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Argument: Criminals fear death and the death penalty

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Edward Koch, former mayor of New York City - Had the death penalty been a real possibility in the minds of...murderers, they might well have stayed their hand. They might have shown moral awareness before their victims died...Consider the tragic death of Rosa Velez, who happened to be home when a man named Luis Vera burglarized her apartment in Brooklyn. "Yeah, I shot her," Vera admitted. "...and I knew I wouldn't go to the chair.[1]


Justice Stewart held in the Supreme Court in Gregg v. Georgia. - We may nevertheless assume safely there are murders, such as those who act in passion, for whom the threat of death has little or no deterrent effect. But for many others, the death penalty undoubtedly, is a significant deterrent. There are carefully contemplated murders, such as murder for hire, where the possible penalty of death may well enter the cold calculus that precedes the decision to act.[2]

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