Monday, May 18, 2015

Death Penalty Cost Study Protocol

Death Penalty Costs vs Life Without Parole Costs: Study Protocol
Dudley Sharp

No state has ever done an apples to apples cost review of the death penalty vs life without parole (LWOP).

This is a template for such a cost study.


Previous death penalty cost studies have been incomplete, absurd, deceptive and/or outright fraudulent and everything in between (1).

As a general rule, the prior studies were undertaken as a precursor to asking for death penalty repeal and many have chosen obvious protocols to increase the cost of the death penalty and/or to decrease the cost of LWOP (1), as the current one, underway, in Louisiana.



a) The costs of a maximum death penalty sentence trial, resulting in a death penalty sentence, with pre trial, trial, appellate and incarceration costs, until execution or other death; and

b) Plea Bargains:  Only a death penalty option can result in a LWOP plea bargain. Therefore, any LWOP plea bargain costs savings from pre trial, trial and/or appeals accrue as a cost credit on the death penalty side of the ledger;



a) Death penalty eligible crimes, with a maximum LWOP sentence trial, resulting in a LWOP sentence, with pre trial, trial, appellate and incarceration costs, until death.

The reason you use death penalty eligible crimes as the standard, is because you are looking at equivalent cases, with two different sentencing protocols. In addition, with death penalty repeal, all previous death penalty cases will be LWOP cases.

Of course, this will include geriatric care, which is considered to begin at ages 50-55, within the prison population. 

b) Plea Bargains: Without the death penalty option, it will require more LWOP trials, because

1) Obviously, there will be no more pleas to LWOP and
2) For many of these cases, many more LWOP trials will result, because it will be unacceptable to plea to life WITH parole, as the cases are just too terrible to consider parole.

This must be added, as an additional cost, to the LWOP side of the ledger, if one is considering ending the death penalty, as these additional costs will accrue, as a direct result of ending the death penalty.

You can get a reasonable estimate of those costs by counting;

1) all previous death penalty trials, resulting in either death or life;
2) all previous plea bargains to LWOP; and 
3) all previous cases taken to a LWOP maximum trial.

All three of those categories of cases, by their prior handling, indicate that life WITH parole is not acceptable and, therefore, they MAY all require LWOP trials, if the death penalty were repealed.

NOTE: The cost benefit of the plea bargain, always goes to the greater sanction, as reviewed, just as it would if comparing costs of life without parole, the greater,  to life with parole, the lesser.

3) Policy issues:  Death Penalty -  Saving Costs

a) Time for appeals:

In the modern death penalty era: 

Nevada's first 11 executions occurred after about 4.5 years of appeals, on average.  All those cases were, intentionally, left out of Nevada's deceptive death penalty cost review.

Virginia's first 108 executions occurred after 7.1 years of appeals, on average. 

Nationally, the first 60 executions occurred after about 5 years, on average.

From 1984-1988, nationally, the first 5 years of double digit executions, the average time of appeals, prior to execution was 6.6 years (2).

6.6  years.

In 1996, the US Congress passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, part of which was to speed up death penalty appeals.

In 1996, the average time on death row, prior to execution, was 10 years.

From 2009-2013, nationally, the 5 year average time of appeals, prior to execution, was 15 years (2),

15 years.


State and federal legislatures, attorney generals, district attorneys, defense counsel and state and federal judges need to have open meetings to discuss why judges have allowed 1) appeals to take over 16 years, on average, in some years, prior to execution, with 2) a great many cases taking 20, 30 years, and longer, prior to executions, 3) with many death row inmates, still, languishing on death row, for over 12, 20, 30 years, and more.

The judges are the case managers and set the schedules, on a case by case basis, at trial and on appeal.

There is no legal or rational reason that appeals, prior to execution, should take longer than 9-10 years, on average: 3 years at the state supreme court level, 3 years at the federal district court level and 3 years at the federal circuit court level. 

Cases accepted at the US Supreme Court level are, relatively, rare. However, there are issues, which can effect all death penalty cases.

Judges are responsible for grossly uneven executions, demonstrating dictatorial like contempt for the law in those states where it is impossible, or nearly so, to execute confirmed murderers (3).

b) Execution method:

Put corrections in charge of all execution methods, as corrections are, currently, in charge of implementing all other sanctions.

This will avoid time and money loss with changing the law through the legislature. It becomes a matter of procedural policy, not change in the law, just as most other procedural changes, within corrections. Give broad powers, such as "Any execution methods found constitutional or any other method of execution, that is, reasonably, considered to be constitutional."

Nitrogen Gas, for example.

c)  Death Row:

 A death row is not required. Neither Kansas nor Missouri have one.


1)  Saving Costs with The Death Penalty

2)  Capital Punishment 2012, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 245789, last revised 11/3/14,, accessed 6/10/15

3) Judges Responsibly for Grossly Uneven Executions

Monday, April 20, 2015

"The 4.1% 'innocent' on Death Row"

The 4.1% "Innocent" on Death Row: More Nonsense
Dudley Sharp

RE: Rate of false conviction of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death,  Samuel R. Grossa, Barbara O’Brienb, Chen Huc, and Edward H. Kennedy, National Academy of Sciences

This is a stark example of how bad academic studies can be.

The study's foundation for the "false conviction" rate is based upon a well known, misleading database from the anti death penalty organization, Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) (1).

This misinformation has fueled a significant fraud by the anti death penalty movement, which they have exploited for over 15 years (2).

The DPIC redefines "exoneration" and "innocent" in the same manner as if they had redefined lie as truth.

The DPIC's lies regarding this list are numerous and ongoing (2).

The DPIC's foundation for "exonerated" and "innocent" is so poor that not one case need have any evidence for actual innocence for the DPIC to call them exonerated and/or innocent (3).

It is hard to imagine how Gross et al could not know this, from both basic fact checking, as well as from the publicity of this problem within the public square.

By a number of reviews, it appears that the DPIC "innocent" claims are from 70-83% in error (4), meaning that the 117 or 107 numbers,  from Gross et al, are really 27 or 25, using an average 77% error rate.

This would lower the statistically projected actual innocent conviction error rate down from the 4.1%  to 0.9%, using that average 77% error.

False or unproven claims for "innocence" or "exoneration", of those sentenced to death, have been an anti death penalty standard for decades, as today (4).


1) From the study by Gross et al:

"Data. We examine exonerations among defendants sentenced to death from the beginning of the “modern” death penalty in the United States in 1973, after the Supreme Court invalidated all prior death sentencing laws (11), through the end of 2004. Our data come from two sources.

(i) Death sentences since 1973 are tracked by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) . . . ."

(ii) The Death Penalty Information Center maintains a list of defendants who were sentenced to death in the United States and exonerated since the beginning of 1973 (13), including 117 who were sentenced to death after January 1, 1973 and exonerated by legal proceedings that began before the end of 2004.

We collected additional data on these cases from public records and media sources, expanding on the dataset used by Gross and O’Brien (7). We were able to match on several key variables 108 of the 117 death sentence exonerations in this period to specific cases in the BJS database to produce the database we analyzed.

Footnote 13. Death Penalty Information Center (2013) The Innocence List. Available at . Accessed January 6, 2013."\

2)   This is a look at how well destroyed the DPIC's "EXONERATED" and/or "INNOCENTS" list is and how it has been so deceptively used by the anti death penalty movement.  Richard Dieter, the former head of the DPIC and architect of this deception, participates.

The "Innocent", the "Exonerated" and Death Row:
An Open Fraud in the Death Penalty Debate: How Death Penalty Opponents Lie

3)  From the study by Gross et al:

"For Inclusion on DPIC's Innocence List

"Defendants must have been convicted, sentenced to death and subsequently either-

a. Been acquitted of all charges related to the crime that placed them on death row, or
b. Had all charges related to the crime that placed them on death row dismissed by the prosecution, or
c. Been granted a complete pardon based on evidence of innocence."

from link at Gross et al Footnote 13, just above

Note from Sharp: All of the cases could be from 2a & b and have zero evidence for actual innocence and be called "innocent" and/or "exonerated" based upon the DPIC's intentional and false redefinition of those well known words, as is known from basic fact checking and/or the extensive reviews of this problem in the public square.

4)  See Sections 3 and 4 within

The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Catechism Death Penalty Problems: Section 2267

Death Penalty & Catechism Problems: Section 2267      
Dudley Sharp

CCC 2267 is problematic by reason, facts and secular concerns, alone.

Theological and traditional teachings of the Church also have challenges for 2267.

I do not believe that a prudential judgment has ever been entered into a Catechism, before, as such is contrary to the purpose of a catechism and 2267 is a solid example as to why this should never have occurred and, hopefully, will not be repeated.

1) The death penalty teachings in CCC 2267 (amended 1997) are prudential judgments and have been confirmed as such by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (1), Cardinal-Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, now, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Saint/Pope John Paul II appointed Ratzinger.

As a prudential judgment, any good Catholic may call for more executions, based upon 2000 years of Church traditions, finding that justice is primary, as confirmed within the most recent CCC (see redress) , and that a primary principle cannot be subjugated by a secondary principle, even an important one, such as defense of society, and one can confirm the rational truth that the death penalty/executions provide better protections for the innocent than does a life sentence (2&5), calling upon a compassionate Church to consider that sparing more murderers will cause more innocents to be murdered (2), as history and the facts make clear (2&5) and that  execution will provide expiation (3) for some unjust aggressors, a means to salvation, the ultimate in restorative justice (3).

2) Re: CCC 2267:

from Kevin L. Flannery S.J., Consultor of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Flannery was, also, appointed by SPJPII.

“The most reasonable conclusion to draw from this discussion is that, once again, the Catechism is simply wrong from an historical point of view. Traditional Catholic teaching did not contain the restriction enunciated by Pope John Paul II." (4).

“The realm of human affairs is a messy one, full of at least apparent inconsistency and incoherence, and the recent teaching of the Catholic Church on capital punishment—vitiated, as I intend to show, by errors of historical fact and interpretation—is no exception.” (4)

3) from 2267: " the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor."

Reply: Such does not appear to exist in traditional or any other Catholic teaching and, since this 1997 amendment, I am unaware that anyone has found that it does. It seems to have just appeared, out of thin air. It is, in fact, contrary to much of the traditional teachings.

4) from 2267: ""If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person."

Reply: This is opposite the confirmed facts.

Sufficient does not mean better, does not mean worse. It is no standard.

In 2258-2266 the standard is a requirement to protect innocents from unjust aggressors. Now, within 2267, that standard is, drastically, lowered to sufficient, for the worst of unjust aggressors, putting innocents more at risk

"Sufficiency", is no standard, has never been a Church standard, nor should it be, as the CCC makes clear:

CCC 2260: "For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning.... Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image." "This teaching remains necessary for all time."

Plainly, this is an eternal command, contradicted within 2267.

"surely require a reckoning" and "shall" contradict a "sufficiency" standard, which is no standard, at all.

"Require" rules over "sufficiency". Also problematic is the lack of compassion, as detailed.

2267's "bloodless" conflicts with that eternal command within 2260 - "by man shall his blood be shed;" -  and 2260, further,  establishes that execution is most "in conformity to the dignity of the human person", as it is a commandment from God, which defines the dignity of man, made in God's image.

I cannot find where Church teachings define which sanctions are "most in conformity to the dignity of the human person". It appears that the dignity of each human person is the result of the actions and beliefs of each individual, as observed with Sodom and Gomorrah  and the like and what became of those individuals, just as with the Saints and Fathers of the Church, with their actions and beliefs and their dignity.

Upholding human dignity cannot be anything but the foundation of the Genesis passage, as man was made in God's image. By their heart and actions, with free will, men may accept or reject that dignity.

CCC 2265: "Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm."

Again, "requires"rules over "sufficiency". 

Reason dictates that:

If by "sufficient", 2267 is telling us that "sufficient" meets the requirement to render "the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm", then we know "sufficient" must include the death penalty, thereby finding that 2267 agrees with 2265-2266, but contradicts 2267.  If 2267 excludes the death penalty, then we know that "sufficient" excludes sanctions which "render the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm" and therefore, under 2267,  the standard for the common good, now includes sanctions which fail to "render the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm", lowering compassion and safety for the innocent, by allowing more murderers to live and harm, again, and also being in conflcit with 2265-2266.

By reason and CCC the common good requires executions, as it is the only sanction which "renders the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm.".

We all know that living murderers can and do harm and murder, again, in prison, under supervision, after release, after escape and after we fail to restrain them (2&5). Executed ones do not.

Sufficiency is not the issue and is not a standard. The issue is what sanction best fulfills justice (redress) and what sanction protects innocents to a higher degree, if both compassion and safety are to be, truly, considered.

Execution is just in some cases (redress) and execution protects additional innocents lives, in three ways, better than does a life sentence (2) or lesser sanction, establishing execution as both more compassionate and a better defender of society than lesser sanctions.

2266: "The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good." which, as per CCC, "requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm".

"requires" ruling over "sufficiency". Such is the case, until 2267 attempts to lay waste to everything before it (2258-2266).

5) from 2267:  "Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.


a) It is neither  the "possibility" nor the "means" of preventing crime, but the reality, which matters. 

The most obvious, relevant example is that the Church not only had the "possibility" and the "means" to prevent child sex abuse by priests, but the moral obligation to do so, yet, instead, abandoned the innocent and protected the guilty, even allowing some to repeat their crimes, over about a 50 year period, that we know of.

From where does the Church obtain such blind and irresponsible confidence that secular criminal justice systems will perform better than She did? Answer: From nowhere.

It is astounding that the Church could say that such moral and protection failures are "very rare, if not practically nonexistent . . . ". in the secular world, when She has such horrendous failures Herself, so well observed, the exact moment of Her statement, when such secular failures are just as well known (2&5) and continue to occur.

So what does the Church say? Avoid reality, instead establish what "means are possible",  thus, irrationally, excluding reality from the discussion, repeating her same errors, as she, again, looks the other way as more and more innocents are harmed. Horrendous.

The CCC invented that such criminal justice failures, with our modern standards are "very rare, if not practically nonexistent . . . "., with no fact checking and no thought. How?

