Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Opinion
News Opinion

Make death penalty quicker, cheaper and more effective

Amnesty International's Frank Jannuzi wrote one of those letters that causes me to ask, "Where do I begin to answer?" ("Time to repeal Maryland's death penalty," Jan. 8).

In the second paragraph, he alludes to the fact that imposition of the death penalty is "extremely expensive," and it is; but the question is, why should that be? No matter which method is used to end the life of a heinous criminal, the "means" to accomplish that are actually inexpensive. How much do those chemicals cost, or that burst of electricity?

The imposition of the death penalty is extremely expensive because it allows for endless appeals at the expense of taxpayers, including the families of the victims! Many of these cases go on for so long that the heinousness of the crime is forgotten or the witnesses actually die! Legislators should be working, not to abolish the death penalty, but to find ways to make it more cost-effective! How about this? One trial, one appeal, then either acquittal, or execution. Now that would quite effectively and greatly reduce the costs. How expensive is it for the public to incarcerate for life a convicted murderer?

In the same paragraph, he resorts to the old mantra of death penalty opponents, that "it does not deter crime." That argument is specious and impossible to prove. How many times a day do "ordinary" law-abiding citizens become so angered, so enraged with someone, that they might murder them, only to relent because they understand the possible ramifications (loss of their own lives) of such acts? No one can say how many times this happens, but similarly, no one can seriously claim that it doesn't happen either. So, at least a part of the time, the reality of a looming death penalty deters murderous conduct!

The effectiveness of the death penalty is greatly compromised when it isn't used. There needs to be a "certainty" attached to it to make it effective, and that hasn't happened. One unarguable, incontestable and unmitigated fact about the death penalty is that it is a certain and complete cure for recidivism; deny that if you will, Mr. Jannuzi!

I am all for any effort to completely eliminate any doubt concerning the death penalty! DNA tests, certainly! Certification of "eye witness" accounts, once again, certainly! Whatever is required; but once it has been determined, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the assailant is guilty, "We the People" owe them their right to a speedy trial (and disposition) unencumbered by dragging the process out endlessly with appeal after appeal at taxpayer's expense.

One last note: Due to Mr. Jannuzi's position as deputy executive director of Amnesty International, I believe his commentary to be colored more by his ideology than common sense!

Robert Di Stefano, Abingdon

The writer is a retired major with the Baltimore City Police Department.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Bring back the death penalty in Md.

    Bring back the death penalty in Md.

    Baltimore's very own "Public Enemy No. 1" has been sentenced to life plus 240 years for a double murder ("Killer gets life plus 240 years, flips off top prosecutor," March 24).

  • Keep the death penalty abolished

    Keep the death penalty abolished

    I find it amazing that Del. Pat McDonough feels that reinstating the death penalty demands his time and resources as a priority in our state despite the numerous more pressing issues ("Del. McDonough seeks to restore death penalty in some cases," Jan. 26). He references two recent police killings...

  • Choose life and mercy — even for heinous crimes

    Choose life and mercy — even for heinous crimes

    While Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger and Towson University professor Richard Vatz have outlined many secular reasons for reinstating the death penalty ("Maryland should reinstate the death penalty," Jan. 6), I suggest that we let dead dogs lie and that we let the death penalty...

  • A death penalty rebuttal, point by point

    A death penalty rebuttal, point by point

    It was good of Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger and Towson University professor Richard E. Vatz to present their best arguments for reinstating the death penalty in Maryland — or anywhere else, I suppose ("Reinstate the death penalty, Maryland," Jan. 7). Let's see if any of...

  • Who says innocent people are never executed?

    Who says innocent people are never executed?

    It's ironic that your newspaper should publish a letter from our most ignorant apologists for the death penalty the same week that the Innocence Project freed yet another death row inmate from being wrongfully executed ("Maryland should reinstate the death penalty," Jan. 6).

  • Killing each other won't make us safer

    Killing each other won't make us safer

    Reading Scott Shellenberger's and Richard E. Vatz's pleas for a reinstatement of the death penalty in Maryland reminds me of a proverbial ditty my mother was fond of during my childhood ("Maryland should reinstate the death penalty," Jan. 6).

  • The death penalty is dead; let's move on

    The death penalty is dead; let's move on

    Each one of the arguments raised in Scott Shellenberger and Richard E. Vatz's recent op-ed calling for reinstating the death penalty in Maryland was considered during the debate on capital punishment ("Maryland should reinstate the death penalty," Jan. 6).

  • Lethal injections don't have to be botched [Letter]

    Lethal injections don't have to be botched [Letter]

    Having just read your latest editorial about an inmate's execution ("Another botched injection,http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-lethal-injection-20140725%2C0%2C1958095.story July 27), two things stand out. The first is obvious — when something like this happens, it immediately becomes...

Comments
Loading
81°