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Dec 10 · Last update 1 mo. ago.

Should Trump delay Brandon Bernard’s execution?

Brandon Bernard is set to be executed in a federal execution on December 10th 2020, for a his part in the murder of pastor Todd Bagley and his wife Stacie Bagley. Barnard, who was 18 at the time, was an accessory to the murder, being a low level gang member at the time he was tasked with disposing of evidence, he, along with the murderer, were sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2000. As part of the Trump administration's efforts to restart federal executions following a 17 year hiatus, Bagley’s murderer was executed this year and Bernard put on death row. His legal team, five of the jurors who condemned him to death, and criminal justice reform advocates are now calling for his sentence to be commuted. Does someone who played such a minor role in a murder deserve the death sentence? Should Donald Trump delay the execution of Brandon Bernard? Should his sentence be commuted?
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An end to the death penalty?
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No
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Yes
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An end to the death penalty?

Sadly this may be the case that pushes the death penalty to its death in the United States, as Democrats are now standing behind plans to abolish the death penalty. Bernard may prove to be the final martyr in the fight for death penalty abolition at a federal level in the United States. Many in the U.S. see the death penalty as unconstitutional, as the eighth amendment of the constitution, the Untied States Bill of Rights, prohibits the federal government from imposing "excessive bail, excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishments", of which the death penalty is quite widely recognised as the latter.

Likewise, and possibly more damning, is the amount of "junk science" that is admissible as evidence in U.S. courts is worrying, and an argument in itself for abolishing the death penalty. A comprehensive study of the psychological assessments that are admitted as evidence found that 60% were based on assessment tools that were widely considered to be ineffective, while only 5% of these questionable testimonies were ever challenged in court. But even more worrying is the almost completely disproven fields, such as bite mark analysis, which are often still used in U.S. courts despite having no evidence to verify their efficacy and being widely recognised as rubbish science. This case may go a long way to forcing America into a more ethical direction, the country is widely recognised as in urgent need of criminal justice reform.

chicagotribune.com/columns/steve-chapman/ct-column-death-penalty-democrats-harris-bloomberg-chapman-20191206-o7ukkjh7u5fp3fk5f354jwkzsy-story.html iflscience.com/editors-blog/a-large-amount-of-junk-science-is-admitted-as-evidence-in-court-cases rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/trump-death-penalty-lethal-injection-firing-squads-orlando-hall-1095535 theintercept.com/2016/09/07/white-house-report-concludes-that-bite-mark-analysis-is-junk-science brookings.edu/events/the-need-for-criminal-justice-reform-in-america

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Dec 11
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https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/steve-chapman/ct-column-death-penalty-democrats-harris-bloomberg-chapman-20191206-o7ukkjh7u5fp3fk5f354jwkzsy-story.html https://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/a-large-amount-of-junk-science-is-admitted-as-evidence-in-court-cases/ https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/trump-death-penalty-lethal-injection-firing-squads-orlando-hall-1095535/ https://theintercept.com/2016/09/07/white-house-report-concludes-that-bite-mark-analysis-is-junk-science/ https://www.brookings.edu/events/the-need-for-criminal-justice-reform-in-america/

No

Brandon Bernard was complicit in murder, his case was heard and considered by a panel of jurors who found him guilty and a judge that sentenced him to the death penalty. Bernard was entitled to appeal and did so and his sentence was not commuted, while he may have regretted and repented his involvement in the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Bagley his sentence was decided fairly within the United State's legal system. The death penalty is at the end of the day a deterrent, but it ceases to become an effective deterrent if it is never used.

The death penalty is widely seen to be the ultimate way to bring closure to a victims family in cases as extreme as a multiple murder such as this one. Likewise in such cases the death penalty can be seen as beneficial to wider society, as weighing up the death penalty against life in prison the financial burden on society is much lower when the death penalty is used. Finally Christianity is still by far the dominant faith in the United States and therefore the dominant moral compass by which the country navigates ethical issues, many Americans will therefore see the death sentence as an adequate act of retribution for such a horrible crime, an eye for an eye. Brandon Bernard was executed on 10th December 2020 as planned.

thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/13428176/kim-kardashian-latest-news-brandon-bernard-execution-live prodeathpenalty.com/info/pro-death-penalty-arguments thoughtco.com/arguments-for-the-death-penalty-721136 pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study

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Dec 11
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DH edited this paragraph
Brandon Bernard was complicit in murder, his case was heard and considered by a panel of jurors who found him guilty and a judge that sentenced him to the death penalty. Bernard was entitled to appeal and did so and his sentence was not commuted, while he may have regretted and repented his involvement in the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Bagley his sentence was decided fairly within the United State's legal system. The death penalty is at the end of the day a deterrent, but it ceases to become an effective deterrent if it is never used.

Yes

The case of Brandon Bernard is by no means a clear and direct involvement with murder, being a teenager and low ranking member in a gang at the time; Bernard was tasked with the task of hiding the murder weapon. Although this makes him complicit it does seem a miscarriage of justice that he was given the same sentence as the murderer, while others who were more involved were given lesser sentences. Indeed this case has even caused one of the original prosecuting judges to fights his corner; it is now known that the human brain is not fully developed until around 25, and such a harsh sentence would be unlikely to be passed in a similar case in the present day. Furthermore the last few federal executions that have been pushed through by Trump have turned out to be COVID “super spreader” events, with 8 executioners catching the virus at the previous execution.

There is really no reason other than Trump's personal callousness to continue with this execution at this time, this should be anathema to his strong base of Christian supporters, as "though shalt not kill" is a central tenet of the Christian faith. This case gained notoriety being championed by criminal justice reform advocates, such as Kim Kardashian - who has stated that Bernard “has now been on death row for 20+ years with zero disciplinary write ups. He uses his time to reach out to at-risk youth, advising them to not stray from the Lord's path (or not follow in his teenage footsteps)” [1]. Bernard is clearly not the unapologetic cold-blooded murderer that the death penalty should be reserved for, it was wrong to execute him.

aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/10/kim-kardashian-asks-trump-to-stay-execution-of-brandon-bernard refinery29.com/en-us/2020/12/10218619/save-brandon-bernard-death-penalty-execution-case newsweek.com/8-executioners-caught-covid-after-last-execution-1553460

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Dec 11
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DH edited this paragraph
There is really no reason other than Trump's personal callousness to continue with this execution at this time, this should be anathema to his strong base of Christian supporters, as "though shalt not kill" is a central tenet of the Christian faith. This case gained notoriety being championed by criminal justice reform advocates, such as Kim Kardashian - who has stated that Bernard “has now been on death row for 20+ years with zero disciplinary write ups. He uses his time to reach out to at-risk youth, advising them to not stray from the Lord's path (or not follow in his teenage footsteps)” [1]. Bernard is clearly not the unapologetic cold-blooded murderer that the death penalty should be reserved for, it was wrong to execute him.
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