Ms. Keshen, staff attorney, New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, needs to review the evidence, again.


A rebuttal to Ms. Keshan’s four points.


1)  countries with no death penalty law: 95
      countries with the death penalty: 102 (1)

2)   The death penalty certainly doesn’t appear to be losing favor.


A Nov 2010 poll found that the US death penalty is 83% (2). These are the highest poll numbers, ever


Likely, the majority populations of all counties support the death penalty. (3)


Why? Justice.


3) Why have death sentences dropped by 50%? Obviously, not for lack of support.


a)  US murders have dropped 40% since 1991.  It is predictable that capital murders, the only ones subject to the death penalty, have dropped much more, because capital murders are, most often, murders combined with secondary aggravated factors, such as robbery or rape, which have also have tremendous drops. The drop in capital murders could be 70% or greater.


Texas has seen even a greater drop in murders – a 50% reduction in murders and a 65% reduction in murder rates, during that same period. Again, the drop in capital murders would be greater.


The drops in murder rates and all crimes has been consistent with the dramatic increase in incarceration rates as well as improved policing. There have also been 27 recent studies which find for death penalty deterrence (4). Not surprising. Life is preferred over death – death is feared more than life.


b)  In addition, 4 important cases, decided by the US Supreme Court, have had an effect on reducing sentences, just as prosecutor fatigue has set in, because they know, in many states, judges will not allow executions, only because of their anti death penalty stance, evidencing their contempt for the law and the voice of the citizens.  Pa, Ct, Ca and NJ come to mind. NJ, now, has no death penalty.



4) Thorough fact checking of the death penalty studies, find that there is very little difference between the cost of the death penalty and life without parole and, in some cases, cost savings with responsible death penalty protocols. (5)


The up front costs of the death penalty are, often, necessarily, higher. However, when all costs for lifers are considered, inclusive of longer incarceration and the, necessary, huge costs of geratric care, as well as the cost saving benefits of the death penalty, which allows the huge cost savings of providing the availability of plea bargains to life, the cost of death vs life are similar.


It’s unfortunate that the New Hampshire Commission to Study the Death Penalty was not more thorough with the cost data available to them.




1) Amnesty Intl. AI plays with the numbers, but when you weed through their nonsense, this is the reality.



2) “Americans Support Punishing Murder with the Death Penalty”, Angus Reid Poll, 11/09/10,



3) “Death Penalty Support Remains Very High: USA & The World”



4) a)  27 recent studies finding for deterrence, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation


b)  “Deterrence & the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock”
c)  “Death Penalty, Deterrence & Murder Rates: Let’s be clear”


5)  A thorough review of many of the death penalty cost studies confirms this within:


a)  Lethal injection, capital punishment in Texas during the modern era, Jonathan Roger Sorensen, Rocky LeAnn Pilgrim, Univ of Texas Press, 2006-05-01


b)  “Death Penalty Cost Studies: Saving Costs over LWOP”


c)   “Duke (North Carolina) Death Penalty Cost Study: Let’s be honest”
(NOTE: A 2009 study, by one of these authors, found that by ending the death penalty NC might save $11 million , or about 1 penny ever third day/person.  I have not read it, yet. Based upon the prior study, reviewed here, the death penalty likely saves money.)


4 thoughts on “Rebuttal to Barbara Keshen, “On death penalty, state bucks the trend”, Concord Monitor (12/31/10)

  • April 28, 2011 at 2:16 am

    There are a few questions on your site.
    How can I contact the administration?

  • April 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    The bundance of interesting articles on your website amazes me! Author – good luck and new interesting posts!

  • June 10, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this topic.


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