Perhaps the greatest problem with the death penalty, as the cases of the Rosenbergs and of Sacco and Vanzetti point out, is the chance for error incurred in capital cases. A study conducted at Stanford University found that, since 1900, more than fifty pe...
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...run by criminals unless the criminals are all destroyed: it is a war of us against them and we must use whatever means are necessary to fight against them. Even more moderate advocates of capital punishment tend to hold to a black-and-white morality that justifies the brutality of capital punishment as a necessary act of self- protection. However, before giving in to fear of crime and justifying the deaths of innocents that inevitably result from the institution of capital punishment, we should remember that one of the few things that distinguishes human from animal is the capacity for mercy. Even if we could be absolutely certain of a person's guilt, by killing him or her do we not make murderers of ourselves. Darrow reminds us exactly what it means for society to abandon its mercy: "I would hate to live in a state that I didn't think was better than a murderer."
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