« "Correctional Control: Incarceration and supervision by state" | Main | FreedomWorks explains why GOP opposition to federal sentencing reform is "unreasonable" »

June 1, 2016

Are there really now lots more conservatives in lots of states "starting to question the cost and legality of capital punishment"?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this new short Governing article with this full headline: "The Death Penalty’s New Skeptics: In states across the country, conservatives are starting to question the cost and legality of capital punishment."  Here are excerpts from the article:

It’s a government program that is prone to error, marred by long delays and far more expensive than alternative policies.  So it may be little wonder that the death penalty keeps attracting new opposition. But it’s surprising where some of that opposition is coming from. 

Over the past decade, the death penalty has been abolished in seven states. Most of those are dominated by Democrats. But the most recent is deeply conservative Nebraska, where lawmakers overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of an abolition bill last year.  Other red states are revisiting the issue as well.   A bill to abolish the death penalty fell short by a single vote in a Kentucky House committee this year, while similar legislation actually passed the Utah Senate before failing in the House.  Last year, the Montana House killed an abolition bill on a tie vote.  A few months later, a judge there imposed a moratorium on executions, citing the difficulty of obtaining appropriate drugs for lethal injection -- an issue that has put capital punishment on hold in several states.  Litigation over delayed or botched executions compounds problems with meting out the penalty.  “Our death penalty is a joke,” Republican state Rep. Clayton Fiscus said during the debate.

The average death row inmate can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year more to house than run-of-the-mill criminals.  Prisoners who are executed can cost upward of $1 million more than those sentenced to life without possibility of parole.  “This is a program that’s so bad, the left and right can actually agree on it,” says Marc Hyden, a former field representative with the National Rifle Association who now works for an advocacy group called Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty....

[I]t’s indisputable that the growing corps of death penalty skeptics now includes many conservatives.  There are enough Republican legislators in Washington state ready to join with Democrats that a repeal measure there could pass, if a key committee chair would allow it to come to a vote.  “Many of us conservatives don’t trust government to launch a health-care program or fill potholes, let alone carry out life and death,” Hyden says.  “It’s the quintessential broken big-government program.”

I would not dispute that a few prominent GOP elected officials in a few states that have never had a long history of active and effective use of the death penalty may ultimately conclude (as did some in the Nebraska legislature) that it makes more sense to end rather than try to mend a rarely-applied punishment. But I do not believe any of the 17 persons who sought the GOP nomination for Prez this year had ever expressed any reservation about the death penalty either in theory or in practice.

June 1, 2016 at 05:34 PM | Permalink

Comments

Doug:

Yours is a trick question, although you may not even know it.

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP) was started by and is controlled by Equal Justice USA (EJUSA), a well know liberal anti death penalty group.

CCADP and EJUSA just repeat well known, weak anti death penalty claims and put them into a conservative suit. Fact checking destroys their claims, as always, as demonstrated:


1) Few Conservatives Embrace Anti Death Penalty Deceptions
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/11/few-conservatives-embrace-anti-death.html

"Some conservatives have morphed into anti death penalty advocates, displaying the common tendency of either blindly accepting false anti death penalty claims, with willful ignorance, or knowingly pushing deceptions, as does CCATDP, as detailed."

2) Conservatives Concerned About The Death Penalty: Just another dishonest anti death penalty group
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/11/concerned-conservatives-about-death.html

"CCATDP is but another anti death penalty group, whose claims are, easily, rebutted and which was founded and funded by a long time, well known liberal anti death penalty group, Equal Justice USA, which is supported by George Soros."

3) DEAD WRONG: (Montana) Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (MCCATDP)
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/08/conservatives-concerned-about-death.html

"Every point from the MCCATDP website (1) is false. It appears that MCCATDP has simply parroted anti death penalty frauds, with no effort at finding out if they were true. Quite irresponsible and common."

4) See Rebuttal to Ron Paul at

Few Conservatives Embrace Anti Death Penalty Deceptions
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/11/few-conservatives-embrace-anti-death.html

"(Paul) has bought into the anti death penalty frauds, without fact checking them, a common liberal problem, now infecting some libertarians and conservatives."

5) Rebuttal to Richard A. Viguerie
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/rebuttal-to-richard-vigueries-when.html

"Mr. Viguerie makes a very weak argument for repeal of the death penalty and he duplicates the many errors of those rare conservatives against the death penalty, who seem to embrace anti death penalty deceptions (1)."

Posted by: Dudley Sharp | Jun 2, 2016 3:40:35 AM

Rand Paul has been skeptical in the past:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/05/28/in-iowa-rand-paul-sticks-with-death-penalty-skepticism/

Posted by: Joe | Jun 2, 2016 9:21:46 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB