Friday, September 24, 2010

Better to Be a Woman to Commit a Death Sentence Crime?

A thought-provoking article in the NYTimes today:

I do not claim to support nor be against the death penalty, but if it is to exist, it should be fair and based on evidence of certain degrees of criminal activity - not biased based on race or gender (age is a different issue due to maturity, level of understanding, and capability, though one could argue that race and gender may be indicators for those same characteristics). In this article, the Associated Press (AP) seems to allude to this in the tone they take as they describe people's reactions to the woman's execution as horrible due to her gender despite her crimes. 

As aghast as her crimes are, what surprised me the most was that there has been no execution of a woman in Virginia since 1912. The last female execution in the United States was in Texas in 2005. "Out of more than 1,200 people put to death since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, only 11 have been women."

Once I return to the US, I'll post a quicklook at executions in the United States over the past several decades. It seems that the DoJ sites are either currently down, or inaccessible from Korea. It would be interesting to see the context behind female executions (e.g., number receiving the death sentence versus executed)

An interesting history of execution methods by Newsweek: