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Should Illinois bring back the death penalty?

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On Wednesday, a DuPage County jury sentenced Brian Dugan to death for the murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, who he abducted, raped and murdered in 1983. Dugan also murdered two other women, along with committing other rapes and crimes. There doesn't seem to be any question of Dugan's guilt, especially since he confessed.

But enforcement of the death penalty has been suspended in Illinois since the end of Gov. George Ryan's term, when a seemingly endless string of exonerations of Death Row convicts threw the state's legal system in doubt. Ryan believed there was too high of a chance of a wrongly convicted person being executed and suspended the penalty until things improved.

Convicts serving long sentences are still being exonerated in Illinois, however, So the question is, should the state bring back enforcement of the death penalty? What needs to be done to ensure there are no more cases like that of Rolando Cruz, who was convicted of Jeanine Nicarico's murder and sentenced to death long before Dugan was a suspect? Or is the system too flawed to risk executing an innocent person?

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35 Comments

I have always serviced God in fear,and have a respect for authority here on earth as well, I strongly believe some have neither respect nor fear of anything or anyone in Authority. I believe that the death penalty should be insituted for those who commit murder and beyond a shadow of a doubt is GUILTY, God to me has appointed justice to be served here on earth a murderer has become the appointee for innocent people to face a death sentence and I feel they should face the same for the act they commit without reason just because they can. Well, who defends the innocent law abiding citizen from them, they snatch the law to defend them and break that very law in which innocent people abides in. I am a victim of this and I await a sentence a life for a life.

How about nominating Dick Furstenau and his attorney, Sean Collins for the death penalty, for running the city farther into debt...to the tune of 1.25 million dollars.

Rusty....should Scott Huber be found guilty in my courtroom...the sentence would be : DEATH!!!!

Im all for the death penalty....my question is, will the City of Naperville seek it should the find Scott Huber guilty of the new camping ordinance? FREE SCOTT HUBER!!!!!!

OWVY,

I see what you are saying but then I think.

I could care less what caused these people to do what they did. That is what they were trying to do with Dahmer before one of the inmates got to him. Dahmer or someone like that killing and eating people doesn't happen everday. The odds of it happening too often are pretty slim. At what cost do we really care what was inside that brain? I think we were better off with the guards leaving the doors open and letting the inmates get to him. Saves us taxpayers a whole lot of money.

As far as your everyday murderer - I think we know what is behind most of these people. Usually it is either a very screwed up upbringing and we can't govern the way people bring up their children (living in Naeprville, there are plenty of parents I would like to smack in the head for the way they let their children behave) or some extremely high degree of narcissim. Or in the case of terrorists, religious reasons but that is a whole different story.

We spoke about the economics of keeping people alive in prison or putting them to death. That would be another huge additional cost adding a team of psychologists to figure out what motivated each of these guys. Plus you need to inmate to cooperate with you to get any true findings. Something tells me with Brian Dugan's smile on his face that probably isn't going to happen.

Your DNA scenario is a legit concern. It's like taking steroids in sports. There is always going to be something to beat the system.

Right now on TV...20/20 on WE they have a case of Julie Rae Harper whose son was killed in bed and she convicted. A death row serial killer, Tommy Lynn Sells, admits to doing this crime after her conviction, though later recanted. He has details not made public. They say her t-shirt was almost prestine, they did not collect fibers, did not finger print anything, sounds a bit like the trial I was a jury foreman on. One link below. I think they mentioned this was in IL also. Makes me wonder about some we may kill and what if they do not admit to killing someone & others are prosecuted? Again, may not be a lot of cases but another thing to think about.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2931404&page=1

Anonymous 5678...

One benefit could be if they donate the rest of their life to science to figure out why they did what they did so that perhaps one day we may be able to prevent it.

The DNA idea makes me wonder just a bit also...will we one day have cases where something was tampered with. Someone paid off or someone hacking in technologically & changing it. Yes, may not happen often but...

Psyche...I think you are really making a good argument for overhauling the system actually.

[*Chris, sorry about all the spellings on ths last one. This tiny keyboard is a killer.]


Before making blanket statements that it is more expensive to put convicts on death row, or that a life sentence keeps them away from others, thus implying everyone is safer, etc., we need to look at the data on violence in prisons.

There are two types of violence that need to be understood: First, direct violence in the prisons themselves. Fights, rapes, murders, etc. Second, we need to look at the secondary violence this causes, i.e. making convicts more violent, thus increasing the propensity for recidivation once they are released back into the "real" world. I will go out on a very thick limb here and say that the cost of both is enormous.

Then, we need to look at the costs of death row versus life imprisonment. Part of the costs on both is allocated, and since there are so few convicts on death row, the allocation is high. Yes, they do get numerous appeals, but then again so do regular convicts. Also, if as a nation we just accepted the death penalty and move on, the costs would not be noticeably higher. My point of proof? Look at the costs of both in Texas, where the death penalty is applied much more efficiently then say, California or Illinois.


This would all then leave us with the clear ethical and moral questions of a death penalty, which is where the argument belongs and not in the dollars and cents.

Possible ways to address it: Leave it as is and let each State apply it as it sees fit; have a national referendum on it; take it to the courts under the Roe v Wade case and get the court system to apply the same standards nationwide; ignore it and move on.

Thoughts?

I disagree Cul De Sac. Dugan, Gacy, McVeigh, Mohammed. There is no reason for these people to be alive. They did and never would provide one ounce of benefit to society. If DNA links you, then you are about as guily as can be.

Like I said before, this case is the poster child for those against the death penalty. But we have come a long way with DNA evidence. Those 1970's confessions in Chicago probably wouldn't happen as much nowadays. That is if they are being properly governed by internal controls and state auditors. Still need checks and balances.

All this discussion - such as it is - is healthy, and may one day get us on the path toward eliminating the death penalty. The Dugan jury did everyone a disfavor by making a decision from their brain stems, rather than from their forebrains (wherein lies reason and intelligence). The only "benefit" from killing Dugan is revenge, pure and simple. "Closure" is merely a emphamism for revenge. Capital punishment provides NO OTHER BENEFITS...it's not a deterrence to murder, and it's "punishment" value is questionable, compared with rotting in a cell. But thanks to that jury, we DuPage County taxpayers have to shell out the enormous costs of Dugan's appeals. Finally, it's naive to think that we can maintain a death penalty only for those who we are "absolutely sure" did the deed; then where do we draw the legal line defining who's a "sure thing" and who isn't? DNA? fingerprints? Confession? Lots of innocent men "confessed" at Chicago police HQ in the 1970's...remember?

The death penalty should be reinstated, but with modifications:

1)Only use it for the most heinous crimes—the Dugans and Gacy’s of the world.
2)Require physical evidence (preferably DNA) to tie someone to a crime, not just witness testimony.

T.B.

Anonymous One...

Interesting. I guess to me "Punishment" is just changing a label. Ya, it is punishment but that is like labeling the difference between spanking & abuse. Some might say their 'abuse' is just "discipline." It is a discipline but...

You said, "not give this person an opportunity at redemption"...that struck me deep. A few things so far I'm thinking...is anyone totally written off? There seems to be some, perhaps disorganized schizophrenics, but then you get someone like Dr. John Nash who has recovered. His brilliant son is not so lucky so far to have recovered but...how many young gang members do turn their lives around? Yes, less of a crime situation but I guess the idea is also do we give the opportunity at aleast? Hmmm really even if we did not give the opportunity for redemption, God still does, at least I've been told that. If we choose to perform the death penalty & we mere humans do not provide the redemption, God will. First, by the person simply asking for forgiveness. That is the idea, at least with some faiths, that Jesus died to forgive all of us humans who are sinners. I don't think there was any fine print like contracts & side effect for medication saying..."except the following crimes..." but I can't say I've read the whole Bible & maybe I was absent or sleeping (sorry) during that reading. As I said I'm more spiritual than religious so I can't say I understand my particular faith perfectly either. I do have quite a few disagreements with it. My faith does certainly mention "a judgment day", "Purgatory" and "Hell" but this is where some have issue also. Again, lets say God made you a Disorganized Schizophrenic or just gave you a brain which obviously can't understand or care about harming another. How can he hold it against that person when He made you this way? Again, the behavior is clearly unacceptable but if your brain really can't understand or control your behavior...wouldn't you complain to the manufacturer. HA! Then it ultimately gets into the philosophical question of do we truly have free will/choice? This is why I'm not ready to say little ol human me can make such a decision. I will let God do it! :-)

I do know the last line of the Prayer of St. Francis, but I don't think God meant it for us to make a judgment on it being ok to kill the person or would then that hold true for suicide which has been very much not acceptable. Again, people argue we put animals out of their misery so why can't we do that for another or ourselves. Here again, when it is your family member or you, then one has a different perspective. You mentioned "who deserves it" also. I wonder who are we to decide who deserves it. To me God is the only one. There are other societies/cultures who deem a woman shaming her family in some way as deserving to die. You know how many women we would have left in the US if that were the case here? Oh boy! We think they are wrong of course. Who knows for sure? Only American's can correctly figure out who deserves it? And the mere idea that you get a different set of jurors and they might have a different outcome on the decision...hmmm.

You also mention "Jump Start", which means before God wanted them to die. Of course then again someone might say, maybe that is how God wanted them to die? See not so easy!!! Interesting. You do make me think...oh no!

OWVY: I know what you mean, the bible preaches love, compassion and forgiveness, and it's never too late to receive any of these from God. People, however, are much harder to convince. There are books written around the topic of "why do bad things happen to good people". There are also many questions and mysteries around the issues of good/bad. When it comes to the death penalty I think that many people decide one way or another most likely based on a specific case. i.e. My assumption is that people close to the Nicarico's are in favor of a death penalty, while people related to the Cruz family in Aurora are opposed.

I agree that those for/against are often labeled with extreme verbiage and quite often take a fanatical approach. words such as "Monsters" and "revenge" are often given as reason to carry out the task. For me, I try to keep it as "punishment" for something so heinous as to not give this person an opportunity at redemption. Now if I actually knew someone sentenced to die, or if I knew their families, I might have a different take on the topic.

I'm not trying to make light of this, but in the Prayer of St. Francis that you posted a link to, the last line is: "and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen" I know this is out of context, but putting someone to death (who deserves it) simply gives them a jump start on "eternal life"! (Again, I don't mean to make light of this, but I couldn't resist.)

They may have already brought it back. Unfortunately, it may be political executions.

Anonymous ONE...

Thanks for reading my post & I like your thoughts which are to the point & not bashing, as unfortunately we have had from some in the past.

To be a bit clearer, I'm not saying a potential human being who has not committed any crime is valued exactly the same as a murderer, but I'm saying even if I see it as different it is a judgment of what value the life has. In the case of capital punishment we are saying we can draw the line in the sand rather than God, which is what I use, but some may not be as spiritual. I have no idea why God lets things like this happen and the purpose. I do believe everything happens for a reason. It is tough for me with things like this to figure out & many I don't & just trust in God that He has a reason. Perhaps it is to test me to see if I can be compassionate even for the worst of a human. I don't want to come across too preachy because if you knew me you'd know I'm not really very religious but rather spiritual, but I'll still mention this despite stating that. I like the Prayer of St. Francis, though my favorite is the "Love is Patient, Love is Kind." Many know it, parts like "Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon...all I can say is I try & every time I am tested with a situation and I don't do as well I should, I ask for forgiveness and try again next time.

If you read people's comments who are in favor of the death penalty they do not say we should have the death penalty expressing the need for it as a compassionate reason. There is a great deal of anger and revenge. We had "keeping these monsters alive". There is no compassion on what made this person like this. Is it something they were born with? If so then is it their fault? Is it something or many factors which happened in their life rather than biology? Is it both? Is that their fault then? It is easy to say "they are monsters" and not get to the real reason because it is scary to think there may be a cause they can't control. It may be scary to think we as a society contributed to their behavior. I have a past student who now works with teen sexual offenders. She comes and speaks to my class and it is quite compelling. We call adults offenders "monsters" forgetting many times they were the sweet innocent child who was offended themselves at one point and did not receive any help. Not all are this scenario but many are. Again, not acceptable behavior but I would rather be on the side of love, compassion and forgiveness for all, as I would want someone to do for me. I am certainly not there yet but I can't give up and "go to the dark side" letting hatred, revenge or apathy take over my spirit.

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pray0027.htm

This question is almost too close to home, I can't answer the question without seeing Dugan's picture along with the picture of Jeanine Nicarico. So on the micro level, Dugan should be put to death as JQP has said.

On the macro level the question is certainly a hot button issue, and one of those without a clear cut answer.

Ken introduced the scenario his friend on a jury was asked: "Could you personally flip the switch to end this person's life?" That's a powerful argument, but if you reverse it, I could just as easily ask; "Could you go to the family members of the victim and explain to them that you feel the death penalty is not warranted?"

OWVY wrote: "To me if I kill them I am just like them then. I disagree with you owvy, I do not agree that someone who commits a premeditated crime that is as heinous as the Nicarico case is the same as carrying out a punishment of death on them. Murder and Punishment are two different concepts and come from opposite sides of the spectrum. I also disagree that abortion and capital punishment are the same. I know you said "some" people, but I believe that putting an innocent life to death (abortion) is very different than putting a guilty murderer to death. I agree that the term "guilty murderer" has not been as clear cut as we would like to think. I don't mean to preach, and actually believe that abortion is acceptable in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother are in danger. I just disagree that abortion and capital punishment are the same thing.

As an interesting side note: I wonder what would have happened if Hernandez and Cruz had been found guilty, but sentenced to life instead of death back in the mid 80's? The automatic appeals and re-trials of a capital punishment case would not have taken place, and both would probably be serving out life sentences today. In a twisted way, their death sentence probably contributed to them being free today? (Not trying to make this an argument for death sentences, but just pointing out what appears to be a crazy irony).

I also have issues with the death penalty. Not anything for or against the victims or the guilty parties, simply within what I feel I could do myself as far as killing someone. It may be my personal faith that keeps me from thinking I could make the decision to take someone's life as a punishment.

The cost for lifelong incarceration vs the cost of my soul if I did make the decision to end someone's life? This might be very different for me if the victim was someone I was close to. I don't mean to judge, I don't know if I could do it.

Ken, I agree that it would be difficult to serve on a death penalty jury, however, it appears that prisons offer little in the way of deterrence to the criminal element. To us, the thought of losing our freedom is unimaginable, but it appears that Dugan is quite comfortable with his life in prison. There must be some mental/emotional line of adjustment that is crossed with the realization that "this is it". And those prisoners in the general population have the privilege to sue if they don't get their crunch peanut butter. Prisons ain't what they used to be.

By John Q. Public on November 15, 2009 11:21 PM

Brian Dugan is a walking, talking argument for the death penalty. If capital punishment is ever justified, it is justified for Mr. Dugan. The Nicarico murder case, however, is a shining example of why there should not be a death penalty.
----------------------------

Good point. The system has been changed since then and since the moratorium was instituted. Hopefully, the changes have corrected the evils that caused the wrongful convictions.

Brian Dugan is a walking, talking argument for the death penalty. If capital punishment is ever justified, it is justified for Mr. Dugan. The Nicarico murder case, however, is a shining example of why there should not be a death penalty.

Not sure this is the same "Ken" as past postings...I mean how many Ken's are there on the planet so...but I actually agree with you. Although I will say that it was the Milgram experiment which showed most people would shock others at the highest levels for simply getting a word wrong, so we may be in the minority not being able to pull the switch. To me if I kill them I am just like them then. It certainly would not be self-defense at that point. I allow then the beginnings of evil and hate to reside in me even a bit.

I have never liked the idea of the death penalty. I've been on a jury as a foreman in fact and it was difficult alone to known for sure or yes reasonable doubt, and send the person to jail. Very tough case though! They lost evidence and it was a mess. And it does worry me of all the cases now which are being overturned with the new DNA technology.

Someone said, "An Eye for an Eye", well the Bible also says to turn the other cheek. This is why the Bible has issues or is open to be interpretting in many different ways in my opinion but another discussion for another day. I do know that the God I believe in is the one that should be making the ultimate judgment on life and death. He (or She) is also the one who has the greatest compassion and much more than I have many days, even for myself. I'm supposed to have mercy on others, pray for them and show love in the face of evil. There but for the Grace of God go I or my family & friends! He shows mercy for us with a simple "I'm sorry." Many of us in society would have a hard time forgiving someone who said this. Many do not just for everyday human mistakes we make. I also know he states he has created each & every one of us, so to kill something God made is something I would not like to respond to God with, but then heck I have problems killing spiders and the like so. I think the only way I could is in self defense & even then I would ask God for forgiveness, but then I'm asking God for forgiveness even when I occasionally call someone an idiot when driving & how many people do this behavior quite often and do not care?

