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Death Penalty in Michigan
There are, at present, 38 states with the death penalty and 12 without (deathpenaltyinfo.org 2004). Michigan is one of the 12. From 1976, there have been 906 executions in the U.S.: 517 were white, 310 blacks; 57 hispanic; and 22, other races. More than 80% of these cases involved white victims, although only 50% of murder victims were white. Case studies on race showed that 96% had racial undertones, whereby 98% of the chief district attorneys were white and only 1% were black. Another study conducted in Philadelphia revealed that more blacks were given the death penalty than white and other races at 38%. Still another study conducted in North Carolina said that the death sentence went up by 3.5 times when the victims were white (deathpenaltyinfo.org). Records show that 37 states with the death penalty used lethal injection method in 739 executions, 151 by electrocution,…
Capital punishment is defined as the legal infliction of death as a punishment, or the death penalty. The United States is one of a decreasing number of countries who still practice capital punishment, using methods such as lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the first known execution in the United States was carried out in 1608. During the Revolutionary War, capital punishment was widely accepted. After war 11 colonies wrote new constitutions which all authorized capital punishment. In 1790, the First Congress enacted legislation that implemented capital punishment for the crimes of robbery, rape, murder, and forgery of public securities. During the nineteenth century there were 1,391 documented executions. The death penalty continued as an acceptable practice in the United States until 1967 when a national moratorium was enacted while the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the death penalty.…
Death Penalty: Here to Stay?
Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects about the American criminal justice system today is the fact that the United States is the only Western nation that still uses capital punishment as a "sentence of last resort" for select types of criminal acts (Morris & Vila, 1997; Schmalleger, 2006). This legacy was not carved in stone, though, and the new states that comprised the United States were, at the beginning of the 19th century, among some of the first jurisdictions in the world to restrict the use of the death penalty and to substitute imprisonment in its place; however, today, the United States remains "the singular holdout among western nations, the lone practitioner of capital punishment and a quite vigorous practitioner at that" (Cottroll, 2004, p. 1641). To determine how the death penalty came about in the United States and what changes have taken place…
Capital Punishment Issues
The inconsistency and discrimination issues related to capital punishment are that, first, it is unevenly applied to all persons and, second, it is more commonly supported by Whites than it is by African-Americans (Unnever, Cullen, 2007). The concept that criminal justice and capital punishment are a good fit for one another is not a concept that African-Americans tend to promote; yet the underlying cause of their lack of support is rooted in their view of the criminal justice system itself -- which is generally regarded among them as being more unjust than just, especially with respect to African-American lives. For Whites, on the other hand, capital punishment is viewed as a legitimate form of punishment within the system -- one that works and one that should be doled out to those who deserve in order to maintain society's integrity.
Yet, the problem of capital punishment is that…
An Ethical Analysis & Position Statement
Against the Practice of Capital Punishment
An Historical Overview
Issues and Relevant Facts
Application of Ethical Theories
Support for Capital Punishment
Arguments Against Capital Punishment
An Historical Overview
The practice of capital punishment is often known by other names such as the death penalty or an execution, but the basic concept is that someone convicted of a crime that is worthy of their life (capital crime) is put to death after their conviction by some form an authority figure taking the life of the convicted. There are many different methods that have been employed to take a convicted person's life and history and it is striking to read about the creativity in which brutal forms of executions have been designed over the millennia. Even the Old Testament is riddled with a plethora of different crimes that are considered…
Anckar, Carsten. "Why Countries Choose the Death Penalty." Brown Journal of World
Affairs 21.1 (2014): 7-25. Business Source Premier. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
This source focuses on why countries choose to use the death penalty to punish certain crimes. The crimes punished for with the death penalty vary but the use of the death penalty is typically for one or more several common reasons. For the countries that do choose the death penalty, the reason is usually because it is seen as the "ultimate" form of punishment and is typically (but not always) reserved for crimes of a very obscene and/or violent nature. In the vast majority of cases, the taking of a life is required for those that get death sentences. For countries that do not choose the death penalty, it is typically avoided because it is seen as ineffectual, barbaric to engage in despite the nature…
Death penalty has become a very controversial and high-visibility topic in the recent political and social activities. This is true both in the United States as well as around the world. There has already been a lot of shifts and changes over the years including the abandonment of hanging and firing squads. Even the electric chair has fallen mostly out of favor with the governments and law enforcement agencies of the world. However, even the remaining method commonly used in death penalty executions has started to get difficult, that being the use of lethal injection. Whether it be fear of liability or concern about conscience, many of the drug companies that manufacture the drugs that are used in lethal injections are starting to rescind their cooperation with law enforcement and government. This is part of a wider movement around the world to abolish the death penalty due to it allegedly…
Solitary confinement represents one among the best means of keeping modern-day prisoners from communication and conflict, but has the most injurious effects on their health. Individuals imprisoned in conditions of solitary confinement demonstrate more psychotic behavior compared to normal prisoners; this includes higher rate of suicides (Thesis Statement). After a prisoner loses his/her mental capacity of understanding the reason for his/her imprisonment or punishment, subjecting him/her to solitary confinement is pointless. If one loses one's ability of understanding punishment, the consequences associated with one's actions become irrelevant and have no value. Thus, solitary confinement is crueler than capital punishment.
Lately, the subject of whether or not solitary confinement constitutes greater torture for prisoners than capital punishment (or death penalty), is gaining popularity (Writer Thoughts). The debate has reached a juncture where the favored option is capital punishment.
Solitary Confinement/Capital Punishment Background
During the early part of the 19th…
Schaefer, K., J. Hennessy, & J.G. Ponterotto. (2000). Race as a variable in imposing
and carrying out the death penalty in the U.S. Race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, violent crime: The realities and the myths. The Haworth Press, 35-45.
The research question was: given the extent to which the death penalty has been arbitrarily imposed, to what extent are there unbalanced racial demographics in death penalty sentencing?
The hypothesis was that race is a factor in terms of how death penalty sentencing is allocated.
Research was accumulated through the analysis of the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports from 1976 to 1995. This source provided information about the race of perpetrators. DOJ capital offender data files were also analyzed for the demographic data for each of the 5,580 of the prisoners condemned to death versus those of offenders from states without death penalties (Schaefer, Hennessey, & Ponterotto, 2000, p. 39).
It is difficult to argue that the death penalty is being applied evenly and fairly as required by the Supreme Court's Furman v. Georgia decision. In fact, it could be argued, with statistics like these, that the application of the death penalty is being influenced by racial factors.
If the race of the victim is a factor in deciding whether or not the defendant receives the death penalty, then the race of the defendant is even more of a factor. For decades, critics of the justice system have asserted race to be a factor in crime and prosecutions in the United States, and it was ultimately the arbitrary imposition of the death penalty on African-Americans in Georgia that led to the Supreme Court's banning it in 1971. Black defendants are still overwhelming prosecuted more often than white defendants, but it is not only death penalty cases where this is the…
Criminal Justice: The Death Penalty
Reasons for topic selection
Causes of racial prejudice and discrimination
Juvenile in delinquent society theory
Culture and values
Official and unofficial values
The effectiveness of the death penalty
The death penalty is irreversible
The death penalty is barbaric
Changes to the death sentence
Automatic appellate conviction review
The importance of proposed changes
Life imprisonment; alternative to death sentences
Policies in support of incarceration
Despite the controversy over how effective it is as a deterrent to criminal acts regarded serious, capital punishment is still actively used in the United States (Amnesty USA, 2014). In fact, the United States is one of four countries that still execute people under the age of eighteen, despite the fact that international law prohibits this (the Legal Dictionary, 2014). It is important…
Ethics of the Death Penalty
The death penalty is a majorly decisive issue. Some countries feel that it is a cruel punishment and have outlawed it, such as England. Others practice the punishment liberally with small caliber crimes receiving the harshest possible punishment. In the United States of America, the death penalty exists in some states but has been abolished in others. Crimes that qualify for the death penalty are serious felonies such as murder. Those on opposing sides of the issue often look to the philosophy of ethics to prove their own position or to subvert the opposition's perspective. Often those who support the death penalty argue that this is the only just punishment for someone who has committed heinous crimes against other people. The dignity of the victim is the only one they consider. Antithetically, those who oppose the death penalty argue that committing a crime like that…
Fairness of the Death Penalty:
The death penalty has been used across the globe for a long period of time as a means of punishment for offenders of serious crime. However, the use of this sentence has come under significant scrutiny in this century with regards to whether it's just and applied fairly. The scrutiny has contributed to the emergence of huge debates, especially after capital punishment has been used in high profile trials. As a result, capital punishment has become one of the most controversial topics throughout the world. The debates on whether it's just and applied fairly has been a major issue for policy makers, the criminal justice system, and the general public. From a theoretical perspective, sentencing a criminal to death is considered as an effective means of providing justice to victims and their families. However, when this practice is examined carefully, it emerges as an unjust…
Civilization or Brutalism?
