« Could (and should?) expanded good-time credits help reverse mass incarceration? | Main | Notable report on how one Florida case is dealing with the "uncharted territory" after Graham »

October 10, 2010

Today is "World Day Against the Death Penalty" and it is dedicated to US this year

USA, USA, USA!!  Though American golfers were unable to beat the Europeans to bring home the Ryder Cup this year, I suppose some may want to take some (perverse?) pride in the fact that the abolitionist community in Europe are "honoring" the US today by dedicating this year's "World Day Against the Death Penalty" to us.  This page from the folks at the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty explains the "honor" and its point:

On 10 October 2010, the 8th World Day Against the Death Penalty is dedicated to the USA which executed 52 people and handed down 106 death sentences in 2009.

The USA is one of the few federalist countries which give the states the power to legislate on the issue of the death penalty.  At present there are 15 abolitionist states and 35 retentionist states in the USA, although among retentionist states, 10 have not carried out any executions for at least 10 years.

In recent years, abolitionist measures have be spreading throughout the nation, which is clearly divided on the issue.  According to Amnesty International, death sentences in the USA reached a high in 1994 but have dropped over 60 percent in the past decade.  In 2009, New Mexico became the 15th state to legislatively abolish the death penalty.

It is hoped that this world day will strengthen the trend towards abolition in the USA and also the trend towards universal abolition.  It is an opportunity to publicly oppose the use of this inhuman, cruel and degrading punishment and to support those in the USA who are fighting for its abolition.

Notably, as of this writing, there have already been 41 executions in the US in 2010, with nearly a dozen more serious execution dates scheduled before the end of the year.  Consequently, it seems nearly certain that the first two years in which Barack Obama was president will each have had more US executions than either of the final two years of George W. Bush's presidency.  That factiod ought to make for a good trivia question for both death penalty proponents and opponents alike.

October 10, 2010 at 10:52 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Today is "World Day Against the Death Penalty" and it is dedicated to US this year:


Doug, when you say "more federal executions," do you mean more executions by the states? "Federal" is a funny word. It can refer to the national government or it can refer to the states as opposed to the national government. Alexander Hamilton was a federalist (i.e. favored the centralization of power). Newt Gingrich supported federalism (i.e. the devolution of power to states and localities).

As a nation there were more executions last year than the previous two years. But of course, none of those executions were "federal" executions. That is, none were pursuant to the laws of the federal government. All were pursuant to the laws of the several states.

Posted by: dm | Oct 10, 2010 12:08:50 PM

The French can be funny in their hypocrisy. When their interest is involved, they do as they please, without bothering with UN permission. They go into a country, blasting, kill everyone in their way, and settle it down in weeks. They have no lawyers restraining their warriors, no arrests or trials for ordinary war making. They like to impose their fatuous political correctness on everyone else, and exempt themselves.

What they fail to understand is that the current US system is exquisitely tuned for one task. Lawyer rent seeking. The Supreme Court had a chance to end the death penalty. In accordance with the rent seeking theory, that would have ended the $billion death penalty appellate business. They chose to continue the current system of too few, too slow executions, hobbling any of its effect on crime, but continuing its very salutary effect on lawyer jobs.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 10, 2010 12:16:05 PM

death penalty is a deterrent only in USA, not in Canada, not in Italy. It funny to see someone who believes in such fairytales.

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Oct 10, 2010 1:06:18 PM

Well, it's pretty obviously not a deterrent in Canada or Italy, since it doesn't exist there.

Posted by: Jay | Oct 10, 2010 1:29:10 PM

Canada and Italy have very active death penalties. And they work very well. They just happen to be of murder, vendetta, and Mafia victims. These include inquisitorial judges, who sacrifice their lives to protect non-serious people like Claudio.

Here is an article about a bill to eliminate life sentences in Italy. These are too cruel. They are so cruel, 300 Italian prisoners have petitioned to be executed instead. First, it shows, Claudio does not know much about life sentences, and does not care as long as government workers have their jobs. Second, it shows that once the death penalty is prohibited, life sentences will become prohibited, then long prison terms, then prisons themselves. Why? The substitute for incapacitation? Massive supervision by government workers. This is welfare for unions. And Claudio is either a government dependent rent seeker or clueless as to the real agenda of abolitionists. Money for government dependent left wing rent seekers.


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 10, 2010 1:32:05 PM

Dear Supremacy Clause,
I am afraid you are in need of an effective psychiatric help. Last year Italy had 600 homicides. One per 100.000 inhabitants, (Canada 2 and Usa 5.5). Abolition of the death penalty was followed by a drop of homicides in both Canada and Italy.
Yeeeesssss, I work in the Italian retirement system and I am very proud of this, so I can write using my name and not a nickname. I am versed in history, human rights and death penalty. I was a founder of the Italian Section of Amnesty International and of the World Coalition and you can find my name in the last book of David Garland.

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Oct 10, 2010 1:53:03 PM

This is just a guess. You are a slow shuffling, lazy, sinecure sitting, government parasite, crushing economic initiative and driving more than half the Italian economy underground.

Your credibility is tainted by economic self-dealing. The criminal generates massive government make work. The victim generates nothing, and may rot. As to the number of murders, your police is so stupid and incompetent, you have no idea what the murder rate is. For example, how many people are reported missing and the report is never resolved? Our murder rate among whites, in the US, who have good criminal system protection, is comparable to yours. Black murder victims are devalued by the racist lawyer hierarchy. Also their high rate of bastardy results in a large fraction growing up amoral, encouraged by the lawyer. What is your murder rate among black Italians, including Sicilians?

The name of the author of this fictional character is available to anyone who requests it. The requester will get the meaningless name and background of a stranger. The facts abandoned the left 100 years ago, so only personal attacks remains, including the slaughter of 100 million people, and still the left is in retreat everywhere, except in impossibly fatuous, lazy Europe.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 10, 2010 2:45:08 PM

As I said: a very strong psychiatric help

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Oct 10, 2010 2:49:32 PM

As I said, personal attack. The facts are long gone for the left.

Amnesty International of Italy is not addressing the cruelty of Italian prisons, where hundreds of prisoners prefer death. Amnesty International does not care. Its left wing, pro-big government concern stops at the generation of government make work.

Your English is superb. Where did you get it?

(This is a favor I am doing you: you are the only one stupid enough to reply to my comments. Keep it coming.)

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 10, 2010 3:11:44 PM

I am no more in AI, but a rule of my time was the sections cannot work in their country. But the International Secretariat produced a lot of protests about this, but it’s America to have the highest imprisonment rate in the world. We have 1.400 lifers you 140.000. That is the last time I spend my time for your stupid, fascist posts.

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Oct 10, 2010 4:01:08 PM

It is probably a higher standard of living to be in prison in the US than to be a rich man free in Italy. If you get cancer, you get topnotch care, right there, locally. You do not have to leave the country to get adequate health care. While the environment may be less esthetically pleasing, you have screens on the windows. You do not get eaten alive by giant mosquitoes in the summer, entering the palazzo freely. One has to carry netting as if going to Africa. The owner is too cheap to put up $10 window screens. The heat is reliable in winter in the US. Fuel is taxed so high, the Italian has to wonder, what is heat? How does one get it?

Once you decide to improve yourself, there is no upper limit to the help you will get from the US prison, including getting high academic degrees, even with a life sentence. You always have hope, no matter how low one has fallen. In the US, falling is a choice as much as getting up again. In Italy, your hopes are crushed from a young age, and you settle for a lowly station. If you want to do better, the neighbors will crush you, because they cannot go anywhere. If you manage to do better, the government will crush you with confiscatory taxation (75%, with 25% going to Claudio's shop and for what? Pennies on the dollar and a miserable, impoverished existence.). No one is allowed to do better. And your rate of new company formation has been nil for decades. Thank the left.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 10, 2010 5:42:02 PM

Professor Berman,
What do you mean about there being more federal executions in the near future? I haven't about any movement on Roane v Holder since April of 2009.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Oct 10, 2010 8:05:49 PM

My bad in originally using, in sloppy fashion, the phrase "federal executions" when I meant US execution (as a reference to executions in all the states). Thanks commentors for making sure I fixed this poor wording...

Posted by: Doug B. | Oct 10, 2010 9:38:27 PM

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