July 19, 2013

Regarding Spencer S. Hsu’s “At least 27 death penalty convictions may be faulty” [front page, July 18]:

All executions are flawed. Consider:

Eighty percent of criminologists surveyed no longer believe the death penalty is a deterrent. In fact, studies indicate an instigation effect, in which violent crime may spike slightly following a highly publicized execution. Thus, society may be less safe as a result of imposing lethal sanctions.

Capital punishment is not administered fairly. When the victim is white, those convicted are four to 11 times more likely to receive a death sentence.

●It costs considerably more to execute an inmate than to incarcerate him for life. It has been estimated that the pursuit of a death sentence in Maryland adds $2 million to the expense of prosecuting a capital case.

The irrefutable argument is that, with the death penalty on the books, a government runs the risk of executing the wrong person. The exoneration of more than 140 innocent people attests to this. It is time to eliminate the practice altogether.

Richard Stack, Silver Spring

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