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Justice For All

Atheists have our own ideas about what is just and what is unjust.  This group will explore the elusive concept of justice.  Topics include racial injustice, death penalty, imprisonment, crime, and other aspects of justice in modern society and in history.  Without gods, what is the basis for justice?  What do humanists and others say about justice?  What do you think about current controversies and cases regarding justice or injustice?

Members: 43
Latest Activity: Mar 11


Troy Davis's photo was chosen as this original icon for this group.  Davis symbolized inequality of justice in the US.  At the time of his execution, 9/21/11, the evidence supporting his conviction was flimsy.  There was known evidence supporting his innocence.  He was executed anyway. Since then the icon is changed to represent justice in general.


There are different nontheist points of view about justice, punishment, penalties, death penalty.   There is strong support for retribution and execution in the theist community (in the US).


What serves as "justice" is not distributed evenly across communities.  The most egregious injustice has strong racial overtones.  If you would like to read about, and discuss justice, what it is, who gets justice, and who doesn't, and stories relevant to this topic, please join and contribute to the discussions.


Resources  factsheet.  main page  executed possibly innocent

amnestyUSA death penalty information

death row population (CNN)  sept 2011.

innocence project.  The innocent and the death penalty.

innocence project Wikipedia discussion

California innocence project

Chicago innocence project

Georgia innocence project


Discussion Forum

On Burying the Torture Report

Started by Bertold Brautigan. Last reply by Daniel W Dec 9, 2014. 3 Replies

Black Panic

Started by Daniel W. Last reply by k.h. ky Sep 4, 2014. 7 Replies

Environmental Activist Hit Lists

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Jun 30, 2014. 2 Replies

Harsher sentences increase crime

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Luara Jun 27, 2014. 4 Replies

Debtors Prison in the US

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jun 12, 2014. 4 Replies

Coal Ash contaminated water jail coverup

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner May 26, 2014. 0 Replies

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 6, 2012 at 10:40am
I have to comment because I covered exonerations extensively in my book just t make a point. I only coverer death penalty cases, but that makes the findings even that more important. Currently, Texas has exonerated more than 30 death-row prisoners. One was exonerated posthumously (I'm sure he was pleased about that). He was not executed--he died in jail after his appeals ran out. Texas lead the nation in executions. It also leads the nation in exonerations. Unless these guys are Lazurus and work with a magician named Jesus, they ain't comin' back. If they want punishment, revenge or retribution a life sentence is cruel if not unusual punishment. Suffering isolation, deteriorxation by age, disease, physical abuse and self-abuse through drugs and psychological means is horrible. I'd rather they just shot me. However, there is one thing to recommend it and that is, if they are wrong, they can let you go; something that is exceedingly difficult to do at the onset of death.
Comment by Daniel W on August 4, 2012 at 10:42pm

Exonerated after 16 years in prison.  Faith kept him going.

"A Tulsa judge exonerated a man convicted of a 1995 burglary and armed robbery in east Tulsa. DNA testing of evidence has excluded Sedrick Courtney as a suspect in the crime. Courtney served 16 years for the crime"

Sometimes I'm at a loss for words.  This is one of those times.

Comment by Daniel W on August 4, 2012 at 10:30pm

Not wanting to seem too jaded, but is it possible for Americans to hold two thoughts in their heads at the same time? 

Fried chicken sandwich.  Fried chicken sandwich.  Execute developmentally delayed prisoners.  Fried chicken sandwich.


Wait - what was that? 


Marvin Wilson has an IQ of 61.  He will be executed in Texas on tuesday.  The supreme court already declared unconstitutional, the execution of mentally retarded persons (their term, not mine). 

Photo from death row site here.seeking pen pal (a bit late now)

From here - on death row 18 years. 

Also in

Wilson is convicted of killing a drug informant, Jerry Robert Williams, in 1992, during an altercation.

Marvin Lee Wilson

 "It is not known for certain whether Wilson was the shooter or simply a party to the crime."

I wonder if his execution will be on the news?

Fried chicken sandwich.  Fried chicken sandwich.  Fried chicken sandwich. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on July 3, 2012 at 1:14pm

@Sentient Biped, excellent video of David R. Row with important lessons. He makes sense, economically and politically. Also, liked National Registry of Exonerations and your comments. 

Comment by Daniel W on July 3, 2012 at 12:16pm

David,  I agree with you on legalization.  Once we have "Marboro Greens", there would be far fewer drug convictions.  I don't even smoke either.  Caffeine is my drug.  And chocolate.

Comment by David Philip Norris on July 3, 2012 at 11:51am

The legalization and regulation of marijuana would do much to free up our prison system, save otherwise decent and law abiding citizens from having the stigma of a criminal record, and save billions of dollars spent on enforcing current drug laws, not to mention the revenue that could come out of government regulation. (I should mention, btw, that I don't even smoke!)

Comment by Daniel W on July 3, 2012 at 11:38am

National Registry of Exonerations.    Over 2,000 exonerations.  Among their findings (from Huffpost article):

Among the findings by the database researchers:

  • Perjury and false accusations are the most common causes of a bogus conviction, accounting for 51% of the cases included in the database;
  • Men make up 93 percent of the exonerated defendants;
  • African Americans represent 50 percent of the names on the database; whites make up 38 percent. Latinos account for 11 percent, and Native Americans and Asians make up 2 percent;
  • The most common crime on the list is murder, representing 48% of the exonerations. Sexual assaults are the 2nd most common at 35%... robberies equaling 5%... drug, white collar & non-violent crimes... 7%;
  • There have been 101 death-row inmates freed.

Comment by Daniel W on July 3, 2012 at 10:44am

Comment by Daniel W on June 10, 2012 at 5:59pm

Joan, I did order "The New Jim Crow" but it will take a while for me to digest it.  My attention span seems to be devolving.  I hope it's not permanent.


Like you, I vacillate on the death penalty.  I have to choose - either accept some incorrect or inappropriate convictions, accept racial disparity in sentencing, accept high societal cost for continuing the death penalty industry, accept the lack of deterrent effect, accept that a society that condones violence, may have more violence, vs. we keep a few monsters alive, in the name of avoiding the other injustices, I'll keep the monsters alive.  I don't think the crime stops with that execution.  I wonder if the execution has a ripple effect of cheapening other life, and making people more self assured in their thoughts, when they shouldn't be. 


I agree with you that suicide is a reasonable choice when someone is faced with unending indignity, unending suffering, imminent death.  In a way, it was nice of Crummell to save us the cost of further maintaining him. 


Thanks for your thoughtful comments Joan.  There aren't a lot of people who think about these things.

Comment by Joan Denoo on June 10, 2012 at 4:09pm

Sentient, thanks for the lead to It looks like a good resource. 

About the death penalty ... I agree, the possibility of the state making a mistake and killing an innocent is just too high a risk for my taste. and yes, there are those who commit such horrible crimes death seems too easy. Alas, the quandary remains. How hard am I willing to fight against the death penalty? Well, it is situational, if there is some shred of doubt, no death penalty until and unless all questions are answered. There are some I would be willing to be the person to administer the deadly dose. I could not do any such thing if there were still a sliver of possibility of innocent. 

Suicide is not a problem for me. An individual can decide that life, as it exists, is too difficult to continue. Of course, the young who take that option make a permanent decision about a temporary situation. But for the elderly or sick or hopelessly trapped, it makes good sense. It means nothing more than stopping, ending, quitting life. There is no hell to fear or heaven to hope for. There is just STOP. END. NOTHING MORE. 

The meaning of life comes up in this topic. In my view, life has no meaning or purpose beyond that which we give it. Others do not share my thinking and probably it makes a big difference in their outlook, even as it relates to the death penalty. 

The thought of a person committing some horrendous crime, found guilty, sentenced to death, and on death row finds religious, repulses  me. If religion enters the scene, the one who is guilty can shed guilt. Now! That, to me, is disgusting. 

What is the saying, "do the crime, do the time". I type this, even as I do believe people can feel real responsibility for doing someone harm. 

As you can see, I am moving back and forth across the line ... No easy answer comes to my mind. 


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