Thursday, September 4, 2008

Woman who Microwaved her Baby Spared the Death Penalty

CNN reports on China Arnold, the Ohio woman convicted of having microwaved her infant baby to death. The jury could not reach a unanimous decision concerning the punishment phase.

After about five hours of deliberation, the jury told Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman that it couldn't decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison, and that it wouldn't be able to make such a decision even if it deliberated through Thursday.

Wiseman is now limited to sentencing Arnold to life in prison without parole, life without parole for at least 30 years, or life without parole for at least 25 years. She plans to impose her sentence Monday.

The defense attorney, Jon Paul Rion is still protesting China's innocence. He says that his client had never been in trouble before and that it's ridiculous to charge her with a crime such as this. I don't think however, that questions like this could have influenced the jury's decision to not recommend the death penalty. Since China was convicted, they must have considered other factors. What could they have been? Perhaps there were lingering questions about her soundness of mind. Supposedly she was drunk at the time of the tragedy. Are these mitigating circumstances? Perhaps, in spite of the prosecution's efforts to select jury members capable of recommending capital punishment, some of them had doubts about it.

What do you think?


  1. There are some Talmudic writings that suggest that life imprisonment is wrong and execution, after a proper and careful trial, is not.

    Life (or long term) imprisonment is torturing a person by allowing their body to live but not letting the person live. Better to be executed than be dead to the world, for all practical purposes. Execution is better than torture.

  2. P.S.

    Being drunk or on drugs does not excuse a person from murder or manslaughter unless you are Senator Edward Kennedy, apparently.


  3. +1 Thomas.

    I'd say any woman who could do such a deliberate, intentional, and horrible thing to her own baby is beyond repair. Because of this she should never return to society.

    And if Thomas' quotation of the Talmud is correct, I fully agree with it. Locking somebody up for decades untill their natural death is hardly fair for the prisoner, and hardly fair for society that will be forced to care for the prisoner until they day they DO die.

  4. I happen to know that Thomas is right about the Talmud, but that's the Old Testament to us Christians. I don't put too much weight on it. Yet, in all fairness, even some Catholic Theologians through the centuries have been for capital punishment. One of their ideas that I remember is the human family is like a body, if one of the members has gangrene, you cut it off for the sake of the rest. That's more or less what Thomas says, I think.

    As you know, I feel differently. I agree with those who say we can do better than that. We need to do better for the long-range improvement of our species. It's not the eugenics of murderers breeding and producing more murderers we need to worry about. It's the spirit of harsh judgment and punishment, of revenge and the lack of forgiveness that we need to overcome for our own good.

    What I'm talking about is best illustrated whenever they have an execution and the relatives of the victim are interviewed, you know the ones who have waited 15 or 18 years to witness justice being done. Don't you think something's wrong with that kind of rancor?

  5. thomas' main point strikes me as the sort of decision noone should go making for somebody else. i can easily see how he could value freedom more than living, and i'm not even saying i would choose differently were it me, but i can see how someone other than us would disagree with this conclusion vehemently.

    thomas, would you agree to this compromise: noone may be sentenced to death, but anyone sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole may have (which other prisoners typically may not) the option of committing suicide at any time, complete with medical assistance to make it quick, certain, and painless?

  6. nomen, I s'pose that'd work too, but it'd take longer. But then you already know my take on criminals, lunatics and general mully-headed wastes of oxygen.

    I haven't kept wandering back to Texas on accident. I like the eugenic mill we run over in Huntsville for scumbags that would never amount to anything anyway.

    Part of me likes the vengeance handed out to child molesters and such while they're serving their life sentences.

    Treat people as you wish to be treated. You rape people, maybe you get to spend fifteen or twenty years getting raped?

    You murdered somebody, maybe somebody shanks you in the exercise yard.

  7. Only God has the right to take life away, killing does not justify another's death. Sadly there was no evidence that China was the actual person to put the child in the microwave, but there was a 5 yr old witness who claimed seing another child do it. I think she should be responsible for negeting the baby, being drunk with children is ridiculous. I don't know maybe she was so drunk she did it by mistake. It could have been she went crazy or suffered from a deep depressed state. Or possible someone else really did it, and she was too drunk to realise or passed out. China does have 3 smart healthy children and she did attempt to save her child. Hospital works stated she was shocked to even here the baby was microwaved. I do not find the death penalty justified in any case. But i do believe she should be punished for neglect because her drunken state caused the baby's safety to be compromised. If she would not have been drunk, it never would have happened.