Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mixed Feelings

It was just a few years ago when a 14yr old North County girl went missing on her walk to school one morning.
Fliers were posted over a very large radius, and this case (Amber Dubois) even made it into a cover-story of People Magazine.

Over a year went by without so much as a clue per the Dubois case when 17yr old Chelsey King went missing. Within a few days, John Gardner was in custody.

In order to escape the Death Penalty per the King murder, Gardner confessed to the Dubois disappearance and led investigators to her remains.

All of this has been chronicled in an Investigative Discovery Channel (ID) show. It was kinda local news for me for a few reasons:
  • Southwest Riverside County has strong business/cultural ties to North San Diego County.
  • I was frequenting the corridor between them often, looking after family in DuBois' hometown.
  • Dubois' image gazed at me from a flier at nearly every business stop (gas station, barber, liquor store, donut shop...and then some... still yet...  even more than that... Never knew her, but Amber Dubois was a part of my life.)
  • I had attended family gatherings at the  park where King was assaulted/raped/killed.
This is not the first time that a very bad person chose to cough up some valuable information in a deal to avoid the Death Penalty, and is why I'm having mixed feelings about the proposition on California's ballot this year that will officially end Capital Punishment in this state. (It has already been practically ended by other means.)

I was once for abolition.
Today, I'm not so sure about that.


Brian said...

Extreme cases make the worst precedents. But I do hear what you're saying.

Good post.

RW said...

I don't feel the state should have the right to execute & that's my stable point of reference. But it's not easy. On the one hand I'd like to assure justice and resolution, and on the other I'd want the government's powers limited, and especially checked when it comes to execution. This tests the point of view without question. One case in a thousand. Not cut and dried.

Except for the people who shall now flail around... lol...

Bike Bubba said...

The man avoided the death penalty by effectively confessing to a second murder? Go figure.

But that said, it would be an indication that the mere existence of the death penalty affects behavior, so the idea that it's not a deterrent is a little hard to sustain. Let's keep it, but make darned sure that we insist on a high standard of evidence and put perjurers in jail, where they belong.

Brian said...

"affects behavior" =/= "deterrent"

Mr. D said...

I've gone back and forth on it over the years, but in the end I'm against the death penalty. The chance that an innocent man (or woman) is executed is too large.

Gino said...

it took me years to come around to the notion that the state shouldnt be doing executions.
i'm not likely to flip on something that took years to understand...
for all practical purposes, capital punishment in CA is a threat without a follow through.

we are years from our next slaying, if it happens at all... and if it does, it will be upon somebody so filthy bad that not even his mother would weep.

in that time, how many more 'Dubois families' will there be?

the thought of losing my child and never, ever knowing... is beyond my comprehension abilities.
i want it to stay that way. not just or me, but for all parents.

is it worth the life of one dirtbag in CA, once every 5-10 yrs?
yes, it is.

Gino said...

does this mean that i've flipped?

or that maybe i've come to see other factors?

when faced with two competing black/white issues...
maybe its a matter of who's white is whiter?

Bike Bubba said...

Brian, if a man cops a quick plea--solving not one but two murders--to avoid Old Sparky, I'd have to suggest that criminals are as afraid of death as the rest of us. That is, in common language, a deterrent. Along the same lines, the murder rate has plunged since the death penalty was reinstituted in the 1970s. There are other factors, to be sure, but the rough math is that one execution saves 18 lives--that's the elimination of recidivism plus a lot of deterrence.

I understand fully the reluctance to use it--you can't release someone from the grave. But as long as we punish perjurers harshly (as we should have in 1998), we can do this well.

Palm boy said...

It's a strange paradox where a man confesses to a second murder in order to lessen his punishment.

K-Rod said...

The odds of you being put to death for a crime you did not committ are one in a billion.

Brian said...

Do you mean the odds of one person (in particular) being put to death wrongly are one in a billion, or the odds that any person might be put to death wrongly are one in a billion? Because those aren't the same thing.

(I'm just kidding K-Rod...I know you just pulled that figure out of your ass.)

Either way, the fact that 18 of the 300 post-conviction DNA exonerations to date in the United States were people on death row at the time suggests the odds are a bit higher than that.

K-Rod said...

Maybe that says something about your charecter Brian if you think your chance of being put to death for a crime you did not committ are better than 1 in a billion. ;-)

Gino said...

Krod: i am pro-life. i believe that all life, but more specifically, innocent human life has intrinsic value.

what bothers me about many of my fellow 'lifers' (and i've sat and shared buses, cigarettes and meals with leadership folks who regularly appear in headlines: ya know, i've paid my dues on the streets and before clinics, not just in the prayer circle at church)...

they (many, not all) wont accept a few dead embryos out of millions for the sake of stem-cell research (and i will not either), yet, they are willing to accept a few dead innocents in our nation's gas/injection chambers and consider it collateral damage for the greater good....
because, of course... murder is murder, killing is wrong... and we need to let it be known how much we value innocent human life, right?

I am pro-life, not just pro-embryo, pro-zygote, and pro-fetus.

Mr. D said...

I am pro-life, not just pro-embryo, pro-zygote, and pro-fetus.

In the end, that's the only intellectually consistent way of looking at it