Professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at University of Central Florida
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?"
"My contention tonight is that there is no good reason to support the death penalty and there are many reasons to oppose it. And in the limited time I have tonight, I want to briefly go over many of the reasons why one should oppose the death penalty...
There is absolutely no evidence that the death penalty has a marginal deterrent effect... A second reason to oppose the death penalty is that the death penalty may have a counter deterrent or brutalizing effect... The death penalty as administered in this country is incredibly expensive. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on capital punishment that in the absence of this penalty can be spent on more effective ways of dealing with the violent crime problem...
A reason number three to oppose the death penalty: the death penalty costs significantly more than LWOP (which means life imprisonment without opportunity of parole) or any other punishment that might be imposed... The death penalty consumes an inordinate amount of the resources of the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court.
A fifth reason: the death penalty is imposed in impermissibly arbitrary way. For example, the death penalty is nothing more than a lottery. Only one to two percent of death eligible offenders are executed… The death penalty is imposed in an unacceptably discriminatory way. The death penalty is reserved almost exclusively for the poor, it’s reserved almost exclusively for men, it is reserved for killers aged 18 years of age and older, it is imposed disproportionately on black males, and it is imposed disproportionately on the killers of white victims regardless of the race of the offender.
Reason number seven: innocent people are wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. Since 1973, 123 people in 25 states have been released from death row because of evidence of their innocence. That represents about one death row inmate released for every 8.5 that have been executed… Reason number eight: innocent people are probably wrongfully executed…”
“A Debate on Capital Punishment (with Robert Blecker),” Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, University of Central Florida First Annual Speakers’ Series, Mar. 22, 2007
Experts Individuals with MDs, JDs, PhDs, other relevant advanced degrees, corrections and government officials with significant involvement in, or related to, death penalty issues. [Note: Experts definition varies by site.]
Involvement and Affiliations:
Professor, Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, University of Central Florida, 1995-present
Recipient, Bruce Smith, Sr. Award, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, 2008
Guest Editor, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Aug. 2005