Friday, December 16, 2005

The Death Penalty

REVISITED AND REVISED The death of someone very close to me as once again reminded me of the sanctity of life.That and my ever increasing relationship with God as prompted me once again to open this debate.I have included some new material,as well as further references.I welcome your feedback and comments,you may either leave them here or email me at be sure to fill the subject line appropriately.Some of the statistics mentioned where gleamed from the
Death Penalty Information Center

The Death of Innocents
I will freely admit,there are people out there that are better of dead,and if it came to be that it was up to me to pull the trigger,push the plunger,open the chute,drop the blade,toss the torch,throw the switch or cast the first stone,I would have no trouble doing it.
Clifford Olsen,Ted Bundy,Charles Ng,Ted List or any of about 50 that any Google search of Serial Killers would reveal are prime candidates for the death penalty,and and in fact some have already met their fate at the hands of the public.However,I also think that death is too easy of a punishment for these monsters.Since,and rightly so, we are no longer a society that condones the use of torture as a part of sentencing,and that we do in fact go to all lengths to protect our prisoners from any form of abuse(we fail miserably in most cases) the worst punishment we can give anyone is total lock-down in a solitary setting.For most this would be a deplorable condition to live in,for others,such as myself,it would be considered preferable to any other living arrangement,of the choices in prison that is.
I have died before,it's easy to die,I think we should make them live in confinement,the only visitors allowed would be friends and family of the victims,so they could taunt them unmercifully,record them to play back over and over.Paint the photo's from the crime scene on the walls and celings of their cells,let them live with what they have done until they are finally sent to Hell!
I sometimes get carried away don't I?My proposal is not meant to be taken seriously,just venting.
As much as I detest what some of these monsters have done,and no matter how much I feel they deserve to die.....


What?Did you not just say that you would have no problem executing people like Ted Bundy or Clifford Olsen? (Olsen is Canada's most infamous child killers)
Yep,I would gladly make them die,I would do it slow,their screams would mean nothing to me as I sent them on their road to Hell!
Then why no death penalty?
Lets throw a few other names into the mix shall we?
Hurricane Carter,Guy Paul Morin and Canada's most famous David Milgard.Then there is Joe Amrine,Ryan Matthews,and Harold Wilson,the very last to join this list.
What do this names have in common?They were all convicted of murder,and if the crime they were accused of had taken place at a different time or location,they would now be dead,MURDERED by society,as they all had their convictions overturned,as they were all INNOCENT!
Another Death Row Inmate Found Innocent
DNA has freed another inmate on death row--this time in Louisiana. Ryan Matthews was sentenced to death as a teenager. After seven years, his claims of innocence have been confirmed.He was the one hundred and fifteenth.
Harold Wilson,the last to exonerated was done so only lst month,Nov 15th/2005

These are far from being isolated cases.Since 1973 there has been in the United States alone 122 that is one hundred and twenty two! Also since 1973 there have been just over 6000,that is six thousand people sentenced to death,and since a MINIMUM of 122 are innoncent that means just over 2% of those sentenced to death where innocent.Just two percent,that's not bad odds is it?
In the 25 years from 1973 to 1998, there were an average of 2.96 Exonerations per year. In the five years since 1998, thru 2003, that average has risen to 7.60 Exonerations.There were 6 exonerations in 2004.

Florida as the dubious honour of leading all other states in exoneration's with twenty one.Is this a reflection on the honesty of their judicial system?or a sign of it's corruption?What I find particularly troublesome is Texas,which by far as the highest number on death row,but yet even Illionios as more exonerations.I find it highly doubtful that their juducial system is that much more efficent at finding the innocent.I think instead it is that much more libel to refuse to hear evidence of innocents.
To date there have been one thousand and three executions in the United States since the return of the death penalty.We have already established that two percent of all convictions were done so in error,does it not also stand to reason that two percent of those executed where innocent?Alright,lets give the DA office a little more credit,lets say only one percent were innocent,thats not so bad is it?That means we(as in society) have only murdered ten people in the United States under the death penalty.Not bad at all,right?
No way you say,can't be true,the very fact that some were freed means that the system ultimately worked,right?
There are some very troublesome cases where there as been new evidence or evidence that the courts refused to hear.Executed But Possibly Innocent is a web-page from the Death Penalty information Center.I also challenge any doubters to readThe Death of Innocents by Sister Helen Prejean,of Dead Man walking fame
Take at look at the list of executions and the notes attached in this graph from the Death Penalty Information Center .If after examining all of that evidence you still believe that no innocent as ever been executed(I am talking only recent history,since 1973) well then,I have a bridge that you might be interested in.

The one thing that makes a democracy sacred is the idea of equality for all.It is not,as some would have you think,a system where the majority always gets their way,it is a system where even the tiniest MINORITY is offered the same protections and rights as the majority.
If you could show me a law proposal that was equal and fair for EVERY member of society,and this law was to provide a basis for the death in some cases but not others,I would vote for it.However this is not possible,there would always be an inequality some where for someone at some time.

NO PROSECUTOR OR POLICE OFFICER WOULD ELICIT FALSE TESTIMONY! ha ha ha ha haaahaahhqahhhqahha oooohhheyy! sorry,I just couldn't stop laughing! and lol just didn't cover it
I can,from very personal experience,refute that statement all to Hell,I have been one more then one occasion been offered deals if I would only ...bla blah.
The very nature of their work(law officials) makes it essential for them to appear faultless and without prejudice.In order to perpetuate this myth of infallibility,there have been many a DOCUMENTED case of cover ups,"losing",or the out right withholding of vital defense evidence.
Witnesses who had recanted their testimony,thus clearing a suspect,suddenly find them selves the victim of a sting,(where there is crime,you will have criminals as witnesses) and suddenly facing a new string of charges they once again change their stories.If there is one thing that is abundantly clear after years of research,eye witness testimony is more often then not worthless,and when you get the "eye witness"testimony from a career criminal...
That is not an idle speculation on my part,but an established fact,which once again we will explore further at a later date.
This is called by me a debate,and in any debate there are two sides.I have made my position known,and will be re-enforcing my argument in later publications,but I would love to hear from YOU!
For those who will use the Bible to legitimatizing the death penalty,that old eye for an eye jazz,forgeting the part where the Lord says "vengeance is mine"I suggest this.
When we are tried in a court of law,we are to have a jury of our peers.It is this same jury that in most states it falls to impose or negate the death penalty.I propose this,let those twelve just men and women who judge that a man should die,let them be the instuments of that execution.Give then each a rifle and have them look at the man they are about to kill.If this system were ever in place, I think there would be a very sharp reduction of those who would vote to kill another.
That just my view from outside of those prison walls.

Dedicated to the Memory of Bonnie Rose Ahenakew
Free at Last

Don't Grieve for Me,for now I'm Free
I'm following the path God has laid,you see
I took His hand when I heard His call.
I turned around and left it all.
I could not stay another day.
To laugh,to love,to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found the peace on a sunny day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joys.
A family shared,a laugh,a kiss.
Oh yes,these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full,I've savored much.
Good family,good times,a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief.
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts,and peace to thee.
God wanted me now;
He set me FREE!

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Anonymous Debs said...

Just opened up your site - wonderful. Looks like this is going to be the place to come and I so admire your honesty and sense of humour in dealing with your past. Well done. This really needs saying about the Death Penalty and the Justice System.

10/9/05 10:53 PM  
Blogger shirley said...

The taking of life is wrong, whether its done by someone on the streets, or in the death chamber. Instead of posting myself, I'd like to post something my youngest son Trevor dicks wrote.

It shows how the death penalty hurts the families of the condemned, and makes new victims to violence and death .

I, like so many other Americans, was under the assumption, that if you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth you would get proper justice. I woke up to find that it just isn't so. I learned that families are destroyed, for no other reason, but because of their skin color or lack of wealth.

I quickly learned that truth and justice no longer played a role in the courts, but it had been replaced by politics and how many votes a death penalty conviction attracts.

