Death and Military Justice

I’ve talked about the military death penalty before.

If there is any question as to the value to be gained by seeking the death penalty at court-martial, use the past 50 years as a guide.

While I’m opposed to the death penalty on the simple basis that it involves killing a human being, look at this from a dollars-and-cents standpoint. Is it really worth all that money to prosecute and appeal when it amounts to little more than a life sentence anyway?


3 thoughts on “Death and Military Justice

  1. I completely agree! I’d rather lock someone up for life than kill them because there’s better ways to spend our tax dollars. (There are other reasons to a oppose the death penalty, but this one is high on the list after the general opposition to killing people.)

  2. Someone comment if my facts are wrong, but if:

    1. It is more expensive for the government to prosecute and process all necessary appeals for a death sentence than it is for the same case to be tried without the possibility of death.

    2. The military justice system has not executed anyone in decades. Gray and Akbar have pending appeals, Witt’s sentence was set aside, and there is no political will to carry out any execution (ok, that last bit is a statement of opinion, not a fact)

    3. The last escape from the United States Disciplinary Barracks was in 1988, and there has been no escape from the new facility.

    Then why is it not a fraud, waste, and abuse issue to decide to conduct a trial with the possibility of the death penalty?

    I don’t want to put forward any moral or ethical argument for or against the death penalty, but make my argument solely on the best interests of the government both financially and in reputation, for having unexecuted death row inmates provides a focal point for protest that a prisoner serving a life sentence does not provide.

    • 1. Yes. You are correct–especially when you consider the time and manpower the military devotes to death-penalty cases. (Also consider the additional space and manpower required to maintain a “death row.”)

      2. You’re in the ballpark. It has been a long time since the military executed anyone, despite available subjects on death row at Leavenworth.

      3. And, since 1988, they built a new facility. I had the opportunity to tour it, and I’d be shocked if someone managed to escape.

      Why is it not fraud, waste, and abuse? Great question. It seems like an unnecessary expenditure of money. However, when passions are high, money is hardly a consideration.

      While there are plenty of moral and ethical arguments to be made for the death penalty, I think you’re well within the ballpark boundaries with your assessment.

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