Questionable at Best: The Death Penalty in America

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62 Responses

  1. Letta Page says:

    Another good resource right here on The Society Pages is David Garland’s Office Hours interview on his recent, award-winning book “Peculiar Institution,” which is all about the American death penalty.

    • Dudley Sharp says:

      The 5 Myths of Prof. David Garland – death penalty
      Dudley Sharp

      It is difficult to say if Prof . Garland is just sloppy or if, like many in academia, he is happy to peddle bias in service of a goal, here, an end to execution.

      (“Five myths about the death penalty”, By David Garland, July 18, 2010,

      Lets’ look at Garland’s myths:

      1) Garland fails to mention that it is the judges that make the imposition of the death penalty all but impossible in some jurisdictions. Dictatorial judges in New Jersey never allowed an execution. There, the death penalty was repealed. Pennsylvania judges never allow executions other than those whereby the inmates waive appeals. If you appeal a death sentence in Pa, you have a life sentence, even if your death sentence is not overturned. Similar abusive judicial behavior is legendary in California.

      The death penalty in Virginia? Inmates are executed in 5-7 years after sentencing, 65% of those sentenced to death have been executed and only 15% of death row cases are overturned on appeal. The national averages for those are 11 years, 13% and 37%, respectively.

      The difference is in the judges.

      Victim survivors in death penalty cases are knowingly and unnecessarily tortured by such irresponsible and callous judges, as in NJ, Pa and Ca and others, nationwide.

      Garland gives the false hope that by replacing the death penalty with a life sentence that we can avoid these problems. All states are, now, looking at ways to release lifers, early, for overcrowding and cost issues.

      Instead of the abusive performance of judges in so many death penalty jurisdictions, cases, abuse which should be stopped, those murder victim survivors would then be served a recurring theme of releasing those lifer murderers of their loved ones.

      The same legal challenges that have been used for years to restrict death penalty applications, are now being repeated in challenging life sentences. Pro death penalty folks have been stating that pending course for years and it is now in full swing. Murderers serving life sentences can appeal for life.

      2 and 3. Yes, fortunately, American democracy is stronger. Even in Europe, the collection of countries whose governments are most opposed to the death penalty, the majority of their populations do support the death penalty for some crimes (1). Those governments could care less.

      It may be the case that a majority of citizens in every country support executions for some crimes, based upon the proposition that such sanction is a morally just and proportionate sanction for the crime(s) committed, the foundation of support for all criminal sanctions.

      The insult here is that Garland believes that governments ban the death penalty because they know better, that they are wiser than those whom they govern, similar in fashion to the dictatorial judges who confound the law, as reviewed. In fact, it is simply a product of Garland’s bias, with no evidence to support it and a false sense of parental superiority guiding it.

      4. Predictably, Garland says “it stretches credulity to think that the death penalty, as administered in the United States today, can be an effective means for deterring murder”.

      Note, that Garland’s hedge is “effective”, which he can define in any manner he wishes.

      Of course the death penalty deters. All prospects of any negative outcome deter some. There is no exception.

      Let’s say that only 0.5% of murderers are deterred every year because of deterrence. It is a very small percentage of murders deterred, but huge in terms of lives saved, about 90 innocents saved per year, on average, since 1977, noting an 18,000 murders/yr. average during that time.

      Is that effective, enough, for Garland? Probably not. For many against the death penalty, it wouldn’t matter if a thousand lives were spared per execution because of deterrence, they would still seek its end.

      Of the recent (since 2000) 25 studies finding for deterrence, there is a range of deterrence detected, between 3 and 28 lives spared per execution (2), with an average of about 30 executions per year, since 1977, which equates to about 90-900 innocents spared per year because of deterrence.

      Garland states that “66 percent have their death sentences overturned on appeal or post-conviction review. He needs to fact check. It is 37%. (3)

      Garland states that “a smaller number — 139 — have been exonerated in the past 30 years”. Fact checking is definitely not Garland’s thing. The 139 exonerated is well known fraud and easily uncovered by anyone who cared to fact check. (4)

      5. Of course the death penalty works. Everyone who has been executed has remained dead.

      Garland states: “An Indiana study last month showed that capital sentences cost 10 times more than life in prison without parole.”

      Not surprisingly, Garland didn’t fact check that story either. It is about 12% more expensive not the 1000% (10 times) that Garland found. (5)

      Garland closes: “Getting past the myths and looking at how the death penalty actually operates is one place to start. ”

      How would he know?

      1) “Death Penalty Support Remains Very High: USA & The World”

      2) 25 recent studies finding for deterrence, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

      3) “A Broken Study: A Review of ‘A Broken System’ ”

      4) “The 130 (now 139) death row ‘innocents’ scam”

      5) Garland was referencing a review that didn’t look at all the costs and stated that it didn’t include all the costs. With one exception, this one appears to.

      See Background Information, page 2, Fiscal Impact Statement, Legislative Services Agency,

      Costs per case
      $758, 243 for death penalty
      $657, 028 for LWOP

      However, this excludes the credit of savings for plea bargain to LWOP, which I suspect saves at least $20, 000 per case, solely attributed to having the death penalty.

      That would bring the differential down to about $80,000 – the death penalty and LWOP cost amounts are already present valued.

      $738, 000 for death penalty (inclusive of LWOP plea credit cost savings, solely attributable to having the death penalty)
      $657, 000 for LWOP

      The death penalty is 12% more than LWOP.

      • jeffdowd says:

        OK, now i have just read your claim that about how 139 people weren’t found innocent because they were only not-guilty and there innocence isn’t proven. I also read this:

        “Or, Dieter declare all innocent: “If you are not proven guilty in a court of law, you’re innocent.” (Green)

        Dieter would call Hitler and Stalin innocent. Those are his “standards”.”

        First, kudos for inserting Hitler into the argument, always a good sign of reasoned debate. Secondly, couldn’t we, by the same logic, also say that you have not proven your innocence of murder? Finally, but what standard should the death penalty apply? Is “I’m not certain this person is innocent” the standard you propose for kiling someone?

        Also, your gratuitous Hitler/Stalin analogy then assumes that murder suspects have a totalitarian-dictator level of power?

        • Dudley Sharp says:


          We are dealing with the anti death penalty folks evidence to declare someone innocent – actually innocent – not legally innocent.

          It is their burden of proof.

          I think they need a higher standard than declaring actually guilty people to be innocent.

      • I see Dudley Sharp has reared his ugly head again, spouting the same bullshit over and over agaon, ad infinitum….

        Sharp is a bloodthirsty whackjob who also uses Jesus as justofication for the death penalty. He’ll also try to get you to get “saved.”

        Sharp is a mentally ill individual.

      • Dahn Shaulis says:

        Mr. Dudley Sharp, you stated “Pennsylvania judges never allow executions other than those whereby the inmates waive appeals. If you appeal a death sentence in Pa, you have a life sentence, even if your death sentence is not overturned.”

        So, Mr. Dudley Sharp, why is Terrence Williams facing execution in early October for killing his abusers(1)? Do you believe that death is a just sentence even though a majority of the pardons board recommended clemency (2)?



        • It’s a Black man facing execution. To Dudley, that’s fair.

          • Dudley Sharp says:

            Scooter or Dahn:

            ((Dahn likes to use aliases)

            You have made such mature contributions.

            If memory seves.

            56% of those executed are white, 35% black.

            White murderers are executed at twice the rate of black murderers.

        • Dudley Sharp says:


          All death row inmates, theorhetically, are facinf execution form the time they are sentenced to death.

          That would be why Terrence Williams is facing execution in October.

          Of course, it remains to be seen if he will be executed,

          I don’t know the case, but we all know that a majority for anything can be wrong or they may be right, just as with jurors and judges.

          As a rule, looking at the appellate record is much better than looking at news stories.

          Like I have told you, Dahn, many times, research and fact checking would help you a great deal.

        • Dudley Sharp says:

          As I said:

          “Pennsylvania judges never allow executions other than those whereby the inmates waive appeals. If you appeal a death sentence in Pa, you have a life sentence, even if your death sentence is not overturned.”

  2. jeffdowd says:

    I wonder how much a public understanding of the issues you cover would sway public opinion. I suspect a lot of the support for the death penalty stems from the belief that murderers deserve to die. I think opponents of the death penalty, like myself, should concede that such feelings are understandable (even if I disagree), but then point out that while someone might deserve death whether or not killing them is a good idea is another question. And that latter question should really be the one that informs public policy.

    • Candace Smith says:

      I completely agree. Unfortunately, the emotions associated with issues like the death penalty often override the use of logic. It’s hard to get someone to listen to an opposing viewpoint when they feel so adamant about a certain topic.

    • Dudley Sharp says:

      I agree as well.

      As part of that, I would encourage folks who write about the topic to fact check, prior to publication.

  3. Dudley Sharp says:

    Marvin Wilson was not retarded.

    As shown in the appellate ruling, below, all indications in Wilson’s life are that he was not mentally retarded, as the additional IQ tests, also below, confirm.

    When I first heard about this case, it took me about 30 seconds to find this decision, below.

    Wilson murdered police informant Jerry Williams, to protect Wilson’s drug dealing.

    Obviously, he knew exactly what he was doing and he planned it.

    Wilson claimed to be a chess player.

    “The following evidence was presented in two hearings during the state habeas proceedings.”

    “Wilson presented school and prison training records, including standardized testing results. Five I.Q. scores are reflected in those reports. The first I.Q. test, the Lorge-Thorndike, was administered by Wilson’s school when he was approximately 13 years old. Wilson’s full-scale score on this test was 73. At age 29, Wilson was given an I.Q. test by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and scored 75. In April 2006, when Wilson was 46 and during the post-conviction proceedings, Wilson scored 61 on the WAIS III I.Q.”

    “Case: 09-70022 Document: 00511667534 Page: 10 Date Filed: 11/16/2011 test.”

    “On further testing by the defense, Wilson scored 75 on the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices and 79 on the TONI-II I.Q. tests. A score of 70 or below supports a finding of mental retardation. ”


  4. Dudley Sharp says:

    At least 28 studies have found for death penalty deterrence, since 2000. Donahue and Wolfers have been fully rebutted by the authors of the studies that they criticicised, not to mention D&W, smartly, chose to publish in a non peer review publication, while all of those they criticised all published in peer reviewed publications.

    See deterrence review with sections c and d in item (1).


    Of all endeavors that put innocents at risk, is there one with a better record of sparing innocent lives than the US death penalty? Unlikely.

    (1) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives

    (2) Innocents More At Risk Without Death Penalty

    • Dudley Sharp says:

      The Stanford Law Review article (Donahue and Wolfers) has been blown apart by 5 respondents, so far. See below:

      (2006) “This analysis shows that attempts to make the deterrence effect disappear are ineffective.” (p 16)
      — Existence of the death penalty, in law, has a statistically significant impact on reducing murders. (p 23)
      — Execution rates show significant impact in reducing murders. (p 13 & 23)
      — Death row commutations, and other removals, increase murders. (p13 & 23)
      — The criticism of our studies is flawed and does not effect the strength of the measured deterrent effect.
      “The Impact of Incentives On Human Behavior: Can we Make It Disappear? The Case of the Death Penalty”, Naci H. Mocan, R. Kaj Grittings, NBER Working Paper, 10/06, www(dot)


      (2006) ” . . . (Donohue and Wolfers’ “D&W”) criticisms of Zimmerman’s analysis are misrepresentative, moot or unsupportable in terms of the analyses they perform.” “It is shown that Zimmerman’s published empirical results, or the conclusions drawn from them, are not in any way refuted by D&W’s critique.” (pg 3) “This later estimate suggests that each execution deters 14 murders on average . . .”. (pg 7) “It is shown that D&W made a number of serious misinterpretations in their review of Zimmerman’s study and that none of the analyses put forward by D&W (which ostensibly refute Zimmerman’s original results and conclusions) hold up under scrutiny. (pg8) ” . . . D&W do not even report Zimmerman’s “preferred” results correctly, and then proceed by carrying on this error throughout the remainder of their critique.”(pg8) “Of course, (D&W’s) omission tends to create a strong impression that Zimmerman’s analysis ‘purports to find reliable relationships between executions and homicides’, when his actual conclusions regarding the deterrent effect of capital punishment are far more agnostic.” (pg10) ” . . . D&W’s method of interpreting their results is not consistent with that proscribed by the received econometric literature on randomized testing . . .”. “As such, D&W’s interpretation of their randomized test in itself does not (and cannot) reasonably lead one to conclude that Zimmerman’s estimates suggesting a deterrent effect of capital punishment are spurious.” (pg12) ” . . . D&W do not appear to have interpreted their randomization test in any meaningful fashion.” (pg14) ” . . . the state clustering correction employed by D&W may not be producing statistically meaningful results.” (pg16) “And while D&W once lamented that recent econometric studies purporting to demonstrate a deterrent effect of capital punishment yield ‘heat rather than light’, as shown herein, their criticisms of Zimmerman (2004) tend to yield ‘smoke rather than fire’.”(pg26)
      Zimmerman, Paul R., “On the Uses and ‘Abuses’ of Empirical Evidence in
      the Death Penalty Debate” (November 2006). ssrn(dot)com/abstract=948424


      “Reflections on a Critique”, Dale O Cloninger and Roberto Marchesini, forthcoming Applied Economic Letters (likely 2007)

      “Had (D&W’s) paper been subjected to the normal blind peer review process in an authoritative economic journal it is highly unlikely that it would have survived intact , if at all. ”

      “(D&W’s) Quibbling over numerous and sometimes meaningless statistical issues obscures the picture painted by the cumulative effect of the nearly dozen studies published since the turn of the 21st century.”

