"If we design a legal system that will be so generous
to the suspect that there is absolutely no possibility of unjustly convicting
that one out of ten thousand defendants who, in spite of overwhelming
evidence, is really innocent, then we have also designed a legal system that
is utterly incapable of convicting the other 9999 about whose guilt there is
-- G. Edward Griffin in The Great Prison Break
Responses to "A
Broken System" by James Liebman
A Prosecutor Speaks
Defending the Defenseless - There's a reason these people are in prison
In this land of the Stars and Stripes
we find a bid to create stars of the fellas who used to wear stripes.
DAVE LIEZEN, Officer.com,
May 7, 2006
Death-row celebrity has direct link to Baltimore's ills
What Tookie Williams is really
teaching the youth of America is that it's honorable to dummy up when
they have knowledge of a crime. If he's executed, is that really the
legacy Williams wants to take to his grave?
GREGORY KANE, Baltimore Sun, December 10, 2005
The crime, not his race, put Baker on death row
Wesley Baker is on death row today for
the actions of Wesley Baker. "Racial disparity" had nothing to do with
GREGORY KANE, Baltimore Sun, December 3, 2005
When Murderers Die
A society that sentences killers to
nothing worse than prison -- no matter how depraved the killing or how
innocent the victim -- is a society that doesn't *really* think murder
is so terrible.
JEFF JACOBY, September 28, 2003
The fallacy that
innocent people are being executed cannot be validated.
MICHAEL NEVIN, American Daily, Mary 8, 2003
Death Penalty is a Deterrent
Capital punishment gives killers good cause to fear
arrest and conviction.
NY GOVERNOR GEORGE PATAKI, USA Today, March, 1997
A cruel penalty for victims
Death penalty opponents who twist the
truth to protect killers are also torturing victims' families.
PETER BRONSON, Cincinnati Enquirer, February 3, 2003
To murder victims' families, executing killers is justice
The pain of homicide victims' relatives never ends. It
chips away at their souls and psyches year after depressing year.
GREGORY KANE, Baltimore Sun, February 5, 2003
Ten Anti-Death Penalty Fallacies
The case against capital punishment
relies on myth, misinformation, and misplaced emotionalism.
THOMAS R. EDDLEM, The New American,
June 3, 2002
The IQ Exemption
Many of the same people who have been telling us for
years that IQ and other mental test scores are not really valid, when it
comes to determining people's "real" ability to do academic work, have now
turned around 180 degrees and made a low IQ score an exemption from paying
the price for killing a fellow human being.
THOMAS SOWELL, Washington Times, February 28, 2002
Justice - Anything to save a killer
Just hours before his execution, federal judges bent
the rules to give John Byrd one more chance. The overtime appeal
turned into a circus of lying convicts, unethical lawyers, hidden evidence
and a lurid deal to swap sex for false testimony. Judge Danny Boggs
called the delay "procedurally virtually criminal," and said the
pretext was "simply a lie." The majority went outside the law,
he wrote: ". . . this court would grant a stay based on a hot dog
PETER BRONSON, December 3, 2001
Mental Retardation and
the Death Penalty
Mental capability is one of the many
issues that a jury might consider when establishing mitigation which may
dictate a sentence less than death. Quite simply, only mentally competent
capital murderers can face either execution or life in prison.
DUDLEY SHARP, October 18, 2001
At Long Last, Sir, A Sense of Decency
A response to an editorial in which Bob Herbert defends a
murderer in the name of the race card. "His mission clear, Mr. Herbert
proceeded to lionize one Napoleon Beazley, a convicted murderer."
R. TED CRUZ, National Review, August 15, 2001
row inmate is hardly a victim
about death penalty in U.S.: Europeans, butt out
Let's round up all our
folks on death row and ship them overseas. There must be some government
somewhere willing to take them. After all, so many of them are willing to
preach to us about how we awful Americans still have the death penalty.
GREGORY KANE, August 12, 2001
Row: Button up your shirt to the top, get those coke bottle glasses on the
internet, you know, the ones with the black frames, and get a dorky
haircut from Officer Bob. Retardation is in. In the continuing
battleground over the death penalty, the ability to appear retarded has
emerged as the most powerful weapon in the new psychiatric mitigation
DR. MICHAEL WELNER,
MD - The Forensic Panel, July 23, 2001
The Color of Death - Does the death penalty discriminate?
Males between the ages of 14 and 24,
less than 8 percent of the population, commit almost half the nation’s
murders; black males of the same age, less than 1 percent of the population,
committed some 30 percent of the country’s homicides in the 1990s.
ROGER CLEGG, The New Republic, June 11, 2001
execution, not a lynching
Bud Welch is wrong to describe capital punishment as
nothing but "revenge and hatred" and wrong to imply that revenge
and hatred -- as opposed to fairness and justice -- are what drive those
who disagree with him. Welch deserves our sympathy for his daughter's
death, but he is not entitled to impugn the motives of everyone who
supports the death penalty.
JEFF JACOBY, May 2001
feeble 'arguments' against capital punishment
Those of us who favor death for murderers rely on
history, on common sense, on an instinctive sense of fairness, and on a
moral tradition stretching back to Sinai. But in our time as in all times,
there are those who would rather let evildoers get away with murder. The
debate goes on.
JEFF JACOBY, June 2001
A sure way to prevent
Life sentences too often are mere
challenges for prisoners to escape, terrify law-abiding citizens and
sometimes kill again. The death penalty's detractors cannot refute this
fact: Even the toughest criminals become remarkably docile once separated
from society by six feet of soil.
DEROY MURDOCK, senior fellow with the Atlas
Economic Research Foundation
ABA and the Death Penalty
The Unjust Logic of
It is up to the law to speak for all grief-stricken
survivors confronted with the butchery of someone near and dear. Capital
punishment says to them: We, the community, take your loss with the utmost
JEFF JACOBY, August 1998
Penalty Guards What is Valued Most
I have heard all the arguments against
capital punishment. Most are easily dismissed. There are hundreds of
good arguments for capital punishment in every state that has a death
penalty. They kill time in prison cells, waiting for a death that is
always more humane than the cruel and unusual ways they murdered innocent
men, women and children.
PETER BRONSON, International Herald Tribune
Rationality Syndrome - Statistics Fail Activists
In pursuing their ideology at the
expense of honest reporting, many journalists and political activists have
perpetuated a number of myths about the death penalty, riddling the debate
with shoddy statistics.
JAIME SNEIDER, Columbia University
penalty functions to preserve just society
- PUNISHMENT: Practice
maintains justice, equality by disposing of criminals
ANDREW JONES, UCLA
Execution Moratorium is No
Holiday for Homicides
- Politicians contemplating moratoriums may wish to
consider the possibility that a seemingly innocuous moratorium on
executions could very well come at a heavy cost.
DALE O. CLONINGER and ROBERTO MARCHESINI,
University of Houston
System is fair, just; no to a
- There have been a great many attacks against both Texas and the
United States because of our use of the death penalty for our most vile
criminals. Such attacks are unwarranted.
DUDLEY SHARP, Justice For All
Useful Tool or Magic Bullet?
DNA can be a marvelous forensic tool, but it is not a
JOSH MARQUIS, Clatsop County DA, VP Oregon District
Punishment Foes Dead Wrong
When murderers aren't executed, innocents suffer. Odds
are a killer will be released at some point. And there's a fair chance
that he or she will kill again. In fact, there's a far greater likelihood
of this then of an innocent man taking that long walk.
DON FEDER - Boston
The Death Penalty is an Affirmation of the Sanctity of Life
- In our understandable desire to be fair and to protect the rights of
offenders in our criminal justice system, let us never ignore or minimize
the rights of their victims. The death penalty is a necessary tool that
reaffirms the sanctity of human life while assuring that convicted killers
will never again prey upon others.
MICHAEL D. BRADBURY, Ventura County District Attorney
Penalty - Still Guilty
Opponents of capital punishment...ignore victims and make
martyrs of murderers. They sabotage the system at taxpayer expense, then
say executions are too costly. Defense lawyers salt the record with
deliberate mistakes, then say the killer had a lousy defense.
PETER BRONSON - Cincinnati
Myth of Fingerprints
Penalty Déjà Vu
Death penalty critics stake their
claim of bias on the fact that, while minorities make up about a third of
the general population, they make up almost three-fourths of federal death
penalty defendants. The proper comparison is not the race of the
defendants versus the general population but rather the race of those for
whom the death penalty is sought versus those who are death penalty
eligible. Here is where the arguments of death penalty opponents are
condemned to failure.
BRAD ZUBER - The National Review
Guilty as Charged
rate in U.S. is zero
- After reviewing this report, I have concluded that
Mark Twain was correct when he stated, "there are lies, damn lies and statistics."
BARBARA LA WALL - Arizona Daily Star -
Witness to an
toward death penalty gets in the way of facts
last guys 'proved innocent'
Execute a Murderer"
The Guilty Are Being Executed
- Red herrings from the anti-death-penalty squad
ROBERT PAMBIANCO, Chief Policy Counsel for the Washington Legal
"Error" Study has Errors of its Own
- No one who genuinely worries about the legal system
putting innocent people at risk can afford to waste time denouncing the
death penalty. In one 17-month period, criminals released "under
supervision" committed 13,200 murders. Why is it that the enemies of
capital punishment never have a word to say about those innocent
JEFF JACOBY, June 8, 2000
The Wrong Man?
Letter to the editor in response to The
Wrong Man, Atlantic Monthly, 11/99
DUDLEY SHARP, Justice For All
Innocence and the
- The current death penalty discussion is dominated by
considerations of the innocent sentenced to death.
Valid concern or slanted propaganda?
DUDLEY SHARP, Justice For All
of Innocence in Capital Cases
and Unusual Leniency
Who Weeps for the Blood
of the Weiler Family?
When Allen Lee Davis got a nosebleed during his
execution, it caused an uproar. Few of those crying foul even knew what he had done to deserve execution.
BOB GREENE - Chicago
July 14, 1999
& Con: The Death Penalty in Black and White
In the death penalty debate, it should be the facts, and
not the hype, that are in black and white.
DUDLEY SHARP, Justice For All - Intellectual
Capital, June 24, 1999
A much-needed reform seemed poised to hasten executions
until federal judges got their hands on it.
ANDREW PEYTON THOMAS - National
Review, May 4, 1998
Mr. Thomas, an attorney in Phoenix, is a former assistant attorney general
Running From The Truth
- The guilty and the "innocent':
An examination of alleged cases
of wrongful conviction
from false confessions
PAUL CASSELL - Harvard Journal of Law and Public
critics mask true objectives
- The anti-capital punishment faction, badly
outnumbered in modern life, basically believes nobody should be executed for
WILLIAM MURCHISON - Lone Star Report, January 8, 1999
The Place for Vengeance
- Many grieving families seek comfort and closure in the execution of the
murderer. Do they find it?
US News & World Report -
on the Death Penalty
- The Death Penalty, a Scholarly Forum
ABA Focus on Law Studies -
Away with Murder
- The evidence shows shortening the jail terms of violent criminals has
"Crimebusting Tips for Clinton," Washington Times,
Killer Lives; a Child Dies
- This Jeff Jacoby column was published on Jan.12, 1996
JEFF JACOBY, The Boston Globe,
The Death Penalty Dilemma
- The prudent use of the death penalty can emphasize, as no other
penalty can, that malefactors are responsible for their own actions and that
the deliberate, willful taking of innocent life is the most abhorrent of all
crimes precisely because the right to life is the most precious of all
CHARLES RICE, Notre Dame Law Professor, The New American,
April 4, 1994
Deserving to Die
- Capital punishment protects the innocent and properly transfers
burden of crime to the guilty.
ROBERT W. LEE, The New American, August 13, 1990
About Crime - the debate over deterrence
- Most of us are probably not very well informed about the true costs
of crime: being law-abiding, we probably imagine that the chances of being
caught are higher than in fact they are, and that the severity of the
sentence (measured in years in prison) is greater than it really is.
JAMES Q. WILSON, The Atlantic, September 1983
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