\"The

The death penalty is outlawed in Ireland

Irish are right to slam U.S. on death penalty

\"The

The death penalty is outlawed in Ireland

But statistics indicate that the death penalty does not have a deterrent effect.  It costs a lot of taxpayer money to execute people.  Extraordinary advances in forensic science have demonstrated the all too real possibility of executing the innocent.  Above everything else, the death penalty does not and cannot bring the victim back.

These factors have combined to lead state legislatures to repeal death penalty statutes in some states.  State and federal courts have considered these factors, together with nuanced constitutional arguments and international legal instruments, and struck down death penalty statutes in other states.  The trend is away from capital punishment in the United States, yet it persists.

And my question about what makes the death penalty acceptable to so many Americans, including an otherwise progressive president, persists. It is only when, or if, a deeper, collective discussion of the ultimate sanction in the United States occurs and the rather unpleasant truths that this discussion will inevitably unearth are further thrashed out openly and honestly that we are likely to see an end to the practice of capital punishment in sight.

________________

Read More:
Former Irish death row worker calls for death penalty to be abolished

Limerick mayor wants death penalty for Ireland

Bring back Ireland's death penalty, says former top judge

__________________
 
Back here in Ireland, Americans sometimes get what are all too often ill-informed and accusatory lectures about our country’s record on protecting human rights.  In response, we can proudly point to a wide array of forward-thinking laws that vindicate the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups in the United States. 

Many of these laws are the envy of advocates around the world – the Americans with Disabilities Act springs immediately to mind – and there is much we can rightly celebrate. That the United States, along with China, Iran and a dwindling group of other countries whose values we generally do not share, still executes people in 2011 is nothing for us to be proud of, however.  It’s a disgrace. 

*Larry Donnelly is a Boston attorney and lecturer now living in Ireland 
 

COMMENTS

Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:


Already have an account ?

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.


Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: