Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Schwarzenegger terminates 76-year-old blind, diabetic, near-deaf wheelchair-user

17. January 2006 • David Boyle
Email this article

“Blind killer, 76, executed” in the Guardian reminds us of how Ah-nut Schwarzenegger is not prone to clemency, whether to Tookie Williams, who was lauded for his civic service, or septuagenarian Clarence Ray Allen who was executed (it took 2 potassum chloride injections to stop his heart) earlier today at San Quentin, about an hour after he turned 76.
The Supreme Court turned down his appeal based on his age, letting the Gropinator show his true degree of Christian kindness and mercy.
Fortunately, Michigan has no death penalty.

  1. I am against the death penalty. And I have real problems with Schwarzenegger. That said I’m really baffled by the emphasis on Allen’s disabilities shown in this post and elsewhere in the media. The headline leaves no disability unmentioned, but conveniently avoids mentioning that he’s a murderer.

    Are blind people less accountable? Are deaf people unable to understand their own (prior) actions? And the wheelchair-bound, are they more deserving of pity than punishment?

    I cannot help but think that dwelling on his disabilities reveals negative, condescending attitudes towards the disabled.
       —H.S.    Jan. 17 '06 - 11:11PM    #
  2. generally, i’d like to keep this site centered on michigan, but the death penalty issue (i’m against the dp) is something that’s close to my heart, so i’ll join it…

    i think the age thing/disability thing is relavent in the sense that it actually points to the real “cruel and unusal” nature of death row…they don’t just kill you…they put you in a cell for years telling you that they are going to kill you…

    the ap reported that this guy actually nearly died in prison from natural causes…then they revived his heart, and put him back on the death row…which says to me that the state is not just interested in having this guy out of the way (deterrance, which no study has ever proven that the death penalty contributes to), but to have the state have the chance specifically to harm upon the inmate (retribution, which i believe, has no place in the justice system of a liberal democracy such as ours)...

    my two cents,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 17 '06 - 11:46PM    #
  3. Ari:

    Allen’s stay on death row was prolonged due only to his extensive use of the appeals process. If he viewed his continued existance under the yoke of a death sentance as cruel and unusual, he had the option to discontinue his appeals.

    Retributivist concepts and underpinnings are laced throughout our criminal and civil legal systems. Though I oppose the death penalty, I don’t share your discomfort with punishing criminals for no other reason other than they deserve it. Deter and rehabilitate. Failing that, punish.
       —Daniel Adams    Jan. 18 '06 - 12:43AM    #
  4. dan,

    yes, it is true, we all retributivist concepts to our justice system…but what makes the dp unique is that there nothing can be undone when the punishment is wrongly given when the person is exoniated…you can pay back a fine, release someone from jail, but you can’t unkill someone…i believe this is one of a few reasons illinios’ governnor cited for the moritnorum when they found out how many innocent people the state was killling…

    i believe revenge is a dangerous reaction for a person to have, so i fear it more when it comes from the state…as simon weisenthal, the late nazi criminal hunter said, “justice, not revenge.”

    let’s join the 21st,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 18 '06 - 08:36AM    #
  5. Ari,

    I don’t think it’s as simple as you claim it to be. If you put someone in prison for 15 years and then realize it was a mistake, letting him/her out does not undo the punishment. Those years are lost.

    With respect to your earlier comment, of course the state has to medically intervene when someone on death row has a heart attack or any other acute or long-term medical issue. Until the punishment is actually carried out, the prisoner may have other avenues. The sentence could be commuted. A court might overturn the verdict or the punishment.

    Like I said, in my first comment, I’m against the death penalty. But let’s provide good arguments against the practice. And anyone who expresses the view that the physically disabled are in the same penal class as children should be challenged by those of us against the death penalty.
       —H.S.    Jan. 18 '06 - 11:09AM    #
  6. I believe that Michigan was the first english speaking government, in the world I think, to eliminate the death penalty.

    I looked around for that info quickly, found this interesting site http://deathpenaltyinfo.msu.edu/ – but no confirmation of it. Anyone else?
       —Mark    Jan. 18 '06 - 11:45AM    #
  7. Ari,

    You don’t need a study to prove that the death penalty is a deterence to crime. If a person is dead, you can logically conclude that they will no longer be committing crimes and victimizing the innocent. It certainly deters the individual who is executed. However, locking up a person for life keeps them from committing crimes against the general population as well. I am opposed to the death penalty only because mistakes happen and sometimes innocent persons are convicted.

