EDITORIALS: The Price of Death

A recent editorial in America Magazine entitled The Price of Death reviewed the growing problems with the death penalty and stated, "It is time for the nation to conclude once and for all that in our civilized society there is no place for capital punishment."  The national Catholic weekly cited the recently botched execution in Ohio, racial disparities, and the possibility of executing the innocent as reasons why public support for capital punishment has declined.  The  editorial also pointed to the high costs of the death penalty as a reason for acting now: "During the current recession, revenue-starved states are looking closely at the cost of capital punishment. According to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., death penalty cases typically require huge expenditures, partly because of re-trials to correct prior errors. California’s Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, for example, has estimated that the state is spending $138 million a year on the death penalty. . . .Lawmakers, forced by the budget crisis to make cuts in basic services like schools, law enforcement, health care and libraries, must rethink such outlays for capital punishment."

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NEW VOICES: Prominent Conservative Calls for Death Penalty Moratorium

Richard A. Viguerie, who has been called “one of the creators of the modern conservative movement" by The Nation magazine, recently wrote an op-ed in which he discusses how his conservative ideology led him to oppose the death penalty and calls for a national moratorium on the death penalty. "The fact is, I don't understand why more conservatives don't oppose the death penalty," writes Viguerie.  He argues the standard conservative position of support for capital punishment clashes with traditional conservatism, writing that the death penalty "is, after all, a system set up under laws established by politicians (too many of whom lack principles); enforced by prosecutors (many of whom want to become politicians—perhaps a character flaw?—and who prefer wins over justice); and adjudicated by judges (too many of whom administer personal preference rather than the law).” Viguerie continues to argue that capital punishment goes against conservative values, adding, "Conservatives have every reason to believe the death penalty system is no different from any politicized, costly, inefficient, bureaucratic, government-run operation, which we conservatives know are rife with injustice."  The full piece may be read below:

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