doing so because I saw an ignorant comment. Hence, for others who may see this, do not confuse \”ignorant\” with rude, please refer it to its proper definition.
    I am writing to you about a regular on your site who writes for you. She is a regular on other forums as well. She goes by the name, Mel the Hound. She has many times said things out of pure ignorance, such times one can just laugh it off or just skip over, however, this time, I can\’t do that!
    The hound is constantly dissecting comments and taking them out of context all the time and today was not an exception. I know she writes from you, I will understand if you decide to not post my comment, however, maybe if you could pull her aside and explain what I am about to talk about. You are an attorney and I am sure you have seen cases similar, therefor understand why ignorance can only be tolerated for so long.
    The Hound for some reason decided to reply to a comment and say;
    \”And what do you think should happen to the women who made the accusations of said rapes? Nothing? Just an “oops, my bad, sorry, good luck rebuilding your life fella”?\” She replied to a comment which did not suggest that what so ever.
    I did not see anyone insinuate that or the other 1000 ways that statement can be translated into.
    Understand Aiken, as I said above, this is not the first time I have seen this commenter take things out of context; this statement really chaps my backside and this is why. No one is saying anything should or should not happen to us victims who made the statements. I am struggling to understand how she pulled that out of her backside.
    I am a survivor of rape; I realized long ago that I was doing myself, my family and friends a disservice, by allowing myself to be a victim.
    In my case, I was 15 years old, 1977, we did not have the technology that we had today; nor did we have the training of investigators that we now have, thankfully not as much corruption is tolerated either, sadly, there will always be corruption in any field of work, Politian’s are not exempt.
    Recently in the town that I lived in where the crime happened, finally a law was passed in which only trained officers will deal with victims of sex crimes. Yes, men are victims as well, you would be surprised in case anyone ever wondered or doubted and if you Aiken allows this to be posted.
    Without going in to the gory details; understand it was gory, I am not using that term loosely, it is painful to write about it, but when I see ignorant comments as such; I can only hope our story will change minds and wake people up, I realize I might not achieve that, however, I do have hope !
    In 1977 as many people did and still do, I was asleep in my bedroom with the window open. Who would think having your window open on the second floor of an apartment building could attract danger. It did, that night a man changed my life forever. Not only did he rape me; he beat me and did things to me that NO person should ever have to endure! The worst part is, for some reason he was attracted to me, a 15 year old for some time, he followed us off and on for a couple weeks without us knowing, that is how he was able to do this to me because he knew what time my mother went to work! My other was an E.R. nurse who worked midnights, after my parents divorced; she was able to switch her shift, that night was her last midnight shift scheduled before her new shift began. Luck was on his side that night. I was a responsible teenager, my mother trusted me to be at home. Back then it was no big deal. Even if my mother were to be home, I strongly believe that she wouldn\’t of heard a thing. Our apartment was nice in size and had 2 stories, her bedroom was on the first floor and mine was on the second floor. I would play my radio loud and she couldn\’t hear it downstairs. This person was physically fit to be able to maneuvers his way to my window. A detective at first doubted me that my attacker got in by scaling up to my window, it did seem impossible.

    (Years later; the offender confirmed how he was able to get in.)

    A month later neighbors who lived across the court in the row houses came forward and said they saw someone climb in my window but thought I was sneaking someone in. They thought I put the rope to help him get in, they said they just thought to their selves, \’she\’s a kid, sneaking her boyfriend in\” They were out late that night because they were on their way to the airport and didn\’t return for 20 days and heard about what happened almost a week after they were home.
    During the seven weeks until the suspect was arrested, I had given many statements on what happened; in each and every statement I told them that I COULD NOT give a description because I could not see his face or the color of his skin and just remembered seeing reflection from his mouth that a diamond would make. At best, I told them I thought he was a Latino man because of his accent.
    It was August 20th 1977, Detective M. showed up at our door and said, \”we got the guy, but we need you to pick him out of a line up!\’ I sat there and cried and told him that I didn\’t see him, I didn\’t want to pick someone who did not do this [rape] me. Detective M. told me that ten different people saw him that night crawl in and out of my window, then showed me a picture, (Later I learned the picture was not a mug shot, it was a surveillance picture!) I will never forget the detective saying to me with his heavy southern accent, \”it wasn\’t no Latino, it was this colored boy\” Back then, unfortunately that term used to define or describe a description of African Americans. I was offended for many reasons, one being my great-great grandmother was bi-racial, her mother (my great-great-great-great) is black who was a slave raped by her master, I remember looking up at this so called detective and saying, \”colored, colored\” you mean a black male, as he stuttered his words because he was upset that I dared to correct him on it, he said, \”You are under some serious stress right now young girl, don’t sass me, you need to be strong and get this bastard off the street before this happens again to someone, you don\’t want to see that happen, do you?\” My mother said to him, let me talk it over with her” He thought that was going to take to the station then, he argued with my mother for some time.
    That very night, don\’t you know there was another victim? Two days later another detective shows up and said to me, \”look, you are the only one has the power to stop this “nigger” from raping people, you need to do the right thing and identify him he has the same gold tooth you talked about\”. My mother screamed at him for speaking to me like that and for calling a human such a dirty word. He threatened to arrest us both for interfering with an investigation. During one of my interviews, I had told them I remembered seeing with the very little light from outside a reflection from his mouth that looked like a diamond, I never said gold tooth, but it never dawned on me because I was in tears thinking at the time there was another victim, my mother is about to go to jail, this is the person who did this to me and I just don’t realize it. When that detective said that, I was convinced they did have the guy. Not only did I get mind fucked, manipulated in feeling responsible for another victim but an innocent man went to jail for a crime he did not commit. He was never charged with the other rape either that the detectives blamed me for.
    The end result was; 26 years later, DNA exonerated him. Sad to know now he fought like hell to have the test done in the first place. His request was denied because he had confessed. Forget that his confession was filled with many inconsistencies such as; my window was on the first floor and he was able to right on in. His test took almost six months to get the results, however, when the state or government needs DNA results, they can get them in hours. What it comes down to for me, since I experienced it somewhat, people don\’t like to be wrong or admit wrong doing in the cases. Insert; District Attorney\’s, Governors, Senator\’s and Mayor\’s. They think by sticking to what original investigators did 20 to 30 years ago, they are honoring and standing by the Police\’s hard work. Only when it\’s to their favor will they admit when wrong doing was done, of course, a scandal of some type has happened.
    I hope our leaders find a less expensive way to have all men who were convicted of rape crimes to be allowed to have a test done, forget if they gave a confession, back then they used tactics to get people to confess that is considered taboo this day and age, at least I hope. I would imagine they would do it because so many cases were handled poorly, so many men and woman sit in jail for crimes they didn\’t convict! Every year someone is released for crimes they did not do. I care about people who are on death row when a District Attorney refuses to allow evidence or new technology submitted, it tells me they are hiding something; the goal is to get the right person and get the innocent person out of jail.
    For me, it didn\’t bother me that he was wanting a DNA test, what bothers me now, I can\’t say it did then, but the D.A. asked me how I felt about it, I told him I didn\’t care, it would just prove he did do it and this a-hole could stop appealing and serve his time. It bothers me now that he asked me how I felt about the judge allowing the test to get done that this same D.A. objected and had delayed until it was granted. Who cares what I think, as I said, I was sure he did it so the results would prove that. If they didn’t, then why allow someone else to pay for a crime they didn’t do. It was a shock when the DNA exonerated him, I can\’t tell you how sick I still am over this and how the D.A. said they officers did their job and went by what the victim said. I was the victim; they made me out to be the bad guy. I was harassed and threatened for accusing an innocent black man of raping me. I understood their rage, I was not angry at them, just scared. I was followed by the Press, I couldn\’t go nowhere without them following me asking me things like why did I say what I said.
    Finally, the attorney for the man who was accused of raping me, spoke out on and said I was just as much as a victim as his client was, I will never forget that day, as I was making plans to get out of town, I stopped watching T.V. before that, something made me turn it on, two minutes after I turned on the T.V., the victim after his attorney spoke and told the truth about the case; how much corruption in the case there was. The victim looked in to the camera and said, \” I forgive you Ma\’am, we both is victims and we need to fight this together so it never happens again\” I cried so hard. When I got to meet him, I just fell in to his arms and the conversation that we had will always remain private, it was a conversation that changed my life forever. The rest is his story to tell.
    But what I can say, I was angry to learn why he pleaded, \”no contest\” He was told that he would be put in general population
    We later found out the man who raped me and 8 other people, confessed multiple times to try to get reduced sentences for other crimes he committed and it was pushed under the rug. He then later bragged about it because he knew he was untouchable because the statute of limitations. Not only are they up for me, for his other 8 victims. One of them 8 is one that the detective made me feel responsible for. He was Latino by the way, not that it matters, just pointing out how police back then could make you think something totally different. When the detective told me about the gold tooth, the victim didn’t have one, he told me during the lineup they made him take it out.

    There was so much corruption in our case. The detective had it out for this man and his family. This young man did not do anything nor was he not doing anything to even be considered a suspect. He was an honor student; he had dreams that never came true, partly because of me. This young man was never in my area when the crime happened, when I said that the police had 10 witnesses, what he really had was 10 different descriptions of the suspect that I later learned. The rest is not my story to tell, he is working on a book. I can say that he did receive a settlement from the state, a well-deserved settlement that he had to fight for, but it will never make up for his time he spent behind bars. I will never forgive myself, it does not matter what way I look at it. Here is this man who sends me a Christmas card every year still.
    So when the hound says such ignorant statements, I pray that she never endures anything remotely close that I went through that would change her mind from thinking and commenting on forums like she does. When you have the truth in front of you, one cannot pussy foot around and worry about what others will think. When you know better, you do better.
    If you don’t post my comment, I understand, it did take courage for me to write this, I hope that others can wake up and realize back then and today, racial profiling still exists, especially here in the south.

    • First, let me apologize for finding you comment in moderation. WordPress has this way of deciding what goes there and doesn’t – sometimes it’s because someone is a new poster, and in this case, it may have been the length of you comment. Either way, here it is and I think it’s worth reading.
      I’ll be the first to admit that police officers can and do abuse the powers and authority they’ve given. The good thing is that they’re in the minority. It absolutely breaks my heart to hear that you as well as the wrongly accused young man were further victimized by what the police put you through. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to carry that burden for the rest of your life. I hope that you can find the strength to forgive yourself because you did nothing wrong.
      I know, all too well, the kind of damage that can be done by people who should never have been allowed to wear a badge.
      A very long time ago, I became aware of a case that I, and a group of others, saw as a terrible miscarriage of justice. A young man, with an IQ of about 60 was brought in for questioning regarding a rape/murder/arson. He was taken to a room at a police station on a weekend that fell on the 4th of July. His requests for an attorney were ignored and his interrogation went on for nearly an entire day. He eventually confessed – something I believe, to this day, he did to get the cops off his back and say what they wanted him to say. He’s now serving a life sentence, and finally, thanks to some hard work by a group of supporters, his case has come under review. I hope he’ll be released but I don’t know what his life will be like if and when that happens.
      Thank you again for sharing something that had to be very difficult to do. It’s beyond brave and I hope you find peace.

      • melthehound says:

        I’m betting while locked up, he’s learned to become the criminal he’s accused of being. Perhaps not to the degree of those charges but, I have to ask, WHO made the original accusation? A ‘victim’? An ‘eye witness’? The police? I’m sure if he gets out, he’ll not be able to function, find a job, place to live, his life has been stolen by the system. It brings me back to one of my original points. Who pays for that loss? Perhaps the prosecutor or the judge or the jurors who made the decision he should be locked up to begin with. I know it’s a slippery slope but perhaps if the accusers were made to pay for these ‘mistakes’, they might be a little more cautious of who the accuse.

        • At some level, I have to agree with you. Richard is going to need a very structured environment if he’s released. The only job he ever held was as a dishwasher at a diner, and his wife and child have long since moved on.
          The police were pressured by the victim’s family – the victim being Richard’s grandmother-in-law. There were no witnesses, only some bad blood within the family and a police department that just wanted to clear a case. All they had was his confession and some shaky circumstantial evidence. From what I’ve heard, the detectives who put this whole thing in motion will be taken to task as well as the prosecutor who played along with their little scheme and deceit. I think Richard will be taken care of by Connecticut in some way.

    • Nancy says:

      What a horrible thing that you went through but how wonderful it is that he sends you
      a christmas card every year. This wasn’t your fault at all. Have you heard of a book called Picking Cotton? The author went through the same thing you are going through.
      They also became friends. Forgiveness can set us free. Thank-you for sharing your story with us.

    • Melissa says:

      To the person who made the comment, my heart goes out to you in more ways than you know. Thanks for sharing your story. I am so glad that your falsely accused accuser has found peace with you and he got a settlement from the state, I bet it was hard him to learn to navigate the world. I really think you should forgive yourself because you will struggle to move forward further than you already have. I understand where you are coming from, until you have been through something like that, it’s not something that can be forgotten or easy to forgive yourself for. I wish others only had the mind set you do.
      I thank you for sharing your story, I am going to request you ignore comments who has the picture of the black dog next to her name. How you said, the hound, that is exactly what she is, a hound. When you have the brain a size of a pea, you can’t expect that person to even understand common sense.

    • OMG! I am so sorry this happened to you guys. I can imagine that no amount of money or apolagies can make up4 this double edge sword miscarriage of Justice. You are brave to share ur story and I am so sorry you had to do it under theae circumstances.
      I respect you for allowing him to tell the rest of the story, can u plz check in w/us when the bOOk comes out? I would be happy to buy a copy.

  7. Mary Beth says:

    People confuse two issues – proof of guilt and the potential for executing an innocent person on the one hand and the cruelty and cost of life w/out possibility of parole.

    In my opinion, being imprisoned for life is also cruel and barbaric, and if I were the one being sentenced to life with no possibility of parole, I would request the death penalty.

    Also, the cost of imprisoning someone for life w/out possibility of parole is quite high. But frankly, I don’t think cost should be a factor when we are talking about someone’s life.

    As to the potential for executing someone who is innocent, I think we need a change in the laws in this country. Guilt is “beyond reasonable doubt.” There is no standard for imposition of the death penalty, though I suspect that these days, judges (and in the states where juries decide the sentence) actually do think about the quantum of proof of guilt. I think we should have an official standard, i.e., legislation, that says that the death penalty can be imposed only where the evidence is “beyond a shadow of a doubt.” It is a much tougher standard and it would virtually eliminate the potential for executing someone who is innocent.

    • I think that there are those serving life who would agree with you. Death, for many of them, is preferable to 40, 50, 60 years in a 10X10 cell. The problem arises when, as happened in the Ross case, the State viewed his pleas to be executed as a death wish wherein the State became part of an assisted-suicide. Don’t ask me to explain that line of thinking because I’m still SMH over it. Cost becomes an issue when, like California, the number of death row inmates grows exponentially while the State waffles on what to do about the death penalty.
      As for the burden of proof, I don’t think that anyone can explain, with any clarity, what beyond a reasonable doubt actually means. Perhaps, as you said, beyond a shadow of a doubt would be more easily understood.
      IMHO, the debate over the death penalty may become a thing of the past as more and more States abolish it.

  8. MTH,

    Do you understand or see how you started this?  I was on another blog talking about Vanderpump and Glanville.  I must say, I am shocked.

    Likesshop, just pointed out that 18 out of 40 cases on the show came back negative, they were not the person who committed the crime by science.  I am going to speculate from what I read because it said some of those 18 cases were on death row, I am going to say that Likes agrees with Empress on her views because of that.

    How you got this out of it,

    “And what do you think should happen to the women who made the accusations of said rapes? Nothing? Just an “oops, my bad, sorry, good luck rebuilding your life fella”?

    puzzles me.  Then someone else it seems just tried to make sense of it so maybe you would see it differently since you insinuated it the wrong way and no one else took it that way,

    “Some of those cases are mistaken identity especially when it comes to cross cultural/racial identity. Then there are those that lie because of it.”

    Living in the south for 11 years, I know that comment to be true!

    Now what I see you doing, for them trying to make sense out of it, is you attacking them and telling them if they are not willing to go to task, (I stopped reading at that comment because  this is just ridiculous and wrong ) you’re implying they shouldn’t comment then.

    It’s one thing to debate respectfully and not put words or as others said=twist things, I don’t think you realize how you come across. At times your message gets lost in your delivery.  If you look at the way Empress responds to people, even yourself,  when someone disagrees or takes things the wrong way, maybe you can learn off of her on how she responds.  Empress is a trained professional, some us are not, if some say they are, by the looks of their comments say otherwise.

    I think you confuse things with people choosing to ignore some of your comments with something else.  When you approach people the way you did, why argue with you when they enjoy Empress entries and know all they will get is hostile responses.  The way your comments come across to me is, you were picking a fight.    I have heard people comment about you and how they say, it’s just not worth their time to argue with you, because what just happened  is what it would turn in to instead of respectful debate. Above is a good example with Grey, you telling her she is crossing the line, when in fact, you jumped over the line! Me saying this any other way would not be authentic.

    I am guessing you will never admit that you’re wrong, but I can’t say I didn’t try.

    • melthehound says:

      How you got this out of it,

      “And what do you think should happen to the women who made the accusations of said rapes? Nothing? Just an “oops, my bad, sorry, good luck rebuilding your life fella”?

      When Likesphotoshop mentioned life sentences for Rape being among these cases, where is your confusion in the question I asked? WHO takes responsibility for it for the original accusation? I mean REAL responsibility for completely destroying someone’s life..

      I don’t know what you are so shocked about on ‘another blog’ but the picture of my dog and the same screen name is on every single blog I participate on. You are more than welcome to just scroll on by if I offend you so much. So is everyone else.

      • Melissa says:

        So what if Likes mentioned it. She was talking about something totally different and agreeing with Empress by stating why she agrees your rude self took it somewhere it should not have went. You’re too proud to point out that you accused her crossing the line by bringing race in to it, when B Grey did, she did so by trying to explain something to you stating how men were convicted, It’s not bringing race in to it you idiot, it’s the truth! You have the nerve to tell anyone they are crossing the line, when in fact you’re the only one doing the crossing. You can’t follow your own crock of sh““ you’re trying to sell to other people, let alone yourself.
        Dude, you need to stop harassing woman on the internet. You have issues.
        I think the person who shared her story answered your question, but you can’t shut up to realize it you ignorant bas“““`
        You have no respect for anyone here. Not one person agrees with you, why don’t you go find a man cave blog and stop bullying woman, dude! To know you’re a man picking fights with woman is disgusting. Especially when no one was even talking to you in the first place is disturbing. I see what people meant about you. You troll blogs all day long.
        I am done, you’re beyond nasty.
        Empress, I don’t know how you put up with him. I really don’t. Not right that he attacks because he has the mentality of a 12 year old. I’m fighting someone else’s fight because HE was out of line and the truth is in front of his face and he can’t stop or is just dumb to see it. I am so sorry Empress, but the only person who made it about race is this bigot MEL!
        Do everyone a favor Mel, it’s obvious people don’t care for you, so If Empress blogs again and the people who you picked fights with and stood up to you, don’t join in! This is not your blog. I don’t see one person coming to your defense, you want to know why? BECAUSE YOU WERE WRONG! You are a bully!

        • melthehound says:

          There it is… One of my trolls speaks with “You are a bully!”. What a tired phrase used by the weak. Anyone who challenges them, is a ‘bully’. You disappoint me with that one. I thought you were going to ignore me?

          • Vegas Chick says:

            Lighten up and be gentleman… just sayin’.

            • melthehound says:

              Yes, you’re right Vegas Chick, I guess when I’m called a bully, a bigot, and a bastard, and let it go without sinking to that same level, I am the one who should ‘lighten up’. Thank you for pointing that out to me. Just sayin’.

  9. I’m going to do something that I don’t like to do and haven’t had to do for a very long time. I opened up Pandora’s box, with a post about my feelings regarding the death penalty, something I knew full well would bring about some passionate, heated and even angry responses. What I didn’t expect and I’m sorry to see happen, was that this debate turned into something far beyond the topic and became personal. For that, I take full responsibility, as I allowed it to go on for longer than was necessary or productive. What I won’t do is apologize for or try to explain anyone else’s comments. That responsibility lies solely with those making the comments.
    I’d hate to think that I’ll be spending all of my time and energy writing about television programs. I enjoy writing about topics that involve issues our country is facing, politics, current events, and sometimes, just things that strike me as funny or interesting. I sincerely hope that, in the future, everyone will take a deep breath and respond, not out of pure emotion or in a reactionary manner, but with thought, reason and civility.
    Thanks for listening. E

    • Donna says:


    • I started to comment ( it’s me, likesphotoshop) and half way thru, my browser reloaded and I lost my comment.
      What is important to me is Aiken understood my comments. I do stand corrected, saying this country makes me sick wasn’t the best thing to say, I am grateful to be born & raised here. The hypocrisy of law makers makes me sick. Everything else you said in your reply to me, ITA!

      • Err happened again.
        I do thanl everyone who stuck up for GreyBeck & I. At this point, it makes no sense to try to break everything down and as some of u said, allow someone 2to disrespect us and tell us we crossed the line all because wasno looking for an argument. After aome od you triedand tried at this point please just ignore if it happens again. We look forward to when Ms Aiken posts and cant allow one person to ruin it for us. If it is happening on other sites, just scroll past and dont read. No one deserves to have happen what happened today.

  10. Kaereste says:

    As much as I believe that evil people should be eliminated from our Earth there is something creepy uncivilized about making an appointment to murder/execute someone.

  11. Reading through all of the comments, I realized that some things were confusing to me, and others, and probably should have been addressed and clarifications requested before this escalated. First, I think that what mth was asking, initially, was what happens to the wrongly accused after they’re released. To answer that, I know that there are programs, the details of which can be found on the website for The Innocence Project, which provide a number of things for those who have spent time in prison and shouldn’t have. The federal government, the District of Columbia and 27 States offer financial support for food and clothing, help in securing affordable housing, medical and/or psychiatric care, occupational training and free legal services to help with other forms of compensation, expungement of criminal records and regaining custody of their children, if necessary.
    As for the issue of race, this country has had a history of picking juries, assigning inept and ineffective public defenders and convicting people of color at a rate disproportionate to that of white defendants. The same goes for sentencing, both by length of the time to be served and the death penalty. It’s only been in the last 30-40 years that those types of miscarriages of justice have been addressed and things have improved. That’s not to say that it’s all perfect and that the system is fair and equal, but it’s a damn sight better than ever before.
    I wish that I had taken the time to figure out what was really being asked so that I could have answered this hours ago and saved all of us some unnecessary time and energy. For that, I do apologize, and I hope that this helps clear some things up.

  12. lovemamaearth says:

    Such an interesting topic. I hope it’s ok to interject my few thoughts. I’m sorry for the discord and I’m not taking sides on that.

    1. I’m sorry to those who have experienced crime at any level or angle. I can’t imagine how it would feel not knowing who the perp was and having to get on with your life. And having the wrong guy convicted would be horrid for both. And there is no hell bad enough for those who falsely accuse knowingly. I’ve been falsely accused of minor interpersonal things, and can only imagine the horror that a false accusation would bring. Unfathomable.

    2. I think men feel more susceptible to being accused wrongly than women tend to realize while women feel more vulnerable at being rape victims than men tend to realize.

    3. Yes rape does happen to boys/men.

    4. I agree some just can’t live like a human and for them, I’m ok with a humane death penalty. Or assisted suicide if some want that. I agree with the poster who said long term prison would be worse than death.

    5. I don’t have a problem with the term prison guard. Has the term prisoner changed?

    6. And I think minorities have been convicted at much higher rates so I do think race is a factor. They’ve mostly been kept in low income jobs and then society wonders why they might commit crimes. The parents have to work several jobs leaving the kids unsupervised and then wonder why they might not be the best students or the best citizens. Plus the slave days were violent and then we wonder why physical abuse was passed down from generation to the next. And yes there are other minorities.

    7. OT but equally polarizing is the finding that abortion has led to lower crime rates. Some have leapt to the (racist imo) conclusion to say that black women having abortions led to the lower crime rates but whites had the same results.

    • lme, Thanks for your comments, for the link, for not correcting me on my choice of words and for not opining on the discord. It’s been a long day, and I’ve got no apologies left in me. 😉

      • lovemamaearth says:

        I can imagine. I think it’s unanimous that you have a great blog and equanimity. 🙂

      • Vegas Chick says:

        You never have to apologize for the behavior of others including me, Empress. Writing is difficult and perception easily gets confused with intent. We just all need to get along. It shouldn’t be so hard but sometimes boundaries need to be drawn. Keep your stuff coming… it’s great and enjoyed by many especially me.

  13. Aiken, what turned me off completely was MTH telling BG that she was she crossed a line by bringing race in to it. That was not what she was doing. Poor thing was trying to explain a valid point. (So sorry BG) on my end, it looks like Melissa and Kylehands called names after trying to get thru to him. I dont know MTH, this wasto my first interaction (and last )U to my knowledge with him. Obvious a few other ladies have history with him. I will admit, to be called names like a hater and see others get called it also dont sit well with me. Esp for just stating how they feel about praying in public doesnt make them a bad person, they just have different beliefs. My comment about getting disgusted with our country etc, I explained that to you above. I dont know why he was so adamant in replying to my comment &I wanting me to answer him. I dont have the answers to world peace, I was talking about Dallas DNA,(pounds head lol) the way he was asking was hostile, especially the way he replied to BG, when I came back the second time and saw how he told BG crossing a line, my attempt to answer his question went out the window. I got a DM on twitter earlier about what was going on & couldnt believe what I saw & feel responsible. I am sorry this happened, Aiken, Vegas, BG, Melissa,hands and the rest of you ladies! If I hit the back button to get the rest of your names, I lose my comment.
    Now that you (Aiken) answered his question, which ur def. qualified 2 anyday of the wk over me, hopefully we can talk about your post more. I refuse to allow ur talent be spent on just reality tv. Lol!
    To the person who made the Chimp comment, lol, I cant get that vision out of my head, lol. Every AM my little one comes in our room to watch Orangutan Island them Escape to Chimp Eden on Animal Planet, M-F. In my area it comes on at 6am then 6:30am back to back.
    On a serious note, I recommend everyone DVR at least one episode of each, I promise, you’ll love it. Night ladies, thanks Aiken for a great blog. Your work is appriciated.

  14. princesspindy says:

    Hi Empress,
    Wowza! I thought this form might be helpful to your posters. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!

    You know I love you!!

  15. FLG (Mr. Tigre's Butler) says:

    Dearest Empress.
    Thank you for taking on the subject of the death penalty. I am against it. During my early childhood, I had a family member who was killed in a politically motivated bombing here in the United States. The perpetrators were very adept with explosives but not as adept at knowing the location of the facility the wanted destroyed. My relative was not the target but was “collateral” damage.
    A few of those responsible were apprehended rather quickly. Another managed to live many years as a wanted person. During those years they married, had a family, built a business and a “normal” life, so it was a rather exemplary life at that. In spite of what they did to my family, they did become a productive member of society. Eventually they decided to turn themselves into the authorities, tiring of living in constant fear of discovery.
    Another of the perpetrators remains free to this day and from time to time we have been notified of possible sightings in this and other countries. Those possible sightings have decreased over the passing years and enough time has passed that in all likelihood, they are dead.
    Before and during the trials, the prosecutors requested input from my family as to our wishes and whether or not we wanted those responsible to receive the death penalty. After much soul searching and many discussions (and more than a few arguments) we pleaded with the prosecution to NOT seek the death penalty. Whether that had an effect or not, I do not know. I was a child then and certainly didn’t know much about the justice system in this country. I do recall however that the prosecutors were surprised at our anti-death penalty beliefs and actually pressured us over and over again to change our position. The trials were during an election year and over the passing years I have come to the conclusion that many of our “lock ’em up and throw away the key” laws that exist are the result of political campaigns for politicians gain, much more than for the protection of our society.
    It has been said that time heals all wounds. We have not found that to be the case, What we have learned is that forgiveness is far more powerful than even the passage of time. Forgiveness gave my family more than the plaques, the statue, the letters from Congressmen, Senators and even the President. Memorials don’t bring back the dead.
    The bombing that changed my family forever happened during a different era. Those who were brought to justice, by today’s standards, ended up receiving extremely light sentences. They are all out of prison now and have been for a long time. All have managed to make law abiding, productive lives for themselves. My family would have gained nothing from their state sanctioned murders.
    The United States has more of its population behind bars than any other nation on the planet. Are Americans less law abiding, more violent, more deserving of imprisonment than those of any other country? I don’t think so. Do privatized prisons promote more imprisonment? Quite possibly, I do believe that one hundred percent.
    During those dark days past, I will always remember different things members of my family said. Things like: Two wrongs don’t make a right. If murder is wrong, murder is wrong. Period. It doesn’t matter is the state sanctions it or not. Killing those people won’t bring ______ back or un-cry our tears. My dad especially said: “Justice cannot exist where laws are enforced without mercy”. He believed that with his whole heart. That is why he and his parents came to this country.

    • Donna says:

      I like the fact that you brought up the subject of prisons being privitized and that the US has more citizens being imprisoned than any other country.

    • FLG, A few years ago a young police officer from my former department was show and killed in the line of duty. His family, like yours, requested that prosecutors not seek the death penalty. The killer pled guilty and was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Their reasoning was that to have done otherwise would have meant that they would being serving a sentence, too. Their decision allowed them to avoid years of torturous proceedings, which, in the end, and as you said, wouldn’t have changed anything about what happened to their son and brother.
      I have to agree with you about privatized prisons. No, I don’t think our country has any more bad guys than other countries do, and yet our prisons are overflowing.
      The voters in California did pass Proposition 36, which amends the “3 strikes you’re out” law. I guess they figured out that sentencing someone to life for a 3rd non-violent felony wasn’t such a good idea to begin with.

      • lovemamaearth says:

        Would 3 strikes you’re out law have been appropriate if it had been for violent felonies? Or is it still too wide of a brush stroke?

        I agree with the person who said a lot of this kind of legislation is done for political gain.

        And for those who are so violent or instigating violence like gang leaders in prison, I think a death penalty is beneficial to keeping peace. I recently saw an article about prisons using gangs to keep the peace inside their walls. I think that’s backwards.

        • lme, The law, as amended, will still apply to violent felonies. As for the gang culture in prisons, I know it exists, but given Beckygrey’s position and experience, she would probably be a better source of information than I would.

        • FLG (Mr. Tigre's Butler) says:

          Look at how many misdemeanors have been turned into felonies. Often those have been changed due to a candidates “tough on crime” slogan during their attempt to win elected office. This results in draconian laws that don’t properly serve society and rob our prisoners of any hope of rehabilitation. When looking at our prison populations, there really are very few rich men and women in our prisons. One’s ability to receive justice far to often equates to their ability to pay.
          Look at the “War On Drugs”. Why has it been that possession of powdered cocaine was a misdemeanor, while possession of “rock” cocaine has been a felony? That reeks of racism and class-ism, to me.
          Mandatory sentencing robs judges of discretion and there are many times when some discretion would indeed be in the best interest of justice. As my Dad said: “Justice cannot exist where laws are enforced without mercy.”

      • FLG (Mr. Tigre's Butler) says:

        While we lost our blood in that bombing, I am very happy that we were able to avoid getting other’s blood on our own hands. We have been able to live in peace, knowing that. Had the government gone against our wishes and executed my relative’s killers, we wouldn’t have been responsible, but would have still had a tougher time moving forward. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves everyone blind and toothless, while benefiting no one.

    • lovemamaearth says:

      Like Donna, I’m glad you mentioned privatized prisons. Some things should not be for profit.

      I’m sorry for the sorrow and loss those crimes inflicted on you and your loved ones.
      Your words reinforce my picture of your big, kind heart and gentleness of soul.

  16. Jupiters Mother says:

    Death Penalty Focus is a Bay Area nonprofit working to repeal the death penalty for many years. Their website has a wealth of information on all aspects of this particular issue, links to other sites and groups they work in conjunction with

  17. baronessbeachcomber says:

    As you can read from all the posts, everyone has their own story to tell and their own personal perspectives based on their experiences, beliefs, knowledge and/or research on the subject of the dealth penalty. Empress, please do not apologize for others’ bad manners and behavior and please keep your thought-provoking posts coming. I enjoy reading them immensely.

    • bb, Thanks for saying that. I don’t think I was apologizing for anyone but myself. I’m the blog owner and it’s my responsibility to “keep the peace”, so to speak. I think I failed at that yesterday, and I simply took ownership for my failure. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the posts, cuz I’ve got lots to say! 🙂

      • baronessbeachcomber says:

        Well, I’m sorry that it got to the point where you felt like you had to “keep the peace.” Anyway, thanks for all you do.

  18. lovemamaearth says:

    It’s too bad those who don’t like each other here couldn’t pick a blog to go to while the others go to another to avoid each other. I seldom go to NMD’s cuz of one a**.

    • lme, With all due respect, I’d really like to put an end to this whole matter. I’m doing my best to see that what happened yesterday isn’t repeated today. All I’m asking is for a little help with that.

      • lovemamaearth says:

        Sorry. I wasn’t taking sides. I just hate the fighting amidst interesting discussions. As an after thought before reading your comment, I thought probably a blog owner would hate to lose posters especially if she likes them. Mea culpa.

  19. See what happens when you wander off! 😀
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mr. Ford

  20. baronessbeachcomber says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours Diva!

  21. not THAT Jill says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Diva-hope you are feelin’ good!!!

  22. Empress,
    Im very sorry for my part in what the other day. I was visiting Melissa, I hadn’t seen her in a while, what people don’t know is she really is a good person. But lost my cool. I am with her now and we both have the utmost respect for you.
    We both hope you have a great Thanksgiving!
    Alicia and Melissa

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