Moderated by Rick Badie
The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that uses capital punishment to deter crime. Georgia, one of 34 death-penalty states, uses lethal injection to execute.
Today, former President Jimmy Carter writes it’s time to end the practice for reasons that include a change in public opinion, prosecutorial costs, and socioeconomic and racial bias. A death penalty proponent argues that an executed murderer never murders again.
What do you think?
And here is more information on the death penalty
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court voided 40 death penalty statutes and suspended the death penalty.
Four years later, capital punishment was reinstated and a 10-year moratorium on executions ended with the execution of Gary Gilmore by a firing squad in Utah.
Since reinstatement, nearly 1,300 executions have been carried out.
Georgia’s current death row population sits at 99 and includes one woman. Its method of execution is lethal injection.
Georgia’s most recent high-profile execution was that of Troy Anthony Davis, on Sept. 21, 2011, for the 1989 killing of Savannah police officer Mark McPhail.
On Tuesday, a federal prosecutor called for the execution of Brian Richardson for the 2007 killing of his cell mate, Steven Obara, in the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta. The defendant is already serving a life term for armed robberies.
Besides Georgia, there are 33 death penalty states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
Illinois became the most recent state to abolish the death penalty when it did so last year.
Other non-death penalty states are Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
Since reinstatement of the death penalty, 56 percent of the defendants executed are white; 34 percent are black and 8 percent are Hispanic.
More than 75 percent of murder victims were white in cases that ended with executions.
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to outlaw the death penalty for juveniles under the age of 18 at the time crimes were committed. The high court called the execution of children unconstitutionally cruel.
Wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy: “Retribution is not proportional if the law’s most severe penalty is imposed on one whose culpability or blameworthiness is diminished, to a substantial degree, by reason of youth and immaturity.”