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Being Against the Death Penalty

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Essay title: Being Against the Death Penalty

When considering the death penalty you must look at the facts. The Supreme Court decided to restore the death penalty in 1976. Since 1976, 1,029 people have been executed, almost exclusively by the states. There are 34 states in which the death penalty is implemented. Texas has accounted for over a third of the modern executions. The United States Supreme Court suspended the death penalty in the United States between 1973 and 1976 as a result of several decisions. The court found the application of the death penalty to be unconstitutional, on the grounds of cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the eighth amendment to the United States Constitution. Despite efforts to reduce arbitrariness, death sentences are not necessarily only imposed when the crimes are more severe. Other factors come into play such as victims make mistaken identifications, witnesses lie, police, and prosecutors may falsify evidence. The death penalty is irreversible and can be inflicted on the innocent. Also, racial bias and ineffective lawyers have played an important part in people being wrongfully accused. Defendants sentenced to death are frequently poor and less educated. The death penalty has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments. States in the United States that do not employ the death penalty generally have lower murder rates than states that do. The same is true when the United States is compared to countries similar to it. The United States, with the death penalty, has a higher murder rate than the countries of Europe or Canada, which do not use the death penalty. The death penalty should never be imposed by any United States court of law.

Since 1976, 123 prisoners have been released in the United States, after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death. As long as the death penalty is enforced, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated. There is no way to tell how many people executed since 1976 may have been innocent. Courts do not generally entertain claims of innocence when the defendant is dead. The refinement of DNA testing has given chilling proof that any number of people on death row shouldn’t have been there.

The death penalty is not a deterrent because most people who commit murders either do not expect to be Caught or do not carefully weigh the differences between a possible execution and life in prison before they act. Frequently, murders are committed in moments of passion or anger, or by criminals who are substance abusers and acted impulsively. Once in prison, those serving life sentences often settle into a routine and are less of a threat to commit violence than other prisoners. Moreover, most states now have a sentence of life without parole. Prisoners who are given this sentence will never be released. Thus, the safety of society can be assured without using the death penalty.

Retribution is another word for revenge. Although our first instinct may be to inflict immediate pain on someone who wrongs us, the standards of a mature society demand a more measured response. The emotional impulse for revenge is not a sufficient justification for invoking a system of capital punishment, with all its additional problems and risks. Our laws and criminal justice system should lead us to higher principles that demonstrate a complete respect for life, even the life of a murderer. Encouraging our motives of revenge, which ends in another killing, extending the chain of violence. Allowing executions sanctions killing as a form of payback. Many victims’

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