According to a May 6, 2013 report from the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) that relies on data through January of this year, 30% of the executions in America take place as a result of death sentences imposed in just 15 of a total 3148 counties in the US. The study considers data from 1976 on, a period that is called the “modern era of capital punishment” (that is, post-Gregg v. Georgia).

To put it succinctly, one-third of all executions come from less than one-half of one percent of all of the counties in the United States. DPIC also reports that “Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 through to April 2013, almost 82% of the executions have been in the South.” Furthermore, even though death sentences are handed down as a result of convictions in only a handful of counties within a given state, the expense is shared by all of the taxpayers in that given state.

Each of the 37 states that still has capital punishment has only one death chamber, at the maximum security state prison. A state-by-state list is here. How much does it cost to kill someone in one of these chambers, and is it worth it, then? Consider the 2011 California study:


Assessment of Costs by Judge Arthur Alarcon and Prof. Paula Mitchell (2011, updated 2012)

The authors concluded that the cost of the death penalty in California has totaled over $4 billion since 1978:
$1.94 billion–Pre-Trial and Trial Costs
$925 million–Automatic Appeals and State Habeas Corpus Petitions
$775 million–Federal Habeas Corpus Appeals
$1 billion–Costs of Incarceration

The authors calculated that, if the Governor commuted the sentences of those remaining on death row to life without parole, it would result in an immediate savings of $170 million per year, with a savings of $5 billion over the next 20 years.

The 187-page California study begins by noting that California taxpayers have shelled out “roughly $4 billion” to fund “no more than 13 executions.” The study authors further point out that a severe backlog will delay more than 700 cases, for more than 20 years.

Since the money argument fails completely, what arguments are left? Surely, state-sanctioned homicide, given its immense expense, must be a deterrent, right? Actually, the data not only fails to support this theory, the opposite is true: murder rate decline occurs in regions where the death penalty is decreasing. According to a 2011 report released by the FBI:

On October 29, the U.S. Justice Department released the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2011, indicating that the national murder rate dropped 1.5% from 2010. This decline occurred at a time when the use of the death penalty is also decreasing nationally. The Northeast region, which uses the death penalty the least, had the lowest murder rate of the 4 geographic regions, and saw a 6.4% further decrease in its murder rate in 2011, the largest decrease of any region. By contrast, the South, which carries out more executions than any other region, had the highest murder rate.

The top 15 counties for executions map is shown here.

Also, there have been 306 post-conviction DNA exonerations nationwide, and there is no question that innocent people have been executed in the US. Ray Krone is the 100th American to be sentenced to death and then later exonerated. To browse the profiles for DNA exonerations, go here.

Even though it is common knowledge that innocent people on death row have been exonerated through DNA test results, some prosecutors continue to try to deny access to this testing. Amazing, isn’t it, that prosecutors would push forward with a conviction and a death sentence, knowing that it may not only be wrongful, but that there is a likelihood that someone who did commit a violent crime remains free and will commit further violent crimes?


The Death Penalty in 2012: Year End Report

Defense argues against death penalty in shootings, claiming that the death penalty is arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Accused Aurora shooter James Holmes to plead not guilty by reason of insanity (Guardian)

Arkansas Republican endorses death penalty for children

Breaking News: Execution Stayed in Mississippi Willie Manning maintains his innocence. He was convicted on hair and ballistics testing. “This past week, the FBI notified the state that there were flaws in both the hair and ballistics evidence that was used to convict Manning. The FBI also agreed to do the DNA testing.”

[cross posted at Firedoglake.com MyFDL]

  1. The following comment is from Ed Nelson:

    ed nelson says:
    May 8, 2013 at 12:37 PM (Edit)
    CraneSta, is it ok to post a comment on your lattest post: OVER EASY: DISPARITY, ?

    If so, here is my comment on Cap punishment… in the “Devil’s advocate” stance from your general trend:

    Well I’m onboard with the idea that it’s sad when there is a plausible need to intentionally kill humans. There is, (in a hot moment), a need to defend oneself/others, but talking about condemned prisoners who are under tight control within institutions, who have been adjudged lawfully to be in line to be methodically euthanized, that is more than sad. It is also a few other things.

    It is vengeful, but also, arguably, a practice that is just from age old moral guidelines.

    It is one way to cleans out the population of those who fall below the line, and commit capital offenses. That option for society, verses keeping them around, breaking rocks, or more likely confined in cages to rot.

    So, I am conflicted somewhat, because of course, there might be a small percentage of innocents who fall through the cracks in an imperfect system, in ascertaining guilt. It happens, it always will. But even so, the punishment that is in store for those who escape death, shouldn’t be overlooked, for any of the condemned, not even mentally retarded or profoundly dysfunctional.

    Life in a “shoebox”, locked up for ever and a day, no way out… is that more kind… than a quick shot??? Most of the traditional methods are effective, when done right… not saying the sadism isn’t lurching in the shadows, always: wrong amperage… loose knots/inadequate drop… the firing squad that couldn’t shoot straight… creative innovations to pharmaceutical procedures, (under the guise of altruistic/painlessness intentions), which may be a form of induced “locked in syndrome” combined with exquisite designer excruciating pain, without the possibility…( to express!!!).

    And… even if the poor thing spends a few decades withering away and “rotting from the inside”, might one day get an incurable disease and die. So no death was ever cheated by the best of the worst intentions really!!!

    Give all longtime prisoners a choice. No human should be a commodity, for profit!

    • I agree with what you are saying, Ed. We are 1) playing God 2) not bringing any victims back 3) killing innocent people 4) spending an insane amount of money 5) not deterring anything.

      So, it’s a no from me across the board, and my family is not a stranger to the pain and agony of having experienced a terrible loss, through a senseless murder. Killing somebody else won’t make it better. The only thing that would make it better is to bring him back.

      • ed nelson says:

        Crane, got to agree that it’s not a happy thing, that: 1 through 5. (like that old phrase from somewhere… “they kill horses don’t they…?” like, loss of innosence and that. What I am focused on, is, that while the humans take innordantly long to progress to the next stage in evolution, to something more, something more emancipated from the primordial emotional oriented baseline, toward, if you will, organized intelligent life format, where things like the Rule of Law, will come into more of it’s own… or wtf,

        Until there is some progress, IOW’s, maybe like Jody Arias says, maybe it might be better to take a respite from this mortal coil place, when and if, you are condemned to the dungeon.
        (please overlook my peculiar… syntaxes, I don’t like to sound too pontifical, when I don’t wtf!).


        Jodi’s sencere comments are just exactly

      • Well, and as someone pointed out on a news show, I think, she just may have given a strong argument against the death penalty…For folks who want to see a ‘maximum punishment,’ actually, the death penalty may not be it.

        I don’t know what to think about her statements. Is she sincere? Don’t know, but I guess we’ll see, if she files an appeal.

  2. ed nelson says:

    Exactly! [“For folks who want to see a ‘maximum punishment,’ actually, the death penalty may not be it.”]

    Those folks live for the punishment quotient, they are exactly the ones who say: ” death would be too good for ’em… “.

    I see the problem is pretty multifacited, but, to me, if you have pests, you want to get ride of them, and that is to kill them. Take the humane society for example, do they keep all the millions of stray animals alive in cages? I don’t think so.

    Any way, putting a sentient being with a need for social interaction away into a cubicle with inadequate sensual stimulation and no hope, is worse punishment than the other.

    What did Patrick Henry say? Hint: “Give me Liberty or… “___________?

  3. ed nelson says:

    Yup, people seem to get off on playin’ god don’t they, whether it is these long drawn out extravanza trials about some poor fool who went off and kilt their main squeez in a fit of rage.

    Or inteminal quibbling on how much punishment should “we” alot to it… how much pain is enough to put the subject/ convict under… ? In olden days, if they didn’t run em out a town or burn em at the steak or pummel em, I bet they at least didn’t pretend how goody two shoes they all were and putting heaps of long years of confinement in a shoebox… (Bill Maher on last week, used that term for what is done in the Supermaxes.) He was good that moment. He had on some guests that were not too cool.

    Play god youall.

    • ed nelson says:

      Ok Rache, I been wait’n for a comback, not none so far in a couple weeks!

      I reckon it’s part of your… I mean, it is the place you want to claim/habitate, that you are committed to a stance/position, that is really against the Dpenalty! And don’t get me wrong, in a sense, I sure don’t like killing anything on earth, even weeds in garden are sad to uproot!

      But would you really want to torture the poor bastards?

      I would rather that we just do away with all of em!! Gone and done with, and they are off to the stars to their next incarnation, which will be a better life on a better planet!

