tv American History TV CSPAN March 6, 2016 11:12am-11:31am EST
looks at what happened with the as a penalty since -- process that underwent a change in which the arguments against the death penalty and the efforts to attack the death penalty since greg have become shallower and shallower and their content and broader and broader in their public appeal to the point that we are now making very shallow arguments that appeal to bring much what all americans love and respect, and i make reference to money. i will start by talking about human rights discourse and due process and determines and it is since and all kinds of other things -- and innocence and the second half of my talk on the financial efforts to attack the death penalty in recent years, especially since the great recession of 2008 and some recent developments that might signal the end of the death penalty in the foreseeable future.
recently, retired justice stevens was talking about the death penalty when writing a book review and he is quoting from decision he authored in gardner versus florida in 1977, just a year after greg for he said that this penalty differs from other punishments in both its severity and finality. from the point of view of society, the action is taking the life of one of its citizens, differing from any other legitimate state action. it is of vital importance that the defendant -- that any decision to impose the death penalty be and appear to be based on reason rather than emotion. i think that this quote really tells you a lot about what kind of reasons rather than a motion anti-death penalty advocates have tried to come up with what death penalty advocates have tried to come up with. it is valuable to keep in mind
that this point north america as a unique country, pretty much the only industrialized country that retains the death penalty. when it was abolished in european countries, it was a top-down move against public sentiment in those countries and was fueled by human rights concerns, issues that had to do with social contracts. can we agree that citizens give awaytate the power to take the right that is so drastic and in the early days of the american revolution, arguments like that were heard -- spoken by americans as well like people -- by people like thomas jefferson. and they went away arguments in furman, the first case that temporarily abolished the death penalty until greg came along, the arguments were of due process and what they mass was a reality with the death penalty can be inputted the people not just for homicide, but for a variety of
other offenses, robbery, rape and assault, for the most part targeting african-americans for those not homicide offenses and sentencing them to death. dragon sought to correct debt by , atging in more due process which point the effort to argue against the death penalty on arbitrariness or due process was pretty much decimated. this meant that now the new battleground in terms of ideas have to change. some people it printed at least the decision of great joy economic article public -- published in which the determined effect of the death penalty was analyzed. could preventn eight homicides and that article was in the supreme court's mind when they decided greg and was the topic of quite a bit of public conversation at the time. shortly after the article was published, several other people
publish articles trying to demolish the argument and point out policies in the methodology. this was something that occupies the scholarly community for quite a few years and insert it to go away. what remains from the deterrence argument at this point is to teams of economists are still working on this. this has become the topic of very newest arguments, people are trying to say you can't include these variables, i can prove that the death penalty defers including texas database or excluding it. there are all kinds of nuances when you play with the variables that at this point, it is very hard to come to the next was a conclusion whether the death penalty accidents or is anything or not. a lot of these articles don't really compare the death penalty to anything else. it is not so much the death penalty as opposed to life without parole as opposed to life with parole in a way that
would enable you to sort of judge between different alternatives. penaltyess, anti-death at the -- activists have accepted this conclusion that the death penalty does not deter and that is something that the american legal institute is now backing and this is the assumption behind this whole thing, that the deterrence argument has become irrelevant and we have to look to other arguments to figure out whether to continue with it or not. that is an issue that came up and later became a fruitless avenue for legal change was the issue of racial dissemination. -- showingy 80's, the victim,e of more than the victim of the perpetrator was a significant variable in the disposition of the death penalty -- in an effort to attack the death penalty in court and a supreme court case called klinsky versus cap. the supreme court says we can't
accept the general research argument that there seems to be racial discrimination in its application, the petitioner have to prove that you have descendents for death for racial reasons we can't really address things via the general premise of what the scientific findings think. that avenue was fruitless because it would be difficult someone canto say prove the state was racist and a particular case. that also proved fruitless. a new hope emerged in the early 90's with the advent of dna and with the emergence of innocence projects and universities were started seeing a lot of these people on death row actually did not do it and we can show that they didn't do it conclusively, relying on forensic evidence. i think the most notable achievement of the dna innocence in an death penalty arguments was illinois governor ryan's
decision to pardon everyone on death row in illinois in 2003 after confronted with irrefutable evidence of wrongful convictions and wrongful executions in the state, later leading to abolishing the death penalty in middle -- illinois. that leads to the later development which paraphrasing justice -- i would call tinkering with machine -- machinery of death. the best majority of current litigation efforts on behalf of jeff -- death growth -- death row inmates focus on the technical aspects of the death give reallyuld we projections, one time, what kind of injection to reuse and it is getting to be technical -- just some installments in this tinkering with the machinery of death saga, the case that you can use three injections as
opposed to just one, some of the difficulties that we have had with european countries which manufacture the chemical which we use in executions have stopped exporting it to the u.s., knowing what we use it for an and there has been an effort to find local alternatives to the drug, colluding in a case in which themer supreme court approved a new chemical. for use therewith a lot of effort along those lines and it is becoming increasingly technical and moving away from the original, more emotional appeal. the interesting development i think is the fact that in the legislative and public arena, the debate over the pet -- death penalty in most states have. become financial since the financial crisis of 2000 eight, this is not unique only to the death penalty, there is a new discourse surrounding the criminal process of this
country, we talk a lot about the question of how many resources we are spending on trying and convicting and incarcerating so many people and how much are we getting as a return on our investment? one of the things that anti-death penalty advocates have been trying to use to their that thes the fact death penalty is vastly more expensive than putting the same people for life without parole. the reasons have do with the incarceration conditions for death row inmates who are held under very specific and restrictive conditions, but mostly with the intense litigation that death through inmates lead for years and decades after being sentenced. in california, we have sentenced and for theecades most part, people have been dying on death row from natural reasons, old age because they have been on death row for so long. the legislative office in
california have calculated that if we were to end the death penalty and move these people to the general population for life without parole, we would save $157 million a year. the effort of activists was to use the same logic that many other states had used since the financial crisis to abolish the death penalty and it has been successful or longtime. ,ince the financial crisis seven states of all is the death penalty and many others are considering a moratorium on the litigation. they are just concerned about the expense. proposition 34, the campaign managers the proposition instructed their volunteers to avoid using the words barbaric, inhumane, cruel. they said to just talk about the cost and the money. thisolunteer cadre for
proposition included people who personally were on the fence about the death penalty but felt that the expense was just inexcusable and would not really lead to anything. the latest example of how far you can push this rhetoric is a recent california case where -- where aurt judge therict court judge said death penalty has become unconstitutional because of the delays in its application because the delays due to the litigation and efforts to find -- find all these lawyers, all of this stuff adds up to a system that does not really the tour or achieve any sort of richard reid element and is also part of the victims families -- any sort of retribution element and is also hard on the victim's families. see peopleesting to
were able to make some headway with this financial argument in litigation, that only a legislative efforts. the problem with relying too much on the financial argument is it has a flip side. the foot site is what i call tough and cheap. da's office says it there is a problem with delays and cost, let's make the death penalty pastor and cheaper so we can solve the problem. given of the appeals, habeas corpus process, no free lawyers and that way, we can execute people more summarily and efficiently. right now, the conversation really involved a lot around the money. points a precarious between the people who say this is so broken we can't fix it and it people who say we can make this cheaper and more efficient. a renaissance for the broader human rights arguments, but a are not being made -- they are made in abolitionist states. one of them is the debate in
massachusetts after dzhokhar tsarnaev was sentenced to death. he was a sentence in the federal system which still retains the death penalty but the event occurred in massachusetts which has long been an avenue -- an abolitionist state. people expressed great reservation about his pending execution, saying they do not want to turn into a martyr, that this would not go anywhere, so in some ways, a return to the original human rights argument made by people who have lived without the death penalty for a long time. two inmates in an arizona private prison who murdered another prisoner while in prison in a fairly gruesome way and were sentenced to death under arizona law. those inmates are both residents of the state of hawaii. why are they doing time in arizona? in order to save money, hawaii shipped half of it inmates to the mainland in private prisons.
the state of hawaii has abolished the death penalty. now, the citizens of hawaii are saying it is unfair that these folks who were born and are residents of that state worship to a retention state against their will and are now finding themselves subjected to this brutal and adjust system because of a place where they did not choose to be. these more principled arguments are coming up from states and advocates who have been living under an evolutionist regime for years and the retention is states have to sort of make the arguments have as broad an appeal is possible and appeal to the issue of cost because that is the only thing that has made headway in the last few years. just recently, president obama said he personally finds the -- the death penalty troubling and are some rumblings and rumors that one of his last acts in office might include a pardon to federal inmates who are doing time on death row. if that is the case and that has anything to do with local
developments in states that are gradually abolishing the death thenty on account of cost, maybe we did not let the serious crisis go to waste. thank you. [applause] >> that was a portion of it is session. on the history of the death penalty you can view the entire program at our website, c-span.org. this is an american history tv on c-span3. >> i have a history buff. i enjoy seeing the fabric of our country and how things work and how they are made. >> i love american history tv. >> i had no idea they did history. tv, it american history gives you that perspective. i have a c-span fan. -- i am a c-span fan.
>> welcome to the national museum of american jewish history in philadelphia, pennsylvania. i and the chief registrar and associate curator. i am happy to give you a tour. we are in the middle of independence mall in philadelphia. we are halfway between independence hall, where the nation got its start and the national constitution center which explored the founding documents of the nation. anlike to think that we are example of what happens when a people are allowed to live in liberty. one of the big stars in our , thistion is right here is correspondence between george washington and the jewish congregation of newport, rhode island. these are on load -- loan from the morgan foundation.
in august of 1790, washington traveled to newport to thank the community for ratifying the constitution, the last state to ratify. -- including the jewish community of newport, and this is the address that was read out loud to washington that day. afterwards, washington would write back to the congregation, a very eloquent letter confirming his belief that the new nation -- his commitment to religious tolerance in the new nation. it is one of the founding documents for american jewish history and a very important thing for us to have on display.
artifacts help us tell stories about history in a way that we can't get out of books. when you are standing in front of an artifact, there is a very different experience from when you are reading a book. you are there, communing with this thing, you are a direct witness to history that you are learning about and it is a special experience. >> all weekend long, american history tv is joining our partners to >> all weekend long, american draining our time warner cable partners to an amp, the history of california. we continue to look at the history of anaheim. ringing]