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What "false positive rate" is acceptable to you? And shouldn't we refer to it for what it is: a "innocent people murdered by the state rate"?

For me personally, 0 is the only acceptable number. The only way to get that is to end the death penalty.




> For me personally, 0 is the only acceptable number.

But why? Surely you must acknowledge that the "innocent people murdered by the state rate" is inversely proportional to the "innocent people murdered by criminals who should have been put to death but weren't rate"? This latter rate includes prison murders, calling/paying for hits from prison, influencing copycat killers, being released and then killing again, etc.

So basically you are trading one form of innocent death for another (not to mention introducing a host of other negative effects to society by allowing truly evil people to interact with people in said society). For me, death penalty is acceptable as long as the "innocent people murdered by the state rate" is less than the "innocent people murdered by criminals who should have been put to death but weren't rate".


It's crude to try to compare how awful one murder is to another, but it does feel in some ways worse if the murder of an innocent person is funded by taxpayer money and performed by people claiming to have the legitimate authority to govern me.


I personally prefer to have as few murders on my own conscience as possible.


It turns out a lot of those issues you call out are only a real problem in America. Our prison system is barbaric and the solution isn't to just kill all criminals, it's to reform and rebuild our prison system to match our EU counterparts.


I generally agree with you, but

> Our prison system is barbaric and the solution isn't to just kill all criminals

I never said it was. I think DP should be reserved for organized crime leaders, serial killers, and other people who have repeatedly shown that they are fundamentally incompatible with a good society.

A crime of passion such as a husband killing the man cheating with his wife does not necessarily deserve DP and would be a candidate for reform.


Yes, but there were people here in this very thread wanting to use the death penalty for varying level of offenses. And your definition of people that are 'fundamentally incompatible with society' leaves a lot of room for interpretation considering there are those that believe color or identification is enough to make you incompatible with society.

To be in favor of the death penalty is to accept the possibility of abuse, something we've seen occur where people are rushed to death row before their criminality can be fully presumed.

The death penalty should never be on the table because the possibility of abuse is too high and the history of it being abused proves that it can't be handled in any rational way.


What’s your acceptable number of innocent people imprisoned by the state, and if it’s greater than zero, then why?


I'm not the person you replied to, but is this supposed to be a gotcha? I assume the answer would be zero. But if you accept that the criminal justice system makes mistakes (between 100k-200k in current prison population per https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10940-018-9381-1) then it's obvious it's better to be able to have reversible punishments. Unless you are suggestion the complete abolition of incarceration for all crimes?


I suppose what I'm rejecting is the dichotomy between imprisonment being "reversible" and execution being "irreversible." Neither are reversible, of course. You can't give someone back the time they were unjustly imprisoned.

I think the reversibility argument is a sloppy way of trying to say that there is some massive difference in kind between a lifetime of imprisonment and an execution. The argument seems to be implying that outright ending a human life is taking infinite value, but imprisoning someone for an entire lifespan is taking only finite value. That's the only way it would make sense to allow for the possibility of some erroneous lifetime imprisonments, but not allow for the possibility of some erroneous executions.


First, you relying too much on semantics. "Reversible" is understood to be "I can reverse taking away someone's freedom". They were in prison, but now they are not. You can't give back the lost time, and everyone understands that. Also, it comes from "reversing a conviction" which is a legal term.

Secondly, and I'm sorry, but your characterization is incredibly sloppy. The overall outcome is better if even one exoneration happens and you assume equal preference for life imprisonment vs execution. However:

* Many wrongful convictions will be exonerated. There are multiple per year. There has been at least one this year: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-cases#CliffordWilliam...

* Further, while the preference might not be "infinite" you can just look at the overwhelming majority - innocent or not - of death row prisoners that exhaust all avenues of appeal to see that there is a strong preference there.


First, I don’t think I’m playing semantic tricks. The finality of imprisonment and execution are the same. You don’t get time back if you’re released from prison. The difference is that you’re still alive, but of course that’s already the difference between imprisonment and execution. The fact that the death penalty involves killing someone is just definitional, it’s not a justification for why the death penalty is bad.

Secondly, of course I don’t dispute that there’s generally a preference for life imprisonment over execution.


The finality of eating an apple is the same if you are an external observer and just judging it by the direction of the time arrow.

From the perspective of the - potentially falsely - accused, "The difference is that you’re still alive" is a pretty fundamental distinction and "The finality of imprisonment and execution are the same" is false.




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