The latest sign that the death penalty is falling out of favor comes from Delaware, where earlier this month, the State Supreme Court struck down Delaware’s capital punishment statute as unconstitutional. The Court found that judges rather than juries wielded far too much power in determining who received a death sentence. The Delaware Attorney General has announced that his office will not appeal the ruling, which makes Delaware the latest in a growing number of states to scrap capital punishment.
Support for the death penalty is also shrinking across the United States. Two recently released polls show how unpopular capital punishment is becoming. According to the surveys, around 72% of Kentuckians and 53% of Oklahomans prefer alternatives to the death penalty.
The increasing support for ending capital punishment should not come as a surprise considering the death penalty’s constant problems that continue to come to light. On August 15, a conservative Nebraska economist released his findings on the cost of the Cornhusker State’s death penalty. He found that it costs around 14.6 million dollars annually beyond the cost of life without parole.
The death penalty is more than just a fiscal failure, though. It’s frequently marked by capriciousness and injustice, and Jeff Wood may be a prime example of this. He is scheduled to be executed in Texas later this month, despite never killing anyone. He was convicted under the law of parties for driving the person who committed a murder. However, most evidence suggests that Wood was never aware of any plan to commit a homicide. His death sentence has sparked an outcry from nearly 50 evangelical leaders who sent a letter to the Governor and Board of Paroles and Pardons, calling on them to stop the scheduled execution.
If you’re from Texas, you can also send a letter to state officials through our parent organization here: ejusa.org/act/Wood.
Conservatives Concerned in the field
Over the past month, members of CCATDP have been crisscrossing the country and sharing the message that the death penalty is inconsistent with conservative principles. On 7/25, our Charles Koch Communications Fellow, Caitlin Grimes, spoke at the Raleigh Liberty on the Rocks chapter. She debunked many death penalty myths and described how attendees could get involved in North Carolina.
From 7/27-7/28, Ben Jones and I traveled to Washington, D.C., where we exhibited and spoke at the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) conference. Nearly 400 students attended, and once many of them learned of the death penalty’s numerous failures, they were eager to work to repeal it.
After the YAL conference, I traveled to Florida for two speaking engagements. On 8/1, I presented the conservative case against the death penalty to the Central East Florida Republican Liberty Caucus chapter. Many of their members were shocked and appalled by how haphazardly the death penalty is administered. Three days later, I spoke at the West Palm Republican Liberty Caucus chapter, and their members were likewise disgusted by the death penalty’s many shortcomings.
Conservatives Concerned in the media
- While I was in Florida, I appeared on Good Day Orlando and the Marc Bernier Radio Show to explain why so many conservatives have turned against capital punishment.
- I was also included in articles related to Kentucky and Oklahoma’s death penalty programs, and I returned as a guest to the Scott Horton Radio Show.
- CCATDP’s Heather Beaudoin provided expert commentary on the concerns over Jeff Wood’s scheduled execution to the Marshall Project
- Caitlin Grimes penned an op-ed in the Libertarian Republic. She described how and why she believes libertarians can represent a middle ground in the death penalty debate.
- I authored an article for the US Daily Review in which I laid out why pro-liberty activists are rejecting the death penalty.
Are you looking for a speaker for your civic group, political club, or campus organization? If so, contact us and hopefully we can provide a speaker for one of your upcoming events.
Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP), a project of Equal Justice USA, is a network of political and social conservatives who question the alignment of capital punishment with conservative principles and values. For news and updates from CCATDP, join their email list.