"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Friday, December 16, 2011


A couple of Christmas selections from the Clancy Brothers:

Rare, If Not Non-Existent

So we learn that the death penalty is being resorted to even more "rarely." 78 death sentences to date in 2011 have been imposed.

While the DPIC, an abolitionist advocacy group, reporting these figures, wants to portray the drop off in the DP rate as a function of decreased support for the DP, there are many factors at work in the decline, including most prominently in my view the declining overall homicide rate. ("The homicide rate declined sharply from 9.3 homicides per 100,000 in 1992 to 4.8 homicides per 100,000 in 2010."). Broadly speaking, the fewer number of murders, the fewer expected death sentences imposed.

As far as I know, there are no reported year-to-date murder numbers officially reported, but the number in the last couple of years has been around 15,000.

If that number holds true for 2011, then the death penalty is imposed in a miniscule 0.52% of cases.

Yet again, we can truly say of the death penalty in the United States, that it is imposed "rarely" and certainly only in heinous cases and after exhaustive appellate review of not just the facts and evidence, but the competency of defense counsel. All of which should give comfort to those Catholics who accept the position of the new Cathechism of the Catholic Church that recourse to the death penalty ought to be limited to "rare" cases.

Friday, December 09, 2011

After that, Something Pleasant for the Weekend

Connecticut Metes Out Justice

Death for co-defendant in Connecticut rape-torture-muder. Joshua Komisarjevsky and an associate commited a triple murder of a suburban Connecticut woman and her two daughters. Komisarjevsky was also convicted of sexually assaulting 11 year old Michaela.

I wrote about the first conviction in this case, in which
After assaulting and tying up the husband and father, Dr. William Petit, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky forced his wife to withdraw money from a bank and then sexually assaulted and strangled her to death.Then, turning to the 11 and 17 year old daughters of the family, the two men repeatedly raped them, then tied them both up, doused them with gasoline, and torched the house with the girls still alive inside."A medical examiner described a painful and panic-stricken smoke inhalation death likely suffered by Michaela. Seventeen-year-old Hayley's injuries suggested she was burned as she tried to flee.
This horrific crime reminded the people of Connecticut that sometimes the death penalty is necessary to address the heinousness of a crime and to protect society from vicious offenders. An abolitionist effort to abolish capital punishment in Connecticut which earlier this year had seemed certain of victory could not survive the common sense response of normal people to a crime of this magnitude. Sadly, the abolitionist are right back at it, pledging to ignore the community voice expressed by the jury in this case and seek the end of capital punishment in Connecticut.