Death Penalty. Capital punishment in America
- Death Penalty [warning Graphic photo may disturb some readers]
The Death Penalty is Murder by Appointment, according to a Timetable. One of the factors that makes life bearable for all of us is the uncertainty of the hour of our deaths. The United States today remains...
Error rates in Capital Cases
America or the United States is one of a few western democratic nations that retains the death penalty as sentencing options. Issues raised here conclude that the death penalty is seriously flawed in the American Criminal Justice system. These findings should be taken seriously,
- Reasons the Death Penalty should be abolished
First and foremost the death penalty is a barbaric act of murder. We teach our children very early on that two wrongs do not make a right. The crime of murder carries our harshest of sentences such is...
Academic 'peer reviewed' study
In a comprehensive study of capital cases conducted by 1Liebman et al asks whether the mistakes and miscarriages of justice known to have been made in individual capital case are isolated, or common? The answer provided by the study of 5,760 capital sentences and 4,578 appeals is that serious error—error substantially undermining the reliability of capital verdicts— has reached epidemic proportions throughout our death penalty system. More than two out of every three capital judgments reviewed by the courts during the 23-year study period were found to be seriously flawed.
Some of the findings of a National Study
Capital sentence Cases spend so much time under and awaiting judicial review precisely because they are so persistently and systematically fraught with alarming amounts of error.
Between 1973 and 1995, approximately 5,760 death sentences were imposed in the U.S.30 Only 313 (5.4%; one in 19) of those resulted in an execution during the period.
Of the approximately 6,700 people sentenced to die between 1973 and 1999, only 598—less than one in eleven—were executed.71 About four times as many had their capital judgments overturned or gained clemency.
Nationally, over the entire 1973-1995 period, theoverall error-rate in our capital punishment system was a whopping 68%.
Egregiously incompetent defense lawyers (accounts for 37% of the state post-conviction reversals),
Further (2) prosecutorial suppression of evidence that the defendant is innocent or does not deserve the death penalty.
82% (247 out of 301) of the capital Judgments that were reversed were replaced on retrial with a sentence less than death, or no sentence at all.
An example of error given by the researcher are thus. If what were at issue here was the fabrication of toasters (to return to our prior example), or the processing of social security claims, or the pre-takeoff inspection of commercial aircraft— or the conduct of any other private- or public-sector activity—neither the consuming and the taxpaying public, nor managers and investors, would for a moment tolerate the error-rates and attendant costs that dozens of states and the nation as a whole have tolerated in their capital punishment system for decades. Any system with this much error and expense would be halted immediately, examined, and either reformed or scrapped. The question this Report poses to taxpayers, public managers and policymakers, is whether that same response is warranted here, when what is at issue is not the content and quality of tomorrow’s breakfast, but whether society has a swift and sure response to murder, and whether thousands of men and women condemned for that crime in fact deserve to die.
1James S. Liebman, Jeffrey Fagan & Valerie West
A Broken System: Error Rates in Capital Cases, (1973-1995)
published June 12, 2000. North Western University