For those who have been keeping up with the news, it seems that the Supreme Court has apparently tossed out the death sentence given to a man who was convicted of killing two people nearly thirty years ago. The two victims just happened to be rock guitarist Dave Navarro's mother and her friend said reports. The trial judge, upon hearing the case, ended up dismissing a juror simply because of her death penalty views. Requirements stated that judge must ask the juror if they could still impose the sentence despite their own views. Eventually the unanimous ruling upheld the murder conviction for John Riccardi.
Riccardi was a former bodybuilder and also former boyfriend of Connie Navarro. It was said that Riccardi killed Connie in a jealous rage along with her friend Sue Jory. He was then arrested eight years later after being recognized on a segment from “America's Most Wanted.” The juror in question apparently wrote on the questionnaire (which was used to determine juror views on the death penalty) that she supported it and also that it wasn't used enough for her taste. However later in the same questionnaire, she gave certain answers that seemed as though she opposed the penalty. The chief justice said that the conflicting answers either meant that this person was uncomfortable or trying to advise the court that they would not be able to impose a decision of death. It is however unknown what might have prompted the juror’s answers.
The death penalty is very touchy subject and a topic that I, myself, am not quite sure what my opinion is. Criminals should be punished, yes; however I do not feel that the current system that we have is particularly correct or working the way that it is supposed to. Throwing criminals in jail and/or onto death row is not going to stop more like minded individuals from causing more trouble. My main issue with the death penalty is that it is obviously not working to stop crime from happening. I have always wondered why we choose to put money into the death penalty instead of putting it into research or something that would help us better understand criminals and crime. Maybe if we understood what triggers people to turn to a life of crime maybe we could prevent it all from happening in the first place.
My biggest conflict is that I do not believe that people are born evil. I guess I could get into a whole religious speech, but I'll refrain and just tell you that I simply am not religious and therefore I do not believe in Heaven or Hell. When I think about putting a criminal to death, to me it seems like the easy way out. I guess if one believed that after death a bad person would go to Hell and be punished for all eternity then yes, I can absolutely understand why they would support the penalty. Still, it is very difficult for me to accept it and understand it.
Getting back to my point about human beings not being born evil, whenever I hear about a crime being committed my mind always immediately goes to the thought of mental illness. People who do bad things, unusual things, things that are not humane are mentally ill. I don't say this to condone what any criminal has ever done or mean to use it to excuse anyone's actions, I merely say it to explain why I have such mixed feelings on the topic of the death penalty. It just truly bothers me to think that the world doesn't care enough about its inhabitants to maybe take a good, long look at them and try to figure out why they do the things they do. Doesn't anyone want to know why people kill or why people snap? Shouldn't our main priority be to prevent crimes from ever having a chance of happening? Maybe if we can get rid of the source of the issue then crime will be a thing of the past.