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Mar. 16, 2013 Maryland is likely to become 18th state to outlaw executions after lawmakers approve measure abolishing the death penalty. MORE » Mar. 15, 2013 Jim Dwyer About New York column on Robert M Morgenthau, former Manhattan district attorney who is still working at age 93; Morgenthau and two other prominent former prosecutors are asking United States Supreme Court to take up the case of William Ernest Kuenzel, who has been on death row in Alabama for 24 years; evidence now shows that jury reached guilty verdict on murder charges without some crucial facts. MORE » Mar. 11, 2013 Saudi Arabia committee says due to scarcity of swordsmen available for beheadings, kingdom is considering firing squads as an alternative means of execution. MORE » Mar. 7, 2013 Push to abolish death penalty in Maryland clears major hurdle when Senate approves measure, which appears to have support from House and Gov Martin O’Malley.
As far back as the Ancient Laws of China, the death penalty has been established as a punishment for crimes. In the 18th Century BC, the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon codified the death penalty for twenty five different crimes, although murder was not one of them. The first death sentence historically recorded occurred in 16th Century BC Egypt where the wrongdoer, a member of nobility, was accused of magic, and ordered to take his own life. During this period non-nobility was usually killed with an ax. In the 14th Century BC, the Hittite Code also prescribed the death penalty.
I came across this article on line while researching something else. It was so good, in fact it is an excellent article, I decided to copy it here to share with everyone on the site. It was written in 2001 by a grieving Aunt. This Paper in Memoriam of Sean Burgado My Precious Nephew - Murdered
This Paper in Memoriam of Sean Burgado My Precious Nephew - Murdered June 7, 1969 to May 21, 1997 Deterrent or Revenge
It has long been the conventional wisdom on both sides of the death penalty debate that if a state or the federal government were ever shown to have executed an innocent person, we'd see a dramatic drop in support for state executions. In the 2006 case Kansas v. Marsh, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a death penalty supporter, called the search for a wrongly executed person the "Holy Grail" of death penalty opponents. But a little less than two years after David Grann made a convincing argument in The New Yorker that the state of Texas had done just that, public support for capital punishment hasn't wavered.
Society has always used punishment to discourage would-be criminals from unlawful action. Since society has the highest interest in preventing murder, it should use the strongest punishment available to deter murder, and that is the death penalty. If murderers are sentenced to death and executed, potential murderers will think twice before killing for fear of losing their own life. For years, criminologists analyzed murder rates to see if they fluctuated with the likelihood of convicted murderers being executed, but the results were inconclusive. Then in 1973 Isaac Ehrlich employed a new kind of analysis which produced results showing that for every inmate who was executed, 7 lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder.