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America Needs the Death Penalty

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In 1973 Author Shawcross was convicted of raping and murdering two children in upstate New York; however, after serving 15 years Shawcross was paroled in 1988. In a horrific 21-month killing spree, Shawcross took 11 more lives. That is 11 innocent people who would be alive today had justice been served (Pataki, Deterrent 2). With the topic of the death penalty comes a lot of controversy which is rooted from questions like: is the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment, is it helpful in crime control, is proper representation applied to these cases, and should reform be applied in the areas of crimes punishable and methods? Although some people argue that the death penalty is inhumane and against human rights, crime rates could be lowered through the use and reform of the death penalty.

Since the 1700’s forms of the death penalty have been used for one reason or another, but today some disagree with this judicial practice. The death penalty is the ultimate punishment imposed for murder or other capital offenses, and in Alabama a capital offense is murder with eighteen aggravating factors. In 1972 the Supreme Court moved away from abolition, holding that “the punishment of death does not invariably violate the constitution” (Bedau, Case against 2). Since 1900, in this country, there have been on the average more than four cases each year in which an entirely innocent person was convicted of murder (Bedau 7) and because of these startling numbers people are against capital punishment. It is a horrible reality to convict an innocent person of a crime and even worse to put this person on death row. There are even more horrific stories, like the one of Roger Keith Coleman, who was executed in Virginia despite widely pu...

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Peirce, Gleen L. and Michael Radelet “Monitoring Death Sentences Decisions: The Challenges and Barriers to Equity”. 34.2. n. pg. Web. 26 Jul 2014.

Templeton, Jean M. "Death Row Reforms May Lead to a Fairer Criminal Justice System." Capital Punishment. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2008. Current Controversies. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
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