Is America’s Death Penalty Dying?  

Upon the birth of a new year let’s talk about death, shall we? The death penalty, to be precise.

The topic loomed over a courtroom in Charleston, South Carolina last week where the self-proclaimed white supremacist, Dylann Roof, undertook a fool’s errand.

Found Guilty of 33 Counts Stemming From Cold Blooded Murder of 9

After a jury quickly found him guilty of the cold-blooded murders of 9 black parishioners with whom he had just prayed, Roof declared he would act as his own attorney during the sentencing phase of his trial. Roof faces the death penalty and Judge Richard Gergel repeatedly reminded the 22-year old defendant that it was “a bad decision” to represent himself. Roof did it anyway.

I have written in this space in the past that I am morally opposed to capital punishment – until I’m not. My flipflops come with cases that are so heinous that I’m forced to seriously consider whether death is the proper punishment.

The same with Reverend Joseph Darby, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church where the Roof crimes took place. The Rev. has never supported the death penalty but now realizes that when extreme evil appears – Roof confessed to police that he wanted to start an American “race war” – extreme measures must be taken.

Like many of us, Darby seems conflicted. He indicates he wants the ultimate punishment for the man who so callously murdered his church members but he knows jurors may also waffle on the issue. So what if jurors don’t unanimously agree on death?

“That could very well be the end of the death penalty in America,” Rev. Darby said, “because if there was ever justification for killing anybody, this is the case.”

We’ve heard that before haven’t we? “If ever there was a case for capital punishment it is the case of _____” fill in the blank. A crazed gunman or terrorist who massacres innocent people (think the Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVeigh), a pervert who sexually abuses then murders a child, a mother who kills her own children so she can be with a new man – all cases that seem to scream out for in-kind retribution. But wait. You’re either for the death penalty or you’re not, right?

Seems the good Reverend and I aren’t the only ones struggling with this moral dilemma. Major polling organizations report that citizen approval of the death penalty has been slowly eroding since the peak of support in the mid-90’s.

So, is the death penalty on its way out in the U.S.? Depends which poll you read. The Gallup Organization says no. In October 2015, Gallup found 61% of Americans still supported capital punishment for convicted murderers. A year later Gallup reported that number had slipped to 60%.

However, the Pew Research Center also conducted a poll in the fall of 2016 and found only 49% of Americans favor a death sentence for convicted murderers.

Recent revelations about racial disparity in sentencing and wrongful death row convictions may have changed some minds. According to over the last four decades at least 156 people have been exonerated and freed from death row. What if those wrongfully convicted had been executed? Its chilling to ponder.

All this said, executions have become rare in the U.S.. The majority of states, 31 out of 50, have either done away with the death penalty or have not carried out an execution in at least 10 years. Still, last year, 20 convicted murderers were put to death in Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Missouri and Florida. All were men, most were white but two were black and two were latinos.

So where does this leave us? If the Pew poll is correct it is like so many other issues in America. We seem to be almost evenly split on the question of capital punishment – 49% favor it, 42% don’t.

In my heart, I think there is an inherent contradiction to capital punishment. If killing is wrong, then why do states condone it via executions? Killing a killer seems hypocritical. Doing it for vengeance sake brings to mind the old saying, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”

If society’s goal is to keep us safe from murderous criminals locking them in prison for life achieves that. It is a much cheaper alternative than housing a maximum-security death row inmate and footing the bill for their protracted appeals. A death row inmate can easily cost a state $1 million more than a convict who is sentenced to life.

And try as they might experts have not been able to find evidence that capital punishment deters future crimes. So, remind me again why we do it?




  1. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Reader Jon Crane writes:


    I just read your column on capital punishment and I wanted to introduce you to Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. I wanted you to know that there is a nationwide trend underway of conservatives re-thinking capital punishment.

    An unprecedented number of GOP lawmakers in 12 states (Utah, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Washington, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Nebraska) have sponsored death penalty repeal bills during the past two legislative cycles.


    – Utah’s Senate in 2016 passed a death penalty repeal bill that ended just short in the Utah House of Representatives.

    – Missouri’s Senate held a floor debate in 2016 on repealing capital punishment – the first in modern times – after a senate committee approved the measure 4-3 with support from two Republicans.

    – Nebraska’s conservative Republican legislature in 2015 repealed the death penalty by overriding a gubernatorial veto, only to see the wealthy governor self-fund a referendum to reinstate it in 2016.

    Two additional ‘red’ states highlight the shift in conservative thinking…

    – In Kansas, the Republican Party removed the death penalty from its platform, the Kansas Republican Liberty Caucus has passed a resolution supporting the death penalty’s repeal, and the Kansas College Republicans called for an end to the death penalty.

    – In Oklahoma for two years in a row the authoritative Sooner Poll has found a majority of people willing to end the death penalty if the alternative is life in prison. Half the respondents identified as conservative.

    The trend extends to conservative faith communities as well…

    – The National Association of Evangelicals changed its 40 year position of exclusive support for the death penalty in late 2015.

    An increasing number of conservatives on the national and local level who believe in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a whole life ethic, are re-thinking capital punishment.

    I wanted to put Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty on your radar for the future.

    Thank you,

    Jon Crane

    • Dudley Sharp on January 12, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP) was created, is owned and controlled by Equal Justice USA (EJUSA), a well known liberal anti death penalty group, which has been funded by George Soros and many other liberal funds.

      CCATDP and EJUSA are just repeating well known, weak anti death penalty claims and putting them into a conservative suit. Fact checking destroys their claims, as always, and as demonstrated.

      1) Few Conservatives Embrace Anti Death Penalty Deceptions

      “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

      “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)

      “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) Rebuttal to Ron Paul at

      Few Conservatives Embrace Anti Death Penalty Deceptions

      “(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

      “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).”

  2. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Reader Brian from Canada writes:

    Hello, Ms. Dimond
    As a Canadian, what I feel about capital punishment is irrelevant, but as a person, I’ve always been for it. You make a good point when you state the costs involved in a comparison. The cost of justice should never be an issue, though. My thoughts are that there should be 2 full trials, with both of them reaching the same conclusion, and both conducted by separate entities, with different judges, juries, and lawyers, before you can execute someone. If we as a society are to abhor the death of a convicted murderer, how can we ever go to war, just on the say so of our politicians, and kill fellow human beings who are not guilty of murder, etc.
    As far as your analogy of an eye for an eye rendering us all blind, I hope that was humor.

  3. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Paul Burnett writes:


    I’m pretty much neutral about the death penalty. Killing criminals doesn’t cost much. It’s the politics involved that’s expensive … the delays and costs of those delays. So no, it’s not less expensive to keep criminals in prison year after year than to simply expend a few bullets or a bit of poison or a little electricity.

    Delays are behind the huge costs of our injustice system. We need concerted focus on swift and sure justice. How long should it take to seat jurors in a box and present enough evidence to exonerate or convict an individual of a crime? We should not incarcerate or sideline people indefinitely awaiting trials. They should be rapidly convicted and start paying for their crimes immediately on conviction, or be enabled to continue living as productive citizens who build and sustain our economy.

    Incarcerating innocent people is expensive in several ways. The $100s per day we pay guards to keep people behind bars adds up, but that’s not the major cost. Prisoners aren’t very productive. Those who could be earning $100s per day can’t support their families or pay their taxes or grow businesses and hire others. No, we just lock them away without first determining their guilt or innocence. We have a morally corrupt system that’s unconstitutional on its face.

    Our cops have a tough and dangerous job arresting those accused of crimes. Then they must collect and safeguard evidence until they can pass the ball to prosecutors who sit on it month after month before presenting it to juries – or just to judges. But prosecutors aren’t the only roadblocks to constitutional justice. People don’t like jury duty and many go to extremes to excuse serving. Then our judicial system conducts mock trials before judges and approves plea bargains obtained through threats and coercion. Is that justice? No! Our injustice system locks up innocent people and coddles those who really are guilty. This must change!

