In the Midst of World Crises, the UN Condemns the US for Executing Murderers
by Jim Kouri, CPP
With terrorists indiscriminately killing civilians throughout the world, Muslims committing genocide in Africa, and a legitimate government being overthrown in Somalia, the United Nations has truly stepped up to the plate and condemned ... the United States.
The US government should suspend all death sentences, a United Nations human rights committee announced on Friday. The supposedly unbiased group based its citation on the fact that capital punishment appears to be disproportionately imposed on minority groups and poor people, which most studies show is The Big Lie about the death penalty.
The US "should place a moratorium on capital sentences, bearing in mind the desirability of abolishing death penalty," the UN Human Rights Committee said in a 12-page release of findings on US compliance with a 40-year-old treaty on civil and political rights.
The statement was issued in response to the report, but did not specifically address the committee's proposals concerning capital punishment. Also, the group did not disclose which studies on the death penalty and race they utilized to come to their conclusions
The panel consisted of a group of 18 independent "experts" who reviewed the practices of the 156 countries that have sanctioned the treaty. However, it regretted that the US had not indicated if it has taken steps to review federal and state legislation "with a view to assessing whether offenses carrying the death penalty are restricted to the most serious crimes."
The United States only imposes capital punishment on killers convicted of first-degree -- premeditated -- murder. And then only those displaying a depraved indifference to human life are sentenced to the ultimate punishment.
The committee urged the US to review federal and state legislation, and to restrict the number of crimes that could carry a penalty of death adding that Washington needed to assess the extent that death sentences are handed down disproportionately on minorities and poor people. Sadly, these 18 experts bought into one of the biggest myth existing today -- the disproportionate imposition of the death penalty on minorities.
Despite the claims of the United Nations panel and death penalty opponents in general, there is little evidence that prosecutors are more zealous about seeking the death penalty against African-Americans, say legal observers, or that juries are sending blacks to death row more often, according to studies by the nonpartisan National Center for Policy Analysis in Washington, DC
The evidence indicates black murder defendants are no more likely to get death sentences than are whites, although at the end of 1996, 42 percent of death row inmates were African-Americans.
That is because in 43.2 percent of violent crime cases in 1996, and 54.9 percent of all murder cases, the perpetrators were African-Americans according to federal statistics -- mostly because young black males commit a disproportionate number of crimes, mostly against other blacks.
Whites arrested for murder or manslaughter (other than negligent manslaughter) are more prone to be sentenced to death than blacks -- 1.6 percent of whites versus 1.2 percent of blacks, according to the US Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics.
And white death-row prisoners were more likely to be executed: from 1977 to 1996, 7.2 percent of white prisoners were executed, compared to 5.9 percent of blacks. In fact, say observers, blacks on death-row tend to be repeat offenders more often than whites: black death row prisoners are 10 percent more likely than whites to have had previous felony convictions and 20 percent more likely to have prior homicide convictions.
Some death penalty opponents claim killers of whites are more likely to get a death sentence than killers of blacks. But a statistical study by Stephen Klein of the RAND Corporation found neither the race of the victim nor that of the killer appeared to affect death-penalty sentencing.
A look at the executions carried out in 2004 reveals of the 65 executions 41 were white, 20 were black, 3 were Hispanic (but white). Only one American Indian was executed.
Another part of the myth -- one liberals will always cite -- is that blacks only make up about 14 percent of the population yet they make up about 35 percent of prisoners on death row. On the surface, this appears a reasonable argument. But one must realize that rather than looking at the general population statistics, it's far more logical to look at the murderer population stats in our prisons and then compare how many of the thousands of murderers are white, black, and hispanic.
For instance, in 2004 there of the murder offenders in the US, 5339 were white and 5608 were black. So statistically, there should have been more blacks executed that year. There weren't. Only 20 of the 65 executions were of black offenders.
With reports such as the one by the United Nations, it's certain the liberals and the news media in the US will promote even more admiration for the United Nations since they all share a propensity for worrying more about the treatment of murderers, thugs and terrorists than about their innocent victims. And in their defense of these cutthroats, they are willing to deceive.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.