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Thread: Teresa Lewis executed - Right or Wrong?

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    Default Teresa Lewis executed - Right or Wrong?

    41 Year old Teresa Lewis pleaded guilty and was convicted of getting two men to kill her husband and stepson to cash in on their life insurance policy. The two hitman have both been jailed for life, but were not sentenced to death.

    The main question lies over whether she was mentally fit to stand trial?

    Campaigners have said that as she had an IQ of 72, she had diminshed mental capability, but she was passed capable enough to stand trial.

    The details of the trial are messy. She hired two men to carry out the killings and started an affair with one of them, with defendants are saying that she was manipulated by one of them into carrying out these actions.

    More details here

    So, what do you think, should she have been put to death or reprieved?

    What about the two killers, should they also have received death sentances, or just the life imprisonment?
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    aka ivan the not-quite-as-terrible ivan astikov's avatar
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    Even if it could be proven that her punishment will be a deterrent to some, it is still as wrong as can be.
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    Oliphaunt jali's avatar
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    I'm anti-death penalty.
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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jali View post
    I'm anti-death penalty.
    Same. What her IQ had been is irrelevant to me because of that. I simply don't think the state should execute people.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    If you are anti-death penalty of course it is wrong.

    If you are not against the death penalty she seems to qualify. Even if her IQ is only 72 (and we all know IQ overall is not really a great measure) she showed plenty of guile and planning and should pay for her crime like anyone else. If that means life imprisonment or death penalty it is just.

    I don't really care that much about the death penalty. I don't think it really works but I am not really against it either.

    The killers should be eligible for the same penalty she is. Her crime seems a bit worse but killers for hire are clearly not people that should be at large. So life in prison or death seem like the only answer.

  6. #6
    Oliphaunt
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    I am anti-death penalty because I don't think our legal system is set up to handle it justly.

    However:

    Quote Originally posted by Lawyer
    "Teresa Lewis is a poster child for why the death penalty process is broken."


    No, not really. And I bet the Telegraph doesn't write such smooshy articles about men who get executed.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    No, not really. And I bet the Telegraph doesn't write such smooshy articles about men who get executed.
    The fact that she was a woman (and a grandmother!) just keeps being brought up in inappropriately sensationalistic ways. Yes, we're all aware that Teresa Lewis was a woman. You don't need to remind us of this fact in every paragraph.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Curmudgeon OtakuLoki's avatar
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    I have grave reservations about this case, because of the dichotomy between the sentences for the hitmen and the woman involved. At the risk of falling into gender politics, I can't help but think that the sentence is punishment above and beyond the nature of the crimes that she was convicted of - rather a punishment for a woman who dared to flagrantly violate the normal standards of male/female behavior.

    Jim brings up the question of who is more reprehensible: the person who contracts a killing, or the person who contracts to do the killing. In my opinion there's really no difference. Whatever the contract seeker may gain in reprehensibility for "cowardice, in not being able to kill themselves," or "betrayal of family," the contractees gain in their willingness to kill complete strangers without any personal, potentially extenuating motivations. Certainly I figure the contractees are more of the threat, and more likely to be willing to repeat their crime. If only because when you start killing family, it really tends to remove future potential victims. Since I tend to view capital punishment, if it has any concrete value, as a sure-fire method to prevent recidivism, ISTM that executing the contract killers would be both more just and more logical.

    Further, I have come to oppose the death penalty, because I am sickened by the way that social class affects sentencing in our nation - but I don't have a philosophical problem with the idea of the state executing convicted felons. Certainly I believe that if this woman had had any kind of private money she'd have faced, at worst, life in prison. I feel that the gravest injustice here is not that Teresa Lewis was executed, but that her sentence was so divergent from that of the people whom I feel should be considered to be at least equally culpable.

  9. #9
    Why so serious? Tinker's avatar
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    She was smart enough to hire hitmen. Just sayin'.
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    Why so serious? Tinker's avatar
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    OtakuLoki There are two things about the contract killer/employer dichotomy.

    Contractor: Actually does the wetwork
    Employer: Provides the motive and has a relationship with the victim.

    So I think it's pretty much equal since the Contractor is committing a murder, and the Employer is deciding who gets murdered and is often committing a betrayal, as in this case.
    Last edited by Tinker; 24 Sep 2010 at 05:48 PM.
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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tinker View post
    OtakuLoki There are two things about the contract killer/employer dichotomy.

    Contractor: Actually does the wetwork
    Employer: Provides the motive and has a relationship with the victim.

    So I think it's pretty much equal since the Contractor is committing a murder, and the Employer is deciding who gets murdered and is often committing a betrayal, as in this case.
    My thinking on the issue tends towards this as well. Whatever is deemed the just punishment should probably be the same for both the employer and the contractor. While their crimes are somewhat different, they're equally reprehensible.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Curmudgeon OtakuLoki's avatar
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    I seem to be operating upon some false definitions. When I talked about the contractor - that was the person putting out the contract - i.e. hiring the kill; the actual killers would then be contractee, the ones bound by the contract. So ISTM that we're all in agreement, here.

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    Elephant Myglaren's avatar
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    They are all equally culpable and should be treated the same.
    If they are able to cold bloodedly execute someone for personal gain then execution is an appropriate punishment for them.
    Gender and social status should not enter into the equation.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OtakuLoki View post
    I seem to be operating upon some false definitions. When I talked about the contractor - that was the person putting out the contract - i.e. hiring the kill; the actual killers would then be contractee, the ones bound by the contract. So ISTM that we're all in agreement, here.
    Gotcha. I have no idea if it's the correct terminology or not, TBH, but I assumed it would be similar to how other contract work is described. Like if a carpenter contracts with someone to work on their house, the carpenter is the contractor.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Why so serious? Tinker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
    Quote Originally posted by OtakuLoki View post
    I seem to be operating upon some false definitions. When I talked about the contractor - that was the person putting out the contract - i.e. hiring the kill; the actual killers would then be contractee, the ones bound by the contract. So ISTM that we're all in agreement, here.
    Gotcha. I have no idea if it's the correct terminology or not, TBH, but I assumed it would be similar to how other contract work is described. Like if a carpenter contracts with someone to work on their house, the carpenter is the contractor.
    Right. I understood you just fine Loki. I just disambiguated by separating it into contractor and employer for the same reasons Zuul just described. I even thought of carpenters too. My wife and I work as independent contractors. I haven't held a full-time position in almost a decade. So that's how I was thinking of it. But I understood you regardless.
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    aka ivan the not-quite-as-terrible ivan astikov's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tinker View post
    She was smart enough to hire hitmen. Just sayin'.
    Like the meme of contract killers isn't spread over every channel she'd have seen on her tv! You don't need to be "smart" to come up with that idea. If she was smart, she'd have killed the 2 people she hired, after they'd done the job.
    Last edited by ivan astikov; 25 Sep 2010 at 04:24 PM.
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    Why so serious? Tinker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    Like the meme of contract killers isn't spread over every channel she'd have seen on her tv!
    Finding contract killers isn't quite so easy. It's surprising she wasn't caught during the hiring process.

    You don't need to be "smart" to come up with that idea.
    No, you don't need to be smart to come up with the idea of designing your own car either. But it requires a certain amount of intelligence to accomplish it.

    If she was smart, she'd have killed the 2 people she hired, after they'd done the job.
    You watch too much TV. If you're going to murder two murderers, then why hire them in the first place?

    I stand by my statement. Smart enough to setup a hit, smart enough to go down for it. It's a little more complicated than braining someone with a frying pan.
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    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    I am opposed to the death penalty. But there is no reason I can see that would be a rational explanation of why the woman was punished more harshly than the men. In my view they were equally guilty.
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    aka ivan the not-quite-as-terrible ivan astikov's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tinker View post
    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    Like the meme of contract killers isn't spread over every channel she'd have seen on her tv!
    Finding contract killers isn't quite so easy. It's surprising she wasn't caught during the hiring process.
    How would you know?

    You don't need to be "smart" to come up with that idea.
    Quote Originally posted by Tinker View post
    No, you don't need to be smart to come up with the idea of designing your own car either. But it requires a certain amount of intelligence to accomplish it.
    I'm sure you are aware of "copy-cat killers"? Do you think they come from the upper-reaches of the intellect scale?
    If she was smart, she'd have killed the 2 people she hired, after they'd done the job.
    Quote Originally posted by Tinker View post
    You watch too much TV. If you're going to murder two murderers, then why hire them in the first place?
    To establish an alibi, maybe? And, you don't have to be a genius to come up with that, either. The concept is all over mainstream tv.
    Quote Originally posted by Tinker View post
    I stand by my statement. Smart enough to setup a hit, smart enough to go down for it. It's a little more complicated than braining someone with a frying pan.
    Knock yourself out; it's your opinion to do what you want with.

    ps. I agree with your last sentence though - it was certainly no crime of passion.
    Last edited by ivan astikov; 26 Sep 2010 at 01:36 PM.
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  20. #20
    Why so serious? Tinker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    How would you know?
    Because I've spent a pretty significant amount of time around criminals. All it takes is for you to approach one wrong person and have them snitch or have them have a big mouth and someone else snitch. Murderers are rare even amongst hardened criminals. And you'd be surprised at what kind of principles a junkie/bookie/drug dealer/etc... might have.

    I'm sure you are aware of "copy-cat killers"? Do you think they come from the upper-reaches of the intellect scale?
    No, I don't, but we're talking about intelligent enough to be culpable for their actions, not intelligent enough to be a master assassin.

    To establish an alibi, maybe? And, you don't have to be a genius to come up with that, either. The concept is all over mainstream tv.
    The first rule of crime. The cover-up is usually worse than the crime. Having three bodies is more complex than having 1. What if they shoot you first? What if their kid is in the backseat of their car when you cap them? What if a bum is in the back alley when you do the deed? How are you going to make sure you take out both of them?


    Knock yourself out; it's your opinion to do what you want with.
    Thanks! And good pun!

    ps. I agree with your last sentence though - it was certainly no crime of passion.
    I just think she was smart enough to be aware of what she was doing. That's all. Of course it's not just to have the uneven sentencing. That being said, I wouldn't shed a tear if we ended the death penalty.
    Last edited by Tinker; 26 Sep 2010 at 05:00 PM.
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    aka ivan the not-quite-as-terrible ivan astikov's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tinker View post
    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    How would you know?
    1. Because I've spent a pretty significant amount of time around criminals. All it takes is for you to approach one wrong person and have them snitch or have them have a big mouth and someone else snitch. Murderers are rare even amongst hardened criminals. And you'd be surprised at what kind of principles a junkie/bookie/drug dealer/etc... might have.

    I'm sure you are aware of "copy-cat killers"? Do you think they come from the upper-reaches of the intellect scale?
    2. No, I don't, but we're talking about intelligent enough to be culpable for their actions, not intelligent enough to be a master assassin.

    To establish an alibi, maybe? And, you don't have to be a genius to come up with that, either. The concept is all over mainstream tv.
    3. The first rule of crime. The cover-up is usually worse than the crime. Having three bodies is more complex than having 1. What if they shoot you first? What if their kid is in the backseat of their car when you cap them? What if a bum is in the back alley when you do the deed? How are you going to make sure you take out both of them?


    Knock yourself out; it's your opinion to do what you want with.
    4. Thanks! And good pun!

    ps. I agree with your last sentence though - it was certainly no crime of passion.
    5. I just think she was smart enough to be aware of what she was doing. That's all. Of course it's not just to have the uneven sentencing. That being said, I wouldn't shed a tear if we ended the death penalty.
    1. So have I. I met a fair few during my accumulated 7 years in nick, and my associations on the outside. I don't live in one of the roughest areas in Britain, but I'm confident there'll be a couple of smackheads out there who'd kill someone for an oz of heroin. I'm sure in the USA, where life is even cheaper in some places, a cunning if not intelligent person would be able to do the same.

    2. You don't have to be a ninja assassin if you have a gun, and the people you are going to shoot aren't expecting it.

    3. Set a pair of smackheads on the case, and you have two of the most unreliable and untrustworthy accusers a prosecutor would want to see, even if they botch the job. It'd be their word against yours and as long as you aren't a smackhead yourself, you have a significant advantage over them. As for tidying up, assuming they do the hit successfully, you then arrange to do the pay off out in the desert, where you have concealed their money. Take them out in the middle of nowhere, bang, bang, when they aren't looking, and wah hey, 2 smackheads less who are unlikely to be missed.

    4. I thought so myself.

    5. Agreed.
    Last edited by ivan astikov; 26 Sep 2010 at 05:51 PM.
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  22. #22
    A Dude Peeta Mellark's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tinker View post
    I just think she was smart enough to be aware of what she was doing.
    And that is the only argument that matters when it comes to someone's mental competance. Someone who can't recognize the consequences of their actions, who doesn't know right from wrong, who can't make an effort to cover his/her tracks, etc, may be treated differently under the law, but once you've shown that you're aware enough to hire somebody to do your dirty work you don't get the "too disabled to know what I was doing" card anymore.

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    aka ivan the not-quite-as-terrible ivan astikov's avatar
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    Well, if that is what qualifies you for execution, there is no denying she had to die.

    I'm still of a mind that if a person has been caught as a result of their dumbness, and not superior detective skills, death seems an especially cruel punishment. Someone who was highly intelligent, ruthless and methodical who only got caught because of a lucky break years later, would still only get the same punishment.

    Maybe we should inject and electrocute those kinds of killers.
    Last edited by ivan astikov; 26 Sep 2010 at 06:29 PM.
    To sleep, perchance to experience amygdalocortical activation and prefrontal deactivation.

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