Part of the "Dead Man Walking" Opera Community Interaction, Kansas City/Lyric Opera
video here: http://americanpublicsquare.org/1045-2/
To: American Public Square
Nick Haines, Executive Producer, Public Affairs, KCPT reporter
Reporters KCPT Flatlands
Stephen Steigman KCUR news & other producers & reporters KCUR
Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, Church of the Resurrection
Ambassador Allan Katz
Terry Nelson, Consultant, Republican Strategist and Founding Partner of FPI Strategies
Eric Zahnd, Prosecuting Attorney for Platte County, Missouri
CC: Parents of Murdered Children, Kansas City Chapter
Sean O' Brien law professor, U of Missouri (KC) & other law professors
Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., President of Rockhurst University
William Everett, at the Kauffman Foundation
SuEllen Fried, founder of Reaching Out From Within
All Kansas City Library Book Clubs,
All members of the FYI Book Club
All Management & Staff, Kansas City Public Library
Kaite Mediatore Stover, the Kansas City Public Library’s director of reader’s services
Board & Staff, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City and
Linda Ade Brand, education director
From: Dudley Sharp, death penalty expert
I have detailed some of the most obvious errors and omissions from the "Eye for an Eye" (EFE) symposium, with the hope that one of the many entities taking part will make a public presentation of this, as I have requested, so that some balance may be restored.
I hope this will lead to a greater understanding of the death penalty debate.
If you have any questions or comments, I am at your service.
Fact checking is crucial.
1) The Innocent Murder Victims
The EFE presentation left out the innocent murder victims, in death penalty cases, from Missouri and Kansas, and the vile crimes committed against them. Such is the primary reason for the death penalty, but was absent.
I hope that you will visit both the Missouri and Kansas death row, government pages and review the cases and consider what happened to those innocents and the people who loved them.
Please visit this site, as well, and read their stories (1).
Tragically, the innocent victims are, very often, forgotten.
Justice is the reason we seek the death penalty, as with all sanctions.
Of all the people who spoke, throughout EFE, live or on tape, only one out of about fifteen can be confirmed as pro death penalty.
3) Tricia Bushnell, Director, Midwest Innocence Project
a) Bushnell states:"there has been 150 people exonerated on death row".
Sharp reply: The "innocent" and "exonerated" from death row has been a well known fraud, since about 2000 (2).
Anti death penalty folks redefined both "exonerated" and "innocent", as if they had redefined "lie" as "truth", and shoe horned a bunch of cases into those fraudulent definitions, as detailed (2).
Depending upon review, possibly 26-46 cases have proof of actual innocence (2), reflecting a 70-83% error rate in those anti death penalty claims. A good example of this is to look at those states which have passed laws to prove actual innocence. For example, the anti death penalty folks claim 12 death row inmates have been "exonerated" in Texas.
Only one has been found actually innocent under Texas law (2).
Bushnell claimed to have been working on an "innocence" case, now, up for re trial, for 11 years. Obviously, if the case is up for retrial it is not an "innocence" case. That's how, commonly, anti death penalty folks misuse the terms "innocent" and "exonerated".
A great example of intentional fraud in this area is the documentary "A Murder in the Park" (2014). Watch it.
b) Bushnell states: "68% of death penalty cases are overturned".
Sharp reply: Untrue. Of the 5555 sentenced to death, from 1973-1995, the period of the study, 1648 cases, or less than 30%, had their conviction or sentence overturned (3). Looking at only true error cases, it is closer to 25%, as detailed (3)
The errors in and criticisms of the study, used by Bushnell, are overwhelming (3).
c) Bushnell states: "27% of false confessions are proven by DNA" and in murder cases "67% falsely confessed because they were afraid of the death penalty"
Sharp reply: The Innocence Project has confessed to making false claims of false confessions (4), which indicates that the 27% is closer to 10%, as detailed (4).
Sharp reply: I could find no confirmation for Bushnell's 67% claim. I sent an email to Bushnell on 3/9/16 (5), so she could produce the study. So far, no reply.
d) Deterrence - Bushnell asserts that the proof of no deterrence is stronger than the proof of deterrence.
