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senate surprises

SHOCK: Death Penalty Officially on the Table for Hate Crimes

Sotomayor Senate

Unanimous. That’s how the Senate voted on the Defense Department’s budget re-authorization bill, to which hate crimes legislation was attached. And yes, the three amendments added by a hate crimes opponent were also included.

In a rush to beat the clock, the Senate invoked a cloture on the budget bill, which means Sen. Jeff Session’s three controversial amendments to the hate crimes bill stand, courtesy a 92-0 vote. Among Sessions’ new rules: adding the death penalty to the possible sentences of anyone convicted of a hate crime.

Sessions, of course, didn’t want sexual orientation and gender identity added to federally protected classes. (This guy voted for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, of course.) But Senate Democratic leaders approved of his amendments as a compromise of sorts to get the legislation through without argument. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont.), who is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said yesterday he supported modified versions of Sessions’ amendments.

Now that both the Senate and House have okay’d Defense Department budget bills, the differences in them will be ironed out by a special committee before final votes are taken in both houses in September. This provides one last opportunity to change the Senate’s version of hate crimes legislation before it goes to Obama’s desk, meaning Sessions’ amendments — which Gay Inc. is calling overreaching and outrageous — could still be yanked at the last minute. (The House passed a standalone hate crimes bill.)

Obama, of course, has promised to veto any budget bill that re-ups the F-22 fighter jet program, which he wants nixed — providing an amusing intersection of military-assisted protections for gay civilians. The Senate has, mostly, removed that stipulation.

But hey, we’ll leave it to you: While Sessions is clearly an opponent to equality, are you fine with federal legislation that puts state-sponsored execution on the table for someone who murders another in an anti-gay crime?

(NB: From the Human Rights Campaign’s Joe Solmonese: “I have great news to share: the Senate has passed the Matthew Shepard Act! The bill will soon be on its way to President Obama’s desk, where he’ll get a chance to make good on his promise to sign it.” No mention in Joe’s email about Sessions’ death penalty amendment.)


On:           Jul 21, 2009
Tagged: , , , ,
    • AlanInSLC

      I’m never a fan of the death penalty, though I know there are times when it may be the best option. I’d rather people who commit these crimes be held in prison to suffer. Its just a touchy subject that hopefully I am never faced with in my own experiences.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 10:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • greybat

      I guess I’ll refrain from commenting, while I snicker quietly in the corner.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 10:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dabq

      Well, looks like the good old boy bigot won this one, as his poison pill was accepted, its just disgusting how this vile homophobic, big eared ‘man’ did this and the rest of the Senate went along with him, disgusting.

      This bill needs to be a stand alone bill, not a watered down one with this silly attachment, so, veto it.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J.Lowrot

      The death penalty is always wrong.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      If Obama vetoes this legislation then his true colors as a bigot are shown. I don’t buy for a moment that he would have vetoed it because of the F-22 thing. You don’t play around with a budget bill when its got such important issues attached.

      Oh, and I support the death penalty in every case where its applicable. Except I feel that death penalties in cases where there really was conclusive evidence should be fast tracked, and we need to find a cheaper way to kill murderers.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ousslander

      Pretty much all crime is a hate crime and killing one person should get the same response as killing another person.

      no prblem with the death penalty but like galefan said streamline the process instead of the ten years or so it takes now.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Gay Numbers

      I think this site has become as retarded as some of its posters.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane

      This is a totally fucked up situation: no compromise at all.
      Obama needs to Veto it for several reasons:
      (1) the F-22 expediture provision: 12 billion for planes we don’t need ever-a consesion to armaments manufacturers.
      What are they good for: not sight seeing.
      (2) the death penalty is far past it’s time to be expunged for any reason. At least that looks like we might be civilized someday.

      I don’t know why Solomnese sent congratulatory messages out to everyone. I guess it demonstrates how well he is worth the salery he gets. For supposedly being so close to the nerve center of the Congress he’s sure a twit.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adam Woods

      No thanks on the death penalty…it’s a hate crime in itself.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican

      As I said before, recent SCOTUS precedent limits the DP to cases involving murder or crimes against the state, so without even reading the text of the amendment one can be assured that this won’t end up being a major expansion of capital punishment. I support giving a jury the option of the DP when a person kills another intentionally and not in self-defense, so it’s fine by me.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sioraiocht

      All I can say is that this is terrible. The death penalty should be abolished for any reason everywhere, I don’t support putting it “on the table” for anything.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dabq

      @sioraiocht: Especially since it does not deter crime, all one has to do is look at Texas where they execute two people a day and its yet to stop anyone from killing others.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • j

      @galefan2004: Lolz lolz lolz…and lolz. Seriously though, I’m with this guy – @The Gay Numbers: .

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Gay Reaper

      Big proponent of the death penalty here. In fact, I think it is vastly underapplied. I’d like to see it used to deter double-parking on my street. Seriously.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon B

      HAHAHAHAHA… is Sessions some sort of brilliant anti-gay mastermind? He has us arguing about legislation that is supposed to help us. So sneaky of him. Gotta appreciate good strategy (whether or not it was purposeful) where you find it.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Killem McErly


      You can make the same argument against incarceration. If it doesn’t deter anyone, why use it? If murder rates don’t go down, clearly incarceration isn’t working. It’s really a stupid argument.

      Also, how do you know that the murder rate wouldn’t be EVEN GREATER if not for the deterrent effect of capital punishment?

      Capital punishment INARGUABLY deters the punishee from committing additional crimes–against fellow prisoners or against prison personnel. That is fact.

      No, clearly a better solution is to kill’em early and kill ’em often.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @M Shane: Defense should not be a political game. Defense should be dictated by the military. The military should get to write its own budget instead of the government writing it. In the end, we are kidding ourselves if we believe that we don’t need to worry about defense just because the cold war is over. China could get pissed at us and go to war against us at any given time, and we need to prepare for that. No aircraft in the history of the Air Force has been more important to the war effort in every single war it is in than the F-22. Even the Air Force itself does not support the phasing out of the F-22.

      Obama is NOT the person we want in charge of national defense because this is an area where he is an absolute moron. He honestly believes that if we all join hands and sing Kumbyah that the countries that hate us will back down. He honestly believes that we need to worry about the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is a little hint for all those “if we don’t fight them there they will fight us here” people. If they could fight us here they wouldn’t have needed to steal our planes for a terrorist attack they would have flown their own planes over here to blow up our buildings.

      The death penalty is what is deserved by people that commit cold-blooded murder. When you commit cold-blooded murder you stop being human and should lose every right that we afford law abiding humans. Among the rights you lose should be LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS. Stop trying to say we are lacking humanitarian values if we kill people that kill others. Its not a lack of humanitarian values to exterminate those that are no longer human. If you are willing to kill someone else you don’t deserve to be treated human.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @Adam Woods: Yes because we kill those that kill others. I don’t know about you, but when a man is willing to kill a woman that is carrying his almost born child I think he deserves all the hate directed at him.

      Also, are you kidding me with this shit. If its a hate crime then doing it should persuade the minority of murderers to stop murdering. That is a hate crime. I’m sorry, but I must have missed the point where murderers were born that way and are just a misrepresented minority.

      Maybe we should just let them all of jail, give them all weapons, and send them to the homes of criminal apologist asshats that think the death penalty isn’t deserved in every case its applied.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Random Gay Guy

      I stopped supporting the death penalty a long time. Unfortunately, it is not applied fairly or evenly. Until the penalty is applied in all cases that it is warranted, it is not going to deter anyone. I find it to be barbaric. It never comes down to the logical reasoning of “let’s kill the person because they killed another person”. It comes down to how much they could pay for a good lawyer, where they grew up, and public sentiments and prejudices. Luckily, SCOTUS precedent has limited the use of the death penalty. Also, the amendment to strip the F-22 from the budget just passed. I am guessing that Session’s 3 amendments will probably get stripped at committee because they were not in the house bill.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • greg

      Only in the USA could they pass a “progressive” piece of legislation and then tack on to it a piece of barbarism. What does it say about “us” that “we” are willing to repeat the act we condemn? Countries that have abolished the death penalty don’t miss it. It adds nothing but gratuitous cruelty and blood lust to national discourse. We can do better. New Mexico and New Jersey have recently abolished capital punishment, joining about a dozen other states (eg, Michigan abolished the death penalty in the mid 19th century). And when you consider cost, the documented instances of error, the lack of deterrence, the degrading psychological effect on those who have to implement the penalty, the lack of closure it provides to victims, the racist way it is applied, etc. etc… well, there are no rational arguments left. But of course, we aren’t dealing with reason. Rage and grief and hate are real and must be honored. Just not in a public policy of state killing that only exacerbates the problem.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ricky

      Death is too easy..we should really torture.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dennis

      And what of the hundreds of murder cases that have been overturned in the past, based on prosecutorial misconduct, judicial error, new evidence, or a new confession?…do you support the killing of those innocent people? That collateral damage is acceptable to you?

      Of course, the fact that the death penalty is also applied more often to minorities is probably ‘icing on the cake’ for you as well.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @Random Gay Guy: @greg: I don’t agree. Getting the death penalty has much more to do with the heinous action that was committed than anything else. The numbers just don’t support your claim that it is a race based policy. Also, its not heinous because you aren’t executing humans.

      When someone decides to rape and murder young men (like in the case of Jeffery Dahmer who should have gotten the death penalty but instead got the prison version of it), murder a woman that is about to give birth to your child and the child inside of her (which again the person that did that didn’t get the death penalty despite being eligible for it and being a minority and not having a legal dream team), or any other special circumstance that escalates the crime to a capital crime they have given up their own humanity and should no longer be treated as humans. We shoot dogs when they attack people. It should be no different when people kill people.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @Dennis: I said when you have CONCRETE evidence. Its pretty hard to argue against being guilty when you have things like DNA linking you directly. Also, just because someone wins on appeal doesn’t mean that they didn’t commit the crime.

      Care to make any other stupid assed arguments with absolutely no facts to back them up. The death penalty has NOT been applied more often to minorities since 1976. That is a false statement. Hell, there aren’t even more minorities serving on death row at the moment. Also, you are completely wrong if I care who the fuck is that decides to murder someone. All people that have committed a crime that is capable of being escalated to capital punishment status (normally killing children) should be given the death penalty regardless of rather they are black, white, purple, gay, straight, asexual or even fucking Martians. When you commit a crime that has fallen under the escalation of a capital punishment crime you don’t deserve to live or to be called human.

      The black community is dis-proportionately represented in prisons. That is a fact. However, they are there primarily for drug crimes. The majority of the people that are convicted for violent crimes in this country are overwhelmingly white.


      Jul 21, 2009 at 1:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @galefan2004: Actually going even deeper into it, if you legalized street drugs then you would quite easily clean out the prisons of the black/Hispanic community and leave room for people that actually commit real crimes. I’ve been in favor of legalizing all street drugs for the last 30 years. Want to call me a racist again on this issue. It simply doesn’t hold water. Your “facts” are nothing more than misplaced propaganda used by those that don’t support the death penalty.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.

      I think Queerty’s reporting is a little old here. The F-22 was struck from the defense bill, so we don’t have to worry about an Obama veto.


      Jul 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ByeByeHRC

      You want to know why this subversive death penalty crap was added?

      You want to know why it took us all of this time to get our rights?

      Three letters: HRC.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alex

      Hopefully these poison pills will get dumped in the conference committee, which the Dems control. Unless they can’t, because the House bill doesn’t have hate crimes legislation, that was separate. I’d have liked to see this as its own bill, but you take them however you can get them.

      As for the death penalty, I’m not a fan. As far as I can tell, all this would do would be to allow the Feds to pursue the death penalty in a bias-motivated murder case, even if there is no death penalty in that state. I’d rather them sit in a prison forever.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @Alex: This is where I don’t agree with you. These are men/women that killed other men/women simply because they disagreed with who they were. If they are willing to do it once then they are willing to do it again. I would rather see them executed then get into a prison system where they murder countless numbers of gays/lesbians just because they already have a life sentence.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile

      My take on this addition of the death penalty by Sessions is he is planting a poison pill. If a gay basher gets the death penalty and a thug that beats up an old lady only gets 10 years in prison, they will argue that hate crimes are “special rights” to try to repeal the law. Sessions would never do anything good for gays so there must be a sinister side to his amendment.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 2:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @InExile: You are completely overlooking the fact that the gay basher can not get the death penalty simply be being a basher. The only crime in this country that is eligible for a death penalty is murder. If someone murders an old lady then I’m all for them getting the death penalty. If someone murders a minority (lets not forget that this legislation affects the hate crimes laws at its core so it automatically extends to ALL minorities) just because they are a minority I’m all for them getting the death penalty as well.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt55

      If you assume the role of a victim, the path will be paved for you. Hate crime laws are AGAINST EVERYONE!

      Jul 21, 2009 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @Matt55: You are an idiot. Pure and simple. If you think that fighting for hate crime laws is assuming the role of the victim then your limited intelligence will not allow for an actual counter argument, but I’ll try anyways.

