Monday, November 26, 2012


99.7% of murderers tells us "Give me life, not execution"
Dudley Sharp

Do potential murderers prefer life over death and fear death more than life?

Of course, just as we all do.

Since 1973, there have been about 50,000 murderers (1) who may have qualified for the death penalty, based upon post Furman laws.

As of 2012, only 0.3% of those "volunteered" for execution, by waiving their appeals, and were executed.

 The rest, 99.7%, have fought for life and against the death penalty/execution, using plea bargains, trials, appeals and commutation, in any fashion possible to avoid death.

No surprise. Death is feared more than life. Life is preferred over death, not just with murderers, but with all of us, save for the determined suicidal.

That's a fact based review of which sanction murderers find to be more severe and is just one example of why executions are found to deter more than life (2).

Would a more reasoned group, potential murderers who chose not to murder, also, overwhelmingly fear death more than life? Of course, just as we all do.

I don't think it even arguable, that had those 0.3% "volunteers" been given the option of life over death, that they would have chosen life.

I am aware of only 1 murderer, in the modern death penalty era, who pled guilty, sought the death penalty and then, after receiving it, waived appeals.

Arguably, then, 99.99% prefer life over death and fear death more than life.

That which we fear the most, deters the most.


1) a) As of 2012, there have been about 8300 sent to death row since 1973. Of those, about 140, or 1.7%, have "volunteered" for execution. So far, 98.3% of those sent to death row prefer life over execution.

b) Only about 1/3 of all death penalty cases that go to trial end with a death sentence; 2/3 of the defendants received sentences less than death, as they wanted. (Source: Just Revenge: Costs and Consequences of the Death Penalty, by Mark Costanzo)  Total, that is about 25, 200 cases.

c) Even more death penalty eligible cases, an additional 24,800 or so, are otherwise, given sentences less than death, as they wished.

 Of the 50,000 eligible cases, only about 140 "volunteered" for execution.

 99.7% chose life.

NOTE: I estimate that about 10% of all murders (that being 700,000, post Furman, 1973-2012) are death penalty eligible, or about 70,000 murders. I reduced that to 50,000 murderers, based upon some cases of multiple capital murders per murderer.

Some estimate the percentage of capital murders to be as high as 15-20%, as a percentage of all murders., which would mean it much less likely they prefer death over life, than my review shows.

(2)   See sections C and D within
The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives



The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter?

Innocents More At Risk Without Death Penalty

"Death Penalty, Deterrence & Murder Rates: Let's be clear"

Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims