In his essay, “An Abolitionist’s Survey Of the Death Penalty in America Today,” Hugo Adam Bedau argues against capital punishment by discussing its history and the controversies it has created. In 1608 George Kendall was the first colonist who was executed in the Jamestown colony, located in Virginia, for committing the crime of “spying for the Spanish” (Bedau 15). As a result, he was hung to death. At that time, public hangings were a natural part of life.
Additionally, during this time, many men, women, and children were able to go and attend public executions. Thankfully though, Benjamin Rush, an opponent towards public hangings, changed all of that. Rush was able to end public executions and instead favored carrying out the death penalty inside an enclosed prison (Bedau 17). Although carrying out capital punishment behind closed doors didn’t completely eliminate the death penalty, it was a step in the right direction.
Furthermore, the introduction of jury sentencing aided greatly in reducing the number of defendants being sent to death. It essentially gave the convicte...
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...e right path through prayer and studying the bible (USCCB 40).
Why does our criminal justice system seek the death penalty in cases dealing with lower class criminals more often than in cases dealing with wealthy criminals? "It is nearly impossible, even upon conviction, to execute an individual of wealth, one who is represented by nine attorneys and no one knows how many investigators who assist them." (DiSpoldo, 163) A wealthy defendant can afford to defend himself or herself better than a poor defendant by: posting bail, hiring attorneys of their choice, hiring investigators, and doctors and experts of their choice. The poor defendant is forced to either accept the state assigned defense attorney, who isn 't getting paid $1500 an hour and is working on at least three other cases so probably isn 't going to work as hard for their client, or defend themselves.
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