In the United States, the use of the death penalty continues to be a controversial issue. Every election year, politicians, wishing to appeal to the moral sentiments of voters, routinely compete with each other as to who will be toughest in extending the death penalty to those persons who have been convicted of first-degree murder. Both proponents and opponents of capital punishment present compelling arguments to support their claims. Often their arguments are made on different interpretations of what is moral in a just society. In this essay, I intend to present major arguments of those who support the death penalty and those who are opposed to state sanctioned executions application . However, I do intend to fairly and accurately represent both sides of the argument. Proponents of capital punishment persuasively argue that a “central principle of a just society is that every person has an equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Cauthen, p 1). Within this principle, the deliberate (premeditated) murder of an individual is viewed as a heinous act, which prevents the person from realizing his or her right to pursue happiness. They strongly feel that persons convicted of first-degree murder must, themselves, pay the ultimate price. They claim that the death penalty must be imposed in order to maintain the moral standards of the community. Proponents of capital punishment are people who oppose the death penalty are fearful that innocent people may be wrongfully executed. They insist, however, that numerous “safeguards” are built into the criminal justice system which insures the protection of those facing capital punishment. Among the safeguards are: 1. Capital punishment may be imposed only for a crime for which the death penalty is prescribe by law at the time of its commission. 2. Persons below eighteen years of age, pregnant women, new mothers or persons who have become insane shall not be sentenced to death. 3. Capital punishment may be imposed only when guilt is determined by clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts. 4. Capital punishment may be carried out only after a final judgment rendered by a competent court allowing all possible safeguards to the defendant, including adequate legal assistance. 5. Anyone sentenced to death shall receive the right to appeal to a court of higher j... ... middle of paper ... ... person’s life? How can the death penalty continue to be justified in the face of over-whelming evidence which shows that innocent people have been wrongfully executed, that people are not deterred from committing murder, and that, in practice, the death penalty is racially biased and reserved for the poor. In a New York Times Op-Ed piece (July 14, 1995), writer, E.L. Doctorow, speaking in behalf of an inmate on death row wrote, “If the death penalty must exist in this country, it is the burden of the public servants charged with applying it to do so only from the most unanswerable and awesome judicial imperatives--or state-administered death becomes morally indistinguishable from any other murder.” Bibliography Butterfield, Greg. Repression Spurs Resistance. Workers World. 2/24/00 pg. 7 Cauthen, Kenneth. Capital Punishment: Maximum public safety (11/18/00) Online.available: Doctorow,E.L. and Weinglass, Leonard. Race for Justice. Monroe, Maine 1995 Guiterrez, Tony. Crime in America NewYork 1997 Rubac, Gloria. Illinois moratorium accelerates anti-death–penalty across U.S. Workers World. 2/17/00. pg. 5
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When it comes to punishing criminals, people have a variety of ideas-especially when murder becomes a part of the discussion. Although there are plenty of options proposed, from torture to life in prison, one of the most debated methods is the death penalty. The death penalty, defined simply, is the practice of allowing the imposition of death as a punishment for those convicted of certain crimes, usually murder. While thirty-one states allow capital punishment, an argument that has been raging since the early 1970s is still going on. There are many aspects of the argument, but the two main groups involved in the argument are those in favor of the death penalty, and those opposed. Supporters of capital punishment typically believe that society
Murder, a common occurrence in American society, is thought of as a horrible, reprehensible atrocity. Why then, is it thought of differently when the state government arranges and executes a human being, the very definition of premeditated murder? Capital punishment has been reviewed and studied for many years, exposing several inequities and weaknesses, showing the need for the death penalty to be abolished.
As every day passes, prisoners wait patiently in their dreadful chamber, awaiting their execution day, which tends to result to physical and psychological torture. Consequently, this remains as the so-called righteousness of the death penalty, which is supposed to get rid of murderers, radicalism, and criminals that perform sodomy. Though, there are times when capital punishment goes horribly wrong, initiating the death of innocent prisoners, and instigating the prisoner to go through atrocious anguish. Moreover, the death penalty leads to additional damage to the victim’s family, since the death penalty entails the family to relieve the agony and grief of the death of their loved one for many years. Furthermore, capital punishment remains as the fundamental block to eradicate criminals, however, there are numerous drawbacks to the death penalty that lead to additional damage than solving the problem; therefore, Americans shouldn’t support capital punishment, unless their prepared to perform the undesirable job of killing the prisoners.
Is the death penalty fair? Is it humane? Does it deter crime? The answers to these questions vary depending on who answers them. The issue of capital punishment raises many debates. These same questions troubled Americans just as much in the day of the Salem witch trials as now in the say of Timothy McVeigh. During the time of the Salem witchcraft trials they had the same problem as present society faces. Twenty innocent people had been sentenced to death. It was too late to reverse the decision and the jurors admitted to their mistake. The execution of innocent people is still a major concern for American citizens today.
There are wide and divergent opinions on the United States’ Supreme Court decisions on capital punishment. While proponents of capital punishment allege that it can be applied as with the existence of sufficient due process, others contend that human life is irreplaceable and that “every person has the right to have their life respected” (Oppenheim, “Capital Punishment in the United States”). While capital punishment has phased in and out of the United States’ criminal justice system in the past few decades, current trends seem to fall out of favor with the death penalty. As Snell indicates, by yearend of 2011, there were 3,082 inmates held across 35 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons under the death sentence, where 9 states executed 43 inmates in both 2011 and 2012 (“Capital Punishment, 2011 – Statistical Tables”). In order to gain a deeper understanding and enhanced projection of the death penalty development, it is prudent to first examining historical accounts of cases that have been decided in favor or against the capital punishment in the United States.
This essay will discuss the various views regarding the death penalty and its current status in the United States. It can be said that almost all of us are familiar with the saying “An eye for an eye” and for most people that is how the death penalty is viewed. In most people’s eyes, if a person is convicted without a doubt of murdering someone, it is believed that he/she should pay for that crime with their own life. However, there are some people who believe that enforcing the death penalty makes society look just as guilty as the convicted. Still, the death penalty diminishes the possibility of a convicted murderer to achieve the freedom needed to commit a crime again; it can also be seen as a violation of the convicted person’s rights going against the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
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...
Few issues have been as hotly argued and controversial as the death penalty, with its many conflicting moral, social and legal implications. Compelling arguments exist in favor of the final punishment, and equally strong arguments exist to end its practice. Furthermore, considering its conflicting history, on the grand scale of the whole world, and in just America, it is unlikely that this issue will be resolved any time soon. In the United States specifically, the issue has great significance to the bill of rights and the 8th amendment, which prevents cruel and unusual punishment. The death sentence, due to the intense debate on its morality and constitutionality, as well as the many conflicting decisions made about it until this day, still is and will likely remain a very controversial issue in the United States.
When discussing the death penalty many lawful and moral issues are brought up. I was fortunate enough to listen to a representative speak about these issues in a conference held by Housatonic Community College this winter. The speaker was extremely against the death penalty but made good points for each side. For example, proceeding to put a man to death through penalty of law is in fact murder. Just as the man can create an injustice by killing someone else, the government is creating the same injustice by killing that man; however, it providing a sense of justice for the family of the victim. To put a murderer or an alleged murderer through trial, it costs taxpayers a great deal of money. It is a known fact that death penalty trials, on average can cost taxpayers millions of dollars; furthermore, its costs even more money to execute a guilty murderer than it costs to sentence him or her to life imprisonment without bail. Many people view ...
"The death penalty issue is obviously a divisive one. But whether one is for or against, you can not deny the basic illogic - if we know the system is flawed, if we know there are innocent people on Death Row, then until the system is reformed, should we not abandon the death penalty to protect those who are innocent?"
“If Capital Punishment is state sponsored murder, then any lesser punishment is a state sponsored murder of Justice…. It is Justice, not Laws that cures the society. And Capital Punishment is the only Justice that suits a murderer.”-Saqib Ali. Undeniably, the Death Penalty is among the most controversial issues of modern times. There are always going to be two standpoints on the issues. Some will hold life above justice, and on the other hand some will hold justice over life. There is and always will be much speculation and debate regarding the death penalty in the United States and worldwide. The death penalty is a necessary part of society if we are to deter heinous crimes such as murder, torture, etc. Opponents of this would challenge its morality, constituationality, and its ability to deter criminals from committing heinous acts. Many Scholars, Supreme Court justices, Presidents, and Governors have expressed support for the death penalty as well as a general consensus by society that it is acceptable.
There are many false impressions floating around through American society concerning the death penalty; this paper hopes to clarify some of the more prominent, noticeable ones.
The Death Penalty is also referred to as Capital Punishment and is a process where a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime committed. This is also called a death sentence. This topic has been the source of debate for centuries and continues to be a heated topic. The question that comes in play is whether we are any better than the criminal if we put him/her to death. Some people have been wrongly convicted of a crime and put on death row and later released because they are later found innocent of the charges. The question is do we want to put a person to death and later determine if they are innocent? Death Penalty has been used by countries or states as punishment for crimes or for persons who goes against the political
The death penalty has been a strong controversial argument since it first got ratified into the law. It gives the power of taking an individual’s life into the hands of those around them. The peers around him may only need to state one effortless word that can sentence the person to incarceration leading to their inevitable execution that. The death penalty has inflicted a new type of concern in the minds of many Americans, in which many are not entirely sure such punishments are necessary anymore, not only through opinions but also through substantial facts that support the abolishing of such an inhumane punishment which has proven to have become less beneficial than anything else.
“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” is how the saying goes. Coined by the infamous Hammurabi’s Code around 1700 BC, this ancient expression has become the basis of a great political debate over the past several decades – the death penalty. While the conflict can be whittled down to a matter of morals, a more pragmatic approach shows defendable points that are far more evidence backed. Supporters of the death penalty advocate that it deters crime, provides closure, and is a just punishment for those who choose to take a human life. Those against the death penalty argue that execution is a betrayal of basic human rights, an ineffective crime deterrent, an economically wasteful option, and an outdated method. The debate has experienced varying levels of attention over the years, but has always kept in the eye of the public. While many still advocate for the continued use of capital punishment, the process is not the most cost effective, efficient, consistent, or up-to-date means of punishment that America could be using today.