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Death Penalty Keeps U.S. in Bad Company

Posted on Mar 23, 2009
Flickr / danesparza

Here’s a list of countries where you don’t want to find yourself when it comes to human rights: Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Iraq, Pakistan and the good ol’ U.S. of A. Those six states execute more of their citizens than any others, according to Amnesty International’s latest tally. The U.S. is the fourth-worst offender.

The numbers of both executions and death sentences were way up in 2008, but Amnesty is quick to point out that fewer states overall now practice capital punishment.


The report said China used lethal injection and shooting to execute at least 1,718 people.

[...] Of the top-six countries in Amnesty’s list, only the US (37) publishes statistics on the penalty’s use.

[...] The other worst-offending nations on the list are Iran (346), Saudi Arabia (102), Pakistan (36) and Iraq (34).

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By Alice, August 29, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
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Time to join the civilized world and do away with state condoned murder. Apart from the fact is doesn’t actually seem to deter anything, it’s costly, arbitary and executes innocent people.

In 1996, those states which had the death penalty had an average murder rate of 7.1 per 100,000 population; those states which do not execute people had a homicide rate of 3.6. 3
Comparing adjacent states where one state has the death penalty and the other does not, frequently shows that the states with capital punishment have a much higher homicide rate. 3
A report of the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that during 1996, Southern states, where about 81% of the executions are performed, have an average murder rate of 9 per 100,000 population. States in the Northeast are responsible for 1% of the executions and have a murder rate of 5.4 3
A 1980 study of homicides in New York found that the average numbers of murders increased in the month following an execution 16
A 1995 study of the annual percentage increases in homicide rates in California showed that murders increased 10% a year during 1952 to 1967 when the state was executing people. When the state performed no executions (1968-1991) the average rate of increase was less (4.8%)
Canada’s homicide rate has dropped 27% since the death penalty was abolished in that country (for ordinary crimes) in 1976. For many years prior to 1976, the federal government had converted each death sentence to life imprisonment.
The FBI Uniform Crime Reports Division publication Crime in the US for 1995 reports that there were 4.9 murders per 100,000 people in states that have abolished the death penalty, compared with 9.2 murders in those states which still have the death penalty. “In no state has the number of murders diminished after legalizing the death penalty.” 2

There is a consistent trend indicating race-of-victim discrimination. For example, in Florida, a defendant’s odds of receiving a death sentence are 4.8 times higher if the victim was white than if the victim is black in similarly aggravated cases. In Illinois, the multiplier is 4, in Oklahoma it is 4.3, in North Carolina 4.4, and in Mississippi it is 5.5
Researchers at the University of Louisville had found in 1995 that, as in other states, blacks who killed whites were more likely to receive the death penalty than any other offender-victim combination.In fact, looking at the makeup of Kentucky’s death row in 1996 revealed that 100% of the inmates were there for murdering a white victim, and none were there for the murder of a black victim, despite the fact that there have been over 1,000 African-Americans murdered in Kentucky since the death penalty was reinstated.

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By rollzone, March 25, 2009 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

hello. there are some bad people that need to be executed: for the acts they have committed; and will commit again. it is not our country that executes, it is we the people whom will no longer tolerate, not accept, nor any longer allow their behavior; in our society. our melting pot allows people into our society from anywhere. we have a style based upon our founding religious beliefs, that must be adherred to; or we will appoint an atheist to perform retribution (or social cleansing). our sophisticated society has not yet solved moral punishment for murder. let us continue to honor our founders, and all those whom have died preserving our way of life; by ensuring all Americans can go about their lives in peace.

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By anunciata, March 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment
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Well, if we’re (the US)only doing our job when it comes to murder, then why aren’t Bush, Cheney, et al and all of the Iran Contra stars being executed for mass murders across the planet?  The two tiered justice lives on - and only the poor are executed.

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By Lewis, March 24, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment
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There seems to be an important factor missing from these articles.  They do not address what crimes warrant capital punishment in these countries.  If they are executing people for being political dissidents, being homosexual, or violating arbitrary religious rules then there is a major reason for outrage.
If they are executing DNA confirmable murders and rapists, then they are only doing their job.

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By skulz fontaine, March 23, 2009 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, we execute the nobody’s for whatever and the real criminals get bailouts and “toxic assets” relief. Only in Amerika!

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