Sunday, October 27, 2013


The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter?
A Review of All Innocence Issues
Dudley Sharp 

Innocents matter a great deal, of course.

There are two primary, conflicting views on innocents and the death penalty.

The pro death penalty view, that, in addition to justice, saving innocent lives is a benefit of the death penalty.

The anti death penalty view, that, even if just,  the sanction should be ended, if there is only the prospect of an innocent executed.

A full review of all the innocent issues, from both sides.


The death penalty protects innocents, in three ways, better than does life without parole (LWOP): enhanced due process, enhanced incapacitation and enhanced deterrence;

a) Enhanced due process - No knowledgeable party disputes that the death penalty has the greatest of due process protections (1), what the US Supreme Court has called "super due process", meaning that actual innocents sentenced to LWOP are more likely to die as innocents in prison, than are innocents likely to be executed.

As death penalty opponents, now, argue that LWOP is more cruel than execution, this takes on greater importance , as their position is to support the more cruel sanction, LWOP, over death, and with LWOP having a higher probability of sanctioning innocents with incarceration and death.

Nearly 100% of capital murderers prefer life over death (2).  Not surprising. Read The Death of Punishment by Robert Blecker.

b) Enhanced incapacitation - Living murderers are, infinitely, more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers - a truism.

Review  c through i at 2) ANTI DEATH PENALTY, below.

c) Enhanced deterrence -  The evidence that some potential murderers are deterred, by the death penalty/execution, is overwhelming (2).  The evidence that none are deterred by the death penalty/execution is non existent (2). The only honest disputes are if the death penalty is a greater deterrent than LWOP - the evidence says yes (2) - and how much does the death penalty deter? - a question that will never be answered to any consensus (2).

d) Doubting Deterrence -  Including the unreasoned dispute - if any are deterred by the death penalty/executions.

The death penalty/executions prevail over LWOP, if protecting the innocent is your concern:

(1) If the death penalty does not deter, and we fail to execute, both 1 a & b (above) tell us we will be sacrificing more innocents;
(2) If the death penalty does deter, and we fail to execute, we will be sacrificing even more innocents than in (1), just above;
(3) If the death penalty does not deter and we execute, we have 1 a & b, thereby sparing more innocent lives;
(4) If the death penalty does deter and we execute, we have all three benefits, sparing even more innocent lives than in (3), just above.

Getting rid of the death penalty will sacrifice more innocents. Keeping the death penalty will spare more innocent lives, over LWOP (1).

With or without deterrence, the option is to spare more innocent lives with the death penalty/execution or to sacrifice more innocents by not using the death penalty/execution.

All sanctions deter some. The death penalty is the most severe sanction. Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.

What we prefer more, deters less. What we fear more, deters more.

The death penalty is an enhanced deterrent over LWOP.

Pro death penalty folks make that argument.

A responsible protocol:

Virginia executes within 7.1 years of sentencing, on average, and has executed 72% of their death sentenced murderers (110 murderers), since 1976 (3). Not even a false hint of innocents executed (4).

All states could match that protocol with 4-6 years for state appeals, 4-6 for federal, averaging 10 years of appeals,  prior to execution, or 40% more time than Virginia needs.


The latest anti death penalty mantra is, "If just one innocent can be spared from execution, we must end the death penalty."

a) Well known anti death penalty scholars "(Charles) Black and (Hugo Adam ) Bedau said they would favor abolishing the death penalty even if they knew that doing so would increase the homicide rate by 1,000 percent." (5).

They both chose sparing the lives of 1300 guilty murderers (executed from 1973-2013) over saving an additional 6.3 million innocent lives, taken by murder.

Anti death penalty. academic leaders make that argument.  Astounding.

b) Pro death penalty scholar Ernest van den Haag interviewed well known anti death penalty activists, asking them, if it was proven that 100 innocent lives were spared per execution, via deterrence, would you still oppose the death penalty. All said yes (5).

Based upon our 1300 executions (1973-2013), those anti death penalty folks would chose sparing the lives of 1300 guilty murderers over saving the lives of 130,000 innocents from murder.

Saving guilty murderers, no matter the cost in innocent lives.

Anti death penalty folks make that argument.

c) No known innocents executed in the US, within the modern death penalty era, post Gregg v Georgia (1976). There is much deception regarding innocents executed and little else (4).

