Two days ago, I posted about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s attempt at a repeal of the death penalty in Maryland. Specifically, I questioned his choice to build an economic argument against capital punishment when it’s primarily a moral issue. I noted O’Malley’s commission’s claim that the death penalty costs Maryland about three times as much as life imprisonment.
Yesterday, North Carolina pro-death penalty blogger Dudley Sharp contacted Baltimore Fishbowl to refute those numbers. And from a different angle than that of Maryland Republicans, as outlined in Ilana Kowarski’s Maryland Reporter article (which was that the study deceptively included opportunity costs in its calculations).
Sharp indicts the same study for comparing death penalty cases to anything other life-without-parole cases.He goes on to list other factors that weren’t calculated in the study that should have been.
And this is why O’Malley should not be betting on a disinterested, economic argument: because it forfeits the ethical argument. It implies we have the moral authority to kill these people in the first place. And as soon as somebody comes along who can prove that we save money putting people to death, it’s over.