<< News Scan | Main | News Scan >>

Further Criticism for Nebraska DP Cost Study

I previously noted the false quote misattributed to me in a controversial study of cost of the death penalty by Creighton University economist Ernest Goss.  I followed up with a post on the completely inadequate "correction" that continued to indirectly cite my study for the exact opposite of what it actually found.

Criticisms of this badly flawed study continue to flow in.  Joe Duggan has this article for the Omaha World-Herald:

Anthony Yezer, a professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said such studies fail to account for what's called the "plea-bargain effect." The term refers to the role the death penalty plays in potentially saving trial costs by convincing some accused killers to plead guilty to their crimes rather than risk execution.

Death penalty opponents frequently argue that the death penalty has no deterrence effect. But Yezer disagrees. And he said Goss made no attempt to factor in how much the fear of execution could save the criminal justice system by potentially preventing a murder.

"What's the cost of the murders that would have happened if Nebraska hadn't had capital punishment?" asked Yezer, author of a textbook titled "Economics of Crime and Enforcement."


No sane person could argue that the death penalty has dissuaded absolutely no one from committing murder. The only question is the extent of the DP's deterrent value, not its existence.

Still, the main thing about this entry is its showing that DP opponents insist on using deceit even when caught at it. It's become par for an unworthy course.

Well I keep hearing in the invasion of the regulatory nanny state, "if it only saves one (innocent) life." Sounds like we have an argument for the death penalty. Surely it is in the realm of possibilities that it might deter a single murder. From what I hear, that even the possibility of saving a life is sufficient, even when ridiculously costly.

That anti-DP advocates will reject the above just goes to show that often the arguments are just cover for raw belief. Because beliefs are often immune to fact and logic, the hypocrisy by rejecting the argument in one context but not another is tolerated.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives