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Death Penalty

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Essay title: Death Penalty

Death penalty

Since our nations founding, the government has punished murder victims and in recent years rape with the ultimate sanction death. Over 13,000 people have been legally executed since colonial times. In the 1930's there were as many as 150 people executed each year. Legal challenges caused these executions to come nearly to a halt by 1967. By 1972 in Furman v. Georgia the supreme court excused hundreds of scheduled executions, declaring that existing state laws were applied in an “Arbitrary and Capricious” manner, and violated the 8th amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, the 14th amendments guarantee’s of equal protection of the laws and due process. In 1976 Gregg v. Georgia the court ruled that the penalty “does not invariably violate the constitution” if applied in a manner designed to guard against arbitrariness and discrimination. As of April 1, 2006 3,370 people are on death row. Many people have different views on capital punishment. There are many different factors that contribute to the death penalty some of the good things about the death penalty are punishment by retribution, deters crime, and it gets rid of criminals. So there is no chance of them committing another crime. The two major downfalls are innocent people sometimes get sentenced and the cost.

Some reasons we have the death penalty are for deterrence which means to punish somebody as an example and to create fear in other people for the punishment. The death penalty is one of these extreme punishments that would create fear in the mind of any sane person. Most criminals would think twice if they knew their own lives were at stake. Suppose there is no death penalty in a state and life imprisonment without parole is the maximum punishment. What is stopping a prisoner who is facing a life imprisonment without parole to commit another murder in the prison when they are already facing the maximum punishment. “Capital Punishment and Social Defense” mentions, “crimes can be deterred only by making would be criminals frightened of being arrested, convicted, and punished for crimes”(301). For serial killers, death penalty should be there, so that others, who even think about commiting such crimes, learn a lesson that every criminal is eventually caught. “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”. (Capital Punishment: life or death, internet). I believe that if one cannot value the life of another human being, then ones own life has no value.

Capital punishment has its downfalls. The biggest of course is the chance of innocent people being prosecuted. As of April 2005, 119 prisoners convicted of capital crimes and sentenced to death have been released from death row because of innocence due to DNA testing. Wrongful convictions often result from: false confessions, which are frequently coerced from juveniles and mentally retarded people, mistaken eyewitness evidence, jail house snitches, white coat fraud and junk science, and prosecutorial abuse. The second biggest downfall of the death penalty is the cost. The death penalty costs more than life in prison. Prosecuting a death penalty case is extremely expensive for a state and drains money that could be used for education and social programs. One study found that the death penalty costs north carolina $2.16 million more per execution

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