Update: Kathyanna Nguyen was murdered in a Houston convenience store in 1999, and Julian Gutierrez, a customer, was also shot. Justice for this crime was carried out today. Michael Graczyk reports for AP. About 7200 Texans who would otherwise have been murdered were not or will not be as a result of the 400 executions, if the Emory study estimate is correct. [End update.]
The BBC has this story on the EU's protest against the 400th Texas execution and that state's rejection of it. The EU declaration is here, and it includes this notable statement (emphasis added): "There is no evidence to suggest that the use of the death penalty serves as a deterrent against violent crime...."
Now, it is one thing to wade into the deterrence debate and make an argument as to why one does or does not find the studies indicating a deterrent effect to be convincing. It is quite another to flatly declare that no evidence exists. A person who says that is either deliberately lying or making a statement of fact without any attempt to determine if it is true. The most elementary search of the scholarly literature would reveal a large and growing stack of evidence that an actually enforced death penalty does have a deterrent effect and does save lives. There are, of course, critics and controversy on the subject, and definite proof one way or the other may not be possible, but no rational, informed person could doubt that there is indeed evidence of deterrence. Abstracts of articles from peer reviewed journals (on both sides, unlike some viewpoint-filtered collections) are here.
Oh, yes, the spokesman for Gov. Perry had this to say:
Two hundred and thirty years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination.
Texans long ago decided the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens.
While we respect our friends in Europe ... Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.