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John Lott: Death as Deterrent
foxnews.com ^ | June 20, 2007 | John Lott

Posted on 06/20/2007 9:23:38 AM PDT by neverdem

Capital punishment clearly increases the risk to criminals of engaging in various crimes, especially murder. But does this increased risk affect criminals’ behavior? Last week the academic debate erupted in the media with an Associated Press article headlined "Studies: Death Penalty Discourages Crime,” but even this recognition downplays the general consensus on the findings.

The media is a bit Johnny-come-lately in recognizing all the research that has been done on the death penalty over the last decade, with nine of the 12 refereed academic studies by economists finding that the death penalty saves lives.

Some academics are yet to be convinced and argue that the risk of a criminal being executed for murder is so remote that, “It is hard to believe that fear of execution would be a driving force in a rational criminal’s calculus in modern America.”

Yet, before trying to answer whether this risk to criminals is significant, let’s first consider how another group that faces similar dangers reacts to the risk of death.

Academics classify being a police officer as an “extremely dangerous” job. In 2005, 55 police officers were murdered on the job, while another 67 were accidentally killed. With nearly 700,000 full-time, sworn law enforcement officers in the United States, the murder rate of police officers comes to 1 in 12,500, a ratio that jumps to 1 in 5,600 when we include accidental deaths.

Police officers undertake a variety of measures to reduce the dangers: They wear bullet-proof vests, develop special procedures for approaching stopped cars and in some situations officers wait for backup even when this increases the probability that a suspect will escape.

These dangers also create strain on officers’ marriages, contributing to a divorce rate that is twice that of the general population.

Officers undertake all these measures as a natural...

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: banglist; capitalpunishment; johnlott

1 posted on 06/20/2007 9:23:40 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Whether it is a deterent or not is debateable, but it does eliminate repeat offenders.


2 posted on 06/20/2007 9:25:49 AM PDT by BuffaloJack
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To: BuffaloJack

There is no evidence that any executed prisoner ever killed again.

The problem with the death penalty is that it is put off too long.

A prisoner found guilty should get an appeal in 6 months and the day after the 2nd conviction gets his/her lights put out.


3 posted on 06/20/2007 9:39:29 AM PDT by sgtbono2002 (http://www.imwithfred.com/index.aspx)
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To: neverdem

Two words - Kenneth McDuff


4 posted on 06/20/2007 9:40:57 AM PDT by The Lumster (USA - where the innocent have nothing to fear!)
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To: BuffaloJack
Far as I’m concerned any deterrence effect it has is of secondary importance. It’s not called ‘capital deterrence’ but rather ‘capital PUNISHMENT.” As long as it’s seen as a punishment then it’s doing its job as far as I’m concerned. Any deterrent effect it might have is pure serendipity!
5 posted on 06/20/2007 9:41:57 AM PDT by jwparkerjr
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To: BuffaloJack
Far as I’m concerned any deterrence effect it has is of secondary importance. It’s not called ‘capital deterrence’ but rather ‘capital PUNISHMENT.” As long as it’s seen as a punishment then it’s doing its job as far as I’m concerned. Any deterrent effect it might have is pure serendipity!
6 posted on 06/20/2007 9:44:10 AM PDT by jwparkerjr
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To: neverdem

I’m always amazed at the number of conservative who entrust the government with the power to kill.


7 posted on 06/20/2007 9:50:05 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: neverdem

Insightful post. Thanks.


8 posted on 06/20/2007 9:59:50 AM PDT by GOPJ (MSM's dumped inner city unemployment stories - Immigration bill conflicts and all....)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

boy, you’re out to just start something with someone on every thread you post to, aren’t you? LOL.


9 posted on 06/20/2007 10:02:40 AM PDT by Andonius_99 (There are two sides to every issue. One is right, the other is wrong; but the middle is always evil.)
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To: neverdem
I've always considered the deterrance arguement to be a diversion, wasted energy. I don't think anyone can really prove whether the announced execution of some killer will cause others to re-think their actions. How do we know how many potential murder schemes were jettisoned by the plotter when he realized his own potential fate?

Now, whether a career criminal will rethink his potential crime.... I don't know. But I'd imagine once he's committed a murder, he'll have an attitude of 'they can only execute me once', and deterrance doesn't apply.

So, for criminals with nothing left to lose, it doesn't matter. For potential criminals... it may make all the difference.

10 posted on 06/20/2007 10:06:37 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: neverdem

Some years ago in an Italian neighborhood in New York a nun was raped and murdered. The perpetrator remained at large for a couple of weeks with dwindling hope of his apprehension. It was then reported that some organized crime figures were also on the trail. The murderer then turned himself in to the police rather than face the sure prospect of being executed by the Mob.


11 posted on 06/20/2007 10:23:46 AM PDT by Inwoodian
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To: neverdem
I was living in California in the 70's and my family was in law enforcement when the state struck down the death penalty.

Just in the jails alone, in the previous 12 years or so, 2 prison guards had been killed. In the first year after no death penalty, 12 were killed. And that was just in the prisons.the attitude seemed to be, if you are already a lifer, what's the penalty for killing a guard? Another life term?

I understand, a bit, why people think society shouldn't "kill" the killers - shouldn't take a life. It's a hard question, but the only question to be answered, after the reality of no deterrent to the killers, i.e, People ARE going to die - either the killers or more innocent people. So who's lives should be spared?

Californina got the message - and reinstated the death penalty

12 posted on 06/20/2007 10:28:53 AM PDT by maine-iac7 ( "...but you can't fool all of the people all the time." LINCOLN)
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To: theDentist

“I’ve always considered the deterrence argument to be a diversion, wasted energy.”

Here Here! The absolute best deterrent to crime is an armed citizen. Once it becomes known that easy targets may not be so easy, the bad-lads tend to move elsewhere.


13 posted on 06/20/2007 10:53:40 AM PDT by petro45acp (SUPPORT/BE YOUR LOCAL SHEEPDOG! "On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs" By David Grossman)
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To: Andonius_99

If I didn’t like to argue...why would I hang out on internet forums? ;)

This time, however, I’m serious. The death penalty leaves zero room for error. What person, let alone conservative, in their right mind trusts the government (any level, any branch) to be 100% accurate in anything?


14 posted on 06/20/2007 11:12:38 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
"I’m always amazed at the number of conservative who entrust the government with the power to kill."

They don't. They entrust THEMSELVES with the "power to kill". You obviously don't understand the concept of "trial by jury". No entity of American government, in and of itself, has EVER been entrusted with said power.

15 posted on 06/20/2007 11:40:53 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: Wonder Warthog

But the jury doesn’t determine the sentence - only the verdict. So, government is still being given the power to kill.


16 posted on 06/20/2007 11:45:37 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
"But the jury doesn’t determine the sentence - only the verdict. But the jury doesn’t determine the sentence - only the verdict. So, government is still being given the power to kill."

And you think the jury members aren't aware that the sentence could be death?? I'm OK with it.

17 posted on 06/20/2007 12:33:26 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what the jury of peers is supposed to prevent? The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of said crime. Reasonable doubt, however, has been abused by many defense lawyers that speak in half-truths and muddy logic and expect the jury to follow. What we end up with is innocent people being punished and guilty people getting off.


18 posted on 06/20/2007 12:34:03 PM PDT by Andonius_99 (There are two sides to every issue. One is right, the other is wrong; but the middle is always evil.)
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To: Inwoodian
The murderer then turned himself in to the police rather than face the sure prospect of being executed by the Mob.

I imagine "execution" would be putting it mildly.

19 posted on 06/20/2007 2:46:53 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: neverdem

“Don’t do that or we’ll kill you.” Seems like it would work for me...

Love that John Lott research.


20 posted on 06/20/2007 11:25:34 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.)
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

I’m always amazed at the number of conservative who entrust the government with the power to kill.


It may be a government employee, but he is acting on instructions issued by 12 citizens.


21 posted on 06/21/2007 7:47:49 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney (...and another "Constitution-bot"))
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
“But the jury doesn’t determine the sentence - only the verdict. So, government is still being given the power to kill.”

I believe that in most states the jury would convict on first degree murder. Then the jury goes into the penalty phase of the trial and after that part is over, they vote for either a life sentence or execution. That being the case, you are wrong. The jury does decide if he gets executed. The only part the government plays in this scenario is carrying out the sentence. I agree about one thing, many times they are doing a poor job of carrying out that sentence. Mummiah Jamal (whatever the heck his name is) is still on death row here in Pa. It's been something like 20 years now.

Also, potential jurors are asked before trial if they can convict someone of the death penalty. In fact, the Supreme Court just ruled on this very subject making it easier to toss potential jurors who do not properly answer questions about if they could convict someone of the death penatly. The case was Uttecht v. Brown.

22 posted on 06/22/2007 4:42:08 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
I’m always amazed at the number of conservative who entrust the government with the power to kill.

Maybe you think that only abortionists should have the power to kill?

Just about everybody already has the raw power to kill other human beings. The question is whether the killing is just or unjust.

The state has been delegated not only the power, but the authority and attendant duty to punish those who commit murder and other crimes. The state does not have authority to punish the innocent. If in those cases of offenses worthy of death the state refuses to execute the guilty it commits injustice itself, and thus fails in its primary duty. If that is your prescription, what you will end up with in the long run is a government that punishes the innocent and lets the guilty go free.

Cordially,

23 posted on 06/22/2007 6:07:35 AM PDT by Diamond
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To: Wonder Warthog; Andonius_99; Beelzebubba; Old Teufel Hunden

You all are right that a jury makes the decision whether to convict. But based on what? Who is responsible for conducting a fair trial? Many DA’s are not above bending the rules to win, and many judges don’t stop them. Furthermore, the jurors can still be wrong. Ever hear of a “stacked jury”? Bottom line is, there are far too many things that can go wrong, and there’s far too much trust put in the state to expect trials to be conducted flawlessly. Our legal system is not 100%. The death penalty is. Until our legal system is perfect (i.e. never), we should not use the death penalty.


24 posted on 06/22/2007 6:30:51 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: Diamond
The state does not have authority to punish the innocent.

The state also has the primary responsibilty for determining who the innocent are. Yes, there are jurors, but who picks them? The state has the power to kill the guilty, and to determine who the guilty are. Essentially, that gives them the power to kill anyone.

If that is your prescription, what you will end up with in the long run is a government that punishes the innocent and lets the guilty go free.

How do you come up with that? First of all, we're not talking about letting people free, we're talking about whether to execute them. Secondly, I understand the concern about letting the guilty go free, but to me that's preferable than having innocent people locked up or God forbid executed. As for "punishing the innocent", most people who commit murders are not serial killers. Also, serial killers are very unlikey to wrongly be found not guilty for every single murder they've committed, given the amount of evidence to work with.
25 posted on 06/22/2007 6:49:03 AM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: neverdem

“the risk of a criminal being executed for murder is so remote that, “It is hard to believe that fear of execution would be a driving force in a rational criminal’s calculus in modern America.”

Then we just need to raise the odds of a criminal being executed for murder to the point where everyone agrees that it is a deterrent - a true win-win situation


26 posted on 06/22/2007 6:56:00 AM PDT by 3Lean
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

I’m content to limit the death penalty to cases where there is moral certitude about guilt, and no major uncertainties to be resolved by the jury. (i.e. caught on camera killing, DNA from a stranger in a rape murder with no question of consent, etc.)


27 posted on 06/22/2007 7:57:15 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney (...and another "Constitution-bot"))
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

“Who is responsible for conducting a fair trial? Many DA’s are not above bending the rules to win, and many judges don’t stop them.”

I agree that the system is not equitable. That is why I’m applauding the North Carolina bar going after Nifong. Prosecutors who are found to be doing whatever it takes to win a case and bending the rules should be punished and if they do so in a death penalty case, the punishment should be higher. To me, that is taking part in a murder.

Our system is not perfect and never will be (as you noted) however we need to continually work to make it that way. We need to hold our prosecutors and judges to the fire whenever possible. This is where the press (imho) has fallen down on the job. It is their duty to expose scumbags that wear robes or prosecute criminals.


28 posted on 06/22/2007 8:21:04 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian
Until our legal system is perfect (i.e. never), we should not use the death penalty.

Then those who deserve death will not be punished as they ought, which is injustice. To deliberately promote injustice because of a tiny minority of unjust mistakes is insane and self-defeating. It is national suicide.

Is the problem that you just have difficulty accepting that the death penalty is the just and proportionate punishment for stealing the life of another person?

Cordially,

29 posted on 06/22/2007 9:41:46 AM PDT by Diamond
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

I think we’re more or less on the same page. I don’t think we should give up on the legal system, and we should hold people to the fire when possible. However, most cases don’t make the news like the Duke rape case - people never know about them, and never care about them. The press goes with whatever sells, so if they can make a juicy story out of it, they’ll cover it.


30 posted on 06/22/2007 12:13:35 PM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: Diamond

I personally would rather have a thousand guilty people free than one innocent person executed. That’s unforgivable in my book. If I could somehow be 100% sure, I might consider it appropriate.


31 posted on 06/22/2007 12:18:06 PM PDT by MinnesotaLibertarian
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To: neverdem

http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1293237.html

South Dakota first execution in 60 years to occur this week.

The prisoner wants to die; from what the story says and did not appeal.

It’s been a long two days, I don’t always know what should be posted as separate if anyone cares too.


32 posted on 07/09/2007 9:44:20 PM PDT by RGPII
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To: MinnesotaLibertarian

http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1293237.html

How interesting that South Dakota’s first execution in 60 years is to a prisoner who pleaded guilty to the crime; and “Page has declined to make further appeals and has said that he wants to die.”


33 posted on 07/09/2007 9:50:47 PM PDT by RGPII
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To: RGPII

Thanks for the link.


34 posted on 07/09/2007 9:58:39 PM PDT by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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