Friday, January 8, 2010

Neither Deterrence nor False Convictions are Valid Arguments For or Against the Death Penalty

The rate of innocence is not an argument against the death penalty. Anyone using it that way must stop using any form of transportation until the problem of accidental deaths in crashes has been "solved." We need a moratorium on cars, trucks, planes, subways, bicycling and walking. These kill 1000 times as many people as the death penalty, and 5000 times as many innocent people as the death penalty. These crashes kill 40,000 people who have committed no crime, without procedural due process, without trial. They made the mistake of driving over black ice. They are dispatched by crushing and slicing by metal edges emerging during the crash. There were over 10 times as many children executed by by vehicles, as they walked, as there were death penalties carried out.

No. The rate of innocence is being used as a pretext to abolish the death penalty. The abolitionists will use the slightest mistake or imperfection to try to shit the death penalty down. Therefore the use of the rate of innocence represents a form of bad faith. Bad faith gives moral justification to invalidate the advocate.

The rate of innocence does justify something else. Tort liability of the judge, and of the prosecutor to the defendant. If jury misconduct took place and it was not immediately reported openly, the jury should have tort liability. Let each of these careless parties carry liability insurance to cover their carelessness.


In the deterrence argument, one executes one person to scare another, and to prevent that unknown other from murdering an unknown victim. It is unclear if the typical murderer calculates the odds of getting caught, of being found guilty, and of undergoing the death penalty. It is unknown, if the death penalty can have such an effect. The death penalty has been blocked and is too rare to generate the statistical power needed to answer the question of deterrence. See the discussion on the dose-response curve.

Assume, powerful deterrence. For example, every execution saves 10 murder victims. Executing the person to have an effect on another violates the procedural due process right of the defendant to a fair hearing. His life is being taken to benefit someone completely unrelated to the crime.


Unknown said...

Constitutional due process and elementary justice both require that the judicial functions of trial and sentencing be conducted with fundamental fairness, especially where the irreversible sanction of the death penalty is involved.

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