      Fighting for hate crimes isn’t about playing the victim. Its about realizing that in reality we already are the victim. We don’t need to assume the role of the victim because we are already one of the most victimized groups in this entire country. That is realism. However, we aren’t the type of victim that decides it was no big deal and just slinks away. We are the type of victim that gets pissed and stands up for ourselves and screams out that we are not going to take it anymore. If you want to be the victim that slinks away and thinks its ok be beaten simply because you are gay then I can’t fathom your self homophobic hatred of yourself as a gay man, but while I feel sorry for you I respect your right to live how you want.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 2:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ricky

      Be prepared to be blamed for your circumstances, no matter how much they may be beyond your control. Think of ways to disabuse the public of common misconceptions. Don’t internalize cruelty or condescension. Let go of your pride–but hold on to your dignity.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Greg Ever

      Someone help me out here, I’m a little confused…

      My understanding is that the hate crimes bill was attached to the F-22 funding. If one passed, both passed, and if one failed then both failed. But I’m reading in the news that the F-22 funding failed but the hate crimes passed. How is that possible?

      Jul 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chomsky'sSexualPleateu


      No. The military should be at the whims of public citizens otherwise we’d be a military state. You can go to Hunduras if you’re hungry for that.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 3:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh

      Are you sure of the accuracy of this post? The Senate’s roll call site and news reports are not indicating final passage. Even if the Senate invoked cloture on the overall bill (and I don’t think they have), that does NOT necessarily mean they ended debate, passed the bill, or accepted all remaining amendments on the table. One of the Sessions amendments was adopted 92-0 (perhaps where you got that number) but it was for increased penalties for attacking a U.S. military member. The DoD authorization was amended to include hate crimes, include THAT Sessions amendment, and to remove F-22 funding. I believe that the Sessions death penalty for hate crimes amendment, the Thune concealed weapons amendment, and any number of other more germane amendments are still awaiting votes.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petted

      F-22 funding was nixed in the senate version

      Kennedy amended the bill in regards to the death penalty to require that a state’s attorney general establish rules and requirements for seek ing death penalty in hate crimes cases – ie states that don’t employ the death penalty still won’t. The house still has the F22 earmark but that could come out when they iron out the differences between the bills in committee. Kind of uncomfortable with adding the families of military personnel to the act because that could seriously complicate anti-war protests although I guess this means that we’ll be able to nail the Westboro Baptist Church, possibly even get some of the kids out of that hell.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh

      FYI, the text of the accepted Sessions amendment


      (Purpose: To authorize the death penalty)
      At the apporpriate place insert the following:

      title, or both, and shall be subject to the penalty of death in accordance with chapter 228 (if death results from the offense), if–

      “(i) death results from the offense; or

      “(ii) the offense includes kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.


      “(A) IN GENERAL.–Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B) or paragraph (3), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person–

      “(i) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and

      “(ii) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, and shall be subject to the penalty of death in accordance with chapter 228 (if death results from the offense), if–

      Jul 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh

      And the text of Kennedy’s also adopted amendment which significantly modified the Sessions proposal:


      (Purpose: To limit prosecutions until the Attorney General establishes standards for the application of the death penalty)
      At the appropriate place, insert the following:


      (a) In General.–All prosecutions under section 249 of title 18, United States Code, as added by this Act, shall be undertaken pursuant to guideline, issued by the Attorney General–

      (1) to guide the exercise of the discretion of Federal prosecutors and the Attorney General in their decisions whether to seek death sentences under such section when the crime results in a loss of life; and

      (2) that identify with particularity the type facts of such cases that will support the classification of individual cases in term of their culpability and death eligibility as low, medium, and high.

      (b) Requirements for Death Penalty.–If the Government seeks a death sentence in crime under section 249 of title 18, United States Code, as added by this Act, that results in a loss of life–

      (1) the Attorney General shall certify with particularity in the information or indictment how the facts of the case support the Government’s judgment that the case is properly classified among the cases involving a hate crime that resulted in a victim’s death;

      (2) the Attorney General shall document in a filing to the court–

      (A) the facts of the crime (including date of offense and arrest and location of the offense), charges, convictions, and sentences of all state and Federal hate crimes (committed before or after the effective date of this legislation) that resulted in a loss of life and were known to the Assistant United States Attorney or the Attorney General; and

      (B) the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the defendant and all victims; and

      (3)(A) the court, either at the close of the guilt trial or at the close of the penalty trial, shall conduct a proportionality review in which it shall examine whether the prosecutorial death seeking and death sentencing rates in comparable cases in Federal prosecutions are both greater than 50 percent; and

      (B) if the United States fails to satisfy the test under subparagraph (A), by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall dismiss the Government’s action seeking a death sentence in the case.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • planktonshampoo


      More bloodshed? More disruption?

      I’ll admit, if someone kills a close loved one of mine, I’d probably have the deepest desire for revenge in my heart, but that is wrong too. In our world we have to commit to the ultimate idea that any violence is harmful and counterproductive.

      So no on execution for hate crimes….uggh!

      Jul 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • planktonshampoo

      The only thing our government is good for is legislating death. How appropriate

      Jul 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz


      we need to find a cheaper way to kill murderers.

      Stones are cheap. And you don’t have to pay anyone to throw them, since the people throwing them are privileged to “do God’s work”.

      Perhaps that is why stoning to death is employed in Islamic countries?

      You’re fucking unbelievable!

      Jul 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • adamblast

      This was nothing but Sessions trying to kill hate crimes legislation. There is no debate anywhere–except perhaps on Queerty–about whether the death penalty should be on the table in all or most hate crimes case. It’s preposterous, and you give it more clout than you should. The issue is Sessions trying to fuck us over.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M. Bergeron

      In the case of murder? Yes. Hang ’em. And in the public square like we used to do.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 8:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • michael

      Whew! I am hoping that this site is a magnate for the few backward, unintelligent, disgusting, gays in the United States. Because if the homosexual community at large is for the death penalty then it will never get any rights. The death penalty is a hate crime and you reap what you sow. It seems so often that Americans are all the same, no matter what their religion, race or sexual orientation. Just one big bowl of septic soup all swimming around together abusing and hating each other. Maybe you just get what you deserve.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      I love the death penalty, but this creepy cunt is trying to kill the bill.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 8:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      didn’t jeff sessions try to prosecute civil rights leaders?

      Jul 21, 2009 at 8:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Webster

      All the death penalty does is reduce Society to the same level as the criminal. Not the way a truly civilized nation should behave. Anyone who thinks that life without parole isn’t the worst punishment we can deliver hasn’t really thought it through.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      Shaddup your goddamn fucking maw, goddamnit! What it does is restore the contract the criminal consented to and that sustains social interaction amongst rational agents–making it a full citizen by euthanizing it.

      Besides, scum are less likely to commit death penalty worthy crimes if the death penalty is an option for prosecutors.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 9:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Webster


      The death penalty is not a deterrence to homicide or any other crime.


      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • michael

      @TANK: Wow, a KKK fagg. Why don’t you look North of your self centered, trailer park ass and you will see all your ignorant beliefs are blown to smithereens.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      That’s not true. There are statistics that contradict those statistics. I suggest reading Cass Susnstein’s “worst case scenarios” for a fuller understanding of the preventative benefits of the death penalty.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      You know I’m ethnically yid, right? THat’s not cool.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock

      Oh oh… you hurt his feelings you bad boy.

      And are you actually going to play that card considering all the slurs you throw at others?

      Jul 21, 2009 at 11:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AL

      The issue of death penalty is one of the reasons why I can’t really identify myself with the liberal wing of gay community. It seems utterly hypocritical of you guys to demand stiffer punishment for gay-bashers, while opposing the just way of eliminating criminal elements from society. I don’t care whether or not death penalty deters crime. It’s not about deterrence, it’s about justice and bringing closure to the victims’ families. Do you think the two idiots who murdered Matthew Sheppard don’t deserve death penalty? They didn’t get the death sentence only because the Matthew’s parents insisted against it. Otherwise, they would get an injection of potassium chloride to put a stop on their little narrow-minded bigoted hearts. I don’t think people would miss them so much. Punishment should always fit the crime! KILL ‘EM ALL!

      Jul 22, 2009 at 12:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      I guess ANTISEMITISM isn’t bigotry according you! What slurs, old timer?

      Jul 22, 2009 at 12:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AL

      @michael: Why don’t you take your bigotry and hatred against the United States elsewhere? I am not obsessed with violence. I just believe that violent people should be properly isolated to prevent them from harming anyone else again. In most states, we don’t cuddle with criminals and give them the punishment they deserve.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 12:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      Michael perfers we let the violent criminals play amongst the children. THE CHILDREN!

      Jul 22, 2009 at 12:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      I didn’t see any antisemitic comment there. I doubt he was even aware of your heritage.

      Equating your views with those of the KKK… How do you parse antisemitism out of that?

      And what slurs? Man, who don’t you hate?

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      No, your comment. What slurs? Back it up.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jefffrey

      Murderers should get mandatory life with no parole. It’s cheaper than the death penalty and it allows for the correction of errors.
      Innocent people have been sentenced to death many times, and innocent people have been executed. For the government to extinguish the wrong life in the name of justice is unconscionable.
      But this is a country that loves to kill–to go to war. So I don’t hold out much hope for us to truly be civilized.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      I have said nothing antisemitic to you whatsoever.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      Sure, why not. You don’t believe that antisemitism is bigotry. That offends me. Apologize, old man.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      Whenever someone talks about the innocents that have been executed (an extreme minority)–their gripe is with the system that wrongfully sentenced them (the mistakes and those who made them), not with the death penalty.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      That’s right. This is america. Get used to it. Life is worthless here, but worth more than it is in most places on this planet.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock

      I don’t deny that antisemitism is bigotry, and I never said otherwise.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      But that’s not an apology, is it?

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      I have done nothing that requires an apology.

      And you’re offended? Dude, you are always offended.
      Considering how much of your time you spend offending others maybe you shouldn’t whine about it so much.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      See, that’s not an apology for your rampant bigotry either. Now you apologize, or you don’t. But if you don’t, what kind of a person are you?

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt

      My understanding is that the *federal* death penalty is almost never used anyway. And since the republicans why added the death penalty option don’t want *any* hate crimes protection, they’ll surely be willing to weaken the law back to what it would have been once it’s passed :) So if an option that will probably never be used, or even last more than a couple of years, gets this thing enacted as law now rather than later I’m all for it!

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      I hear you, but as slim as that chance is it is definitely a poison pill for some who don’t want to see the death penalty brought back into states where it has been outlawed.

      Hopefully the amendment can be removed in committee before its passage.

      What kind of person am I? Evidently one who doesn’t jump at your beck and call. Maybe you should go cry to your mom, or better still, ring your doctor and get your meds adjusted.

      Or how about I lob some of your nonsense back at you?

      “You can’t criticize me! Don’t you know I’m part Irish! Wahhhh!”

      Jul 22, 2009 at 3:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      I don’t think it’s going to force any state in which the death penalty is not authorized to enforce it. That’s nonsense.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 3:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      The state wouldn’t be forced to reintroduce it, but a federal charge could be laid in any state, including those which do not have the death penalty.

      So a person could face execution for a crime committed in a state which does not have the death penalty.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 3:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lights

      Sometimes I think that we are our own worst enemy. I see no problem with the death penalty for hate crimes. It is no deterrent to crime–it is to punish the offender. If someone commits murder, and it involves a minority, sure as hell they should get the death penalty. I get so tired of all the bleating against the death penalty by people. Bottom line should be: if you murder someone, your life should be forfeit.

      Anyhow, I am sure there will be some way to water this down so that all the DP opponents can feel better. JC on a skateboard! I believe that those who murdered Matthew Sheperd should have gotten the death penalty. Those scum are just lucky Matthew’s parents had some compassion–I would have said nothing and let the creeps die.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 3:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      No, that’s not true anymore than it is right now for people convicted of federal hate crimes in states which don’t allow the death penalty. You’re canadian. Fuck off.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 4:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      Read the first line in the main article:


      Jul 22, 2009 at 4:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock

      And further down… the U.S. currently has eight prisoners on death row for crimes in non-death penalty states.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 4:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      I’m not disputing that. You’re not understanding. I stated, and clearly, that the death penalty addition states POSSIBLE punishment for a hate crime, and in state where that is not permissable, that punishment is not possible. And who cares? I’m a supporter of the death penalty.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 4:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      There’s simply no reasoning you’re providing which states that this is going to make states which do not have the death penalty enforce it on those convicted of a hate crime. Until there’s good reason to believe that this will be the case, go fuck yourself.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 4:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      The Sessions amendment concerning the death penalty can be found partway down this page:


      It’s SA #1615.

      Now I am no lawyer, but there is nothing in that text about state law at all, and certainly nothing about a death sentence being dependent on a state’s use of the death penalty.

      As near as I can tell (and if there’s a lawyer in the house it would be good to get a professional opinion) there is nothing in the legislation to prevent a person from being executed simply because the crime was committed in a non-death penalty state.

      Here’s that chapter 228 the amendment refers to, FYI:

      Nothing in there either, except that the federal government MAY use a state facility for execution if it wishes.

      Sessions’s two other amendments – 1616 and 1617, are also there.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 5:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      You are basing your interpretation on this blog and newspaper articles – not the actual text of the amendment.

      The amendment states nothing at all about the word “POSSIBLE”; it does not appear in the text.
      All of the conditions have to do with the nature of the crime, and there is nothing concerning the state in which it is committed.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 5:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican

      I see a few people are commenting without knowing the basics of american government. We have federal laws and state laws. Regardless of the physical location that a crime takes place, if it’s something that is within the power of the federal government to make illegal (general murder laws are a state, not federal function, but certain kinds of murder, like those involving the death of an FBI agent or ones involving discrimination, can be handled by the feds per SCOTUS rulings) then the feds have every right to prosecute and sentence appropriately. (And you can commit a crime that violates both federal and state law.) And as far as I know, federal death row prisoners are kept in and executed in facilities that are fed property. It wouldn’t matter if such a facility was “in” Massachusetts. The state isn’t the one with the authority in such cases.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Republican

      To add to my previous post, state facilities can also be used by the feds under certain conditions. That’s the way american government works. There’s not always a clear line between state and federal, but when there is a clash, the fed usually wins.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 11:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      Thanks for the clarification.

      Perhaps your word will be good enough, since I presume you are an American, and not one of us foreigners who don’t know anything.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt55

      One mans pedestal is another mans chopping block. Rather than deal with pedestals and chopping blocks, why don’t we keep each other strong by keeping ourselves in the fold?

      Jul 22, 2009 at 11:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      Good sentiment, and I agree with it in theory.

      But you don’t have to read too far in here to see there’s not much in the way of solidarity and common ideals. Quite the opposite, actually.

      For instance, I am completely opposed to the death penalty.

      We may share a narrow set of experience and oppression, but beyond that there is no “fold” whatsoever, nor is there even a common strategy for how to deal with that oppression.

      On the contrary, there are plenty in here who are more focused on attacking anyone who does not think exactly like them, rather than accepting the fact that we have differences.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      It would be a federal case, not a state case. The state would not be handling the prosecution or the execution. That would be at a federal facility.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      So once again, strumpet, not state without the death penalty would be forced to execute a prisoner.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      That would a be a federal charge, a fedederal prosecution and federal sentence in, likely, a federal facility. That is not forcing any state to carry out the death penalty. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not “state property,” and it’s certainly not subject to “state law”.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @planktonshampoo: I’m sorry, but if someone kills a closed love one I won’t desire revenge I will have it. When someone decides to become a murderer then they stop being human. At that point you can shoot them like any ravage stray dog and it is 100% acceptable in my view. We need to stop making claims like all blood shed is wrong. That is absolute crap. Eye for an eye is still very much alive. Turn the other cheek is what has died out in the majority of this country.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      So once again, the original contention that started this was that states that don’t have the death penalty could (according to a canadian), be forced to carry out the death penalty is false.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @schlukitz: No, the unbelievable people are the ones that desire to stick up for the “human rights” of people that willingly commit murder. I’m sorry, maybe we should let all the murderers out of jail and send them to your place for a party then see how you feel about me being the unbelievable one.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @michael: Like it or not, you have to be an absolute idiot to not see that the absolute majority of this country completely supports the death penalty. Many of them would like to see it stream lined and fast tracked. Some people actually get the fact that when you kill a member of society with out any provocation that you lose your ability to be a member of the society and should be removed from the society permanently.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @Webster: Yes, because killing people in prison never happens, and the same assholes that killed one person to end up in prison won’t kill countless other people once they get to prison including any guard they get a chance to kill. That is looking at the world with rosy colored glasses. Not to mention, when is the last time that murderers that didn’t get the death penalty actually served more than 25 years per victim? Apparently, its ok to kill someone and then pay for it for 25 years instead of with your life. That must be justice.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @michael: Do I need to link the study again. Its amazing how you asshats jump to the death penalty is racial persecution argument when all the facts since 1976 show that you are completely wrong. Also, those that are executed are executed because they didn’t just commit murder but a special circumstance murder, and I’m sorry but when you commit a crime that meets the list of special circumstances (such as killing a government employee in the line of duty or killing a child) then you deserve to get hung for it.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      You might want to visit Canada sometime, you might even learn how to read English, and pick up a few manners.

      You know I did not say that, and despite your ravings everyone reading this can also see for themselves what I actually wrote.

      They can also compare your claims about the amendment with what it actually contains.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      I hear you, but as slim as that chance is it is definitely a poison pill for some who don’t want to see the death penalty brought back into states where it has been outlawed.

      Now this is what you wrote…and it’s a pretty clear claim that you thought it would be forcing states which don’t have the death penalty to carry it out. That’s not the case.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      But it does bring the death penalty back into those states, albeit under federal jurisdiction. I said nothing about state law being forced to change.

      And your claims that state law would trump the federal death penalty (#76 #79) are false.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      I never said that the state law would trump the federal law.

