Saturday, June 15, 2019

Death Row, "Exonerations" & Intentional Fraud

Death Row, "Exonerations" & Intentional Fraud
Dudley Sharp, pro death penalty expert, former opponent

The "exoneration" frauds have been a staple in US based anti death penalty strategy for, at least,  32 years, starting with well known anti death penalty activists Bedau and Radelet (1987), both of whom, also, happen to be academics.  Cassell and Markman, rebutted their nonsense in 1988 (section 10).

Let's consider those who find fact checking/vetting to be important, actually do it and present the results.

1)  New York Times: Death Row Innocent Claims 71% False (2005)

In 2005, New York Times reporter Adam Liptak found the death row innocence claims to be 71% false.

Liptak: "To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row," (NY Times, 1/23/05),  At the time of the article, there were 119 listed on the Innocence List (fn 13)  35 innocent, as per average by Liptak, means a 71% error rate with the 119.  From 'The Death of Innocents': A Reasonable Doubt, by Adam Liptak, NY Times, JAN. 23, 2005

2) Florida Death Row Innocence Claims 83% False, Florida Commission on Capital Cases (2011)

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 

3) How many DNA exonerations are guilty?
I have only fact checked/vetted one death row DNA exoneration case, just recently (4/2019). 

What are the chances?
"Curtis Edward McCarty was exonerated in 2007 after serving 21 years – including 19 years on death row – for a 1982 Oklahoma City murder he didn’t commit." "He is the 15th person nationwide – and the third in Oklahoma – to be exonerated by DNA testing after serving time on death row." 

from , downloaded on 4/14/2019

As of 4/14/2019, neither the Innocence Project (IP) nor the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE) noted the guilt findings of the court, here:

What the court said in 2011 - 8 years ago.

"We conclude that despite the egregiousness of Gilchrist's alleged actions in this case, the State's theory of the case and the additional evidence against McCarty supported a reasonable belief in McCarty's guilt."

The evidence for guilt is substantial and detailed:

Decision of the district court dismissing McCarty's claims is affirmed.
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
McCARTY v. GILCHRIST , United States Court of Appeals,Tenth Circuit. Curtis Edward McCARTY, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. Joyce A. GILCHRIST, in her official capacity; William Citty, Chief of Police, City of Oklahoma City, in his official capacity; City of Oklahoma City, Defendants—Appellees. No. 09–6220. Decided: July 14, 2011
downloaded 4/14/2019
What are the chances that I just happened to come upon the only DNA "exoneration" with substantial evidence of guilt? Likely, close to zero.

4) "Death penalty opponents have decided that, if a large enough risk of mistaken executions does not exist, they will invent it." (2002)
reports By United States Congress, Senate, 107th Congress, 2d Session, Calender no 731, Report 107-315. The Innocence Protection Act of 2002, (iv) The innocence tactic: Unreliable studies and disinformation", p 65-69

5) "By deflating the DPIC (Death Penalty Information Center's Innocence) List, Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion in Kansas v. Marsh contributes to an honest and realistic assessment of that actual risk." "The more conservative approach of the court in Quinones I only recognized “actual innocence” in one‑half of one percent of the 7,084 death sentences imposed between 1973 and 2001." (2008)
"Exoneration Inflation: Justice Scalia’s Concurrence in Kansas v. March", by Ward Campbell, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice, p 49, The Journal of the Institute for the Advancement of Criminal Justice, Issue 2, Summer 2008

6) "Having largely abandoned the moral arguments against capital punishment, the modern abolition movement is now based on a trio of urban legends: (1) the death penalty is racist at its core; (2) those accused of capital murder get grossly inadequate representation; and (3) a remarkable number of people on death row are innocent." (2005)
"The Myth Of Innocence"­, Joshua Marquis, pu­blished in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminolog­y - 3/31/2005, Northweste­rn University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois

7) Anti Death Penalty Folks Decided  to Redefine both "Innocent" and "Exonerated", as if they had redefined lie as truth. (2010)

8)  Claims of Innocence: 77% False (2015)

The 4.1% "Innocent" on Death Row: More Nonsense

9)  70-83% "Error" Rate in Death Row Innocent Claims (1920s - 2017)

The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

10) "Americans should be far more worried about the wrongfully freed than the wrongfully convicted.", 

The Innocent and the Shammed, by Joshua Marquis, New York Times, 1/26/2006

Sharp: So true, since 1973:

about 21,000 additional innocents have been murdered by those KNOWN murderers that we have allowed to murder, again -  recidivist murderers.

about 440,000 additional innocents have been murdered by those KNOWN criminals that we have allowed to harm, again - recidivist criminals. 

As recently as 1915, we may have proof of innocents executed, two brothers in South Carolina.

And on which of those "innocents at risk" issues do you think the media concentrates?  . . .

