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"If we design a legal system that will be so generous to the suspect that there is absolutely no possibility of unjustly convicting that one out of ten thousand defendants who, in spite of overwhelming evidence, is really innocent, then we have also designed a legal system that is utterly incapable of convicting the other 9999 about whose guilt there is no mistake." 
-- G. Edward Griffin in The Great Prison Break

Responses to "A Broken System" by James Liebman

A Prosecutor Speaks

  • A question and answer session with a Texas prosecutor

Defending the Defenseless - There's a reason these people are in prison

  • In this land of the Stars and Stripes we find a bid to create stars of the fellas who used to wear stripes.
    DAVE LIEZEN,, May 7, 2006

Death-row celebrity has direct link to Baltimore's ills

  • What Tookie Williams is really teaching the youth of America is that it's honorable to dummy up when they have knowledge of a crime. If he's executed, is that really the legacy Williams wants to take to his grave?
    GREGORY KANE, Baltimore Sun, December 10, 2005

The crime, not his race, put Baker on death row

  • Wesley Baker is on death row today for the actions of Wesley Baker. "Racial disparity" had nothing to do with it.
    GREGORY KANE, Baltimore Sun, December 3, 2005

When Murderers Die

  • A society that sentences killers to nothing worse than prison -- no matter how depraved the killing or how innocent the victim -- is a society that doesn't *really* think murder is so terrible.
    JEFF JACOBY, September 28, 2003

Death Decisions

  • The fallacy that innocent people are being executed cannot be validated. 
    MICHAEL NEVIN, American Daily, Mary 8, 2003

Death Penalty is a Deterrent

  • Capital punishment gives killers good cause to fear arrest and conviction.

A cruel penalty for victims

  • Death penalty opponents who twist the truth to protect killers are also torturing victims' families.
    PETER BRONSON, Cincinnati Enquirer, February 3, 2003

To murder victims' families, executing killers is justice

  • The pain of homicide victims' relatives never ends. It chips away at their souls and psyches year after depressing year.
    GREGORY KANE, Baltimore Sun, February 5, 2003

Ten Anti-Death Penalty Fallacies

  • The case against capital punishment relies on myth, misinformation, and misplaced emotionalism.
    THOMAS R. EDDLEM, The New American, June 3, 2002

The IQ Exemption

  • Many of the same people who have been telling us for years that IQ and other mental test scores are not really valid, when it comes to determining people's "real" ability to do academic work, have now turned around 180 degrees and made a low IQ score an exemption from paying the price for killing a fellow human being.
    THOMAS SOWELL, Washington Times, February 28, 2002

Criminal Justice - Anything to save a killer

  • Just hours before his execution, federal judges bent the rules to give John Byrd one more chance.  The overtime appeal turned into a circus of lying convicts, unethical lawyers, hidden evidence and a lurid deal to swap sex for false testimony.  Judge Danny Boggs called the delay "procedurally virtually criminal," and said the pretext was "simply a lie." The majority went outside the law, he wrote: ". . . this court would grant a stay based on a hot dog menu."
    PETER BRONSON, December 3, 2001

Mental Retardation and the Death Penalty

  • Mental capability is one of the many issues that a jury might consider when establishing mitigation which may dictate a sentence less than death. Quite simply, only mentally competent capital murderers can face either execution or life in prison.
    DUDLEY SHARP, October 18, 2001

At Long Last, Sir, A Sense of Decency

  • A response to an editorial in which Bob Herbert defends a murderer in the name of the race card.  "His mission clear, Mr. Herbert proceeded to lionize one Napoleon Beazley, a convicted murderer."
    R. TED CRUZ, National Review, August 15, 2001

Death row inmate is hardly a victim

  • Is there no African-American miscreant whose misdeeds are so vile and contemptible that he cannot become a cause célèbre in black America?
    GREGORY KANE, August 14, 2001

Advice about death penalty in U.S.: Europeans, butt out

  • Let's round up all our folks on death row and ship them overseas. There must be some government somewhere willing to take them. After all, so many of them are willing to preach to us about how we awful Americans still have the death penalty.
    GREGORY KANE,  August 12, 2001

Lose Brain, Save Life

  • Attention Death Row: Button up your shirt to the top, get those coke bottle glasses on the internet, you know, the ones with the black frames, and get a dorky haircut from Officer Bob. Retardation is in. In the continuing battleground over the death penalty, the ability to appear retarded has emerged as the most powerful weapon in the new psychiatric mitigation arsenal.
    DR. MICHAEL WELNER, MD - The Forensic Panel, July 23, 2001

The Color of Death - Does the death penalty discriminate?

  • Males between the ages of 14 and 24, less than 8 percent of the population, commit almost half the nation’s murders; black males of the same age, less than 1 percent of the population, committed some 30 percent of the country’s homicides in the 1990s.
    ROGER CLEGG, The New Republic, June 11, 2001

An execution, not a lynching

  • Bud Welch is wrong to describe capital punishment as nothing but "revenge and hatred" and wrong to imply that revenge and hatred -- as opposed to fairness and justice -- are what drive those who disagree with him. Welch deserves our sympathy for his daughter's death, but he is not entitled to impugn the motives of everyone who supports the death penalty.
    JEFF JACOBY, May 2001

The feeble 'arguments' against capital punishment

  • Those of us who favor death for murderers rely on history, on common sense, on an instinctive sense of fairness, and on a moral tradition stretching back to Sinai. But in our time as in all times, there are those who would rather let evildoers get away with murder. The debate goes on.
    JEFF JACOBY, June 2001

A sure way to prevent prison escapes 

  • Life sentences too often are mere challenges for prisoners to escape, terrify law-abiding citizens and sometimes kill again. The death penalty's detractors cannot refute this fact: Even the toughest criminals become remarkably docile once separated from society by six feet of soil.
    DEROY MURDOCK, senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation

The ABA and the Death Penalty

  • The Federalist Society

The Unjust Logic of Sparing Murderers

  • It is up to the law to speak for all grief-stricken survivors confronted with the butchery of someone near and dear. Capital punishment says to them: We, the community, take your loss with the utmost seriousness.
    JEFF JACOBY, August 1998

Death Penalty Guards What is Valued Most

  • I have heard all the arguments against capital punishment. Most are easily dismissed.  There are hundreds of good arguments for capital punishment in every state that has a death penalty. They kill time in prison cells, waiting for a death that is always more humane than the cruel and unusual ways they murdered innocent men, women and children.
    PETER BRONSON, International Herald Tribune

The Rationality Syndrome - Statistics Fail Activists

  • In pursuing their ideology at the expense of honest reporting, many journalists and political activists have perpetuated a number of myths about the death penalty, riddling the debate with shoddy statistics.
    JAIME SNEIDER, Columbia University Daily Spectator

Death penalty functions to preserve just society

  • PUNISHMENT: Practice maintains justice, equality by disposing of criminals
    ANDREW JONES, UCLA Daily Bruin

Execution Moratorium is No Holiday for Homicides

  • Politicians contemplating moratoriums may wish to consider the possibility that a seemingly innocuous moratorium on executions could very well come at a heavy cost.
    DALE O. CLONINGER and ROBERTO MARCHESINI, University of Houston

System is fair, just; no to a moratorium

  • There have been a great many attacks against both Texas and the United States because of our use of the death penalty for our most vile criminals. Such attacks are unwarranted.
    DUDLEY SHARP, Justice For All

DNA, Useful Tool or Magic Bullet?

  • DNA can be a marvelous forensic tool, but it is not a magic bullet.
    JOSH MARQUIS, Clatsop County DA, VP Oregon District Attorney's Association

Capital Punishment Foes Dead Wrong

  • When murderers aren't executed, innocents suffer. Odds are a killer will be released at some point. And there's a fair chance that he or she will kill again. In fact, there's a far greater likelihood of this then of an innocent man taking that long walk.
    DON FEDER - Boston Herald

The Death Penalty is an Affirmation of the Sanctity of Life
  • In our understandable desire to be fair and to protect the rights of offenders in our criminal justice system, let us never ignore or minimize the rights of their victims. The death penalty is a necessary tool that reaffirms the sanctity of human life while assuring that convicted killers will never again prey upon others.
    MICHAEL D. BRADBURY, Ventura County District Attorney

Death in Venice

  • Europe's death-penalty elitism - opinion polls show that Europeans and Canadians crave executions almost as much as their American counterparts do. It's just that their politicians don't listen to them.
    JOSHUA MICAH MARSHALL - The New Republic

Death Penalty - Still Guilty

  • Opponents of capital punishment...ignore victims and make martyrs of murderers. They sabotage the system at taxpayer expense, then say executions are too costly. Defense lawyers salt the record with deliberate mistakes, then say the killer had a lousy defense.
    PETER BRONSON - Cincinnati Enquirer

The Myth of Fingerprints

  • DNA and the end of innocence - DNA is the death penalty's best friend
    GREGG EASTERBROOK - The New Republic

Death Penalty Déjà Vu

  • Death penalty critics stake their claim of bias on the fact that, while minorities make up about a third of the general population, they make up almost three-fourths of federal death penalty defendants. The proper comparison is not the race of the defendants versus the general population but rather the race of those for whom the death penalty is sought versus those who are death penalty eligible. Here is where the arguments of death penalty opponents are condemned to failure.
    BRAD ZUBER - The National Review

Guilty as Charged

  • If opponents of capital punishment are going to claim that innocent people are being executed today, they need to find better evidence than the case of Gary Graham.
    DIANNE CLEMENTS & DUDLEY SHARP - Wall Street Journal

Wrongful-execution rate in U.S. is zero

  • After reviewing this report, I have concluded that Mark Twain was correct when he stated, "there are lies, damn lies and statistics."
    BARBARA LA WALL - Arizona Daily Star - 6/28/00

Witness to an Execution

  • Being a strong advocate of the death penalty, I had often wondered if my position would change were I to ever actually see an execution. 

