Reasons to Make Capital Punishment Illegal

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Capital punishment is one of the most debated topics in the nation today. Since colonial times, more than 13,000 people have been legally executed and a large percentage of these executions occurred during the early 1900's. In the 1930's, approximately 150 people were being legally executed each year. However, the number of executions started to decrease, as public outrage became apparent. Currently, over 3,500 people are on death row. The death penalty violates the Eight Amendment because the act is cruel and unusual, and because the punishment discriminates against the poor and the minorities, the punishment also violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Surprisingly, many victims on death row are mentally retarded or disabled. Unfortunately, the death penalty has many supporters, and their main claim to why the death penalty should be constitutional is that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, but research has proved their claim to be false. The most disturbing factor of all is that a significant number of the inmates are innocent. For many reasons, capital punishment should be illegal throughout the nation. Capital punishment is not acceptable because it is unconstitutional. Capital punishment has been proven to violate the Eighth Amendment, which is the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. It is also a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of the laws and due process. The death penalty, which was legal with no objections through the 1900's, became a controversial issue in 1972. In 1972, the Furman vs. Georgia trial caused the Supreme Court to cancel hundreds of scheduled executions and t... ... middle of paper ... ...lty is a cruel and unusual punishment, and secondly, the Fourteenth Amendment, since it displays unequal protection of the laws and due process. Racial discrimination, sex discrimination, and socio-economic class discrimination are factors that unfairly decide the death penalty. The last two reasons that support the claim that the death penalty should be illegal are the risks of executing an innocent person and the obvious fact that the death penalty does not deter crime. For these reasons, capital punishment should be illegal throughout the nation. Bibliography: Bedau, Peter. Death is Different. Massachusetts: Northeastern University Press, 1987. Kaminer, Wendy. It’s All the Rage: Crime and Culture. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1995. Vilbig, Peter. “Innocent on Death Row.” New York Times Upfront 18 Sept 2000: 1-11.
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