    People are not incarcerated out of revenge. They are sent to prison because they have shown they are incapable of living by societal rules and they are separated from us for our safety. Prisons rehab a very small percentage. Chances are high that an individual will commit more crimes once they are released from prison. They don’t deserve to have better housing than our volunteer soldiers, who live in tents in 100 degree plus temps in Afghanistan and Iraq, eat MRE’s and risk their lives each day. They shouldn’t get special job skills training in prison either. We should spend our limited tax dollars to train those individuals who are economically disadvantaged yet don’t resort to crime.
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 18 '06 - 11:54AM    #
  8. Ari,

    You don’t need a study to prove that the death penalty is a deterence to crime. If a person is dead, you can logically conclude that they will no longer be committing crimes and victimizing the innocent. It certainly deters the individual who is executed. However, locking up a person for life keeps them from committing crimes against the general population as well. I am opposed to the death penalty only because mistakes happen and sometimes innocent persons are convicted.

    People are not incarcerated out of revenge. They are sent to prison because they have shown they are incapable of living by societal rules and they are separated from us for our safety. Prisons rehab a very small percentage. Chances are high that an individual will commit more crimes once they are released from prison. They don’t deserve to have better housing than our volunteer soldiers, who live in tents in 100 degree plus temps in Afghanistan and Iraq, eat MRE’s and risk their lives each day. They shouldn’t get special job skills training in prison either. We should spend our limited tax dollars to train those individuals who are economically disadvantaged yet don’t resort to crime.
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 18 '06 - 11:54AM    #
  9. Sorry for the duplication.
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 18 '06 - 11:55AM    #
  10. I wonder why they chose to execute him on his birthday or if it was just by coincidence that unknowingly, the date that the execution team set just happened to fall on the same day.
       —Amit    Jan. 18 '06 - 12:43PM    #
  11. karen:

    you misunderstood the argument of deterance…the point is the doj nor any real study have shown that places with the death penalty deter more capital crimes than places without it…

    h.s.:

    yes, those are years lost, but in order to make fair punishment, we have to include the fact that some innocents will be punished, and therefore there should be a safeguard…lose 15 years of your life for crime you didn’t commit is an out right injustice, but at least that person could go back to their life…you can’t unkill someone…

    clarity,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 18 '06 - 12:53PM    #
  12. People are … sent to prison because they have shown they are incapable of living by societal rules and they are separated from us for our safety.

    a little googling around on the internets suggests that a third (or more!) of all prisoners are there for victimless (a.k.a. consensual) crimes.

    i don’t feel any safer with them locked up … actually, i feel a little nervous that the societal rule makers will come after me next.

    and i feel like my wallet’s a little thinner.

    imho, there are a lot of people in jail—and on death row—for the crime of being born black.
       —peter honeyman    Jan. 18 '06 - 09:45PM    #
  13. Karen:

    “They don’t deserve to have better housing than our volunteer soldiers, who live in tents in 100 degree plus temps in Afghanistan and Iraq, eat MRE’s and risk their lives each day. They shouldn’t get special job skills training in prison either. We should spend our limited tax dollars to train those individuals who are economically disadvantaged yet don’t resort to crime.”

    The purposes of our criminal justice system are far more complex then just keeping the bad people out of society. Deterence, retribution, rehabilitation, restrait – they all play a role.

    If prisons only rehab a small percentage of inmates, its only because most aren’t well designed to rehabilitate.

    The living quarters of our volunteer army should have no place in a discussion of prison conditions. That soldiers aren’t afforded better quarters abroad is a function of the practical limitations of the battlefield. That prisoners aren’t afforded better quarters is solely a function of funding and priorities. Prisoners just aren’t a priority.

    Diverting money away from education and training in prisons in order to give to upstanding needy persons is laudable, but may only contribute to recidivism and poverty among release inmates. Poverty, education and crime are all connected. Educating prisoners helps society.
       —Daniel Adams    Jan. 18 '06 - 10:27PM    #
  14. @peter honeyman,

    I wish you’d defined, or given a few examples of, “victimless (a.k.a. consensual)” crimes.

    I’m inclined to infer that you’re referring, at least in part, to crimes involved with selling drugs (including importing, transporting, and manufacturing drugs). And I’m not comfortable with the claims you seem to be making—the claim that addicts are not victims, and the claim that an addict is able to give any rational form of consent (beyond the epression that they simply want the drugs).

    Of course, if I’m incorrect and you’re not referring to the drug business, then I apologize.
       —H.S.    Jan. 20 '06 - 12:46AM    #
  15. h.s., i’m not comfortable with the claims i seem to be making (about victimless crimes), either, since i make no claims, merely report what i learn on the internets (i like that little bush-ism!), so please tilt your inference-inclined lance at some other windmill.
       —peter honeyman    Jan. 20 '06 - 01:06PM    #
  16. few points…

    #1) no one is above the law. not even the weak or handicapped.

    #2) it shocks me that liberals have no problem with a pregnant teenager killing her child (or fetus as you’d prefer to think of it as) without her telling her parents but when some brutal murderer receives the death penalty for his crimes against society, that is ok.

    shocking.
       —Anonymous    Jan. 21 '06 - 06:27PM    #