Debate on the Death Penalty in America

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On September 9, 1993 a seventeen year old boy, Christopher Simmons, and a few of his friends met up to discuss and devise a plan to commit a robbery and possibly even a murder, just for the sake of fun. Simmons’ plan was not complicated: find someone to burglarize, tie up the victim and either leave the victim tied to a tree or push them off a bridge. Simmons and his accomplice climbed through a window and proceeded into the bedroom of the victim, Mrs. Cook. The two teenagers tied the woman up and loaded her into the back of her own minivan. They drove to the state park at the edge of town, where they had planned to dispose of the body and that is exactly what they did. The boys were caught later on that month and put on trial for cold blooded murder. The verdict of the jury was that Simmons was guilty of first degree murder and he was sentenced to death. Later court decision concluded that because he was a minor when he committed the murder he could not be justly given the death penalty. The final sentence was life in prison with no bail and no parole. (Bessler, 12-16 ) The excerpt above is from the book, Cruel and Unusual. It later states in this book that if Simmons had received the death penalty then that would have violated his eighth and fourteenth amendment rights. Why is it that a person committing such a heinous crime could receive life in prison when another person committing an equally horrible offence might receive capital punishment? Is it right for the United States to operate a system such as capital punishment? Does capital punishment follow the guidelines set out by our constitution or does it contradict it? The death penalty was designed to give justice where justice is due but more importantly it is ... ... middle of paper ... ...ders' Eighth Amendment. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2012. Print. "Death Penalty." Gallup.Com. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2013. . "Death Penalty : Deterrence." Death Penalty : Deterrence. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. . Donohue, John , and Justin Wolfers. "The Death Penalty." Economist Voice [Unknown] 1 Apr. 2006: n. pag. bypress.com. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. Radelet, Lacook, Michael, Traci . "Do Executions Lower Homicides? ." The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 99. No. 2 (2009): 2-15. Print. Roberts, John. "Baze vs. Rees. ." Supreme Court of the United States of America 16 Apr. 2008: 1-97. Print. van den Haag, Ernest. "In Defense of the Death Penalty." In Defense of the Death Penalty. Unknown: Harvard Law Review Association, 1086. 10. Print.
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