Tuesday, December 13, 2005


When I was a baby lawyer, being trained to be a grown up lawyer, we talked about things that we could not control. One of them was the death penalty. At the time many of the people who opposed the death penalty opposed it because it did not deter murders. In other words, people thinking about murder were not less likely to murder because they could get the death penalty. This was expected to be true because so few murderers are actually put to death.

This argument always struck me as counter to the interests of those opposing the death penalty. The answer seems to be to kill more murderers. That is the opposite of what they want. Now the Christian Science Monitor has run a piece that discusses literature that suggests that in a state like Texas that kills lots of people, there *is* a deterrent effect.

Oops. I guess all of the arguments about the death penalty being inhumane and a punishment inappropriate for fallible humans to administer would have been a better bet after all.


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