Capital punishment is not new to American culture. For many years, "the death penalty was a cornerstone of the American criminal justice system" (Friedman, 2007, p. 8), and it wasn't until the 1960s that capital punishment started to be seen as anti-American, even immoral. Many people argued "that the capital punishment violated the Eight Amendmant's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment" (Friedman, 2007, p. 9), and that the death penalty was wrong because they felt the government should not be killing its citizens, even if that citizen committed a crime as atrocious as murder. But the Supreme Court disagreed, especially when certain criminal codes were rewritten so that the death penalty applied to only certain cases. For example, in Texas, capital punishment is reserved only for certain crimes, which includes killing an on-duty public safety officer, a child under ten years old, and ...
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...shed is that it is not applied equally to all defendants. "One stable pattern is that the offenders are more likely to be sentenced to death when victims are white rather than black" (Petrie 630). This hardly seems fair, as it implies that white victims are more valuable than victims, something that should not be true in the eyes of the criminal justice system. If murder is murder, then the justice handed out should be equal to all who commit such a crime.
Boys, Stephanie. (2011). The death penalty: An unusual punishment America is inflicting upon itself. Critical Criminology, 19(2), 107-118.
Friedman, Lauri S. (2007). The death penalty. San Diego, CA: Reference Point Press.
Petrie, Michelle A., & Coverdill, James E. (2010). Who lives and dies on death row? Race, ethnicity, and post-sentence outcomes in Texas. Social Problems, 57(4), 630-652.
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