Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

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

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