Graph of the Day for November 11, 2009

"The General Assembly today adopted... a moratorium on executions to be established in all States that still maintain the death penalty..."  United Nations

"From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death... I feel... obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed."  Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, appointed by President Nixon and author of the Roe v Wade decision. 

"I cannot say it more eloquently than Justice Blackmun... I must act... today I am commuting the sentences of all death row inmates... I will sleep well knowing I made the right decision."  George Ryan, former (Republican) governor of Illinois, now serving a prison sentence for corruption. 

Sources:   US Department of Justice: executions, homicide rate.

Hoven's Index for November 11, 2009

Number of academic studies between 2001 and 2007 showing that the death penalty is a deterrent:  12.

Number of murders deterred per execution: 3, 5, 14, or 18, depending on the study.

Number of estimated homicides resulting from four years worth of Illinois' death penalty moratorium: 150.

Source:  CBS News, reporting in 2007 on academic studies regarding the death penalty.