Google search results from 6/5/2019, under "news"

a) innocent "death row"  118,000
b) recidivism murder         18,700

. . .  even though the innocents murdered by recidivist criminals is a vast multiple, thousands of times more realized than innocents executed.

So, what criminal justice program are folks clamoring to shut down?

11)  50, 60 and 100% Errors In Innocent Claims - 1987

It seems likely, that the modern era death penalty frauds were, directly, related to this academic study, from 1987.

In reviewing the DPIC’s original 1993 study, finding 48 (of the 69) "innocent" defendants on death row, the DPIC states its debt for the " . . . ground breaking work done by . . . Professors Michael Radelet and Hugo Bedau"(p 1) in their 

"Miscarriages of Justice in Potentially Capital Cases", a study which

"consistently presented incomplete and misleading accounts of the evidence." (from citation, below)

Making it the perfect antecedent for the future frauds to follow.
The study concluded that 23 innocent persons had been executed since 1900. 

However, the study's methodology was so flawed that at least 12 of those cases had no evidence of innocence and substantial evidence of guilt. The remaining 11 cases represent 0.14% of the 7,800 executions which have taken place since 1900 and . . . . , there is, in fact, no proof that those 11 executed were innocent . . . and 211 of the studies 350 cases, or 60%, were not sentenced to death. Bedau and Radelet already knew that plea bargains, the juries, the evidence, the prosecutors, judicial review and/or the legal statutes had put these crimes in the "no capital punishment" category.

Had a high school student presented such a report, where 50, 60 and 100% of the material was either false or misleading, a grade of F would be required.

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Markman: "This study - the most thorough and painstaking analysis ever on the subject - fails to prove that a single such mistake (an innocent executed) has occurred in the United States during the twentieth century. 'Presumably, Bedau and Radelet would have selected the most compelling 23 cases of the innocent executed to prove their proposition.' "Yet, in each of these cases, where there is a record to review, there are eyewitnesses, confessions, physical evidence and circumstantial evidence in support of the defendant’s guilt. Bedau has written elsewhere that it is ‘false sentimentality to argue that the death penalty ought to be abolished because of the abstract possibility that an innocent person might be executed when the record fails to disclose that such cases exist.’  . . . (T)he Bedau and Radelet study . . . speaks eloquently about the extraordinary rarity of error in capital punishment." ("Innocents on Death Row?", National Review, September 12, 1994).

Bedau and Radelet: The perfect foundation for the frauds to follow.

Protecting the Innocent: A Response to the Bedau-Radelet Study, Stephen J. Markman and Paul G. Cassell, Stanford Law Review, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Nov., 1988), pp. 121-160,

Then these:

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Deterrence, Death Penalties & Executions

Deterrence, Death Penalties & Executions
Dudley Sharp

Nobel Prize Laureate (Economics) Gary Becker:

“the evidence of a variety of types — not simply the quantitative evidence — has been enough to convince me that capital punishment does deter and is worth using for the worst sorts of offenses.” (NY Times, 11/18/07)

"(Becker) is the most important social scientist in the past 50 years (NY Times, 5/5/14)

1) What we know

The deterrent effect of severe sanctions and severe negative incentives has never been negated and cannot be.

The evidence that some are deterred is overwhelming (1). The evidence that none are deterred is non existent (1).

We have undisputed evidence that some have confirmed they were deterred from committing murders because of the threat of the death penalty/executions (1). This is known as individual deterrence. By fact and reason, individual deterrence cannot exist without general deterrence.

If, still, unsure of deterrence, there are these risks:

Absent the death penalty/executions, we risk sacrificing more innocent lives. With the death penalty/executions, we "risk" saving more innocent lives.

Pick your risk.

As a part of deterrence theory, some criminal activity is deterred because the potential criminal is restrained, consciously or subconsciously, based upon a fear of being caught and sanctioned, if they commit the crime.

Do positive and negative incentives affect behavior? Of course . . . with execution being the most negative incentive, the most severe sanction and the most feared outcome.

We all know that criminals "case" potential targets for crimes. Criminals are aware of lighting, cameras, witnesses, police presence, prisons, sentences, etc. . . .   risk vs reward. Every time they don't commit a crime, in such a circumstance, it was because they were deterred.

Is there anyone not aware of this?

Police departments are, rarely, targeted for robbery.

Everyone knows that if we stopped all law enforcement and sanctions, that crime would escalate, dramatically. There would be no legal deterrence to crime.

Is that a mystery, to anyone?

2) Studies Finding For Deterrence & Their Critics

Since 1996, there have been at least 24 US based studies, finding for death penalty/execution deterrence (1) finding from 1-28 innocent lives saved per execution, or 33-900 innocents saved/yr (2).

Even with the 900 saved per year, we are looking at "only" a 5% (2) net reduction in innocents murdered, numbers which could disappear in the normal ups and downs of gross murder rates, which occur, every year . . . . but those innocents would still have been saved.

