Sunday, October 27, 2013


updated 3/2023

A Review of All Innocence Issues
Dudley Sharp, independent researcher, death penalty expert, 832-439-2113, 
CV at bottom

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.” ( Does Death Penalty Save Lives? A New Debate, by Adam Liptak, NY Times, NOV. 18, 2007)

"(Becker) is the most important social scientist in the past 50 years (1964-2014) (The New York Times May 5, 2014). Becker was an economist, sociologist and empiricist at the U of Chicago.

There are two primary, conflicting views on innocents and the death penalty.

The pro death penalty view, that, in addition to justice, saving innocent lives is a benefit of the death penalty/executions. 

The anti-death penalty view, that, even if just, the sanction should be ended, if there is only the prospect of an innocent executed.

Anti-death penalty folks do not call for any other or all government, social or ngo's to end, when many innocents are killed. 


The death penalty/executions protect innocents, in three ways, better than does life without parole (LWOP): enhanced due process, enhanced incapacitation and enhanced deterrence:
a) Enhanced due process - No knowledgeable party disputes that the death penalty has the greatest of due process protections (1), what the US Supreme Court has called "super due process", meaning that actual innocents sentenced to LWOP are more likely to die as innocents in prison, than are innocents likely to be executed. Even many death penalty opponents, publicly, agree. It is not, factually, disputed.
As some death penalty opponents, now, argue that LWOP is more cruel than execution, this takes on greater importance, as their position is to support 1) the more cruel sanction, LWOP, over death, and with 2) LWOP having a higher probability of sanctioning innocents with incarceration and death. Interesting and consistent. But not a surprise.
About 5000 persons die, annually, within US criminal custody. We execute about 30 murderers/yr. By numbers and lesser due process, we know that actual innocents are much more likely to die when in non death penalty custody. Obvious.
Possibly, we have proof of innocents executed, as recently as 1915.
Since 1973, we have had about 500,000 ADDITIONAL innocents murdered by those KNOWN criminals that we have allowed to harm, again - recidivist criminals.

and as rapes, robberies and other assaults are some 7 times greater than murders, such would equate to . . .

Since 1973, 3.5 million ADDITIONAL innocents raped, robbed or otherwise assaulted by those KNOWN criminals that we have allowed to harm, again - recidivist criminals.

Since 1973, for some perspective, we have had 900,000 murders and 60 million violent crimes.
It's not hard to see where the innocents are at risk, unless a fact avoiding anti-death penalty person.
b) Enhanced incapacitation - Living murderers are, infinitely, more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers - No one disagrees.
Not one executed murderer has harmed or murdered, again.
Since 1973, about 20,000 ADDITIONAL innocents have been murdered by those KNOWN murderers that we have allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers. 
It's not hard to see where the innocents are at risk, unless a fact avoiding anti-death penalty person.
c) Enhanced deterrence - All severe sanctions deter some. Never has the deterrent effect of the death penalty or any other severe sanction been negated. It can't be.

The death penalty/execution is the most severe sanction. 
Why do nearly 100% of murderers do all they can to avoid the death penalty and get life, instead? (2)  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. Rationally, indisputable.

The death penalty/executions are an enhanced deterrent over LWOP. 
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.” (Does Death Penalty Save Lives? A New Debate, by Adam Liptak, NY Times, NOV. 18, 2007)

"(Becker) is the most important social scientist in the past 50 years (1964-2014) (The New York Times May 5, 2014). Becker was an economist, sociologist and empiricist at the U of Chicago.

The only honest disputes are:

1) if the death penalty/executions are a greater deterrent than LWOP - both the evidence and reason says yes (2,3) - and
2) "How much do death penalty/executions deter?" -  a question that will never be answered to any consensus, as the soft sciences can only offer general and, often, wildly different results, often, criticized, as with the 24 studies, post 1996,  finding for US death penalty/execution deterrence of from 1-28 murders deterred by each execution (2,3).

Even with the highest 28 number, such represents a net 5% reduction in murders, a net reduction that could "vanish" within gross annual murders and murder rates, even though it still represents a very important net reduction of 924 murders per year, attributable to the deterrent effect. (based upon 33 executions/yr and 18,000 murders/yr).
As a rule, the criticism of the studies finding for deterrence are far less credible than are those studies finding for deterrence (2,3).
d) Doubting Deterrence - It is not up to death penalty supporters to prove deterrence. It is up to deterrence naysayers to prove that the death penalty/executions deter none, which death penalty opponents have never and can never establish, as all severe sanctions, all severe negative prospects and all sever negative incentives deter some, all truisms and all well known, with the death penalty being the harshest sanction, the worst negative prospect and the greatest of negative incentives.

Many anti-death penalty folks will not, rationally, consider death penalty deterrence because such means that they knowingly support sparing murderers lives, when such will cost more innocents murdered. 

As they already know that, with both enhanced due process and incapacitation, I am not sure why they cannot, rationally, see the deterrent effect. In fact, they can and accept that outcome, as detailed, below (2) ANTI DEATH PENALTY: SPARING MURDERERS, NO MATTER THE COST)

But, if reason and evidence does not prevail and you find deterrence, still, an unresolved issue, this remains:

We can risk sacrificing more innocents by ending the death penalty/executions, or
We can "risk" saving more innocents by having the death penalty/executions.

Pick your risk.

Does anyone doubt that if we removed all law enforcement, all criminal laws and all sanctions that every "crime" would escalate? Of course not, sanctions deter some. 

Historically, factually and rationally, the evidence that all severe sanctions, all severe negative prospects and all severe negative incentives deter some is overwhelming (2,3) and the evidence that any severe sanction, any severe negative outcome or any sever negative incentive deters none does not exist (2,3).

The death penalty/executions prevail over LWOP, if protecting the innocent is your concern:
(1) If the death penalty/executions do not deter, and we end death penalty/executions, both enhanced due process and enhanced incapacitation tell us we will be sacrificing more innocents;
(2) If the death penalty/executions do deter, and we fail to execute, we will be sacrificing even more innocents than in 1, just above;
(3) If the death penalty/executions do not deter and we execute, we have enhanced due process and enhanced incapacitation, thereby sparing more innocent lives;
(4) If the death penalty/executions do deter and we execute, we have all three benefits, sparing even more innocent lives than in 3, just above.
Getting rid of the death penalty/executions will sacrifice more innocents. Keeping or adding the death penalty/executions will spare more innocent lives, over LWOP (2,3).

With or without deterrence, the option is to "risk" sparing more innocent lives with the death penalty/executions or to risk sacrificing more innocents by not using the death penalty/executions.
Pro death penalty folks make that argument.


A) Sacrificing the Innocent to Spare Murderers

The latest anti-death penalty mantra is, "If just one innocent can be spared from execution, we must end the death penalty." Let's review.

1) Well known anti-death penalty scholars "(Charles) Black and (Hugo Adam) Bedau said they would favor abolishing the death penalty even if they knew that doing so would increase the homicide rate by 1,000 percent." (10).

They both chose sparing the lives of 1500 guilty murderers (executed from 1973-2018) over saving an additional 7.2 million innocent lives, taken by murder (a 1000% increase in the murders from 1973-2018).

Anti-death penalty. academic leaders make that argument.  Astounding, yet no surprise. The goal of anti-death penalty folks is making sure that all murderers live, no matter the cost.

2) Pro death penalty scholar Ernest van den Haag interviewed well known anti- death penalty activists, asking them, if it was proven that 100 innocent lives were spared per execution, via deterrence, would you still oppose the death penalty. All said yes (10).

Based upon our 1500 executions (1973-2018), those anti-death penalty folks would choose sparing the lives of 1500 guilty murderers over saving the lives of 150,000 innocents from murder.

The anti -death penalty goal is to save guilty murderers, no matter the cost, including the cost in huge numbers of additional innocents murdered, as they admit.

Anti-death penalty folks make that argument.

B) The Blatant "Innocence/Exoneration" Frauds

No known innocents have been executed in the US, within the modern death penalty era, post Gregg v Georgia (1976). There is much deception regarding innocents executed and little else (5).

No one doubts the possibility of an innocent executed. However, the facts reveal that, with the death penalty/executions, retained or enacted, that many more net lives are spared because of our use of the death penalty/execution, with many, many more net innocents will die when we allow murderers to live.

1) The Frauds of the "Innocent/Exonerated" Released from Death Row

Anti-death penalty folks constantly lie about the "innocents' or "exonerated" who were released from death row, with their newest false number now at 166 (6-8), reflecting a degree of deception, where is found up to an 83% "error" rate in such "innocence/exonerated" claims from Texas and Florida (8). It is, truly, a blatant lie rate, by death penalty opponents.

