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Monday, October 22, 2007

Manic Monday

Lisa poses some interesting questions in this week's Manic Monday meme.

1. Would you be able to serve on a jury and sentence the defendant to the death penalty if he/she were found guilty of a crime that the court felt warranted the death penalty?

I live in the UK, where the general death penalty was abolished in 1965, before I was born. Theoretically, the death penalty remained on the statute books until 1998, for crimes such as treason, but it was never implemented after the general abolition in 1965. So the concept of a death penalty is alien to me. Furthermore, I believe that executing a murderer, no matter how heinous their deed, robs criminal justice administrators of their right to claim a higher moral ground. Isn't capital punishment just a legalized form of murder? As I'm not a religious person, I simply don't believe in the Biblical "eye for an eye, life for a life" approach to life.

Another thing to consider - what about the well-being of the executioner? What effect does performing an execution have on their minds? I also feel that death is often the easy option for some criminals. Why give them that easy opt out? Hardened criminals, by their very nature, despise authority and being forced to do things they don't want to do. Therefore, a life of imprisonment seems a much harsher punishment than a quick death. After all, the loved ones of a murder victim have to serve their own life sentences. Luckily, I will never have to participate in a jury decision that involves sentencing someone to death. But if I did live in a jurisdiction where the death penalty was an option, I would refuse to participate in sentencing someone to death.

2. Have you ever faked being ill to avoid doing something you didn’t want to do?

Haven't we all? I haven't done so in a long time. The last time I did so, was to save my own sanity! A woman I know wanted me to babysit for her. I have no kids of my own, and she called me and asked me to look after her daughters, aged 11 months and 4 weeks. My blood ran cold. I don't do babies. Don't get me wrong - as long as they're not screaming, vomiting, defecating or urinating, I find them quite sweet - but only if someone else is taking care of them. I knew these two little girls to be total screamers. I can cope with a tiny baby crying, but as they get older and the volume gets turned up, it drives me insane.

But more than anything, I was terrified at the thought of having to care for two such tiny, vulnerable little people. What if I messed up? What if one if them got hurt? What if they got sick? Everything from meningitis to cot death went through my mind. Plus the thought of cleaning stinky bottoms made me feel queasy. I think it takes a mother's love to be able to cope with a poopy bottom. So I pretended to have a highly infectious bout of shingles. I should have just told her the truth, I know. But it's kind of embarassing to admit being scared witless of two tiny people whose collective ages amounted to 12 months.

3. Would you state you were guilty of a crime you didn't commit to free a loved one?

No. Harsh as this sounds, if they committed a crime, it would be kinder to them in the long run, to make them do the time. How else would they learn to keep out of trouble? There would be a danger that the person would keep offending, in the hope that their crimes would be paid for by someone else. Also, claiming someone else's guilt and accepting their punishment, is a crime in itself. In the UK, it's called perverting the course of justice. As a law school graduate, I have a deeper understanding of the jurisprudence underlying our criminal justice system, than the average person in the street. Although it's certainly not perfect, I have a great respect for the British justice system and its underlying moral foundation. So there's no way I could ever consider perverting the course of justice.


Kwizgiver said...

I like how our answers are similar.


Diana_CT said...

It seems that we are in the minority when it comes to question #1.
I know I could never pass judgment on someone. I wish they would ban it here also.