Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty


What Georgia Conservatives and Libertarians are Saying

“As someone who is skeptical of our government’s ability to implement effective and equitable programs we know that in this regard government has failed as well. Since the re-imposition of the death penalty in the 70’s, 156 people have wrongly convicted, sentenced to death, and later exonerated and released from death rows across this nation – six of those in Georgia. This is a failure of government that cannot be corrected. Therefore, from a fiscally conservative, taxpayer friendly standpoint with a healthy skepticism of government, I must conclude that the death penalty also fails in that regard.”

State Representative Brett Harrell (R-Snellville)

Source: “Press Conference: Launch of the Georgia Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty,” YouTube, January 20, 2017.

“I believe the death penalty has become far too expensive and cumbersome to administer.  As a conservative, I expect government to find the most cost effective means to achieve its goals, and life in prison without parole offers a far more cost effective and speedy, but still serious, punishment than the death penalty.”

David Burge, Former 5th Congressional District GOP Chairman

“I have been opposed to the death penalty since 1975, which is when I was first exposed to the arguments both for and against it while earning my Associates degree in Criminal Justice.  Since then I believe that the weight of the evidence against the death penalty has actually increased, especially in light of the number of death row inmates who have been exonerated due to DNA testing.  While I understand and do not criticize the strong argument in favor of justice and retribution, the death penalty risks innocent lives, is applied unequally based on wealth, gender, and race, is inconclusive as a deterrent, is fiscally irresponsible, gives government a power that has been abused, and is irreversible.”

J.D. Van Brink, Chairman and Co-Founder, Georgia Tea Party*

*Affiliation for identification purposes only, views are personal and do not represent the organization

“If we cannot trust the government to plan the economy, why should we trust it to have a policy to end life? We have a duty to abolish the death penalty, the most tragic example of government overreach.”

Richard Lorenc, Executive Vice President, Foundation for Economic Education

“The death penalty stands in direct contrast to conservative values. It costs too much, it ends life, and it gives the state an enormous amount of power. If we truly believe in limited government, we have to recognize that the death penalty, no matter how appealing it may be, does not represent those ideals.”

Austin Paul, Founder, Young Americans for Liberty Chapter at Mercer University and Former Georgia State Director of Turning Point USA

“In [the criminal justice] system, I have seen incompetence. I have seen fellow attorneys who mean well and perhaps are competent but just don’t have the resources to properly defend their clients. And that adds a great deal of doubt to the death sentences that are handed out. As it was said earlier, a death sentence can’t be taken back. Once it is executed, it can’t be undone.”

Charles Jones, former President of the Athens, GA chapter of Right to Life

Source: “Press Conference: Launch of the Georgia Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty,” YouTube, January 20, 2017.

“It’s a hell of a thing to kill a man, and there is no taking it back. You had better be sure, but more importantly you had better be right. There must be a flawless realization of justice. For the state to be able to be able to kill someone and call it just, requires a level of perfection and knowledge that is simply beyond the capability of human beings.”

Jennifer Maffessanti, Associate Editor, Foundation for Economic Education

Source: “Press Conference: Launch of the Georgia Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty,” YouTube, January 20, 2017.

“I oppose the death penalty because I believe in limited government and a government that can put its citizens to death is the antithesis of limited government. As George Will said, it is ‘one more government program that had failed.’”

Todd Rehm, Georgia Political Consultant and Editor of

“The Troy Davis case is what changed my view on the death penalty. While I don’t know whether he was truly guilty of the crime of which he was convicted, his legal team presented enough information, including witnesses who’d recanted their previous testimony, to be granted a new trial. Unfortunately, the state didn’t see it that way. Simply put, there are too many examples of miscarriages of justice, in which innocent people are killed by the state for crimes they didn’t commit. It’s also fiscally irresponsible and it’s not an effective deterrent to those who would carry out heinous acts.”

Jason Pye, Senior Writer at FreedomWorks and a libertarian Republican activist in Georgia

“I oppose the death penalty to save money, to ensure no innocent person is ever put to death and to give offenders the rest of their natural lives to think about what landed them where they are. In the vast majority of cases, I don’t believe it gives the families of victims any more closure. There can never be closure when a loved one is taken so violently. For the religiously minded, I also believe that no matter what anyone has done, there is the possibility for Redemption. This opportunity may come from behind bars that they are stuck behind for the rest of their lives but the death penalty means that may not be an option. I oppose the death penalty both as a fiscal conservative and as a Christian conservative.”

Baker Owens, Conservative Activist 

“The death penalty is fiscally irresponsible and ethically unfounded. The cost of taking a life is higher than the cost of imprisoning a person for life. It is a nasty form of retribution, and morally indefensible. Life is priceless, why waste resources to destroy it. ”

Statement from Emory University’s Young Americans for Liberty

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