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
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/04/23/1306417111.full.pdf+html
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.

The DPIC redefines "exoneration" and "innocent" in the same manner as if they had redefined lie as truth.
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 (2) .
By a number of reviews, it appears that the DPIC "innocent" claims are from 70-83% in error (3), 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%  t0 0.9%, using that average 77% error.
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 www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-list-those-freed-death-row . Accessed January 6, 2013.
2)  "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
 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.
3)  See Sections 3 and 4 within

 The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-innocent-frauds-standard-anti-death.html

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 executions provide better protections for the innocent than does a life sentence (2&5)), calling on the 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 the expiation effects of execution will better provide for the unjust aggressors 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 Catholic teaching and, in 17 years, I am unaware that anyone has found that it does.
 

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: "sufficiency" has never been the Church standard, 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."
 
"require a reckoning" does not suggest "sufficiency".
 
2267's "bloodless" conflicts with that eternal command within 2260 and 2260, further,  establishes that execution is MOST "in conformity to the dignity of the human person", as it is a commandment from God. 
 
"Require" rules over "sufficiency".
 
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 believes of each individual, as may have been observed with Sodom  and Gomorrah  and what became of those individuals, just as with the Saints and Fathers of the Church, with their actions and beliefs, regardless of their ends.
 
CCC 2265: "Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm."
 
By reason and CCC the common good requires executions, as it is the only sanction which "renders the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm.", although I suspect the CCC simply didn't consider the meaning and a re write is in order - just another problem.
 
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 or, hardly, a standard. The issue is what sanction best fulfills justice (redress) and what sanction protects innocents to a higher degree.
 
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.
 
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".
 

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.
 
Reply:
 
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.
 
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).
 
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". 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).
 
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, where both "possibilities" and "means" had zero relevance to the reality of 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 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.
 
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.
 
And the authors of CCC are, somehow, unaware?!
======

Additional writings

---  The Traditional (CATHOLIC) Case for Capital Punishment, By Fr. C. John McCloskey, The Catholic Thing, MARCH 16 2015
http://www.thecatholicthing.org/2015/03/16/the-traditional-case-for-capital-punishment/


---  Four Catholic Journals Indulge in (anti death penalty) Doctrinal Solipsism, Stephen Long, THOMISTICA, March 5, 2015, 
http://thomistica.net/commentary/2015/3/5/mutationist-views-of-doctrinal-development-and-the-death-penalty


---  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,
https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/okay-what-about-catholics-and-the-death-penalty/


---  Intellectual dishonesty and the "Seamless Garment" argument, JIMMY AKIN, National Catholic Register, 01/25/2015
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/intellectual-dishonesty-and-the-seamless-garment-argument#ixzz3PxPynfIi
 
 
----  New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/01/new-testament-death-penalty-support.html
======

FOOTNOTES


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 McCarrick, made public in the first week of July 2004.
 
 
2) a) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html
 
 
 
3)  The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation      
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-death-penalty-mercy-expiation.html
 
 
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.    http://lr.avemarialaw.edu/Content/articles/V5i2.flannery.copyright.pdf
 
 
5)  see footnote 2, above

and

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,
Stephen Long, THOMISTICA, March 5, 2015,
http://thomistica.net/commentary/2015/3/5/mutationist-views-of-doctrinal-development-and-the-death-penalty

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 ----------
From:  
sharpjfa@aol.com>
To: chendel@ncronline.org
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.
===========
 
Summary
 
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 
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-death-penalty-justice-saving-more.html
 
 
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 
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-death-penalty-mercy-expiation.html
 
See Catholic references within:
New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming      
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/01/new-testament-death-penalty-support.html    
 
 
3) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html
 
 
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 

http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/11/86-death-penalty-support-highest-ever.html
 
 
7) New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming 
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/01/new-testament-death-penalty-support.html
 
 
8) The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation 
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-death-penalty-mercy-expiation.html
 
 
9) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html
 
 
   
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.
source http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm
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

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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.

Nationally,

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 Issueshttp://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html

3) see 3 & 4, later 5-13
The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategyhttp://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-innocent-frauds-standard-anti-death.html

4)  CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE, TITLE 5. GOVERNMENTAL LIABILITY, CHAPTER 103. COMPENSATION TO PERSONS WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED, SUBCHAPTER A. ELIGIBILITY; NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY
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.



Friday, December 12, 2014

Is the Death Penalty Constitutional? Is this a serious question?

Is the Death Penalty Constitutional? Is this a serious question?
 Dudley Sharp



Of the 112 justices of the US Supreme Court, I believe only two have declared the death penalty unconstitutional, showing how in disrepute that opinion is.


Easy to understand.


Twice, the  5th Amendment authorizes execution.


1) “ No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury . . . ” and
(2) “. . . nor shall any person  . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . . ”.
 
The 14th amendment is, equally, clear:



” . . . nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . .”.


Not surprisingly, over 200 years of US Supreme Court decisions support those amendments and the US Constitution in authorizing and enforcing the death penalty.


Some wrongly believe that the US Supreme Court decision, Furman v Georgia (1972), found the death penalty unconstitutional. It did not.


The decisions found that the statutory enforcement of the death penalty in the US was a violation of the 8th Amendment.


Based upon the death penalty being integral within the constitution, through the 5th and 14th amendments, I do not believe it will ever be found unconstitutional.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Current Problems: Catholic Death Penalty Teaching

Current Problems: Catholic Death Penalty Teaching
Most recent Catechism (last amended 2003)
Dudley Sharp


Any good Catholic may disagree with the Church's newest teaching on the death penalty (1) and remain a Catholic in good standing (1) and can find that (a) the primary and eternal purpose of sanction is justice and/or redress, as confirmed in this latest CCC, and that (b) justice should not be and cannot be  subjugated by a secondary purpose of sanction, the important concern of "defense of society" and that (c) the death penalty offers a greater degree of protection for society and individuals (2) , that being the protection of  the potential innocents harmed, now spared,  and potential repeat unjust aggressors,  also, now spared, by preventing them from harming even more innocents and , thereby, putting their eternal lives more at risk (3&4).


Saint Pope John Paul II (SPJPII) made a prudential judgement, within Evangelium Vitae (EV), and such judgement was factually and rationally in error and then those errors were placed within the CCC.


1)  The first sentence from CCC 2267, being:


"The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor."

Where is "the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude" "recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor."

It doesn't exist.


Response from two Catholic scholars:


"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" ."  (5)


"The realm of human affairs is a messy one, full of at least apparent inconsistency and incoherence, and the recent teaching of the Catholic Churh on capital punishment — vitiated, as I intend to show, by errors of historical fact and interpretation—is no exception."(5)



As taught in this very same CCC, redress, justice and just retribution are primary and eternal. Public defense is secular and utilitarian and, therefore, must always be secondary to the primary,  eternal truth of justice.


Yet, both the CCC and SPJPII are stating that we must replace eternal truths with secular utilitarianism. Obviously an error.


Furthermore, SPJPII, somehow, only lists one of the Catholic Church's four foundations for sanction (defense) neglecting all others - another error.  Justice, redress, just retribution are always primary.


A significant rational error is that SPJPII attempts to erase execution, if it is not the "only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings". There is nothing within reason or Catholic teachings that says we must either include or exclude a method of sanction, because there may be another "practicable way to defend the lives of human beings".


Our obligation is to find the "best way to defend the lives of human beings", which, in many cases, means the death penalty, which better protects innocents than do lesser sanctions, in three ways (3), and is a sanction which more corresponds with justice, the primary function, in some cases.


Both the utilitarian and eternal truths of capital punishment are in conflict with SPJPII's pronouncements. SPJPII would have us sacrifice more innocents, by sparing more guilty murderers, putting more innocents in peril, just as he puts more unjust aggressors in greater eternal peril, as detailed (2-4).



2)  The middle sentence within CCC 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."

The traditional, philosophical and eternal teachings remain the same, that the Church has and does recognize that the imposition of the death penalty is based upon the sanctity of life and is in conformity with the dignity of the human person (3), both innocent murders victims and guilty unjust aggressors/murderers.

Then, we have this:

Within the very same CCC as 2267, we have 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."

SPJPII says if "bloodless means are sufficient" than we must shun the death penalty.

SPJPII chooses his dependence upon wildly varying secular criminal justice systems (4), defense of society, over this  eternal commandment.

SPJPII chooses to leave all unjust murderers, alive, with the well known outcome, guaranteeing many more innocents will be murdered (2-4), putting many more unjust murderers at greater eternal risk, as we know so many will murder or, otherwise, harm, again (2-4).

If his concern is protection of innocents, SPJPII would have said, "We will use that sanction which best protects the innocents", but he didn't. He only used a "sufficient" standard, when he should have used a "best" standard, if protecting innocent lives is your primary concern and if a sanction commensurate with the crime which, in many cases, both by utility and justice,  will be the death penalty (2-5).

3) Factually, we know that the last sentence from CCC 2267 is false:

"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.' [John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae 56.]


"In fact", the overwhelming evidence is that, given all known realities of the State's actions to repress known unjust aggressors, that the proper protection of innocents from unjust aggressors is, extremely often, not the case (4), as we all know (4).


"Putting more innocents at risk, by repeat harm from known unjust aggressors and putting those same known unjust aggressors at greater eternal risk, by allowing them to harm more innocents, as we know many will do.(2-4)" is the result of this newest EV and CCC teaching .



The factual support for this is overwhelming, as detailed (4), and as both CCC and EV avoided.


In addition, sinners do not redeem "themselves", a truly bizarre statement. Redemption comes from the grace and mercy of God.

CONCLUSION

These newest death penalty teachings, within EV and the CCC, occurred at the exact time when SPJPII and the Church were involved in the horrendous priest sex scandal, worldwide, which so clearly demonstrated the human error of allowing unjust aggressors to harm innocents, over and over, again.  The Church had the "means" to protect the innocent. She just didn't . . . and it took years of lawsuits and heartbreak for the Church to, finally, wake up and become honest.

It is as if the Church never got the message, now repeating that same horror, over and over, again.

In the course of human affairs, with the priest sex scandal, , for anyone who wants to learn, what we think is "sufficient" is, often, a disaster - evidently a lesson lost within EV and CCC and, now, repeated, with Her newest death penalty teachings.

Tragic and incomprehensible.

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1) From Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


(paragraph 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."
from Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles, part of memorandum sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick, made public July 2004. 
http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfworthycom.html

2)  The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues 
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html

3)  The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-death-penalty-mercy-expiation.html

4) Catechism & State Protection
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/10/catechism-state-protection.html

5) "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)