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Time to Really Rethink The Death Penalty

The botched execution in Oklahoma of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett has spurred the debate over the constitutionality of lethal injection - is it cruel and unusual punishment - and led the republican governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, to order an "independent" investigation of the botched execution and the resulting horror and agony that ensued.

Can the investigation be "independent" if ordered by the governor who ignored the stay of Mr. Lockett's execution issued by the Oklahoma Supreme Court?

It is time for the United States to truly rethink capital punishment. Capital punishment does not deter crime, it is more expensive than life inprisonment, and no matter what side of the argument you are on, executing a murderer does not bring back the victim. Not to mention the indiputable fact that convicted murderers on death row have been found innocent and released years later. Therefore, some convicted and executed were innocent.

Lethal injections do not work. Even the creator of the lethal injection, Dr. Jay Chapman, the then Chief Medical Examiner of Oklahoma, stated: "There are many problems that can arise ..." Two states found lethal injection to be unconstitutional and eleven other states have stopped using lethal injections for executions.

The death penalty does not deter crime. From 1990 - 2010 the murder rates in states with the death penalty declined at almost the exact same rate as murders in states without the death penalty. The threat of death for a crime does not deter someone's behavior who is under the infulence of drugs or alcohol; who panicks during the commission of anther felony (like robbery); who is suffering from mental illness; who is incapable of understanding the gravity of their crime; or someone who in the grip of fear or rage.

The cost of the death penalty is staggering. Excution costs approximately three times more that life in prison.

In California, the prison system costs $137 million annually with the death penalty - without the death penalty the annual cost would be $11.5 million. Therefore, the death penalty diverts resources from crime control and crime prevention.

Litigating a capital punishment case costs 70% more than a non-capital punishment case. There is a separate trial phase for sentencing, there are more motions and the jury selection process is more costly in capital cases.

One might say, what if your child, spouse, or parent, was murdered? The execution of the murderer will not return your loved one to you.

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