That said, no one doubts the possibility of an innocent executed. However, the facts reveal that if innocents are executed, that many, many more net lives are spared because of our use of the death penalty.

d) Anti death penalty folks constantly lie about the "innocents' or "exonerated" who were released from death row, with their newest false number now at 144 (6), reflecting a degree of deception, where is found up to an 83% "error" rate in such "innocence"/"exonerated" claims (7), really a blatant lie rate.

The worldwide media pushes these frauds on a daily basis. It is one of the worst journalism disasters, from either the no fact checking or fraud enabling perspective.

Based upon various reviews (6), we have discovered and released 24-44 actual innocents from death row, or 0.4% of those so sentenced, since 1976.  Is there a more accurate sanction than one which has a known record of 99.6% accuracy in convicting the actually guilty and releasing the o.4% actually innocent upon appeal?

Probably not.

Somehow, the anti death penalty folks have gotten truly, actual innocents released from death row, to lobby against the death penalty, using those same lies. Despicable.  Are they paying them that much? See "Witness to Innocence" organization, started by Sister Helen Prejean.

If they respected innocence they wouldn't lie about it and they lie, a lot.


We can speculate as to how many more innocents may have been sent to death row, just as we may speculate as to how many more innocents are at risk if we allow more murderers to live, the later being a hugely more significant number than the former, based upon the known facts. 


As anti death penalty folks insist on getting rid of the death penalty, based upon the possibility of an innocent executed, what of these?

33/yr, on average, are executed, in the US.  

a) 5000 die/yr in US criminal custody (8).

Following the anti death penalty mantra: "How many of those 5000 are innocent - it is inevitable - we must ban all forms of custody, so that one innocent, or thousands,  might be spared".

But, of course, the anti death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

b) from 14,000 - 28,000 additional innocents were murdered by those murderers that we allowed to murder, again, --  recidivist murderers -- since 1973 (9)  -  but no innocents executed.

14,000 - 28,000 - let that sink in.

Following the anti death penalty mantra: "14,000 - 28,000 innocents were murdered because we allowed known murderers to murder, again - we must not allow murderers to murder , again, just to spare 14,000 - 28,000 innocents."

But, of course, the anti death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

c) Every year, approximately 8000 known criminals, with criminal convictions. and either released or never incarcerated, are allowed to murder (10)

d) from 40,000 - 200,000 innocents have been murdered by those known criminals we have released on parole and probation, while under government supervision, and/or, were otherwise released or were criminals never incarcerated, since 1973 (11).

40,000 - 200,000.

Following the anti death penalty mantra: "40,000 - 200,000 innocents died because we allowed known criminals to murder - we must not release any criminals, just to spare 40,000 - 200,000 innocents."

But, of course, the anti death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

d)  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) (12).

This is just for a review of prisoners for one year, only --   1991.

Following the anti death penalty mantra: "We must stop paroles and probations, just to spare 13,200 innocents murdered and 11,600 innocents raped (more than half against children)" found from a review of prisoners incarcerated in that one year.

But, of course, the anti death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

e) 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." (12).

In that one year alone!

Following the anti death penalty mantra: "We must incarcerate more and release no prisoners, just to protect future millions of innocents from harm by known criminals."

But of course, the anti death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.


"We must spare the lives of all murderers, no matter the cost, inclusive of the cost of more innocent lives taken, no matter the number".

Additionally disturbing, is that death penalty opponents, now, state that LWOP is harsher than execution.

Death penalty opponents claim a desire to treat murderers more harshly, with LWOP, calling for a ban on the  death penalty, which they declare a cruel and unusual punishment and a human rights violation (13) , desiring LWOP more, which, according to death penalty opponents, must be a more cruel human rights violation.

This from the "compassionate" side? They don't really believe it - it's just another lie, another tactic - "Get rid of the death penalty, be tougher with LWOP".

Capital murderers prefer LWOP 99.7% of the time over the death penalty (2). Death penalty opponents can't help but give murderers exactly what they want.


1) a)  Texas Death Penalty Procedures

Both the guilty & the innocent have the greatest of protections

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

3)   Saving Costs with The Death Penalty

4) paragraphs numbered 1, 2, 5-15 within:
The Innocents Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy,

5) Louis P. Pojman. "The Wisdom of Capital Punishment." p 281, Excerpted from The Death Penalty by Louis P. Pojman and J. Reiman. Copyright 1998. taken from

Review: Read the above book. A great look at both sides of the debate.

