Saturday, January 30, 2016

Child Rape & The Death Penalty

Kennedy, Child Rape, The Death Penalty & the Supremes
Dudley Sharp, 2008

In Kennedy v Louisiana, SCOTUS makes this blunder: “the court rested its condemnation of executing the rapists of children largely on what it described as a trend away from the use of death to punish such crimes both here and abroad.”

Just the opposite is true.

The state laws imposing the death penalty option on child rape cases were relatively new and a number of states were actively considering passing such laws in their states, as well.

In other words, we were seeing a new trend to pass such laws, instead of a trend away from them.

By outlawing such new laws, it was SCOTUS that was, wrongly and intentionally, stopping a new trend. This is a horrible precedent –  SCOTUS was, knowingly, stopping new laws which may become the evolving standard and, quite possibly, preventing a national consensus towards having the death penalty for child rapists.

Is the newest “constitutional” guide for SCOTUS preemptive trend stopping? Maybe.

SCOTUS’ evolving standards doctrine and the national consensus “standards” are both prone to this type of constitutional perversion – the alchemy of highly strained legal arguments derived from personal opinion.

In fact, the national consensus was for the death penalty for child rape cases.

See Jim Lindgren’s, A National Consensus in Favor of the Death Penalty for Child Rapists”

And a July, 2008 National Poll

By a 55 – 38 percent margin, voters favor the death penalty for a person convicted of raping a child. Women and men are consistent in their support.

Another excellent example of this type of phony consensus and evolving standards doctrine improperly used by SCOTUS is this,

A phony ‘consensus’ on youthful killers
by Jeff Jacoby in a Boston Globe op/ed

As a firm adherent to the reality that incentives matter to most people, including criminals, I was concerned that if the sanction options were equal for child rape and child murder that some rapists would be more prone to murder their victims. Therefore, I was not a proponent of the death penalty for child rape.

Juveniles & The Death Penalty

Why Some “Juvenile” Murderers Should Qualify For The Death Penalty:
Brain Science and Other Issues
Dudley Sharp, 10/2/04

There are a number of inadequate issues raised in opposition to 16-17 year old murderers being culpable for the death penalty — Brain science and other arguments are either weak or false.


“The brain data don't show that adolescents typically have reduced legal culpability for crimes.” Harvard University psychologist Jerome Kagan.

UCLA’s Elizabeth Sowell, another prominent brain-development researcher, takes a dim view of the movement to apply neuroscience to the law. She says that no current research connects specific brain traits of typical teenagers to any mental or behavioral problems.

“The scientific data aren't ready to be used by the judicial system,” she remarks. “The hardest thing [for neuroscientists to do] is to bring brain research into real-life contexts.”

The ambiguities of science don't mix with social and political causes, contends neuroscientist Bradley S. Peterson of the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. For instance, it’s impossible to say at what age teenagers become biologically mature because the brain continues to develop in crucial ways well into adulthood, he argues.

Such findings underscore the lack of any sharp transition in brain development that signals maturity, according to neuroscientist William T. Greenough of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Definitions of adulthood change depending on social circumstances, Greenough points out. Only 200 years ago, Western societies regarded 16-year-olds as adults.

“Brain science offers no simple take-home message about adolescents,” says B.J. Casey of Cornell University’s Weill Medical College in New York City. “It’s amazing how little we know about the developing brain.”

Brain-scanning techniques, including the popular MRI, remain a “crude level of analysis,” Casey notes. What’s more, many critical brain-cell responses are too fast for MRI to track.

Brain data, particularly those on delayed frontal-lobe growth in adolescents, also need to be put in a cultural and historical perspective, Harvard’s Kagan asserts. Frontal-lobe development presumably proceeds at roughly the same pace in teenagers everywhere. Yet current rates of teen violence and murder vary from remarkably low to alarmingly high from country to country, he notes.

“Something about cultural context must be critical here,” Kagan says. “Under the right conditions, 15-year-olds can control their impulses without having fully developed frontal lobes.”

If incomplete brains automatically reduce adolescents’ capacity to restrain their darker urges, “we should be having Columbine incidents every week,” he adds.

Science News summarizes these positions: ” . . .brain science doesn’t belong in court because there’s no evidence linking specific characteristics of teens’ brains to any legally relevant condition, such as impaired moral judgment or an inability to control murderous impulses. ”


No one, including psychiatrists, psychologists and brain specialists, disputes that some 16-17 year olds are as mature, or more mature, than some of those 18 and older. US Supreme Court Justices, Nobel Peace Prize winners, the American Medical Association and the European Union agree.

Therefore, the argument against executing some 16-17 year old murderers is without merit, when it is based upon age, alone.

Is a murderer less culpable solely because they murdered someone one-second, one minute, one week, one month or one year before their 18th birthday? Of course not.

US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor writes:

“Furthermore, granting the premise that adolescents are generally less blameworthy than adults who commit similar crimes, it does not necessarily follow that all 15-year-olds are incapable of the moral culpability that would justify the imposition of capital punishment. Nor is there evidence that 15-year-olds as a class are inherently incapable of being deterred from major crimes by the prospect of the death penalty.” (2)

It is argued that because people have to be older to drink, vote, marry, etc., that it is hypocritical to say that some 16-17 year olds are mature enough to be death eligible for committing capital murder.
If society so wished we could individually evaluate 16-17 years olds (just as we do within the criminal justice system) to determine which of those were as mature as 18-21 year olds and allow those to participate in those responsibilities and privileges. No one doubts that many would qualify. Furthermore, there is a major difference between a social privilege and culpability for capital murder.

MacArthur Juvenile Competence Study: “The study did not find differences between juveniles aged 16 and 17 and young adults (18-24) in abilities relevant to their competence to stand trial.” (3)


Those who claim that the death penalty is a human rights violation have failed to make their case.

It is presented that some US states are equal with a number of less democratic nations that execute those who were under age 18 when they committed their murder(s).
First, the US criminal justice system is quite different from those nations. Second, as no one disputes that many 16-17 year olds are as mature as some 18-21 year olds, this argument means nothing.

In terms of proportionality, execution cannot be viewed as disproportionately severe in relation to the crime. The innocent murder victim did not earn or deserve their fate, whereas the murderer voluntarily took the lives of the innocent and thereby volunteered for the punishment available within that jurisdiction.

see A phony ‘consensus’ on youthful killers
by Jeff Jacoby in a Boston Globe op/ed


(1) excerpts from “Teen Brains on Trial”, Bruce Bower, Science News, 5/8/04, vol. 165, No. 19, p.299

(2) Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815 (1988) (USSC) at[group+487+u!2Es!2E+815!3A]!28[group+edited!3A]!7C[level++case+citation!3A]!29/doc/{@1}/hit_headings/words=4/hits_only?

(3) from Study Summary, ” MacArthur Juvenile Competence Study”,
Full Study, Results,

NOTE: the study was partially funded by the Open Society Institute, one of the Soros Foundations, a product of George Soros, who may be he largest financier of anti death penalty efforts, worldwide.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sister Helen Prejean: Does Truth Matter?

Sister Helen Prejean: Does Truth Matter?
Dudley Sharp

This is representative of the anti death penalty movement.

1) The parents of rape/torture/murder victim Loretta Bourque, a "Dead Man Walking" Case 

" . . .makes you realize the Dead Man Walking truly belongs on the shelf in the library in the Fiction category."

"Being devout Catholics, 'the norm' would be to look to the church for support and healing. Again, this need for spiritual stability was stolen by Sister Prejean." (1)

2) Case Detective Michael Vernado, in the rape/torture/murder of Faith Hathaway, a Dead Man Walking Case

"I wouldn't have had as much trouble with (Prejean's) views if she would have told the truth . . ." " . . . (Sr. Prejean) based her book on what was in I guess a defense file and what (rapist/murderer) Robert Willie telling her." (1)

" . . . she's trying to mislead people in the book. And that's something that she's going have to work out with herself." "(Sr. Prejean's) certainly not after giving anybody spiritual advice to try to save their soul." (1)

3) DEATH OF TRUTH: (1&2)

Book Review: "Sister Prejean's Lack of Credibility: Review of "The Death of Innocents", by Thomas M. McKenna (New Oxford Review, 12/05).

"The book is moreover riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations."

"Williams had confessed to repeatedly stabbing his victim, Sonya Knippers."

"This DNA test was performed by an independent lab in Dallas, which concluded that there was a one in nearly four billion chance that the blood could have been someone's other than Williams's."

" . . . despite repeated claims that (Prejean) cares about crime victims, (she) implies that the victim's husband was a more likely suspect but was overlooked because the authorities wanted to convict a black man."

" . . . a Federal District Court . . . stated that 'the evidence against Williams was overwhelming.' " "The same court also did "not find any evidence of racial bias specific to this case."


Sharp reply: Did she consider the mental suffering of a parent who lost their innocent daughter to a rape/murder or, possibly, the mental (and physical) suffering of that girl, as she was being raped and murdered?

Of course the sister considered it and she made her choice - the murderer.

5) "(Sr. Prejean) remains convinced that if people could see the brutality of killing a human being, they might reconsider their support for the death penalty." (3)

Sharp reply: See the pattern? Sr. Prejean is talking of the peaceful execution of the guilty murderers, not the incredible brutality of the murder of the innocent victims (3).

6) Sr. Prejean: “It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical ‘proof text’ in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) – the Mosaic Law prescribed death – should be read in its proper context. This passage is an ‘entrapment’ story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment .” Dead Man Walking (2)

Sharp reply: It appears that she has forgotten all of this.

7) Sr. Prejean claims that "75% of those on death row aren't educated above a sixth grade level" (4)

Sharp reply: The median education on death row is 12th grade,  with 87% above 8th grade, 13% below (5).

8) Ford or Sr. Prejean: " . . . since 1973, there have been 146 (now 155) exonerations (from death row) (4)".

Sharp reply: This has been a well known fraud, beginning about 15 years, ago, when the number was 69.  Based upon numerous reviews, possibly, as many as 26-46 actual innocents (as of today)  have been discovered and released from death row (6). Anti death penalty folks just redefined "innocent" and "exonerated" as if they redefined lie as truth, and put a bunch of cases into those fraudulent definitions (6).

9)  Sr. Prejean  commonly, calls the death penalty racist, refers, herein,  to the primary execution states as "former slave states" and, recently stated, while in St. Louis, “the system of injustice which disproportionately kills black bodies.” (4), a statement which can, reasonably, be seen as putting another match to the powder keg in Ferguson, Mo.

Ford writes: "Sister Helen devastates us with the reality that the death penalty is sought more often against people of color than against whites" (4).

Sharp reply:  "As blacks represent 47% of murderers and whites 37%, whites murderers are about twice as likely to be executed for committing murder as are black murderers" , with whites 56% of those executed, 34% blacks." (7)

"There is no race of the offender / victim effect at either the decision to advance a case to penalty hearing or the decision to sentence a defendant to death given a penalty hearing." (7)

10) The sister calls the death penalty classist (4).

Sharp reply: "99.8% of poor murderers avoid the death penalty. It may depend, strictly, upon the definitions of the "wealthy" and "poor" , as to whether or not wealthy murderers are more or less likely to be executed than poor murderers, in the context of the very small percentage and number of wealthy murderers (8)."

11) Sr. Prejean states: "we turn our eyes away from the fact that we view violence as redemptive (4)."

Sharp reply: Why would we turn our eyes, away? Christians, more than any group, understand the redemptive value of violence, not only with the Passion of the Christ, but the redemptive value of the death penalty, as detailed for 2000 years (9).

As the Sister called God an ogre for crucifying His Son (10), her perspective is expected . . .

12)  “(Sister Prejean)  received nothing but a stony silence, however, when she questioned the basis of the biblical crucifixion story as a “projection of our violent society.” “Is this a God?” Prejean asked about the belief that God allowed his son, Jesus, to be sacrificed for the sins of humanity. “Or is this an ogre?” “The audience — to that point in strong agreement with the author of “Dead Man Walking” — said and did nothing.” (10)

Sharp Reply: It is understandable that the audience was stunned. Sister Prejean is questioning the bedrock of the Christian faith.

Appropriately, Pope Benedict XIV appears to rebuke her a few days later:  “If to save us the Son of God had to suffer and die crucified, it certainly was not because of a cruel design of the heavenly Father. The cause of it is the gravity of the sickness of which he must cure us: an evil so serious and deadly that it will require all of his blood. In fact, it is with his death and resurrection that Jesus defeated sin and death, reestablishing the lordship of God. (11)” 

Much more in footnotes

Anti Victim: Anti Death Penalty Movement

2)  Sister Helen Prejean & the death penalty: A Critical Review

3)  Sr. Helen Prejean: "Botched" Nun

4)  RE: REBUTTAL To: "God Allows Us to Wake Up”: Sister Helen Prejean Comes to BC,  By: Craig A. Ford, Jr., Graduate Students of Color Blog, 10/11/14,

5) Table 5, Capital Punishment 2012, Bureau Of Justice Statistics,  May 2014, NCJ 245789
The Death Penalty: Saving Innocent Lives


8) See  Is There Class Disparity with Executions?  within\\

The Death Penalty: Fair & Just

9) a) The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

b) New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming

10) “God, ogre comparison doesn’t fly with interfaith crowd”, Paul A. Anthony, Rocky Mountain News, 03:35 p.m., August 24, 2008

11)  “It Is Not ‘Optional’ for Christians to Take Up the Cross”, 8/31/2008) (2)

See also

The Death Penalty: Justice & Saving More Innocents

Sunday, December 13, 2015

North Carolina Death Penalty Costs (2004)

Update: North Carolina Death Penalty Costs (2004) (1):
More Nonsense from Philip Cook

From Cook's more recent cost study (1).

1) Cook: " . . . the goal here is to estimate the hypothetical financial and in-kind consequences of abolishing the death penalty on July 1, 2004."

"Lacking a crystal ball, I make estimates for the recent past and offer the result as a best guess about the flow of savings in the future, with the proviso that there is considerable uncertainty around this steady-state assumption."

Sharp: "crystal ball" "estimates" "best guess" "uncertainty" "assumption" "to estimate the hypothetical". 

Let all that sink in. That's the "study".

Cook doesn't provide any "assumptions", "best guesses" and "hypotheticals" as to how North Carolina's death penalty can save money over life without parole (LWOP). He wouldn't.

Since 1976, Virginia has executed 111 of her murderers, 70% of those so sentenced, within 7 years of appeals, on average (2), a protocol that would save money over LWOP, in all jurisdictions.

Cook is aware but not interested. 

On death penalty issues, Cook appears to be an anti death penalty activist, who happens to be an academic.

2) Cook: "If the death penalty had been abolished on July 1, 2004, state government expenditures for processing murder cases would have fallen by $10.8 million per year." (pg 28).

Sharp: The $10.8 million "hypothetical estimate" cost savings of ending the death penalty would be $0.09 (9 cents) per month per North Carolinian.

9 cents per month   --    1/3 of a penny per day - $0.003/day

For some perspective, the cheapest cup of coffee at Starbucks is $1.75, or 525 times per day as expensive.

My hypothetical estimates are different than Cook's. 

The social and economic costs attributable to ending the death penalty are just too high.

Cook's latest study has many problems, as does his previous one (3).

3) Cook: "Note that the bottom line of this analysis rests on certain "assumptions" about how the relevant actors would respond to the abolition of the death penalty." pg 29 "The "estimates" of potential savings from abolition are developed here as follows." pg 3

Sharp: Cook has no clue as to those responses, for which he assumes and estimates.

4) Cook: "I assume that the number of courtrooms, judges, prosecutors, and support staff would not be affected by the abolition of the death penalty, nor would the budget of the NC Supreme Court." "The abolition of the death penalty would have other consequences that are unlikely to be reflected in agency budgets."  p8

Sharp: In fact, Cook cannot state that there will be any net reduction in the state budget, which would be attributable to elimination of the death penalty. 

Cook finds a cost savings of $0.003/day/North Carolinian  -  a "hypothetical estimate".

Can Cook tell us that his 
"hypothetical" end to the death penalty will not result in net additional costs to North Carolinians, as costs accrue, as:

a) defense specialists would turn their attention to fighting against LWOP, for which there is a well observed movement to end LWOP, a movement which mirrors the attack against the death penalty, as Cook well knows; and 

b) there will be no more plea bargains to LWOP, which, previously, saved the cost of trials and appeals, as Cook concedes; with 

c) all potential LWOP cases will now, all, have to go to trial, dramatically increasing total LWOP case costs, as Cook concedes,  and 

d) causing a huge social cost problem, whereby some cases that would have, previously, resulted in LWOP, will, now, be given life WITH parole, by either plea bargain or trial, as Cook concedes; and

e) the case that the death penalty/execution is an enhanced deterrent over LWOP is solid (7) and, therefore,  the reality of the social and monetary costs of more innocents being murdered far outweighs Cook's "hypothetical estimates" of saving money by ending the death penalty.

5) Cook: "Certainly, the debate in other states that have considered ending the death penalty has included a discussion of cost. That was true in the two states that actually did decide to abolish, New Jersey and New Mexico, and elsewhere. For example, the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment recommended abolition of the death penalty in 2008, arguing its conclusion in part on the cost study by the Urban Institute (Roman et al., 2008)."  pg 2-3

Sharp: This reflects on Cook's lack of fact checking and/or his anti death penalty bias.

New Mexico's Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) used Cook's previous, misleading study on costs in North Carolina, not New Mexico's costs. So it had no effect on any cost debate in New Mexico, as Cook's study actually showed that LWOP was more expensive than the death penalty . . . in North Carolina  . . .  not New Mexico (4). The LFC didn't fact check Cook's study.

The New Jersey Death Penalty Commission NJDPC) found "The costs of the death penalty are greater than the costs of life in prison without parole, but it is not possible to measure these costs with any degree of precision." (5).

The NJDPC never looked at LWOP costs so it is hard to imagine how they reached that conclusion. Regardless, there is no savings amount identified. Plus, NJDPC made the same obvious error as other studies have, that is stating that death row incarceration costs are higher than general population cells. Capital murderers are most likely going to be in increased security cells, not general population. There is no evidence they looked at the costs savings of plea bargains to LWOP parole.

The Urban Institute (Maryland) made significant accounting errors in their study, errors, which when fixed, may have revealed no increase in costs with the death penalty (6).

Cook was, somehow, unaware? Did he not fact check?



 The death penalty saves more innocent lives, in three ways, than does life without parole (LWOP) (7,8).

6) Cook:"There is reason to believe that some of those defendants would have pled out to a lesser offense—second-degree murder, say—if the district attorney had lacked the leverage provided by the death penalty."  pg 2

Sharp: Precisely. Put plainly, more murderers will be released, increasing the costs of additional harm to innocents.  Murderers and other anti death penalty folks, like Cook, may cheer, but I suspect most North Carolinians would happily spend an additional $0.003/day to keep murderers on death row or serving LWOP, as opposed to being released, a huge additional cost.

Sharp: Since 1973, there have been 14,000 - 28,000 actual innocents murdered by those known murderers that we allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers (two different recidivism studies from different years) (7).

Obviously, the death penalty provides increased incapacitation protection over lesser sanctions, thereby protecting more innocent lives.

7) Cook: "(deterrence) was set aside on the grounds that there is no basis for predicting whether abolition of the death penalty would increase or reduce the murder rate, and good reason to believe that the effect in either direction would be small." pg 31

Sharp: Deterrence is not measured by murder or crime rates. If it was then we would conclude that no potential crimes were deterred in all other countries, simply because, for example, Iceland has the lowest crime and murder rates and, therefore, no criminals in all other countries were deterred by sanction, because all other countries had higher crime rates than Iceland. 

Absurd, of course.

Deterrence is measured by there being lower net crime rates  than there, otherwise, would be without sanction. For example, if we ended all sanctions, would crimes and the crime rates go up? No rational person has any doubts.

Cook is in error by asserting that there is no greater probability of deterrence.

The evidence that the death penalty.executions deter some is overwhelming (7,8).

The evidence that the death penalty/executions deter none does not exist (7,8).

Death is feared more than life. Life is preferred over death. What is feared more deters more. What is preferred more deters less.

It is not up to death penalty supporters to prove deterrence.  The evidence is on our side.

It is up to deterrence naysayers to prove that the death penalty/executions deter none, which they have never and can never establish.

All sanctions, all negative prospects and all negative incentives deter some, all truisms and all well known, with the death penalty/executions being the harshest sanction, the worst negative prospect and the greatest of negative incentives.

Cook also avoids the risk to innocents, if we are unsure about deterrence. There is no balance in the sparing of innocents.

If we are unconvinced and there is death penalty/execution deterrence and we don't execute, we sacrifice more innocents.

If unknowable, we must execute, if innocent lives matter.


Rebuttal to follow on these two:

Deterrences (Donohue and Wolfers, 2006a, 2006b). p 10-14

"Isaac Ehrlich’s research in this regard has received the most attention, motivating the creation of an expert panel of the National Academy of Sciences—whose report was skeptical of Ehrlich’s findings (Blumstein et al., 1978)." 13

1)  Potential Savings from Abolition of the Death Penalty in North Carolina, American Law and Economics Review (Advance Access) published December 11, 2009, Philip J. Cook, Duke University

2) See Virginia within
3) "Duke (North Carolina) Death Penalty Cost Study: Let's be honest"

4) New Mexico's Death Penalty Cost Study

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

8) OF COURSE THE DEATH PENALTY DETERS: A review of the debate
99.7% of murderers tell us "Give me life, not execution"

New Mexico Death Penalty Costs

New Mexico Death Penalty Costs: Another Adventure Into Deception
Dudley Sharp

The anti death penalty folks just can't stop.

Not only did the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) fail to look at either their own death penalty or LWOP costs, instead, they used North Carolina's  misleading cost study (1), which had zero relevance to New Mexico, and the LFC failed to fact check that NC study, which actually found LWOP to be more expensive than the death penalty (1), the opposite of what the LFC stated.

Just another anti death penalty norm (2).

"Although a study has (never) been done in New Mexico on the total costs of a death penalty case to the state (including the prosecution, the public defender, and the extensive drain on court resources.), a recent Duke University study done on North Carolina’s costs found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million dollars per execution over a system that imposes life imprisonment." (2)

Complete utter nonsense, of course.

The North Carolina study (1) found LWOP to be much more expensive than the death penalty.

 1)  "Duke (North Carolina) Death Penalty Cost Study: Let's be honest"

2) F I S C A L  I M P A C T  R E P O R T, HB 285, Abolish Death Penalty, Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) , New Mexico Legislature, 1/31/09,

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nevada's Death Penalty Cost Study: How Bad Is It?

Nevada's Death Penalty Cost Study: How Bad Is It?
Dudley Sharp

This is a case study in state deception.

1)  a) The Nevada Study (1) only included one death penalty case that ended in execution, 11 years after sentencing.


11 additional executions, since 1977, were omitted, improperly and intentionally, from the study and any reference to them was not provided.


Because, had those 11 been included,  the death penalty would be found to be cheaper than life without parole (LWOP) cases.

It is an obvious way to fix the study for a desired outcome.

On average, those 11 executions occurred within 5 years after sentencing.

It gets even worse.


a) The Nevada Study wrongly included parole eligible cases, calling them all "non death penalty cases". 56% of the non death penalty cases were/are eligible for parole (2) (see notes, bottom of pg 11, footnote 1).


b) The only considered alternative to the death penalty is LWOP. Therefore, an equal consideration of LWOP and death penalty case costs, only, should be the measure (3).

Only those 44% of non death penalty cases, that were true LWOP cases, should have been included.

Parole eligible cases should have been excluded from the cost review. 

The parole eligible cases were included only to lower the non death penalty costs, improperly and intentionally, just as the improper and intentional exclusion of 11 death penalty cases were omitted to increase death penalty case costs.

Again, it is an obvious way to fix the study for a desired outcome.


3) Without the death penalty, the average LWOP case cost rises, probably substantially.

a) No plea bargains:

1) Without the death penalty, there can no longer be any plea bargains to LWOP. 

After death penalty repeal, LWOP can only be achieved with a full trial, adding to total LWOP costs, as well as the average cost per LWOP case, likely substantially, which must be added as additional costs for the LWOP side of the ledger, if death penalty repeal is considered.

No surprise, the Nevada cost study excluded this.

2) With more LWOP trials, there will be more cases that we result in life with parole eligibility, meaning that cases which, previously, would have gotten either the death penalty or LWOP, some will now get life with parole eligibility which, with some of these cases, would never have been so considered, before.

Because of the degree of horror in most of these cases, parole eligibility would be unthinkable, therefore making repeal of the death penalty a very poor choice, if not unthinkable. That just may be too much of a moral cost.

No surprise, the Nevada cost study excluded this.


With the death penalty, any plea bargains to LWOP accrue as a cost credit to the death penalty side of the ledger, as such pleas are only possible because of the death penalty. Such cost credit may include all or part of pre trial, trial and appeals costs for a LWOP case and such credit must be included in any death penalty vs LWOP cost study.

No surprise, the Nevada cost study excluded this.



Here is my suggested protocol for a death penalty vs LWOP cost review, with a detailed, apples to apples cost review (4).

I hope it may be helpful.

1) Fiscal Cost of the Death Penalty, PERFORMANCE AUDIT, State Of Nevada, 2014,%20LA14-25,%20Full.pdf

2) AUDIT HIGHLIGHTS (left hand of Summary page), under Purpose of Audit, Preface.

3) See California, first, and then others

Saving Costs with The Death Penalty

4) Death Penalty Costs vs Life Without Parole Costs: Study Protocol

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Petit: Justice, The Death Penalty & the Murders of My Wife & Children

Justice, The Death Penalty & the Murders of My Wife and Children
William Petit

During a home invasion in 2007, my wife Jennifer was strangled while my daughters Hayley 17 and Michaela 11 were tied to their beds, they and the house were doused with gasoline by the two murderers and then set afire.

For certain murders and other crimes there is no penalty that will serve justice other than the death penalty. It transcends national borders, races and cultures. It is the appropriate societal response to the brutal, willful act of murder (the illegal taking of another’s life).

The issue here is not revenge. Nor is it any of the other arguments that the anti-death penalty abolitionists use as tactics to take the focus away from the critical issue. Their main concern appears to be the protection of criminals and saving money.

The issue is, quite simply, retributive justice, not revenge but appropriate retribution. It appears clear to me that what is right and moral never appear to be part of their arguments.

When a family member is murdered it destroys a portion of our society. Those murdered can never grow and contribute to humankind. The realization of their potential can never be achieved. Those who knew them can never hold them, spend time with them, and see what they would add to their family's lives and society in general.

Interestingly, an argument made by many of the abolitionists is that life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP) is a "worse" punishment than death. If they are so magnanimous, why are they opting for a punishment that is worse, i.e., LWOP instead of the DP? Why? Because they are lying.

Many who have life in prison are able to read books, exercise, play softball, go to the commissary etc. LWOP provides inadequate retribution/punishment. In addition, the Governor can commute the sentence or the legislature can change the law or the legislature can decide that they no longer want to pay for those serving LWOP sentences-thus I am very doubtful that in the modern era LWOP will truly remain LWOP (even though I feel it is a side issue and misses the key point of retributive justice.).

The problem with many legislatures is just that – themselves. They never take the time to truly study the issue nor read the details of the studies done. They re-use the same incorrect statistics and lies that the abolitionists have used for years.

The essence of the DP for a heinous murder, be it the murder of a child, a murder during a rape or kidnapping or other circumstances is that it provides retributive justice for the victims and society. This is the main reason and the only reason that I feel is necessary to utilize this punishment in our society.

I believe it is also the ultimate deterrent-that murderer will never murder again. I also believe that more studies show it to truly be a deterrent than not. The death penalty is used in more countries than countries that do not have it. It has been part of sanctions espoused by many religions and societies for thousands of years. Somehow the abolitionists feel that in the past century they have somehow accrued more moral wisdom than those who protected societies for all those many years.

If there is no death penalty we will also begin to see a move afoot to lessen the sentences of those serving LWOP. Plea bargaining will begin with LWOP and necessarily other punishments will be lesser. This is not a far-fetched notion as it's now being discussed in other states for the sole purpose of "saving money".

The legislators want to take years to allow the killers to utilize our resources when these animals have broken a sacrosanct law of our society - the respect for innocent human life. Once you have broken this rule you have forfeited your right to live among us. There is only one way to lose that privilege. And that is to willfully and unlawfully take another person's life (MURDER).

The death penalty is lawful execution.

Many legislatures do their best to make it nearly impossible to implement the DP and then tell us "it doesn't work-we should abolish it". It doesn't work because many of them have stood in the way of meaningful reform for the past 20 years. Judiciary Committees and the

Public defender's offices seem to have little interest in victims.

According to calculations from Dudley Sharp there have been approximately 40,000-100,000 innocents murdered by criminals under the government supervision in parole, probation and other early releases between 1973-2010 (calculations available upon request).

Yet the abolitionists main worry is that there may be ONE person executed in error. They have looked for 110 years and have not yet been able to find a case where they can prove a truly innocent criminal was executed. They worry about the theoretical ONE yet care not one bit for the 40,000-100,000 persons murdered by those previously convicted and released "under surpervison" or the nearly 28,000 innocents who were murdered by those we allowed to murder, again - repeat murderers.

Certainly, not all of those innocents could have been saved, but some portion of them might have been saved, but some portion of them might have been saved if the death penalty was used for the most depraved and heinous cases.

Do you see a trend?

The story tells the tale of who the Judiciary committees and the legislatures in general support. Sadly, it seems to be the criminals. There are many convicts on death row that should have been executed years ago. Judiciary committees and the legislatures in general, have had years to revamp the appeals system.  They continue to allow defendants to appeal repeatedly, even when it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are guilty. One Connecticut judge recently lamented that a particular convict was on his 33rd habeas appeal.

This denial of justice not only continues to victimize the victims' families, but is also a huge waste of taxpayers’ money. The state of Virginia has a just and fiscally responsible system.

The first direct appeal of those sentenced to death should be an expedited appeal to the State Supreme Court. The State and Federal habeas corpus appeals should then next be filed simultaneously and within 30 days of the denial of the expedited direct appeal. Once the convicted murderer has had 4-5 chances (guilt versus innocence, sentencing phase, direct appeal, 2 habeas appeals), the case should be over unless new evidence is found.

Who suffers? Who loses in this charade of justice where there are unlimited and unreasonable appeals?? You guessed it-the victims. Where is the justice? Where is the legislatures’s sense of right and wrong? Clearly their sensibilities have been warped-they no longer truly believe in justice. These violent criminals have been tried by a jury of their peers and found guilty. In addition they have had multiple chances at appeal.

The defense wants it both ways. They claim to require up to five years to "prepare" for a death penalty case. No small irony here because the most common cause for appeal is "inadequate defense". This wastes hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions. They have no concern for the victims nor for the thousands of dollars that they will waste. These are often heinous murderers who have forfeited their rights to continue to live among us. I suspect many murder victims and their families would like the legislature to provide a magical mechanism for them to delay the cruel and heinous murders of our loved ones-but these legislators seem far more interested in the murderers than the law-abiding citizens of the state.

All the polls I have seen show that a majority of citizens of the state and the nation for the past 20 years consistently favor the death penalty and yet these legislators feel that they are wiser than all the societies that have existed for tens of thousands of years that used the death penalty as the ultimate penalty. It always was and always will be a deterrent for one simple reason. The executed person can never kill again.

In summary, all I can say is that it is a very sad day to be a citizen in the United States as we are represented by people who do not have the courage to stand up for what is right and just.

I am angered by their misguided philosophies and misuse of data. Lack of a death penalty will lead to a weakening of the very fabric of our society and will deny the appropriate retributive justice due to the victims of violent crimes and their families. Do not believe it when these legislators say they repealed the death penalty for the victims' sake - or for society for that matter. They did it for themselves and their inability to make a difficult decision to stand up for what is right and just. The death penalty represents hatred of the evil represented by heinous murders and is an appropriate and just sanction.

Sincerely,   William A. Petit Jr. MD
NOTE: Dr. Petit left out that his wife and 11 year old daughter, Michaela, were sexually assaulted. He gave me permission to add this. Dudley Sharp

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