Saturday, August 27, 2011

How Many Innocents Have To Die Before We Get Honest About The Death Penalty? | Crooks and Liars

Can I get a hallelujer? From Crooks and Liars:

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We've written about how death penalty-happy Rick Perry is. But bless him, guest host Ron Reagan really narrowed down the question that we must address if we want to be honest about having a death penalty:

How many innocent people is it permissible to kill in order to exact vengeance on the guilty?

There's no easy answer for that if you're still advocating for the death penalty.

Personally, I'm against the death penalty. I've participated in protests and vigils against it. It horrifies me that we're one of the only Western nations still acting so barbarically. But besides that, the death penalty has inherent flaws:

[The application of the death penalty is often] racist, unfair to poor and the mentally retarded, and often ends in the state sanctioned murder of innocents.

Less than 1% of all murderers are condemned to death

2% of death row inmates are actually executed

Over 113 people on death row have been exonerated since 1973

68% of the death penalty convictions between 1973 - 1995 were reversed

Today more than 75 death row inmates have spent 20 years on the Row.

Capital punishment is applied to a higher percentage of minorities than whites.

It is not cost effective: Capital murder trials threaten to bankrupt townships costing taxpayers:

$2 million in legal fees to try a death penalty case, nearly 4 times higher than comparable murder trials.

The automatic appeal process costs up to $700,000 in legal fees.

$1.2 million in execution costs.

1973 -1998, Florida spent $57 million on 18 executions.

It is does not deter crime: The European Union (EU) is opposed to the death penalty in all cases and is "deeply concerned about the increasing number of executions in the United States of America (USA), all the more since the great majority of executions since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 have been carried out in the 1990s. Furthermore, in the US, young offenders who are under 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime may be sentenced to death and executed, in clear infringement of internationally recognized human rights norms." Russia and Turkey have abolished the death penalty which is condemned by the European Union and the World Court, which claimed that the U.S. violated the rights of 51 Mexicans on death rows in eight states. Despite a U.S. Supreme Court ban, Texas has continued to send mentally retarded criminals to death row. Will a Mexican immigrant's case correct this injustice? The two states with the most executions in 2003, Texas 24, and Oklahoma 14, saw increases in their murder rates from 2002 to 2003. Both states had murder rates above the national average in 2003: Texas - 6.4, and Oklahoma - 5.9. The top 13 states in terms of murder rates were all death penalty states. The murder rate of the death penalty states increased from 2002, while the rate in non-death penalty states decreased.Death Penalty Information Center

So it's ineffective as a deterrent, applied inequitably, unfairly focusing on the poor, mentally challenged and minorities, costs more than life in prison and we're basically applying the same punishment that countries we hold up as barbaric do?

What exactly is the benefit of the death penalty except for Rick Perry's bloodlust?