Tuesday, April 24, 2012


updated 9/2021
Murder Victims' Families Against the Death Penalty:
More Hurt for Victims' Families
Dudley Sharp, independent researcher, death penalty expert, former opponent, 832-439-2113, Houston, Texas, CV at bottom

Murder Victim's Families Against the Death Penalty (hereafter "MVFADP") are family members of murder victims who actively oppose the death penalty and are seeking its repeal (1).

I oppose their efforts, which are, intentionally, divisive and hurtful for murder victim survivors who believe differently.

My contention is that all anti-death penalty arguments are either false or that the pro death penalty arguments are stronger (2). So far, MVFADP confirms those findings.

Based upon polling, about 86% of the general population supports the death penalty for truly death penalty eligible murders. Anecdotally (scientific polls are not possible), it appears 95%-99% of those who have lost loved ones to capital murder support the death penalty as a just sanction (3).

Death Penalty Support 72-86% depending upon question (8/2021)
New Evidence of Broad Support for Death Penalty | RealClearPolicy
Joseph M. Bessette & J. Andrew Sinclair, RealClearPolicy August 16, 2021 https://www.realclearpolicy.com/2021/08/16/new_evidence_of_broad_support_for_death_penalty_790059.html#! 
This study reflects well known polls, for the last 15 years, proving much higher death penalty support than by the oft quoted, much less accurate Gallup.

For example, of the 2000 or so folks who lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombing case, I am aware of only one that opposes and actively fights the death penalty. How many of the 30,000 or so of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 spoke out against the death of Osama Bin Laden or against a death penalty for any surviving planners of it (2)?

The MVFADP, a vast minority, are attempting to stop justice for the vast majority. I suspect the majority of MVFADP members are not survivors of crimes which are death penalty eligible (1).

Instead of being divisive and hurtful, why can't MVFADP just say, "we oppose the death penalty, but respect your right to support the death penalty in your case."? MVFADP won't support other victims in that fashion because their sole goal is to get rid of the death penalty, not helping any victims who feel differently but, in fact, working against them.

Instead, the MVFADP are, actively, seeking to deny that right to those who find the death penalty just. Thus, the MVFADP are, intentionally hurtful and divisive, when they need not be.

The MVFADP claims that the death penalty makes some murder victims more or less valuable than others, by the degree of punishment.

As with all states, there are many different legal levels of criminal homicide (non negligent, involuntary, etc. . . . all the way to felony or capital murders) with sanctions ranging from probation to the death penalty.

The MVFADP has had no discussions about consolidating all criminal homicides into one category with one sanction. 

That, by itself, shows how cynical and dishonest this MVFADP claim is.

Obviously, without the death penalty, those who would have, otherwise, received the death penalty, would, now, receive LWOP. Are these MVFADP then going to argue against LWOP, based upon that same foundation?

Of course not. They are just misusing their "some murder victims more or less valuable than others" talking point, utilizing their victim status in a cynical and dishonest manner.

Sanctions are based upon the degree of harm and the available evidence.

The MVFADP complains about the length and cost of death penalty appeals and how that injures, even more.

Such delay and cost are the result of anti-death penalty legislators and other activists, who have prevented reasonable reforms. Again, the MVFADP, now, joins those causing additional pain and cost.

The Virginia protocol allows for executions in 7.1 years, on average, with 72% of those so sentenced being executed. Such a protocol would cost less than LWOP.

As this protocol will result in both less pain and less cost, why doesn't MVFADP support such reforms.

Solely because the MVFADP is involved in a dishonest effort. It is neither costs nor pain they are trying to relieve, but the goal of making sure that all murderers live, no matter the cost. As we see, both above and below, their efforts are causing more pain and cost.

The MVFADP complain that murderers become celebrities. Who makes them celebrities? Anti-death penalty activists. Many murderers become celebrities without the death penalty being present. Stop doing it.

The death penalty allows for a plea bargain to a life sentence, preventing a trial, saving money, saving some such family members a trial and giving the option of such plea bargains having a sentence without parole - a plea option which goes away when there is no death penalty. Such a plea also saves huge amounts of money over having a LWOP trial.

Thus, the MVFADP efforts, if successful, will increase both costs and pain.

The MVFADP states the death penalty is not a deterrent. Anyone who has considered deterrence is aware that all prospects of a negative outcome deter some. It is a truism. It is impossible, by truth and reason, to say "The death penalty deters none." The only question is "How much does it deter?" There are 28 studies finding for deterrence since 2000 (3), all of which disagree as to the degree of deterrence.

The death penalty is a greater protector of innocent lives, in at least three ways (3).

Therefore, the MVFADP is asking to spare all murderers lives at the cost of sacrificing more innocents.

The strongest argument for the death penalty? Justice, the foundation of support for all sanctions.

Let's direct our attention where it belongs, against those anti death penalty obstructionists, and create a just, responsible death penalty system that honors justice and stops the additional and preventable re victimization, caused by death penalty opponents, now joined by MVFADP.

1) Some of these anti-death penalty victim groups cannot tell the moral differences between crime and punishment, guilty murderer and innocent victims and, therefore, their memberships have included and may still include family members whose loved ones were executed, calling them murder victim survivors - they equate innocent murder victims with guilty murderers who have been executed. Appalling.

2)  The Death Penalty: Justice & Saving More Innocents

3) Poll: Death Penalty
updated 9/29/2021

4)    a. The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Live

Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims