Friday, March 08, 2019

Conservatives & The Death Penalty

Conservatives & The Death Penalty:
Another Rebuttal of Their Anti Death Penalty Position
Dishonesty or Willful Ignorance?
Dudley Sharp

sent 1/19/2018

To: Representative Steve Handy

cc: Governor Gary Herbert and staff
Utah House, Senate and staff
Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee
Attorney General Sean Reyes and staff
Utah Prosecution Council
Utah Sheriffs' Association
Utah Appellate Courts
Libertas Institute - Utah
Students For Liberty
Young Americans for Liberty

Media throughout Utah

From: Dudley Sharp, death penalty expert

Dear Rep. Handy:

I hope, this time, you will fact check.

Here is a rebuttal, below, to (one of many) conservatives who refuses to fact check.

In a message dated 12/14/2017 1:08:57 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

To: Richard Viguerie (c/0

bcc: All editors and commentary writers, Washington Times

copied to  Oliver North, Jay Sekulow, Ron Paul, Michael Steele, Ramesh Ponnuru

Re:  "Republicans reconsidering the death penalty", Richard Viguerie, Washington Times, December 13, 2017

From: Dudley Sharp. death penalty expert, former opponent

I fully rebutted all of Viguerie's anti death penalty points in 2009 (1). I send him my rebuttal. He did not respond.

August 20, 2019

Full Rebuttal of Hannah Cox, National Manager,
Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCADP),
within Comment Section

To repeat, with his present op/ed, many points of which are the same, as in 2009:

1) Why conservative support for the death penalty has dropped.

Viguerie:" . . . what caused this drop in conservative support in the first place? His answer: " . . .  an ongoing educational campaign to inform conservatives of the death penalty’s many practical failures."

Sharp rebuttal: It is a misinformation campaign, which duplicates the liberal anti death penalty claims, which have been rebutted for years (1,2).

Viguerie, for example, extols the efforts of the Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCADP), a group owned and controlled by a very well known liberal anti death penalty group, Equal Justice USA, which counts as its financial supporters many liberal groups, inclusive of George Soros (fn 1 from 1), all detailed for Viguerie in 2009 (fn 1 from 1).

Here is a review of all of Viguerie's education points, which he claims are reasons to do away with the death penalty.

2) limited government

Sharp Rebuttal: Death row represents 0.04% of the criminals, currently, within the criminal justice system. Possibly, death row is the smallest of all government components.

3) Costs

Sharp Rebuttal:  There appears to be three or more states where the death penalty saves money over life without parole (LWOP) (3).  In those states where the death penalty might be more expensive than LWOP, that is not the fault of the death penalty, but of management (4).  Fix them.

For example, Virginia has executed 112 murderers, since 1976, within 7 years of appeals, on average (3). All states would save money over LWOP, if they don't already, by duplicating that protocol. If Virginia can do it, all states can.

Death row is a small component, of the total corrections cost, within each state.

4) Catholics

Sharp Rebuttal to Viguerie's points.

The Catholic Church has supported the death penalty for over 2000 years (5).

Some in the Church, as with Viguerie, have accepted a confusion, since 1995, that justice is no longer primary, which, clearly, is contrary to Church teachings, for 2000 years, through today (5,6).

In addition, the new teachings, 1995 forward, are based upon the secular confidence in criminal justice systems, which as you might notice, Viguerie has no confidence in any government programs, with some in the Church saying, because criminal justice systems have the means to protect us from unjust aggressors, without using the death penalty, that we should chose less severe sanctions.

What Viguerie and the Church should know is that such is, in fact, not the reality of the situation.

Innocents are much better protected when we use the death penalty/executions (7) and the reality of the criminal justice system is that it allows criminals to harm, over and over, again (7, 8).

For some odd reason the Church and Viguerie are willing to sacrifice more innocents, to make sure that all murderers live.

5) Support for the death penalty is at a 45-year low, some surveys showing that a clear majority prefers repealing and replacing the death penalty

Sharp Rebuttal: I have not seen the polls that show "a clear majority prefers repealing and replacing the death penalty".  I suspect Viguerie has not, either. California, the bluest of blue states, just voted, by popular referendum, to keep the death penalty and to speed up appeals.

A primary problem with the polling is that the media will only chose to show those polls that they like, which, usually means the ones with the lowest support (9).

For example,

---  there was a 2013 poll showing 86% death penalty support in the US (9). Not one media source carried it, even though it was by Angus Reid, the #1 most accurate pollster in the 2012 presidential election (9).

----  every year Gallup comes out with their death penalty poll, the media only picks up the lowest support numbers from Gallup, even though, almost every year, there is another poll result, within that same Gallup release, that has about 10% higher death penalty support (9).

I, strongly, suspect other topics of polls are handled, similarly, by the media.

We all know that the questions asked and the answers provided, by the polling companies, direct the outcome.  With the death penalty, those variables can provided 10-40% swings (9).