With the help of gruesome headlines from the news, they set the stage to sell the public an act of vengeance; a guise to solve their ever-growing fear of crime and violence problem with a quick fix. Even after twenty years, it's still being bought and sold like a commodity.

We were considered second class citizens - poor. But my family was just like millions of others; we went to church every week and watched fireworks on the Fourth of July. We never went without food or clothing because my Dad worked six days a week and our mother made most of our clothes.

I didn't understand what was happening inside of me at that time. I was being shunned by society and rapidly filling up with anger toward any and all authority.

Everything I had been brought up to believe I found myself doubting. My mother tried desperately to hold my family together and save my brother's life, but the heavy strain was taking its toll on my father, who was drinking every day now.

This became an even heavier burden to carry. He was out of work now and all their savings were exhausted, so they sold our house and divorced after seventeen years of marriage.

I could not find a single friend to express these feelings with because I was also condemned. Adults literally pulled my friends away from me, like I was some kind of a beast because I had a brother on death row. I could not understand why this was happening to our family.

I thought even God had abandoned me, and it was many, many years before I found my way back to Him.

I thought even God had abandoned me, and it was many years before I found my way back to Him. I tried to carry on with school but my teacher seemed to have it in for me also. I began to get into trouble for fighting because my classmates and teachers were saying these terrible lies about my big brother - being a murderer.

I remember one day I felt so bad. That was the day my neighbor and best friend of 6 years told me he wasn't allowed to play with me anymore. We shook hands and went our ways. I don't think he understood why either, but we never saw each other again.

I prayed daily and waited for an answer, but it seemed like there was one bad thing happening after another.

My family was separating. By now my Dad and Laurie were in New York. Tina, now 16, stayed in Asheville, NC and found work to help with Jeff's attorney fees before going to trial.

We were told by one attorney that he wanted $100,000 minimum to defend Jeff, and if not, he would die. I left the fourth grade behind and Mom and I set out on the road.

My new stepfather, Donald, gave up a lot to try to save my brother. He sold his land, his trailer; everything of value along with our house and cars, but it still wasn't enough. I remember being at the flea market in North Carolina, shortly before we set out on the road.

We were selling every thing of value in our home, things we had accumulated as a family our entire lives. I remember seeing Mom crying and I asked her why, she told me she was just sad because she didn't know how she was going to come up with all the money for Jeff's attorney.

Without hesitating, I quickly surrendered the few dollars I had made selling some of my old toys and things, but this only made her cry harder.

After a few moments she pulled me to her for a hug and told me what a big helper I was. It felt pretty good to think I was helping my brother too, still I knew from overhearing conversations we were a long way away from raising that money.

My Mom did see the potential in the flea market and after exhausting every other option except robbing a bank, she decided she would write "hot" checks to purchase tools and things that we could sell at the markets. She knew this was illegal and so did I but it was either that or Jeff would surely die! So, we set out to the biggest markets we could find.

It felt great and I became quite the little salesman. We had two booths and Mom would let me sell by myself at one, while she and Donald sold at the other. I was pulling in 500-600 dollars a day and there seemed to be some hope. Mom raised thousands of dollars in the months that followed and sent nearly every cent of it to Jeff's attorney, Larry Smith.

I remember the trial well. My mother was upstairs in jail for contempt of court because she dared cry out to the jury when evidence was not allowed in my brother's behalf. "That's a filthy lie!" got my Mom ten days.

Laurie and Tina were both kicked out for crying. My uncles were kicked out of the entire state, and my Dad, of course, was in no shape to be in a courtroom.

I'll never forget the look of terror on Jeff's face and the feeling of terror as the judge read the sentence. DEAD,DEAD, DEAD!!

I could see his whole body shaking as he turned around in the courtroom looking, searching desperately for someone to rescue him from this nightmare. The guards had a firm hold on his arms that were shackled to his waist.

They immediately started to escort him from the courtroom, pulling and tugging vigorously. I could hear the sound of his leg irons as they dragged on the floor over the noise of the prosecutor’s celebration.