      Please don’t keep up this truely horrid practice of life in a shoebox [w/o parole]!!!

      the poor nincompoop that is in there, may not be able to do what is called for, he/she may not have abilities to do things, what is called for.

      Would you put your pet dog in a cell to live in solitary forever, if it bighted somebody??????

      So, I guess my real point is: “Why would we not extend the comfort and all that, which is commonly used on the billions of stray dogs and cats… etc… to our failing humans, who like it or not, do stray and they do go off the rails, and they can do bad things…

      But shouldn’t we be as “humane” to these poor fool humans who go off and kill/etc.

      Well, you wouldn’t put your mangy cat in a box to live the rest of days, you wouldn’t ever do that type of thing to any animal/pet.

      So my question is to you, who ever you may be.. is: why would you put a human in a box for all time, to rot, and to be tortured, when the better thing is real simple.

      Kill in any of many ways that should be public, Hanging, shooting, etc. etc. I like that thing in the movies, where they put the guy up on a tressel, and he had to ride down on a sharp blade that cut him in two… that was horrible!

      I maintain that it is better to kill and be rid of/ and I mean: that the perp is rid of his place too!

      Better that the guy/gal, is able to go on to the next world.

      • You make an excellent point, Ed. Personally, I would rather receive ‘assisted suicide’ than LWOP, but that’s just me. However, I think that state-sanctioned homicide is bullshit for many reasons, not the least of which, they’ve killed too many innocent people.

        I did take time away from the internet for a while, but I am back, so no worries! Good to hear from you, and thank you for sharing.

  4. ed nelson says:

    Thanks so much Crane-Station for getting back.

    I totally agree with the, point that that you make, about how awfull it is/would/will/can/has/continues/to be, in regard to the abuse of the power to kill by any and all of those who may be empowered… that these who are able to get the power to apply the extreme thing… to all of humans…

    These are who??

    Who the f’n hell are these monster/mfr’s that they feel enfranchised to drop it on other humans… ?

    Thanks for your continuing vigilance on these issues, and thankyou for being REAL!!


    • Back at you Ed, I cherish your input always. I don’t know if I even want to know who the monsters are. Sometimes I feel like I am not part of the human race anymore!

  5. ed nelson says:

    You are right!!

    I think you have hit on one of the issues, that don’t get enough… coverage…. Namely: who and what is it that comprises what is blitheley referred to as… ” Human”. can’t be what we know as… what they call it!! Can’t be…

    any ways, what I meant to say, and say I DID, and you answered… did and well done! Rachel..!

    And you are going to get my medal for goodness,

    Ed say’s good night

  6. ed nelson says:

    Thanks, it was a nice enough day that was…!

    to get back to the issue… of whether it is better to go to a modern incarceration experience: “shoebox”… (lights on 24/7… small box, no sensory input, nor any other normal points of contact with others, no, not any of your family or loved ones!!! much less the world… which is a torture diabolic… Diabolic!!!

    Only the worst of Devils would contrive to do this to sentient beings!!!!!!!!

    I say this with some trepidation… but it is my concidered opinion: It is better to die than to die…. (humor… dumdumd.. ). It is better to die the death that is than ever was done before!

    Tell you what… As we all know that we all will die, well then… why put it off to a latter date than is really necessary? I mean: We should get ready to die, and maybe we might be able to be the man that we should be… and the woman that should be, and be the HERO THAT SHOULD BE!!!!

    • I took a few days off the internet there- too much bad news! Anyway, I will let you know what news I may have about the website. We may combine !!them and if we do I want yo back dammit


      • ed nelson says:

        Hi Crane, does that mean that you will put me back in the blog… in the combined format… cause Ole’ Proff Freddie, he banned me, and He seemed to put it to be understood… he don’t like me, and he don’t like my offerings/effluent… He don’t really want to ever hear from me again… but however, I know you are the better halve, and I like talkin’ to you, I also liked talkin’ to Fred, back when he was more down to earth… so to speeck.

        So if you, sweat heart as I know you: Crane/ Rachel… well, since I never been married, don’t know about any of that… stuff about

      • Pretty sure it will be a yes to that, I am rooting for you hard! He says he will run it by one of the readers, I guess, but anyway, I hope it works out, and I will keep you posted for sure!

  7. ed nelson says:

    Thanks Crane, if I get vetted and come out ok, heck sakes, you what that would be.. way cool!

