NOTE: This is a repost of an article I had up on a now dead forum I made. I first posted this March 29 2005:
One of the most common complaints about the death penalty is the problem of reasonable doubt. The gist of the argument essentially says:
"What if we kill someone and find out later that they really didn't commit the murder they were on death row for? Then we killed an innocent man."
Let's apply our logic searching questions and explore the premise of this argument to see if it holds true.
What about a murder case where the criminal is known? What if there is no doubt at all? Let's say we have a gruesome multiple murder. There's video of the crime where the face and voice of the murderer is very clear. His name is even spoken and responded to. The accused admits it openly in court, and is completely without remorse about his actions. He even admits he will commit a similar murder if he has the chance.
Yes, this is a worst case scenario. A completely remorseless, evil person, who knows fully what he did, and will do it again if allowed.
In this case, or some like it, would you think the death penalty is a viable option?
If you are of the group that use the reasonable doubt argument and now say that even in this case, the death penalty shouldn't be used, than you are being untruthful, either to yourself, or those you debate with, or (most likely) both. You had a condition that is used, and we removed that condition. Yet still you wouldn't allow the death penalty. Which means your true reasons for it are something else, and reasonable doubt is simply a smoke screen.
It is at this point that a typical reply is to throw the hands in the air and with say with great sarcasm, "Oh great, you make up a fantasy case just to push your agenda. Well, hell, let's just go whole hog and kill every criminal then."
Sarcasm aside, it is a poor move to take a debating issue for a specific situation, and pretend the person is trying to use it for a cases, related or not. So don't bother with that reply.
But if you are those that claim the "reasonable doubt" issue of the death penalty (And yes, it is a fair and valid point that must be considered when deciding if someone should be killed for their crimes) can you be honest enough to allow the death penalty in cases when there is No. Doubt. Whatsoever.