Facts & Research

New Voices

Individuals from across the political spectrum have voiced growing concerns about the death penalty, questioning not only the morality of capital punishment but whether the government can be trusted to fairly and accurately apply it. Many of these new voices bring new and non-traditional perspectives to the death-penalty debate.

In the 1990s, the Gallup Poll measured support for the death penalty in the United States at 80%. Since then it has fallen into the mid 50%s. The death penalty has long been opposed by human rights and civil rights activists, who question whether capital punishment can be applied fairly and whether the risks of executing innocent people are too great, and by those who consider it morally wrong for the government to take the life of a prisoner who has already been incapacitated by incarceration. But a growing number of non-traditional voices have raised new concerns about the death penalty, questioning its cost, its ineffectiveness in protecting the public and police, the disservice it does to family members of murder victims, its inconsistency with a pro-life ethic and the values of limited government, and whether the money spent on the death penalty could be used more effectively. These new voices represent a variety of perspectives, from judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement veterans to legislators, academics, spiritual leaders, and murder victims’ families.


News & Developments


News

May 24, 2024

Article of Interest: Retired Supervising Detective Says There Was No Crime in Robert Roberson’s Case

In a May 23, 2024 op-ed pub­lished in The Dallas Morning News, Brian Wharton, the retired super­vis­ing detec­tive in Robert Roberson’s case, urged Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell to reex­am­ine the case and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reex­am­ine a pend­ing motion on Mr. Roberson’s inno­cence claims, which have pre­vi­ous­ly been denied. It would be a ter­ri­ble lega­cy for all of us to be asso­ci­at­ed with exe­cut­ing an inno­cent man based on a rush to judg­ment and…

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News

May 02, 2024

Articles of Interest: Missouri and Oklahoma Corrections Officials Describe Psychological Toll of Performing Executions

An April 28, 2024 report by Ed Pilkington in The Guardian chron­i­cles the trau­ma expe­ri­ences by prison offi­cials assigned to car­ry out exe­cu­tions. Oklahoma cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers asked Attorney General Gentner Drummond to slow the pace of exe­cu­tions, cit­ing last­ing trau­ma,” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and alco­hol abuse among staff due to fre­quent exe­cu­tions in the state. Former cor­rec­tions direc­tor Justin Jones told Mr. Pilkington, It affects your men­tal state when it becomes so routine,”…

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News

Mar 26, 2024

Citing a Lack of Evidence, Editors of the Scientific American Call for Abolition of the Death Penalty in New Op-Ed

It is long past time to abol­ish the death penal­ty in the U.S.,” write the edi­tors for the Scientific American. In a March 19, 2024 op-ed titled Evidence Does Not Support the Use of the Death Penalty,” the authors cite an abun­dance of stud­ies demon­strat­ing that the death penal­ty is not a deter­rent to crime, but is a flawed, racial­ly biased, and cost­ly prac­tice respon­si­ble for sen­tenc­ing inno­cent lives to…

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News

Mar 21, 2024

Discussions with DPIC Podcast: Retired Judge Elsa Alcala on the Death Penalty in Texas

In this month’s episode of Discussions with DPIC, Managing Director Anne Holsinger speaks with Judge Elsa Alcala, who served on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals from 2011 to 2018. In addi­tion to serv­ing as a judge at the appeals and tri­al lev­el, she worked as a pros­e­cu­tor, crim­i­nal defense attor­ney, and most recent­ly as a jus­tice-reform lob­by­ist dur­ing her three-decade career in crim­i­nal law. She shares how these expe­ri­ences have informed her per­spec­tive on the death penal­ty and…

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News

Dec 13, 2023

After Five-Year Execution Pause, Ohio Leaders Question Value of Death Penalty

A pro­posed death penal­ty repeal bill in the Ohio leg­is­la­ture is draw­ing atten­tion to the state’s five-year pause on exe­cu­tions, and lead­ing state offi­cials from both par­ties to ques­tion whether the death penal­ty sys­tem is work­ing. Ohio Attorney General David Yost (pic­tured) summed up the sit­u­a­tion by say­ing, This sys­tem sat­is­fies nobody. Those who oppose the death penal­ty want it abol­ished alto­geth­er, not tick­ing away like a time bomb that might or might not explode. Those who sup­port the…

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