6)  The Blatant Fraud -  The (now) 143 "exonerated" from death row

The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) simply decided to redefine both "exonerated" and "innocent", in the same fashion as if they redefined "lie" as "truth".

       a) The 130 (now 143) death row "innocents" scam

       b)  The "Innocent", the "Exonerated" and Death Row

An Open Fraud in the Death Penalty Debate: How Death Penalty Opponents Lie

This is a look at how well destroyed the "EXONERATED" and/or "INNOCENTS" list is and how it has been so deceptively used by the anti death penalty movement.

7)   Florida: The 83% error rate in "exoneration" claims.

4 of the 24 "exonerated" may be innocent, as found in 2 studies by a Florida state agency, the Florida Commission on Capital Cases.  It is no surprise that the 24 "exonerated" claim comes from the deceptive DPIC.

This may represent the worst case of media deception, as the Florida media has known the real numbers since 2002 (updated 2011)  but refuses to use them, instead, pushing the well known DPIC deception of the 23/24 "exonerated". That is how bad it has gotten with the media, not just in Florida, but nationwide.

From page 5 (2002 study) and page 7 (2011 study):

"The guilt of only four defendants was subsequently "doubted" by the prosecuting office or the Governor and Cabinet members: Freddie Lee Pitts and Wilbert Lee were pardoned by Governor Askew and the Cabinet, citing substantial doubt of their guilt, Frank Lee Smith died before the results of DNA testing excluded him as the perpetrator of the sexual assault, and the State chose not to retry James Richardson due to newly discovered evidence and the suspicion of another perpetrator." 

           a)  Case Histories: A Review of 24 Individuals Released from Death Row (2002), FLORIDA COMMISSION ON CAPITAL CASES, Locke Burt, Chairman, June 20, 2002, Revised: September 10, 2002

            b)  TRULY INNOCENT?: A Review of 23 Case Histories of Inmates Released from Florida‘s Death Row Since 1973, Commission on Capital Cases, The Florida Legislature, Roger R. Maas, Executive Director, May 13, 2011

8)  Deaths in Custody Statistical Tables, Bureau of Justice Statistics, SEE 7 links on right side of page.

9)  "Recidivism of Prisoners Released", Bureau of Justice Statistics,

See both studies, of 1983 and 1994 data

6.6% recidivism rate, 1989 study of 1983 data

1.2% recidivism rate, 2002 study of 1994 data

The combined recidivism rate for the two studies is 3.9%, reflecting 28,000 recidivist murderers. These rates are based upon re-arrest, not re-conviction.

I suspect the real recidivism rate, looking at 1973-2014, will be closer to half that, at 2%, or 14,000 recidivist murderers, based upon approximately 740,000 murders committed from 1965-2014.

Why the recidivism rates should be higher:

Both of these studies only looked at recidivism for 3 years after release. We are concerned with recidivism for 41 years and less, years 1973-2013, as the modern era of new death penalty statutes began in 1973. Recidivism rates will be higher if released prisoners were tracked for the additional 4 years to 41 years, as opposed to only 3 years. In addition, rates from 1973-1983, will likely be about the same as the 6.6%, if not higher, because we had barely started the period of longer sentences and increased incarcerations rates.

Why the recidivism rates should be lower:

The dramatic reduction in recidivism between the two studies reflects a dramatic increase in sentencing terms and incarceration rates, which amounted to lower rates of early release and thus recidivism.

EXACT NUMBERS: Based upon convictions, 8.4% of those on death row had murdered, at least one person, prior to committing additional murder or murders which put them on death row --an estimated 600-1000 additional innocents murdered, by those who had murdered before, just for that small set that have made it to death row.

Table 8. Criminal history profile of prisoners under sentence of death by race and Hispanic origin, 2005", p 6, Capital Punishment, 2005, Bureau of Justice Statistics,

2005 was the last year of this analysis

10) I am estimating 16,000 murders per year (1973-2014), therefore approx. 8000 murderers/ year with prior convictions

a) 53% of murderers had a prior conviction record.
b) Median prison sentences received included a maximum of 240 months for murder, 120 months for rape, 60  months for robbery, and 48 months for other violent felonies. 20 YEAR MEDIAN SENTENCE FOR MURDER  --  20 years.

a and b from

 State Court Processing Statistics, 1990-2002, Violent Felons in Large Urban Counties,Special Report, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice,  July 2006, NCJ 205289,

11)  The 40,000 - 200,000 innocents murdered, was calculated from the  studies reviewed within the article at footnote, (10) below, as (h) and (i), above, as well, also from footnote 10.

The most probable number from those calculations is over 100,000 murdered, by those criminals so released. I used the most conservative number of 40,000 murdered, in that

final comment.


The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents


Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims