The Death Penalty
Capital punishment is also known as Death Penalty. This state-approved practice involves the execution of a person to punish them for their crime. A death sentence is a sentence that orders an offender to be punished in this manner. The execution is the act of executing the sentence. A prisoner sentenced to death who is awaiting execution is also commonly known as “on death row”.
Capital Crimes, Capital Offenses, or Capital Felons are all crimes that can be punished by death. They vary depending on where they are located, but often include murder, mass murder and aggravated cases sexual abuse (often including child sex abuse), war crimes, crimes against mankind, genocide, and other crimes against state, including treason and espionage, sedition and piracy. In some cases, capital crimes and enhancements include recidivism, aggravated theft, kidnapping, and drug trafficking, dealing with drugs, and possession.
The death penalty is a deterrent that helps reduce crime. It is true that the death penalty cannot be reversed, but it is difficult to execute a wrongly convicted individual due to the many chances available to him to prove his innocence. The death penalty ensures the safety of society by eliminating criminals.
These are some arguments in favor and against the death penalty.
Future murders are prevented by the death penalty.
To deter criminals from committing unlawful acts, society has used punishment for centuries. The death penalty is the most effective punishment to prevent murder because society has the greatest interest in it.
Potential murderers who are executed and sentenced to death will think twice about killing if they fear losing their lives. Criminologists have studied murder rates for years to determine if they changed with the probability of convicted murderers being executed. However, the results were not conclusive.
In 1973 Isaac Ehrlich used a new type of analysis. This showed that 7 people were spared for every execution because they were deterred from murdering others. In follow-up studies, Ehrlich’s disciples have also produced similar results. Even though some studies on deterrence have been inconclusive due to the fact that executions are rarely carried out, it can take years before they actually happen.
The best deterrent is swift and certain punishments. It is not evidence that deterrence fails because some countries or states do not apply the death penalty. High murder rates in states would be even more severe if the death penalty was not used. Ernest van den Haag is a Fordham University Professor of Jurisprudence who closely studied the issue of deterrence.
He wrote that “even though statistical demonstrations may not be conclusive and might not be, capital punishment is more likely to deter than other punishments, because people fear death more than anything else. Most people fear death that is planned by the courts and lawfully inflicted on them. What people fear most is most likely to deter them. The threat of death may deter some murderers that otherwise would not be deterred.
The death penalty is surely the only penalty that can deter prisoner who are already serving a life sentence or are about to be arrested and face a life sentence. They might not be deterred. They would not be deterred by any other means. We owe law enforcement officers who are exposed to special risks all the protection that we can.
The death penalty is a sure way to “deter” the executioner. This is, strictly speaking, a form or incapacitation. It is similar to how a robber is stopped from robbing the streets. To stop them from committing more murders, they must be executed.
The death penalty does not prove to be a deterrent for future murders.
People who believe that death penalty deterrence is sufficient to justify execution of certain offenders have to prove that it is deterrent. Years of deterrence research has shown that death penalty is no more effective than a life sentence in prison. The Ehrlich studies are widely discredited.
Some criminologists, like William Bowers from Northeastern University, believe that the death penalty actually has the opposite effect. This is because society is made more violent by its use, which increases the chance of more murder. Many supporters of the death penalty don’t see deterrence as a reason for it continuing to be used.
The murder rate in states that don’t use the death penalty is lower than those that do. Comparing the U.S. with other countries is an even better way to compare it. With the death penalty, the U.S. has a higher rate of murder than Canada or Europe. Because most murderers don’t expect to be caught, or they don’t weigh the pros and cons of life in prison versus execution, the death penalty does not deter them.
Many murders are committed by people who are addicted to drugs or who act impulsively. Jim Mattox, the former Texas Attorney General, has stated that he was a witness to many executions in Texas. He also noted, “It’s my experience that Texas executed criminals were not deterred because of the death penalty law.” In most cases, you will find that the murder occurred under severe drug or alcohol abuse. The death penalty is not a more effective deterrent than life imprisonment. There is no evidence to support this.
An examination of the presidents of the nation’s most prestigious academic criminological societies revealed that 84% of them rejected the idea that any research has shown that the death penalty had any deterrent effects. Life sentences are often less dangerous than those in prison because they have a regular routine.
Many states have now adopted a life sentence without parole. This sentence is not a condition for release. This ensures that society is safe without the death penalty.
To be a just society, the death penalty must be applied to the taking of a human life. The balance of justice is upset when someone takes their life. Society will fall prey to violence if that balance is not restored. The only way to restore the balance is to take the life of the murderer.
This allows society the opportunity to prove that murder is an unacceptable crime and will be punished accordingly. The basis of retribution is based on religious values. They have always believed that an “eye for an ear” is better than a “life for a lifetime.
The victim and victim’s families cannot be brought back to their pre-murderer status, but execution at least brings closure to the crime and closure to the suffering of the victim’s loved ones. It also ensures that there will not be more victims. The death penalty is the punishment that we use for the most horrific and horrendous crimes.
A lesser punishment would be detrimental to the society’s commitment to protecting human lives. Robert Macy, Oklahoma City District Attorney, said that his idea of the need to retribution in one case was: “In 1991, a young mom was left helpless and forced to watch her baby be executed. The mother was then mutilated, and she was killed. The killer shouldn’t be kept in a prison that offers three meals per day, clean sheets and cable TV. He or she should also have family visits and endless appeals. Some killers must die in order for justice to prevail.
COUNTERARGUMENT TO REMOVE:
The death penalty is not an appropriate response to the taking of a human life.
Another word for revenge is retribution. While our instinct is to immediately inflict pain on those who have wronged us, mature societies demand a more thoughtful response. A system of capital punishment with all its associated risks and problems is not justified by an emotional need for revenge.
Our criminal justice system and laws should encourage us to adopt higher principles that show a total respect for human life, including the life of a murderer. To encourage our worst motives for revenge, which leads to another murder, is a way to increase violence. Executions are a form of pay-back’. Many families of victims denounce the death penalty.
Execution to correct their loss is an insult to the victims’ families and causes them more pain. Bud Welch’s child, Julie, was murdered in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. While his initial reaction was to want the perpetrators of this horrible crime to be executed, he eventually realized that such killings were “just vengeance” and that Julie…was killed because of vengeance. It is not a part of our justice system.
Our society never supported the simplistic notion of one eye for another or one life for another. We don’t allow torture or rape of the torturer. A murderer’s life is also a disproportionate punishment. This is especially true when you consider that only a small number of murder convictions are executed in the United States. These defendants are usually not the most serious offenders, but the ones who have the least resources to defend themselves.
The death penalty is not appropriate because of the risk of execution of innocents.
Only the death penalty can impose an irrevocable sentence. An inmate can’t be made to amend any mistakes once executed. It is clear that there have been many errors in sentencing death row inmates.
At least 88 people were released from death row since 1973 after it was proven that they were innocent. Over 650 people were executed during the same time period. We have also found one death row inmate who was never convicted of every seven executed people. These figures show an unacceptable risk of execution of the innocent. A similar failure rate would cause an automobile manufacturer to go out of business.
Capital punishment is not reliable. Columbia University Law School recently found that 2/3 of capital trials were filled with serious errors. Over 80% of defendants were not sentenced and only 7% were found guilty when the cases were retried. Many innocent defendants were released from death row because of factors beyond the control of the justice system. Journalism students from Illinois were recently assigned to investigate the case a man was due to be executed.
However, the system of appeals had dismissed his legal claims. Students discovered that one witness had lied during the original trial and were able find the true killer who confessed to it on videotape. Although the innocent man was granted release was very lucky, he was not able to be charged due to the justice system.
In some other cases DNA testing has exonerated death row prisoners. In this case, the justice system also found these defendants guilty and deserved the death penalty. Because of scientific advances, DNA testing was only possible in the 1990s. Many of these inmates would still be alive if this testing hadn’t been available ten years ago. If DNA testing was applied to cases in which inmates were executed between 1970 and 1980, it is likely that it would have proved that some of them were innocent. There are many ways that innocent lives could be taken in society.
We construct bridges knowing that some workers may be killed in construction. We take extreme precautions to minimize the risk of such fatalities. Wrong executions can be avoided. We can substitute a sentence of life imprisonment without parole to meet society’s protection and punishment needs without the risk of an irrevocable and erroneous punishment.
COUNTERARGUMENT TO INNOCENTE
Executing innocent people is an acceptable, but rare, risk to the death penalty.
Since the 1970s, there is no evidence that innocent people have been executed. Even if executions like this have happened, they are rare. It is wrong to imprison innocent people, but it is impossible to empty prisons due to the minimal risk.
Reforms are necessary to improve the system of representation or the use of scientific evidence, such as DNA testing. The need to reform does not mean that the death penalty should be abolished. Many of the innocence claims made by death row inmates are based on legal technicalities. Even if a conviction is overturned many years later, and the prosecutor refuses to retry him again, it does not necessarily mean that he is innocent.
A governor should grant clemency if it is proven that someone is innocent. Hypothetical claims to innocence are often used as delaying tactics to delay executions. The execution of innocent people today is nearly impossible due to the extensive appeals system through many state and federal courts. Arguments for and against the Death Penalty Page 11 of 13 O Michigan State University, Death Penalty Information Center 2000 Federal Courts. The death penalty can save lives and deter other murders, so even the execution of innocent people could be justified.