Justice Stevens strong bias against the death penalty and his lack of voiced concern for murder victims is well known (1).


Very few of the 112 Supreme Court Justices concluded that the death penalty is unconstitutional, as Justice Stevens has.


A solid case for racial bias, systemically, with the US death penalty, post Furman, is difficult to make (2), contrary to Justice Stevens’ position.


Justice Stevens continues the ignorance of not studying the underlying data within McCleskey v Kemp (the Georgia) case. He should, if he cares about the facts and the truth (3).


Of course death penalty cases are prone to conviction. Prosecutors must be more sure of these cases than for any others, prior to pursuing a trial.  And that should be what we all want. Justice Stevens, it is the responsible thing to do, for all cases, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


Justice Stevens makes an odd complaint,  that it taints the jury when prosecutors exclude jurors opposed to the death penalty. Judge, the only way to have a qualified jury, in all cases, is if all jurors can award all sentencing options which are available under law in the subject case.


Justice Stevens, as all of us, are concerned about the risk of executing an innocent. The Justice reverses the reality.


Possibly, 25 of the 8100 death sentences given since 1973 may be actual innocents, or 0.3% of those so convicted. They have all been released (4).


Innocents are more at risk without the death penalty. (5)


Unintended error cannot, per se, render anything unjust. Any innocent convicted, sentenced and/or executed is unjust, but cannot render the death penalty unjust.


In the history of the US, it is very difficult to reach a consensus as to even one confirmed case of an innocent executed. (6) Has it happened? Reason concludes yes.


However, the evidence that murderers harm and murder, again, is overwhelming and universally conceded.  In addition, The death penalty offers more protection for innocents than lesser sanctions. (5)


The death penalty is an enhanced protector of innocents and more innocents will die without the death penalty. 


All human endeavors will entail error. The best that humans can do is work to minimize such error.


In the context of all human endeavors, either private or governmental, that do put innocents at risk, is there one which has a better track record than the US death penalty, when considering actual innocent deaths? Likely not.


In the context of criminal justice, the evidence suggests that we have lost nearly 100, 000 innocents to murder, since 1973, by parolees, probationers and early releasees, who murdered after such release while under government supervision (7).


The proof of an innocent executed since 1973? There is none.


(1) The “Moderate Republican” Death Penalty Values of Justice Stevens: Do tormented victims matter?


(3)  a)  “The Math Behind Race, Crime and Sentencing Statistics”
John Allen Paulos, Los Angeles Times, 7/12/98


        b)  “The Odds of Execution” within “How numbers are tricking you”
Arnold Barnett, MIT Technology Review October, 1994


      c) A complete review of Joseph Katz’ deconstruction of the Baldus database is available upon request.



(5)  a)  “The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents”


       b)  “Opponents of the Death Penalty Have Blood on their Hands”, Dennis Prager, November 29, 2005



(7)  “Prisons are a Bargain, by any measure”, by John J. DiIulio, Jr., New York Times, January 16, 1996


One thought on “Justice John Paul Stevens’ Hysteria: The Death Penalty

  • March 9, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I’m a true blood conservative who has supported the death penalty since I was a 12 year kid in 1972, growing up in a liberal household in Boston. Since all the cases came to light regarding convictions overturned with DNA evidence proving ‘innocence, I’ve wavered. Appreciate the ammunition in this post to get back on track!


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