June 5, 2007


Feministe has two posts on the Death Penalty this morning. This one chronicles how the state of Alabama refuses to provide lawyers for indigent death row inmates. And if one manages to get a petition heard, they can only get $1,000. Truly horrifying.

Or, as Feministe's other post said:
I’ll also note here that 91 percent of executions last year took place in Iran, Sudan, China, Pakistan, Iraq and the United States. And of the nine countries that execute children* (China, Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, USA and Yemen), the U.S. and Iran each executed more than the other seven combined.
Wow. That is great company, isn't it?


steve s said...

While I do think that some people deserve to die for certain heinous crimes, the death penalty is unfairly used and does not offer any deterrent. In addition, the number of people that have been exonerated on death row shows additional serious flaws. It is time to let go of this practice.

I should note that my state, Michigan, banned the death penalty in 1847, long before most countries did.

I should also note that the Supreme Court banned executions for those under 18, in Roper v. Simmons. Despite this, the system is still very harsh towards juveniles.

Tony said...

Some more information would be helpful. Are these numbers per capita or overall? I'm not trying to excuse the US and their consistency with Iran on this account (which is telling, btw) nor the atrocity of the death penalty. One execution per thousand people is certainly better than one execution per million.

VA, my state, has by far the worst execution history of any in the union. Bleak indeed.

Tony said...

You probably know what I meant, but I got it backwards. One in a million is better than one in a thousand. (Duh.)

steve s said...

According to Amnesty International, in 2006, the top 6 were as follows (# of executions):
1. China (at least 1,010)
2. Iran (177)
3. Pakistan (82)
4. Iraq (at least 65)
5. Sudan (at least 65)
6. US (53)

Streak said...

Yeah, I don't doubt that many of these other countries lack the appeals procedures or even the clemency possibilities, but we are in bad company.

I am with Steve here--I have no doubt that some people deserve it, but don't see that it gains us anything in safety, and we clearly aren't implementing it safely or in a just way. Time for us to stop playing God and just try to keep the dangerous people away from the others.

steve s said...

The deterrent argument, IMO, is especially weak. In the early 1900's a prisoner in Ohio developed several improvements for the restraints in the electric chair. When they were adopted, he was paroled. Eleven years later, he murdered someone during a robbery and was sentenced to die on the same device he improved. You would think that he would be well aware of what the death penalty is and what it would be like and yet he still murdered someone.

Tony said...

I guess in our feeble rationales, we can conclude that some might deserve it, but does that make us better? Like torture, does capital punishment make us better as a people?

steve s said...

Probably not, though there is no capitol punishment in my state. Our music is whay makes us better than everyone else. ;P

Tony said...


My question was kind of rhetorical, but hey. Maybe VA will catch up with MI. :)

ubub said...

Steve's right -- Eminem IS indeed from Detroit.


Wasp Jerky said...

Using the death penalty is also more expensive, which makes its use even more curious. The only explanation I can come up with is that we enjoy killing people.