Capital Punishment

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In 1997, 80% of Americans favored the death penalty. A recent national poll found that, that number has significantly dropped to an all time low of 63%percent. In addition, those favoring the death penalty dropped to fifty percent when those polled were asked to assume that the alternative to the death penalty was life in prison with no chance of parole. And, the amount of death sentences imposed in the United States during the recent years has dropped to the lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated. Hence, it would seem that our society’s attitude toward capital punishment is changing as well. What was once ordinary is now abnormal, and what was once essentially unquestioned is now questioned.The debate over the legitimacy or morality of the death penalty may be almost as old as the death penalty itself and, in the view of the increasing trend towards its complete abolition, perhaps as outdated. Capital punishment is horribly flawed, ineffective at deterring crime, completely unethical, outrageously expensive, and has no place in a civilized society.

One of the major arguments in favor of the death penalty is that it deters future criminals. Many individuals are led to believe that if the potential consequence of killing someone is death, other individuals are going to be less-prone to kill one another. However, there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. States that endorse death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have completely abolished capital punishment show no major differences in either crime or murder rates. The death penalty has absolutely no deterrent ef...

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... were African American. The ethical question here is, “Is the death penalty being handed to those based on race?”


Death is an unusually severe punishment, unusual in its pain, in its finality, and in its enormity. The fatal constitutional infirmity in the punishment of death is that it treats 'members of the human race as non humans, as objects to be toyed with and discarded . It is thus inconsistent with the fundamental premise of the Clause that even the vilest criminal remains a human being possessed of common human dignity. As such it is a penalty that 'subjects the individual to a fate forbidden by the principle of civilized treatment guaranteed by the [Clause]. Therefore, death is today a cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Clause. The ethical question here is, “Is the death penalty violating our very own amendments?”


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