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January 13, 2014

A few 2014 headlines reflecting the state of, and debates over, the death penalty

I have not done too many death penalty posts lately because the subject (and the usual comments it generates) often gets tiresome for me, and lots and lots of other coverage is always provided by the MSM and new media outlet. But because I will be starting a death penalty until in my Sentencing Law course later this month, I have been reading more carefully my news feed on the topic lately.  And here are a few recent reports and commentary pieces that may serve as a bit of a summary of some capital punishment topics making the papers in early 2014:

January 13, 2014 at 01:16 PM | Permalink


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"But because I will be starting a death penalty until in my Sentencing Law course later this month..."

Gads, Doug, I'm beyond distressed to hear that you'll be starting a death penalty. Where can I contribute to your defense fund?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 13, 2014 1:49:30 PM

Potential jurors in death penalty case hear protests from victim's dad

Bob Autobee just gets more odd.

He says "(District Attorney) G. Brauchler, Killing Montour will not fix the mess we call the Colorado DOC, but the money you save by not killing him could help other officers and inmates from being killed."

The purpose of seeking death, as with all sanctions, is justice, with the major additional effect that Montour would not be able to harm, again, a pretty big deal, as giving Montour a prior life sentence, obviously allowed him to murder, again - Bob's 23 year old son Eric, a prison employee. My condolences.

Montour tortured/murdered his 11 month old daughter, Tyler, by breaking nearly every bone in her body. He received a life sentence for that.

While serving that sentence, Montour murdered Eric, just to gain more cred with his fellow prisoners.

Bob was, orginally, for the death penalty for his son's murder, but changed positions after being frustrated with the irresponsible death penalty system in Co. All Bob is, now, doing is giving into those irresponsible forces, primarily the judges, that make the death penalty system so pathetic in Co. Montour's original death sentence, for the murder of Eric, was overturned.

Odd that Bob is only protesting Brauchler, who is seeking justice and more protection for prison employees, while Bob is seeking a life sentence for Montour, the same sentence he had when he murdered Eric, making Eric's murder a freebie and, of course, putting more prison guards, as all others, at risk from Montour, again.

Montour has also wanted his own wife to be murdered, which he also planned from prison.

The trial judge stated that he had no doubts that Montour was capable of murdering, again. You think?

If Montour had true remorse, he would have accepted his death sentence, waived appeals, as legally possible, and accepted his own execution.

Instead, Montour is fighting for no additional sanctions, showing us the level of his remorse.

It appears that Bob never mentioned that Eric would be against the death penalty, until after Bob's anti death penalty activism began.

Bob's main theme has been the high cost and inefficiency of the death penalty

If Bob's protest is the death penalty system, which he says it is, why isn't he protesting that and asking for reform?

Odd indeed.

Those problems are not the death penalty's fault, but the fault of the case administrators, the judges.

For example, Virginia executes within 7.1 years, on average, after sentencing and has executed 70% of their death row inmates (110 murderers), since 1976.

Obviously, Co can have both a more efficient death penalty and also provide better management at DOC.

Bob Autobee, as everyone else, knows it.

Even more strange, Bob Autobee is saying that Montour is not responsible for Eric's murder, but that DOC is (1). DOC may have some moral or legal culpability, but it was Montour that chose to murder your son, who would still be alive today, absent Montour.

1) Father protests death penalty for man who killed his son, Michelle San Miguel, Pueblo Reporter/Telemundo Anchor, KRDO, 1/9/14

Posted by: Dudley Sharp | Jan 14, 2014 2:52:42 PM


I hope you will correct this in your class.

From your article, above, The Boston Bar Assn wrote this:

"The bar association’s research found that the chances that a defendant would face the death penalty were 4.3 times higher if the victim was white than if the victim was black."

This is based upon SCOTUS's misinterpretation of the case data in McCleskey v Kemp.

It was by odds of 4.3 to 1, or an odds multiplier of 4.3 - NOT 4.3 times.

I can't believe law schools, bar assn and judges keep making this mistake.

The HUGE problem here is that the SCTUS error - 4.3 times - represents a 330% difference, while a 4.3 odds multiplier can mean a differnce as low as 3-4%, depending on the exact data.

These two articles, below, give a good explanation of some core problem with David Baldus, in the McCleskey case and another of his reviews.

I am unaware of Baldus making any efforts to correct these many misconceptions, over the many years that he should have. Despicable. I debated Baldus on these issues.

A) "The Math Behind Race, Crime and Sentencing Statistics"
By John Allen Paulos, Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1998

B) See “The Odds of Execution” within “How numbers are tricking you”, by Arnold Barnett, MIT Technology Review October, 1994

Posted by: Dudley Sharp | Jan 14, 2014 3:08:54 PM

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