Death Penalty Essays
The Death penalty determined by a series of people sitting on a jury deciding the fate of this person because of the representation he had during his trial. The person on trial is not being given the death penalty only based on the horrendous crime they had committed, but also on the testimony that is slowly being revealed by each witness that is called upon and questioned by both defendant and prosecuting attorneys. The question is are criminals getting the death penalty because of the crime they committed or because of what twelve jurors decide based on testimony and evidence and not just the crime itself. Death Penalty: The Death penalty is “death as a punishment given by a court of law for very serious crimes: capital punishment” (Merriam Webster Dictionary, 2018). AKA Capital Punishment. Execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense. (Britannica.com, 2018).
History of Death Penalty in United States
Captain George Kendall, Jamestown Colony of Virginia 1608. Being a spy in Spain. Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale 1612. Divine Law, Martial Law, Moral Law: simple theft acts as steeling grapes, killing chickens and trading with the Indians could result if found guilty given the Death Penalty. Late 1700’s begins The Abolitionist Movement, end African American and Indian slave trade and set slaves free. Early 1800’s more states reduce their amount of capital crimes and start building penitentiaries.
1847 Michigan becomes the 1st state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes except treason. 1890 William Kemmler 1st execution by electrocution. Progressive Era of the 1900s. social activism and political reform across the US. For example, Civil rights, labor reform, women’s rights, socialism to just name a few. Early 1960s, it was suggested that the death penalty was a ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment, and therefore unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. In 1958, the Supreme Court had decided in Trop. Dulles (356 U.S. 86), that the Eighth Amendment contained an ‘evolving standard of decency that marked the progress of a maturing society. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). June 29, 1972, the Supreme Court effectively voided 40 death penalty statutes, thereby commuting the sentences of 629 death row inmates around the country and suspending the death penalty because existing statutes were no longer valid. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). 1976 – Gregg v. Georgia. Guided discretion statutes approved. Death penalty reinstated (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). December 7, 1982 – Charles Brooks becomes the first person executed by lethal injection. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). 1984 – Velma Barfield becomes the first woman executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). 1994 – President Clinton signs the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act expanding the federal death penalty. 1996 – President Clinton signs the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act restricting review in federal courts. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018).
Innocence and the death penalty
Death row contain innocent victims being mentally tortured because they have been found guilty and sentenced to death for a crime they didn’t commit. Imagine sitting on death row for a crime you know you did not commit waiting for your turn to die. The mental torture counting the days to your execution. Carlos DeLuna Texas Conviction: 1983, Executed: 1989 A Chicago Tribune investigation released in 2006 revealed groundbreaking evidence that Texas may have executed an innocent man in 1989. The defendant, Carlos DeLuna, was executed for the fatal stabbing of Texas convenience store clerk Wanda Lopez in 1983. The evidence uncovered by reporters Maurice Possley and Steve Mills cast doubt on DeLuna’s guilt and points towards another man, Carlos Hernandez, who had a record of similar crimes and repeatedly confessed to the murder. A news piece aired on ABC’s ‘World News Tonight” also covered this story. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). On January 7, 2011, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter granted a full and unconditional posthumous pardon to Joe Arridy, who had been convicted and executed as an accomplice to a murder that occurred in 1936. The pardon came 72 years after Arridy’s execution and is the first such pardon in Colorado history. A press release from the governor’s office stated, ‘[A]n overwhelming body of evidence indicates the 23-year-old Arridy was innocent, including false and coerced confessions, the likelihood that Arridy was not in Pueblo at the time of the killing, and an admission of guilt by someone else.’ (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). Mental illness/mentally disabled and death penalty. Cecil Clayton was executed on March 17, 2015, in Missouri. He was 74, suffered from dementia, had an IQ of 71, was missing a significant part of his brain due to an accident. His attorneys insisted he should be spared because he did not understand the punishment to be carried out. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). Mental illness/disability can cause false information to be given.
Mental illness/disability wrongful admission statements. They are more likely to go along, agree and comply with authority figures – to say what the police want them to say – than the general population,’ notes Emory University professor Morgan Cloud, who co-wrote another study that found that the mentally impaired – even those who with mild forms of mental retardation – are largely incapable of understanding police admonitions of their right to remain silent and to have an attorney. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). Death penalty and racial issues a. the Supreme Court has been condemning racial bias in jury selection in capital cases since 1880 when it outlawed the practice in Strauder v. West Virginia. But more than 100 years after the court’s first decision on this problem, and 40 years into our modern experiment with the death penalty, widespread racial bias continues in jury selection for capital cases. We continue to send people to die from trials tainted by racial bias (ACLU, 2018) . On Oct. 11, the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional, ruling the “death penalty is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased matter” and ‘it fails to serve any legitimate penological goal.”
The death penalty is a punishment that is as flawed as it is final, and as the Washington high court acknowledges, one plagued by racial bias and arbitrariness. (Stubbs, 2018). Johnny Lee Gates, a Black man convicted in 1977 by an all-white jury of murdering a white woman in Muscogee County, Georgia, is currently fighting for his right to a retrial free from racial discrimination. March of this year — unquestionably reveals the racism guiding the juror selection process. The prosecution’s notes, for example, contain jury-selection notations of “W” next to white prospective jurors and “N” next to Black prospective jurors. (Ensign, 2018).
Reasons for Death Penalty other than murder state (Death Penalty Information Center, 2018). Treason (Arkansas, Calif., Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Washington). Aggravated kidnapping (Co., Idaho, Il., Missouri, Mont.). Drug trafficking (Fl., Missouri). Aircraft hijacking (Ga., Mo.). Placing a bomb near a bus terminal (Mo.) Espionage (New Mexico). Aggravated assault by incarcerated, persistent felons, or murderers (Mont.)
Reasons for death penalty other than murder per Federal Capital Statutes
- Espionage (18 U.S.C. 794)
- Treason (18 U.S.C. 2381)
- Trafficking in large quantities of drugs (18 U.S.C. 3591(b))
- Attempting, authorizing or advising the killing of any officer, juror, or witness in cases involving a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, regardless of whether such killing occurs (18 U.S.C. 3591(b)(2)).
Death Penalty and Support
Public support for the death penalty, which reached a four-decade low in 2016, has increased somewhat since then. Today, 54% of Americans favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 39% are opposed, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April and May. (Oliphant, 2018. Support for the death penalty has long been divided by gender and race. In the new survey, about six-in-ten men (61%) say they are in favor of the death penalty and 34% are opposed. (Oliphant, 2018). Women’s views are more divided: 46% favor the death penalty, while 45% oppose it. (Oliphant, 2018) d. Younger than age 30 tend to be less favorable for the death penalty versus older adults.
Moral Issues With the Death Penalty
- Value of human life. Some people value human life to a degree that even the worst of worst should not be deprived of life even if they took a life. Everyone has the right to live. If we take a life because a life was taken, then we are taking away that person’s right to live. Everyone has an inalienable human right to life, even those who commit murder; sentencing a person to death and executing them violates that right. (BBC, 2018)
- Retribution is wrong. Many people believe that retribution is morally flawed and problematic in concept and practice. We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing. (U.S. Catholic Conference). To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, it is not justice. (Attributed to Archbishop Desmond Tutu) (BBC, 2018) d. John Dear, Jesuit Priest from the Society of Jesus, in a June 17, 2008 National Catholic Reporter article titled ‘Abolish the Death Penalty Now!’, wrote: ‘We, like Jesus, should feel free to side with the condemned, forgive those who hurt us, who injure or kill those we love, and in this way put an end to wheel of violence that keeps going around. And as Catholic Christians we should feel free to stand with the bishops and utter: the death penalty is immoral, evil and sinful.’- June 17, 2008 – John Dear (Dear, 2018) e. Alex Kozinski, JD, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a Nov. 7, 2002 Hoover Institution interview, stated: ‘Immanuel Kant said it best. He said a society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else’s life is simply immoral.
So, the question really… when the system works and when you manage to identify somebody who has done such heinous evil, do we have a right to take his life? I think the answer’s plainly yes. And I would go with Kant and I would say it is immoral for us not to. (PROCON.ORG, 2018). J. Budziszewski, Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, in a Jan. 25, 2002 conference hosted by the Pew Forum, titled ‘A Call for Reckoning: Religion and the Death Penalty,’ stated: ‘The normal moral reason for upholding capital punishment is reverence for life itself. Indeed, this is the reason why scripture and Christian tradition have upheld it, a fact which suggests that, if anything, it may be the abolition of capital punishment which threatens to cheapen life, not its retention… (PROCON.ORG, 2018). WithChrist.org, a Christian ministry, in its website section titled ‘Capital Punishment – Death Penalty,’ (accessed Jan. 24, 2017), stated: ‘The Death Penalty is moral and just. Judicial death for the purpose of maintaining justice or righteousness is well established in human history. However, the rise of death penalty executions in the United States against a backdrop of liberalism has triggered protests from various anti-capital punishment factions. Often shouting the loudest are liberal religionists and clergy who erroneously claim to speak for God. These folks are grossly confused and seriously wrong.’ (PROCON.ORG, 2018)
Capital punishment is that practice which entails in putting a person in a state in which he /she has committed a capital crime and this issue might cause to its abolishment due to the act that one has committed in relation to the abolishment. This abolishment entails mostly on the issues of capital offence but […]
Introduction The death penalty also called the capital punishment debate has raged countless times over the years. Capital punishment has been used for some years due to the fear of physiological that conflicts with the people who learn about the capital punishment. The use of capital punishment has helped to reduce the rate of crimes […]
Introduction The death penalty has been one of the majorly debated issues of our modern system of justice. Though the death penalty is normally tolerated under internal law, the same cannot be said of the capital punishment of juvenile criminals. The International Covenant on Civil as well as Political Rights necessitates that the death penalty […]
Introduction According to the US Department of Justice, capital punishment is legal in 31 states (Evans, pg. 234). Undeniably, the death penalty should be abolished by all these states. Capital punishment is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights. It is unjust, inhuman and its continued use stains a society built on human values. Authorities […]
Introduction Capital punishment is an issue that has been able to elicit various arguments with individualseither being pro or against it. There is the argument about capital punishment in which it is asserted that the punishment has been able to deter crime within the society. The argument further asserts that death penalty has made people […]
Introduction Are criminals justified to be sentenced for death? Capital punishment is the sentence passed through by the court sanctioning a criminal to death through hanging, electric chair, lethal injection or firing squad. Personally, no matter the kind of crime committed, a criminal should not be subjected to this type of punishment. Therefore, I am […]
About 25 years ago, in Furman versus Georgia, the United States Supreme Court considered if the death penalty violated the 8th Amendment on prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. According to the court, lack of uniformity in the standards of application of the death penalty led to arbitrary and discriminatory sentencing, and through this the […]
Death penalty for a capital offense has been used in the North Carolina Laws since the America became a British colony. The hanging of a Native American man in the year 1726 was the first known execution. (Bruce Jackson, 2010)It was a punishment for various offenses such as rape, arson, murder, and burglary. Earlier, the […]
The case of Timothy Lee Hurst who is facing death sentence portrays a great controversy between federal and state regarding the issue of a death sentence. One of the issues presented by the article is the contradiction between the systems being followed by the state and that being used by the federal in passing the […]
The issue of the use of death penalty as capital punishment is a complex issue because the stance one may take is greatly influenced by subjective reasons. It is imperative to note first that the use of the capital punishment cannot be a sole variable to deterring crime. While committing a crime, there is almost […]
Introduction Most countries in the contemporary world agree to some form of legal punishment for people found guilty of various crimes. Major crimes like death are punished by death or corporal punishment in some of these countries. According to Vaughn (2015), the moral and legal justification of the death penalty has attracted differing opinions between […]
Edward Koch in his book ‘Death and Justice’ presents an argument in which he pledges his support for capital punishment as a penalty befitting murder crimes. His essay is intended for the opponents of the death penalty, a move which he argues would help to restore social order and also uphold the sanctity of life. […]
Death penalty is a punishment where by criminals are executed by the state for a variety of crimes. In some countries it could be because of cases like rape, terror or murder. There are reasons as to why death penalty should be allowed and also why it should be abolished. According to me death penalty […]
Abstract The death penalty has been applied for several years as one way of punishing the errant members in the society. This has tampered with the justice system in our nations. This has led to the violation of the human rights. This has resulted in the intensification of the crime instead of reducing it. The […]
Introduction Death penalty is punishment which is administered by the courts on persons found guilty of offences they have committed as actuated by the courts. It is administered in various ways as determined by administration. It may either be by hanging or gallows, lethal injection, severe beating and drowning. Death penalty is the last resort […]
Introduction Supreme Court is the uppermost legal court in any nation. It deals with individuals who found or assumed to have done a crime. Crime is an aspect of violating the law. Different people are engaged in criminal activities for diverse reasons. A risk issue in crime is anything in individual’s psychology, which can somewhat […]
Acker, J. R. (2014). Questioning Capital Punishment: Law, Policy, and Practice. Rout ledge. James Acker who is a professor at the University of Albany, has an extensive interest in integrating social science, law and legal doctrine related to criminal law, juvenile justice, and criminal procedure. The book covers the justifications of the death penalty, pros […]
Introduction Within the set-up of the society today, “Death Penalty” ha received various revolts and revolutions that have brought about controversies and diverse emotional turmoil to both the victims and the affected people in the world today (Banner020). Therefore, when this kind of argument aimed at justifying the credibility of the death penalty, hardcore activist […]
Societies are dynamic in various ways, sure. The dynamism is exhibited in all concepts of life in general but how crime and its consequences are addressed in particular. Following this observation, death penalties have been debated overages and whether criminals should face death as a reward of their antisocial practices. In other words, the death […]
Death penalty is commonly known as punishment by death. This punishment however is very sensitive since it only occurs by the word of the government or a legal law court verdict. The verdict is passed on one who has committed treason or first degree murder. Death penalty in this way now and again, expect the […]
Capital Punishment: Does it do what we think it does?Ever since the beginning of time man has committed crimes. Crimes were described as acts which go against the social and moral norms of society and people. People have learned to deal with these crimes in many different ways. One of the most used forms of […]
After spending ten long years on death row, he is escorted today by the warden down the dimly lit white hallway to the room in which judgement day will finally arrive. As he moves closer, he begins to regret having led a violent life of crime and murder that had caused him to be sentenced […]