I find it very odd that SOME of the same people who are against abortion are not against the death penalty. Some are against both but...I know some will see those two as very different things, but to me we are making the judgment on the value of a life in both and that gets very dangerous. I'm not sure I, nor do I think others, are the ones to make the decision on life and death. It is a tough decision even for say on what one does at the end of their own life, decisions with Power of Attorney/Living Will or a family member, but this is for a horrific crime. It comes down to one's philosophy or hopefully scientific evidence on what you believe causes people to commit crimes. Being in Psychology I have a much different perspective. Insanity is very different than being mentally ill. One can be mentally ill but not insane. For example, someone may know what they are doing is wrong but can not control their impulses. If it was easy people with OCD could control a simple impulse of washing their hands or checking locks.

Jerome Kagan & others also believe some understand an act of behavior is wrong but lack the moral emotions to prevent them from actually caring if they do wrong. And you will hear that from many in society, children & adults. "I know it is wrong, I don't care." Amazing! Why???? In addition, Philip Zimbardo & others believe anyone has the potential to kill if the right circumstances occur. Of course that certainly means self-defense as a circumstance but just look how many are killing due to continuous bullying or really social emotional & physical abuse. Look how many are killing due to the economic conditions we have. Many neighbors and relatives will say I can't believe it, they would be the last person I would expect to do something like this. Until you have someone in your family who is mentally ill and/or who has done a crime like this or lesser you really do not understand the perspective. How many can't control drinking for example...the brain is very complex. I'm not at all excusing the behavior. It is not acceptable, but it does make me always thank God I can control my behavior...at least so far.

By no means do I wish to diminish my sympathy for the victims of crimes like this. I can't imagine what it would be like & I hope I never have to know. I do believe that killing them is the easy way out. They do not suffer then. I agree the govt paying for them to get an education, have cable, have exercise equipment etc is not a punishment. I discuss this in my classes! It is like sending your child to their room & they get to play their IPod, video games etc. They have a better life than many others in society. This is how we reinforce repeat offenders. So fix the system instead. Have them pay for their living like everyone else and then some! Have them do work that ends up benefiting society even more! Have them pay taxes like all of us. It would mean a real system overhaul, but what the heck it is needed and quite frankly we need it in many different areas, not just the economy & healthcare so...maybe even in the name of science they agree to testing and later donating their brain to science to learn why these people do behave in this manner. Dahmer never agreed to this so they could not keep his brain, though they tried.

Just my view not meaning to lecture or preach....just what I believe at this moment in time.

On a VERY odd note, and not at all to make light of all this...Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is on my tv right now by default...came on after last show. The actual scene is for Harry to kill Bellatrix Lestrange out of revenge...but what will he be then? "It is how you are different." "You are the weak one...you will never know Love and Friendship and I feel sorry for you." It is the Love he feels & the compassion/mercy that rids him of evil/revenge he feels and wants to act on...Ugh...now I'll be thinking all evening...Oh No!! ;-)

This is a tough question.

There is absolutely no doubt that the system is too flawed to completely lift the moratorium in it's entirety.

In the case of Brian Dugan, the proof of his guilt is now officially beyond question. From early on in this case there was more evidence implicating him than there was Rolando Cruz or Alejandro Hernandez. Not only did the pattern of crimes he was convicted of bear similarities to the Jeanine Nicarico case, one of which involved the homicide of a 7 year old girl, in 1985 he confessed that he alone had committed those crimes and the Jeanine Nicarico murder, and offered to plead guilty in exchange for an agreement that they not seek the death penalty for him. Now more recently there is DNA evidence to substantiate the rest of the evidence they had against him.

In this case his guilt and the crushing brutality of his crimes are beyond question, admitted, confessed, and in the Jeanine Nicarico case scientifically proven by DNA. Although we are currently focusing on his guilt in Jeanine Nicarico's murder, she was not his only victim, imagine the pain the 7 year old girls family lives with or worse yet the terror that tiny child experienced before he ended her life, and the others he murdered and raped.

No punishment could ever fit those crimes, nothing could equal the terror, harm and pain he subjected so many to. Our laws prohibit the use of "cruel and unusual punishment" against those convicted of crimes, but how could any punishment inflicted against him even begin to equal the cruel and unusual punishment he put his victims and their families through?

What he put those innocent children through leaves me weaping for them and enraged at him, so in my opinion, contrary to my normally extremely pacifistic personality, not only should the moratorium on the death penalty be lifted specifically for this specific case, the execution should at least be in keeping with the cruel and unusual punishment he put his victims through, it should be very terrifying, brutal and painful. And it also should be very public.

They say the death penalty does not deter crimes. When it is performed in some clean sterile room, in a manner intended to be as painless as possible for the person and with minimal onlookers out of respect for the criminals end, other than the lack of choice, one might equate the experience to preparing to be anesthetized for surgery, there is very little to instill the fear of consequences involved in this that could be expected to deter crimes. What I suggest above for Brian Dugan on the other hand would likely strike enough fear in the hearts of others thinking they might get away with something similar, to make them seek psychiatric help instead.

I said in the beginning of my tirade that there is absolutely no doubt that the system is too flawed to completely lift the moratorium in it's entirety. Despite my feelings in this particular case, I do sincerely believe this to be true. There really is nothing left to question in Brian Dugan's guilt, but cases so brutal enrage the public, we want answers, we want captures, we want convictions and it could easily be said we want revenge for the victim. We trust and depend on our legal system to provide that for us, we demand it, and when it comes to a crime that enrages us so, we are willing to blindly believe that when our trusted legal system holds someone up before us as the enemy, we seldom question it, they are the ones we are putting our trust and faith in to protect us after all.

But what happened in this case has to make one stop and think a minute, even those we think we can trust, can prove fallible and unworthy of our trust. How can we oversee such a thing to ensure that it never happens again, accidentally or intentionally? The other day I left a post on Scott Hubers thread, stating in effect that when someone raises the specter of abuses of power within our trusted legal system, those allegations need to be thoroughly investigated to protect the safety of all citizens, and if proven true the abuser should be barred from serving any such position of trust or power over the citizens for the rest of their lives. These people are just people, just like the rest of us and just like any other human being can succumb to their human frailties, become corrupted and no longer be worthy of our trust, or the power we provide them to protect us. If we fail to investigate allegations of corruption or abuse we could find ourselves living in more fear of those we trusted to protect us, than those we entrusted them with the power to protect us from.

What really motivated me to drive that last bit home is that I also read this evening that Jim Ryan is running for Illinois Governor. In 1985 he was the Dupage County States Attorney that oversaw the trial of Rolando Cruz and Alejendro Hernandez and conviction. When Dugan confessed he was aware of it but attempted to discount it intently focused on Cruz and Hernandez during their appeals. He worked and intentionally prevented information regarding Dugans confession from being admitted and heard in these proceedings. When he could have simply issued an apology that apparently there had been a mistake, he instead continued to pursue the same course which nearly lead to the executions of two innocent men rather than admit a mistake.

He should be barred from serving any position involving the trust of and power above the public, he broke that trust long ago.

YES and make sentences given out on all crimes TRUE TIME. If a thief is sentenced for three years, make it three complete years. No parole, no shortened sentences for any reason. Why go through the whole judicial process if sentences are shortened beause of good behavior, sickness or over crowding of prisons. Let them sleep in shifts if overcrowding is the case.Harsh... too bad they made the decisions that put themselves there.

I used to be a staunch supporter of the death penalty until one of my coworkers was called for jury duty on a case with the possibility of the death penalty. He too was a staunch supporter of the death penalty until the defense attorney started asking prospective jurors this question: "Could you personally flip the switch to end this person's life?". I know I couldn't unless it was my own family member that was killed by the murderer.

My feeling now is that murderers should get true life in prison, never paroled, regular prison cells in general population without any privileges for the rest of their stay. Make their life in prison worse than dying.

Not so fast. I agree with comments about the lenthy appeals process and high costs associated with a death row sentence. If the intent of the legislation was "...to restore the offender to useful citizenship", does it make sense for criminals to make some positive contribution to society during their time of incarceration? Could their skills be used in some useful way? Then, if they are able to return to society, they would have a valuable skill that allows them to pursue gainful employment instead of resorting to crime. Would it make sense for criminals to be allowed to participate in research during their time of incarceration that would help society learn how to prevent these crimes in the future?

On the one hand I object to the government taking life. On the other, I am absolutely sick with continually seeing that grinning, smug Dugan every time I look at the Sun Times web site. He's somebody who desperately needs execution, and soon.

I think, if we are going to have the death penalty, it needs to be effectively carried out. That means an end to endless years of appeals. If a jury hands down a guilty verdict in a capital case they need to know the sentence will be carried out within 30 days. That ought to focus their minds somewhat, and will also mean prosecutors only seek the death penalty in the most egregious cases where there is no room for doubt.

As for the execution method itself, we need an end to people being put down with drugs like elderly pets. I personally favor the firing squad. That could be made up of state troopers, police or correctional officers or even random members of the public who put their names forward for consideration.

My suggestions would result in
- Fewer wrongful convictions brought in by juries keen to get home for the weekend
- Rapid and satisfying closure for victims' families.
- Less money and grandstanding opportunities for lawyers
- Less taxpayer dollars spent warehousing killers

Anyone who supports reinstatement of the Death Penalty in Illinois can email Governor Quinn to express their opinion and ask that he lift the moratorium, starting with the case of Brian Dugan.
http://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactthegovernor.cfm

Absolutely not.
For my part, I don't care what the expenses are. My argument is twofold. LIfe in prison is a greater punishment than the death penalty. The State should not be in the business of killing for revenge. Keep the worst offenders out of the general population for many, many years or on some cases forever. But putting them to death is not a workable solution.
Of course, I also tend to believe that no matter the sentence, prisoners should be put to work, license plates, furniture, whatever.

The problem is that it costs more to execute a person than a life sentence, due to the expense of the required appeals.

We could streamline the process like Texas, but they just executed an apparently innocent man recently. Perry should be ashamed of himself.

I for a long time looked at Art. I, Sec. 11 of the state constitution for guidance on this topic. It says:

"SECTION 11. LIMITATION OF PENALTIES AFTER CONVICTION
All penalties shall be determined both according to the
seriousness of the offense and with the objective of
restoring the offender to useful citizenship."

Based on this passage I would maintain that the death penalty should be abolished because one who is dead cannot be restored to useful citizenship.

Then someone like Dugan and Gacy and Speck come along and it changes my whole opinion and reminds me of why we might need the death penalty.

I'm all for the death penalty but this case sure supports the reasons why there shouldn't be a death penalty. At least one other innocent person would have already died.

I absolutely think the Death Penalty should be reinstated in Illinois for without-a-doubt cases, especially those like Brian Dugan, where he confessed to the crime.

I don't want my hard-earned tax dollars to go toward feeding, housing, clothing, providing health care, and maintaining someone like Brian Dugan. Why should our money go to the Brian Dugans of the state while the victim's families and friends have to suffer and fight to go on with their shattered lives? He, and others like him, could never safely be set free in mainstream society. If these criminals receive multiple life sentences with no chance of parole, let's save our time and money.

We shouldn't have to pay to keep these monsters alive while these families and friends mourn the violent and sudden loss of their innocent loved ones. Justice needs to be served.

Yes! The time has come to crank up the electric chair and clean out our prisons. Way past time to save the taxpayers money on housing murders.

Yes and since criminals are afforded a speedy trial, the prosecution should also be allowed a speed in carrying out the sentences given. Prisoners on death row should be given one year to exhaust their appeals. Then do the deed. Death row should be just that. The victims of these violent people and their families didn`t have appeals to fall back on to delay their fate. Though legalized killing sounds terible, an eye for an eye is the right thing to do. Why house, feed, give medical and dental services to these mis-fits. Those dollars could be used elsewhere. It costs a lot of cash for every inmate. They put themselves in their situation and have no one else to blame. For those that don`t agree with te death penalty, join a group and collect dues that would go towards keeping these killers alive.

Bring it back for one day so Dugan can have his sentence carried out.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Magee, moderator published on November 12, 2009 4:25 PM.

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