Attitude toward death penalty gets in the way of facts

  • Executions, guilt, and the facts of the Graham case
    JOHN LEO - Jewish World Review - 6/27/00

The last guys 'proved innocent'

  • ANNE COULTER - Jewish World Review - 6/27/00

Time for "To Execute a Murderer"

  • Making martyrs of criminals, the left is trying to make it more difficult
    EVAN GAHR - American Spectator - 6/23/00

The Guilty Are Being Executed

  • Red herrings from the anti-death-penalty squad
    ROBERT PAMBIANCO, Chief Policy Counsel for the Washington Legal Foundation

Death Penalty "Error" Study has Errors of its Own

  • Criminal Justice Legal Foundation - 6/19/00

The Abolitionist's Cop-Out

  • No one who genuinely worries about the legal system putting innocent people at risk can afford to waste time denouncing the death penalty. In one 17-month period, criminals released "under supervision" committed 13,200 murders. Why is it that the enemies of capital punishment never have a word to say about those innocent victims?
    JEFF JACOBY, June 8, 2000

Death of Death

  • Death penalty abolitionists could never get the public to support their cause -- until they came up with a new way to sell their product.
    BYRON YORK - American Spectator - April 2000

The Wrong Man?

  • Letter to the editor in response to The Wrong Man, Atlantic Monthly, 11/99
    DUDLEY SHARP, Justice For All

Innocence and the Death Penalty

  • The current death penalty discussion is dominated by considerations of the innocent sentenced to death.  Valid concern or slanted propaganda?
    DUDLEY SHARP, Justice For All

Claims of Innocence in Capital Cases

  • Testimony before the US House of Representatives
    Paul G. Cassell, University of Utah College of Law Professor

Cruel and Unusual Leniency

  • Opponents of capital punishment shed few tears for the many victims of judicial leniency.
    ROBERT W. LEE - New American, August 30, 1999

Who Weeps for the Blood of the Weiler Family?

  • When Allen Lee Davis got a nosebleed during his execution, it caused an uproar.  Few of those crying foul even knew what he had done to deserve execution.
    BOB GREENE - Chicago Tribune, July 14, 1999

Pro & Con: The Death Penalty in Black and White

  • In the death penalty debate, it should be the facts, and not the hype, that are in black and white.
    DUDLEY SHARP, Justice For All - Intellectual Capital, June 24, 1999

Penalty Box

  • A much-needed reform seemed poised to hasten executions -- 
    until federal judges got their hands on it.

    ANDREW PEYTON THOMAS - National Review, May 4, 1998

    Mr. Thomas, an attorney in Phoenix, is a former assistant attorney general for Arizona.

Running From The Truth 

  • Maureen Faulkner's response to The Fleeing Man article in the Village Voice
    MAUREEN FAULKNER - Village Voice - Letters to the Editor - December 8 - 14, 1999

False Confessions?  

  • The guilty and the "innocent': An examination of alleged cases of wrongful conviction from false confessions
    Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy; Cambridge; Spring 1999

Clemency critics mask true objectives

  • The anti-capital punishment faction, badly outnumbered in modern life, basically believes nobody should be executed for anything.
    WILLIAM MURCHISON - Lone Star Report, January 8, 1999

The Place for Vengeance

  • Many grieving families seek comfort and closure in the execution of the murderer. Do they find it?
    US News & World Report - 6/17/97

Gary Graham  

  • HOLLYWOOD, MURDER AND TEXAS - Death Row Inmate Gary Graham and the Anti-Death Penalty Movement: A Case Study of Lies, Half-Truths and Intimidation
    Justice For All

Focus on the Death Penalty

  • The Death Penalty, a Scholarly Forum
    ABA Focus on Law Studies - Spring 1997

Getting Away with Murder

  • The evidence shows shortening the jail terms of violent criminals has been disastrous.
    KARL ZINSMEISTER, "Crimebusting Tips for Clinton," Washington Times, 2/1/96.

A Killer Lives; a Child Dies

  • This Jeff Jacoby column was published on Jan.12, 1996 
    JEFF JACOBY, The Boston Globe, Jan.12, 1996 

The Death Penalty Dilemma

  • The prudent use of the death penalty can emphasize, as no other penalty can, that malefactors are responsible for their own actions and that the deliberate, willful taking of innocent life is the most abhorrent of all crimes precisely because the right to life is the most precious of all rights.
    CHARLES RICE, Notre Dame Law Professor, The New American, April 4, 1994

Deserving to Die

  • Capital punishment protects the innocent and properly transfers burden of crime to the guilty.
    ROBERT W. LEE, The New American, August 13, 1990

Thinking About Crime - the debate over deterrence

  • Most of us are probably not very well informed about the true costs of crime: being law-abiding, we probably imagine that the chances of being caught are higher than in fact they are, and that the severity of the sentence (measured in years in prison) is greater than it really is.
    JAMES Q. WILSON, The Atlantic, September 1983



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