Saturday, April 30, 2011

Capital Punishment Abolition

It was abolished in Illinois and apparently, according to this story from the Chicago Sun Times, it backfired.

An excerpt.

“The ink is long dry on Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature to the law abolishing the death penalty. The abolitionists had their celebrations. Now, however, it appears repeal has claimed its first victim.

“Jitka Vesel, 36, was stalked and murdered by a rejected boyfriend from Canada who, before killing her, did research to determine that Illinois had ended the death penalty, according to DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin.

“Dmitry Smirnov, 20, of British Columbia, met Vesel three years ago through an Internet dating site, moved to the Chicago area but returned to Canada after she ended their brief relationship. From there, Smirnov harassed Vesel, returning to the United States two weeks ago, buying a handgun in Seattle, gluing a GPS device to Vesel’s car to stalk her and surprising her in Oak Brook on Wednesday, when “he began shooting, he reloaded and he shot her some more,” Berlin said.

“During a videotaped interrogation by police, Smirnov said “he researched whether Illinois still had the death penalty and he researched it as recently as the morning of the murder,” Berlin said.

“Opponents of capital punishment argue it has no deterrent effect. A dozen academic studies demonstrated the deterrence value of capital punishment; other studies rejected that finding. But Vesel’s murder, the prosecutor said, “is not an academic study, this is an actual case, which I would argue is proof that the death penalty is a deterrent.”

“Abolitionists may argue Smirnov would have killed Vesel no matter what. Berlin said Smirnov wasn’t specifically asked that question. “If we still had a death penalty, would he still have gone through with it? The answer to that is just speculation,” Berlin told me. “But certainly there’s an argument to be made that he may not have gone through with it if he was that concerned about the status of the death penalty.”