The State of Texas has a law that holds crime partners responsible for what each does. It is called the Law of Parties.
Scott Henson blogging as Grits for Breakfast says: “Something about executing a person for a murder they didn’t themselves commit feels inherently unjust.”
As a supporter of the death penalty, I am also a supporter of the Law of Parties. If two robbers enter a convenience store and one of them kills the cashier the other robber should be held equally responsible and charged with capital murder. If a wife conspires with her lover to have him kill her husband, she should also be charged with capital murder.
Abolishing the Law of Parties would allow these crime partners to get off the hook of capital punishment.
As for capital punishment, I am convinced without a reasonable doubt that the death penalty is a deterrent to premeditated murders and other killings not committed in the heat of passion. Back when I was a cop in California, we busted a lot of armed robbers who committed their robberies with an empty gun. When asked why they did not carry a loaded gun, they replied that in a moment of panic with a loaded gun, they might kill someone and they did not want to get topped (con lingo for executed). Of course that was before the era of endless appeals.
The death penalty abolitionists say that the murderers on death row and in prison prove that the death penalty does not act as a deterrent. That’s a gross con job. What they will not tell you is that countless murders are not committed because the person contemplating killing someone fears the death penalty. At this very moment, there must be hundreds if not thousands of people seriously thinking about murdering their spouses. And there must be an equal number of people seriously thinking about killing someone for revenge or for monetary gain.
I’ll grant you that not all of those people worry about the death penalty, but many of them do. And that’s why I am convinced the death penalty is a deterrent to premeditated murders and other killings not committed in the heat of passion.
The abolitionists are also fond of saying that states with active death penalties have higher murder rates than non-death penalty states. That old con job is not worth repeating. Those statistics were based on rural states like Minnesota and not on states with thickly populated urban centers. Try selling that line of garbage to the people of New York and Illinois, and to the people of California which has 747 condemned inmates on death row, but has not executed anyone since January 2006.