Sharp reply: Not only is that not true, it cannot be true.
Never has it been proven that a sanction, a negative prospect or a negative incentive has not been a deterrent, for some (6). Never. It can't be.
Why do nearly 100% of murderers do all they can to avoid the death penalty and get life, instead? No, those murderers were not deterred, at least not that time, but they reflect the same basic nature that potential murderers and the rest of us do, which is:
Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life. What we prefer more deters less. What we fear more deters more. Basic.
Death penalty/executions save innocent lives in three ways more than a life sentence does - enhanced incapacitation, enhanced due process and enhanced deterrence (6).
Since 1997, there have been 28 US studies finding for death penalty deterrence (6). None have been negated, although such efforts have been attempted.
4) Eric Zahnd, Prosecuting Attorney for Platte County, Missouri
a) Eric Zahnd: When referencing the reduction in executions and death sentences the DA stated that prosecutors were being more selective and that defense attorneys are doing all the can to make the death penalty so expensive and impossible to carry out.
Sharp reply: Prosecutors have always been very selective - about 1% of murders result in a death penalty and we execute 0.2% of murderers -- and defense attorneys have always acted in that fashion, only because judges allow it.
The reduction in death sentences is, overwhelmingly, due to the reduction in murders and more so, with capital murders. Texas is a good example: Texas had a 55% drop in murders (71% drop in rate), 37% drop in robberies (60% drop in rate), from 1991-2014.
Robbery/murder is the most common death eligible crime, which may have dropped 70-80%, or more, during that period, which may account for the entire drop.
A series of US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions and 5 states that have repealed the death penalty, have contributed to the drop, but only to a minor degree.
b) Zahnd states: "(the death penalty) is not going to deter crimes of passion."
Sharp reply: Nearly all people, no matter how enraged, have learned to restrain their passions and to stop, prior to the point of no return. This is very well known. If our death might be the end result of our passion, the overwhelming majority of us would have no problem reining in our passions.
Of the post 1997, 28 US studies finding for death penalty deterrence, one, specifically, looked at crimes of passion and found that some could be and were deterred.
5) Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, Church of the Resurrection
a) Rev. Hamilton states "here is one of those people (one of my associate pastors), who could have, very easily, been put to death".
Sharp reply: "Very easily" is, absurdly, false.
There is no indication that Darryl Burton's case was a death penalty eligible crime and, if it was a death penalty crime, it would have been a very difficult, long road to execution, as every knowledgeable person knows, making it curious why the reverend made that, blatantly, false statement.
NOTE: Darryl Burton has claimed a lot of corruption in his case. That has not been the finding (7).
b) Rev. Hamilton: Paraphrase: death row inmates are, overwhelmingly, poor.
Sharp reply: Overwhelmingly, those who commit capital murders are poor.
c) My reply to the Reverends biblical death penalty review.
Sharp reply: Within the Reverend's biblical review, he only mentions crimes for which we have no death penalty in the US. It would have been much more relevant for the symposium had he spoken of murder, for which we find that execution for murder is part of the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9:5-6) , which is for all peoples and all times, and that murder is the only crime/sin for which one cannot get a reduced sentence from execution (Numbers 35:31) (8).
The Reverend thinks there is a good case, biblically, for either side of the death penalty debate.
There was no main stream Christian church that had turned against the death penalty, until the 1950s. The Catholic Church didn't make their efforts until 1997, but even then, the death penalty is still a moral sanction.
One wonders did the bible, suddenly, change in the 1950s or in 1997? Of course not.
Through today and for more than 2000 years, there has been Christian New Testament 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 (8).
What actually occurred was a social shift, not a biblical one.
6) Terry Nelson, Consultant, Republican Strategist and Founding Partner of FPI Strategies
Terry Nelson's review of the polling data for the death penalty misses a great deal.
Sharp reply: The media picks and chooses which death penalty polls they present to the public and will, across the board, refuse to publish polls that show higher death penalty support, when lower support is found in another poll, as detailed (9).
For example, Nelson mentions 80% death penalty support in 1994, but leaves out 86% death penalty support in 2013. Why? Media refused to publish the 2013 poll (9), so Nelson never heard about it.
Even in the well known Gallup death penalty polls, the media will show us only the lowest support numbers, even though, in every Gallup death penalty poll, there are several, separate different polling questions and answers included, usually showing 5-10% higher support, which the media does not reveal. (9).
We also know with Gallup, that when they ask about specific, true and horrendous death penalty cases, as the Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma City bombing case, that death penalty support rises, dramatically, just as death penalty opposition drops (9).
I suspect that Nelson is unaware of these details.
7) Sean O' Brien law professor, U of Missouri (KC)
a) O'Brien states: "it's a crime in 38 states to use a paralytic to euthanaise animals".
Sharp reply: That is untrue. It is only a crime to use a paralytic, without an anaesthetic, first, and I have found no vet which approves of using a paralytic, by itself, anywhere, in the veterinary literature (10).
In other words, we put our beloved pets to death in the same thoughtful, kind and peaceful manner as we do some of our worst human murderers (10).
b) O'Brien wrongly stated that we have the paralytics to hide our mistakes.
Sharp reply: That is incorrect. Convulsions and body movements, as well as other movements and noises, are all part of the reactions to the drugs and/or the overdosing of drugs, used in executions. The paralytic is, most certainly, used to make it much easier on the witnesses, viewing murderers executions, just as it is when we put our beloved pets to death (10).
That is why it is used. Not to hide mistakes.
c) O'Brien says there have been cases where murderers could have felt like they were being burned alive, that some had convulsions some had multiple needle pricks and had to have cutdowns.
Sharp reply: The "burned alive" allegation is based upon a complete failure of the first drug, the anesthetic, for which there is no case or reason for the first drug, of its own accord to, all of a sudden, not work, in complete contradiction to the drugs known overdosing characteristics.
Convulsing, jerking, sighing, wheezing, etc., are all well known effects of the overdosing characteristics of the drugs used as with the normal respiratory distress caused by the drugs (10,11).
Multiple needle pricks and/or cutdowns are normal, every day, occurrences, millions of times per day, in medical IV procedures and are required with some death row inmates when there are problems locating solid, secure veins. They are efforts to avoid "botched executions" not a sign of botched executions, as is well known.
8) Unknown book club member: "people who are well off aren't on death row"
Sharp reply: There are, but they are very rare, because capital murder by wealthy people are very rare.
"99.8% of poor murderers have avoided execution.
It may be, solely, dependent upon the definitions of "wealthy" and "poor", as to whether wealthy murderers are any more or less likely to be executed, based upon the very small number and percentage of capital murders that are committed by the wealthy, as compared to the poor (12)."
This is a fairly typical "Dead Man Walking" Opera Community interaction - spreading the normal anti death penalty nonsense, while having a single pro death penalty voice for "balance", with that pro death penalty voice being an excellent prosecutor, but not a pro death penalty expert within the death penalty debate, none of which have I ever known to have been invited to these community symposiums, which is why this review is important, if community knowledge is important.
Wherever Sister Helen Prejean is involved, it is what you should expect (13).
Fact checking is crucial.
1) Victim's Voices - These are the murder victimshttp://www.murdervictims.com/Voices/voices.html
2) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
READ SECTIONS 3&4 FIRST
3) James Liebman's "A Broken System": Review of A Broken Study, ]http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/10/broken-study-review-of-broken-system.html
4) Innocence Project Invents False Confessions
150% fraud rate in "confessions"?
5) From: Sharpjfa@aol.com
Sent: 3/9/2017 12:30:02 P.M. Central Daylight Time
Subj: for Tricia Bushnell
During the March 3rd "eye for an eye" presentation, you stated that 67% of confessions in death penalty eligible cases were false.
Can you provide a link to the study, please?
Sincerely, Dudley Sharp
6) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives
7) United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit, No. 12-2524, Darryl Burton, Plaintiff - Appellant v. St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners et al, Defendants - Appellee, Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis, Submitted: March 12, 2013, Filed: September 24, 2013,
9) 86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
World Support Remains High
95% of Murder Victim's Family Members Support Death Penalty
10) Veterinary Claims a Distortion of Reality: Human Lethal Injection