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April 29, 2011

Notable defense of Connecicut's death penalty produced by CJLF

As detailed in this press release, the "Criminal Justice Legal Foundation has released a report examining the death penalty in Connecticut and the claims made by those proposing repeal."  Here is more from the press release:

The report, entitled “Mend It, Don’t End It,” examines the cases in which the death penalty has been imposed in the state. All the defendants were clearly guilty, and all the homicides were clearly aggravated.  There are no cases where the prosecution’s case for guilt rested on the kinds of evidence that have produced erroneous convictions in other states.

The report also addresses claims that death penalty prosecutions in the state are racially biased and that repeal of the death penalty would result in substantial savings of tax dollars.  Both claims are found to be unsupported by solid evidence.

“Capital trials in Connecticut have been remarkably clean,” said the Foundation’s Legal Director Kent Scheidegger.  “The only real problem is the extreme and unnecessary delay in review of the cases, and that problem can be readily fixed,” he added.

Claims that the death penalty is imposed discriminatorily against black defendants are refuted by the opponents’ own studies in Connecticut, as in other states.  Claimed disparities based on the race of the victim have vanished in most studies when the legitimate factors are properly controlled.  The number of cases in Connecticut is too small to do this kind of statistical control, but there is no reason to think that Connecticut is more biased than other states in this regard.

The report notes that an accurate comparison of the expense of retaining the death penalty versus repeal should include the substantial savings when murderers plead guilty to avoid a death sentence and the high cost of providing medical care to older inmates serving life terms.  CJLF’s study showed that 19% of murder cases in death penalty states ended with a plea bargain with a life or long sentence, while only 5% of murder cases were resolved this way in states with no death penalty.

The full report, which is relatively brief and reader-friendly, is available at this link

April 29, 2011 at 12:18 PM | Permalink


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The report is scarcely "notable" for its defense of the death penalty since that is the long advocated policy of CJLF. However, as a contribution to the debate here and elsewhere, it is to be noted certainly. However, such reports deflect from, deliberately, the real question that Legislators and others in the state of Connecticut, and others, should be debating .... namely whether the death penalty can be justified in an age where many other States have long abandoned or suspended the dp, along with similar actions in most other "Western" nations and many more besides. Since public interest in the dp can only be viewed today on the grounds of extreme retribution, and as, apparently, a means of extracting confession (true or false) to avoid the death penalty (plea for LWOP), the fact that Connecticut dp practice is more or less reliable than in other states is irrelevant. Indeed, the enthusiasm for a relatively high plea rate for LWOP demonstrates even more that the death penalty itself is functionally unnecessary in Connecticut and the US today.

Posted by: peter | Apr 29, 2011 1:20:27 PM

What we'd be eating if Kent Scheidegger ran the FDA...


Posted by: Anon | Apr 29, 2011 2:03:57 PM

Anon, where do you come up with such deep and insightful arguments?

Posted by: MikeinCT | Apr 29, 2011 9:35:02 PM

Mike, these guys are so convinced of the moral rectitude of their position that they consider us the targets of snark and derision rather than argument. It's pathetic.

By the way, anon, I noticed how none of you turkeys care to explain how the Pa Supreme Court can be said to have acted unreasonably when it basically followed the Third Circuit in Zettlemoyer. How do you bozos get around Musladin?

Posted by: federalist | Apr 30, 2011 11:58:52 AM

MikeinCT --

It's not about argument. It's about going ad hominem against opposing commenters precisely when the the ad hominem launchers DON'T HAVE AN ARGUMENT. Anon is the perfect, but hardly the only, example.

If they can't analyse, they can at least spit, and, increasingly, that's what goes on here.

It's too bad, but it's one of the reasons I blog at Crime and Consequences, where ad hominem comments are extremely rare.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 1, 2011 1:52:25 PM

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