Friday, January 02, 2009

It's an Ill Wind etc.

You know the old saying, "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good"? How about "Every cloud has a silver lining"?

One of the few bright spots coming out of the tanking economy is this: Fewer death penalty cases in the courts and way fewer executions. In 1999 there were 98 people put to death in this country; in 2008 that number plummeted to 37, which comes out to a 62% drop.

Moreover, prosecutors are increasingly loath to ask for the death penalty. In many instances, it comes down to a choice for local and state governments: Cut the number of cops on the beat, or save roughly one million dollars per case by not pursing a death penalty.

It seems that what simple humanity couldn't do, simple economics took care of.

And BTW, here's an interesting statistic for all you knuckledraggers out there who think that the potential imposition of the death penalty results in fewer murders: The national "murder rate" has stayed very nearly constant between 2000 (which saw a rate 5.5 per 100,000 people) and 2007 (which saw a rate of 5.6 per 100,000 people).

That's what's called in the math biz a statistical dead heat.