You had me looking through this old thread. This “precondition of certainty of guilt” was in response to an abhorrence of the death penalty - a more sarcastic reply after a bit of banter back and forth.
I do NOT support PRC nor France’s assumptions of guilt.
Not in Bryant’s case. I don’t wish the death penalty on just anyone for just anything, but there is no mistake in the charge that he killed all those people for no other reason than he wanted to. He was filmed murdering adults and children, he confessed he did it and there were many eyewitnesses to the event. He languishes in a prison cell, in isolation and is most likely indiferent to his situation. I stand by my original judgement in his case.
I don’t know that case, and had never heard of it until this thread. But there will always be individual cases that seem clear cut, without my general reasons for opposing capital punishment are rendered invalid.
Cases with convictions come in a whole spectrum from “More likely to have done it than not” to “As certain as one can be”. Or, let’s make it more formal by making a numeric scale:
100%: Clear cut case, absolutely no doubt, confession, forensic evidence 100% clear. Mathematically proven case. In practice impossible, as there is in theory a non-zero (however small) probability that the conviction and interpretation of the evidence is wrong due to freak coincidences.
x%: Threshold for conviction. The actual value of x can be debated, but let’s assume it is 50%
0%: Clear cut case, mathematically proven that the person did not do it. In practice impossible, as there is in theory a non-zero (however small) probability that the person charged with the crime has successfully fooled the system.
In other words, the scale runs from 0 to 100 (non-inclusive), or expressed mathematically as p∈(0, 100), where p is the probability that the defendant did it, measured in percent. Now, at which p is it acceptable to use capital punishment? Or, rather, to emphasize the possible error if we make a wrong judgement: if we let pinnocent=100-p>0 be the probability of the defendant being innocent, at which threshold for pinnocent is it acceptable to have a wrongfully effected capital punishment?