The worldwide media pushes these frauds on a daily basis. It is one of the worst journalism disasters, from either the no fact checking/vetting or fraud enabling perspective.

Based upon various reviews (6-8), we have discovered and released 25-46 actual innocents from death row, or 0.4% of those so sentenced, since 1977.  

Is there a more accurate sanction than one which has a known record of 99.6% accuracy in convicting the actually guilty and releasing the o.4% actually innocent upon appeal?

Probably not.

Somehow, the anti-death penalty folks have gotten truly, actual innocents released from 
death row, to lobby against the death penalty, using these same lies. Despicable.  Are they paying them that much? See "Witness to Innocence" organization, started by Sister Helen Prejean (11).

If they respected innocence they wouldn't lie about it and they lie, a lot.

The DPIC's lies regarding this list are numerous and ongoing, as the most basic of fact checking/vetting confirms.

2) The 4.1% "innocents" on death row nonsense (12).

This is a stark example of how bad anti-death penalty academic studies can be.

The study's foundation for the 4.1% "false conviction" rate is based upon the well known, misleading database from the anti-death penalty organization, Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) (6-8), reviewed, just above in 2B1.

3) The Fraud of False "False Confessions"

The Innocence Project Invents 250% error rate in "false confessions"? (13)

"Peter Neufeld, a co-founder of The Innocence Project, . . . did not deny Dr. Welner’s charge that The Innocence Project has falsely inflated its numbers of false confessions. Neufeld additionally revealed, in his response to Dr. Welner, that The Innocence Project also classifies cases as false confessions even when their own exonerated clients are adamant that they never confessed – because, as Neufeld asserted, “some of our clients are not reliable with what they tell us.” (13)

"Dr. Welner demonstrated how poor scientific methodology and an anti-police agenda among declared scholars in this novel area of scientific interest result in inflated perceptions of the prevalence of false confessions." (13)

These include false representations by The Innocence Project that the proportion of false confessions in wrongful conviction cases is 25 percent when that percentage is in actuality close to 10 percent.

"Dr. Welner challenged assertions of published academics such as Gisli Gudjonsson, Saul Kassin, Richard Ofshe, Richard Leo, and Steven Drizin that confirmed false confessions are “frequent,” a “small but significant minority” of confessions, and “the tip of the iceberg.”
Welner: "Objectivity does not allow forensic science the liberty of changing a threshold of ‘reliable’ to suit the argument of the moment.” (13)


We can speculate as to 1) how many more innocents may have been sent to death row, just as we may speculate as to 2) how many more innocents are at risk if we stop the death penalty/executions and allow more murderers to live, the later being a hugely more significant number than the former, based upon the known facts, below:


As anti-death penalty folks insist on getting rid of the death penalty, based upon the possibility of an innocent executed, what of these?

30/yr, on average, are executed, in the US.  

Then, we have these:

a) 5000 die/yr in US criminal custody (14).

Following the anti-death penalty mantra: "We must not incarcerate any more people, just to make sure that not one more innocent will die while incarcerated, How many of those 5000 are innocent - it is inevitable - we must ban all forms of custody, so that one innocent, or thousands, might be spared".

But, of course, the anti-death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

21, 840 more innocents were murdered by those known murderers that we allowed to murder, again, -- recidivist murderers -- since 1973 (15) - but no known innocents executed. This based upon three different recidivism studies, for three different periods (15).

Following the anti-death penalty mantra: "from 16,000 - 31,000 innocents were murdered because we allowed known murderers to murder, again - we must execute all murderers, so as not to allow murderers to murder one more innocent, again, much less allowing known murderers to murder an additional 16,000 - 31,000 innocents."

Of course, anti-death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

c) Every year, approximately 9000 known criminals, with criminal convictions and who were either released or never incarcerated, are allowed to murder (16).

Every year.

d) some 440,000 innocents have been murdered by those known criminals we have released on parole and probation, while under government supervision, and/or, were otherwise released or were criminals never incarcerated, since 1973 (17).

Following the anti-death penalty mantra: "400,000 innocents died because we allowed known criminals to murder - we must not release any criminals, to spare one more innocent and those 400,000 innocents."

But, of course, the anti-death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

d)  Studies by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 94 percent of state prisoners in 1991 had committed a violent crime or been incarcerated or on probation before. Of these prisoners, 45 percent had committed their latest crimes while free on probation or parole. When "supervised" on the streets, they inflicted at least 218,000 violent crimes, including 13,200 murders and 11,600 rapes (more than half of the rapes against children) (18).

This is just for a review of prisoners for one year, only --   1991.

Following the anti-death penalty mantra: "We must stop paroles and probations, to spare one more innocent murdered, much less the 13,200 innocents murdered and 11,600 innocents raped (more than half against children)" found from a review of prisoners incarcerated in that one year.

But, of course, the anti-death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

e) Patrick A. Langan, senior statistician at the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, calculated that tripling the prison population from 1975 to 1989 may have reduced "violent crime by 10 to 15 percent below what it would have been," thereby preventing a "conservatively estimated 390,000 murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults in 1989 alone." (18).

In that one year alone!

Following the anti-death penalty mantra: "We must incarcerate more and release no prisoners, just to protect one innocent and the future millions of innocents from harm by known criminals."

But of course, the anti-death penalty folks don't make that argument, even though it represents their mantra.

See where the innocents at risk problem really is?


"We must spare the lives of all murderers, no matter the cost, inclusive of the cost of more innocents murdered, no matter the number".

Additionally disturbing, is that death penalty opponents, now, state that LWOP is harsher than execution.

Death penalty opponents claim a desire to treat murderers more harshly, with LWOP, calling for a ban on the death penalty, which they declare a cruel and unusual punishment and a human rights violation (19) , desiring LWOP more, which, according to death penalty opponents, must be a more cruel human rights violation.

This from the "compassionate" side? They don't really believe it - it's just another lie, another tactic - "Get rid of the death penalty, be tougher with LWOP".

Capital murderers prefer LWOP 99.7% of the time over the death penalty (2). 

Death penalty opponents can't help but give murderers exactly what they want, at the expense of more innocents murdered.

600+ pro death penalty quotes from murder victim's families &
3300+ from some of the greatest thinkers in history

1) a)  Texas Death Penalty Procedures


Both the guilty & the innocent have the greatest of protections

Deterrence, Death Penalties & Executions  

3) Death Penalty Deterrence: Defended and Advanced

4)   Saving Costs with The Death Penalty

5) paragraphs numbered 1, 2, 5-15 within:

The Innocents Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy,

6)  The Blatant Fraud -  The (now) 166 "exonerated" from death row

The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) simply decided to redefine both "exonerated" and "innocent", in the same fashion as if they redefined "lie" as "truth".

Death Row, "Exonerations", Media  & Intentional Fraud
An Open Fraud in the Death Penalty Debate: How Death Penalty Opponents Lie

This is a look at how well destroyed the "EXONERATED" and/or "INNOCENTS" list is and how it has been so deceptively used by the anti death penalty movement.

8)   Florida and Texas: The 83% error rate in "exoneration" claims.


4 of the alleged 24 (now 25) "exonerated" may be innocent, as found in 2 studies, 2002 and 2001, by a Florida state agency, the Florida Commission on Capital Cases.  It is no surprise that the 24/25 "exonerated" claims comes from the deceptive DPIC.

From page 5 (2002 study) and page 7 (2011 study):

"The guilt of only four defendants was subsequently "doubted" by the prosecuting office or the Governor and Cabinet members: Freddie Lee Pitts and Wilbert Lee were pardoned by Governor Askew and the Cabinet, citing substantial doubt of their guilt, Frank Lee Smith died before the results of DNA testing excluded him as the perpetrator of the sexual assault, and the State chose not to retry James Richardson due to newly discovered evidence and the
suspicion of another perpetrator." 


The deceptive DPIC, again, claims 12 death row "exonerations" in Texas.

By Texas law, Texas has only identified one former death row inmate , Anthony Graves, as actually innocent and that, only, after Texas had to change the definition of "actual innocence, for Graves to qualify.

1 not 12. Michael Blair, although he did not qualify under that statute, is a truly actual exonerated from death row, but guilty of multiple sexual assaults on children

Both states with 83% error rates in the fraudulent "exoneration" claims.

See both within:

Death Row, "Exonerations", Media  & Intentional Fraud


The Innocents Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy,

9) Judges Responsible for Grossly Uneven Executions

10) Louis P. Pojman. "The Wisdom of Capital Punishment." p 281, Excerpted from The Death Penalty by Louis P. Pojman and J. Reiman. Copyright 1998. taken from

Review: Read the above book. A great look at both sides of the debate.

11) Sister Helen Prejean: Does Truth Matter?

