Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Listen to Rev. Carroll Pickett interviewed on Fresh Air

You can listen to the interview at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90526632
May 19, 2008 | Fresh Air from WHYY | 39 min 19 sec

Legal Affairs
Chaplain Discusses 'Death House' Ministry

Reverend Carroll Pickett was the death-house chaplain at the Walls prison unit
in Huntsville, Texas for 13 years. During his tenure, he ministered to 95
inmates executed by lethal injection.

Because he was employed by the state, Pickett was unable to voice his
disapproval of capitol punishment while performing his ministry. But he has
become an opponent of the death penalty since leaving the prison system.

Pickett co-authored a memoir with Carlton Stowers, titled Within These Walls.
He is now the subject of a new documentary, At the Death House Door.

13 comments:

dudleysharp said...

Can Rev. Carroll Pickett be trusted?
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

Rev. Pickett is on a promotional tour for the anti death penalty film "At the Death House Door". It is partially about the Reverend's experience ministering to 95 death row inmates executed in Texas.

Rev. Pickett's inaccuracies are many and important.

Does Rev. Pickett just make facts up as he goes along, hoping that no one fact checks, or is he just confused or ignorant?

Some of his miscues are common anti death penalty deceptions. The reverend is an anti death penalty activist.

Below are comments or paraphrases of Rev. Pickett, taken from interviews, followed by my Reply:.

1) Pickett: I knew (executed inmate) Carlos (De Luna) didn't do it. It was his big brown eyes, the way he talked, he was the same age as my son (transference). I felt so sympathetic towards him. I was so 100% certain that he couldn't have committed this crime. (Carlos) was a super person to minister to. I knew Carlos was not guilty. Fred Allen a guard, said "by the way he talks and acts I don't believe he is guilty, either. (1)

REPLY: Experienced prison personnel are fooled all the time by prisoners, just as parole boards are. This is simply Rev. Pickett's and Fred Allen's blind speculation and nothing more.

More than that, it appears that Rev. Pickett is, now, either lying about his own opinions or he is very confused. Read on.

2) Pickett: believes that, no way, could someone, so afraid of lightning and thunder, such as Carlos De Luna, use a knife (in a crime). (1)

Reply: Rev. Pickett talks about how important his background is in understanding people and behavior and he says something like this, destroying his own credibility on the issue. If the lightning and thunder event occurred, we already know what De Luna was capable of. In 1980, "De Luna was charged with attempted aggravated rape and driving a stolen vehicle, he pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 2 to 3 years. Paroled in May 1982, De Luna returned to Corpus Christi. Not long after, he attended a party for a former cellmate and was accused of attacking the cellmate's 53-year-old mother. She told police that De Luna broke three of her ribs with one punch, removed her underwear, pulled down his pants, then suddenly left. He was never prosecuted for the attack, but authorities sent him back to prison on a parole violation. Released again in December of that year, he came back to Corpus Christi and got a job as a concrete worker. Almost immediately, he was arrested for public intoxication. During the arrest, De Luna allegedly laughed about the wounding of a police officer months earlier and said the officer should have been killed. Two weeks after that arrest, Lopez was murdered." (Chicago Tribune) Being a long time criminal, we can presume that there were numerous additional crimes committed by De Luna and which remained unsolved. Was De Luna capable of committing a robbery murder, even though he had big brown eyes and was scared of lightning? Of course. This goes to Rev. Pickett's poor judgement or something else.

There is this major problem.

In 1999, years after Rev. Pickett had left his death row ministry, and 10 years after De Luna's execution, the reverend was asked, in a PBS Frontline interview, "Do you think there have been some you have watched die who were strictly innocent?"

His reply: "I never felt that." (3)

For many years, and since the 1989 execution of Carlos De Luna, the reverend never felt that any of the 95 executed were actually innocent.

This directly conflicts with his current statements on Carlos De Luna. Rev. Pickett is, now, saying that he was 100% sure of De Luna's innocence in 1989!

It appears the reverend has either revised history to support his new anti death penalty activism - he's lying - or he is, again, very confused. Reverend?

3) Introduction: In 1974, prison librarian Judy Standley and teacher Von Beseda were murdered during an 11 day prison siege and escape attempt. Ignacio Cuevas was sentenced to death, as one of three prisoners who were involved. The other two died in the shootout.

Ms. Standley and Ms. Beseda were part of Rev. Pickett's congregation, outside of prison.

Pickett: After Cuevas was executed, Rev. Pickett alleges that he met with Judy Standley's family and they told the reverend that "This (the execution) didn't bring closure." "This didn't help us." According to Rev. Pickett, "They didn't want him (Ignacio Cuevas) executed." (1)

Reply; There might be a big problem. Judy Standley's five children wrote a statement, before the execution, which stated: "We are relieved the ordeal may almost be over, but we are also aware that to some, this case represents only one of many in which, arguably, `justice delayed is justice denied," "We are hopeful the sentence will finally be carried out and that justice will at last be served," said the statement, signed by Ty, Dru, Mark, Pam and Stuart Standley. (4)

Sure seemed like the kids wanted Cuevas to be executed. Doesn't it? Reverend?

4) Pickett: "A great majority of them (the 95 executed inmates he ministered to) were black or Hispanic." (1)

Reply: The reverend's point, here, is to emphasize the alleged racist nature of the death penalty. There is a problem for the reverend - the facts - the "great majority" were 47 white (49%) with 32 black (34%), and 16 Hispanic (17%).

5) Pickett: "Out of the 95 we executed only one that had a college degree. All the rest of them their education was 9th grade and under." (1)

Reply: Not even close. Rev. Pickett's point, here, seems to be that capital murderers are, almost all, idiots who can't be held responsible for their actions. But, there are more fact problems for the reverend. In a review of only 31 of the 95 cases, 5 had some college or post graduate classes and 16 were high school graduates or completed their GED. Partial review (Incomplete Count) , below.

Would Rev. Pickett tell us about the educational achievements of all the true innocent murder victims and those that weren't old enough for school?

6) Pickett: spoke of the Soldier of Fortune murder for hire case, stating the husband got the death penalt, while the hired murderer got 6 years. (1)

Reply: Rev. Pickett's point, here, was the unfairness of the sentence disparity. More fact problems. John Wayne Hearn, the hitman, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Sandra Black.

7) Pickett: speaks of how sincere hostage taker, murderer Ignacio Cuevas was. Rev. Pickett states that "between 11 and midnight (I) believe almost everything" the inmates say, because they are about to be executed. (1)

Reply: Bad judgement. Minutes later, Cuevas lied when on the gurney, stating that he was innocent. This goes to show how Rev. Pickett and many others are easily fooled by these murderers. Pickett concedes the point.

8) Pickett: "In my opinion and in the opinion of the convicts, life in prison, with no hope of parole, is a much worse punishment (than the death penalty)." "Most of these people (death row inmates) fear life in prison more than they do the possibility of execution." (2)

REPLY: More fact problems. We know that isn't the opinion of those facing a possible death sentence of those residing on death row. This gives more support to my suspicion that Rev. Pickett is putting words into the inmates' mouths.

Facts: What percentage of capital murderers seek a plea bargain to a death sentence, rather than seeking a life sentence? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment. What percentage of convicted capital murderers argue for execution in the penalty phase of their capital trial? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment. What percentage of death row inmates waive their appeals and speed up the execution process? Nearly zero (less than 2%). They prefer long term imprisonment. This is not, even remotely, in dispute. How could Rev. Pickett not be aware of this? How long was he ministering to Texas' death row? 13 years?


9) Pickett: stated that "doctors can't (check the veins of inmates pending execution), it's against the law." (1)

Reply: Ridiculous. Obviously untrue.

10) Pickett: Pavulon (a paralytic) has been banned by vets but we use it on people. (1)

REPLY: This is untrue and is a common anti death penalty deception. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) stetes, "When used alone, these drugs (paralytics) all cause respiratory arrest before loss of consciousness, so the animal may perceive pain and distress after it is immobilized." Obviously, paralytics are never used alone in the human lethal injection process or animal euthanasia. The AVMA does not mention the specific paralytic - Pavulon - used in lethal injection for humans. These absurd claims, falsely attributed to veterinary literature, have been a bald faced lie by anti death penalty activists.

In Belgium and the Netherlands, their euthanasia protocol is as follows: A coma is first induced by intravenous administration of 20 mg/kg sodium thiopental (Nesdonal) (NOTE-the first drug in human lethal injection) in a small volume (10 ml physiological saline). Then a triple intravenous dose of a non-depolarizing neuromuscular muscle relaxant is given, such as 20 mg pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) (NOTE-the second drug, the paralytic, in human lethal injection) or 20 mg vecuronium bromide (Norcuron). The muscle relaxant should preferably be given intravenously, in order to ensure optimal availability (NOTE: as in human lethal injection). Only for pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) are there substantial indications that the agent may also be given intramuscularly in a dosage of 40 mg. (NOTE: That is how effective the second drug in human lethal injection is, that it can be given intramuscularly and still hasten death).

Just like execution/lethal injection in the US, although we give a third drug which speeds up death, even more.

11) Pickett: "Most of the inmates would ask the question, "How can Texas kill people who kill people and tell people that killing people is wrong?" That came out of inmates’ mouths regularly and I think it’s a pretty good question to ask." (2)

REPLY: Most? Would that be more than 47 out of 95? I simply don't believe it. 10 out of 95? Doubtful. I suspect it is no coincidence that "Why do we kill people to show that killing is wrong" has been a common anti death penalty slogan for a very long time. I suspect that Rev. Pickett has just picked it up, used it and placed it in inmate's mouths. Furthermore, we don't execute murderers to show that murder is wrong. Most folks know that murder is wrong even without a sanction.

12) Pickett: said an inmate said "its burning" "its burning", during an execution. (1)

REPLY: This may have occurred for a variety of reasons and does not appear to be an issue. It is the third drug which is noted for a burning sensation, if one were conscious during its injection. However, none of the inmates that Rev. Pickett handled were conscious after the first drug was administered. That would not be the case, here, as the burning complaints came at the very beginning of the injection process, which would involve a reaction where the burning would be quite minor. Has Rev. Pickett reviewed the pain and suffering of the real victims - the innocent murdered ones?

Bottom line. Reverend Pickett's credibility is as high as a snakes belly.

Time to edit the movie?!

------------

Incomplete count
this is a review of 31 out of the 95 death row inmates ministered by Rev. Pickett

21 of the 31 below had some college or post graduate classes (5)
or were high school graduates or completed their GED (16)
-----------
1) Brooks 12
3) O'Bryan post graduate degree - dentist
41 james russel 10th
42 G Green sophomore college
45 David Clark 10th and GED
46 Edward Ellis 10th
47 Billy White 10th
48 Justin May 11th
49 Jesus Romero 11th and GED
50 Robert Black, Jr. a pilot (probably beyond 12th)
55. Carlos Santana 11th
57 Darryl Stewart 12th
58 Leonel Herrera 11th and GED
60) Markum Duff Smith Post graduate College
33) Carlos De Luna 9th
95 Ronald Keith Allridge 10th and GED
93 Noble Mays Junior in College
92 Samuel Hawkins 12th
91 Billy Conn Gardner 12th
90 Jeffery Dean Motley 9th
89 Willie Ray Williams 11th
86 Jesse Jacobs 12th
85 Raymond Carl Kinnamon 11th and GED
84 Herman Clark sophomore college
83 Warren Eugene Bridge 11th
82 Walter Key Williams 12th
72 Harold Barnard 12th
73 Freddie Webb 11th and GED
75 Larry Anderson 12th
77 Stephen Nethery 12th
79 Robert Drew 10th

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Pro death penalty sites

homicidesurvivors(dot)com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

www(dot)dpinfo.com
www(dot)cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www(dot)clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www(dot)coastda.com/archives.html
www(dot)lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com
www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_co
yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)
www(dot)wesleylowe.com/cp.html

1) "Chaplain Discusses 'Death House' Ministry", Interview, Legal Affairs, FRESH AIR, NPR, May 19, 2007.

2) THE FAILURE INTERVIEW: REVEREND CARROLL PICKETT—AUTHOR OF "WITHIN THESE WALLS: MEMOIRS OF A DEATH HOUSE CHAPLAIN" Interview, by Kathleen A. Ervin
www(DOT)failuremag.com/arch_history_carroll_pickett_interview.html

3) "The Execution: Interview with Reverend Carroll Pickett", PBS, FRONTLINE, 1999
www(DOT)pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/execution/readings/pickett.html

4) "Appellate court refuses to stay killer's execution", Kathy Fair, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, Section A, Page 1, 2 Star edition, 05/23/1991

Christine said...

We are to take arguments like: "Reply: Ridiculous. Obviously untrue." are fact based disputes?

There is a difference between "strictly innocent" and innocent of the crime they are being executed for . . .none of us are "strictly innocent" and he may have known their lifestyles were not "strictly innocent."

Couldn't the family of the executed man have found out after the execution, that the execution didn't bring closure? That there is never closure to any loss of a loved one . . .and they were driven/pressured to believe their love for their lost family member could only be recognized if the went along with what they were 'told' would bring them closure? Afterwards, they found out how wrong they were?

Why the need for this long diatribe to discredit a man who performed a very meaningful/puposeful service to vicitm's loved ones and broken men?

You sound very angry and afraid of something . . .yourself perhaps?

In the words of Ghandi, "be the change you want to see in others" and stop using violence to promote non-violence. State sponsored murder only makes us more like those we choose to condemn.

Does standing in condemnation of others make us better? I commend Reverend Pickett for doing a very difficult job and for having the courage to speak about his life lessons.

dudleysharp said...

Christine asks: Why the need for this long diatribe to discredit a man who performed a very meaningful/puposeful service to vicitm's loved ones and broken men?

Answer: It goes to credibility and truth. If you don't understand, I can't explain it to you.

Christine writes: You sound very angry and afraid of something . . .yourself perhaps?

answer: Please, don't be juvenile. BS bothers me, so I uncover it.

Christine writes:
In the words of Ghandi, "be the change you want to see in others" and stop using violence to promote non-violence. State sponsored murder only makes us more like those we choose to condemn.

Answer: No. Morally, crime and punishment are very different.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” – Herbert Spencer (1820-1903).

Christine asks: Does standing in condemnation of others make us better? I commend Reverend Pickett for doing a very difficult job and for having the courage to speak about his life lessons

Answer: Don't you want him to be credible, too? Maybe not.

dudleysharp said...

on closure:

CLOSURE and EXECUTION
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below
 
The concept of "closure" via execution is , primarily, a fantasy made up by those in the anti death penalty movement, just so they can denounce it, as in: "Those supporting capital punishment claim that closure is a major reason to support the death penalty - but there is no closure."
 
I consider this one of the many obvious deceptions of the anti death penalty movement.
 
Closure to what?
 
I know of no victim survivor who believes that the execution of the guilty murderer(s) brings closure to the emotional and/or psychological suffering  of that victim survivor for the loss of their innocent, murdered loved one(s). How could it?
 
I have never encountered such a person, in the many years I have been involved with murder victim survivors. Has anyone?
 
There are many victims survivors who claim they did find closure with the execution, although without important clarification.
 
Further inquiry would reveal the obvious: it is closure the the legal process, whereby execution is the most just sanction available for the crime and they are relieved that the murderer is dead  and can no longer harm another innocent - a very big deal.
 
Those are the real meanings of any closure expression.

Murder victim "Mary Bounds' daughter, Jena Watson, who watched the execution, said Berry's action deprived the family of a mother, a grandmother and a friend, and that pain will never go away."

" "We feel that we have received justice," she said Wednesday after the execution. "There's never an end to the hurt from a violent crime. There can never fully be closure. You have to learn to do the best you can. Tonight brings finality to a lot of emotional issues." "
 
copyright 2008 Dudley Sharp
 
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail  sharpjfa@aol.com,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites 

homicidesurvivors(dot)com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

www(dot)dpinfo.com
www(dot)cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www(dot)clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www(dot)coastda.com/archives.html
www(dot)lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com
www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_co
yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2   (Sweden)
www(dot)wesleylowe.com/cp.html

Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.

dudleysharp said...

The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

Often, the death penalty dialogue gravitates to the subject of innocents at risk of execution. Seldom is a more common problem reviewed. That is, how innocents are more at risk without the death penalty.
 
Living murderers, in prison, after release or escape or after our failures to incarcerate them, are much more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers.
 
This is a truism.
 
No knowledgeable and honest party questions that the death penalty has the most extensive due process protections in US criminal law.

Therefore, actual innocents are more likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment and more likely to die in prison serving under that sentence, that it is that an actual innocent will be executed.
 
That is. logically, conclusive.
 
16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses,  find for death penalty deterrence.
 
A surprise? No.

Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
 
Some believe that all studies with contrary findings negate those 16 studies. They don't. Studies which don't find for deterrence don't say no one is deterred, but that they couldn't measure those deterred.
 