    What can be done to ensure real justice is swift and sure? First, citizens must be encouraged to serve on juries. Laws should require that those accused of crimes be allowed to face their accusers and demand exoneration or conviction within a few weeks (one month) of apprehension. One week to investigate, one week to prepare and select a jury, one week to present real evidence to a real jury of peers and one week for the jury to deliberate guilt or innocence. Plus one week to appeal one time. Time is of the essence in getting criminals off our streets. And time is of the essence in enabling the innocent to get back to work.

    It’s also important to remind our law enforcement officers that our constitution does matter. They should be better trained in this regard and prohibited from arresting people while telling them “It doesn’t matter” as some APD officers have done. Following procedures should never be an excuse for the concept that people are innocent until proven guilty. Officers must make judgements, but never allow their split second judgements to deny the rights of their fellow citizens.

    Diane, please spotlight the need to restore swift and sure justice by restoring our constitutional rights. There is nothing more important. Thank you for trying.


    Paul Burnett
    Los Lunas

  4. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Joel Davis writes:

    Dear Ms. Dimond,

    I read your column, “Why does capital pinishment still exist” in the 7 January Albuquerque Journal. While much of the columns attempts a balanced presentation, in several places it veers into severe half-truths.

    “What if those wrongfully convicted had been executed? It’s chilling to ponder.”
    This counts as a half truth, because it ignores the much greater numbers of those murdered by unexecuted murderers. I could go into the headline-grabbing escapes followed by murders (e.g., The Texas Seven), but leave that aside. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, for the latest year available (2012;, there are something like 85 murders in our nations’ state prisons every year, and, again in the most recent year for which statistics are available (2008;, another 13 in federal prisons, for a total of 98 per year. Of those, again in the most recent year available (2012;, 8.6% had prior homicide convictions (I have seen numbers as high as 35%, nut let’s go with the conservative number). Thus, EVERY YEAR, there are an average of 8.4 murders in prison by UNEXECUTED murderers. This dwarfs even the highest estimates of the number of innocents who might make it all the way from conviction, through the many appeals, to actual execution (e.g., death penalty opponents Bedau & Radalet (40 Stanford L.R. 21 (1987)) estimated 23 from 1900 to 1987, most before the pre-Gregg v Georgia reforms in 1976); averaging about one every four years). They were challenged by other writers, but for sake of argument, again conservatively, use their numbers. That’s still of ratio of 32 to 1…. Thus, by reducing the number of executions, the statistics suggest we actually INCREASE the number of murders.

    Here in New Mexico, we had a headline-winning example, John Hovey. Already serving two life sentences for murdering his parents, he was upset about being transferred to a different prison, so he decided that if his reputation was bad enough, the other prison wouldn’t accept him… so he teamed up with another inmate and they stabbed to death a paraplegic inmate a week before that inmate’s release. His sentence… another life sentence. There’s justice for you! Not.
    “If killing is wrong, then why do states condone it via executions?”
    A nonsensical, rhetorical question that puts two very different things on the same level. The obvious answer is that executing murderers is a good thing; murders are not. You might as well ask why surgeons are honored but muggers who stab you are not. Why is killing in self-defense OK but murder is not? Physically, the actions are similar, but the intent and results are not.

    “If society’s goal is to keep us safe from murderous criminals, locking them in prison for life achieves that.”
    Aside from this being merely one of the goals, it’s an obvious falsehood. As pointed out above, those merely incarcerated can and sometimes do go on to murder again. Those executed do not. Simple as that.

    “It [prison for life] is a much cheaper alternative than housing a maximum-security death rate and f ooting the bill for their protracted appeals….”
    It would be even cheaper to do nothing and simply let them go free. Your attempt to put a price on justice suggests far more about your ethical values than much of anything else.

    “…experts have not been able to find evidence that capital punishment deters future crimes.”
    Obvious falsehood AND a malicious half-truth. First, there’s plenty of evidence. See, for example, Perhaps you mean to write that there’s no PROOF that capital punishment deters crimes. That’s the half truth often forwarded by death penalty opponents– true insofar as it goes, but the converse, that capital punishment does not deter crimes, hasn’t been “proven” either, for the simple reason that virtually nothing in the social sciences can be “proved” because, dealing with groups of human beings, you can’t control all the potentially influential variables. Hence, it is merely a malicious, misleading half-truth.

    One other thing: capital punishment obviously DOES deter the one executed, but even opponents will admit that when pressed.

    “So remind me again, why do we do it?
    As for reminding you.
    1. Justice
    2. The best guarantee that the murderer does not murder again
    3. Lower risk of further murders than leaving the murdered unexecuted
    4. Charles Manson – note that he’s STILL in the news, nearly 50 years after his crimes. He has admirers and even groupies. There are web sites dedicated to his philosophy, music and poetry. He has notoriety. He can still glory in all of this. On the other hand, you’ll find no such glory and media presence for, say, John Wayne Gacy or William Ted Bundy… they are dead and largely forgotten except in the context that their crimes are part of history. Do YOU consider Charles Mansion a golden moment of justice triumphant? Or a hideous example of justice gone terribly awry? You needn’t answer, but let that be part of what you call your dilemma: your choice reflects exactly what your standards of justice may be.

    Joel S. Davis
    Albuquerque, NM

  5. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Bob Knowlton writes:

    Ms. Dimond,
    I want to start by saying I very much enjoy your editorials. You always have your facts together and present well-founded opinions. That said, I felt compelled to offer my point of view on capital punishment.

    You mention that with the automatic appeals process and added security a State can easily spend over $1M on a death row inmate above what a regular inmate will cost. Let’s look at this from a cost/benefit standpoint. When the government enacts legislation, by law they have to demonstrate that the benefits of the new law have to outweigh the cost of implementation. A cost/benefit analysis was done to justify mandating seat belts in automobiles. This type of analysis is also done routinely when the US Environmental Protection Agency sets limits on drinking water standards (such as arsenic). A cost/benefit analysis can be very controversial because inherent in these analysis is the need to put a value on human life. I took a course at the Harvard School of Public Health on cost/benefit analyses many years ago. It was taught by some of the leaders in the field who had done the studies to back the legislation for the seat belt law, for instance. They stressed that the value of human life was a major uncertainty in this type of analysis. My recollection from back in the day was that the value of a human life was around $4M in these analyses.

    So let’s apply that concept, in an ad hoc fashion, to the Dylann Roof case. Let’s say we lock him up for the rest of his life. Let’s say Roof dies in prison at the age of 82, which gives him a 60 year prison term. I think the average cost of housing and providing for a prisoner today is around $80 per day. So if you do the math, Dylann Roof will cost taxpayers roughly $1,750,000. That does not include any major health costs that he might, for instance if he were to get cancer and have to undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Anyone who is serving a life sentence is no longer contributing any positive benefits to society. They are now a tax on society, in a manner of speaking. Now consider the fact that Dylann Roof killed nine people. If we take that old number I mentioned for the value of a human life, at about $4M, then Dylann Roof has already cost society approximately $36M! What if Dylann Roof kills another person in prison while serving that 60 year sentence. Add another $4M to that estimate. One could argue that you could spend up to $36M to balance what Dylann Roof took from society. From a cost/benefit perspective, I maintain that society should implement the death penalty and keep the cost of capital punishment down by streamlining the appeals process and doling out the sentence in a timely manner.