I watched, helpless to save him, as they dragged him closer to the door. Everything in me told me they were taking him straight to the chair.

Nana and Pop could offer no words through their tears and we made our way out of the courthouse. My heart was racing and at the same time breaking. No one was telling me squat to put it bluntly.

That's when I heard my mother's screams coming from the bars over the courthouse. If there is an actual 'Moment of Terror', I was in it.

Visions of my Mom watching my brother being executed from behind her bars overpowered my mind. Her screams were long and agonizing and I wasn't about to wait any longer for answers or actions.

I began pulling on my step dad desperately pleading with him to help me save my big brother and maybe even Mom too. I was jumping up and down ready to burst into an all out run, an all out fight if necessary, back into the courthouse through all those policemen.

I guess good sense told me to go get reinforcements as I pulled Larry and Donald. Mom's screams had stopped but mine were still going strong deep inside.

I guess it was at that moment everyone realized that I didn't have a clue, and my Grandma and step dad began to educate me on the appeals process and that we still had some time.

The following days, weeks, months were a blur. I guess I went into shock and I don't know if I've ever really come out of it.

There were some 23 mistakes at Jeff's trial. Witnesses were told not to testify in Jeff's behalf. Please read the Jeff Dicks story for all the facts about Jeff's case.

These facts come straight from trial transcripts. The police were hot and heavy after Mom in the days that followed the trial, and there was probably a truancy officer looking for me.

We had some close calls but I guess we were lucky, they never did catch us. Every close call was kind of like a round won against the heavy weight champion, the world, the system that started this bout and was by no means playing by the rules.

Mom turned herself in to the FBI, as she wanted to be there for Jeff. Knowing Mom was desperately trying to save her son's life she received probation with restitution.

I couldn't find a single reason why all this was happening to our family and I became very confused and angered. The things I found along the road that was laid before me included drugs and alcohol.

When just a little bit would no longer ease the pain it led to serious substance abuse. I traveled from state to state looking for something to change the way I was feeling inside, never staying more than a few months in any one place.

I settled back in Asheville, NC, and it was there I met Darlene. We married and started a family of our own, but my low self-esteem and lack of trust in society made it impossible to maintain any kind of relationship. We soon divorced.

I moved from NC back to Tennessee. My mother was there and I hoped to find some work. But what I found was myself, in and out of jail mostly for fighting or public drunkenness. My depression seemed incurable. I had tried everything but nothing seemed to change the hopeless outlook I now had on life.
All I wanted to do was go to sleep. Forever....

I found a field close to my trailer, and in the early morning hours I laid down beneath the stars. I waited and watched until those big bright stars slowly faded, until at last I found peace.

I remember hearing sniffles and a soft whimpering, I could feel a hand caressing my cheek and head. I struggled to focus my eyes, but there was still a haze.

I felt a few more strokes to my face, and then from the darkness she began to appear. It was Mom, her eyes were swollen and her eyeliner stained her face. She cringed up and I saw the tears come streaming down her face. "Oh, Trevor," was all she could muster.

It had taken doctors 67 stitches to stop the life from pouring out of my wrists. I felt so ashamed, as if it was Mom and me against the world and I had left her there to fend for herself.
"Oh, Trevor," she said again, "I've fought so hard to save one son and I may lose him, I can't take losing you too."

I could almost feel how hopeless she felt. I knew it was the same helplessness she felt as my brother's death sentence came down. I knew she would take away all my pain and put it on herself if she could.

I promised her I would never try that again. I felt like a kid again as I entered my apartment to find my clothes washed and folded, dishes done and some macaroni salad on the counter with a note that read, "Love, Mom."

I felt so guilty taking so much of Mom's time in her already full schedule. I tried to shy away some, but it didn't seem to work very well. My Mom can be a very stubborn lady when she sets her mind to something.

Mom tried desperately to find someone to help me with my depression, someone to help me sort through all the mixed up distorted feelings that were reeking havoc deep inside my soul.

Mom and I spent a lot of time together after that, but she would soon be by my bedside again. I was a victim in a violent crime and was robbed, beaten, pistol-whipped and left to stare death in the face.