12) Rate of false conviction of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death,  Samuel R. Gross, Barbara O’Brienb, Chen Huc, and Edward H. Kennedy, National Academy of Sciences

13)  "Forensic Panel Chair’s Testimony on False Confessions to NYS Justice Task Force Tackles Myths, Proposes New Solutions ", NEWS RELEASE, The Forensic Panel, Michael Welner, M.D., Chairman, JANUARY 24, 2011,

14)  Deaths in Custody Statistical Tables, Bureau of Justice Statistics, SEE 7 links on right side of page.

15) a) 3 year recidivism studies

6.6% repeat murderer recidivism rate, 1989 study of 1983 data

Recidivism Of Prisoners Released In 1983

Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., Bernard E. Shipley, Bureau of Justice Statistics
April 1, 1989    NCJ 116261

1.2% repeat murderer recidivism rate, 2002 study using 1994 data

Recidivism Of Prisoners Released In 1994
Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., David J. Levin, Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics
June 2, 2002    NCJ 193427


9 year recidivism study, 2018 study using 2005-2014 data

Violent prisoners released reoffended at at rate of 75% for additional violent crimes and 77% for all crimes. 

(last section, Table 7, page 11, 2018 UPDATE ON PRISONER RECIDIVISM: A 9-YEAR FOLLOW-UP PERIOD (2005-2014) | MAY 2018, Buraeu of Justice Statistics, 

11 yrs (73-83)  at 6.6 equals 72.6

35 yrs (84-2018) at 1.3 equals  45.5, using only a 10% increase, total, for an additional 35 years of recidivism.
resulting in an average of 2.6% recidivism rate for repeat murderers for 46 years or 21, 840 additional murders


Why the recidivism rates should be higher:

Both of the studies which include murderer recidivism rates only looked at recidivism for 3 years after release. We are concerned with recidivism for 45 years and less, years 1973-2018, as the modern era of new death penalty statutes began in 1973. Recidivism rates will be higher if released prisoners were tracked for the additional 4 years to 45 years, as the 9 year study (above) shows and reason dictates, as opposed to only 3 years. 

Why the recidivism rates should be lower:

The dramatic reduction in recidivism between the two  3 year studies reflects a dramatic increase in sentencing terms and incarceration rates, which amounted to lower rates of early release
and thus recidivism, with other contributing factors as well.

That will be countered by the increased recidivism rates from the 10+ years studies, just as with the 9 year period data, whereby recidivism rates will only get higher, as proven, looking at repeat murderer recidivism for the additional 4-44 years, which is what I am looking at.


EXACT NUMBERS: Based upon convictions, 8.4% of those
on death row had murdered, at least one person, prior to committing additional murder or murders which put them on death row --an estimated 600-1000 additional innocents murdered, by those who had murdered before, just for that small set that have made it to death row.

Table 8. Criminal history profile of prisoners under sentence of death by race and Hispanic origin, 2005", p 6, Capital Punishment, 2005, Bureau of Justice Statistics,

2005 was the last year of this analysis

16) I am estimating 18,000 murders per year (1973-2018), therefore approx. 9000 murderers/ year with prior convictions

a) 53% of murderers had a prior conviction record.
b) Median prison sentences received included a maximum of 240 months for murder, 120 months for rape, 60  months for robbery, and 48 months for other violent felonies. 20 YEAR MEDIAN SENTENCE FOR MURDER  --  20 years.

a and b from

State Court Processing Statistics, 1990-2002, Violent Felons in Large Urban Counties,Special Report, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice,  July 2006, NCJ 205289,

17)  "Sixty-seven percent of murderers . . . had (a prior) arrest record . . ."  " . . . with 56% of violent felons (having) a prior conviction record.", for 12 years of data.

From 1973-2018, using only a 53% prior record (16a), this would mean that known criminals, released on parole, probation, release pending disposition and other releases and those not incarcerated, have murdered approximately 440,000 persons, after they were released.

Calculation; An average of 18,000 murders per year (1973-2018) times 46 years times 53% (16a). I suspect the count of "non violent: offenders would raise that number to at least 400,000, based upon there being far more "non violent" offenders being released.

1) See Highlights, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, State Court Processing Statistics, 1990-2002

Violent Felons in Large Urban Counties, July 2006, NCJ 205289.


The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents

Additional research,w/sources, w/fact checking/vetting & critical thinking, as required of everyone.  
1) The Death Penalty: Justice & Saving More Innocents
Students, Academics & Journalists: Death Penalty Research
Partial CV