Death Penalty


“The death penalty is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights.”

Amnesty International 

Helen has been making impassioned pleas to the blogworld for people to help save the life of Darrell Grayson who will be killed by the state of Alabama on the 26th July for the rape and murder of Annie Orr. 

Whether you agree with the death penalty or not, the trial of this man has been flawed from the start and on that basis it should be at least stayed until all the evidence has been collaborated.  You can read the details here and here.

Regarding the rights or wrongs of the barbarity that is the death penalty, I’ll let you decide:

There are some crimes where no other punishment is just: But the death penalty sends out a message that killing solves problems.  Killing, whether carried out by State or citizen is either right or it’s wrong.  The State can’t tell us it’s wrong then try to justify its own killings. 

New DNA technology ensures that no-one is wrongfully put to death: Again wrong.   At least 350 Americans are thought to have been wrongly put to death this century with growing evidence of post-execution innocence in the last twenty years.   Read this to see the execution record of Gov. George Bush alone, never mind all the others.  Furthermore, many more people have agonised for years on death row before the evidence has set them free, often only hours before their scheduled execution.

The death penalty deters crime:  No it doesn’t.  In fact, statistics show that it has the opposite effect.  Comparisons show that murder rates in US States without the death penalty are lower than those with the death penalty. 

The death penalty brings comfort and closure to the families of victims:  Believe it or not, it doesn’t usually comfort the victim’s families.  Time and again the loved ones of victims have said it neither comforts them or brings closure to their grief.  And killing can never erase the anguish of bereavement.

The death penalty is cheaper than keeping a criminal locked up for years:  It’s not cheaper.  US studies have shown that it costs more to keep a criminal on death row than it does to imprison them for life – up to three times more but sometimes up to six times more.

Then the appeal process should be shortened: Absolutely not!  Shortening the appeal process to reduce costs would ensure that EVEN MORE innocent people are put to death.

Every person gets a fair and equal trial regardless of colour or social status:  Nope.  Read the sign above.  Poor defendants and blacks are more likely to recieve the death penalty than the better-off whites.  From all the evidence, it would appear that the death penalty is racist and targets the poor.

source source source source


9 responses to this post.

  1. More4 last night had a countdown of Top Documentaries over the last 80 odd years. One was about a black boy in the US waiting on death row. Everyone, except the all white panel deciding the boy’s fate, believed he would be pardoned. To the shock of all including that of the UK film team he was put to death. Even the prison governor was going around openly saying ‘this boys innocent’. The governor became a powerful anti- capital punishment campaigner after that experience.


  2. Oh, thanks for that Matt. I wanted to watch that programme but we had visitors.

    As you probably guessed, the man that Helen is campaigning for was tried by an all-white jury.


  3. Thanks so much for posting this. People everywhere should be outraged that such barbaric punishment is still practiced in a “civilized” country.


  4. Thanks earthPal,
    for putting this up.

    The number of African American executed in America is disproportionately high, to a level where discrimination is the only plausible reason.

    African Americans make up 42% of death row inmates while making up only 12% of the general population. (They have made up 34% of those actually executed since 1976.)

    Academic studies indicate that the single greatest predictor of whether a death sentence is given, however, is not the race of the defendant, but the race of the victim.

    According to the report, blacks and whites were the victims of murder in almost equal numbers, yet 80 % of the people executed since 1977 were convicted of murders involving white victims.

    The other significant data I found is

    Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 there have been 1079 executions in the United States (as of June 6, 2007).

    The highest number of capital punishment since 1976 has been in TEXAS! with 397!!!. Followed by a distant second, Virginia with 98.


  5. Thanks. I’m the webmaster for Project Hope, the Alabama anti-death penalty group that Darrell chairs. You can keep up with developments and get more details at


  6. Helen, you’re most wlecome.
    Little Indian, sorry but your post was automatically placed in the moderation queue. I think it was because of the number of links you provided.
    Thanks for that information. Regarding the info from the AI pages about the race of the victim being a predictor – it’s very disturbing, but not surprising, to know that they value the life of a white person over a black.
    As for Gov. Bush, somehow I’m not surprised that he holds the record for the highest number of executions. They call him ‘The Texecutioner’. Rather apt I think. Would be funny if it wasn’t so grave.
    Dale, you’re welcome. Hope it does some good and thanks for the link. I will keep up with things. Best wishes with the campaign.


  7. Its OK earthPal,

    I think it is something to do with WordPress.
    Many of my regular visitors comments have been held for moderation, even without links.


  8. Interesting, Earthpal. I am 100% against any killings, those I find most despicable are the ones committed in the name of Justice because Judges and lawmakers are understood to be educated persons, whereas the so-called convicts in most cases lack the necessary education and principles.

    The State is responsible ultimately for the behaviour of its citizens. If ethics and morality were imparted to all people by law – therefore free – perhaps we would not be speaking of the death penalty today.


  9. Jose, very well said and sadly true.


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