Morning Poll: How Long is Too Long to Be on Death Row?

deathchamber.jpg
Huffington Post
If you kill someone in Arizona, there's a chance you'll be strapped to a table similar to this one -- 20 years later.
New Times took a look yesterday at Arizona's 130 death-row inmates awaiting execution. Turns out, nearly 20 percent (24 of 130) have been rotting away/cheating court-ordered death for more than 20 years -- on taxpayers' dime.

The extended-stay hotel that Arizona's death row has become ain't cheap -- last year alone, nearly $600,000 was spent on housing, feeding, and caring for convicted murderers who were condemned to die at least two decades ago.

And that's just murderers who've been on death row for more than 20 years -- the total tab to keep all condemned inmates alive cost the state well in excess of $3 million last year, which doesn't include the legal bills they're racking up exhausting their appeals.

That said, nobody wants to see an innocent person executed. But how long before we accept that a person's guilty?

Richard Bible was executed yesterday -- after 23 years on death row -- for murdering a 9-year-old girl. When he was arrested, Bible was wearing a shirt with the girl's blood on it. Not to mention, at the time, he was fresh out of prison for attacking and sexually assaulting his 17-year-old cousin.

If Bible didn't kill Jennifer Wilson, who did? Yet, he lived on death row for 23 years -- 14 years longer than the young girl lived period.

Arizona has the death penalty for a reason: to spare the rest of us from the most heinous criminals the state has to offer.

That said, every death-row inmate deserves due process -- but 20 years on death row? 

But we want to know what you think: how long is too long to be on death row?

Cast your vote below.


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27 comments
RThom
RThom

82 industrialized nations do NOT have the death penalty.  Many believe we are a so-called "Christian Nation" -- yet, where are those Christian values?

lzs
lzs

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Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Those who voted in the poll for 5 years do not even understand how the legal and justice system work, so they have NO credibility. People educate yourself on what's going on in Arizona's broken justice system where non-violent, first offenders face life in prison or 75 years for non-sexual touching in a swimming pool.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06..."The Haunting of Rick PerryBy TA-NEHISI COATESPublished: June 22, 2011Should Gov. Rick Perry of Texas enter the 2012 presidential race, he would enjoy a strange and remarkable escort — the irrepressible ghost of Cameron Todd Willingham.Enlarge This ImageLiz LynchRelatedFamily’s Effort to Clear Name Frames Debate on Executions(October 15, 2010)Previous ColumnOp-Ed Columnist: You Left Out the Part About ... (June 9, 2011)Charged with the horrific crime of intentionally torching his home and leaving his three daughters to the blaze, Willingham’s 1991 conviction and 2004 execution were secured by two great bugbears of America’s criminal justice system: pseudoscientific forensics and the compromised testimony of a jailhouse snitch.The fire investigators who fingered Willingham relied on the kind of sorcery that fire scientists have tried for the past 20 years to chase from the field. The informant, for his part, claimed that Willingham had inexplicably blurted out a confession, then recanted his tale. Then, in the words of New Yorker reporter David Grann, he “recanted his recantation.” When Grann tracked him down in 2009, he told him that “it’s very possible I misunderstood” what Willingham said, pausing to add “the statute of limitations has run out on perjury, hasn’t it?”.....more 

Hock
Hock

What's the hurry?  If we're going to do it, at least do it right.

Guest1
Guest1

Preferably we afford the prisoner the time to make it through the appeals process, wouldn't wanna be killing innocent people would ya?

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

The problem I have with a time limit is when you find people who have been on death row for 20 years and get cleared of all charges because some asshole prosecutor/cop/etc. hid evidence or didn't follow up a lead that turned out to lead to the real guilty party. Every time one of these people is let go, I cringe, wondering not only how many are currently sitting on death row who aren't guilty, but how many innocent people have we already killed? Sure, some people can say 'well, it's for the greater good, the sacrifice of a few for the benefit of many', and all that, but how many of THOSE people have had a family member wrongly executed? 

If I could know that they had all the right people on death row, I'd have to vote for somewhere between 5 and 10 years, so there is time for the appeals, and the possibility of new evidence exonerating the convicted party. Much shorter if there were definite eye witnesses, or the person was on TV committing this crime, obvious stuff like that, maybe 3 years in those cases.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Many innocent people have been murdered by the State in this Country.  One day on "death row" is too many.  There is a prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  The death penalty is, ON ITS FACE, unusual punishment.  The citizenry should never have allowed the State the power of life and death - whether over criminals, or innocent people (which the State eventually gets around to and HAS).  

It is time to abolish the death penalty - it is cruel, unusual, unfairly applied, arbitrary and inaccurate. 

Why do we kill people to show others that killing people is wrong?  Because we're STUPID!

Mistalee
Mistalee

OTOH, if you want to give spammers a seat on Old Sparky right away, I guess I am OK with it. 

Mistalee
Mistalee

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was convicted in 1966 and his conviction was not overturned until 1985. His case is not unusual, many who have been exonerated have served ten, fifteen, twenty years before it was proved that they were wrongly convicted.

So given that they are on death row in the first place because we consider the taking of innocent life to be heinous, how many innocent men and women would you choose to execute wrongly in the name of saving taxpayer dollars?

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Governors have politicized the death penalty. Texas Gov. Perry executed an innocent man and the GOP wants him for President?? Wake up people!

Rx_queen02
Rx_queen02

These individuals are killed because they cannot function in society, what is the point in paying to keep them in our society then? The death penalty is needed until people can stop raising worthless humans, I choose to live in a society where these criminals can be taken out, forever.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

How can we trust a justice system which consists of people like Rpiehole, Thomas, Auberchon, legHorne,  to do ANYTHING in an ethical, legal manner? Especially administer the handing down of a death penalty.  ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

And there's Arizona's Ray Krone -- two trials to exonerate this innocent man who spent 17 years in prison, many years on death row. The Arizona legislature apologized to him and said they had to do better next time. Better at what? Executing an innocent man or covering up the state's mistakes, incompetence and broken justice system?

Anon
Anon

What man should determine who lives and who dies? It is an atrocity to incarcerate or execute an innocent person.

Mistalee
Mistalee

I heard Ray Krone speak, several years ago. IIRC,the DA needed a conviction to make him look good, and by golly if that meant railroading Krone to the gallows, so be it.

Bogus testimony from an expert witness matching Krone's teeth impression to bite marks on the deceased sent him to death row. The "expert witness" was paid $60,000 for his testimony. Krone was exonerated after two trials based on DNA evidence and the true killer was convicted. He was the 100th death row inmate to be found innocent since the resumption of the death penalty in 1976.

How many have been executed not for the crime they were accused of but for the crime of having a shitty lawyer, or being up against a DA or cop who was not above faking evidence, coercing testimony or lying on the stand?

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Arizona legislators said that in 2006 and it's now 2011!! Where are the other wrongful convictions that have been overturned?  Others states are working to right the wrongs, to reform Sentencing, to reform prisons and update outdated laws that reflect the days of slavery.

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