6) Mistakes

Sharp Rebuttal: Since 1976, after Gregg v Georgia, the case that approved new death penalty statutes,  there have been about 0.4% of death row inmates proven to be actually innocent and released from death row, which equals a 99.6% accuracy rate for actually guilty convictions and a 100% rate of freeing the actually innocent, very likely, the most accurate government program.

The current anti death penalty claims of 160 "exonerated" from death row, have been a well known deception, at least since 1996, when the number was 69, Anti death penalty folks have, simply, redefined both "innocent" and "exonerated" and then stuffed a bunch of cases into those perverted definitions. Their claims are 70-83% false, depending upon review, as detailed (10).

There is no known innocents executed since 1913 (date changed), if then.

We can speculate, but then we can also speculate that these number may be higher:

Since 1973:

16,000 innocents have been murdered by those KNOWN murderers that we have allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers and
400,000 innocents have been murdered by those KNOWN criminals that we have allowed to harm, again - recidivist criminals (7,8).

Viguerie, where do you think the mistakes are? This goes to the #1 concern for the anti death penalty movement - it is imperative that all murderers must live, no matter the cost.

7) "far too often botch these executions — something the public clearly has no appetite for."

Sharp Rebuttal:  Possibly, about 1% of lethal injections have been botched - a pretty good record. The claim that 7% are botched is, simply, false, as fact checking proves (11).

Mr. Viguerie is voicing the willful ignorance of conservatives, not their concerns.

1)  Rebuttal to Richard A. Viguerie
Dudley Sharp, 7/09

2) The Death Penalty: Justice & Saving More Innocents

4)  Judges Responsible For Grossly Uneven Executions


Judges as Jackasses

5)  By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, 2017, Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, $24.95). Visit or call 1-800-651-1531. ''

6)   Critical Dismay:  The Catholic Church's Latest (2018)Death Penalty Catechism Amendment (added 3/19)

Catholic Church: Problems with Her Newest Death Penalty Position:
The Catechism & Section 2267     

8)  Catechism and State Protection

9)  86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
World Support Remains High
95% of Murder Victim's Family Members Support Death Penalty

10)  The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Dr. J Zivot: More Medical Anti Death Penalty Idiocy

Dr. J Zivot: More Medical Anti Death Penalty Idiocy

Sent to: Dr. J. Zivot

RE: Rebuttal of  "Why I'm for a moratorium on lethal injections," J. Zivot, USA Today, op-ed, December 15, 2013

Date 2/3/18, 1:09:38 PM Eastern Standard Time

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

Dr. Zivot: "Sodium thiopental is no longer in my pharmacology toolbox. Hospira, the last company to manufacture the drug, stopped making it to protest its use in carrying out the death penalty."

Well, no (1).

2011, Hospira took sodium thiopental away from innocent patients, even though they knew it would not stop executions (1).

Hospira knew that  thiopental was, rapidly, being replaced by propofol (2).

2007: "Thiopental is a barbiturate widely used as an intravenous agent for the rapid induction of general anesthesia, with consciousness being lost within 10–20 seconds. However, its use as an inducing agent is decreasing following the introduction of propofol." (2a)

2009: "Thiopental (sodium pentothal) has been the barbiturate most frequently used for induction of anesthesia in children, although more recently many clinicians have replaced it with propofol." (2b)

January 2011 -  US Based Hospira stops making sodium thiopental.
Why? Logistics.

Hospira had moved thiopental production from North Carolina to Italy in 2010. The EU and drug manufacturers had been publicly, shamed by anti death penalty groups, starting in 2009 (1), because EU jurisdiction drugs were being used in US executions. Italy's constitution bans the death penalty and Italy told Hospira they had to guarantee that any 
Italy produced thiopental could not be used in US executions. Hospira couldn't or wouldn't and, therefore, shut down thiopental production.

Economics and logistics are the reasons Hospira stopped production.

Abbott Labs created sodium thiopental in the 1930's and was aware of the US' planned use of sodium thiopental, for executions, in 1979 and its first use in executions in 1982 (1). 

Abbott spun off Hospira in 2004. Abott's/Hospira's "ethical" concerns, conveniently, showed up 30 years later, at, exactly the moment it served Hospira's logistical problem.

March, 2011 -  Propofol replaces Thiopental in The WHO Model List Essential Medicines, 17th edition. Thiopental remains an alternate.

Ending thiopental production had no discernable effect on Hospira's stock. Stock followers long knew, at least since 2006, that propofol was replacing thiopental and Hospira was a huge pharmacutical company with many products, with thiopental a tiny fraction of its total revenue.

2015   Pfizer buys Hospira for $17 billion.

Dr. Zivot: "An executioner and the condemned are not the same as a doctor and a patient, though it is easy to see how similarities can be drawn."

Of course, they are not, remotely, the same and it would be irrational to find them similar (1).

Dr. Zivot, all of a sudden agrees, within his next paragraph: " . . . executioners are not doctors . . .".  and, later, " States may choose to execute their citizens, but when they employ lethal injection, they are not practicing medicine." . . . stating the obvious, which is, they are not, of course, remotely, similar, as Dr. Zivot concedes, or not, depending on which of his paragraphs you choose.

