Defined Terms

Capital Punishment Patently Deters Homicides

In the last 40 years there have been a multitude of research papers written in the USA et al on the Deterrent effect of Capital Punishment dissuading others from committing a homicide/s.

Some of the research findings argued that Capital Punishment reduces the murder rate. 

When Keith Goodbun shot his wife, Molly, several times in their Maitland home in Oct 2016, he muttered to his distraught daughter:

“I can go to jail for 30 f---ing years and get a bed and breakfast every day,” Goodbun told detectives during his police interview. “I know where I’m going. And I’m quite f---ing happy about it, I tell you, quite happy about it.”

In June 2007, a paper titled 'The Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives' was delivered by David Muhlhausen (Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis) before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate.


That paper provided cogent evidence from a welter of earlier analysis, as well as David Muhlhausen's research findings based on 'multiple data' collection points, that " punishment produces a strong deterrent effect that saves lives":

"In summary, the recent studies using panel data techniques have confirmed what we learned decades ago: Capital punishment does, in fact, save lives. Each additional execution appears to deter between three and 18 murders. While opponents of capital punishment allege that it is unfairly used against African-Americans, each additional execution deters the murder of 1.5 African-Americans.  Further moratoria, commuted sentences, and death row removals appear to increase the incidence of murder."

Below is a quote from The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a “Judicial Experiment - July 2003 - Hashem Dezhbakhsh (Emory University) & Joanna M. Shepherd (Clemson University) that used murders data covering the fifty U.S. states during the period 1960-2000:

"The results are boldly clear: executions deter murders and murder rates increase substantially during moratoriums. The results are consistent across before-and-after comparisons and regressions regardless of the data’s aggregation level, the time period, or the specific variable used to measure executions."

Arguments For The Death Penalty

   "A critical analysis reveals that the death sentence is an effective punishment that serves intended purposes of deterrence and retribution, Delfino & Mary (2007, p.70).

Avery Dulles, in his book "Catholicism and Capital Punishment, First Things" 2001 notes:

 "….. executions, especially where they are painful, humiliating, and public, may create a sense of horror that would prevent others from being tempted to commit similar crimes.”

Plea bargaining


Some papers have made the case that a murderer was comfortable with being found guilty of less than 1st degree murder and thereby Sentenced to a lengthy jail sentence, rather than run the risk of contesting the murder charge and being found guilty and Sentenced to death.  The possibility of a Death Sentence has increased the likelihood of a 'plea bargain', rather than 'run the gauntlet' in a murder trial hearing where if found guilty execution might be Sentenced.  Such patent plea bargaining evidences that a lot of people on a charge of murder would sooner accept a lengthy jail sentence, rather that run the risk in a contested murder trial of being found guilty and thence sentenced to death.  Patently the 'death penalty' is a cogent Deterrent to committing homicide.

The definition of Deterrent provides a welter of further evidence that Capital Punishment demonstrably dissuade homicide.

Other reasons to re-introduce Capital Punishment in Australia.