      “Using differing methodologies and data sets at least five groups of scholars each working independently (and often without knowledge of the others) have arrived at the same conclusion?there is significant and robust evidence that executions deter some homicides. While there may be merit in some of (D&W’s) specific criticisms, none addresses the totality of the collection of studies. The probability that chance alone explains the coincidence of these virtually simultaneous conclusions is negligible.”
      “DW?s unsupported claim that the appropriate variable in studies of deterrence using these borrowed tools from portfolio analysis is the amount or level of homicides in the respective jurisdictions. This claim is without theoretical basis or empirical precedent. ”

      “With regard to DW?s specific comments on our two papers (Cloninger & Marchesini, 2001 & 2006) we find very little requiring defense. Implicit in their critique, and explicitly stated in private communications, DW were able to replicate our results based on data we furnished, at their request, as well as data they acquired independently. ”


      2007 – Hashem Dezhbakhsh & Paul H. Rubin
      From the ‘Econometrics of Capital Punishment’ to the ‘Capital Punishment’ of Econometrics: On the Use and Abuse of Sensitivity Analysis (September 2007). Emory Law and Economics Research Paper No. 07-18,

      Abstract: The academic debate over the deterrent effect of capital punishment has intensified again with a major policy outcome at stake. About two dozen empirical studies have recently emerged that explore the issue. Donohue and Wolfers (2005) claim to have examined the recent studies and shown the evidence is not robust to specification changes. We argue that the narrow scope of their study does not warrant this claim.


      2010 Applied Economics
      “From the ‘econometrics of capital punishment’ to the ‘capital punishment’
      of econometrics: on the use and abuse of sensitivity analysis”
      Hashem Dezhbakhsha; Paul H. Rubina
      a Department of Economics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
      First published on: 21 October 2010

    • Dahn Shaulis says:

      Nr. Dudley Sharp,

      I’m not sure which of the “28 studies” you mention are valid, because we have gone over each article, and I have shown you their deficiencies. I’m sorry that you don’t have the educational background to follow scholarly arguments.

      Mr. Dudley Sharp, you know that there is no serious researcher left in academia who supports the notion that the Death Penalty deters murder. You also know all about the National Academy of Sciences 2012 report, because I have informed you about it (1).

      Mr. Dudley Sharp, you also know that the last researchers to support the Death Penalty (those at Emory who you cite) have gotten out of the business, because their research has largely been discredited. Paul Zimmerman suggested that the Death Penalty might be a deterrent, but not lethal injection (2).

      Mr. Dudley Sharp, you are also aware of Joanna Shepherd’s work on the brutalization effect that’s caused by the Death Penalty, particularly in states such as California(3).




      • Dahn…

        Just watch. Dudley will post the same shit word for word over again. He’s the ultimate one-trick pony. Watch out..he’ll try to save your soul, too…

      • Dudley Sharp says:


        Your dishonesty is astounding.

        You have never attemnpted to review and discredit each of those 28 studies in any cnversation we have had.

        The many authors of those 28 stduies are well known, as are their emails.

        You write: ]

        “you know that there is no serious researcher left in academia who supports the notion that the Death Penalty deters murder.”

        We both know that is not rrue.

        Why don’t you tell us who, of all of those authors, have told you they no longer support their own findings that the death penalty does, in fact, deter?

        We await that list, which you will not produce, because you cannot.

        Most folks, including academics, know that all prospects of a negative consequence deter some. It is a truism.

        Of course the death penalty deters, as do all sanctions.

        The only questions outstanding is

        “How much does the death penalty deter?” – a question that will never be answered to much agreement.

        • Dahn Shaulis says:

          Mr. Dudley Sharp’s arguments have been getting more desperate with time–as more states abolish the death penalty, pro-Death penalty researchers abandon the field, and this form of state-sponsored killing becomes more unusual (as in “cruel and unusual”).

          Yes, Mr. Dudley Sharp, I have corresponded with Dr. Dezhbakhsh at Emory, and they are no longer doing research in the area. Tell me what researchers do you know who are still investigating the deterrence effect of the Death penalty?

          Notice that Mr. Dudley Sharp does not mention the 2012 report from the National Academy of Sciences. In the past, he has also ignored Kovandzic and Vieraitis’ panel study in Criminology and Public Policy (1).

          Just because the death penalty may deter a few people does not mean that it creates an overall deterrence effect. Yes, Mr Sharp, I remember your response to Shepherd’s research and your response is just as inadequate now as it was then. The comment by Dr. Cameron was made in 1994, long before the brutalization research.

          Mr. Dudley Sharp, we have discussed the articles you mentioned and the weakness of using econometric models in death penalty research.

          Remember, for example, my questions about the Emory research, how murders were positively related to NRA membership?

          Remember my questions about Zimmerman’s study that only electrocution is a deterrent?

          Mr. Sharp’s argument that the Death Penalty does not reflect historical and structural racism and classism is in opposition to many cases of judicial racism (and classism) in local and state jurisdictions, especially in Texas and the US Deep South.


          • Dudley Sharp says:


            Need you be so blatently dishonest?

            You asked about Kovandzic and Vieraitis’and I relied, as here and it is still located there:

            4) Dahn writes: (2) Please explain Kovandzic and Vieraitis’ panel study in Criminology and Public Policy that shows no deterrence effect and uses more contemporary data than any of the studies you cite.

            Sharp reply: Based upon your comment, it appears you have not read the KV review. Please do so –

            KV’s reliance on Donahue and Wolfers invites credibility questions. D&W’s commentary has been thorughly destroyed by many.


            (NEW NOTE – see the destruction of Donahue and Wolfers about at

            Dudley Sharp 11:33 am on August 19, 2012 | # | Reply

            The Stanford Law Review article (Donahue and Wolfers) has been blown apart by 5 respondents, so far.


            Furthermore, what we are dealing with is a difference of opinion with experts. The economists finding for deterrence have already stated that they used proper metholdology and would deny that KV’s criticism were relevant to their findings. In other words, they stand by the deterrence findings. I think it best that you ask them, yourself, if you are truly interested. Their emails and phone numbers are easily accessible, if you care to get their feedback.

            Bias, is important, as well, the criminologists, as a group, have been very hostile toward the death penalty, to the point of blatant bias against it. I don’t know if KV share that bias and if they do, how it could have affected their paper.

            KV never said that the death penalty deters none. They cannot.

            The only issue to resolve is how much does the death penalty deter.



          • Dudley Sharp says:


            You seem completely ignorant of the history of the brutalization studies.

            you write:

            “The comment by Dr. Cameron was made in 1994, long before the brutalization research.”

            No, Dr. Cameron was discussing the brutalization studies within his 1994 paper, because he had read those studies, before the paper was published.

            As usual, you have no clue. Why? Because you didn’t read Dr. Cameron’s paper.

            Typical Dahn.

            If any of you has read the link to Dahn and my discussion on Shepherd’s paper on brutalization, you know that it concludes with a very strong argument in support of deterrence.

            Her study finds a huge savings of innocent live, by deterrence, over prior years, even with the much smaller brutalization effect, included.

            And if all states have a minimal increase in executions, the deterrent effect completley takes over and many more innocent lives are saved by deterrence, as per that very same brutalization paper.

            My guess is Dahn never read it and just assumed that the brutalization effect was all that was discussed.

            That must be true or Dahn simply did not understand the full meaning of the study, which are the two circumstances that Dahn normally speaks from – too little knowledge or not enough understanding.

          • Dudley Sharp says:


            As detailed, I don’t ignore anyhting.

            You just make things up, which you know to be untrue and or you have forgotten our exchanges on those very topics, as detailed.

            You have inquired about the NAS review, elsewhere.

            I had inquired if you had read it, which, by your included link, you likely, had not.

            I sent you the proper link and asked if you had read it, hoping that you would have some understanding of it, beforehand, something that is, normally, a problem with you, as detailed in my other responses, here and elswhere.

          • Dudley Sharp says:


            I think your forgot the point of the issues.

            I am glad you talked to an expert.

            Dr. Dezhbakhsh at Emory stands by his findings on deterrence. He need not continue with his research, which was extensive, because he stands by it.

            Isn’t that correct?

            Remember, that was the topic.

            My guess is that there are many researchers looking at deterrence of all kinds.

            Do people not speed because they may get a ticket?

            Do criminals avoid robbing police stations for fear of being caught or killed?

            Are potential murderers more scared of life or death?

            I usually don’t know about the new studies until they are published.

      • Dudley Sharp says:


        I am surprised that you don’t recall that is was your lack of understanding regarding deterrence and brutalization, which required my review, with you, of Prof, Shepherd’s article.

        Here, to refresh your memory:

        • Dudley…

          Blah Blah Blah Blah…

          when are you going to try and save souls? I’m waiting for that one.

          Folks..Dudley will also try to convert you to his brand of “Christianity”: where Jesus will personally flip the switch.

          Poor Dudley hasn’t gotten over the fact The West Memphis Three were freed….

      • Dudley Sharp says:


        As of 7/31/11, you hadn’t even made an effort to locate the 27-28 studies finding for death penalty deterrence and you are, now, saying that you had informed me of your academic review and denunciation of all of those studies! Absurd, of course.

        Your inquiry, here:

        (1) Mr. Dudley Sharp, please list the 27 research studies from 2000 onward that you claim to show a deterrence effect. Not a link, but actual names, dates, and journals.


        This is very typical of our conversations. You have no information or incorrect information and I supply the information that you requested from me, or I correct your misunderstanding of the information that you think you have.

        Where are your academic rebuttals to those 28 studies and the proof that you shared them with me?

        None of it exists (at least not that you have shown to me).

        But, you can produce it, now. You won’t.

        • You’re losing it Dudley. But then again, you never had it in the first place.

          Now why don’t you go back to tearing the wings off butterflies?

        • Dahn Shaulis says:

          Mr. Dudley Sharp, I have corresponded with Dr. Samuel Cameron and he said that there is no compelling evidence that the Death Penalty has a deterrent effect.

          I can’t find one researcher currently doing the work who agrees with your position. Don’t you think the National Academy of Sciences 2012 paper took all of those studies into consideration?

          If you have any statements from any pro-Death penalty researchers after the National Academy of Sciences 2012 report, please let me know.

          • Dudley Sharp says:


            As always, you are confused.

            Stick with the known facts and don’t make things up, OK?

            My quote from Cameron dealt with his statement:

            After a thorough review of deterrence studies, Professor Samuel Cameron observed,

            “The brutalization idea is not one the economists have given any credence.” “We must conclude that the deterrence effect dominates the opposing brutalization effect.” (“A Review of the Econometric Evidence on the Effects of Capital Punishment”, The Journal of Socio-Economics, v23 n 1/2, p 197-214, 1994).

            I think that is very clear. Yes? Yes.

            In additon, I am certain you haven’t read that paper, as above, you also, again, had not clue abour his review of the brutalization studies, prior to that publication.

            Dahn, you seem to blindly speculate and invent things that are not there, while avoided anything that has reality attached to it.

            Do better.

            Remeber, this is about how all of our conversations end.

  5. Dudley Sharp says:

    Always nice to have both sides of the topic.

    Rebuttal to the death penalty racism claims
    Dudley Sharp

    1) Blume, John H.; Eisenberg, Theodore; and Wells, Martin T., “Explaining Death Row’s Population and Racial Composition” (2004), Cornell Law Faculty Publications

    2) “Death Penalty Sentencing: No Systemic Bias”

    3) “The Death Penalty and Racism The Times Have Changed”, Washington Post reporter Charles Lane, The American Interest, Nov/Dec 2010,


    5) Race, Sentencing and the death penalty.

    6) McCleskey v Kemp, the infamous race based death penalty case decided by the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)

    Baldus’ database and work in McCleskey was quite poor.

    Read Federal District Court Judge Forrester’s rejection of Baldus’ database for McCleskey.

    A more thorough review is provided by Joseph Katz, who did the methodological review of the Baldus database, which was rife with errors and problems. I have it, if you care to research.

    In addition, SCOTUS totally misunderstood the math involved. They ignorantly wrote: “defendants charged with killing white victims were 4.3 times as likely to receive a death sentence as defendants charged with killing blacks.”

    Totally inaccurate. It was by odds of 4.3 times, or an odds multiplier of 4.3, which can mean a variables as low as 2-4%, as opposed to the 330% difference represented by 4.3 times. SCOTUS blew it big time on this.

    These two articles, below, give a good explanation of a core problem with Baldus, in the McCleskey case and another of his reviews.

    A) “The Math Behind Race, Crime and Sentencing Statistics”
    By John Allen Paulos, Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1998

    B) See “The Odds of Execution” within “How numbers are tricking you”, by Arnold Barnett, MIT Technology Review October, 1994


    7) Race, ethnicity and crime statistics.

    For the White–Black comparisons, the Black level is 12.7 times greater than the White level for homicide, 15.6 times greater for robbery, 6.7 times greater for rape, and 4.5 times greater for aggravated assault.

    For the Hispanic- White comparison, the Hispanic level is 4.0 times greater than the White level for homicide, 3.8 times greater for robbery, 2.8 times greater for rape, and 2.3 times greater for aggravated assault.

    For the Hispanic–Black comparison, the Black level is 3.1 times greater than the Hispanic level for homicide, 4.1 times greater for robbery, 2.4 times greater for rape, and 1.9 times greater for aggravated assault.



  6. Dudley Sharp says:

    Don’t know what happened, above.

    These two quotes are, truly, the most important consideration on this page.


    jeffdowd writes: “I wonder how much a public understanding of the issues you cover would sway public opinion.”

    Candace Smith writes: “It’s hard to get someone to listen to an opposing viewpoint when they feel so adamant about a certain topic.”


    Public opinion should be swayed by a full airing of both sides of any public policy debate, which, with my comments, we have some sense of that.

    Academics are most often opposed to the death penalty and are adamant that they are correct, even though much of the anti death penalty positions are confounded by fact checking and/or finding such positions are neutralized or overwhelmed by stronger pro death penalty positions.

  7. jeffdowd says:

    I agree that opposing views are important but those views should be grounded in science. many of those you cite do not qualify. Anyone can say “stronger pro-death penalty positions” but non peer-reviewed articles do not count as science. It is difficult to make progress on social problems when we are mired in arguing over reality, because anyone can simply use the internet to go reality-shopping.

    Those you cite which are scientific or fact-based are misused. For example, the crime stats that you cite have no bearing on researchers claims of racism in the justice system – because those studies look at the rates which offenders are sentenced. in other words, while blacks have higher offending rates, this is statistically irrelevant when we are only looking at the population of offenders.

  8. Dudley Sharp says:


    It is very relevant to the topic, simply because it is quite common, for anti death penalty folks, to compare rates of arrest, convictions, imprisonment and executions by race and then to state that blacks are very over represented based upon their population counts.

    It is important to note that folks are not arrested based upon their population counts, but based upon their actual involvement in crimes, which was the purpose of the authors of


    as well as my purpose in referencing it.

    • jeffdowd says:


      First, I agree that it is wrong to say “blacks are 15% of the population in state x and represent 40% of the prison population so racism in the criminal justice system must be the cause.” I don’t say that and no peer-reviewed study makes such a claim. Instead, we say things like “if 20% of homicide offenders eligible for the DP are black and 65% of those who get the DP are black then there is a racial disparity not explained by higher offending rates by blacks.” Even that has to be more than one year in order to ensure that such a disparity is not coincidence or a statistical anomaly.

      You’ll be happy to know that I make this point in my classes as i take them through the evidence behind racial disparities.

      Secondly, the first case (based on prison rates and population counts) while partially explained by offending rates is not wholly explained by them. In addition, different offending rates reflect the different likelihoods that people of different races will be arrested or charged after committing a crime. Keep in mind that most people who commit criminal offenses are not caught. The chances of getting caught (and hence arrested and charged) rise if you are black. Or to be more precise, they rise if you live in the inner city vs. the suburbs which then has a disparate racial impact – so it’s not racist police officers so much as it is different policing in places where blacks are more likely to live.

      • Dudley Sharo says:


        Thanks with your reply.

        We are in agreement.

        I hope you will share my “Rebuttal to the death penalty racism claims” with your students.

      • Dudley Sharp says:


        I have an extensive discussion of the false “innocent” and “exonerated” claims, which includes comments by Richard Dieter and other experts,

        It is way too large to post here, but I would be happy to email it to you.

      • Dahn Shaulis says:


        I think it’s important to examine historical information as another source about race and the Death Penalty. Jeffrey Reiman’s “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison” sets a different frame: that those who create the most damage to society are not penalized as harshly as those working-class people who are executed.

        Take for example the case of George Bush and Dick Cheney who brought the US to war in Iraq using misleading information. This war resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (perhaps much more), instability in the Middle East, and long-term damage to the US (from PTSD to trillions in long-term debt). Similar arguments could be said about international bankers who have manipulated markets to the point of crash.

    • Dahn Shaulis says:

      Mr. Dudley Sharp,

      I can tell you from my professional experience that Death Row does not house “the worst of the worst.” Historically, the Death Penalty has been fraught with injustice based on inequalities of race and class. “Mitigating” and “aggravating” factors are particularly racially biased.

      The General Accounting Office (1990) reviewed more than 50 studies of race and punishment and found “a pattern of evidence indicating racial disparities in the charging, sentencing and imposition of the death penalty.”

      The victim’s race is also important in whether one gets the death penalty. Juries are six times more likely to give the death penalty to those who have been accused of killing a white person. Thirty-four percent (34%) of all people executed in America since 1976 have been black.

      Racism plays a huge role in determining who dies. In one glaring example, Texas law enforcement authorities picked Clarence Lee Brandley from among many suspects in a circumstantial case of rape and murder of a white woman. As authorities told Brandley- convicted but released in 1989 after being exonerated-“You’re the nigger, so you’re elected”.

      Pro-Death Penalty adherents claim “any 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.” These adherents do not question why people of color are more likely to hold these aggravating factors. For example, robbery and burglary are the most common “aggravating factors” for earning a death sentence from a homicide. People from lower economic strata are much more likely to commit such crimes for economic reasons—not as planned murders.

      Juries are not a random selection of the citizenry, but hand-selected individuals who all, without exception, must swear to favor the death penalty. Juries are more conviction prone than randomly selected citizens. In Dallas, Texas, the DA’s office prepared a manual for new staff, which said: “You are not looking for a fair juror, but rather a strong, biased and sometimes hypocritical individual who believes that Defendants are different from them in kind, rather than degree…You are not looking for any member of a minority group which may subject him to suppression-they almost always empathize with the accused…Minority races almost always empathize with the Defendant.”

      • Dudley Sharp says:


        I reviewed the lack of racial bias, which you did not contradict, because you cannot.

        All jurors in all cases must be able to give any sentence which me be a sentnecing option in any case.

        Of course, death penalty cases should have the same standard as all other cases do.

        Both prosecutor and defense attempt to get those jurors which will best serve their purpose. No surprise.

        • Dahn Shaulis says:

          Mr. Dudley Sharp,

          I corresponded with John H. Blume, one of your sources. He would refute your claim that racism has not played a part in the US Death Penalty.

          I’m not sure any Death Penalty historian would agree with your position about race or class. For those who are interested in this matter, Jeffrey Reiman’s “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison” is a good place to start.

          I believe my last post does indicate race and class bias in the Death Penalty. It appears that in Texas and the Deep South, racism has been obvious in the justice system and the imposition of the Death Penalty.

          • Dudley Sharp says:


            I would not trust anything you said to Dr. Blume about my position or what you say Dr. Blume’s position is regardinmg what you told Dr. Blume my position was.

            Why would I?

            I would trust my conversation with Dr. Blume.

            As you have learned, over time, you know much less than you think you do on this topic.

            Time for you to start acting like a PhD instead of a nerd following me around for so many years, now.

            How about telling other PHD’s what your positions are and getting feedback on that, instead of making up my position and telling it to others, when you have no clue.

            Did you even read Blume’s paper?

            I know, of course not.

      • Dudley Sharp says:


        As I have stated, you just come up with nonsense from nowhere as if it is fact. It is a constant problem for you.

        You write: “These (pro death penalty folks) do not question why people of color are more likely to hold these aggravating factors. For example, robbery and burglary are the most common “aggravating factors” for earning a death sentence from a homicide. People from lower economic strata are much more likely to commit such crimes for economic reasons—not as planned murders.”

        Yes, yet whites have more than double the poverty numbers as do blacks.

        Yes, the murders, most often, are planned, as the criminals take guns with them, to use of they see fit. Even when things go exactly as planned, they, often, murder all the witnesses, when there is no need to do so.

        Why? As a rule, they’re evil.

        I could care less what their race or ethnicity is, there is zero justification for committing capital murder.

      • Dudley Sharp says:


        Your professional experience has not served you well. You make things up, as you have throughout all of these discussions, here, as elsewhere. You either don’t read or don’t understand what you read.

        I suspect you never fact checked the GAO study, I did, as you would know from the material I have sent to you, if you read it, which is unlikely.

        You write: “The victim’s race is also important in whether one gets the death penalty. Juries are six times more likely to give the death penalty to those who have been accused of killing a white person.”

        You are confusing cause and effect. Likely, capital murders are much more likely to have white victims, as the data supports. I have also sent you that material, over the many years you have been following me around the web.

        I suspect you haven’t read it, which would be consistent for you.

        Dahn, do you know anyone who says there is no racial prejudice in the system?

        I don’t.

        Racial predjudice will always exist, or as I more, broadly, call it, otherisms will always exist, as I have long stated and you would know had you read the material I told you to, Any of those from any “other” group will have some predjudice held against them because of the ignornace of others. It is as old as mandkind.

        Talk about predjudice. You write:

        “Minority races almost always empathize with the Defendant.”

        Dahn, now that is really stupid. About 95% of blacks are murdered by blacks.

        As a rule, victim survivors empathise for their murdered loved ones, not the murderers.

        It is hard to fathom where you come up with this stuff.

    • Dahn Shaulis says:

      Mr. Dudley Sharp, I read Mr. Blume’s arricle. I guess you missed this statement:

      “Death sentence rates in black defendant-white victim cases far exceed those in either black defendant-black victim cases or white defendant-white victim cases.”

      I’m not sure there is any historian who could say that the Death Penalty has been without extreme race and class bias. Dr. Jeffrey Reiman’s book “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison” is a good source to start with.

      P.S. Your link to the “27 studies” is no longer working.

  9. Dudley SHarp says:

    Oh, Dahn:

    For you that must be a gotcha moment, because you have no clue, as usual.

    That specific race of the victim effect has been part of the academic and activist discussion for, likely, over three decades.

    But, Dahn wouldn’t know that.

    As reviewed in three decades long data as well as my many references above, white victim capital murders are very common, which is why they dominate death row.

    If I recall correctly, the biggest data base on this is the robbery with injuries data, which would correlte with robbery/murders, which, if I recall correctly showed that black robbers with white injured victims was 21 times more likely than white robbers with black injured victims.

    I would be surprised if Blume hadn’t discussed the disproprotionate number of black on white capital murders, versus the disprotportionately smaller numbers of black on black and white on white capital murders.

    It is possible, but I hope doubtful, that Blume was only looking at “murders” vs “capital murders”, which would be an error.

    I would have to go back and re read it. When you look at only capital murders, even then, you may find some small discrepencies, but those cannot be solely attributable to any type of racism, because there are so many other variables.

    Capital murders are a very small subset and are very specific.

    There is also a misunderstanding with “times” vs “odd multipliers” which I discussed in the Baldus/McClesky data, above.

    As Dahn and I have, recently been discussing, he has very little knowedege of the data and often misinterprets it, if he reads it, at all. He has been doing this for years, as almost all of our online discussions reveal.

    Dahn, I recommend you read all of my race references, above and then read the references that they suggest and then come back to the discussion, after making sure you understand the material.

    I read material and spoke to experts for two years before my first publication.

    Reread Blume.

  10. Dahn Shaulis says:

    Two points about the US Death Penalty and who gets executed:

    Pro-Death Penalty adherents claim “any 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.” These adherents base this argument from studies that do not explain why people of color are more likely to hold these aggravating factors. For example, robbery and burglary are the most common “aggravating factors” for earning a death sentence from a homicide. People from lower economic strata are much more likely to commit such crimes for economic reasons—not as planned murders.

    University of Chicago economist Steven D. Levitt (2007) points out the “creative” use of data by Death Penalty proponents. Levitt adds that “no rational criminal should be deterred by the death penalty, since the punishment is too distant and too unlikely to merit much attention.”

    State laws in the US vary in their definitions of “premeditation.” In some states, premeditation can be interpreted as taking place a few seconds before the murder. Burglars and robbers, for example, rarely plan to murder, but situations get out of control and people may be killed. The offenders who do make advanced plans are often involved in heavily emotional situations and are not focusing upon the consequences. Those realities, along with the fact that most offenders feel they will never be caught, negate the effects of deterrence for most offenses.

    Again, I also suggest that anyone who is interested in race and class in the justice system read “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison” by Jeffrey Reiman.

    • Dudley Sharp says:


      As I have stated, you just come up with nonsense from nowhere as if it is fact. It is a constant problem for you.

      You write: “These (pro death penalty folks) do not question why people of color are more likely to hold these aggravating factors. For example, robbery and burglary are the most common “aggravating factors” for earning a death sentence from a homicide. People from lower economic strata are much more likely to commit such crimes for economic reasons—not as planned murders.”

      Yes, yet whites have more than double the poverty numbers as do blacks.

      Yes, the murders, most often, are planned, as the criminals take guns with them, to use of they see fit. Even when things go exactly as planned, they, often, murder all the witnesses, when there is no need to do so.

      Why? As a rule, they’re evil.

      I could care less what their race or ethnicity is, there is zero justification for committing capital murder.

  11. Dudley Sharp says:

    Could Levitt be right and deterrence still matter?

    Of course.

    As I wrote in “Deterence Clarified”:

    “The US has averaged around 33 executions per year since 1973, which equals a deterrent savings of innocents lives of from 33 to 924 per year.”

    That is based upon the deterrence studies finding from 1-28 innocents protected per execution.

    Although a substantial savings in innocent life, it reflects a very minute effect on reduced crime rates, a maximum of 5%, a minimum of 0.2%.

    In additon, as opposed to Levitt’s review, it may be the actual executions, themselves, which creats the majority of the deterrent effect, not so much the capture or long stays on death row.

    Levitt never says the death penalty or executions deter none. No rational, honest person could.

    So, as always, the question is not does the death penalty deter. It does.

    The question is “how much deos it deter?” A question which can never be answered to any concensus.

    Can Levitt’s opinion and the recent deterrence studies survive, together?

    I certainly believe they can, because there is a minimal effect of deterrence on murder rates, less than 5%, at the maximum, but very improtant saving of innocent life, as well, so Levitt’s opinion and the recent studies can co-exist.

    All negtive consequences deter some – the rational and irrational, alike.

    • Dahn Shaulis says:

      Mr. Dudley Sharp,

      I’m not sure what your argument is then–and I have no idea where you found your numbers. Do you have scholarly sources (not neoconservative websites) for your statistical claims? Also, in relation to statistics, you mention “crime” in one place and “murder” in another. What is your dependent variable in this argument?

      You also assert that it’s actually executions that deter, not the Death Penalty. But executions cannot legally be meted out without a Death Penalty–so we must look at the Death Penalty and how it’s administered differently in each state and county in the US.

      If executions are not carried out in sufficient numbers, as the Emory economists claim, there may be no effect or even a negative or “brutalization” effect (as Clemson coauthor Shepherd suggests). Moratoriums and commutations may result in increased murders, but judgments do get overturned or altered as part of the judicial process.

      You haven’t even mentioned the method of execution (lethal injection vs. electrocution), which may also be a significant factor. I have asked you to comment on this factor several times, but you have not acknowledged the possibility that mode of execution could play a part in deterrence research.

      • Dudley Sharp says:


        I made very clear where my position from, above, and within many of our other converstaions.

        Re-read it and make an effort.

        It is pretty obvious where the numbers came from, as I wrote above:

        “The US has averaged around 33 executions per year since 1973, which equals a deterrent savings of innocents lives of from 33 to 924 per year.”

        That is based upon the deterrence studies finding from 1-28 innocents protected per execution.

        Although a substantial savings in innocent life, it reflects a very minute effect on reduced crime rates, a maximum of 5%, a minimum of 0.2%.”

        What numbers are you having a problem with?

        Where could you not tell when there was a variation with crime rates and murder rates? I suspect is was in context of murder rates being within crime rates or the changes in either.

        Please re read before replying. Usually I am clear to most folks, but you seem to get confused way too easily.

        You appear not to know the majority of the deferrence studies are based upon the act of execution being the cause of deterrence. Have you read any of them, yet?

        Yes, some also find a deterrence just by having the actual death penalty statute.

        However, it is not suprising that it would be executions, themselves, which are the cause of additional deterrence, because sentencing and spending time on death row, is much too similar to any other prison sentences, the only differnce being the act of execution.

        You seem to have forgotten that the Shepherd “butalization study” not only had zero proof that a cause based upon brutalization exists. but that the study found a much larger deterrent effect and a tremendous increase in deterrence if states only executed 1 murderer every two years.

        Funny, you work so hard to try and push Shepherd’s brutalization study, which finds a total net deterrent effect, but you don’t push her other three studies, all finding for deterrence, using the exact same methodolgy.

        That’s Dahn for ya.

        I have reviewed that with you many times.

        There was only one study that found only electrocution deterred, all of the others found for deterrence, soley by any method of execution.

        More importantly, as I alwasy state, no one says none are deterred, therfore the only question is how much does the death penalty deter, a question that will never be answered to a concensus

  12. Dahn Shaulis says:

    Two additional studies on race and the Death Penalty. I’ve posted the abstracts here.

    Death Qualification and Prejudice: The Effect of Implicit Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia on Capital Defendants’ Right to Due Process. Behavioral Sciences and the Law Behav. Sci. Law 25: 857–867 (2007). Brooke Butler, Ph.D.

    Two hundred venirepersons from the 12th Judicial Circuit
    in Bradenton, Florida completed the following measures:
    (1) one question that measured their level of support for the
    death penalty; (2) one question that categorized their
    death-qualification status; (3) 23 questions that measured
    their attitudes toward the death penalty (ATDP); (4) 22
    questions that assessed their attitudes toward women
    (ATW); (5) 25 questions that measured their level of homophobia
    (H); (6) seven questions that assessed their level of
    modern racism (MR); (7) eight questions that measured
    their level of modern sexism (MS); and (8) standard demographic
    questions. Results indicated that as death-penalty
    support increased participants exhibited more positive
    attitudes toward the death penalty, more negative attitudes
    toward women, and higher levels of homophobia, modern
    racism, and modern sexism. Findings also suggested
    that death-qualified venirepersons exhibited more positive
    attitudes toward the death penalty and higher levels of
    homophobia, modern racism, and modern sexism. Finally,
    more positive attitudes toward the death penalty were
    correlated with more negative attitudes toward women
    and higher levels of homophobia, modern racism, and
    modern sexism. Legal implications are discussed.

    The Racial Divide in Support for the Death Penalty: Does White Racism Matter? Unnever, James D.; Cullen, Francis T. Social Forces. Mar2007, Vol. 85 Issue 3, p1281-1301. 21p.

    Using data from the 2000 National Election Study, this research
    investigates the sources of the racial divide in support for capital
    punishment with a specific focus on white racism. After delineating a
    measure of white racism, we explore whether it can account for why a
    majority of African Americans oppose the death penalty while most
    whites support it. The results indicate that one-third of the racial divide
    in support for the death penalty can be attributed to the influence of
    our measure of white racism. The analyses also revealed that when
    other factors are controlled, support for capital punishment among
    nonracist whites is similar to that of African Americans. We examine
    the implications of these findings for using public opinion to justify the
    death penalty.

  13. Dahn Shaulis says:

    Mr. Dudley Sharp,

    I’m glad you acknowledge that racism exists in the US justice system and in the US generally. The quote about “minority” jurors was not my statement. It was from the DA’s office in Dallas, Texas, which proves a point (at least anecdotally) about racism and jury selection.

    I’m leaving this argument because it is neither productive or educational. There will be other places to debate.

    I invite readers to consult and review scholarly databases to inform their own opinions.

    Rather than battle on each point, I have created my critical analysis for the State of Nevada. You can find view and comment on this analysis at:

  14. Dudley Sharp says:


    I have never not acknowledged racism, as you well know.

    How hasn’t?

    The problem is the false claims of racims by anti death penalty folks, like you, as you have performed, here, with is not being truthful, not undertsnading the material, not having read the material and/or not having fact checked it.

    Your standard MO, as throughout our conversations over the years, and still on the web.

  15. Dudley Sharp says:

    Dear Prof: Smith:

    This debate is much less one sided than you presented.

    When both sides are fully vetted, I find the pro death penalty position to be much stronger.

    Thank you for the article.

    Sincerely, Dudley Sharp

  16. Gloria says:

    Greetings to all!
    I am a mother who gave birth to three children. Two girls, one boy. My middle daughter was murdered in December of 2010 a couple of days before Christmas. I can remember growing up questioning myself about the death penalty however, I was to young to really understand much of the details surrounding this event however as, I grew older, I became very interested in the law and wanted to learn much about our laws. I became a correctional officer for 10 years and this is when, I began to understand more of the law. I spent so much time with inmates that, I began to learn reasons why some choose to repeat offending process and on the other hand, some were remorselessly sorry for their action and those who were sorry, commence in bettering their lifestyles and turning it around. Others, felt as though, they did not stand a chance in society. Their reasons went from, broken and troubled families to homeless, jobless, no education, alcohol and drug addiction to simply not knowing how to live productively in society. There were also some who stated racism was a factor of them being stereotyped. Nevertheless my point is, I don’t set out to make excuses for anyone not even, mentally challenge however, I am a woman of compassion who is able to listen effectively and take in what’s important to be utilized and discard of unimportant information. Society in my opinion has failed. Not just our children but community as a whole and business as a shared partner. Time is not allocated for me at this time to elaborate further with this theory so I will continue on the path, I started. As, I stated above, I gave birth tow three and lost one daughter in December, 2010. She was my pride and joy as well as my others. She left behind two small babies at the time they were one and five. They are four and 10. Her life was taken by a jealous young man she had met but decided to end her relationship with him due to him being overly possessive. She had to go so far as to get a restraining order but again the system failed. On many occasions he would break into her apartment while her and her babies would be sleeping to only wake up and find him standing over her. Other times, he would break into her apartment when they were away. He would always leave her messages that he had been there by writing on her walls with condiments from her refrigerator or semen from his private part. The police would respond but again failed due to them not putting any effort in seeking him out. On the day of her death. She left her apartment to carry her babies to their fraternal grandmother who lived right up the street from her. She returned back to her apartment to prepare for bed being that, she was scheduled to be at work early the following morning. To her surprise, the young man was hiding outside her apartment when he jumped out and grabbed her. Forcing her into her apartment and attempting to have sex with her when she refused, he grabbed a knife and stabbed her than made her get into her vehicle with him in the passenger’s seat and drive. After driving for a while, she tried to access her phone to call for help with 911 but he grabbed her and choked her until she stopped breathing. He than, jumped from the car and ducked behind bushels while watching the cops examine the scene. He later left the area and went to one of his friends home and from there he went to his place of resident where he lived with his mother and had a girlfriend there waiting for his return. In addition, his girlfriend was pregnant with his baby which was soon to be born. After getting a call from the police, I knew before he told me that my baby was gone. Call it a mother’s intuition. He turned himself in and confessed. During trail, I was present with many of my family members. We were asked by the state, what we wanted to see happen to this guy. I was not surprised at all with my family’s thoughts but, my thoughts and wishes was a complete shock to my family. I allowed everyone to speak their mind before, I spoke. Finally, I stated that, she was my daughter and we were very close. I gave birth to her and I wanted my wishes to be respected. I did not feel it was right, legally or spiritually for me to ask that this young man’s life be cancel. I don’t claim to be “Holly Thou Art” nor do I claim to attend church every Sunday. However, I do read my bible from time to time and in my bible, I found no where GOD ordained me to decide who lives and who dies and besides,I felt that, if I would have chosen to ask for the death penalty, I would be no different than this young man. I would be doing the same thing to his mother as he has put me through. And, in my book, that classifies me as a murder also. It does not matter how anyone view me at this point. In my heart and mind, I feel, GOD, can only judge me and besides, he is the reason, I have the heart and mind that, I have. He gives us free will to do as we choose but reminds u of judgement day. I can surely respect all others feelings and thoughts however, I believe, it’s the hurt and pain that causes one to decide death over life for others and after a while, GOD removes those painful feelings and replaces it with love and from there, peoples began to regret their decisions to terminate one’s life. This is not the case for everyone thou, I believe, some are truly embezzled with hatred. Capital Punishment may seem appropriate at the given time and it may bring justice as some see it but think of it this way. Even after executing one’s life, go back and ask the surviving victims how they feel at this point in time now that, the killer is also dead and gone. I wont be surprised if your results come back with more peoples stating the pain and sorrow is still there. This is because justice will never be enough and never be served here on this earth. We as man and woman does not have the power to restore happiness after a death situation and we can not bring back our love ones nor can we replace that lost and sorrow by taking others life. I am a strong candidate for locking the perpetrator up for a life sentence with no chance of parole but totally against a more strenuous death sentence. I would like to say to those of you who has experience losing your love one through the hands of someone else and those who are experiencing it now. I am deeply sorry for your lost and I certainly feel your pain. I suffer this pain still, each and everyday and even more when, I turn on the news and hear another case as such. The War on drugs and crimes is out of control and I feel there is not enough we could do to cease this war. This is a war that, the U.S can not handle and gain control of being that, it has gone to far, to quickly and to big. However, it is certainly worth continuing to bring forces together to resolve this thing. One more thing to think about is, with all the adults who are re-offending with a more solid concrete crime, they also have younger ones who are watching their behaviors and following in their footsteps. With this being said. Parents can’t control their children so it is left up to our government and all available resources out there to rehabilitate the younger generation before they reach this no turning back level. Start with a more constructive outline of programs in the school systems, parks, and add group therapy in schools. Even as young as pre K. Let’s not just rehabilitate the inmates but also parents and school age children. I want to thank our system for bring some structure to the transfer of narcotics. This was a great idea for slowing down primary care physicians from writing narcotic scripts but deterring the patients to pain management. This was also a smart move in stabilizing these narcotics to a particular center. That way, the flow and patients could be monitor better and the law could governor the center itself. Thank you for that. This is a start. Now, where to from here. Minimize pharmacies who is allow to distribute narcotics and this would also help.Don’t worry about the complaints of pharmacies being to far,there will always be some complaints. I apologize, I lost myself for a minute. We were discussing Capital Punishment
    and my feeling stands as above. To each and everyone. Have a blessed and wonderful day and life. Peace!

  17. Dudley Sharp says:


    I am very sorry for your loss.

    There is no way to see murder and executions as equivalents, unless you equate crime and punishment, innocent murder victim and their guilty murderer.

    It is, truly, astounding that you cannot see the obvious moral differences.

    The death penalty, as all other sanctions, are supported based within justice, the opposite of what happened to your daughter.

    The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

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