Today,the common arguments for implementing the death penalty are that,It is a deterrent. It removes killers. It is the ultimatepunishment. It is biblical. It satisfies the publics needfor retribution. It relieves the anguish of the victimsfamily (Grisham 120).
This paper will address the issue of the death penalty and is more specifically to theaudience of death penalty advocates. It will show that looking out for the state of the publicssatisfaction in the scheme of capital sentencing does not constitute serving justice. Todayssystem of capital punishment is fraught with inequalities and injustices. Realistically, imposing thedeath penalty is expensive and time consuming.
It has yet to be proved as a deterrent. Morally, itis a continuation of the cycle of violence and . . . degrades all who are involved in its enforcement,as well as its victim (Stewart 1).
It is a deterrent. Perhaps the most frequent argument for capital punishment is that ofdeterrence. The prevailing thought is that imposition of the death penalty will act to dissuadeother criminals from committing violent acts. Numerous studies have been created in attempt toprove this belief; however, evidence does not show that capital punishment deters crimes anymore than long prison terms do than long prison terms do (Cavanagh 4). Bryan Stevenson, theexecutive director of the Montgomery based Equal Justice Initiative, has stated that.
. . People are increasingly realizing that the more we resort tokilling as a legitimate response to our frustration and angerwith violence, the more violent our society becomes (Frame 51). It removes killers. One argument of death penalty advocates is that it removes killersfrom our society.
Life impronment would also produce this same result. Millions and millions oftaxpayer dollars have been spent on the death penalty sine 1976. The average cost per executionaverages two and a half to three and a half million dollars. This is about three times the cost ofimprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for forty years (Death PenaltyInformation Center 1). It is the ultimate punishment.
The key part of the death penalty is that it involves death– something which is rather permanent for humans. This creates a major problem when therecontinue to be many instances of innocent people being sentenced to death (Tabak 38). Accordingto a 1987 study, twenty three people who were innocent of the crimes for which they wereconvicted were executed between 1900 and 1985 (Long 79). A report by the House JudiciarySubcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights shows that seventy people have been releasedfrom death row with evidence of their innocence since 1970 (Death Penalty Information Center1). These death penalty errors are irreversible.
Until human judgment becomes infallible, thisproblem alone is reason enough to abolish the death penalty at the hands of the state morededicated to vengeance than to truth and justice. In our legal system, there exists numerous waysin which justice might be poorly served for a recipient of the death sentence. Foremost is in thehandling of his own defense counsel. In the event that a defendant is without counsel, a lawyerwill be provided. Attorneys appointed to represent indigent capital defendants frequently lackthe qualities necessary to provide a competent defense and sometimes have exhibited such poorcharacter that they have subsequently been disbarred (Tabak 37).
With payment caps or courtdetermined sums of, for example, five dollars an hour, there is not much incentive for a lawyer tospend a great deal of time representing a capital defendant. In other words, “Capital punishmentmeans them without the capital gets the punishment (Frame 5). “It is biblical. This concept is based on an eye for an eye scripture of the Old Testament. This belief is morally bankrupt.
Why do governments kill people to show that killing people iswrong? Humanity becomes associated with murderers when it replicates their deeds. Wouldsociety allow rape as the penalty for rape or the burning of an arsonists home as the penalty forarson? The state should never have the power to murder subjects. To give the state this powereliminates the individuals most effective shield against tyranny of the majority and is inconsistentwith democratic principles. The .