What prospect of a negative outcome doesn't deter some? There isn't one . . . although committed anti death penalty folk may say the death penalty is the only one.
 
However, the premier anti death penalty scholar accepts it as a given that the death penalty is a deterrent, but does not believe it to be a greater deterrent than a life sentence. Yet, the evidence is  compelling and un refuted  that death is feared more than life.

"This evidence greatly unsettles moral objections to the death penalty, because it suggests that a refusal to impose that penalty condemns numerous innocent people to death." (1)
 
" . . . a serious commitment to the sanctity of human life may well compel, rather than forbid, (capital) punishment." (1)

"Recent evidence suggests that capital punishment may have a significant deterrent effect, preventing as many as eighteen or more murders for each execution." (1)
 
Some death penalty opponents argue against death penalty deterrence, stating that it's a harsher penalty to be locked up without any possibility of getting out.
 
Reality paints a very different picture.
 
What percentage of capital murderers seek a plea bargain to a death sentence? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
 
What percentage of convicted capital murderers argue for execution in the penalty phase of their capital trial? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
 
What percentage of death row inmates waive their appeals and speed up the execution process? Nearly zero. They prefer long term imprisonment.
 
This is not, even remotely, in dispute.
 
Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
 
Furthermore, history tells us that "lifers" have many ways to get out: Pardon, commutation, escape, clerical error, change in the law, etc.

In choosing to end the death penalty, or in choosing not implement it, some have chosen to spare murderers at the cost of sacrificing more innocent lives.
 
--------
 
Furthermore, possibly we have sentenced 20-25 actually innocent people to death since 1973, or 0.3% of those so sentenced. Those have all been released upon post conviction review. The anti death penalty claims, that the numbers are significantly higher, are a fraud, easily discoverable by fact checking.

6 inmates have been released from death row because of DNA evidence.  An additional 9 were released from prison, because of DNA exclusion, who had previously been sentenced to death.

The innocents deception of death penalty opponents has been getting exposure for many years. Even the behemoth of anti death penalty newspapers -- The New York Times -- has recognized that deception.

"To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row . . . ". ' (2) This when death penalty opponents were claiming the release of 119 "innocents" from death row. Death penalty opponents never required actual innocence in order for cases to be added to their "exonerated" or "innocents" list. They simply invented their own definitions for exonerated and innocent and deceptively shoe horned large numbers of inmates into those definitions - something easily discovered with fact checking.

There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900.

If we accept that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, we can reasonable conclude that the DNA cases will be excluded prior to trial, and that for the next 8000 death sentences, that we will experience a 99.8% accuracy rate in actual guilt convictions. This improved accuracy rate does not include the many additional safeguards that have been added to the system, over and above DNA testing.

Of all the government programs in the world, that put innocents at risk, is there one with a safer record and with greater protections than the US death penalty?
 
Unlikely.
 
-----------------------
Full report -  All Innocence Issues: The Death Penalty, upon request.

Full report - The Death Penalty as a Deterrent, upon request
 
(1) From the Executive Summary of
Is Capital Punishment Morally Required? The Relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs, March 2005
Prof. Cass R. Sunstein,   Cass_Sunstein(AT)law.uchicago.edu
 Prof. Adrian Vermeule ,   avermeule(AT)law.harvard.edu
Full report           http://aei-brookings.org/admin/authorpdfs/page.php?id=1131
 
(2) "The Death of Innocents': A Reasonable Doubt",
New York Times Book Review, p 29, 1/23/05, Adam Liptak,
national legal correspondent for The NY Times
-----------------------------

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail  sharpjfa@aol.com,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites 

homicidesurvivors(dot)com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

www(dot)dpinfo.com
www(dot)cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www(dot)clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www(dot)coastda.com/archives.html
www(dot)lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com
www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_co
yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)
www(dot)wesleylowe.com/cp.html

Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.

Christine said...

I'm not into arguing, but I do know right from wrong. Killing is wrong, and cannot be justified by someone else's committing the same crime. To reason otherwise doesn't even approach common sense. We can virtually eliminate all danger of a killer repeating the offense . . .and the majority of those sent to prison never ever attempt to commit another homicide . . ., by sentencing defendants to death in prison. There is no reason to become like them. If you can't be morally outraged at the thought of state sponsored murder, be financially outraged. It is insane what we pay to keep up this barbaric practice when Level Four/High Security prisons more than do the job. We should be spending those billions on preventative justice . . .schools, after-school programs, breakfasts in school (you can't study if you are hungry), neighborhood centers, health care, etc. Spending billions to get revenge doesn't approach common sense either.

dudleysharp said...

Christine writes: "Killing is wrong, and cannot be justified by someone else's committing the same crime. To reason otherwise doesn't even approach common sense."

You equate all killings, such as murder and execution.

Therefore you would equate the rape/torture/murder of a little child to the execution of the person committing that crime.

If you view all killings as the same, you are amoral.

The crime of murder, whereby the perpetrator murders an innocent is very different than the execution of that murderer for committing that crime.

There are strong moral differences between crime and punishment, between the guilty murderer and the innocent victim.

You seem to. morally, equate all killings, as if there is not any difference.

Recall the executions of the Nazis for the murders of 6 million innocent Jews and 6 million additonal innocents?

Do you equate illegal kidnapping and legal incarceration? After all, they are both holding of people against their will.

Do you equate illegal robbery and legal fines? After all, both are taking money away from folks.

Do you equate rape and love making? After all, they are both sexual intercourse.

I hope you answered no to all questions. But to be consistent with your killing reasoning, you must say yes.

dudleysharp said...

Christine writes: We can virtually eliminate all danger of a killer repeating the offense . . .and the majority of those sent to prison never ever attempt to commit another homicide . . ., by sentencing defendants to death in prison.

Sharp's reply: You can't come close to elimination all danger from living murderers.

At least 142 of those on death row committed their murders while incarcerated or after escaping incarceration.

At least 8% of those on death row had committed at least one murder prior to committing the murder(s) that put them on death row.

Table 8, page 8
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/cp05.pdf

Also read "The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents", above.

dudleysharp said...

Christine writes: If you can't be morally outraged at the thought of state sponsored murder, be financially outraged. It is insane what we pay to keep up this barbaric practice when Level Four/High Security prisons more than do the job.

Sharp's response:

You may wish to re-evaluate:

Cost Comparisons: Death Penalty Cases Vs Equivalent Life Sentence Cases
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

In comparing the cost of death penalty cases to other sentences, the studies are woefully incomplete.
 
Generally, such studies have one or more of the following problems.
 
1) Most studies exclude the cost of geriatric care, recently found to be $60,000-$80,000/inmate/yr. A significant omission from life sentence costs.
 
2) All studies exclude the cost savings of the death penalty, which is the ONLY sentence which allows for a plea bargain to a maximum life sentence. Such plea bargains accrue as a cost benefit to the death penalty, such benefit being the cost of trials and appeals for every such plea bargain. The cost savings would be for trial and appeals, estimated at $500,000 to $1 million, which would accrue as a cost benefit/credit to the death penalty.
 
Depending upon jurisdiction, this MIGHT result in a minimal cost differential between the two sanctions or an actual net cost benefit to the death penalty, depending upon how many LWOP cases are plea bargained and how many death penalty cases result in a death sentence.
 
3) FCC economist Dr. Paul Zimmerman finds that executions result in a huge cost benefit to society. "Specifically, it is estimated that each state execution deters somewhere between 3 and 25 murders per year (14 being the average). Assuming that the value of human life is approximately $5 million {i.e. the average of the range estimates provided by Viscussi (1993)}, our estimates imply that society avoids losing approximately $70 million per year on average at the current rate of execution all else equal." The study used state level data from 1978 to 1997 for all 50 states (excluding Washington D.C.). (1)
 
That is a cost benefit of $70 million per execution.  15 additional recent studies, inclusive of their defenses,  support the deterrent effect. 
 
No cost study has included such calculations.
 
Although we find it inappropriate to put a dollar value on life, evidently this is not uncommon for economists, insurers, etc.
 
We know that living murderers are infinitely more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers. There is no doubt that executions do save innocent lives. What value do you put on the lives saved? Certainly not less than $5 million.
 
4) a) Some studies compare the cost of a death penalty case, including pre trial, trial, appeals and incarceration, to only the cost of incarceration for 40 years, excluding all trial costs and appeals, for a life sentence. The much cited Texas "study" does this.  Hardly an apples to apples cost comparison.
       b) The pure deception in some cost "studies" is overt. It has been claimed that it costs $3.2 million/execution in Florida. That "study" decided to add the cost of the entire death penalty system in Florida ($57 million), which included all of the death penalty cases and dividing that number by only the number of executions (18). One could just have easily stated that the cost of the estimated 200 death row inmates was $285,000 per case.
 
5) There is no reason for death penalty appeals to take longer than 7 years. All death penalty appeals, direct and writ, should travel through the process concurrently, thereby giving every appellate issue 7 years of consideration through both state and federal courts. There is no need for endless repetition and delay. This would result in a reduction in both adjudication and incarceration costs.
 
Judges may be the most serious roadblock in timely resolution. They can and do hold up cases, inexcusably, for long periods of time.  Texas, which leads the nation in executions, by far, takes over 10 years, on average, to execute murderers. However, the state and federal courts, for that jurisdiction,  handle many cases. Texas has the second lowest rate of the courts overturning death penalty cases. Could every other jurisdiction process appeals in 7-10 years. Of course, if the justices would allow it.
 
Justice
6) The main reason sentences are given is because jurors find that it is the most just punishment available. No state, concerned with justice, will base a decision on cost alone. If they did, all cases would be plea bargained and every crime would have a probation option.
 
1). "State Executions, Deterrence and the Incidence of Murder", Paul R. Zimmerman (zimmy@att.net), March 3. 2003, Social Science Research Network, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID354680_code021216500.pdf?abstractid=354680
 
copyright 2003-2008 Dudley Sharp
 
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail  sharpjfa@aol.com,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites 

homicidesurvivors(dot)com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

www(dot)dpinfo.com
www(dot)cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www(dot)clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www(dot)coastda.com/archives.html
www(dot)lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com
www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_co
yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)
www(dot)wesleylowe.com/cp.html

Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.

dudleysharp said...

Christine, the death penalty is the least vengeful of all US sanctions, unless you find all sanctions to be vengeance.

The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

Death penalty opponents say that the death penalty has a foundation in hatred and revenge. 

Such is a false claim.

A death sentence requires pre existing statutes, trial and appeals, considerations of guilt and due process, to name but a few. Revenge requires none of these and, in fact, does not even require guilt or a crime.

The criminal justice system goes out of its way to take hatred and revenge out of the process. That is why we have a system of pre existing laws and legal procedures that offer extreme protections to defendants and those convicted and which limit punishments and prosecutions to specific crimes.

It is also why those directly affected by the murder are not allowed to be fact finders in the case.

The reality is that the pre trial, trial. appellate and executive clemency/commutation processes offer much much greater time, money and human resources to capital cases than they do to any other cases, meaning that the facts tell us that defendants and convicted murderers, subject to the death penalty, receive much greater care and concern than those not facing the death penalty - the opposite of a system marked with vengeance.

Calling executions a product of hatred and revenge is simply a way in which some death penalty opponents attempt to establish a sense of moral superiority.

It can also be a transparent insult which results in additional hurt to those victim survivors who have already suffered so much and who believe that execution is the appropriate punishment for those who murdered their loved one(s).

Far from moral superiority, those who call capital punishment an expression of hatred and revenge are often exhibiting their contempt for those who believe differently than they do.

The pro death penalty position is based upon those who find that punishment just and appropriate under specific circumstances.

Those opposed to execution cannot prove a foundation of hatred and revenge for the death penalty any more than they can for any other punishment sought within a system such as that observed within the US - unless such opponents find all punishments a product of hatred and revenge - an unreasonable, unfounded position

Far from hatred and revenge, the death penalty represents our greatest condemnation for a crime of unequaled horror and consequence. Lesser punishments may suffice under some circumstances. A death sentence for certain heinous crimes is given in those special circumstances when a jury finds such is more just than a lesser sentence.

Less justice is not what we need.

A thorough review of the criminal justice system will often beg this question: Why have we chosen to be so generous to murderers and so contemptuous of the human rights and suffering of the victims and future victims?

The punishment of death is, in no way, a balancing between harm and punishment, because the victim did not deserve or earn their punishment, whereas the murderer has earned their own, deserved punishment by the free will action of violating societies laws and an individuals life and, thereby, voluntarily subjecting themselves to that jurisdictions judgment.

copyright 2001-2008   Dudley Sharp

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail  sharpjfa@aol.com,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites 

homicidesurvivors(dot)com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

www(dot)dpinfo.com
www(dot)cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www(dot)clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www(dot)coastda.com/archives.html
www(dot)lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com
www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_co
yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)
www(dot)wesleylowe.com/cp.html

Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.

Christine said...

dudleysharp's thinks: "The crime of murder, whereby the perpetrator murders an innocent is very different than the execution of that murderer for committing that crime."

"There are strong moral differences between crime and punishment, between the guilty murderer and the innocent victim."

I 'strongly' disagree . . .and none of your comparisons are relevant . . .especially not love making v. rape where in lovemaking both are willing participants . . .

Calling me names for my beliefs: i.e. "amoral" is not helpful.

I realize public safety is a priority, and hopefully something we can agree on. How we get there, it seems we will have to agree to disagree. I don't think we 'earn' punishment. I'd like to live in a world that teaches by example, and believes in mercy and redemption. When we kill someone guilty of a crime, there can be no redemption, or benefit of forgivness. And forgiveness is the gift we also give ourselves. Giving forgiveness is the realization that we give up all hope of ever changing the past. It's done, it's over. But we can change the future and choose to be better and teach better principles, lifestyles, values, etc.

I realize you have a lot invested in your position. I can only wish for you, to find a kinder philosophy. Thank you for all your thoughts, though ..

If given a choice who to have be my judge when I make a mistake, I would choose Reverend Pickett over you, Mr. Sharp. All of us have times we need a little redemption and mercy (unmerited favor). I'd like to give that opportunity to others too. After viewing this documentary, my daughter called me very emotional . . .it motivated her to sign up for a program with Big Brothers and Sisters that specifically works with children of incarcerated parents, and today to sign up on www.21stcenturyteaparty.us I'm guessing that was the intent of this documentary . . .to encourage viewers we can find a better way. Again, I applaud Reverend Pickett, and I'm incredibly proud of my daughter for choosing to give back instead of the path of revenge. I think her mom raised her right *smile*.

dudleysharp said...

Christine 'strongly' disagrees that

1) "The crime of murder, whereby the perpetrator murders an innocent is very different than the execution of that murderer for committing that crime."

and

2)"There are strong moral differences between crime and punishment, between the guilty murderer and the innocent victim."

Sharp: That is why I called Christine amoral.

sharp: I am not calling you names, but I am identifying the foundation for your position, which you have, now, reinforced and firmly established.

Christine states: ". . .and none of your comparisons are relevant . . .especially not love making v. rape where in lovemaking both are willing participants . . ."

sharp: All are relevant because all you have done is amorally equate all acts of "killing" no matter the context.

sharp: I have simply listed equivalent acts, with no moral context, just as you have done - amoral equivalent acts.

sharp: Now, you are rightly considering morality - love making concerns the actions of two consenting partners, I agree. You are no longer only considering acts, but the context of those acts, as you should.

sharp: You wrongly, amorally consider all acts of killing as the same. Now you must consider context, if you are to venture away from amorality.


Christine writes: "I don't think we 'earn' punishment. I'd like to live in a world that teaches by example, and believes in mercy and redemption. When we kill someone guilty of a crime, there can be no redemption, or benefit of forgivness. And forgiveness is the gift we also give ourselves. Giving forgiveness is the realization that we give up all hope of ever changing the past. It's done, it's over. But we can change the future and choose to be better and teach better principles, lifestyles, values, etc."

sharp replies: Mercy and redemption mean nothing if a punishment is not deserved. Generally, mercy means sparing from a just sanction, legal of otherwise. The concept of mercy does not exist unless one is spared from a just harm. Just, in this context, means earned, deserved, etc.

sharp: One can redeem themselves with or without sanction. That is quite clear. The foundation for redemption comes from within, within ones heart as well as their actions, so the external factor of sanction or no sanction is not relevant to ones redemption.

sharp: forgiveness can be both sought and given. The seeking and giving of it are not relevant to just sanction. People seek and receive forgiveness all the time, as you well know. That doesn't release them from a just sanction. Although religious context isn't needed, there is the example of the good thief executed with Christ. According to the biblical text, he was justly punished, but both redemption and forgiveness landed him in heaven.

I wish you and your daughter a continuation of blessings.

Christine said...

Thank you, Mr. Sharp, and I wish you the same.