The article reports, “Duncan has admitted to killing three members of the Groene family in a bloody attack in 2004 at their home hear Coeur d’Alene, before he allegedly kidnapped to young children from the family for sex and killed one, a 9-year-old boy.” What the article doesn’t say is that the surviving child, who was 8 years old at the time, Shasta Groene, witnessed her mother, teen brother, and mother’s boyfriend being beaten to death. Then she endured sexual abuse (over a period of weeks) and probably had to watch her 9-year-old brother also be sexually abused and then killed and burned up in a campfire.
It’s obvious that Duncan’s attorneys have given no thought to the surviving victim and the victims’ family, not to mention the many of us who wept, hoped, and prayed that the two children would be found alive. I don’t know Shasta Groene, but my heart broke for that young girl and her living relatives, and the four lives that were put to an abrupt end before it was time.
Some of the arguments:
“Evolving standards of decency” in deciding what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the US Constitution’s 8th amendment.
The punishment should fit the crime. Duncan murdered four people and tortured two children. No, we should not torture him like he tortured those five people. But why should they die and we let him live? Capital punishment fits the crime of murder to the fourth power. He arbitrarily inflicted his own will onto five people to satisfy his perverse sexual appetite for innocent children. Personally, it wouldn’t bother me if we made it as humane as possible by giving him a general anesthesia before lethal injection. That way, he most probably wouldn’t feel a thing, but simply go to sleep and never wake up. There is no torture in that, and nothing cruel. It’s a bit unusual, but only in the sense that it makes the death as comfortable as possible for the perpetrator who bludgeoned to death four innocent people and repeatedly raped two small children.
Studies have shown no deterrent effects on murder rates in states that have capital punishment.
There’s a reason for that. There’s rarely an immediate consequence for someone on death row. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_row “Due to the lengthy, expensive and time consuming appeals procedure that must be followed in the United States before an execution can be carried out, prisoners may wait years before execution; nearly a quarter of deaths on Death Row in the U.S. are in fact of natural causes.” We are, in a sense, saying, “There are no real immediate consequences for your actions, no matter how heinous. The worst that can happen to you is being placed in prison while the powers that be try to figure out what to do with you. And don’t worry – there are plenty of lawyers like Mark Larranaga fighting for your right to rape and murder without severe penalty. So, dream up your most wicked fantasy and have the time of your life, because even if your buddy Mark loses his battle for you, you’ll still likely die of natural causes on death row. You just need to decide if it’s worth it.” If anything needs reform, it’s the United States appeals procedure.
Since 1973, 124 inmates have been released from death row because of new evidence of innocence.
Many of these cases were overturned because someone had originally withheld evidence. There should be severe penalties for anyone who withholds evidence or perjurers themselves. It should be severe enough that if they’re found out the result is painful, like losing law license, job, and serving jail time and restitution payable to the person whose life they destroyed, or if too late, the family of the deceased. In fact, if someone is put to death because someone withheld evidence or perjured themselves, that person(s) should be tried for, at the very least, manslaughter.
Many of these cases were overturned because of the leaps and bounds made in forensic science. If anything, that should be a case for keeping the death penalty, because it’s less likely mistakes will be made and more likely the right person will be tried for the crime. Most of the cases that have been overturned have been since 1993, clearly, when knowledge has increased to the point of aptly finding the truth. Perhaps, with forensic science, there will be less margin for error.
This is what makes Duncan's case a bad place to "crusade" for abolishment of capital punishment. He's admitted it. There is no question as to whether he's done it -- and no amount of appeals would change that outcome. He was caught red-handed with the girl and confessed he did the crimes. According to the article I read, there is no doubt Duncan is guilty. Therefore, he should accept the consequences of his crimes. What gets to me more than anything at all is that the legal system seems to have failed all of Duncan's victims, past and present, and if the death penalty is abolished as a result of this trial, that will have been his legacy. He'll have come out of this somewhat of a hero for those who oppose the death penalty, and there will be no justice for the Groene family or the other families Duncan has tortured, tormented, raped and murdered. All hail the perpetrator!