There will never be consensus on the numbers saved, as expected with the "soft" sciences.

The critics of the studies finding for deterrence are not saying none are deterred. They can't.

The critics only offer a difference of opinion, based upon interpretations of methodology (3). As a general rule, the studies finding for deterrence are more credible than their critics (3) but, even if equal, what remains are two options 1) studies finding for deterrence and 2) critics who cannot and do not negate deterrence.

3) How is death penalty/execution deterrence measured?

As with all criminal sanctions:  Crimes are net lower with law enforcement and sanction than without law enforcement and sanction? It is that basic.

There is no doubt.

4) Life Without Parole vs The Death Penalty

The relevant question, in the national debate, is "Is the death penalty more of a deterrent than life without parole?", with the understanding that both deter some.

We know that nearly 100% of those subject to the death penalty do all they can to get life not death. No, they were not deterred, at least not for those murders.

Why do nearly all subject to the death penalty seek life not death?

Life is preferred over death and death is feared more than life, not just with murderers, but with nearly, all of us, inclusive of potential murderers.

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

The death penalty/executions are an enhanced deterrent over a life sentence.

5) Murder rates and the death penalty/executions

It has been clear, for many decades, that death penalty/execution deterrence cannot be measured by murder rates (4).

For example, let's say Iceland and its capital Reykjavik , have the lowest crime and murder rates in the world.  In all other cities and countries, does that mean that no potential criminals are deterred by law enforcement and sanction, because those other jurisdictions  have higher rates? Of course not. It is ridiculous on its face.

Some criminals are deterred by law enforcement and sanction, in Iceland, just as with every other jurisdiction in the world. Some are not. Only a fool says none are deterred.

Death penalty USA has a murder rate of about 5.3/100,000. Non death penalty El Salvador about 80, death penalty Japan and Singapore 0.30, non death penalty Canada 1.7 and on and on.

When New Hampshire had the death penalty, it, consistently, had the lowest murder rates in the US, with fellow death penalty Louisiana, consistently, having the highest murder rates in the US.

Non death penalty Detroit and Baltimore, along with death penalty Memphis and St.Louis, have the highest violent crime rates.

"(death penalty) Henderson, Nev., takes the No. 2 spot (America's Safest Cities) despite its location within the Metropolitan Statistical Area of (death penalty) Las Vegas-Paradise, which ranked ninth this year on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Dangerous Cities." (5)

That "pattern", with the death penalty or not, with high. medium or low murder and crime rates, is found, throughout the world.

Texas' murder rate is in about the middle of US states and has a murder rate lower than 6 non death penalty states.

Or pick and choose  . . .


From 1992-2015,  Texas had a near, uninterrupted, period of years with double digit executions, averaging 24 executions per year.  From 1991-2015, Texas' murder rate dropped 69%. (15.3 - 4.8), a difference of  319%. Capital murders may have dropped by 80%. Texas's robbery rate dropped 60% (287 to 116), 1991-2015, a difference of 216%, with robbery/murder the most common death penalty eligible murders.

The United States

From 1965-1980, the US had a, near, complete cessation of executions - 3 total - , the murder rate rose 100% (5.1 to 10.2); robbery 354% (71 to 251). Capital murders (robbery/murders) rose dramatically.

From 1992 to 2014 the US had double digit executions, averaging 49 per year,  the murder rate dropped 55%  (9.8 - 4.4), 1991-2014, the murder rate 223% higher in 1991 than in 2014; the robbery rate dropped 63% (273 to 101), the robbery rate 270% higher in in 1991 than in 2014.  Capital murders may have dropped 70-80%.

If you looked at crime rates in neighborhoods, zip codes, towns, cities, and counties within each US state or between all the world's countries and their sub jurisdictions, with or without the death penalty, crime and murder rates would be high, low or medium, whether in a death penalty jurisdiction or not.

Why? Because there are many other factors, not just death penalty/execution deterrence, which affect those rates.



In all jurisdictions, there will be net lower crime rates with law enforcement and sanction, than without them. Why? Deterrence.

There is no doubt.


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

2) using an average of 18,000 murders per year (1976-2018), with an average of 33 executions per year.

3) DEATH PENALTY DETERRENCE: Rebuttal to Donahue and Wolfers:

Death Penalty Deterrence: Defended & Advanced

"Deterrence & the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock"

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

5) "America's Safest Cities", Lifestyle section, Forbes, 12/15/2011,

and also

Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in America, NeighborhoodScout

11 have no death penalty,  4 of those are the most violent. 

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Cameron Todd Willingham: Guilty By Forensic Science

Cameron Todd Willingham: Guilty By Forensic Science
Dudley Sharp

Many have, wrongly, presented that there is no forensic fire evidence supporting the arson/murders of three children by their father, Todd Willingham and that, therefore, we are looking at an innocent executed.

As is, so often, the case, nothing could be further from the truth (1).

The public defense of Todd Willingham is but another one sided review, by anti death penalty activists (1), so often, parroted by the media, with no fact checking, no vetting, no objectivity and no effort nor interest at looking at or presenting both sides of the case.

Let's look at the Texas Forensic Science Commissions (FSC) review of the Willingham case (2)

The FSC made 17 points for responsible forensics. The 17 points are quoted, exactly, as found within the report (2), below. Of those, 14 (1, 3, 6-17) were specific to forensic investigations with only one of those shown to have been, wrongly, assessed by the original Texas fire investigators, as detailed:

1) "For example, as NFPA 921 states in its discussion of origin determination, “ultimately, the decision as to the level of certainty in data collected in the investigation or of any hypothesis drawn from an analysis of the data rests with the investigator.” (NFPA 2008 edition at 18.6.2.) Reasonable minds can differ on interpretive issues, and disagreements will occur among forensic experts, including fire investigators. However, such disagreements must be based on a shared knowledge of modern fire science and the proper application of the scientific method as described in NFPA 921." (p 5)

Sharp: As detailed, below, none of the many conclusions, on the evidence for arson, with the exception of crazed glass, could be excluded from the assessments of the original Texas fire experts, who actually investigated the physical evidence and found for arson.

None of the later assessments, critical of the original investigation, 1) had access to the physical evidence from the fire, making their assessments, vastly, inferior to the actual investigators 2) properly evaluated (if at all) the critical eyewitness testimonies, inclusive of that of Todd Willingham, which are crucial for fire investigators and were, for the origianl investigators, and all but neglected by the critics, as was required. "Eyewitness interviews, while not typically scientific in nature, are a critical component of NFPA 921’s investigative guidelines." see paragraphs 6 & 17, below.

2) "In light of these jurisdictional questions and the related risk of litigation, the Commission voted at its January 21, 2011 quarterly meeting to obtain an official legal opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s Office. (See Exhibit 1 for copy of request.) The FSC anticipates that ambiguities and conflicts over jurisdictional issues will be addressed by the Attorney General’s office in its response to the pending request." (p 6)

Sharp: The original FSC broke the law in looking at both the Willingham and Willis cases, as both occurred before the specific dates given for the FSC jurisdiction.

The law and dates were very clear and it appears that the original FSC had no respect for the law, raising issues of confidence in the investigative body and one of the obvious, solid foundations for replacing some of the members of the Commission - they were, obviously, breaking the law.  As city attorney, Terry Jacobson,  stated, "100 out of 100 judges would rule that way". He is, absolutely, correct. It is that clear, as the Texas Attorney General confirmed.

There is zero ambiguity.

3) "Investigation has also revealed the practical difficulties of conducting a negligence review for a case in which there is a significant gap in time between the FSC’s consideration of the complaint and the point at which the original forensic analysis was conducted. Both fires occurred at least two decades ago. The substantial passage of time, limited record and the unavailability of at least one of the original fire investigators all add to the difficulty of conducting a thorough review." (p 7)

Sharp:  It is not just the "time gap", but the huge evidence gap. The original fire investigators are the only fire experts who examined the original fire evidence.

None of the critics did. Did any of the critics interview the original fire investigators, as they should have?

4) "No finding contained herein constitutes a comment upon the guilt or innocence of any individual. A final report by the FSC is not prima facie evidence of the information or findings contained in the report." (p 8)

Sharp: All of the evidence should be reviewed.

The FSC details how all but one of the fire forensic markers, as, originally, described by the two actual fire experts, that investigated the fire, may have all been accurate, in their finding for arson, as reviewed, below.

The case for arson is far stronger than any case against it.

5) "The information gathered has not been subjected to the standards for admission of evidence in a courtroom. For example, no individual testified under oath, was limited by either the Texas or Federal Rules of Evidence (e.g., against the admission of hearsay) or was subjected to formal cross-examination under the supervision of a judge. Therefore, this report does not serve as a document necessarily admissible in court for any civil or criminal purpose." (p 8)

Sharp: Sadly, none of those who testified were subject to any threat of perjury. That should change, as is obvious.


Rebuttal: "Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?"


6) "Eyewitness interviews, while not typically scientific in nature, are a critical component of NFPA 921’s investigative guidelines. For example, the 1995 edition of NFPA 921 provided guidance to investigators regarding the purpose of interviews (to gather both useful and accurate information). (NFPA 921 at 7-4.1.) "fire investigators will continuously be expected to interview eyewitnesses and assess their credibility. While eyewitness testimony plays a valuable role in the criminal justice system, it is a product of human memory, which has inherent limitations. Many Commissioners believe it is important to note these limitations and the associated need for ongoing training in methods for properly conducting and evaluating eyewitness interviews during arson investigations. Arson investigators should receive training in current techniques that encourage objectivity in witness interviews." (p 30-31)

Sharp: Overwhelmingly, the critical eyewitness testimony, inclusive of that by Todd Willingham,  pointed toward arson, which is a very big deal for forensic investigators, who find such testimony helpful and, often, crucial, as it was in this case, yet avoided, left out, discussed inaccurately or avoiding crucial witness statements, by the critical fire experts.

For example, fire expert Beyler was, completely, unaware that Willingham's two year old daughter, Amber,  was in bed with Todd Willingham when Willingham "became aware" of the fire, according to Willingham. Willingham just left Amber and the twins to die in the fire and made zero effort to save them, according to eyewitnesses, and, later, a fact which Willingham confirmed.

Willingham was seen going into the burning house,  to save property he wanted  . . . but, somehow, forgot the children.

The fire never entered the master bedroom, where Amber was, and there were multiple access points into that bedroom, without encountering the fire. Amber was rescued, alive, by firefighters, but died, later, of smoke inhalation.

Very obvious indicators of arson/murder by Willingham.

How Beyler was ignorant of this defines how poorly he investigated the case and how bad his report was. It also shows why eyewitness testimony is critical to forensics.

The FSC hired Beyler, giving Gov. Perry more solid reasons to replace some of the FSC personnel, after Beyler's inexcusable gaffs became known.

7) Regarding a child lighting the fire,  "This is the sort of judgment that fire investigators typically must engage in during the course of an investigation. Investigators would be required to make a similar judgment call today if the same facts were presented." (p 19)

Sharp: The original fire investigators properly assessed the probability of one of the children lighting the fire. That is not what happened.

8) Regarding debris, "Although the CFD informed the Commission that a thorough examination was conducted, the documentation provided to the District Attorney no longer exists." (cp 21).

Sharp: The fire experts reported saving all the debris for assessment, as per FSC  recommendations.

9) "Excerpts from fire scene reports and trial testimony, though inherently incomplete, provide a sense of the investigators’ understanding of incendiary indicators at the time of trial." " The question of when, why and how certain limitations should be applied to incendiary indicators is the subject of ongoing study by the fire science community." (p. 22)

Sharp: The original Texas fire experts, at the time of the Willingham investigation, state that they were, in fact, using all the best standards, at the time, as it is confirmed, they did.

Using today's standards, the remaining, living fire expert, involved in the original investigation, now a certified forensic fire expert, says, using today's standards, that the Willingham fire was arson.

10) Regarding V patterns, "While such a fire could have been started with an accelerant (see e.g., NFPA 921 1995 edition, 4-17.7.2) other phenomena of fire behavior can also cause similar pour-like patterns." (p 24)

Sharp:  Meaning that the original Texas fire experts could have been correct, as one, today, confirms they were, using today's standards.

11) Regarding the low points, for multiple sources of arson accelerant, "Low burn patterns may be an indicator of accelerant (Beyler at 8), but scientific experiments have also shown that radiant heat transfer causes low burn patterns (Id.), and that the radiant heat of a fully involved room fire can be sustained to penetrate floors deeply. (DeHaan at 8.)." (p 26)

Sharp:  Meaning that the original Texas fire experts could have been correct, as one, today, confirms they were, using today's standards.

12) Regarding spalling, " Controlled laboratory experiments have shown that while spalling may be caused by burning accelerant, it is more often caused by sustained heat from other sources. (Beyler at 11, DeHaan at 5.) (p 26-27)

Sharp:  Meaning that the original Texas fire experts could have been correct, as one, today, confirms they were, using today's standards.

13) Regarding "hot fires", "In the early 1990’s, the “widely held belief” among fire investigators was that the flames of a wood-fueled fire are cooler than those fueled by petroleum products. (DeHaan at 8.) Thus, investigators would often conclude that a “hot fire” must have had an accelerant ignition. (Id.) Scientists now know that flame temperatures for normal fuels against liquid fuels are similar, and compartment temperatures alone cannot be used to distinguish whether ordinary or liquid fuels were involved. (Beyler at 12, DeHaan at 4.) It is critical that today’s fire investigators understand the significance of flame temperature and heat release rates, and how these factors should be viewed within the context of other indicators." (p 27-28)

Sharp:  Meaning that the original Texas fire experts could have been correct, as one, today, confirms they were, using today's standards.

14) "Crazing is the result of the rapid cooling of glass in a hot environment by the application of water spray. (Id. citing NFPA 921 1992 at 4-13.1.) Fire scientists and investigators have concluded that it no longer has any value as an indicator." (p 28)

Sharp:  Meaning that the original Texas fire experts were in error in this assessment, the only assessment, finding for arson, that can be proven as false. Such provides no evidence that the fire was not arson.

This was established in 1992. The fire occurred in 1991, meaning their assessment was valid by the, then, current standard.

15) "The Commission observes that incendiary indicators, including but not limited to those discussed above, are subject to numerous variables that require continuous study and evaluation. Scientific understanding of the indicators has continued to advance as additional experiments are conducted." (p 28)

Sharp: An important point.

16)  "At the time these cases occurred, positive laboratory results (of accelerants)  were accepted if they were available, but they were not considered necessary to reach the conclusion that the fire involved intentional use of an accelerant. (Beyler at 13.) As technology advanced, fire scientists and investigators developed a better understanding of the importance of confirmatory testing. Experts have also noted that technology used in gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and other laboratory testing is more sensitive today than it was in the early 1990’s. As a result, laboratory tests are better able to detect evidence of accelerant than they were two decades ago. Due to the passage of time, re-testing of samples taken in the Willis and Willingham cases is not an option." (p 29)

Sharp: Unfortunate, as it appears an accelerant pattern may have been located in the twins bedroom, as described by the original investigators, admitted as evidence, and as, possibly, confessed to informant Webb by Willingham.

No one finds Webb a credible source. However, Webb's statement, that Willingham confessed to the killings, while they were incarcerated, together, had details, that no other source, but Willingham, could have provided, and were not known until later, that being the burn pattern in the twins room, as described by Willingham, according to Webb, likely, made by an accelerant, and the fact that Willingham made no effort to save his children, a fact, not confirmed by Willingham, to others, until later and to his parents, the day prior to his execution.

Willingham confessed to firefighters that they may find an accelerant at the site of the fire, as Willingham stated that he spread his cologne, which had an accelerant in it, in the childrens' room. This is a very obvious ploy by Willingham to provide a not so innocent case for accelerant, if an accelerant was detected, another indicator of Willingham's guilt of arson and murder.

17) "Eyewitness interviews, while not typically scientific in nature, are a critical component of NFPA 921’s investigative guidelines. For example, the 1995 edition of NFPA 921 provided guidance to investigators regarding the purpose of interviews (to gather both useful and accurate information). (NFPA 921 at 7-4.1.)" (30)

Sharp: In this case, the eyewitness statements are solid indicators of arson.


1)   The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

Death Row Exoneration by DNA - Not

The 4.1% "Innocent" on Death Row: More Nonsense

and it goes on forever and forever


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Media: Death Penalty - More Disasters

Media: Death Penalty - More Disasters
REBUTTAL - Abolish the death penalty in Colorado, Editorial Board, Boulder Daily Camera, 02/09/2019
Dudley Sharp


NOTE: In perfect sync with this rebuttal,  a journalism professor at UC Boulder, Jan Whitt,  replied with a UNSUBSCRIBE IMMEDIATELY (3/26/2019 1:16:41 PM EST), just 22 minutes after I sent it. The perfect irony didn't enter her thinking: "DON'T EDUCATE IMMEDIATELY".  No surprise.

sent  3/26/2019 12:44:42 PM EST

To: Colorado General Assembly
Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police
Colorado Prosecutors
League of Women Voters, Colorado
CUINDEPENDANT, News Corps & Journalism/UCB

Media Throughout Colorado

Re:  REBUTTAL - Abolish the death penalty in Colorado, Editorial Board, Boulder Daily Camera, 02/09/2019

From: Dudley Sharp, pro death penalty expert, former opponent

Preface:  For the 20 years of my research experience, it is the norm for media opinion and news stories to lean anti death penalty and, often, to be exclusively anti death penalty (1). Such has, greatly, perverted the debate in the public square, with fact checking/vetting, willfully, extinct within the media, on this topic (1) and, likely, many more.

DC is  Boulder Daily Camera quote/point, followed by my REBUTTAL.

1) DC: " If the worth of a public policy is its ability to achieve policy objectives, then capital punishment is a failure. It hasn't been shown to deter crime. It's not cost-effective. It's unevenly applied."

REBUTTAL: The DC thinks the death penalty manages itself - "its ability". The death penalty's failures are all management and all fixable. 

Judges are the case managers (2), with legislators, governors, attorney generals, prosecutors and citizens all sharing in that irresponsibility. 

The media has a responsibility, as well, as follows . . .

For example, better management is exemplified by Virginia, which has executed 112 murderers within 7 years of FULL appeals, on average, since 1976 (2), Colorado judges have allowed the Colorado death penalty protocols to get, completely, out of control, intentionally (3). 

2) DC: no deterrence

Rebuttal: The deterrent effect of severe sanctions and severe negative incentives has never been negated and cannot be.  The evidence that some are deterred is overwhelming (4). The evidence that none are deterred is non existent (4).

Absent the death penalty/executions, we risk sacrificing more innocent lives. With the death penalty/executions, we "risk" saving more innocent lives.

Pick your risk.

Nobel Prize Laureate Gary Becker: “the evidence of a variety of types — not simply the quantitative evidence — has been enough to convince me that capital punishment does deter and is worth using for the worst sorts of offenses.” (NY Times, 11/18/07)

"(Becker) is the most important social scientist in the past 50 years The NY Times, 5/5/14

Murder Rates: DC seems unaware that, as an, almost, iron clad rule,  you cannot measure deterrence by murder rates (5)  and, therefore, DC  chose a study that was "unaware" of that fact, as well.  It was not a National Research Council study. They only published it.  Anti death penalty professor Nagin was the primary author, whose academic chair is funded by an anti death penalty trust, with Nagin's study funded by two well known anti death penalty groups, that provide millions of dollars to anti death penalty groups. Conflicts of interest are rarely that spectacular and, boy, can you tell. Take a look (6), as you didn't vet, before.

FYI for DC, the lowest US murder rates are, routinely, in death penalty New Hampshire, just as the highest murder rates are, routinely,  in death penalty Louisiana. Death penalty US has a 5/100,000 murder rate, no death penalty El Salvador is routinely around  80, no death penalty Canada  1.68, death penalty Singapore 0.38. Texas is in the middle of murder rates in US states and has lower rates than 6 non death penalty states. It's the same "pattern" all over the world.

Radelet and Lacock: It appears DC "forgot" to read the survey: the response to question 12 finds that 92% of the criminologists agree that the death penalty may deter some and the response to question 8 found that 61% of the criminologists found some support for the deterrent effects of the death penalty through the empirical, social science studies (7).

24 US based studies finding for death penalty/execution deterrence, since 1996 (4), with the greatest findings being 28 murderers deterred by each execution, an annual average of 900 innocents saved, that being 5%, which qualifies as "some" deterred, but a percentage which may "disappear" within the various shifts, by other means,  which occur, annually, in US murder rates.

3) DC: too expensive

REBUTTAL:  With near 6 million Co citizens, if a $4 million cost (8), from pre trial to execution, death penalty costs would be less than $0.07 (7 cents)/citizen/year for 10 years, with similar costs for life without parole (LWOP), for 50 years, as per:  average cell costs for Level V maximum security are $48,219/inmate/yr. (9), or $1.2 million for 25 years, and $80,000 (10) for 25 years for geriatric care prisoners, or  $2 million (8), for a $3.3 million total, inclusive of pre trial, trial and appeals , which can last a lifetime (8). (See LWOP plea credit below) . . .

That being 11.6 cents extra per Coloradan, for 1 year, only, in extra costs for the death penalty. Do you think Coloradans would spend that 11.6 cent option for their worst murderers? Of course.

With death penalty repeal, there is no plea bargain to LWOP, which is a death penalty cost credit, reducing death penalty costs, and all future LWOP cases will have to go to trial, with appeals that can last for life, and any pleas will have to have parole options, morally untenable in all the previous cases.

The DC appeared oblivious to the fact that the 2016 Susquehanna University Political Review cost study compared death penalty case costs to GENERAL POPULATION costs.  

This is a normal scam by anti death penalty academics (11), easily understood as such - we are not looking at general population inmate cost, but death penalty equivalent LWOP cases and costs, which raise costs, considerably, as I just demonstrated. DC, could you not see that?

4) DC: "unevenly applied"

REBUTTAL: If DC looked at race/ethnicity/gender/class in the context of all capital/death penalty eligible cases, instead of the normal anti death penalty deception of using population counts,  in the modern, post Gregg v Georgia (1976) era, in Co, it is, more than likely, evenly applied (10).

Class, for example: We execute 0.2% of our murderers.  It is, solely, dependent upon one's definitions of poor and rich, as to whether the rich, a vast minority of capital murderers, are executed at rates higher or lower than the poor, the vast majority of capital murderers.

We, the people, spared no expense defending (poor) Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh , executed  four years after sentencing


DC: "More than three-quarters of executions stem from cases involving a white victim, yet only half of murder victims in America are white. "

Rebuttal: If DC looked at capital murder victims, only, WHICH THEY DID NOT, they might find the three-quarters is what it should be (12).

DC: "White and black inmates make up equal shares of the death row population — 42 percent — even though the country's population is 61 percent white and 13 percent black."

Rebuttal: NOTE That deceptive population count I referenced, earlier. Its about capital murderers, not population counts. DC, just look up --  "murder rate "by offender" race ethnicity UCR  --. Then look up "fact checking" and vetting.

Nationally, white murderers are twice as likely to be executed, as are black murderers (12) and have an execution rate 41% higher than black death row inmates (13).

From 1980-2008, for the White–Black comparisons, the Black level is 12.7 times greater than the White level for homicide, 15.6 times greater for robbery, 6.7 times greater for rape (14).

Robbery and rape murders are the most common death penalty crimes, most likely, raising those numbers, when looking at robbery/murders and rape/murders.

There is no race of the defendant nor race of the victim bias effect within capital punishments (12).

5) DC: "There is growing public revulsion with the practice"

REBUTTAL:  Death penalty support goes to 70-80% when identifying the most revolting murders (15).

Execution support was 81% for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, with near equal support over all demographics. 58% of those who OPPOSE execution, supported McVeigh's execution (16).  That will be the case with any of our worst death row cases.

Nowhere in DC's long article did they describe their revulsion of innocents murdered.  

6) DC: "Its value to justice is increasingly dubious"

REBUTTAL: All of DC's claims are dubious, including that one.

7) DC: "Since 1973, more than 160 death row inmates have been set free because evidence showed they were innocent."

REBUTTAL:  These innocence claims have been well known as false since about 1997, when the numbers started being published at 69.

The current  claim by death penalty opponents is that 164 (1.8%) (17) were "exonerated", wherein they thought it a good idea to redefine both "innocent" and "exonerated", as redefining lie as truth, and then stuck a bunch of cases into those "revised" definitions (18), just as with the 69, in 1997.

NY Times reported "innocent" claims to  be 71% false (19). Today, that being 116 false claims of the 164 claimed "exonerated", or 48 (0.6%) proven innocent, all of whom have been released (17,18). The false claims of innocence range from 71-83%.

All DC had to do was call up the source and ask, "How many of those 164 have been confirmed as factually innocent, by  independent sources that can be confirmed as accurate?" DC didn't do it. It would take all of 3 minutes.

We might have proof that innocents were executed as recently as 1915 - two brothers from South Carolina. Tragic.

The major innocents problem, nationally, as within all states, is this:

Since 1973:

21,000 innocents have been murdered by those KNOWN murderers that we have allowed to murder, again -  recidivist murderers (20);

440,000 innocents have been murdered by those KNOWN criminals that we have allowed to harm, again - recidivist criminals (20).

DC, your revulsion over those murders? Did you, ever, consider them?

Living murderers harm and murder, again. Executed ones do not.

Where are the innocents at risk?

8) DC: "In 2011, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter took the extraordinary step of granting a posthumous unconditional pardon to Joe Arridy, who had been executed in 1939 for a murder in Pueblo. "(An) overwhelming body of evidence indicates the 23-year-old Arridy was innocent, including false and coerced confessions, the likelihood that Arridy was not in Pueblo at the time of the killing, and an admission of guilt by someone else," Ritter proclaimed."

REBUTTAL:  Just a little fact checking found major problems with this pardon (21).

DC, please withdraw from the ignoble groups that eschews fact checking/ vetting.

From my 20 years experience -  Daily Camera will not give a damn. 

I hope that others do.



I rebutted all points in the Durango Herald's "Abolish it" (3/11/19). They removed all my comments and failed to correct their article. Sadly, not uncommon. I retained the corrections.

2) See Virginia

Saving Costs with The Death Penalty

3) See Colorado within


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

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

6) Death Penalty Deterrence: Defended and Advanced

7) Deterrence and the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock

8) Using the unconfirmed ACLU numbers of $3.5 million for death penalty and $150,000 for LWOP.

9) COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS Cost Per Offender by Facility FY 2017-18,

10) I could not find a geriatric prison cost breakdown in Co. 

With average prisoner costs in Co at $109/day, the geriatric care cost would be $218/per day, as per

"Elderly prisoners are twice as expensive to incarcerate as the average prisoner", At America's Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly. American Civil Liberties Union; New York, NY: Jun, 2012,

11)  Saving Costs with The Death Penalty


13) From 1977-2012, white death row murderers have been executed at a rate 41% higher than are black death row murderers, 19.3% vs 13.7%, respectively. ( Table 12, Executions and other dispositions of inmates sentenced to death, by race and Hispanic origin, 1977–2012, Capital Punishment 2012, Bureau of Justice Statistics, last edited 11/3/14)


15)  86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
World Support Remains High
95% of Murder Victim's Family Members Support Death Penalty

16) Vast Majority of Americans Think McVeigh Should Be Executed, May 2, 2001,

17) The Innocence List, DPIC, as of November, 2018,

18)  see sections 3 and 4
The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy


The "Innocent", the "Exonerated" and Death Row:
An Open Fraud in the Death Penalty Debate: How Death Penalty Opponents Lie

19) Liptak: "To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row," (NY Times, 1/23/05),  At the time of the article, there were 119 listed on the Innocence List (fn 13)  35 innocent, as per average by Liptak, means a 71% error rate with the 119. 'The Death of Innocents': A Reasonable Doubt, by Adam Liptak, NY Times, JAN. 23, 2005

20)  Section 4 b and d

21) Ritter's Pardon of Joe Arridy