Jesus: Matthew 18:7 “Whoever causes one of these little ones* who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

Such is why reality must rule over both "possibility" and "means", if innocent lives and compassion are relevant. Man errs and sins and any "err" by the Church and man should be on the side which protects more innocent lives as opposed to what the CCC has now, which is sacrificing more innocent lives, again (2&5).

How the Church jumped from a standard of "requires" and reality to one of "possibility" "means" and "sufficiency", within the same document, is a sad and dangerous mystery.

"Today, in fact", given the means at the State's disposal", countless innocents are murdered and harmed, every day, by known repeat offender/unjust aggressors, because of the reality of widespread human error and harm committed in the world's criminal justice systems (2&5), just as with the Church "mismanagement" of the priest sex horrors, whereby "possibilities", "means" and "sufficiency" had zero relevance to the reality of Her not protecting the innocent.

Such reality is the factual opposite of: "very rare, if not practically nonexistent . . . ".

It is astonishing that neither Evangelium Vitae nor the CCC show any consciousness of this, when EV and the 1997 CCC amendment were written as the firestorm of the priest sex scandal raged.

As Catholic theologian Steve Long places the arrow:

"The misbegotten application of categories of speech appropriate in regard to the murder of innocents to the vastly different application of just penalty for grave evil, is symptomatic of a society that can garner more support to spare the guilty than to save the innocent."

"The crowd still wants Barrabas." (6)

b)  ". . . .without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself"

How this language could, possibly, get into a Catechism is incomprehensible. 

Man does not redeem "himself", but is redeemed through the grace and mercy of God. The CCC is saying that God is taking away from man the possibility of redemption, because of an early and earthly death - execution.

Biblically and theologically, that is not possible, of course.

The well known teaching, not subject to change, is that we all have the opportunity of redemption (3), prior to our deaths, whatever that early and earthly death may be, whether by cancer, car wreck, old age, drowning, murder, execution (3) and all others.

The story of the good thief on the cross, St. Dismas, is an obvious example, contradicting the CCC's wrongful reversal of these eternal teachings.

And the authors of CCC are, somehow, unaware?! 

We all die early and earthly deaths, because of our sins.  

What the CCC has done is to make a secular exception to an eternal teaching. 

Man has, now, established an exception to God's redemption, that being that execution is the only earthy and early death which denies that God provides for the opportunity for man's redemption, prior to death  --  a teaching that cannot be true and which is contrary to Church teachings, even within this same CCC.

What 2267 does is establish a foundation for death penalty exclusion, based upon possibilities, means and sufficiency, providing more harm to both innocents and murderers, in conflict with reason, biblical and theological teachings and Church traditions.
This is not the norm for inclusion in a Catechism.

Additional writings

---  The Traditional (CATHOLIC) Case for Capital Punishment, By Fr. C. John McCloskey, The Catholic Thing, MARCH 16 2015

---  Four Catholic Journals Indulge in (anti death penalty) Doctrinal Solipsism, Stephen Long, THOMISTICA, March 5, 2015,

---  Okay, what about Catholics and the death penalty?, In the Light of the Law A Canon Lawyer's Blog, Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap. March 9, 2015,

---  Intellectual dishonesty and the "Seamless Garment" argument, JIMMY AKIN, National Catholic Register, 01/25/2015

----  New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming



1)   "3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

"Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, from a memorandum sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCaoi7trrick, made public in the first week of July 2004.

2)  a) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues
b) Catechism & State Protection

3)  The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

4)  “Capital Punishment and the Law”, Ave Maria Law Review, 2007 (30 pp), by Kevin L. Flannery S.J., Consultor of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (since 2002) and Ordinary Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University(Rome); and Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture (University of Notre Dame.

5)  see footnote 2, above


Do a google search:  I am sure this was not done for either Evangelium Vitae of the CCC. 

a) crime recidivism  --  852,000 results (0.34 seconds)
b) prison violence  --  179,000,000 results (0.24 seconds)
c) prison "cell phone" crime  --  1,780,000 results (0.37 seconds)
d) recruit terrorism prison  --  12,800,000 results (0.40 seconds)
e) prison escape news  --  5,720,000 results (0.31 seconds)
f) repeat offender  --  1,170,000 results (0.63 seconds)
and on and on and on

6) Four Catholic Journals Indulge in (anti death penalty) Doctrinal Solipsism,

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rebuttal: Catholics Call For End to Capital Punishment

Rebuttal of Four Catholic Publications Call For End to Capital Punishment
Dudley Sharp

Hendel stated that she did forward to the other publications.     
---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Rebuttal: End to Capital Punishment
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2015 15:52:13 -0500
To: Caitlin Hendel, CEO/President, National Catholic Reporter
Please forward to the Editorial Boards of America magazine, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor
bcc: All editors NCR
Re: Part #1 and #2 combined  

Rebuttal to:
Editorial: Catholic publications call for end to capital punishment, NCR Editorial Staff, ncronline, Mar. 5, 2015
From: Dudley Sharp
One of the major problems with the Church's newest teachings on the death penalty is that neither the Bishops, nor any other Catholics, opposed to the death penalty, appears to fact check anything the anti death penalty movement produces, resulting in error after error presented to the flock, undermining the truth. You must fact check and consider opposing facts (1) to find the truth. As a rule, on this topic, the Church will not do that.
The Bishops have accepted anti death penalty claims, as gospel (small "g"), even when they conflict with Church teachings, as described.
"NCR" is for quotes from the referenced op/ed, with my reply as "Sharp reply".
NCR: "Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will hear arguments in Glossip v. Gross, a case out of Oklahoma that challenges the most widely used lethal injection protocol as being cruel and unusual punishment."
Sharp reply: That is untrue. as found within Glossip, Oklahoma has adopted many new additional protocols, which are unique to Ok - not the most "widely used" and are those which will be the areas of contention at SCOTUS.
NCR: "Our hope is that (the Glossip v. Gross case) will hasten the end of the death penalty in the United States.
Sharp reply: SCOTUS will only look at the specific new protocols, within Glossip. All different protocols, of other jurisdiction will survive, be that alternate lethal injection methods, gas, hanging and firing squad, which exist in other states, the federal government and the military.
Based upon the facts, detailed within the 10th Circuit ruling (1/12/15), against the plaintiffs (the Oklahoma murderers on death row), it appears most likely that SCOTUS will reject their appeals, as well, and accept Ok new protocol.
In addition, it appears possible, if not likely, that Ok will adopt a nitrogen gas (NG) protocol, prior to the SCOTUS decision. NG has already been approved in an Ok legislative committee.
NG has none of the downsides of any other method, NG is a completely painless execution method, as well as providing an endless supply, which cannot be withheld (1) and which may be adopted by all states, which wish to minimize delay, legal challenge and costs.
NCR: Archbishop Thomas Wenski, of Miami stated, "... the use of the death penalty devalues human life and diminishes respect for human dignity. We bishops continue to say, we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing."
Sharp reply: For about 2000 years the Church has taught that the death penalty is based upon the value of innocent life and an abiding respect for the dignity of man (2).
What the Archbishop is, now saying, is that for 2000 years the Church supported that which devalued human life and that which diminished respect for human dignity, a claim which no knowledgeable Catholic can or should accept.
The Archbishop is just repeating standard anti death penalty nonsense which has no respect for Catholic teachings and tradition.
One wonders - why he raises false anti death penalty teachings above Catholic teachings, a common problem for many of the bishops.

The Archbishop states: "We bishops continue to say, 'we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing'. "
Sadly, they do.
The Bishops are just repeating, again, common anti death penalty nonsense.
We all know that murder is wrong, even if there is no sanction.
The Bishops are unaware that sanction doesn't teach that murder is wrong - Church morality and tradition, as well as clear biblical texts teach that murder is wrong.
Sanction is the outcome of that moral teaching. Those are the rational and traditional teachings, which, somehow, the bishops have discarded and replaced with this anti death penalty nonsense. 

How and why?
Execution of murderers has never been declared immoral by the Church and never will be (2). The foundation for the death penalty is justice, just as with all sanctions for all crimes.
These inexplicable gaffs may cause good Catholics to wonder when reason and tradition vanished.
NCR: Boston Cardinal Seán O'Malley stated: "Society can protect itself in ways other than the use of the death penalty,"
Sharp reply: Cardinal, the proper standard is what sanction is most just for the crime committed, what the Church has called the primary consideration (CCC 1995, 2003) and what sanction provides greater protection for innocents.
The death penalty provides greater protection for innocents, in three ways, than does a life sentence (3).
One example:
There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since the 1930s (3).
Just since 1973, from 14,000 - 28,000 innocents have been murdered by those known murderers that we have allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers ( two recidivism studies covering two different periods) (3).
My guess is that none of the Bishops are aware, because they haven't looked, as with EV and CCC.
NCR: "the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church . . . include a de facto prohibition against capital punishment."
Sharp reply: First, the de facto prohibition is based upon several errors (4).
Secondly, as the most recent death penalty teachings have been confirmed, by the Church, as being a prudential judgment, any Catholic may reject the Church's latest teaching on the death penalty (4), honor the Church's teachings of the previous 2000 years, and seek more executions, based within justice and the fact that executions offer greater protections for innocent lives (4).     
NCR: "(The death penalty) is also insanely expensive as court battles soak up resources better deployed in preventing crime".
Sharp reply: It is all but guaranteed that the publication's editors blindly accepted the anti death penalty material on the costs of the death penalty and fact checked nothing, just as with the bishops.
Since 1976, Virginia executed 108 murderers (70% of those sent to death row), within 7.1 years, on average, a protocol that would save money in all jurisdictions (5).
It is irresponsible not to fact check in any public policy debate, especially one where a religious flock is depending upon the truth, Fact check the cost claims and the studies, next time (5).
NCR: "Admirably, Florida has halted executions until the Supreme Court rules"
Sharp replies: Of the many options that Ok has for execution protocols, one of those. primarily, being considered, in the Glossip case, is nearly identical protocol in Florida, which is why Florida suspended executions.. Florida has had no problems with that protocol.
NCR: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on the death penalty until he has received and reviewed a task force's report on capital punishment, which he called "a flawed system ... ineffective, unjust, and expensive." Both governors also cited the growing number of death row inmates who have been exonerated nationwide in recent years."
Sharp reply: Virtually all of the problems that Pa. has had are based upon a judiciary, which has no respect for the death penalty law. Only three executions have occurred within Pa, since 1976, all of whom were "volunteers" who waived appeals. allowing executions. The judges will, otherwise, not allow any executions and/or will overturn the cases, also stopping executions. See Virginia, above, in contrast.
The Governor only made official what everyone knew that the judges had already done.
You may be happy with the judges, but be careful what you wish for, with judges that flaunt the law, simply because they don't like it, becoming dictators in robes, not ruling guided by the law, but, instead, ruling to spite the law.
NOTE: Politics at play. The five Governors who have suspended executions are all Democrats, as, additionally, were/are the Governors that, in recent years, signed laws to repeal the death penalty, after Democratic majority legislators passed the bills. I believe all those governors support abortion, an intrinsic evil within Catholic teaching, whereas the death penalty is not and any Catholic can support more executions and remain a Catholic in good standing, the opposite of those who support abortion.
NCR: "In a statement thanking Wolf, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said: "Turning away from capital punishment does not diminish our support for the families of murder victims. ... But killing the guilty does not honor the dead nor does it ennoble the living. When we take a guilty person's life we only add to the violence in an already violent culture and we demean our own dignity in the process."
Sharp reply: The Archbishop is factually wrong on all points. 

It appears that about 95% of murder victims families, in death penalty eligible murder cases, support the death penalty (6). The Church's lack of support is obvious. The Church has a 2000 year history of support for the death penalty (7), which means support of the executed party, that mercy and expiation are crucial in that process, offering the greatest of restoration - salvation, as reviewed in detail (4). As Church teaching makes clear, executions counter a violent culture and fully recognizes the dignity of both the innocent victims and the unjust aggressors, which is why the Church's 2000 year history of death penalty support completely overwhelms any rejection of it (3).

Here, again, a bishop neglecting Catholic teachings, which, specifically, conflicts with his dependence upon secular anti death penalty positions.       
NCR: "Archbishop Chaput reminds us that . . . (it is death penalty supporters) who add to, instead of heal, the violence." Very much like "Mercy Sister Camille D'Arienzo: (mothers of murdered children) wouldn't want another mother to suffer what I have suffered.' Their hearts, though broken, are undivided in their humanity."
Sharp reply: This is common anti death penalty speak which is contrary to Catholic tradition, as well as the facts.
From 14,000 - 28,000 additional innocents are murdered by those known murderers that we have allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers, since 1973, in the US (two different recidivism studies, from two different periods) (5). Countless murders and other violent crimes are committed, worldwide, every day, by those known unjust repeat aggressors that criminal justice systems have not properly restrained (Google search: crime recidivism)., both in complete contradiction to CCC 2267's ". . . very rare, if not practically non-existent" claim.
By not executing murderers we are encouraging and receiving more violence, more innocents harmed and murdered (9) and, quite clearly, have put the unjust aggressors much more at eternal risk (8), by allowing so many to harm, again, as we know many often do, and as per St. Thomas Aquinas and historical facts.
NCR: "Advocates of the death penalty often claim that it brings closure to a victim's family."
Sharp reply: It is unquestioned that execution brings closure for many (10); the closure of the end of the case, the appeals, with the accomplishment of justice in the cases and, from a compassionate standpoint, we all know that only execution provides the closure of preventing any possibility that the murderers will never harm and/or murder, again, as recognized within the latest CCC. Such is not only a great relief for those who wish to protect more innocents, but it is also a large step for those who care about the eternal salvation of the unjust aggressor, the most important restorative consideration.
NCR: 'The facts of the case in Oklahoma -- which echo reports from Ohio and Arizona -- were especially egregious."
Sharp reply: This is completely false (7) and just represents another example of the Bishops and these publications not fact checking, instead, blindly accepting anti death penalty nonsense, showing disrespect for the truth, as well as for the serious nature of the discussion.
Oklahoma's problems were ones of complete incompetence, not the drugs, as is well known. The evidence, in Ohio and Arizona, is that both executions took a long period of time, as per the nature of the drugs used (11), and that there is no evidence of suffering on the part of either murderer (11).
It is astounding how little these four publications and the Bishops care about the truth, a real problem for their readers and flock. They should start fact checking.
NCR: "We join our bishops in hoping the court will reach the conclusion that it is time for our nation to embody its commitment to the right to life by abolishing the death penalty once and for all."
Sharp reply: Again, just a thoughtless parroting on anti death penalty nonsense, with no recognition of Catholic teaching. Is this good for the Church and any Catholic?
The Church's death penalty teachings are that the execution of murderers is based within reverence for life and recognition of the dignity of the murderer, facts never mentioned anywhere within this op/ed, but well known by all those contributing to the op/ed.
The right to life, as the right to freedom, are based within a recognition of our commitment to the social contract, of being responsible citizens, who obey the law.
Violation of the law by unjust aggressor may result in incarceration or execution.
All sanctions are based upon that which we treasure - execution and life, incarceration and freedom, fines and money, community service and time/labor.
Catholic leadership, inclusive of both Bishops and publications, has a unique responsibility to Catholic teachings and tradition, making this op/ed just another of many that have avoided both, along with fact checking.
Neither ignorance nor deception are welcome in any public policy debate. Both are, particularly, troubling when dealing with eternal matters.
How often has the Church taught that Truth is paramount? When has She not.
You have the means at your disposal to teach and discuss the Truth, "Means" have no value if you do not exercise them.
1) Intro. Basic pro death penalty review:
The Death Penalty: Justice and Saving More Innocents
2) For more than 2000 years, there has been Catholic support for the death penalty, from Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, church leadership, biblical scholars and theologians that, in breadth and depth, overwhelms any teachings to the contrary, particularly those wrongly dependent upon secular concerns such as defense of society and the poor standards of criminal justice systems in protecting the innocent.

The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation
See Catholic references within:
New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming    
3) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues
4) Current Problems: Catholic Death Penalty Teaching
Most recent Catechism (last amended 2003)
5) Saving Costs with The Death Penalty
6) 86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
World Support Remains High
95% of Murder Victim's Family Members Support Death Penalty
7) New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming
8) The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation
9) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues
Murder Victims' Families Against The Death Penalty: More Hurt For Victims Families



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Benefit of Prisons

The Benefit of Prisons
Dudley Sharp

Note: Read The Death of Punishment by Robert Blecker (Macmillan, 2014)

The US doubled their prison population to 400,000 by 1983, from the 200,000 of 1948-1976, and then, with an additional increase  from about 700,000 in 1990 to 1.8 million in 2008.

Our crime rates plummeted to 40-60 year lows (1).

The murder rate dropped by:

46% between 1976 (8.7 murder rate) and 2012 (4.7 murder rate)
54% between 1980 (10.2 murder rate) and 2012

Violent crimes rates dropped by:

17% between 1976 (468 crime rate) and 2012 (387 crime rate)
49% between 1991 (758 crime rate) and 2012

Property crimes rates dropped by:

41% between 1976 (4819 crime rate) and 2012 (2859 crime rate)
53% between 1991 (5898 crime rate) and 2012

Patrick A. Langan, senior statistician at the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, calculated that tripling the prison population from 1975 to 1989 may have reduced "violent crime by 10 to 15 percent below what it would have been," thereby preventing a "conservatively estimated 390,000 murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults in 1989 alone." (2).

Studies by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 94 percent of state prisoners in 1991 had committed a violent crime or been incarcerated or on probation before. Of these prisoners, 45 percent had committed their latest crimes while free on probation or parole. When "supervised" on the streets, they inflicted at least 218,000 violent crimes, including 13,200 murders and 11,600 rapes (more than half of the rapes against children) (2).

1)  The exception is rape, which may be due to chronic underreporting, from previous decades.
using FBI data

2) "Prisons are a Bargain, by Any Measure", John J. DiIulio, Jr., Opinion, New York Times, 1/16/1996

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Death Penalty: Judge Tom Price - Dead Wrong

Draft -  under review



Texas Death Penalty: Judge Tom Price is Dead Wrong
by Dudley Sharp

In a recent appellate opinion, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tom Price went on a rant against the death penalty.

He was dead wrong on everything.

The judge’s willful ignorance and grandstanding should be an embarrassment to the court.

The judge thinks that Texas’ 2005 law establishing life without parole (LWOP) makes the death penalty unnecessary.

That only makes sense if we equate life and death. Most folks, just as criminals, know the difference.

99% of criminal defendants and those convicted, in death penalty eligible cases, do all they can, in pre trial, trial, within appeals and in commutation proceedings to avoid death and pursue life.

Unanimous Texas juries continue to select death in those cases wherein they find it the most just sanction available -  100 times since the new LWOP law was passed - proof that jurors appreciate the obvious difference between the two sanctions, just as do criminals, (all but one) judges, prosecutors, defense counsel and citizens.

Justice is the reason for the death penalty, as with all sanctions.

The judge thinks the possibility of executing a wrongfully convicted person is an “irrational risk that should not be tolerated by the criminal justice system.”

Judge, consider reality:

More actual innocents will die without the death penalty; more actual innocents will be spared with the death penalty.

The death penalty helps to spare more innocent lives in three ways, to a greater degree than does LWOP (1):

Enhanced due process — No one denies that the death penalty has greater due process protections than do any other sanctions, offering greater protections for both the actually innocent and the actually guilty.

Enhanced incapacitation — Living murderers harm and murder, again. Executed ones do not.

Enhanced deterrence — The evidence that the death penalty deters some is overwhelming. The evidence that the death penalty deters none does not exist. Death is feared more than life. Life is preferred over death. That which we fear more, deters more.  That which we prefer more, deters less.


1) on average, since 1973, the US  has executed 33 murderers/yr., with no proof of an innocent executed, at least since the 1930s (1);

2) since 1973, at least 14,000 additional innocents have been murdered in the United States by known murderers that we have allowed to murder again — recidivist murderers (1);

3) up to 8,000 innocents are murdered every year by known criminals that we have released or failed to incarcerate (1).

Based upon the judge’s reasoning and the facts, the true “irrational risk” is leaving murderers alive and letting countless known criminals back into the free world.

The judge is aware of lifers, in Texas, who have murdered, again. He has ruled on such cases.

Judge?  Oh . . .  and 5,000 die/yr. while in US criminal custody (1).

Anti-death penalty folks have redefined both “exonerated” and “innocent” on death row to deceptively increase the numbers, a scam that has been exposed for over 15 years and is the model for Price’s reference (2), next.

Judge Price heads down that required road of anti death penalty advocacy, using a  Michigan/Northwestern study (3) that defines "exoneration" of those convicted in a manner that has absolutely nothing to do with actual innocence, as his referenced study makes clear (2) and as Judge Price, clearly, should know.

Judge Price, did you fact check?

The Texas Center for Actual Innocence (U of Texas Law School) calls cases "actually innocent" when the new evidence "does not depend upon new evidence of actual innocence, but instead upon evidence of a constitutional violation that probably resulted in a trial in which an innocent person may have been convicted."

"probably" "may have been" "does not depend upon new evidence of actual innocence" - Yet, they call them "actually innocent".

Standard and wrong.

There is no need to wonder why Judge Price completely avoided the Texas legal system, which has a statute to determine actual innocence (4), cases which are, thankfully, extremely rare.

Texas has declared two from death row to be actually innocent, with that statute.

As predicted, the anti death penalty cabal, inclusive of the media, wrongly finds 12 Texas death row inmates to be "exonerated" or "innocent", an 83% "error" rate in such claims, the same error rate as the claims in Florida (5).

Why have only two of those 12 inmates availed themselves of the legal system to declare themselves actual innocent and receive $80,000 in compensation for each year of incarceration? The others don’t have the proof for actual innocence.

The Texas statute was amended, so that "belief", as opposed to evidence, can be used to determine "actual innocence" (6) -- a perversion of the intent of the original law and of the definition of "actual innocence".

That amendment was added so that Anthony Graves could claim to be actually innocent and collect $80,000/yr.,  for wrongful incarceration.

This "belief" foundation confounds a well known crime truism:  "absence of evidence" is not "evidence of absence".

All states should have “Proof for Actual Innocence” laws, absent a "belief" category,  so we can get rid of these common exoneration frauds/confusions, something which had occurred in Texas, until that "belief" amendment was added.

Let's deal with true actual innocence cases with the seriousness and clarity they deserve.

How about it Judge?

1) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues

3) see 3 & 4, later 5-13
The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

Sec. 103.001. CLAIMANTS ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION AND HEALTH BENEFITS COVERAGE. (a) A person is entitled to compensation if:
(1) the person has served in whole or in part a sentence in prison under the laws of this state; and
(2) the person:
    (A) has received a full pardon on the basis of innocence for the crime for which the person was sentenced;
    (B) has been granted relief in accordance with a writ of habeas corpus that is based on a court finding or determination that the person is actually innocent of the crime for which the person was sentenced; or
    (C) has been granted relief in accordance with a writ of habeas corpus and:
          (i) the state district court in which the charge against the person was pending has entered an order dismissing the charge; and
          (ii) the district court's dismissal order is based on a motion to dismiss in which the state's attorney states that no credible evidence exists that inculpates the defendant and, either in the motion or in an affidavit, the state's attorney states that the state's attorney believes that the defendant is actually innocent of the crime for which the person was arrested.