Scott Turow Ultimate Punishment Research Paper

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Ultimate Punishment

There are many topics which are controversial in the modern society. People constantly debate the merits of abortion or women's rights. Perhaps one of the most controversial topics for debate at present is over the ethical right of the death penalty. Some feel the penalty is too severe and inhumane. Others feel the penalty is just and not used often enough in this country. How does each individual feel about this most severe of punishments? Is it right for the government to execute criminals or is it wrong? Presently, 34 of the United States of America have death penalty statutes (Facts 2011). In each state, there are rigorous proceedings which go on when dealing with a death penalty situation. First and foremost, prosecutors must be absolutely certain that they have the right man or woman as defendant. Secondly, they must ensure that there is enough concrete evidence to support their claim that the actions of the defendant were wicked enough that they have no chance for rehabilitation and that the community would be better off if that person were to die. Many of the people who argue against the death penalty site occurrences of wrongful conviction, but in an age of DNA evidence, the innocent convict is becoming far less of an event. In author Scott Turow's non-fiction book Ultimate Punishment, a man reveals how he altered perspectives from being completely against the death penalty to becoming a reluctant supporter of the punishment. The book discusses Turow's experiences as part of the Ryan Commission and how he came to change his position on the death penalty. One of the things that Turow discusses in the book is what factor if any the economy has on the death penalty and if abolition of the process would help the financial scenario of the country.

The death penalty is the legal execution of a convicted criminal as punishment for that person committing either one or a series of very serious or particularly heinous crimes. Many countries in the world have some form of the death penalty for criminals, although some like England have abolished the practice. This form of legal punishment can be documented as far back as recorded history. In the culture of the United States of America, a person must commit an egregious crime to even be considered for this form of most serious punishment. The crime that was committed had to have included the death of another or some other state where the victim is so affected that normal function will be many, many years away if the victim can ever recover. This can include serial rape with other physical assault or treason, wherein the victim is the country. The American judicial system is not arbitrary and the decisions made by prosecutors in various counties are designed to protect the citizenry and only give the death penalty to criminals who have no chance for reform and whose crimes are so vial that the only accepted punishment is death.

One of the most common arguments against the death penalty concerns the conviction and subsequent execution of innocent people. This had been attended to through new technologies and scientific experiments which make it harder to convict criminals based on circumstantial evidence. Second to this argument is the frequently cited idea that the cost of death row is an expenditure which could be better put to other uses. It is said that because of both the extensive experts called to testify and the tests performed as well as the amount of appeals that go into a death penalty case, it costs the state far more money to prosecute and punish a convict than if they were to be given life in prison.

The Ryan Commission was an organization appointed by a former Governor of Illinois. Governor Ryan had abolished the death penalty in the state of Illinois because of an abundance of judicial errors which had affected the outcomes of investigations. At the time of Ryan's decision, more than half of the citizens of Illinois agreed with him (Turow 100). After the inclusion of DNA and other forms of evidence, thirteen convicts on Death Row were exonerated and it was feared that there would be many other men and women who…[continue]

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