Capital punishment is being punished in the worst possible way, by being put to death. Capital punishment has been around for many centuries. Although some see it as a deterrent, it has yet to be proven.
With the exception of Turkey and the United States, the whole of NATO do not wish to use this method of punishment upon their criminals. At this moment in time, Iran and South Africa top the list of the legal killers.Although some think that the United States are the worst in dishing out capital punishment to their criminals, they are in a completely different league in comparison with Iran and South Africa. The documentary that we watched, '14 Days in May', was attempting to get the viewers against the idea of capital punishment. This documentary was very biased in that sense.
The documentary showed the viewers what it was like from the view point of the convicted felon in an attempt to get the viewers against capital punishment.The documentary, '14 Days in May', was based upon the last 14 days in the life of a 28 year old black man called Edward Earl Johnson, hence the name 14 Days in May. He was a convicted murderer. Edward Earl Johnson, 18 years old at time, was accused of assaulting a white woman at her home at Walnut Grove, Mississippi and later killing local town marshal, Jake Trest, who had been passing at the time and had tried to intervene to no great avail.
Edward Johnson was later picked up at...
his home by a sheriff.As he had been in the neighbourhood at the time of the assault and murder, due to his car breaking down, he was considered to be an easy suspect. He and his grandmother, who had insisted on accompanying them, were then taken to the house of the woman who had been assaulted were the woman said to the sheriff that Edward Earl Johnson was not the man who had assaulted her and therefore not the same man who had shot the local marshal. Mr Johnson was then released.According to Mr Johnson later accounts, he was picked up again two days later by the same sheriff and was told that they were going to take him to the state capital of Jackson for a lie detector test. He then claimed that he was not taken for any lie detector test, but instead to the nearby woods were he and his grandparents were threatened by the sheriff and other officers with violence.
He then stated that immense pressure, he confessed to the crimes. Funnily enough, once Edward Earl Johnson had "confessed", the woman changed her story and identified Johnson as the man who had attacked her.When Johnson had a change, he denied his confession and said that he was on the verge of being shot, and then when they threatened his grandparents with violence, he confessed to a murder he did not commit. As Mr Johnson came from a poor background, he did not have the best lawyers and was easily convicted to a crime many believe that he did not commit. The
legal system in Mississippi has been proven in this documentary to be one with many moral faults within it. Racism is the one main fault in the legal system.
This documentary exploits this to the full extent. Select all factors that are ways in which you might become the victim of a terrorist attackAt the end of the documentary, there was a paragraph typed onto the screen that explained how a black woman had come forward at the time when Edward Earl Johnson had been arrested and explained to a white law-enforcement officer at the time of the crime, she was with Mr Johnson at a pool hall after his car had broken down. She was just told to go home and mind her own business. The Mississippi legal system has been proved to have racism within its ranks as the white law-enforcement officer told the black woman to go home and mind her own business.It was also proven that a black person, who had been convicted of killing a white person, was 4:3 times as likely to receive the death penalty as a white person who had killed a black person.
Edward Earl Johnson is blatantly being shown as a victim of racism. This might be due to the fact that Mississippi, is vastly populated by the black community and many of them are not as well off as many white people, making them easier to convict due to them not being able to get a good enough lawyer to represent their case.After watching the documentary, I would say that it was very biased towards the facts and the producers obviously only had one goal in mind when producing this documentary and this was to turn the viewers against the idea of capital punishment. They used many arguments to persuade the viewers that capital punishment is wrong during the documentary. When selecting the prisoner for the documentary, we get the impression that they carefully studied all prisoners and decided to go with the one that looked the most innocent and the one that many believed was not guilty.
We come to believe that they have selected this type of prisoner to give the impression to the viewers that the legal system has made a mistake and sentenced an innocent man to death. To the camera, Edward Earl Johnson seemed to be rather calm and a well learnt man. Not until the last three days of Mr Johnson's life, it dawned on him that his execution was going to take place. When Johnson was shown on the camera with his family, he and his family were putting on a brave face as though things were normal, when they were anything but. They were all singing, chatting and having a laugh as though it was a family get together.
They all did not show any distress in front of the camera, Johnson in particular. Interviews with people who worked at the penitentiary and that had known Edward Earl Johnson for the 8 years in which
he had been there were also included in the documentary. Everyone that had known Edward Earl Johnson, with the exception of the prison Governor, were 100 per cent positive that he was not guilty. I say with exception of the prison Governor because he was caught in two minds and he did not spend as much time with Edward Earl Johnson compared with the other prisoners, the warden, guards, etc.
The other prisoners all believed that he was not guilty and they all felt as though they were all brothers. The fact that they said this, makes you wonder if not only Johnson was not guilty, but maybe too his fellow prisoners. Sympathy for Edward Earl Johnson filled the whole of Death Row to the day of his execution. The TV crew themselves had not known him for as long as the others, but they too knew that an innocent man's life was coming to an untimely end. These interviews reinforce Edward Earl Johnson's innocent to the viewers.
The interviews back up the viewers first impressions of him, that he is an innocent man.It also makes you feel sympathetic for him, which I did when I watched the documentary. The entire documentary was filmed with out any voice-over; it was a 'fly on the wall' documentary. This means that the producers have left out the voice-over which you would normally get from documentaries in order for the viewers to feel as though they are actually there. They hear all background noises, such as news broadcasts from the TV and the radio. The only facts that we receive before the execution come from the TV and radio broadcasts.
This gives the viewers the feel of the situation and puts them in the same position as Edward Earl Johnson.This is another creative step taken by the producers to make the viewers feel some sympathy for the prisoner as they get a slight idea of how he is must be feeling. Throughout the documentary the prison was filmed and too the prisoners. After seeing both prison and prisoners, they just do not seem to go together. The prison a rather dull and highly secured area and then the prisoners that go with it to make everything complete are completely the opposite of what we would come to expect. The prisoners were all quiet and calm.
They all knew why they were there and all seemed to be just getting on with life as best as they could.Many were playing chess, others reading. If you were to visualise a prison, this is not the combination you would expect to see. This made me feel that all these men were innocent, although many might not be, but still the way in which I saw them made me wonder if capital punishment was such a good idea.
This documentary was structured so that the viewers got to see the last 14 day in the life of a 28 year old black man called Edward Earl Johnson, hence the name 14 Days in May. It was structured as a countdown from the days, to hours, until the last
few minutes that the filming crew filmed.I think that they have structured the film in this way so that once again the viewers get the idea of how Edward Earl Johnson was feeling and in what way did he act through the last 2 weeks of his life. With an hour until the execution, the film director and his crew were asked to leave. The film director appeared on camera to say goodbye to Mr Johnson and this was very touching. Over 14 days, the film director has built up a strong friendship with the prisoner and now has to leave as they have reached the last half an hour of their friendship.
This influences the viewers again to come to the conclusion that he was innocent and that the legal system had failed this man. If Edward Johnson had not been the quiet, calm and well taught person that he was, then I'm sure that the film director would not have built up that sort of friendship in only 14 days. As they embraced and were about to leave, Edward Johnson saw his new friend almost in tears and said 'Hey, don't do that. That's what they want you to do. ' The fact that tears were welled in their eyes shows how emotions were running wild. 'It's a sick world.
That was the lawyer's last words in the Warden's report.By this he was implying that capital punishment was wrong. He was trying to say that an innocent man had been put to death and that this could be happening not only in Mississippi, but throughout America and also the other countries that see fit to use this form of punishment. The final information we received from the documentary was typed onto the screen at and this told us how a week after the execution, Edward Earl Johnson's lawyers had tracked down the woman that had earlier come forward to give her statement and was turned away.This the final appeal made by the film producers to the viewers against capital punishment. This information showed how the Mississippi legal system had got it wrong and had sent an innocent man to Death Row.
The information also said that it was a black woman who had been turned away by a white police law-enforcement officer. This was added in the information to show the viewers that racism had been the main reason for this man being sent to Death Row. This documentary was produced to get the viewers against capital punishment or reinforce any doubts in their minds about capital punishment being wrong.Using the case that they used, an alternative view could also been shown. This means that instead of giving very biased view towards the facts in favour of the prisoner, they could completely turn that around by giving very biased view of the facts that are not in favour of the prisoner.
I feel that this documentary was very successful in persuading viewers that capital punishment is wrong. Before watching, I was caught in two minds over whether capital punishment is wrong or not.They were very persuasive as this prisoner
that had capital punishment hanging above his head was not the type of criminal you would expect. He was not the type that you could say easily, "put him to death". The character of the prisoner was essential in the attempt to show capital punishment to be wrong. The fact that the prisoner did not look the type you would expect to be in prison, let alone on the verge of being put to death made me think that maybe capital punishment is not the right way to go about punishing criminals.
After watching this documentary, I am now fully against capital punishment. People who commit these crimes should just be locked up in prison unless proven not guilty. But then some may argue that it is criminals that kill police officers, are child abusers and terrorists deserve to be put to death. But then again, the man in this documentary, Edward Earl Johnson, he was proven to have killed a police officer, so do you think that he too should be put to death?
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