To: The Wisconsin State Legislature and Media throughout Wisconsin

The No Death Penalty Wisconsin (NODPWI) presents many inaccuracies, by commission or omission. 


The NODPWI lists “A Dozen Reasons to be Against the Death Penalty” (1). Their listed reasons are  false or misleading.  A review is below.


NODPWI claims: 1) Risk of Killing Innocents – hundreds of people on death row have been released/exonerated. Four were exonerated only after they died awaiting execution.


Reality: Since 1973, possibly 20 inmates have been released from death row because of actual innocence, whereby there was an actual innocence finding by the appellate courts or an agreement of actual innocence by both prosecutors and defense counsel in those cases. There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900. The evidence is that innocents are more at risk when we fail to execute murderers. Many cases have been overturned and many inmates released. However, overwhelmingly, these cases did not have any evidence of actual innocence, but were overturned by the “super due process” of death penalty cases, based upon legal issues. I am aware of one case, of a confirmed actually innocent person, who died while on death row. This tragic case would have ended the same way had he been sentenced to life.

NODPWI claims: 2) DNA evidence is not infallible – sloppy lab work and ill-trained staffs have lead to many cases of contaminated evidence. 11 people in Oklahoma have been executed based on contaminated DNA evidence.


Reality: Nothing is infallible, but DNA is the most accurate crime fighting and evidence tool that has ever existed. I suspect the 11 cases referenced are related to Oklahoma DNA “expert” Joyce Gochrist’s disasters . It will be some time before all of those investigations are complete. No one will defend those conditions. However, the overwhelming majority of testings –maybe 99% — do not have problems. Most relevant, history shows that Wisconsin is competent to responsibly manage DNA evidence and testing. Parole and probation evaluations are not infallible, either. Many innocents are harmed and murdered by those so improperly released. Perhaps NODPWI will start a new coalition to ban those practices because they are much more harmful to innocents.


NODPWI claims: 3) Death penalty is not an effective criminal deterrent- Crime had not gone down since capital punishment was reinstated in the late 1970s. Moreover, states without the death penalty have much lower murder rates. The South accounts for 80% of US executions and has the highest regional murder rate.


Reality: Crime and murder rates have dropped dramatically since the 1970’s. 8 recent US studies have found for a deterrent effect of capital punishment. Detroit Michigan and Washington DC have no death penalty and have been perennial leaders in murder rates for decades. However, deterrence is not measured by looking at just murder rates vs execution rates. All prospects for a negative outcome deter some. There are no exceptions.


NODPWI claims: 4) Death penalty is racially and economically biased – African Americans account for over 40% of the death row population and are only 12% of the total US population. Most people on death row are poor and uneducated and often cannot afford quality legal assistance.


Reality: Fortunately, the US doesn’t base criminal sentencing on population counts, but, rather, on crimes committed. White murderers are more likely to be executed than are black murderers and are executed more quickly than black death row inmates. The rich, very rarely, commit capital murder. Is there any evidence that the rich murderers are less likely to be executed than are their poorer ilk, based upon the commission of capital murder by those differing economic groups? Virtually all people on death row are educated. Most are poor because most capital murderers are poor.  99.9% of the poor do not commit capital murder.


NODPWI claims: 5) The Death Penalty Costs More – Death penalty cases cost far more than life without parole. All of the appeals, expert witnesses, and lab tests mean that death penalty cases can cost up to of 90 million dollars. Some US counties have gone bankrupt because of a single death penalty case. Wisconsinites need to consider Milwaukee County, the county with the most murders cases, and thus the most potential death penalty cases. Milwaukee County is already on the brink of bankruptcy. The death penalty could cost the state’s most populous county millions that would otherwise be going to social services that county residents (many of whom are in poverty) desperately need.


Reality: The up front costs of death penalty cases are higher than similar/equivalent cases, seeking life. However, when taking into account; (1) the huge cost savings of plea bargaining a potential death penalty case to a life sentence, (2) the extremely high cost of long term medical care for geriatric life cases and (3) the enhanced deterrent and enhanced incapacitation benefits of the death penalty, there is no reason for the death penalty to be more expensive than equivalent life cases. In fact, there is no reason for death cases to be more expensive than similar, equivalent life cases.


NODPWI claims: 6) The US is one of the world’s leading executioners, putting us in a group with countries like China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.


Reality: The US is responsible for about 3% of the world’s executions. Regardless of percentages or number, US juries give the death penalty when they find it the most just punishment for the crime, just as they do when other punishments are assessed. Only the most ignorant would compare the criminal justice systems of the US with those four other nations.


NODPWI claims: 7) The US is one of the few democracies and the only nation in NATO to use the death penalty.


Reality:  True. However, many of the alleged democracies are not very democratic when it comes to the death penalty, choosing not to have that sanction, even when a majority of their population approves it. According to Gallup, 80% of Americans supported the execution of Timothy McVeigh.  Pretty democratic.


NODPWI claims: 8) Wisconsin has recently enacted tougher sentencing requirements for murder cases, and also, life without parole guarantees no further crimes will be committed.


Reality: Untrue. Living murderers do harm and murder, again — in prison, after escape and after improper release. No reasonable person will guaranty otherwise. Executed murderers never harm or murder, again.


NODPWI claims: 9) The current method of lethal injection used on death row prisoners is so inhumane that even veterinarians don’t use it to put animals to sleep.


Reality: This is a total deception, strictly the product of dishonest anti death penalty sources.


NODPWI claims: 10) It is a violation of medical ethics for doctors to assist with executions.


Reality: Execution is a criminal justice practice. There is no need for doctors to assist with executions, as we all know.


NODPWI claims: 11) Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and many other political and human rights groups oppose the death penalty.


Reality: Many oppose the death penalty, it doesn’t mean that they are correct. 80% of Americans supported the execution of Timothy McVeigh.


NODPWI claims: 12) The death penalty is opposed by many major religious groups including most Jewish and Christian denominations.


Reality: That is true, but their reasons for opposing the death penalty are often based upon standard anti death penalty inaccuracies. Furthermore, many of their theological or biblical positions are incomplete or erroneous. A majority of Americans, including religious individuals, support executions. Biblical and theological support for the death penalty is solid.


NODPWI states:”Our purpose is to educate Wisconsin citizens to cast an intelligent vote against the death penalty referendum . . .” (2)


To the contrary, their goal appears to be deception.


I am willing to conduct a thorough discussion of these issues with the No Death Penalty Wisconsin coalition on their site.


Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O’Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.


(1) www(dot)


(2)  www(dot)


Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, C-Span, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS, BBC and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O’Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
Pro death penalty sites        (Sweden)

3 thoughts on “Inaccuracies of No Death Penalty Wisconsin

  • April 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Вода, вода, вода автор учись писать информативно, А то много букв мало толку.

  • April 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Do you not think about the environment? Let’s work on renewable energy?
    What can you offer in terms of advertising?


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