Last updated on: 12/7/2016 | Author:

Richard C. Dieter, MS, JD Biography

Former Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC)
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“I believe it is appropriate to say that the House Bill 1094 [to abolish the death penalty] gives Colorado an opportunity to extricate itself from what many states are increasingly finding to be an ineffective and expensive burden. The clear national trend is away from a broad use of the death penalty, as indicated by a 60% drop in death sentences, a 45% decline in executions, a smaller death row, and a decreasing level of public support. In public opinion polls, there is a clear upward trend in support for life-without-parole sentences as a substitute for the death penalty.

Moreover, the states without the death penalty have fared better in reducing their murder rates than states with the death penalty. The death penalty concentrates millions of dollars on a few people with almost no control over the outcome. (This does not even take into account the less tangible costs such as the risk of executing the innocent, or the divisiveness caused by the perceptions of racial unfairness.) It is true that you cannot put a price on justice. But you can put a price on programs with a proven track record in improving the safety of the community. A state has to choose where to put its limited resources.”

“Testimony to the Judiciary Committee of the Colorado State House of Representatives Regarding House Bill 1094 – Costs of the Death Penalty and Related Issues,” Feb. 7, 2007

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Program Director, Death Penalty Information Center, 2015-2016
  • Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center, Washington, DC, 1992-2015
  • Attorney
  • Adjunct Professor, Catholic University School of Law
  • Member, Maryland Bar, Bar of the District of Columbia, and Bar of the US Supreme Court
  • Director of the Community for Creative Nonviolence’s pre-trial release program
  • Founder of the Alderson Hospitality House for visitors to the women’s federal prison in Alderson, West Virginia
  • Founder of the Quixote Center’s death penalty project
  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1992
  • MS, Ohio State University, 1972
  • BS, University of Notre Dame, 1968
  • None found