Saturday, November 22, 2008

Death Penalty Upheld

You remember the line from The Shawshank Redemption where Morgan Freeman's character states that he needs to "...get busy living or get busy dying..."? Well, here is a story about someone who got busy dying.
Death-penalty foes meet across Ky. for protests
(Reprinted parts of Courier Journal article)

EDDYVILLE, Ky. -- A dozen death-penalty opponents held a vigil outside the Kentucky State Penitentiary last night as state officials executed confessed child killer Marco Allen Chapman.

Huddled in a tent holding candles, the opponents read the names of Kentucky's 37 death-row inmates and their victims and prayed. "It's important to the policymakers to know the current policy of killing people is not acceptable to everyone in Kentucky," said the Rev. Patrick Delahanty, chairman of the Kentucky Coalition Against the Death Penalty, who organized the vigil. He said he wasn't disappointed by the small turnout because of freezing temperatures and the distance to Eddyville from the state's population centers.

Vigils were organized in other communities, including Louisville, Frankfort and Bowling Green. About 40 people gathered in downtown Louisville in Jefferson Square at 7 p.m. for an hourlong vigil and demonstration. Many held candles and signs with messages such as "Execute justice, not people." The opponents at the Kentucky State Penitentiary were directed to a field facing the building where Chapman was executed at 7:34 p.m. CDT.

The group began arriving about an hour before the scheduled 7 p.m. CDT start time. Some held signs, which had sayings such as "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

Two large, heated tents were set up. In a tent about 100 yards from the tent where the opponents gathered, four individuals huddled, saying they were "observers." They would not identify themselves or say whether they supported the death penalty.

Amanda Bragg, a death- penalty opponent from Bowling Green, said she drove to the prison from Lexington, where she is a law student at the University of Kentucky, because she believes the death penalty is unnecessary. "I don't support the execution of anybody," she said. Sister Judy Morris, of Louisville, said she made the long drive to Eddyville because the event "demanded sacrifice." She said she does not believe Chapman's execution will offer the family of the victims closure.

Chapman was convicted of killing two children, Chelbi Sharon, 7, and her brother, Cody Sharon, 6, in 2002 in the Northern Kentucky town of Warsaw. He also sexually assaulted their mother, Carolyn Marksberry, and attacked their sister, Courtney Sharon, who survived and is now 16.

***Chapman asked for a death sentence, and a week ago was permitted to dismiss public defenders who were trying to halt his execution.***

At the Louisville vigil, participants also read the names of prisoners on Kentucky's death row and those of their victims, observed several moments of silence and sang a rendition of "We Shall Overcome."

Cathy Hinko, 56, of Louisville, stood with the circle of people huddled beneath the city's Christmas tree for the demonstration, spearheaded by the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. She said she attended the vigil because she believes capital punishment does not deter crime, is costly and could be used on innocent citizens when the justice system fails."I think the death penalty is an unintelligent response to crime," Hinko said. Dona O'Sullivan, 61, said she opposes the practice even in cases where death- row prisoners abandon their appeals."He wants to die and really it's state-sanctioned suicide," she said.

Here is Chapman's KSP mugshot and prison bio:

CHAPMAN, MARCO ALLEN, DOB 9-4-71, was convicted of murder, 2 counts; attempted murder, 2 counts; rape I; burglary I; robbery I and PFO II. He was formally sentenced on 12-14-2004 to death. In the early morning of August 23, 2002, Marco Chapman murdered a 7-year old girl and a 6-year old boy in their home in Warsaw, Kentucky (Gallatin County). Both the children's throats had been slit and they had multiple lacerations and stab wounds on their bodies. Their 10-year old sister played dead after being stabbed several times. The children's mother's hands were bound with duct tape and she was tied to a bed frame. She was raped and stabbed in the chest with a knife that broke off in her chest. She was later stabbed with a larger knife and left for dead. After stabbing the victims, Chapman burglarized the home and left the scene. He was arrested later the same day by state police in West Virginia. He received a change of venue from Gallatin Circuit Court to Boone Circuit Court.

Below is a pic from the lake of Kentucky State Penitentiary aka The Castle on the Cumberland.
You may remember as part part of my real job, (blog post from 9/23/08) I teach parenting classes at KSP a couple of times a month. I have no contact with deathrow inmates. They are not eligible for my classes, so I never met Chapman. His death was his choice, just as his actions to murder two children were his choice. I really have no feeling about the death penalty other than to say he got what he asked for... busy dying...

The view from Kentucky State Penitentiary is beautiful!


Chef E said...

Your blogs keep my mind sharp! You are truly an aware person, and full of me anytime for cooking tips...I made lots of goodies the last few days; its going to make you hungry...

dudleysharp said...

There are at least two sides to every debate. Here is one pro death penalty opinion.

The Death Penalty in the US: A Review
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

NOTE: Detailed review of any of the below topics, or others, is available upon request

In this brief format, the reality of the death penalty in the United States, is presented, with the hope that the media, public policy makers and others will make an effort to present a balanced view on this sanction.

Innocence Issues

Death Penalty opponents have proclaimed that 129 inmates have been "released from death row with evidence of their innocence", in the US, since the modern death penalty era began, post Furman v Georgia (1972).

The number is a fraud.

Those opponents have intentionally included both the factually innocent (the "I truly had nothing to do with the murder" cases) and the legally innocent (the "I got off because of legal errors" cases), thereby fraudulently raising the "innocent" numbers. This is easily confirmed by fact checking.

Death penalty opponents claim that 24 such innocence cases are in Florida. The Florida Commission on Capital Cases found that 4 of those 24 MIGHT be innocent -- an 83% error rate in for the claims of death penalty opponents. Other studies show their error rate to be about 70%. The totality of reviews points to an 80% error/fraud rate in these claims, or about 26 cases - a 0.3% actual guilt error rate for the nearly 8000 sentenced to death since 1973.

The actual innocents were all freed.

It is often claimed that 23 innocents have been executed in the US since 1900. Nonsense. Even the authors of that "23 innocents executed" study proclaimed "We agree with our critics, we never proved those (23) executed to be innocent; we never claimed that we had." While no one would claim that an innocent has never been executed, there is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900.

No one disputes that innocents are found guilty, within all countries. However, when scrutinizing death penalty opponents claims, we find that when reviewing the accuracy of verdicts and the post conviction thoroughness of discovering those actually innocent incarcerated, that the US death penalty process may be one of the most accurate criminal justice sanctions in the world.

Under real world scenarios, not executing murderers will always put many more innocents at risk, than will ever be put at risk of execution.

Deterrence Issues

16 recent US studies, inclusive of their defenses, find a deterrent effect of the death penalty.

All the studies which have not found a deterrent effect of the death penalty have refused to say that it does not deter some. The studies finding for deterrence state such. Confusion arises when people think that a simple comparison of murder rates and executions, or the lack thereof, can tell the tale of deterrence. It cannot.

Both high and low murder rates are found within death penalty and non death penalty jurisdictions, be it Singapore, South Africa, Sweden or Japan, or the US states of Michigan and Delaware. Many factors are involved in such evaluations. Reason and common sense tell us that it would be remarkable to find that the most severe criminal sanction -- execution -- deterred none. No one is foolish enough to suggest that the potential for negative consequences does not deter the behavior of some. Therefore, regardless of jurisdiction, having the death penalty will always be an added deterrent to murders, over and above any lesser punishments.

Racial issues

White murderers are twice as likely to be executed in the US as are black murderers and are executed, on average, 12 months more quickly than are black death row inmates.

It is often stated that it is the race of the victim which decides who is prosecuted in death penalty cases. Although blacks and whites make up about an equal number of murder victims, capital cases are 6 times more likely to involve white victim murders than black victim murders. This, so the logic goes, is proof that the US only cares about white victims.

Hardly. Only capital murders, not all murders, are subject to a capital indictment. Generally, a capital murder is limited to murders plus secondary aggravating factors, such as murders involving burglary, carjacking, rape, and additional murders, such as police murders, serial and multiple murders. White victims are, overwhelmingly, the victims under those circumstances, in ratios nearly identical to the cases found on death row.