      I think anyone reading that would come to the conclusion that you believe states could be forced to carry out the death penalty even if they didn’t carry it. That’s simply not true.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      I’m not disputing that. You’re not understanding. I stated, and clearly, that the death penalty addition states POSSIBLE punishment for a hate crime, and in state where that is not permissable, that punishment is not possible.

      This is 100% true. In that case, it would take a federal prosecution, federal sentencing and federal facility to carry it out (likely), you idiot.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @strumpetwindsock: You are wrong. The only time that the federal government gets involved directly with hate crimes is when the state itself refuses to try the crime. States normally don’t refuse to try murder, and when murder is being tried and its a hate crime that is normally tacked onto it. Murder is just not an issue in most cases. The hate crimes that states don’t want to try are things like assault. However, you can’t seek the death penalty in cases of assault.

      Also, this is a non-argument at this point because Kennedy led an amendment to the bill that allows the state to decide when to use the death penalty in the case of a hate crime. So, basically, this got watered down to turning a hate crime into a specialized murder status. That doesn’t mean it is universally applied. It means that (I’ll use Ohio for an example although I know the process doesn’t work like this everywhere) the jury gets to deliberate separately from the verdict on rather the case warrants the death penalty if it has a special circumstance. They then give that opinion to the judge and the judge makes the final ruling but in the vast majority of cases the judge sides with the jury. So, in Ohio, if you commit a crime that is deemed by the jury as being worth the death penalty and meets the special circumstances then you will receive the death penalty only after it is oked by the judge.

      Since 1976, the “racially biased death penalty” in Ohio has been used on 11 blacks and 20 whites.


      Also, you guys act like the simple act of murder warrants the death penalty which is not the case at all. There are lists in each state of aggravating circumstances that have to be met and weighed against mitigating circumstances. Normally, when someone actually makes it to the point where they get the death penalty its not their first murder or it was completely heinous. Hell, Jessee Davis (who killed his wife while she was still pregnant with his at term baby which would have lived if born) didn’t get the death penalty although he killed his own child while it was still in its mothers womb by killing its mother in front of his other child.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      Except that the amendment says nothing of the sort. The word “possible” isn’t there at all, clearly (as you say), or even in smudged ink.

      And your assumption about that punishment not being possible in non-death penalty jurisdictions is false.

      I doubt you even read it before you wrote that.

      How long do you intend to keep this up?
      I’m getting tired of you running in circles, and I am sure everyone else is wishing we would just get a room.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      It doesn’t matter if the word possible isn’t there…LOL! Read again, you’re not comprehending. it’s like slapping a retard–you just end up hating yourself at the end.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      No, you’re wishing we would just get a room. I’d sooner slit my wrists in a bathtub.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      And your assumption about that punishment not being possible in non-death penalty jurisdictions is false.

      No. Jesus, you’re slow. A federal penitentiary isn’t considered state property, even if it’s located inside of a state. Even if a state facility were used by the feds to carry out the death penalty, it’s NOT forcing a state to carry out the death penalty as the federal government is doing it, not the state. It is not possible for the state prosecutor to request the death penalty in states in which the death penalty are not possible sentences.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      Thanks for the info.

      But since it is federal legislation, that still may mean that the death penalty option is still on the table in all states, unless Kennedy’s amendment says specifically that state prohibition of the death penalty takes precedence.

      And I doubt the federal government would give away their authority like that. For one thing, it makes for very messy law.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      LOL! See what I mean? He still thinks it’s going to force states to carry out the death penalty, even if it’s illegal.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      Hey I thought I said to stop being mean to me because I’m part Irish. Some people I’m distantly related to have really suffered, you know!

      But if you’re offering… the bathtub thing, I mean.. can I watch? Just want to make sure you forget your scruples and grab the phone.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock

      DON’T forget, I mean.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      Sure you did.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @strumpetwindsock: Like I said, the only way the federal government can try the crime is if the state government refuses to try it. If you are more worried about a person that killed a minority getting the death penalty then getting off then I don’t even want to begin to understand your methods of reasoning.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Cox

      Just remember, you may all have a problem with the death penalty, but Sessions’ constituents don’t. The Evangelicals and Christian Right want nothing less than the full extermination and death penalty of anyone who is gay.

      Jul 22, 2009 at 2:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike Barton

      @AlanInSLC: I agree with you, but there’s a dark place inside of me giggling and thinking, “Burn, baby, burn!” when it comes to punishing some of the unthinkable things that have been done to people simply because of the race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

      Perhaps I’ll join Greybat in the corner…

      Jul 22, 2009 at 9:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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