The Death Penalty Debate

The Death Penalty Debate

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The death penalty till this day remains to be a very controversial topic. Some people may argue that it should be considered a form of cruel and unusual punishment; others may rebuttal in saying that the death penalty is capital punishment. When visiting the idea of placing someone to death one must bear in mind the possibility of condemning an innocent person through such torture, the brutalizing effect on society it may leave, and the serious psychological trauma that a defendants family and friends may face. Is this really what the justice system is willing to place on the line in order to gain a form of so called justice. I mean reasonably speaking what will anyone gain from such an action. It definitely will not bring the harm to be undone. As stated in the encyclopedia under the theory of judicial torture “ the use of torture was confined to capital crimes, for which the death penalty or mutilation could apply” (PIHLAJAM, 2004). Looking at how the death penalty is conducted people should not be treated like animals, given a due time to be put down. No human being deserves such treatment whether or not his or her offense was so horrific and traumatic. Is that not the lesson being taught to society when the criminal is captured? Yet, the law as a jury of peers, men just like the accused, may cast the same sin upon him. Why should this action be considered in any way to be fair or believed to be capital punishment?
If we look back from 1927 until 2011 there have been about ten different cases, that the death penalty was contested around the country. These cases asserted that the accused were found innocent at the last moment and put to death because the judicial system found the wrong person guilty. In the case of Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, these two Italian immigrants were put to death using the electric chair in 1927 after an exceedingly contested string of trials over the shooting of two men during an armed robbery in 1920. Although a man named Celestino Madeiros an ex-convict confessed to committing, the shooting it did not save them from facing death. A number of anarchist leaders later stated that Vanzetti was not guilty of the crime but Sacco was even though historian’s debate if either man really carried out the shooting at all.

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Then there is the case of Georgia inmate Troy Davis was executed in 2011 for allegedly shooting of a police officer in 1989. Throughout the trail, seven of nine eyewitnesses who incriminated Davis as the shooter later withdrew their statement, and some say that the man who initially accused Davis of the shooting was the actual killer. (Pappas, S., 2014) These cases clearly show that those who judge are definitely people who can make mistakes, which can cost the lives of many innocent people because of one simple mistake. Now I ask myself how can anyone still believe that the death penalty is any form of capital punishment without seeing some kind of torture taking place.
As one takes a further look into the death penalty when considering the brutalizing effect it may leave on society one could argue that in all actuality it creates more violence and criminal acts rather than being a means of prevention. If we out weigh the possibilities before deciding if the death penalty should be thought of as capital punishment the message that one may adopt is that is sufficient to kill in assertive circumstances or that life in society is not sacred. In addition to this effect on should contemplate the psychological distress a prisoner already endures while being incarcerated conjointly with psychological changes they are forced to tolerate in order to survive the prison exposure. All in all the prevailing styles, include strict policies and conditions of confinement as well as understating the goal of rehabilitating those incarcerated. There are many of other approaches the law could to take in order to make a criminal repent of their sins such as life without parole would definitely be a better alternative than being put on death row. Others could even consider the option of placing them under a different authority, such as sending them to the military without pay to serve some of their time sentenced in order to do some greater good for society. It keeps violent offenders from returning to society, which is cheaper to all taxpayers and it will help to avoid an innocent person from being put to death. More so, the death penalty disinherits the criminal of the chance of realizing and correcting their mistake, reform, and matures for the better of society.
Equally important are the psychological traumas that a defendant’s family and friends undergo. Subsequently their relatives may argue that the death penalty does not adequately care for the victims needs and focuses primarily on the accused, in turn causing the murder victim survivors to sustain immeasurable pain during the course of a trial and the appeals process. A victim’s family will have no other choice than to experience and relive the terror of their loved one’s homicide for the duration each one of the court proceedings. Altogether, in the period of each hearing and trial they sit through the more emotional trauma the surviving family members are subject to. If the justice system is earnest about fostering the needs of the victims then they will disregard the fabrication of the death penalty and work towards finding a better alternative in resolving such an unjust situation. Would it not be better for the courts to use the taxpayer’s money to help the families in duress, than to commit murder themselves?
On the contrary, some may argue that the death penalty will prevent future murders and discourage would-be criminals from committing such an unlawful action. They would believe if a criminal were to be sentenced to death, probable murderers will think once over before taking someone else’s life for the fear of losing their own life. One could also argue that if one person takes a life of another the balance of justice is disrupted. The only way that the balance could be restored is by taking the life of the murderer, which allows society to present beyond shadow of doubt that murder is an unacceptable offense and that will be punished in the same manner. Incidentally, the victim and their family will be unable return to the same status before the murder was committed, they believe that the execution of convicted would bring some type of closure to crime and the ordeal of the victim’s family face which the murderer carried out and will ensure that are no more murder victims.
In conclusion, although many would agree to the death penalty for obvious reasons related to anger towards the accused, or even fear that they may find a way back to other family members. We can even say that society fears where may they strike next, can it be me, or even someone else I love. See fear has always been an issue and what people fear they try to destroy. Others may even argue that those who have committed these heinous crimes should not have the right to live. Anyone who has to endure such a tragedy will feel in this manner, you took what is mine now I want what is yours, and to him or her that makes it all better. Society feels that a judgment set is ample for the victims’ trauma, that the victims will feel accomplished by inducing the capital punishment. In fact, is it not true that most of these cases are open and shut because the jury is already set with a one-track mind of convicting a criminal and sentencing them to death. Yet, if a juror were falsely accused would they not like a fair trial? Would they not expect to be heard out instead of already knowing their verdict? As such if found guilty for a very offensive crime, would they expect the death penalty or to be left to serve their time? Over time some people in society have maintained the notion that it is legitimate to proceed an "eye for an eye" and a life for a life. Although in the ten commandments it states that, “Thou shalt not kill”. So I ask the question is that not what the judicial system is doing when enforcing the death penalty among the condemned.



Works Cited

Akorra.com, (2014), Top 10 arguments against the death penalty, Retrieved February 5, 2014 from: http://akorra.com/2010/03/04/top-10-arguments-against-the-death-penalty/

Amnestyusa.org, (2014), Death penalty and innocence, Retrieved February 5, 2014 from: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty/us-death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-and-innocence

Deathpenalty.org, (2013), Death penalty: facts, Retrieved February 5, 2014 from: http://www.deathpenalty.org/section.php?id=13

Pappas, S., (2014), Mistaken identity? 10 contested death penalty cases, Retrieved January 20, 2014 from: http://www.livescience.com/16189-history-contested-death-penalty-cases.html

PIHLAJAM, "Torture”, Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World, 2004, Retrieved January 20, 2014 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404901134.html
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