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Death Penalty Facts

by TChris

Amnesty International USA recently updated its "facts and figures on the death penalty." A noteworthy fact:

In 2004, 97 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Viet Nam and the USA.

What wonderful company we keep.

Another interesting fact:

Since 1973, 117 prisoners have been released in the USA after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death. There were six such cases in 2004. Some prisoners had come close to execution after spending many years under sentence of death. Recurring features in their cases include prosecutorial or police misconduct; the use of unreliable witness testimony, physical evidence, or confessions; and inadequate defence representation.

Despite concerns about executing the innocent, 59 people were put to death in 2004 in the United States. More than 3,400 prisoners were facing a death sentence as of the first of this year.

Update (TL): The full report is here.

"Our report indicates that governments and citizens around the world have realized what the United States government refuses to admit?that the death penalty is an inhumane, antiquated form of punishment," said Dr. William F.Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). "Thomas Jefferson once wrote that 'laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind;' it is past time for our government to live up to this Jeffersonian ideal and let go of the brutal practices of the past."

[thread hijacked, comments closed]

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  • Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:48:35 AM EST
    Another great resource, the NY Assembly's report on reinstating the death penalty, was released here yesterday. - k

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:50:54 AM EST
    The report also says executions are at the second highest level in 25 years.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:15:13 AM EST
    It's the Culture of Life!

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#4)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:21:37 AM EST
    During 2004, at least 3,797 people were executed in 25 countries In 2004, 97 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Viet Nam and the USA. 59 executions in the US in 2004. But of course a sentance reading: "In 2004, 96 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran and Viet Nam." or even: "In 2004, 95 per cent of all known executions took place in China." wouldn't serve the agenda.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:37:06 AM EST
    Hell no, that wouldn't serve TChris's agenda. But then again TChris doesn't even serve his own agenda. In fact he usually does the opposite. Someone needs to send TChris back to Propaganda 101, apparently he was absent (probably off dropping acid and getting in touch with his inner self) when the professor explained that propaganda is only useful when employed imperceptably.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#6)
    by nolo on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:57:45 AM EST
    If you'd look at the data, you'd see that the US is included because it's fourth in the rankings as far as numbers of executions are concerned. Also, if you look at the data, you'll see that the total number of executions is what it is because most of the executions occurred in China. Viet Nam, which is third on the list, executed 64 people. I'm not sure how that's going to work into your notion of propaganda, Dagma, but there it is.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#7)
    by roy on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:01:29 PM EST
    "In 2004, 1.55% per cent of all known executions took place in the USA." just doesn't have have the right vibe. And to make even that mean anything, you need to know that we have about 4.54% of the world population, according to this and this. (Not saying execution is a good thing, just saying that blurb is a lame thing)

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#8)
    by roy on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:08:53 PM EST
    But to balance out my knee-jerk reaction, I'll point out that we were in extremely bad company allowing the execution of juvenile offenders: China, Congo (Democratic Republic), Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Worse yet, we led the pack by executing the most of them from 1990-2003.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:22:05 PM EST
    are we arguing about the numbers or weather the death penalty is moral or not? liberals disregard the issues and debate the details.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:39:43 PM EST
    I was discussing TChris's propagandist attempt at lumping the US in with China, Iran, and Vietnam.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:42:20 PM EST
    It was Amnesty that produced the figure and included the percentage in its report so tchris is not to blame for highlighting it. I agree noname that the break down is far more revealing and is counterproductive because it would appear to me as spin. That said, we are still in horrible company and the death penalty is inhumane.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:56:10 PM EST
    Ummmm ... the operative word in that Amnesty Int'l press release being 'known' cases. Anybody care to hazard a guess as to the ranking the United States would have when the a less transparent standard is used, say: "Citizens who end up dying prematurely and violently while in custody at the hands of their government"

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#13)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:46:43 PM EST
    Nice catch BumperStickerists, of course it's hard to count unknown cases ... like extrordinary rendition deaths, secret CIA prisoners kept off the books, army 'mercy killings' etc.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:48:46 PM EST
    Bumperstickerists- "Anybody care to hazard a guess as to the ranking the United States would have when the a less transparent standard is used, say: "Citizens who end up dying prematurely and violently while in custody at the hands of their government" I would be willing to say that we would drop way far down in the rankings. There are many nations that summarily execute people without bothering to call Amnesty Int'l. Anyone else notice N Korea was nowhere to be found in their wonderfully incomplete statistics? In their historical data, does Amnesty Int'l account for Iraq's 500,000 dead? Morrocco once had a suspected coup plotter commit "suicide" in custody by shooting himself in the Head six times. Germany and Italy both have their fair share of "suspect fell down the stairs" episodes. In the Congo, it is still not uncommon to see a couple of bodies in the ditch next to a police checkpoint. You got it REAL GOOD here Bump. It ain't perfect, but is a whole lot better than most of the world.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#15)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:52:55 PM EST
    "Anybody care to hazard a guess as to the ranking the United States would have when the a less transparent standard is used, say: "Citizens who end up dying prematurely and violently while in custody at the hands of their government" BS - Yup. Much further down in the ranking. China's "under reporting" alone is estimated at about 10,000 too few. but I'm guessing this was not your intended point.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:53:23 PM EST
    forget debating whether the death penalty is moral or not, the constitution says no 'cruel and unusual punishment.' is execution cruel? is it unusual? oh wait, it doesn't matter. this administration has no regard for what the constitution says.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:53:44 PM EST
    Crimson elephant wrote:
    are we arguing about the numbers or weather the death penalty is moral or not? liberals disregard the issues and debate the details.
    Details are unrelated to issues? We are the only Industrialized Western/Judeo-Christian nation that retains the death penalty for anything short of genocide. Your theocon brethren are now readily admitting we have executed the innocent. The faces of those who were sentenced to death for crimes they didn't commit, such as the DNA exoneration of Ray Krone, now appear regularly in the media. Details don't support retaining the death penalty so I can understand your damning them.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#18)
    by pigwiggle on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:19:56 PM EST
    “What wonderful company we keep.” And in that vein; both my wife and Adolph Hitler are/were vegetarian, best call the allies.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#19)
    by soccerdad on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:27:06 PM EST
    Pig are you saying being a vegetarian is as bad as killing someone? Real bad analogy better luck next time

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:27:54 PM EST
    The point of the post was our ranking in the world in utilizing this form of punishment, and that ranking is obviously skewed to make a point. However, what Amnesty Int'l and most everyone on the Left seems to miss, is that AT LEAST THERE IS A TRIAL here, and it is a considerably more fair trial than one could expect to receive most anywhere else in the world. There are lots of areas where people are executed by their respective gov'ts without anything resembling a trial. Darfur, anyone? Yet the silence is deafening, and the villification unending if anyone does anything to remove those oppressive regimes.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#21)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:30:43 PM EST
    pigwiggle, if they both practiced genocide it would be an accurate comparison. Just like it is accurate to compare countries with the death penalty. Can you say apples, oranges ... I thought you could.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#22)
    by roy on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:30:47 PM EST
    pigwiggle,
    And in that vein; both my wife and Adolph Hitler are/were vegetarian, best call the allies.
    It's more like if Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and Jeffrey Dahmer were the most outspoken vegetarians, and hardly anybody else advocated vegetarianism. Does it prove vegetarianism is wrong? No, but it's sure a bad sign.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#23)
    by soccerdad on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:36:54 PM EST
    No Gerry what you refuse to see is that many on the left see the death penalty as morally wrong. Period. Your use of "well we're really not as bad because...." is getting mighty tiresome. and thanks for the perfunctory strawman argument in the last paragraph. is it required by the right that every post contain a strawman argument?

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#24)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:42:42 PM EST
    that ranking is obviously skewed to make a point.
    Uhhh, yeah skewed by facts.
    AT LEAST THERE IS A TRIAL here
    Uhhh, no, we have military tribunals. We have a president who has declared himself above habeas corpus, whose legal position is that he can lock up any american citizen forever and not give them a trial or even tell anyone else he's 'detained'. How is this different from china's point of view?

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#25)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:43:52 PM EST
    SOCCERDAD: No, it is not just those on the left, it is many on the right as well. Just like any other bloated government program, it is a failure. The same people who don't trust the government to take out the trash trust the government to take out what they deem human trash. I can't wait for the day when the Libertarian Party actually becomes libertarian (instead of Republicans who like to smoke dope) and demands an end to state killing. - k

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#26)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:59:01 PM EST
    libertarian: republican with a hard-on, that likes to smoke dope.
    thanks for enhancing my definition of the futile useless.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#27)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:07:18 PM EST
    Fine Soccer. You oppose the death penalty. I admit I don't. I DO oppose genocidal regimes and support the expansion of human rights and liberty to the world. Your side vilifies those who do something effective about those murderous regimes.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#28)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:14:17 PM EST
    Speaking specifically of Saudi Arabia, it cant execute children because under Islamic law, there are 3 kinds of people who are not responsible for thier crimes, the child, the drunk/intoxicated, the sleeping (though alcoholic consumption, and distribution is a crime in the KSA) and the insane. All those people before the law and to some extent before God are not responsible for thier actions. I should mention that in Islamic law, you are considered an adult when you show signs of puberty, which can be as young as, 13, 14.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#29)
    by pigwiggle on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:52:47 PM EST
    “Pig are you saying being a vegetarian is as bad as killing someone? Real bad analogy better luck next time” No; the point I was making, a painful obvious one at that, was an idea is best judged on its own merit not how famous or infamous the folks who keep it. “… demands an end to state killing.” I think the LP executive summary does just that.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#30)
    by soccerdad on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:03:00 PM EST
    I DO oppose genocidal regimes and support the expansion of human rights and liberty to the world. Your side vilifies those who do something effective about those murderous regimes.
    The second part is obvious BS, unless of course slaughtering civilians to save them, torturing them, is your idea of helping. Pathetic. Iraq is about oil, everyone except the ones drubk on the kool aid knows it. Bush doesn't care about democracy never did, other wise he would respect the outcome of valid elections which he doesn't.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#31)
    by soccerdad on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:14:16 PM EST
    So pig are you implying that our government killing people is better than their government killing people? Or are you just saying nothing?

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#32)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:19:39 PM EST
    "Posted by sarcastic unnamed one: :China's "under reporting" alone is estimated at about 10,000 too few." Winner -- bad reading skills award. The estimate, by an unamed, unqualified someone of 3,000 delegates to China's Congress, is NEARLY 10,000 (total)--not 10,000 more. That's possibly 6,000 more than reported, not 10,000 more. Accuracy of this estimate, unknown. Unfactored into the equation is per capitum. China has a population more than 4 times larger than the US. Also not figured in is the severe capital punishment in China of crimes like drug (opiates) smuggling. People may forget the Opium Wars -- China has not. As for Vietnam, bombing most of it 'back to the Stone Age,' and setting off a massive genocide in the neighboring country through intensive disruption of the Cambodian government, as well as the grave Kissinger warcrimes against neighboring Laos (as well), can be expected to increase violence in the gov't and society of the survivors. The US has no comparable excuses. Something like 40 million Chinese perished in the last century due to the Japanese invasion, the Chinese revolution, the Cultural revolution, famine, plague (incl. by residual biological warfare agents used by the Japanese) and other causes. Total US losses to such causes is surely less than 1 million. And yet the US has a vastly higher per capita murder rate. It's all very nice (and racist) to target a massive civilization like China with the numbers out of context with their history of the last 85 years, a history which is partly the responsibility of western colonialism.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#33)
    by pigwiggle on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:20:30 PM EST
    “So pig are you implying that our government killing people is better than their government killing people?” No, but it is certainly better; you and I have an almost direct say in what is a crime and how it is punished. The Chinese, Vietnamese, and Iranians are at the whim of a few communists or mullahs. I think the difference is at least noteworthy if not dramatic.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#34)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:35:22 PM EST
    I am in favor of the death penalty as I believe that it serves a good purpose. But it only serves a good purpose when justice is truly served, when the person being executed is really guilty. If we can't convict the right people maybe we need to look at the system and fix it. God says that he hates injustice, when an innocent person is convicted.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#35)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:52:43 PM EST
    so pig, since you didn't refute it, can I assume you are for suspending habeas corpus and locking up americans without charges forever (read LWOP, IOW death sentence, just a lot slower) with no access to courts?

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#36)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:56:56 PM EST
    Paul in LA can find racists anywhere. It is an amazing gift. More judgmental than most evangelicals. Write two setences and he knows what is in your heart. I think the TSA needs you.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#37)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:29:51 PM EST
    [name calling to another commenter deleted. Commenter warned.] Murdering 100,000+ civilians because of crimes committed by a handful of people from other countries is an act of racism (actually, in this case, genocide, given the vast cultural destruction, and the STATED intention to dismantle the country's sovereignty). When I said the INS is racist, of course one could refine that and say 'classist,' but the terminology doesn't yield to such hair-splitting. The term 'genocide,' for instance, was COINED to remove the wrong impression of 'mass murder' when the intent is clearly beyond merely killing persons, but killing human culture. The INS, and the anti-immigration crowd, are racists, and their own statements and actions are the evidence of that conclusion. There can be no good excuse for delaying proper paperwork to legitiimate immigrants for decades, as in the case of several of my acquaintances. It is unequal justice, and in the US, unequal justice is equivalent to racism. Or didn't you notice all the racism, in your rush to blow up the road where the roadrunner once was. 'Kill them all' -- echoes.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#39)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 08:14:52 PM EST
    Well, TL, if one can't call a CARTOON character a name they appear to deserve, then we really ARE civilized. As for 'pimping' for the 1/5 of humanity we call 'Chinese,' yeah, guilty, Ace. You pimp for mass murderers, while the recent Chinese gov't really doesn't measure up. And you totally ignore the point I made about their history of the last 85 years, preferring the canard of 'Communism' as the explanation of how such disasters can befall a people. Me, I recognize that fascists like Bush are really no different than fascists like Mao or Stalin. The racism, the fake elections, the hysterics -- all the same. The only difference is the scope of power. Give Bush Stalin's prerogatives, and the same result will spit out the other end, doused in blood and tears.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#40)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 08:21:03 PM EST
    What word in my post didn't you understand, Paul? Hint: communist By your own behavior you demonstrate your irrationality, your inability to hold a cogent conversation, yout incapacity for apprehending reality. By your own behavior you relegate your posts to the status of mere entertainment. So be it.

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#41)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:37:45 PM EST
    off topic comment deleted

    Re: Death Penalty Facts (none / 0) (#38)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:38:06 PM EST
    insult to another commenter deleted