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Reevaluating The Death Penalty

National News

Reevaluating The Death Penalty


Susan Estrich argues that the nation should follow California’s lead and reconsider the use of capital punishment in her column, “A Second Look At The Death Penalty”

I still remember back in 1988 sitting in a Chinese restaurant when then-Gov. Bill Clinton took a napkin and listed on one side the Democratic governors who were against the death penalty and, on the other, those who were for it. In its time, the issue was the third rail in American politics — the line that divided those who could win because they were considered tough on crime and those who would face electoral problems. A few years later, my friend Kathleen Brown was trounced in the governor’s race in California in large part because she opposed the death penalty.


  1. Hank10303 December 28, 2011

    Aside from being costly because of the endless appeals system it is also a very easy way out for those that have committed acts capable of this level of judicial retribution. I can think of no other punishment than to force one to suffer in the solitude of their own minds and with their own thoughts the insanity that drove them to commit said act. With that said, the yard time and such should be minimized. I’m not for inhuman treatment, but I’m not for coddling either. The community “togetherness” among criminals should be limited and solitude or semi-solitude should be the norm. Servicing time should be a hard process; not a compassionate one. In addition, life terms offer those that have been found guilty when they were innocent a chance at some form of life. Which is why it should be a Federal law that all states provide financial and housing aid to those they have wrongly convicted of crimes.

  2. DudleySharp January 2, 2012

    Ms. Estrich is in error.

    Virginia executes in 7.1 years on average and has executed 75% of those so sentenced.

    All jurisdictions, inclusive of the notoriously irresponsible California, can duplicate that protocol and save money over using LWOP.

    Deterrence is based upon actual executions, not the swiftness of them.

    However, as swift executions would also mean more executions, swifter executions would mean sparing more innocent lives, via deterrence.

    Of course the death penalty deters.

    All prospects of a negative outcome deter some and death os feared more than life, life prefferred over death – all truisms. The death penalty, the most severe of criminal sanctions, is the least likely of all criminal sanctions to violate those truisms.

    1) 28 recent studies finding for deterrence, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

    2) “Deterrence & the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock”

    3) “Death Penalty, Deterrence & Murder Rates: Let’s be clear”

    4) This is out of date, but corrects a number of the misconceptions about deterrence.”Death Penalty and Deterrence”

    5) “The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents” http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/07/05/the-death-penalty-more-protection-for-innocents.aspx


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