Any other racial combinations of defendants and/or their victims in death penalty cases, is a reflection of the crimes committed and not any racial bias within the system, as confirmed by studies from the Rand Corporation (1991), Smith College (1994), U of Maryland (2002), New Jersey Supreme Court (2003) and by a view of criminal justice statistics, within a framework of the secondary aggravating factors necessary for capital indictments.

Class issues

No one disputes that wealthier defendants can hire better lawyers and, therefore, should have a legal advantage over their poorer counterparts. The US has executed about 0.15% of all murderers since new death penalty statutes were enacted in 1973. Is there evidence that wealthier capital murderers are less likely to be executed than their poorer ilk, based upon the proportion of capital murders committed by different those different economic groups? Not to my knowledge.

Arbitrary and capricious

About 10% of all murders within the US might qualify for a death penalty eligible trial. That would be about 64,000 murders since 1973. We have sentenced 8000 murderers to death since then, or 13% of those eligible. I doubt that there is any other crime which receives a higher percentage of maximum sentences, when mandatory sentences are not available. Based upon that, as well as pre trial, trial, appellate and clemency/commutation realities, the US death penalty is likely the least arbitrary and capricious criminal sanctions in the US.

Christianity and the death penalty

The two most authoritative New Testament scholars, Saints Augustine and Aquinas, provide substantial biblical and theological support for the death penalty. Even the most well known anti death penalty personality in the US, Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, states that "It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical 'proof text' in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus' admonition 'Let him without sin cast the first stone,' when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) -- the Mosaic Law prescribed death -- should be read in its proper context. This passage is an 'entrapment' story, which sought to show Jesus' wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment." A thorough review of Pope John Paul II's position, reflects a reasoning that should be recommending more executions.

Cost Issues

All studies finding the death penalty to be more expensive than life without parole exclude important factors, such as (1) geriatric care costs, recently found to be $69,0000/yr/inmate, (2) the death penalty cost benefit of providing for plea bargains to a maximum life sentence, a huge cost savings to the state, (3) the death penalty cost benefit of both enhanced deterrence and enhanced incapacitation, at $5 million per innocent life spared, and, furthermore, (4) many of the alleged cost comparison studies are highly deceptive.

Polling data

76% of Americans find that we should impose the death penalty more or that we impose it about right (Gallup, May 2006 - 51% that we should impose it more, 25% that we impose it about right)

71% find capital punishment morally acceptable - that was the highest percentage answer for all questions (Gallup, April 2006, moral values poll). In May, 2007, the percentage dropped to 66%, still the highest percentage answer, with 27% opposed. (Gallup, 5/29/07)

81% of the American people supported the execution of Timothy McVeigh, with only 16% opposed. "(T)his view appears to be the consensus of all major groups in society, including men, women, whites, nonwhites, "liberals" and "conservatives." (Gallup 5/2/01).

81% of Connecticut citizens supported the execution of serial rapist/murderer Michael Ross (Jan 2005).

While 81% gave specific case support for Timothy McVeigh's execution, Gallup also showed a 65% support AT THE SAME TIME when asked a general "do you support capital punishment for murderers?" question. (Gallup, 6/10/01).

22% of those supporting McVeigh's execution are, generally, against the death penalty (Gallup 5/02/01). That means that about half of those who say they oppose the death penalty, with the general question, actually support the death penalty under specific circumstances, just as it is imposed, judicially.

Further supporting the higher rates for specific cases, is this, from the French daily Le Monde December 2006 (1): Percentage of respondents in favor of executing Saddam Hussein:USA: 82%; Great Britain: 69%; France: 58%; Germany: 53%; Spain: 51%; Italy: 46%

Death penalty support is much deeper and much wider than we are often led to believe, with 50% of those who say they, generally, oppose the death penalty actually supporting it under specific circumstances, resulting in 80% death penalty support in the US, as recently as December 2006.


Whatever your feelings are toward the death penalty, a fair accounting of how it is applied should be demanded.

copyright 1998-2008 Dudley Sharp
Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Pro death penalty sites see Death Penalty (Sweden)

Girl Rants said...

i always learn something here.
AND you rock.
food for a good convo.

in keeping with the both sides to every story i have no real fundamental issue with execution.
there is a bit of research out there (im too lazy to post) pointing out that mistakes happen. how many times have we heard about an innocent man, rotting in prison for 20 years only to be realeased in the face of DNA evidence, and progressive science..
as a country , we cant execute people who are innocent.
other than that, these criminals need to own their choices. im not about to rally for their rights, once they take a life.

mint post

dudleysharp said...

No one wants an actual innocent arrested, tried or convicted, however,

The Death Penalty Provides More Protection for Innocents
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below
Often, the death penalty dialogue gravitates to the subject of innocents at risk of execution. Seldom is a more common problem reviewed. That is, how innocents are more at risk without the death penalty.
To state the blatantly clear, living murderers, in prison, after release or escape, are much more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers.
Although an obvious truism, it is surprising how often  folks overlook the enhanced incapacitation benefits of the death penalty over incarceration.
No knowledgeable and honest party questions that the death penalty has the most extensive due process protections in US criminal law.
Therefore, actual innocents are more likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment and more likely to die in prison serving under that sentence, that it is that an actual innocent will be executed.
That is. logically, conclusive.
16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses, find for death penalty deterrence.
A surprise? No.
Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
Some believe that all studies with contrary findings negate those 16 studies. They don't. Studies which don't find for deterrence don't say no one is deterred, but that they couldn't measure those deterred.
What prospect of a negative outcome doesn't deter some? There isn't one . . . although committed anti death penalty folk may say the death penalty is the only one.
However, the premier anti death penalty scholar accepts it as a given that the death penalty is a deterrent, but does not believe it to be a greater deterrent than a life sentence. Yet, the evidence is compelling and un refuted that death is feared more than life.
Some death penalty opponents argue against death penalty deterrence, stating that it's a harsher penalty to be locked up without any possibility of getting out.
Reality paints a very different picture.
What percentage of capital murderers seek a plea bargain to a death sentence? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
What percentage of convicted capital murderers argue for execution in the penalty phase of their capital trial? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
What percentage of death row inmates waive their appeals and speed up the execution process? Nearly zero. They prefer long term imprisonment.
This is not, even remotely, in dispute.
Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
Furthermore, history tells us that lifers have many ways to get out: Pardon, commutation, escape, clerical error, change in the law, etc.
In choosing to end the death penalty, or in choosing not implement it, some have chosen to spare murderers at the cost of sacrificing more innocent lives.
Furthermore, possibly we have sentenced 25 actually innocent people to death since 1973, or 0.3% of those so sentenced. Those have all been released upon post conviction review. The anti death penalty claims, that the numbers are significantly higher, are a fraud, easily discoverable by fact checking.
The innocents deception of death penalty opponents has been getting exposure for many years. Even the behemoth of anti death penalty newspapers, The New York Times,  has recognized that deception.
To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row . . . (1) This when death penalty opponents were claiming the release of 119 "innocents" from death row. Death penalty opponents never required actual innocence in order for cases to be added to their "exonerated" or "innocents" list. They simply invented their own definitions for exonerated and innocent and deceptively shoe horned large numbers of inmates into those definitions - something easily discovered with fact checking.
There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900.
If we accept that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, we can, reasonably, conclude that the DNA cases will be excluded prior to trial, and that for the next 8000 death sentences, that we will experience a 99.8% accuracy rate in actual guilt convictions. This improved accuracy rate does not include the many additional safeguards that have been added to the system, over and above DNA testing.
Of all the government programs in the world, that put innocents at risk, is there one with a safer record and with greater protections than the US death penalty?
Full report -All Innocence Issues: The Death Penalty, upon request.
Full report - The Death Penalty as a Deterrent, upon request
(1) The Death of Innocents: A Reasonable Doubt,
New York Times Book Review, p 29, 1/23/05, Adam Liptak,
national legal correspondent for The NY Times

copyright 2007-2008, Dudley Sharp
Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS, VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
Pro death penalty sites see Death Penalty (Sweden)

3 Magpies said...

Chef E: Thanks for stopping by and I'll be over to see your kitchen creations shortly! YUM! I can't wait!

Girl: Agreed. No one wants an innocent person punished, whatever the form. Thanks for engaging in conversation on the topic!

Mr. Dudley Sharp: I'm certain you are educated in your opinion, but it is just that, your opinion. We are all so entitled. Thanks for bringing your form of balance. I don't think anyone here is going to argue or belabor your point. As I said in my post, I have not real feeling about the death penalty, but Mr. Chapman certainly did, didn't he!?! And just as a reminder I'll state the obvious, he got what he asked for... busy dying. No more appeals (@ taxpayers expense) are necessary in his case.

Walker said...

I don't support the death penalty and recognize some of those who sit on death row more than deserve it but the possibility of making a mistake is there and as humans we make mistakes.

What would happen if they amended it so that if it was later found that they executed the wrong person, the jury would have to be tried for premeditsted murder and given the death penalty for it themselves, would they have voted to give him the death penalty.
Shouldn't they also be responsable for their actions?

If someone robs a bank and kills someone, doesn't the driver of the getaway vehicle face the same murder charge?
Yes he does.

Here we dopn;t have the death penalty but if he had there would be a number of men who are alive today who would be dead.
One was sentenced to death from the age of 16 and when the death penalty was abolished he was given 25 years to life.
For almost 40 years he lived with that on his head even after he was released.
He aleays said he was innocent and recently it was prooved through DNA.
Milgaurd spent 20 years for a murder he didn't commit,.
He would have been killed for sure.
Marshall did 20 for killing his friend.
He was innocent.
Sure they got millions but the life they lost can never be returned.

If the death penalty is eye for an eye by the justice system they they should have to forfiet the exact same thing when they make a mistake and rob someone of their life.

But that won't happen because we are to hypocritical to allow that.
Lock them up forever.
Put them to work and pay back society but murder only justifies murder.
You know, statistic show most murders never murder again but there is a good chance that a thief has a higher chance of getting out of jail and committing murder.

dudleysharp said...


Again, innocents are more protected with the death penalty.

Only in those jurisdicitons where they have the law of parties would the getaway driver be culpable for the murder that another committed within the same criminal enterprise. The law of parties is based upon shared moral culpability. For example, if a husband hires a hit man to msrder his wife, the husband is equally culpable as the hitman. I find it morally fair.

You cannot accurately speculate as to the potential death of an actual innocent sentenced to life, HAD they been sentenced to death. First, there is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900. Secondly, the death penalty has much greater due process protections than any other sentnece. The speculation, supported by the evidence, is that it is more liekly the innocent person would have been discovered and released earlier.

The bibilcally based eye for an eye represented a holy change in sanctions, based upon sanctions being more fair and proportionate to the crimes, as opposed to the excessive punishments of the past.

Walker writes: "You know, statistic show most murders never murder again but there is a good chance that a thief has a higher chance of getting out of jail and committing murder."

Could you refer me to that research, please?

Sanctions, including the death penalty, are imposed because they are just and appropriate, Secondarily, as an effect of sanction, we get fewer crimes, by both incapacitation and deterrence.

Walker said...

Hmmm I thought i left an answering comment here?

Go here and see that States without the death penalty had a higher decline in homicides than those with it.

3 Magpies said...

Sorry Walker! Mr. Sharp is bent on sharing his view again and again and again. hmmm... Interesting research. Thanks for sharing it.

dudleysharp said...

Walker, you sem to share a common misunderstanding on deterrence.

Death Penalty and Deterrence: Let's be clear
by Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, 0108

In their story, "States With No Death Penalty Share Lower Homicide Rates", The New York Times did their best to illustrate that the death penalty was not a deterrent, by showing that the average murder rate in death penalty states was higher than the average rate in non death penalty states and, it is. (1)

What the Times failed to observe is that their own study confirmed that you can't simply compare those averages to make that determination regarding deterrence.

As one observer stated: "The Times story does nothing more than repeat the dumbest of all dumb mistakes — taking the murder rate in a traditionally high-homicide state with capital punishment (like Texas) and comparing it to a traditionally low-homicide state with no death penalty (like North Dakota) and concluding that the death penalty doesn't work at all. Even this comparison doesn't work so well. The Times own graph shows Texas, where murder rates were 40 percent above Michigan's in 1991, has now fallen below Michigan . . .". (2)

Within the Times article, Michigan Governor John Engler states, "I think Michigan made a wise decision 150 years ago," referring to the state's abolition of the death penalty in 1846. "We're pretty proud of the fact that we don't have the death penalty."(3)

Even though easily observed on the Times' own graphics, they failed to mention the obvious. Michigan's murder rate is near or above that of 31 of the US's 38 death penalty states. And then, it should be recognized that Washington, DC (not found within the Times study) and Detroit, Michigan, two non death penalty jurisdictions, have been perennial leaders in murder and violent crime rates for the past 30 years. Delaware, a jurisdiction similar in size to them, leads the nation in executions per murder, but has significantly lower rates of murders and violent crime than do either DC or Detroit, during that same period.

Obviously, the Times study and any other simple comparison of jurisdictions with and without the death penalty, means little, with regard to deterrence.

Also revealed within the Times study, but not pointed out by them,: "One-third of the nation's executions take place in Texas—and the steepest decline in homicides has occurred in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas, which together account for nearly half the nation's executions." (4)

And, the Times also failed to mention that the major US jurisdiction with the most executions is Harris County (Houston, Texas), which has seen a 73% decrease in murder rates since resuming executions in 1982 -- possibly the largest reduction for a major metropolitan area since that time.

Also omitted from the Times review, although they had the data, is that during a virtual cessation of executions, from 1966-1980, that murders more than doubled in the US. Any other rise and fall in murders, after that time, has been only a fraction of that change, indicating a strong and direct correlation between the lack of executions and the dramatic increase in murders, if that is specifically what you are looking for.

If deterrence was measured by direct correlation's between execution, or the lack thereof, and murder rates, as implied by the Times article, and as wrongly assumed by those blindly accepting that model, then there would be no debate, only more confusion. Which may have been the Times' goal.

Let's take a look at the science.

Some non death penalty jurisdictions, such as South Africa and Mexico lead the world in murder and violent crime rates. But then some non death penalty jurisdictions, such as Sweden, have quite low rates. Then there are such death penalty jurisdictions as Japan and Singapore which have low rates of such crime. But then other death penalty jurisdictions, such as Rwanda and Louisiana, that have high rates.

To which an astute observer will respond: But socially, culturally, geographically, legally, historically and many other ways, all of those jurisdictions are very different. Exactly, a simple comparison of only execution rates and murder rates cannot tell the tale of deterrence. And within the US, between states, there exist many variables which will effect the rates of homicides.

See REVIEW, below

And, as so well illustrated by the Times graphics, a non death penalty state, such as Michigan has high murder rates and another non death penalty state, such as North Dakota, has low murder rates and then there are death penalty states, such as Louisiana, with high murder rates and death penalty states, such South Dakota, with low rates. Apparently, unbeknownst to the Times, but quite obvious to any neutral observer, there are other factors at play here, not just the presence or absence of the death penalty. Most thinking folks already knew that.

As Economics Professor Ehrlich stated in the Times piece and, as accepted by all knowledgeable parties, there are many factors involved in such evaluations. That is why there is a wide variation of crime rates both within and between some death penalty and non death penalty jurisdictions, and small variations within and between others. Any direct comparison of only execution rates and only murder rates, to determine deterrence, would reflect either ignorance or deception.

Ehrlich called the Times study "a throwback to the vintage 1960s statistical analyses done by criminologists who compared murder rates in neighboring states where capital punishment was either legal or illegal." "The statistics involved in such comparisons have long been recognized as devoid of scientific merit." He called the Times story a "one sided affair" devoid of merit. Most interesting is that Ehrlich was interviewed by the Time's writer, Fessenden, who asked Ehrlich to comment on the results before the story was published. Somehow Ehrlich's overwhelming criticisms were left out of the article.

Ehrlich also referred Fessenden to some professors who produced the recently released Emory study. Emory Economics department head, Prof. Deshbakhsh "says he was contacted by Fessenden, and he indicated to the Times reporter that the study suggested a very strong deterrent effect of capital punishment." Somehow,
Fessenden's left that out of the Times story, as well. (5).

There is a constant within all jurisdictions -- negative consequences will always have an effect on behavior.

The death penalty will reduce the numbers of murders over the number of murders which would have occurred without the death penalty.

While the death penalty may or may not reduce murder rates, it will produce a net reduction in murders. If murder rates go up, down or stay the same, the number would have been higher absent the death penalty, meaning the net effect is that murders will be fewer with the death penalty or higher without it.

Maybe the Times will be a bit more thoughtful, next time.


"The List: Murder Capitals of the World", 09/08, Foreign Policy Magazine
Capital punishment (cp) or not (ncp)
murder rates/100,000 population

4 out of the top 5 do not have the death penalty

1. Caracas (ncp), Venezuela 130-160
Bad policing.
2. New Orleans (cp), La, USA 69-95
Variable because of different counts in surging population. Drug related.
Nos 2 & 3 in US, Detroit (ncp), 46 and Baltimore (cp), 45.
3. Cape Town (ncp), South Africa 62
Most crimes with people who know each other.
4. Port Mores (ncp), Papua New Guinea 54
Chinese gangs, corrupt policing
5. Moscow (ncp), Russia 9.6

Of the Top 10 Countries With Lowest Murder Rates (1), 7 have the death penalty

O f the Top 10 Countries With Highest Murder Rates (2), 5 have the death penalty

Top 10 Countries With Lowest Murder Rates
Iceland 0.00 ncp
Senegal 0.33 ncp
Burkina Faso 0.38 cp
Cameroon 0.38 cp
Finland 0.71 ncp
Gambia 0.71 cp
Mali 0.71 cp
Saudi Arabia 0.71 cp
Mauritania 0.76 cp
Oman cp

Top 10 Countries With Highest Murder Rates
Honduras 154.02 ncp
South Africa 121.91 ncp
Swaziland 93.32 cp
Colombia 69.98 ncp
Lesotho 50.41 cp
Rwanda 45.08 ncp
Jamaica 37.21 cp
El. Salvador 36.88 cp
Venezuela 33.20 ncp
Bolivia 31.98 cp

(1) no date

(2) no date


1) "States With No Death Penalty Share Lower Homicide Rates", The New
York Times 9/22/00 located at
www (dot) and www (dot)
2) “Don't Know Much About Calculus: The (New York) Times flunks high-school
math in death-penalty piece", William Tucker, National Review, 9/22/00, located
at www (dot)
3) ibid, see footnote 11
4) "The Death Penalty Saves Lives", AIM Report, August 2000, located atwww (dot)
5) "NEW YORK TIMES UNDER FIRE AGAIN", Accuracy in Media, 10/16/00, go to www (dot)

copyright 2000-2008 Dudley Sharp: Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Walker said...

Here lets agree on one thing.
We will never agree on this, how's that?

dudleysharp said...

Agreement isn't the issue, for me.

Being fully informed is.

Chef E said...

Why is it people who leave their rather long comments on a person's right to share blogs, but you cannot see beyond their empty 'blogger' dashboard, and when I see 'location' is Texas, that makes me feel that no wonder we 'True' Texans get teased about radical beliefs and Bush...

Create your own 'Sharp'informed blog dudley for the we can share on that site as well...

dudleysharp said...

Chef E:

If you are responding to me, please detail the "radical beliefs" you think I may hold, if any.

Be specific, if you can, and I will respond.

As you know, True Texans have no problems with teasing.