The clock ticks to 10:53. The late night has grown longer, and Troy Davis is strapped down to a gurney. If he is scared, he does not show it; he appears strong and resolute in what is undoubtedly a very daunting situation. “For those about to take my life,” he says, “may God have mercy on your souls” (“Georgia”). Davis has been on death row for over twenty years for killing a police officer. After every request and appeal has failed, the time has come for Davis to be executed by the state of Georgia. What is special about this case is that thousands around the globe refuse to believe that he is guilty (Curry). People have organized to demand that he be freed, or at least that his sentence be changed. Their effort is futile. Fifteen minutes later, Davis is dead. Many in the crowd outside the jail weep. They consider him, like he maintained until the end, an innocent man. “How is this justice?” they wonder. They are not just sympathizing; the handling of Davis’s case has been criticized around the world. Seven of the nine witnesses who testified against him later withdrew their statements, and there was no DNA evidence or murder weapon found (Pilkington). How can a man’s life be taken in such an unfair and cruel way? The world should make capital punishment illegal, recognizing it as a moral and ethical mistake, a cruel and misguided injustice, and an impractical and wasteful act.
The average homicide rate in the 13 states without the death penalty is lower than the average homicide rate in the 37 states where it is legal. Between 1972 and 1990, the homicide rate in Michigan which has no death penalty, was generally as low or lower than the neighboring state of Indiana, which restored the death penalty in 1973. The U.S. Bowers- Pierce study analyzing executions between 1907 and 1963 concluded, that an average of two additional homicides were committed in the month after an execution; they also noted a “brutalizing” effect on society resulting from executions. According to FBI statistics the murder rate in some states which use the death penalty is twice that of some states which do not use the death penalty. Between 1976 and 1985, almost twice as many law enforcement officers were killed in death penalty states as were killed in states that don’t use the death penalty. The death penalty has not proven its worth to society; study after study has shown!
The Issue of Capital Punishment in American Politics In 2002, 71 persons in 13 States were executed -- 33 in Texas; 7 in Oklahoma, 6 in Missouri; 4 each in Georgia and Virginia, 3 each in Florida, South Carolina, and Ohio; 2 each in Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina; and 1 each in Louisiana and California. In 2003, 65 inmates were executed, 6 fewer than in 2002. The death penalty has become a topic of serious controversy in recent years.
Should the government abolish capital punishment? This is a question that has plagued the United States since its birth, as it is a complex social issue not easily resolved. The law, society, and many religious institutions consider life to be precious. Also, because capital punishment is irreversible, an innocent life could potentially be at stake in the pursuit of justice. Groups that are opposed to the death penalty – such as Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the majority of Christian religious institutions (Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodist, Presbyterians, and the United Church of Christ)– feel that it is an unnecessary violation of human rights. (“History of the Death Penalty”) On the other hand, supporters for the death penalty – such as the Republican Party and the Fundamentalist, Pentecostal, and Mormon churches – argue that it is a just punishment for heinous crimes and an effective deterrent for potential criminals. (“History”) These groups have raised additional questions: Does the government have the right to execute its own citizens as punishment? Should the Death Penalty be replaced with life imprisonment without parole? And why is the United States the only industrialized, Democratic nation that still uses capital punishment? To begin, we can look for answers in the history of capital punishment in the U.S.
Capital punishment has been a controversial topic in association to ethics all of its existence. Issues pertaining to the execution methods, reasonability in the relationship of punishment to the crime, who receives the death penalty, and innocence have been discussed and researched in great lengths. Capital punishment is still an active form of “deterrence” in the United States for crimes considered the worst of the worst. In this paper I will discuss the history of the death penalty. I will also disclose information on the dynamics of race, method, and court cases valid to the death penalty.
This paper will discuss the death penalty. It will discuss the pros and cons of the death penalty. Also it will talk about the different type of executions and the states that have and do not have the death penalty. Three online sources and one offline source was used in order to gather information for this topic. This paper will examine all the aspects associated with the death penalty, such as the number of inmates awaiting their execution, the cost of the executions, and the eighth amendment. The end of this paper will state my stance on the death penalty.
In Jamestown Colony, Virginia, in 1608, the first execution in America took place (Urbina 8). Since then, the debate over capital punishment has been never-ending, capturing the attention of citizens of all types. Americans have argued relentlessly over many issues that the death penalty brings to politics, economics, and moral values. In the article titled “Does Death Penalty Save Lives? A New Debate,” Adam Liptak explores both sides of the debate, highlighting the benefits that the death penalty provides to society. He states that the death penalty deters murders and accepts that innocent men might become casualties in the process. However, other experts disagree with Liptak. Opposing research shows that the death penalty does not deter murders and unjustly executes the innocent, making capital punishment unsuitable for a civilized nation.
One of society’s main questions today is how can we lower the rates of these heinous crimes in our country. The answer is giving them the highest consequence for their crime: death. Although people have argued that issuing the death penalty does not deter crime, there is a significant amount of evidence to prove it HAS lowered crimes such as murder.
Radelet, Michaell and Lacock, Tracil. Recent Developmentss. Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates?: The Views of Leading Criminologists. Retrieved from http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/files/DeterrenceStudy2009.pdf
Capital punishment, also known as death penalty or execution, is the sentence that a criminal must fulfil preceding committing a capital crime. Capital crimes consist of mass murders, treachery and other offenses. The English word ’Capital’ is derived from Latin ‘Capitalis’ meaning the head – ‘caput’ as the sentence was normally served by decapitating the criminal.