Dr. Zivot: "As a physician, however, I am ethically prohibited from commenting on the details of lethal injection lest even casual association suggest support or oversight."

Total nonsense (1), as it appears the doctor well knows, as he comments on lethal injection, often. Does he concede being unethical?

Dr. Zivot protests: "(Execution jurisdictions)  are usurping the tools and arts of the medical trade and propagating a fiction."

Here is Zivot's "fiction".

Dr. Zivot: " When I gave a patient sodium thiopental, it was a medicine whose purpose was to heal. When the state gave sodium thiopental to a prisoner, it was a poisonous chemical whose purpose was to kill."

There is no fiction, of course. Zivot states clear reality (1), as he well knows, as do all.

Dr. Zivot continues:

"Missouri recently obtained propofol, an exceedingly important anesthetic agent, and threatened to use it for executions. It would have succeeded if not for the threat of sanction by the European Union, which opposes the death penalty. Because of our broken domestic drug manufacturing market, 90% of our propofol is produced in Europe. EU sanctions would have stopped propofol shipment to the U.S. and left physicians without this critical drug."

Dr. Zivot appears to miss the ethical problem.

I, completely, agree with Dr. Zivot, that the manufacturer and the EU would have stopped all exports of the drug, to the US, which would have put millions of innocent patients at risk, even though the manufacturer and the EU both, well know, as with Hospira and sodium thiopental, that withholding the drug would not stop the executions and, only, harm patients, a threat they would have carried out, as detailed (1).

That's their moral compass. Save one convicted murderer and put millions of innocent patients at risk (1). The opposite of "do no harm" (1).

In that propofol consideration, we have this ethical result:

The governor of Missouri, knowing that the manufacturer and the EU would not hesitate to put millions of innocent patients at risk,  removed propofol from the execution group, to spare those patients (1).

The governor, unhesitatingly, chose to spare the patients (1).

The EU and the manufacturer, unhesitatingly, would have chosen to sacrifice innocent patients (1), as Dr. Zivot, correctly, finds.

Dr. Zivot: "Most recently, Florida reported the use of midazolam, another essential medication, in an execution. Midazolam is in the class referred to as a benzodiazepine. 

These drugs replaced barbiturates, to a degree, because they were safer. That is, it is harder to kill someone with them. How Florida granted itself expertise in the use of midazolam, now repurposed as a chemical used to kill, is known only to Florida."

Florida has  access to anesthesiologists and pharmacologists. Is Dr. Zivot unaware? 


Dr. Zivot: "From an ethical perspective, I cannot make the case that a medicine in short supply (midazolam) should preferentially be used to kill rather than to heal."

Nor can I.

I could not find that both midazolam and its substitute, propofol, were both in short supply at the time of Dr. Zivot's article. I have little doubt they could have been, but will depend upon Dr. Zivot, for some confirmation.

Drug shortages are the norm and are a combination of some or all of low profits, high liability, medical personnel misusing drugs, causing huge judgments, bad management control, by the FDA, medical partners and manufacturers, as detailed (3), with this article reviewing those problems, all of which are caused by those in the medical profession (3), government and private.

Currently (2017-2018), I could not find FDA confirmation of a midazolam shortage or a shortage of its substitute, propofol (4).

Midazolam, very likely, would never have been used in more than 10 executions per year, less than one per month. How much midazolam is wasted or misused, every year, by those in the medical professions? Most likely, medical professions waste huge multiples of what would be used in executions. I doubt anyone would question that. Doc, any ethical perspective on that?

Dr. Zivot: "What appears as humane is theater alone."

Dr. Zivot, take a bow. The theatrics are all yours.

I agree with Dr. Zivot that we should do away with the lethal injection method of executions. 

However, for me, it is for practical reasons, not the very weak or false medical ethical reasons, presented by Dr. Zivot (1).

Joel Zivot, M.D., is an assistant professor of anesthesiology and also the medical director of the cardio-thoracic and vascular intensive care unit at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.


2a)  Thiopental, John A. Davies, in xPharm: The Comprehensive Pharmacology Reference, 2007.

2b) Preoperative Evaluation, Premedication, and Induction of Anesthesia in A Practice of Anesthesia for Infants and Children (Fourth Edition), 2009, Elizabeth A. Ghazal, Charles J. Coté


"A comparative study of sodium thiopental and propofol in adenotonsillectomy surgery in children: MOPS score, incidence and severity of agitation", Samaneh Kouzegaran, Mohammad Hossein Moradi, Elahe Alahyari, Amir Sabertanha, Biomedical Research 2017; 28 (17): 7590-7593,

3)  US Propofol Drug Shortages: A Review of the Problem and Stakeholder Analysis, Christopher Hvisdas, PharmD Candidate, Andrea Lordan, PharmD Candidate, Laura T. Pizzi, PharmD, MPH, and Brandi N. Thoma, PharmD, American Health & Drug Benefits. 2013 May-Jun; 6(4): 171–175. PMCID: PMC4031712,

4) I believe this is the most recent list
FDA Drug Shortages, Current and Resolved Drug Shortages and Discontinuations Reported to FDA