Today's Allentown Morning Call publishes the OpEd, "Pennsylvania should abolish the death penalty. It's by Karen N. Berry, Judith A. Dexter, Alwyn Eades, and Sarah Snider; Amnesty International members.
Are you in favor of the death penalty? Why? Many people say we need it because the death penalty deters crime, but that is not true. In 2012, the National Research Council evaluated statistical studies only to conclude "that the studies do not provide evidence for or against the proposition that the death penalty affects homicide rates."
So if it does not deter crime, if it doesn't make us safer, why do we have the death penalty and why are we asking now? We ask now because the Pennsylvania Senate has created a task force to study the death penalty and to recommend changes to our judicial system.
In March, Maryland's legislature voted out the death penalty, substituting life in prison without the possibility of parole. Gov. Martin O'Malley cited both costs and deterrence after the vote. "Capital punishment is expensive and the overwhelming evidence tells us that it does not work as a deterrent," he said. Thus Maryland joined 17 other states to abolish the death penalty, and its world did not collapse.
We believe that if citizens of Pennsylvania knew the facts about capital punishment — that it does not deter crime and that it costs more than keeping offenders in jail for the rest of their lives — they would join us in opposing the death penalty. They would no longer wish to be part of the list of countries that actively use the death penalty; China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, North Korea are the only countries that use the death penalty at a rate comparable with the USA. Is our moral sense at the level of these countries?
Also from Pennsylvania, there is a new federal death sentence. "Jury: Death penalty for dealer," is the AP report, via the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.
A federal jury on Friday recommended the death penalty for a drug dealer convicted of murdering 12 people, including four children and two women who were relatives of an informant and were killed in a firebombing.
Kaboni Savage, 38, already was serving 30 years in prison for a drug trafficking conviction.
Jurors took less than two days to unanimously return 13 death sentences against Savage — one for each of the 12 murders and one for retaliating against witnesses.
Related posts are in the federal death penalty category index.