CINCINNATI (TDB) -- So here's a question: Does the death penalty help deter crime? There have been plenty of executions across the land, yet the murder rate seems to be steadily rising. Sadly, in big Midwestern cities like Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati the bodies have been piling up at a near-record pace.
This week, the toll hit 77 in Cincinnati, which tied the number of murders for all of 2005. And there are probably going to be a few more lives taken by year's end. From here, it doesn't look like many killers are very concerned about receiving a death sentence if they are caught.
Yesterday, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati blocked today's scheduled lethal-injection execution of Jerome Henderson, 47, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facilty in Lucasville. Henderson was slated to become the 25th convicted killer to die during Gov. Bob Taft's years in office, when Ohio resumed capital punishment. On Thursday, the appeals court plans to hear arguments in a case brought by Death Row inmates who claim that lethal-injection is cruel and unusual punishment. That's quite a contention, because lethal injections replaced the electric chair at Lucasville, and falling asleep permanently under a drug-induced haze has to be far less cruel than being fried by a high-voltage jolt in the chair. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I have witnessed executions during my years as a newspaper reporter.)
Meanwhile, the Associated Press has published the correction below. It now says it goofed and there won't be a push to expand capital punishment to cover foster parents who slay children in their care.
Again, does the death penalty deter crime, does it save any lives, does it work that way at all? Or is it Old Testament punishment -- an eye for an eye . . .
Correction: Foster Care-Reform story
12/5/2006, 8:50 a.m. ET
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In stories Dec. 2 and Dec. 4 about proposed changes in the foster care system, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the Public Children Services Association of Ohio would recommend to lawmakers that the death penalty automatically be possible for foster parents who kill children in their care. The group supports increasing the penalties for parents who intentionally harm or kill their foster children but not the death penalty, said Crystal Ward Allen, executive director.