To: Colorado General Assembly
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
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.
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.
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:
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).
From my 20 years experience - Daily Camera will not give a damn.
I hope that others do.
1) The Death Penalty: HOW MEDIA MURDERS THE TRUTH https://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2015/09/courts-states-put-death-penalty-on-life.html
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
JUDGES AS JACKASSES; THE DEATH PENALTY https://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2016/11/judges-as-jackasses_4.html
4) OF COURSE THE DEATH PENALTY DETERS: A review of the debateand
MURDERERS MUCH PREFER LIFE OVER EXECUTION
99.7% of murderers tell us "Give me life, not execution"
b) DETERRENCE, THE DEATH PENALTY & MURDER RATES
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 https://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/07/deterrence-and-death-penalty-reply-to.html
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, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B21TrpBx507cSktYUk9XaXg1WFRFSE4wZU5oVHI1VmZyUEFz/view
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, https://www.aclu.org/americas-expense-mass-incarceration-elderly
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)
14) REASSESSING TRENDS IN BLACK VIOLENT CRIME, 1980.2008: SORTING OUT THE "HISPANIC EFFECT" IN UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS ARRESTS, NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEY OFFENDER ESTIMATES, AND U.S. PRISONER COUNTS, See pages 208-209, FN 5, DARRELL STEFFENSMEIER, BEN FELDMEYER, CASEY T. HARRIS, JEFFERY T. ULMER, Criminology, Volume 49, Issue 1, Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2010.00222.x/
15) 86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
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", the "Exonerated" and Death Row:
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