The state of North Carolina executed Kenneth Lee Boyd early this morning, the nation’s 1,000th execution since capital punishment resumed in 1976. I’m not morally opposed to executing a murderer. But application concerns make me conclude that the death penalty isn’t worth it.
For example, death penalty defendants are disproportionately poor and minority (though if you are a rich minority, like O.J. Simpson, you can get away with murder). Whether there is a death penalty case also depends on how aggressive the district attorney is (thus, similar crimes occurring in different parts of the same state may have different punishments). There is also the horrifying possibility of executing an innocent person. And not that money should be a big driver on this, but the legal costs of capital cases often are more than the cost of life in prison. Executions also seem to have little deterrent effect on future crimes.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee
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