Capital-Punishment Canards. (Fair Comment)

Article excerpt

In March 1979, a Graterford (Pa.) prison guard was murdered brutally by an inmate. The inmate--at the time he murdered the guard-already was serving a life sentence for the triple murder of two infants and an elderly woman.

In 1994, an inmate who already was serving two life sentences in the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center was sentenced to three more after he was convicted of stabbing three prison guards.

In 1995, two death-row inmates at the Florida State Prison in Starke were killed by their fellow inmates.

In 1999, a Beeville (Texas) prison guard was killed by an inmate already serving a sentence for murder.

More examples could be cited, but it would be pointless. The fact is that murderers who already are imprisoned murder again. According to the latest Department of Justice (DOJ) information, of those sentenced to be executed, 65.7 percent had been convicted of a prior felony. Nearly one in 10 had been convicted of a prior homicide, and 4 percent either were in prison or escaped from prison when they murdered again.

Those who say capital punishment is not a deterrent, or who say life imprisonment is an effective substitute, should examine these facts. Unfortunately, this information is not readily available because of the de facto censorship by liberal media that only publish the canards of those who want to abolish capital punishment.

One such canard proffered is that scores of innocent people have been executed. Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran recently announced that he wants to end capital punishment in his state because of this. He cited a study by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), an abolitionist group that claims 102 people sentenced to be executed have been exonerated.

The exonerated persons DPIC cited include:

* Ricardo Aldape Guerra, who was convicted in the murder of a Houston cop in 1982 and was exonerated in 1997 when evidence indicated he may have been only the accomplice;

* Steve Manning, who was convicted for an Illinois homicide in 1993. He saw his conviction dismissed in 1998. In 2000 the district attorney chose not to retry Manning, primarily because he already was serving two life sentences;

* Clarence Smith, who was reconvicted in a federal court in 1998 of crimes that included the death for which he was acquitted in a state court.

These are not who most of us think of when we think of innocent people. There are other inconsistencies in the DPIC report, but the media do not mention any of them. The mainstream liberal media prefer to be the myrmidons of capital-punishment abolitionists. The liberal media are their accomplices.

Another abolitionist canard is the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court case of Herrera v. Collins. According to the death-penalty abolitionists, the Supreme Court held that "new evidence of innocence to stop an execution was unconstitutional. …