Thursday, June 28, 2007

Executing the Mentally Ill?

Today the Supreme Court blocked the execution of a mentally handicapped man here in TX.

How is it that it took the SCOTUS to do this? Can't we as a society see that killing someone who is mentally ill does no good for the victim, society or the criminal?

Maybe I am naive' or just too soft. But, killing someone who can't fully understand their crime is not just.

EDIT - Juries get verdict wrong in one out of eight cases. Another reason not to kill someone.


Anonymous said...

Please allow me to play devil's advocate for a moment. Also, let's assume, for simplicity here, that capital punishment is just punishment in this case if the defendant were NOT mentally ill (and I think it would be).

Now, the reason that we have capital punishment is to remove the offender from society to protect people from said offender. Even placing that person in prison is not enough, since he could kill other prisoners or escape.

If the person is mentally ill, does that make them any less dangerous to others? That should be the only reason to commute a sentence to life in prison (or XX years or treatment or whatever).

It seems to me that the fact that someone is mentally unstable makes them even MORE dangerous to others. He suffers from delusions and shot his in-laws in front of his wife and daughter.

Sorry, but the law should apply. I am so tired of people using insanity to escape punishment for heinous crimes (cutting off your baby's arms, drowning all your children in the tub, etc...).

If you kill someone in cold blood, you are crazy/sick/deranged. I just don't think insanity (or delusions) is a justified defense.

Now, having said all that, I'd gladly vote to outlaw capital punishment if we were also outlawing abortion...

Marcel said...

My reply would be the same as the Church's. There are other means to use to protect us from the criminal that don't lead up to killing them.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but if you try to keep them permanently isolated (the only way to protect other inmates), then you have the issue of "cruel and unusual" punishment, which some will raise (probably the Church, as well).