    I understand that mistakes can be made and that some innocent people have been put to death. I think we should get our best legal and political experts to craft legislation that shortens the appeals process, but also conditions it so that if there is any doubt as to a person’s guilt then the death penalty should not be an option. Clearly with persons like Dylann Roof and Timothy McVey, there is no question as to guilt. By housing these murderers, we add to the cost/benefit burden to society, when they have already impacted us in a major way by taking those innocent lives. Also, the lengthy appeal process benefits who (besides the convicted killer)?…lawyers! Lawyers like former NM State Senator Michael Sanchez, who has a law firm specializing in defending the miscreants in New Mexico society.
    Just my two cents!
    Thank you,

    Bob Knowlton
    Whilom Mayor
    Village of Bosque Farms
    Bosque Farms, New Mexico

  6. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Reader Abe Parham writes:

    I couldn’t disagree more with your statement about locking someone up in prison costs far less than executing them. The statement should really be the exhaustive appeal process costs far more than holding someone in a jail cell for the remainder of their life. If we were to reform this process then it’s a no-brainer. Here is my Top 5 when it comes to the Death Penalty:

    1. The death penalty does not deter others from killing ………but it does a pretty damn good job on that first idiot. It should never be looked at as something that will help society shape and mold the characters of those incarcerated. It is already too late at that point. It is strictly punishment, nothing more.
    2. The death penalty should only be used when positive DNA evidence is available.
    3. We should not rate the severity of murder and categorize those who deserve the death penalty and those who don’t. The freak in South Carolina should die just like any other murderer – his crime should not be viewed as more despicable or heinous.
    3a. A hate crime should not out rank a love crime. I shouldn’t be subject to the death penalty just because I hate my neighbor and kill him because he is a person of color but get life in prison because I hate him for stealing my car.
    4. Life in prison is cruel and unusual punishment. As humans we are not designed to be confined the majority of each day.
    5. When someone is executed there is absolutely no possible way that person can kill again. If they are incarcerated, they could kill another inmate, guard or other prison official. We are not eliminating the threat with just prison.

    I do enjoy your articles on most other days. Thanks.

  7. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Thomas Martin writes:

    Dear Diane,

    I am in favor of the death penalty–but only in limited cases where the convict can’t reasonably be denied access to followers who would carry out violent acts against others. When the convict has an organization that would inflict murder and mayhem on the community at large we may have a duty to quell that threat.

    Revenge–as sweet as it may be–is never the correct response to criminal acts. The death penalty doesn’t apply to Dylan Roof because he can be locked away forever with confidence that he won’t have associates outside the prison walls to carry on at his behest. If Roof kills others in prison, then he may be considered a danger to the prison community; therefore, he may then be a candidate for execution to protect inmates, guards, and others. But Roof hasn’t committed new crimes of this magnitude, so he deserves to live his remaining days in a hell hole.

    Too often the death penalty is sought and imposed for revenge, personal aggrandizement, politics, or power grabs.

    I base my opinion on this matter on the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
    – – –
    Thomas Martin
    Albuquerque, NM

  8. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Reader Allen writes:

    The death penalty exists because there are, and most likely always will be, violent career criminals, and these people have a long, intentional history of committing crimes and injuring or killing others with no remorse.
    Paying to keep these human threats in prison for years, often decades, is wasted taxpayer money that does little more than ensuring correctional officers a job.
    I’m a retired cop, a former Army Military Police officer of nearly 27 years, and I had the opportunity to talk with many inmates at the Leavenworth prison who told me they had no interest in anything other than crime because it was so easy most of the time.
    Many of them spent decades in/out of jail, but their constant focus was on where, when and how to commit their next crime when they were released…and their primary regret was getting caught, not having committed the actual crime or remorse for people they’d harmed or killed.