    I have not become a total tea totaler, as is obvious enough…

    and I really like your sites…

    You and Fred could just maybe give me a chance to go online with you for a week or something, and you will see, I am real, not a fake, not intererrested in any kind of BS… I am online at Wayne Madsen, if you want to check some of my stuff.

    • No need to explain anything at all to me, I understand totally, and no need to explain to Fred either, I don’t think. He is about half asleep at the moment, but be patient and we’ll get this thing done.

  8. ed nelson says:

    off topic… jeesus christ… did you know that Shakeel O’neal is 325lbs, and 7’1”? I mean wow!

  9. ed nelson says:

    Hi Crane, I just watched the video above, it is sort of a ”tear jerker”,

    I sure do support your work in this. You are an angel.

  10. ed nelson says:

    Hanford, there’s been plenty of skepticism about all things nuc… right from the beginnings, from all of them that were in the front of it… Physicists. Einstein supposedly remarked: Humans won’t be able to control it.” THe people at Los Alimos had plenty of trepidations, some of em, maybe.

    Hanford is a perfect “poster item”… for the concept of corporate criminality. To wit: “Externilization of cost”.

    The same thing is all across the planet where ever the MIC puts its corporate foot. and now you have a weird fungus that permeates like fungi tend to do… Financializers.

    Litterally the planet is being eaten up like a rotten tomatoe. But it is through the organized agencies of incorporation, which evades rule of law while pretending one iota of responsibility, and oh yeah… “Corporations are People… my freinds… “!!

    Hanford. Fuckasheema. and what’s next? the Pacific will be changed for ever. Hey the beautiful Pacific Ocean and Columbia River, just places to dump it.

    Mark these who have been culprits, not for earthly punishment, but for eternal damnation.

    • Oh my God. The synchronicity.


      “Hanford is a perfect “poster item”… for the concept of corporate criminality. To wit: “Externilization of cost”.

      is almost exactly the sentence I have in my post I haven’t posted yet! Will post in the morning, but wow. That was amazing, thank you.

  11. ed nelson says:

    That word is seminal.

    I remember that it was a word that brought me to Fred. From some referrence of that in a populer
    blogg, where I was once allowed to post… and that was a term, that enbodies some issues… it flies in the face of rationality.

    I mean I was drawn to Freddie’s commentary, because of his knowledge of it.

    Acknowledgement, which is close enough!

    Oh my God, the…

    Well, maybe we see something here. Well maybe we see something. Well maybe.

    Take a look at it, the U… think, what..

    Let me stabb at it, I say, when there is some kind of coincidence/serendipity, well we might should draw back… and wonder…. ?? Wonder!!

  12. ed nelson says:

    The word is not ”seminal,” the word is more like Syn________

    I mean, I want to make sure you know what I mean, cause in this regard, I mean what I mean!

    Or if I nead to make it clear: I will do so… think… ridiculous coincidences that show some kind of pattern… yeah!! like coincidences that disprove much of what stands for reality for fools… such as we may be!

    The Universe… is full of BS… We as “sentient beings”, you and me and him and her… well we might want to take a time out… and think… is it really good… is it all that cool, to go through a long life and die… a sad life and a sad death, and a sorry trail of woe…

    Tell you what: No we don’t need to go with that BS: We can… elect to dissagree with that whole concept…we can… da da da…

    Well I don’t know how I will finish it… I was only just starting an idea there… hahah.

  13. ed nelson says:

    Well anyway… you know you have a pal, who is aware of stuff like… you know… like stuff that is in the commons… things that will be available to the commons, that the commons will see.. that the fool commons will access, and that those kinds of stuff are real easy for the commons to see and to get at… just realize, the main which is the main… so on and so forrh….

  14. ed nelson says:

    Oh heck.. Salame. salame, Bologne, it was one of them little cartoon things, back in the 50’s, and where are those wonderful little cartoons now? who took Amous and Andy away? somebody is a horrible mfr… nes pa?

  15. ed nelson says:

    Well.. ! enough of that!

    Great post this morning Crane! I don’t know of anything much more important than that subject.

    Will there even be any envirenment post waste. ? How about some.. Post haste about the post waste.. huh.

    You got the attention of most of the smart ones, poor ole Teller worried about his tires, jeezes.

    It is quiet a time, as they are doing a reenactment of trial of Jeezus, RE: Manning, that he would dare to tell truth in this world. (“No good deed goes unpunished”).

    Here is a clip of Openheimer waxing poetic, relating post bomb from excerpt of Bhagvad Gitia”


  16. ed nelson says:

    From your post @FDL:

    [“perspective on size:
    A stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. And it is leaking.”].

    [[“an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Oly…. “]].

    [[[“… U.S. efforts to win World War II. ….]]].

    I wasn’t geborned yet, so I couldn’t be too sure, but, from the stuff that gets through the filters, I gleen that it was not to win the remnant of a won war, caused
    for many reasons, but rather it was a way to make a big “exclamation point” on what had occurred.

    So IOW’s, the message in the (media… ) was really: act two, (strikethroughthat and insert: act three,) imposition of sub base infrastructure, facilitating implementation of… total awareness tech. So here we are!!

    What I mean… like folksy old Uncle Mack used to say, Well, the bomb was a show stopper, and was the way that it was, from then on, no more tomorrows for nobody, if you don’t “Get in Line!!!”.


    Got a kick out of the bringing up of one of my old faves from TV land… “To Serve Man” is a cookbook!!! isn’t that pretty damned close to where we are???

    The monsters from the ID? so many damned good ones. Maybe that ole time religion will be shown to be


    Please be well Crane, you have lot’s of reading to keep up on, so just… God’s Speed!

    Ed N

    • Thank you, there are a couple of sides to this story. Some claim today that Japan had offered to surrender before the bombs were dropped. My father, who was in the Pacific Theater of Operations as they planned to invade Tokyo opines that such a land invasion may have lead to even more loss of life, and also says that the whole thing, the war, was unimaginable.

      People are conflicted to this day.

      • ed nelson says:

        Well I believe that the war with Japan was won, before that there was an Atom Bomb Drop.

        I think that the Atom Bomb was more of a type of signal to the whole world, a type of signal!!

        And that little signal was: “Don’t mess… We got a weapon that is really really… Bad ass, and you don’t even want to mess… !!

        oh and… It was a great big message to… anybody like Russia too!!

  17. ed nelson says:

    I am always surprised how folkes that seem to be so … really in my … sort of in my… similar frame of mind… ?? or something like, I mean, I think these people agree with my principals and stuff, you know..? like I guess I think that these folks agree… with some of my opinions… !!!???.

    Oh Ed… you might want to rethink any of that shit!! You might want to rethink and go back to some kind of … Drawing board Pardnar… YOu are off the deep end …. !

  18. ed nelson says:

    No I sure must not make big time opinions about the war… WWll and all that. I personally am of an opinion that, the war with Japan was won by the soldiiers, sailors, marines, and if I may add, the Mariners of the sea.

    The Japs were probably lured to the concept that they had a chance to do big time damage, to US navy in Honolulu… and that was BS… those poor stupid idiots, were lured in and they were doofus.

    Now see. that is what is… !! That is LEXICON!! GODAMNED IT!


    Hey… what a great wonderfull chance to show the f”n assholes what we got…. Blow em up, you know just a bunch a gaddamned gooks/chink/types… that was the way they talked back then.

    There was racial terms taht were used then, big time all the time…

  19. ed nelson says:

    Well I must add… stuff happens don’t it.?

    and you and me know it isn’t going to stop any time soon, well any how’s.. I thought… well, I thought anyhoo… just thought I should sort of say… Hey baby, hope you sleep well tonight.. hope you have nice dreams… I mean it…

    I mean: I hope I have nice dreams… because I nead some of them too..

    Now get this: I am not out of my tree. not hardly, I just didn’t know what to type, in this intersticial moment of the time… Laugh…

  20. ed nelson says:

    Hi Rache.. this is the onliest place I have to talk so… I want to send this weird vid to you, because, maybe you and Fred will get a kick out of it, like did.


    and for Christ’s sakes don’t he look like … somebody we sawr back a time.. oh well… tell you what… taht is not germain to the fkn point counsler! Speed up of the time… I get that… I do!!!!

  21. ed nelson says:

    Well he is talking about the stuff that I care about.. and Fred seemed to have interest too in these things.

    This guy is talking the talk babe. But if we don’t have a base… if the biosphere is … ocluded.. stopped… if the… Ant life forces prevail… as I fear that they are getting close to doing… well… sorry charlie… there won’t be any future for our little experiment… and this guy, well he will be seen as some sort of… what ever… but as much as I like what he says… I also feel that there is a terrible onrush of something not so good.

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