MD

2014-05-22

Friday, December 19, 2014

Advertise with us »

May 28, 2014 - 9:02pm

Blogging Blue: The death penalty and the conservative enigma

BY NURLAN ORUJLU

Mike Keefe/The Denver Post, 2002

On April 29, the botched execution of offender Clayton D. Lockett — convicted for murdering a 19-year-old woman whom he buried alive after shooting — in the state of Oklahoma spurred a new debate on capital punishment in the United States. Before I drill down the main points of my argument I would like to mention that the execution of the prisoner went wrong due to the IV delivery problems. The phlebotomist who was supposed to find the appropriate placement for IV failed to do so. There were other oddities found in the letter, which provides a thoroughly detailed timeline of the events, sent to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin by the corrections chief, Robert Patton.

If you remember the show called “Prison Break,” where an innocent man was facing a death penalty, it isn’t too hard to realize how easily someone may lose his/her life as a result of the crime he/she hasn’t committed. Also, unlike in the show there isn’t always a genius brother to help that innocent person escape from prison. There are at least handful of cases in the United States where the executed person could have been innocent, the most memorable being Troy Davis’s case.

There’s a general consensus that incarcerating a murderer for the rest of his life while providing him with food and other basic necessities of life causes the emergence of wasted state expenditures. The problem with that assumption is the fact that performing an execution costs more. For example, “In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest level for 40 years.”

What’s more, the capital punishment has been abolished in almost every civilized country. The United States is one of the two industrial democracies (the other one being Japan) in the world that still has death penalty as a legal process of retribution. In 2012, the United States was ranked fifth for the number of death penalties successfully carried out, putting her on the same list with Iran, Iraq, China and Saudi Arabia — countries that clearly don’t have outstanding human rights records.

Even though above facts already prove that the death penalty is definitely not a fail-safe method of punishment, I feel the urge of adding the last important piece of evidence to strengthen my point. The studies have found that capital punishment doesn’t deter crime and the states which don’t implement it have lower murder rates than the southern states, which carry out the majority of executions in the country.

So, it’s quite obvious that the capital punishment doesn’t do its job and lifetime imprisonment without parole is a much better solution to the problem on all accounts. However, the Republican Party never fails to push forward its sturdy support for the judicial execution. It’s hard to understand how the conservatives — who define themselves as pro-life — support the enactment of a preposterous action that doesn’t value human life. The strong opposition to abortion and the support for legalized killing don’t go up in parallel. The republicans find capital punishment as a proper way of dealing with the criminals without considering the irremediable outcomes of the court decisions. As we see here, the disoriented right-wing policies bemuse the conservative ideas and thoughts once again.

In order to avoid being economical with the truth I should point out that the Democratic Party doesn’t boldly excoriate the executions either. However, some Inside the Beltway politicians representing the left have tried to introduce the amendment to prohibit the use of capital punishment in the past. In fact, recently, the left-wing politicians have been stressing their concern about the death penalty cases in the Unites States more often than their counterparts. It should be enough to note that the current U.S. President Barack Obama has done a lot during his tenure as the Senator of Illinois to avoid the likelihood of wrongful convictions.

Nurlan Orujlu can be reached at norujlu@umich.edu.