    And yes, I understand your moral dilemma as I too have wrestled with it on occasion, but the fact remains that there are people whose lives, unfortunately, have been completely formed around a mindset of violence, both personally endured and inflicted on others.
    Naturally, the question emerges regarding their potential for rehabilitation and parole, and herein lies the dilemma.
    You’re probably familiar with the term recidivism along with it’s historically high statistical rates.
    Some want to blame the system for these habitual rebounding criminals, but delving deeper into their backgrounds and unyielding mindsets allows a rather clear picture to emerge; they enjoy crime, consider it their occupation, and consider their potential victims as merely targets of opportunity.
    As you mentioned in your column, the death penalty doesn’t deter violent crime, but it does alleviate society from the probability of having an intentionally violent career criminal take another life.
    I don’t believe you can put a price tag on any life, but the reality of the real world these days is that most everything can ultimately be boiled down to its most simplistic form, money.
    So, we have to ask ourselves if there can be instances whereby life in prison isn’t suitable because of the virtual guarantee that some people are going to be locked up for their remaining duration due to intentionally taking the life (or lives) of another person. Initially, many have no remorse, but eventually some opt for “getting religion” while in prison which is a common ploy used to help persuade parole committees to give a thumbs up vote to release them back into society.
    Now that we’ve circled back to square one, it seems there’s really no guaranteed defensible reason not to consider the death penalty for some of the most intentionally violent, career criminals.


  9. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Ivar Lindstrom writes:

    I refer you to web page, “A short list of murderers released to murder again.” I have not counted the number, but it is at least commensurate with the number of mistaken executions of convicted (in error) murderers. To be short, the question is not the morality of revenge (it is not moral) or crime deterrence (certainly not with the persons listed above), but the morality of executing an innocent suspect compared to the morality of allowing the random murder of a totally innocent man, woman, or child. The choice for me is easy!

    Ivar Lindstrom
    Los Alamos, NM

  10. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Scott Hedrick from the Southern Justice Self-Help Legal Center writes:

    Killing isn’t inherently wrong, murder is. If killing were inherently wrong, when we wouldn’t arm the police or military. There is no possible punishment that would be an absolute deterrent to crime. If the death penalty is ineffective, it is because so many of those on death row get to live a normal lifespan while awaiting punishment, and then it’s done in secret, hidden from the public. Why in the hell would anyone think that locking someone up for life, particularly a younger person, where they can spend decades in a cage like an animal, is more merciful or just?

  11. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Jerry Little writes:

    Deterrence only works if you are will to use the instrument upon which it is based. The claim that new technology proves that wrongly accused and convicted criminals were not guilty of the capitol crime is a double edge sword. The new technology also makes it easy to prove beyond a shadow of doubt one’s guilt. What that means is we need an express lane to the chamber to re-establish the deterrent effect of the death penalty.

  12. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Unit 1012: The Victims’ Families For The Death Penalty writes:

    And try as they might, experts have not been able to find evidence that capital punishment deters future crimes. So, remind me again why we do it?

    ANSWER: “The death penalty might be a deterrence to commit a crime but that is one school of thought. Death penalty to me is the retribution. It makes you pay for what you did.” – Rodrigo Duterte, the Strongman of the Philippines.

    Most of us murder victims’ family members do not care about deterrence but justice and protection. Do hear our stories and have EMPATHY AND SYMPATHY FOR MURDER VICTIMS!

  13. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Murder Victims’ Families/Friends Against Sister Helen Prejean writes:

    If killing is wrong, then why do states condone it via executions? Killing a killer seems hypocritical. Doing it for vengeance sake brings to mind the old saying, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”

    REBUTTAL: Someone did wrote an opinion letter in Arab News, in favor of the death penalty:

    Here in Saudi Arabia, a serial child rapist is on trial for allegedly raping 13 young female students. The DNA test has proved his crime and all other agencies are expeditiously activated to prove the guilt of the rapist teacher.

    Those who often quote Mahatma Gandhi’s observation that “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind” must tell us where it will lead us if such criminals are left unpunished?

    Beheading murderers and rapists publicly serves as a deterrent to would-be criminals, whatever may be the arguments of the human rights activists against the capital punishment.

    Spot on! If the ACLU demons who consistently fight the death sentences of evildoers and also end LWOP, follow that quote. It will lead us to a land fit for criminals. It will terminate the population in the country.

    For those people who think that using that quote to end capital punishment is right, they should be consistent. Here are several examples.

    They should go and tell the Mexican Justice System (where they have no death penalty and LWOP) to free all Kidnappers from prison because ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.’

    A robber can tell the courts that he should not pay fines for his crime because the country can go blind due to eye for eye.

    The CIA should tell Seal Team Six not assassinate Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda as it is eye for eye making the world go blind.

    To use Gandhi’s quote is asking for chaos in the world where evil will triumph over good. Instead of using that quote, Unit 1012 prefers Adam Smith’s words: “Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.”

  14. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Phillip Hicks writes:

    The question is why does it still exist, not if it is right or wrong. Capital punishment has NEVER stopped murder in the history of mankind. It does not work. In addition, it is used with bias. Also, CP is irrevolable. When mistakes made, no way to correct the error.

  15. Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Lawrence Walsh writes:

    “Capital punishment has NEVER stopped murder in the history of mankind.”
    There is no way to prove this. Think about it.

    • Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Reader Phillip Hicks replies:

      Lawrence Walsh How long has murder existed? How long has capital punishment for murder existed? It is called inductive reasoning.

      • Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Lawrence Walsh replies:

        Phillip Hicks you cannot prove that no one as decided against committing murder because of fear of death. You cannot prove a negative. This is logic.

        • Diane Dimond on January 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

          Phillip Hicks replies:

          Lawrence Walsh …and you cannot prove your statement because it is a negative.

          Having fun with semantics and logic is fine, but my statement stands the test of time.

  16. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 12:17 am

    Twitter pal T Ross writes he’s FOR the death penalty:

    @DiDimond absolutely! Ted Bundy is deterred from ever killing again!

  17. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Twitter pal Bob Burtis@bob_burtis writes:

    @DiDimond Don’t know if it deters crime. Believe LE needs it to gain cooperation. I also don’t like paying for C. Manson & Boston Bomber forever

  18. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Twitter Pal ShirleyWhel07S writes:

    @DiDimond How many have been on death row just to have it changed to life in prison then out the door they go & kill again

    • Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 12:21 am

      Shirley –
      See link above:

      >>, “A short list of murderers released to murder again.”

  19. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Twitter pal

    fulltimemaHeather Green@fulltimema

    @DiDimond Mixed. Needs to be more regulated state to state and reserved only for the worst of the worst. Tougher min requirements to qualify

  20. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Twitter Pal Ginnie O-Schwartz@GinnieinPalmBay writes

    @DiDimond yes,I am against it, life in prison is better, make them suffer just knowing they are there for ever..

  21. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Reader and Death Penalty Advocate Dudley Sharpe writes:

    Dimond gets everything wrong.

    Why does Diane repeat the fraud of the 156 “exonerated” from death row? Anyone who fact checks knows that anti death penalty folks, simply, redefined both “innocent” and “exonerated”, as if re-defining lie as “truth” and stuffed a bunch of cases into those fraudulent definitions (1).

    Most media, like Diane, overlooks the other poll, within every Gallup death penalty poll, which is the question regarding the death penalty being imposed enough or not enough, which is, usually, about 10 points higher than the general question answer.

    For 2016, the death penalty being imposed enough or not enough showed 67% support, or 7% higher than the answer to the general question.

    As is very well known, the question asked and the available answers given has a huge impact on polling results, just as whether the media will decide not to show you polls with much higher death penalty support (2).

    Dimond equates all killings, which requires an inability to distinguish between murder and execution, crime and punishment, guilty murderer and innocent victim. Astounding.

    This suggests that Diane must equate kidnapping and incarceration, theft and fines and slavery and community service, as well — just plain irrational.

    Regarding race, white murderers are twice as likely to be execute (sic) as are black murderers and are executed at a 41% higher rate than black death row inmates (3).

    Regarding costs, I implore Dimond to fact check (4). It matters.

    To answer Diane’s question: We have executions and all other sanctions based within justice.

    1) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

    2) 86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever – April 2013
    World Support Remains High
    95% of Murder Victim’s Family Members Support Death Penalty


    4) Saving Costs with The Death Penalty

    • Dudley Sharp on January 10, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks for posting and for the spelling notation.

  22. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Facebook Friend Vinnie Politan writes:

    Executions are actually up this year in Georgia…

  23. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Facebook Friend Ginnie Oleskewicz Schwartz writes:

    I believe in life in prison, I truly believe that the person suffers more…

  24. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Facebook Friend Kurt K Guy writes:

    I am not an expert, but I found your pound of flesh.

    “According to suburban Chicago prosecutors, Demetry Smirnov verified that Illinois had banned its death penalty before traveling here to murder his ex-girlfriend.”


    As for my opinion…… yes, you can ensure the innocent don’t get put to death. In this case there is video, along with other evidence, that pretty much 100% proves his guilt.

  25. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Facebook Friend Drew Rutberg writes:

    I hope not. There are cases where it is the appropriate punishment

  26. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Facebook Friend Rich Hydell writes:

    Well, first the loved ones should decide and have the first shot at the filthy criminal.

  27. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Facebook Friend Dawn Dix writes:

    It does seem to be a joke, as appeals last forever, so they don’t really ever perform them

    • Dudley Sharp on January 10, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      As a rule, that is the fault of the judges, not the death penalty.

      Virginia has executed about 80% of those sent to death row since 1976, or 111 executions, with appeals of 7 years, on average, prior to execution.

      In other states, judges will not allow any executions or will only allow “volunteers” who waived appeals.

  28. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Twitter pal @anitampantoja writes:


  29. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Twitter pal @shellbellz216 writes:

    Yes death for murderers! My sister was murdered & hidden in a hole for almost 14 yrs! Her killer received 7-14 yrs. NO JUSTICE!!!

  30. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Twitter pal @lparkernyc writes:

    Against, all my life. Could never serve on a death-penalty case.

    • Dudley Sharp on January 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      As a rule, that is the fault of the judges, not the death penalty.

      Virginia has executed about 80% of those sent to death row since 1976, or 111 executions, with appeals of 7 years, on average, prior to execution.

      In other states, judges will not allow any executions or will only allow “volunteers” who waived appeals.

  31. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Facebook Friend Bill Voinovich writes:

    Nothing wrong with the death penalty…as long as there’s NO DOUBT……..
    But they better make DAMN SURE that’s the guy that DID IT, because you don’t get any do-overs…….

  32. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Facebook Friend Pat Alder writes:

    It’s certainly gotten more difficult, so maybe now it is time to put it to rest,…BUT those on death row get no “delays”. Let them rot.

  33. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Twitter pal Shelly Nagle@shellbellz216

    @DiDimond yes death for murderers! My sister was murdered & hidden in a hole for almost 14 yrs! Her killer received 7-14 yrs. NO JUSTICE!!!

  34. Diane Dimond on January 10, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Twitter pal Linda Parker@lparkernyc writes:

    @DiDimond Against, all my life. Could never serve on a death-penalty case.

  35. Readers Sound Off on the Death Penalty on January 16, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    […] Last week’s column about convicted murderer Dylann Roof and America’s policy of capital punishment — public support for it, the costs associated with it and its usefulness in deterring others – definitely stirred passions. […]

  36. Josh Schimel on February 24, 2017 at 5:08 am

    I sympathize with your discomfort on this subject–there are certainly people who deserve to die as horribly as their victims–in pain and terror. But that is the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment that is unconstitutional.

    But criminal justice isn’t really about the criminals–it’s about protecting everyone else. As it is, it costs more to execute someone than to lock them up and throw away the key. Money spent on capital appeals is money not available to hire police officers, judges, teachers or in other ways that benefit society. Hence capital punishment harms Society. The alternative is to streamline the execution process, but that places innocent people at risk–there can be no question that some number of wrongly convicted people have been executed. The faster the process, the higher the likelihood of the state murdering innocent people. So it seems hard for me to see how capital punishment benefits Society. Hence, I oppose it–but not out of any sympathy for those it is really targeted at: the Dylan Roof’s of the world who deserve a worse end than to quietly float away in a drugged haze.

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