Death deterrent

January 7, 2010 

Your Dec. 28 article "Study: End death cases, save money" reported on yet another attempt by death penalty opponents to divert attention from the real issue.

Surprise, surprise. A Duke professor tells us that the death penalty is expensive to administer. Abolitionists have been trying for decades to save cold-blooded murderers from execution. Now they use the roadblocks they impose as a reason to give these murderers three square meals a day and free health care for the rest of their lives.

The professor vastly understated the tragic cost in human lives resulting from failing to execute first-degree murderers. He used a discredited study to conclude there is no deterrent effect. The collection of 28 studies provided to me by the attorney general provides overwhelming evidence that the deterrent effect is real and significant.

The professor presented a false choice: abolish the death penalty for murder or continue with a theoretical death penalty that is never used. But the real answer is to actually carry it out for cold-blooded murderers when unanimous juries find, beyond reasonable doubt, that these murderers committed the crimes and the 55 judges who review the cases find execution to be lawful.

Rep. Paul Stam

N.C. House, Republican leader


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