The anger inside me manifested into hatred directed at almost everything. I found myself unleashing it at my car, beating it in a rage, or at anyone who dared try to tell me anything I didn't want to hear. I can still see the burning hatred in their eyes and hear the gunfire like it was yesterday.

I began to realize once again, just how precious life is. There was no more room for anger, my body simply could not harbor it. It was time for change. Hatred no longer consumed my soul, instead I was given the gift of reconciliation.

I no longer looked for vengeance or alcohol to ease and suppress my feelings of anger. I began to understand that I was in fact a victim and my healing process began. The burden I carried for so many years was lifted from me and words can not express to you how it came to be.

I can, however, tell you for the first time in many years I feel alive again.

Today I can truly enjoy watching my son, Riley Christian's, first steps and hearing those precious words, "I love you, Daddy." God has opened up these doors and many more that I thought had been locked forever.

Since 1994 I have taken an active part in The Journey of Hope, which has enabled me to share my personal experiences with other people and my goal is to continue to reach out to victims.

Take it from this old angered, violent, lost drunken drug addict, there is a better way! It was a long hard struggle and has taken nearly two thirds of my life before I found my way back to God...the help I needed.

With regenerated hope of a bright future, I am now free to pursue a better tomorrow for my new wife, (Robin) our son and newborn daughter, but never, ever losing sight of yesterday.

Changes take time! There are still times I want to strap on my six shooter and go take my brother home, or at least die fighting. I know today this is not an option and what scares me is there are millions of people out there whom still don't know this type of behavior is unhealthy to say the least.

That Violence begets violence and like a virus it destroys everything that it comes in contact with.

I lost an uncle to the act of murder. I hate the "act" of murder and I can't help but love life today. The taking of a life creates victims regardless of what acts they committed.

I know there are people who knew them before; as a child learning to walk, or a father who lovingly tucked them into bed at night. I would not wish upon those innocent children and mothers to have to experience, in the name of justice, the same needless pain and suffering as I did.

I've experienced violence in many different arenas, from the victim’s standpoint to the contributor. I am an avid believer that anyone can change their behavior, as I am proof of this fact.

Many people tend to forget that the family members of the condemned are victims. When they lose someone to the death penalty, they feel all the same pain and loss of their loved one, just as a murder victim’s family does. It was nineteen years ago that I heard those works, "dead, dead, dead!" and have lived with the knowledge that the state of Tennessee is going to kill my big brother for a crime he did not commit!

They call one an act of murder and another a mistake. Some even say the innocent are expendable, but I say no life is expendable...

We are teaching our kids that killing is the answer. We need to stop the violence cycle and look more to ways of prevention. Life without parole works! More policing works!

We could use some counseling for our young people to help them deal properly with the many problems they face in the world today.

I am not saying I have all the answers, but I do know the death penalty is a primitive and barbaric method punishment. If we, as Americans, are going to continue to call ourselves a civilized nation, we need to abolish capital punishment.

On May 10,1999, My Big Brother, Jeff Dicks was killed of heart failure. Through improper diet, lack of exercise and medical neglect he was allowed to die by this so-called humane system.

For three days Jeff begged to see a doctor because of his chest pains. It wasn't until he collapse did he get his request. By this time Jeff had suffered great damage to his heart and was told he would not survive another heart attack.

This was last year. a few weeks ago they took him off his medication, he complained of chest pains, and collapsed again before seeing a doctor.

By Trevor Dicks

On your last night of freedom
you played us a song
Before turning yourself in –
Because you had done no wrong
It said, " If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me
For I am free as a bird now
And there's to many places I've got to see
Well the Answer is..
Yes brother
And all to clearly
Every hour of every day
Since they took you away from me
The only places you've seen
Have been from behind your steel bars
Except for our letters, Pictures and post cards
Your heart was pure Gold
And your strength won't be denied
You're the bird they couldn't change
No matter how hard they tried
This long await day Is my living Hell...
This day all whom loved you
Must bid you farewell...

You've earned your wings brother,
Its time, you must fly
And I will be brave Jeff,
I'll try not to cry
And I will make you this promise,
Your story will be heard!
My voice will speak for you,
My dearest brother, "Free Bird"

I can only be proud to have had such a wonderful Brother. Reading these testimonies from the so-called, worst of the worst. Societies out casts and hardened death row prisoners.

I know Jeff was not only a wonderful Brother to me but to all you guys on the row. Your words convey a deep love, admiration and a tremendous loss that we will not soon recover from.
Jeff sent this to me a long time ago and I just can't help but feel he wants me to pass it on to the brothers he left behind on TN death row.
"Why God Created Brothers"

"When God created Brothers,
He made close friends to share.
Our secret hopes and dreams
and the burdens that we bear.

When God created Brothers,
he made warm hearts to care.
With gentle understanding
and an insight that is rare.

When God created Brothers
he answered every prayer.
That asks for someone special
who's love is always there!"

"Thanks for being
A Terrific Brother!"

Thank you Jeff. You are always in my thoughts and forever in my heart. Fly Free Bird Fly, Always and Forever... Your little Brother, Trevor

PS Trevor was killed on June, 2005 due to a one car crash in NH. He was buried beside his big brother Jeff....

4/11/05 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Ronnie said...

You have opened my eyes.I had never thought of the innocents,only gleefully clapped when the monsters were executed.I will never be able to support the death penalty again.
You are truly a GodSend,Bless you Mr.Forbes,youthe best thing to happen to this world since another one was returned from the dead a while back,about 2000 years ago.

17/12/05 11:59 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

So now your Jesus?(last comment)you sure are coming up since our 'time'eh Prof?
Glad to see you are still using me to stick it to the Man!

17/12/05 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody that dosn't want captol punishmnt is going against the Bibile.Have you not heard,an aye,for an aye?
Yous bleedng hearts libwerals make my ill!

18/12/05 12:42 AM  
Blogger Doctor Life said...

I'm glad someone agrees with me on the sanctity of life. It seems that the longer I blog, the more death fanatics there are. God Bless you.

21/12/05 1:14 AM  
Blogger Orikinla Osinachi. said...

Dear H.D Forbes,

Compliments of the season.

Your weblog for serious issues of the facts of life is a resource centre for legal studies.

The Death Penalty is as complex as the issue of Abortion and the "pros" and "cons" are debatable.

There are extreme cases such as the crimes of serial killers or crimes against humanity where the Capital Punishment would be the last resort. So, cannot be abolished.

If Osama bin Laden is captured today, can he escape from the Death Penalty?

I was activey involved in the ANC during the Anti-Apartheid armed struggle period in South Africa. And if not for the fear of God that has made me a paladin, I would have enjoyed doing the work of an Assassin for justice.

I don't believe in using troops in eliminating an enemy of humankind like the case of the war in Iraq.
100 hand-picked Assassins would have done the job to topple the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. The Mossad knows how best to tackle such problems.

You don't rush into a war.
Haste makes waste.

Please, read Sun Tzu's "Art of War" if you have not done so already.

God bless.

21/12/05 12:30 PM  
Blogger Milton A Covering said...

Well I agree that the death penalty should not be used. However I think that people like Paul Bernardo and his estranged wife Karla should have been released into general population to serve the time given them. I do not feel that people who are guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt should be able to plea bargin nor should they be given special protection. They made thier beds let them lie in it. I also agree that death is not a punishment. It is an easy way out for the perp and does no good for the victims.

I am not a religious person and do not believe that there is a heaven or hell, with that in mind I do believe that the guilty should be put in "Hell" here and now. This is to be applied only to those who are 100% guilty. All the rest should be given therapy and be put to work in productive ways to society. Its time to try and reform our system so it stops making more victims.

22/12/05 4:58 AM  
Anonymous Jimmy S said...

I think the death penalty is wrong it does not bringe the victim back it only revenge it got nothing to do with justice,in Europe we do not not use this stytems

23/12/05 4:47 AM  
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10/2/10 12:59 AM  

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