Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: America

New Jersey and death penalty

The decision of New Jersey legislature to abolish death penalty is bad. The Senate voted 21-16 and the Assembly voted 44-36 for abolition.
A commission had given three reasons for abolition:
1) Death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison.
2) Death penalty hasn’t deterred murder.
3) Death penalty could kill innocent people.
It seems the commission had made up its mind beforehand and found excuses to abolish death penalty. The reasons given by the commission are wrong. Let us examine the reasons.
1) Death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison.
Death penalty is not a more expensive sentence than life in prison. What is the cost of putting a murderer to death? What is cost of keeping a murderer in prison for many years? Life sentence is many times more expensive than death penalty.
2) Death penalty hasn’t deterred murder.
Death penalty prevents murder is proved by an Associated Press report dt. 11 June 2007 that can be accessed on www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19160965. I had mentioned this in a previous blog article.
The report points to a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.
It quotes Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. “Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it. The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect.”
“The results are robust, they don’t really go away. I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?”
Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that suggest capital punishment has deterrent effects.
In 1970s economist Isaac Ehrlich had also concluded that executions deterred future crimes. His 1975 report was cited in papers before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing for a reversal of the court’s 1972 suspension of executions. The court, in 1976, reinstated the death penalty.
Nobody was executed in New Jersey since 1963. On what basis the commission came to this conclusion?
3) Death penalty could kill innocent people.
No innocent person shall be punished. But 100 criminals going scotree is not justice. The accused have the right to defend themselves and prove their innocence. The courts decide. Many times murderers escape due to lack of proof or witness.
Death by lethal injection is contested. Those who oppose death penalty will contest death by any method.
Governor Jon S. Corzine must return the bill.

Death penalty prevents murders

I received two comments for my article “UN General Assembly and death penalty”. The Writers questioned the source for my statement “Every death penalty for murder prevents three to eighteen murders.”
The source is an Associated Press report dt. 11 June 2007 that can be accessed on www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19160965.
The report points to a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.
It quotes Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. “Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it. The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect.”
“The results are robust, they don’t really go away. I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?”
Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that suggest capital punishment has deterrent effects.
In 1970s economist Isaac Ehrlich had also concluded that executions deterred future crimes. His 1975 report was cited in papers before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing for a reversal of the court’s 1972 suspension of executions. The court, in 1976, reinstated the death penalty.
Murders are few in Saudi Arabia. In Italy gangsters are killed by their rivals. That is the case where there is no death penalty or awarded rarely. Contracts are given for killing.
If the death penalty stopped murders why do murders still happen?
We eat. After some hours we feel hungry again. We drink. After some hours we feel thirsty again. We wash our clothes. They get soiled again. Why to eat, drink, wash clothes?
Many times murderers think they can not be caught or if caught they can not be convicted.
Crime rate is low in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia death penalty for murder is swift.
In USA there is no uniform criminal law. States decide death penalty. USA’s population is five times of Italy. Many murderers in USA are the descendents of mafia members who migrated from Italy to USA.
In USA at one time there were many kidnappings. Introduction of death penalty for kidnapping reduced kidnappings.
In 1980 the Supreme Court of India in the Bachchan Singh vs State of Punjab case set the standard of death penalty being awarded in the “rarest of rare” cases. After that murders became open. Court, lock up, hospital, railway station and other places full of people would not deter criminals.
If murderers of Sikhs in Delhi in 1984 following Indira Gandhi’s murder had got death penalty many murders in subsequents riots would not have taken place. Riots after Babri Mosque demolition in 1992, Bombay riots 1993, Gujarat riots 2002, Nandigram 2007 and many other riots have seen many murders. Indira Gandhi’s murderers were hanged within five years. No one is hanged for the murder of Sikhs even after 23 years.
Chief Justice Ramesh Chandra Lahoti on 31/10/2005, his last day in office, justifying death penalty and referring to Delhi blasts on 29/10/2005, said “What other penalty would suit perpetrators of such brutal acts? What other penalty is called for if the crime is proved beyond reasonable doubt? What happens is that, we forget the past. We see only the face of the accused, who is before us and his family. We forget the victims and their families.”
Punishment should be proportionate to crime and death penalty is suitable punishment for murder, attempted murder, hijacking, kidnapping, character assassination, fraudulently depriving people of their money and acid throwing.
Let there be death penalty for every murder.

Note: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19160965 now redirects to http://www.nbcnews.com/id/19160965

Thoughts on 10/11/2007

It is for the couples to decide when to have their first child. Couples generally prefer to have their first child within first year of marriage. Satara Zilla Parishad’s scheme asking couples to delay their first child for two to three years and offering Rs.5,000/- and Rs.7,500/- for staying childless for two and three years after marriage should be scrapped.

Appointing Anil Kumble captain for Pakistan series was a right decision. We have to take each series as it comes.

USA had different standards for Burma and Pakistan. In both countries there is suppression of democracy. There are sanctions against Burma. No sanctions against Pakistan.

Release of films is not national news. News channels should not give prominence to them.

Price of oil has gone up. Government should allow the rupee to appreciate. There should be no subsidies.

As per reports, Mukesh Ambani’s house will cost Rs.4000 crores. He gave a jet costing Rs.274 crores as birthday gift to his wife. How much Income Tax he has paid? He should have paid Rs.1,830 crores Income Tax. If not, something is wrong with our tax laws or enforcement.

One cannot be NRI for tax purposes and resident Indian for election purposes. Vijay Mallya’s status needs to be made clear.

All cardinals must have the right to vote in a conclave. At present the number of cardinals above eighty are not allowed to vote in a conclave. The number of those who can vote is restricted to 120. The total number of cardinals is around 200. No new cardinals should be appointed till the number comes down to 120 and then all cardinals must be allowed to vote in a conclave. The proportion of European cardinals in general and Italian cardinals in particular is large.

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