Capital Punishment in North Carolina
The threat of capital punishment has stood the test of time as the ultimate solution for any civilization to treat its unwanted criminals and enemies. As societies became more progressive, the form in which capital punishment took progressed as well, from poisons, nooses, electric shocks, firing squads, or even the good old axe to the neck, to modern chemicals whose sole intent is to stop the heart from beating. The way in which people may be executed has also developed, and with a modern court system has come the ability to seek several appeals to the justice system in order to delay and review cases for years. Because of the burden of the modern state, as terrible as some crime may be, capital punishment simply no longer makes economic sense. Also, psychologists have proven that the threat of capital punishment in no…
Economic View of the Death Penalty
In 1972, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty, as applied in three capital cases in the state of Georgia was "cruel and unusual punishment and in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Hastings and Johnson, 2001, paraphrased) A mere four years later the state of Georgia was once against before the Supreme Court in the case of Gregg v. Georgia, a case in which the decision handed down by the court found that the death penalty was in fact constitutional. (Hastings and Johnson, 2001, paraphrased) The objective of this study is to examine the practice of the death penalty from an economic perspective. Towards this end, this study will examine the literature in this area of study. According to a recent report there are several states considering abolition of the death penalty including…
She answered that no one had condemned her. Jesus then said to her, "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11).
Because the woman was not stoned in the end, many interpret it to mean that Jesus changed Mosaic law and then this argument is extended to capital punishment in general. However, Jesus still left the opportunity for her to be stoned. If one of the people in the crowd had been without sin, then the woman would have still been stoned. He did not tell them not to stone her, he only set a condition on who should cast the first stone. He said nothing about the second or third stone, only the first. Luckily, for the woman, there were no qualified takers who could cast the first stone. Therefore, Jesus did not abolish capital punishment in this passage.…
Islam Religion and Death Penalty:
Islam is a term that comes from an Arabic root word that means peace and submission that have always been used as the universal Muslim greeting. Based on the origin of this word, the Islamic religion teaches that peace can only be found through submission to Allah (Almighty God) in soul, heart, and deed. As a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion, Islam is articulated by the Qur'an, which is a book regarded as the precise word of God. The religion is also articulated by various teachings and example of Muhammad who is regarded as the last prophet of God. An individual who believes in and consciously adheres to the teachings of the Islamic faith is called a Muslim (Huda par, 2).
Muslims believe that Islam is the total and universal mode of prehistoric faith, which was revealed in the ancient days across the globe. In addition,…
Furthermore, while the Supreme Court has recently been proactive about protecting groups that have historically been especially vulnerable to the death penalty, such as the mentally retarded and the mentally ill, there is no reason to believe that the Court has any interest in outlawing the death penalty. Even the 1970s moratorium on the death penalty spoke to how it was implemented and never questioned the basic constitutional soundness of capital punishment. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that, absent a constitutional amendment banning the death penalty, the Court will ever completely outlaw the death penalty.
The arguments in opposition to the death penalty touch on a variety of moral issues. First, capital punishment costs much more than life imprisonment, and the necessary appeals clog the court system. This means that fewer financial resources are available for other areas of need, and it also reduces the right of others to access…
Capital Punishment Discriminatory? (Yes)
The death penalty is an arbitrary institution that is employed for a series of reasons that are unrelated to the crimes committed by actual persons (assuming, of course, that those sentenced to the death penalty are even guilty of the crimes that they have committed). Indeed, the death penalty is employed differently depending upon the race, gender, and wealth of accused person. These criteria are unacceptable for use in determining outcomes that will result in imminent death for accused persons. The death penalty, since it is influenced by these factors is used arbitrarily and must be stopped.
One of the most powerful and often used arguments, which notes that the application of the death penalty is spurious and often based on socioeconomic or other factors irrelevant to the severity of the crime itself, is that the death penalty is employed in a racist fashion. Indeed, this…
However, even with the restriction of capital punishment to crimes involving murder, several issues still remain that contribute heavily to public opinion.
Specifically, the methods used for execution in several states are susceptible to errors capable of causing extreme and prolonged suffering too often. That is because lethal injection involves the administration of several different intravenous drugs in a precise order; mistakes in the sequence can cause the condemned person to suffocate slowly while paralyzed instead of dying nearly instantaneously after the heart is stopped, as intended (Kaveny, 2008).
Another basis for moral concern expressed by many people is that poverty and minority racial classification are both statistically linked to higher conviction rates and capital sentences than non-minority citizens with financial resources (Schmalleger, 2001). Furthermore, DNA-based forensic techniques are now being applied to evidence preserved after its use at criminal trial decades ago. In several highly publicized instances, convict have…
" (Potter, 1999)
Supreme Court finally strikes down juvenile executions
On Mar. 1, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down once and for all juvenile executions in the United States, abandoning nations such as Nigeria, Congo, China, Pakistan and others whose records of human rights abuse are staggering.
The 5-4 decision reverses the death sentences of about 70 juvenile murderers and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes.
The executions, the court said, violate the Eighth Amendment's strict ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The ruling continues the court's practice of narrowing the scope of the death penalty, which justices reinstated in 1976. The court in 1988 outlawed executions for those 15 and younger when they committed their crimes. Three years ago, the Supreme Court justices banned executions of the mentally retarded.
Tuesday's ruling prevents states from making 16- and 17-year-olds eligible for execution.
The age of…
There is no appeals process after death.
The death penalty is also an ineffective crime-fighting tool. There is no correlation between instituting the death penalty and a lower crime rate. The Death Penalty Information web site: (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/)supports this, noting as well that in many states, non-capital crimes are punishable by death, such as "capital sexual battery" in Florida. (the Death Penalty, 2005, (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=144&scid=10)Logically, the notion of the death penalty as deterrence seems irrational, given that even crime depicted in "The Life of David Gale" would not be deterred by the death penalty. The film revolves around the tale of David Gale, a college professor in Texas, who is accused of murder and rape of a fellow activist. The film takes place while Gale is on death row, recounting his final testimony for a curious reporter. Even if Gale were guilty, which he is not, the crime is not one which…
This solution is applied, expressly or tacitly all over the world. The usual alternative for extremely serious crimes remain life imprisonment. However, "although nearly all member states [of the EU] provide for this type of punishment in their respective penal codes either as a possibility or mandatory, it is understood rather as a principle than as common knowledge" (Use of the Death Penalty Worldwide)
What would it take to work?
There is a big a step ahead that needs to be taken in order to abolish the death penalty, and it involves the mentality of the people. Many Americans are avid for larger and more powerful guns. How would such people accept that the dead penalty is inhumane? Perhaps social campaigns could prove useful in such a case.
What is the history of the death penalty in the U.S.
The United States have a long history of applying the death…
In Woodson v. North Carolina, the Court held that an offense may not carry a mandatory capital punishment sentence, concluding that it violated both the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments because it precluded consideration of factors such as the defendant's character and life experiences in coming to a punishment decision (Larson 2003). This decision was affirmed in Roberts v. Louisiana when the Court held that even where a state narrowly defines an offense for which capital punishment be given, a mandatory imposition of the death penalty is unconstitutional (Larson 2003).
In Zant v. Stephens, a petitioner again alleged that an aggravating circumstance listed in the Georgia capital sentencing statue was invalid, and although the Court rejected the claim, it addressed the constitutionality of aggravating circumstances (Larson 2003). The Court held that an aggravating circumstance must "genuinely narrow the class of persons eligible for the death penalty and must reasonably justify the…
For a punishment to be fair and equal, it should be implemented in every case, but as the author notes, each case is different, the circumstances and the way they are tried is different, and so, there are irregularities in the way the punishment is handed down.
The argument against abolishing the death penalty is strong and conclusive. The death penalty is a deterrent to crime, and it is a just punishment for some of the most heinous and premeditated crimes. It sends a strong message to the criminal world that violence will not be tolerated, and a majority of the American population supports it. The death penalty should not be used in every violent crime situation, but there are many situations where it is extremely appropriate. Life imprisonment, even without parole, is not nearly as much of a deterrent as death, and in addition, the death penalty ensures that…
4). They contend that most people on death row know they will not face execution, but will draw the legal fight out with appeals for as long as possible, and so, the death penalty is not a deterrent for them or others, because of the unlikelihood it will ever actually be carried out.
In addition, researchers argue that it is impossible to determine true deterrence with using time or similar defendants and punishment, there is no scientific way to conduct these tests effectively. Another researcher writes, "We have not been and never will be able to verify the deterrent effect of executions by conducting a 'controlled' scientific experiment, which would randomly assign either execution or some term of years to similarly situated defendants in similarly situated jurisdictions" (Steiker, 2005). In short, there is no real, reliable model to determine how many lives might be saved by executing prisoners, because each…
An interesting and similar development in juvenile justice is the issue of life imprisonment as a cruel and unusual sentence for juvenile offenders. This issue is addressed by Mark Sherman (2009). Sherman states that Joe Sullivan was 13 years old when he attacked and raped an elderly woman. The court judged him as incorrigible and therefore sentenced him to life without parole. Another example is that of Terrance Graham, who took part in several armed robberies during his 16th and 17th years, also given a life sentence for these crimes. The argument appears not to be against the punishment itself, but its disproportionate nature in terms of the crimes committed and the youth of the offenders. They did not commit murder, but were effectively sentenced to eventually die in prison; the replacement for the juvenile death penalty.
According to the author, data compiled by opponents indicate that only a little…
Here, just as the dominance of the Roman penal code would impose an acceptance of the death penalty upon adherents, so too would the Church begin to view the current patterns of social and civic order as demanding adaptation. Therefore, by the early 1990s and under Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Church officially began to pursue a more aggressive stance on stamping out the use of capital punishment where possible. This position would be articulated in the Pope's new Catechism of the Catholic Church. This would declare that while the death penalty could be seen as permissible in the most serious of cases, an effort at withholding from its invocation wherever possible should be pursued. (Overberg1, 1)
Accordingly, the Pope would declare that "public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for…
However, there are valid arguments on the other side of the debate as well, as pro-death penalty advocates will point out.
It can be said that abolishing the death penalty is actually what would devalue the human life because it would be disrespectful to the victims of murder. Because killing murderers will prevent them from killing anyone else, this is the best way to show value for human life. There are also reports that show that capital punishment does in fact deter crime. Between the years of 1965 and 1980, capital punishment was not very common and there were a great deal of murders. However, between the years of 1995 to 2000, executions rose, and murder rates dropped significantly. (Lowe) Those who believe the death penalty should be enforced also have an answer to the question of high costs of capital punishment. Cutting back on the appeals granted to those…
This can impact an ethnic group's thoughts of themselves, and individuals' self-confidence. If the death penalty is racist, therefore, action must be taken immediately. Because those who hold this view suggest that jury selection and preliminary court actions are racist, the court should institute checks on the court system in order to prevent this issue. Independent advocates for defendants should advice each of their rights in conjunction with their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or ethnicity. These advocates should encourage defendants to make known any discriminatory behavior as soon as it occurs. Furthermore, if the death penalty is really racist, the Supreme Court should consider again its abolition. If those who believe the death penalty is not racist, however, are correct, than action must also be taken. Similar precautions should be put into place to make sure allegations cannot be levied. Thus, both those who believe race plays a major…
and, that do to so would contradict Judeo-Christian values of morality (Wilson, 2009). Additionally, opponents of the death penalty note that there is no evidence that lethal punishment has any effect whatsoever on whether or not criminals will commit a murder; and, that retribution here does not help to bring about closure. Rather, it perpetuates the underlying violence and had a tendency to bring about more anger as opposed to peace. In the words of Jesuit Priest and Community Professor, Raymond a. Schroth, S.J., "It [capital punishment] contaminates the otherwise good will which any human being needs to progress in love and understanding" (Schroth, 2008). Thus, capital punishment as a means to provide retribution for families fails to take into consideration the immense toll that the process of putting another human being puts another under.
In addition to the foregoing reasons against capital punishment, a review of the implementation of…
Bringing Capital Punishment Down to Practicalities
While there are probably as many arguments for and against capital punishment as there are people on earth, historically there are two main philosophical viewpoints on which most arguments are based. These are the utilitarian viewpoint and the retributive viewpoint. Either one can be used to argue for or against capital punishment.
For example, the utilitarian argument holds that, "capital punishment is justified if it (1) prevents the criminal from repeating his crime; or (2) deters crime by discouraging would-be offenders," writes James Feiser in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Feiser also writes that, "The retributive notion of punishment in general is that a) as a foundational matter of justice, criminals deserve punishment, and (b) punishment should be equal to the harm done." He subdivides this philosophical basis for capital punishment into lex talionis retribution, which he describes as "an eye for an eye,"…
Racial Discrimination in the Context Of the Death Penalty
There is much controversy with regard to topics like racial discrimination and the death penalty in the contemporary society. When these two come together the matter is even more controversial, taking into account that opponents to both concepts can come together with the purpose of expressing their issues with the idea of racial discrimination cases in relationship with individuals sentenced to death. When considering that several studies have shown how non-white individuals are more likely to be provided with the death penalty, it appears that the authorities are to a certain degree unable to abandon prejudice when considering race and persons who commit serious crimes.
One of the first cases in the U.S. To raise public awareness concerning the dangers associated with individuals being sentenced to death on account of their skin color is the case of William L. Maxwell, a…
Police Officer Murder Death Penalty Scenario
The case of 20-year-old Jesse James, who was recently arrested for the alleged murder of a police officer, is one which is sure to arouse the public's sense of righteous indignation, with friends, family and fellow cops demanding that James be tried, convicted and executed for his crimes. As a newly elected prosecutor charged with the unenviable task of handling this contentious case, it is important to remember the importance of statutory guidelines and legislative precedence as the case proceeds, because any errors will likely result in James utilizing the expansive appeals process to delay, and possibly overturn, a decision to impose the death penalty. Automatic appeals lodged in the Court of Criminal Appeals, direct appeals to the Supreme Court, Habeas Corpus reviews on the state and federal levels, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and petitions for Executive Clemency are all avenues which…
Race on Sentencing in Capital Punishment
Different nations and states have the crime categories that they categorize as worth the death penalty, these, in most cases are crimes that are considered to be serious and are directly against humanity or can accrue to situations that cost lives. These laws are however growing less popular with time and people are condemning them from individuals to the civil society with the sole reason that there is no room to correct the behavior for the criminal and on the basis of sanctity of life.
Within the U.S.A. death penalty majorly applies to the murder convicts and some other serious capital offences. It has been ruled by the Supreme Court that capital punishment is constitutional and not just some cruel and unusual punishment as provided for in the 8th and 14th amendments of the constitution (National Museum of Crime & Punishment, 2008).
Corporal Punishment Death Penalty
The death penalty, as well as corporal punishment in general is one of the most controversial issues in America today. It cannot fail to elicit mixed responses within individuals, especially those with very strong convictions about life, right and wrong and also faith. Few people are neutral on the subject even though many people think that it is simply a fact of life associated with the nature of the penal system in this country. The example having been set centuries ago, many people think of it as a simple expression of history, and dismiss it in kind because of its historical nature, falsely believing it to be a deterrent for heinous acts of brutality and unaware that the United States is one of the only developed nations that still employs the death penalty.
Bienen) "Abolitionists claim that although the death penalty was considered an acceptable practice…
Regardless of the source of the ethical view there is rising tides that express the evolving attitude that the death penalty, in any case is not a deterrent and is ethically wrong, regardless of the crime or the circumstances of it. The ethical implications of this ruling clearly create issues surrounding age of consent, as the determining factor of the decision, if an individual is not of the age to consent to vote, joint the military, or even buy alcohol, cigarettes or even a lottery ticket in most states they should therefore not be of the age to consent to an understanding of or a level of lethal responsibility for their violent actions.
The ruling clearly demonstrates an adherence with the historical juvenile justice system's stand on juvenile crime, as the system is structured to develop the idea that crimes, and sometimes even violent ones committed by individuals…
Disagree: trying to get tough on gun crimes, especially through mandatory prison sentences, will not reduce gun-related crimes
Getting "tough on crime" has become a political code in the United States. The phrase has become a Republican Party platform issue and one used to galvanize citizens, one that signals the righteous intolerance of criminals but is a thinly cloaked measure for social control. Of course, Americans should hope for a society that is as crime-free as possible, one that does not restrict the right of citizens to possess a weapon while at the same time prohibiting criminals from doing the same. Tough on crime laws and mandatory prison sentences are not viable means of reducing gun-related crimes, though.
The way that "tough on crime" laws are phrased garners attention and votes. Voters have a hard time turning anti-gun laws down, but for the wrong reasons. The tough on crime laws…
Bad Opinions Death Penalty
Justice or Death?
There has been a significant amount of debate surrounding the issue of the death penalty, particularly as it applies to the United States criminal justice system. Those in favor of utilizing this punitive measure as an ultimate deterrent and as a means of providing a sense of closure for family members and friends of both actual and potential victims may very well have possibly overlooked two very salient points about this issue. The first is related to the fiscal responsibilities that tax payers incur at the state and municipal level -- put simply, it costs a significant amount of money to execute a criminal (if he or she actually even is guilty). Furthermore, the savage act of killing someone for the fact that he or she may have killed someone else largely constitutes a violation of the "cruel and unusual clause" in the…
Various objections to capital punishment hinge on religious beliefs. On the other hand, the American justice system does not recognize religious principles.
Capital punishment also raises numerous ethical issues pertaining to the likelihood of errors in its administration. Lethal injection, for example, causes excruciating pain and a slow death from prolonged suffocation instead of instantaneous death if it is performed incorrectly. If suffering of this nature were considered torture when inflicted purposely, what incidence of error would be enough to prohibit lethal injection altogether on ethical grounds? Finally, does the prospect of erroneous conviction or disproportionate application to the poor or to racial minorities undermine all the other ethical justifications for capital punishment?
Rosenstand, N. (2008). The Moral of the Story: An Introduction to Ethics. New York:…
Mark Constanzo discussed the argument of deterrence as well, by stating that "Fear of the execution chamber will restrain potential murderers" (Constanzo, 95). However, the author acknowledges that the reality is different in that murder rates have not decreased but instead they increased. Constanzo is against death penalty, and believes that people are perfectible and may change. He used the argument of discrimination against capital punishment by stating that wealth, social status, race etc. play an important role in convictions. Moreover Constanzo used moral and religious arguments against death penalty. For instance he considers the practices related and the methods applied to kill murderers (lethal injection, hanging, burning, poisoning etc.) as dehumanizing and sinful for the individual and society.
In conclusion, law professor Ernest van den Haag supports death penalty, and puts forth arguments related to deterrence, retribution and justice. On the other hand, psychologist Mark Costanzo denies that the…
The desperation evident in the tone of the book makes it clear that this preservation is a last ditch effort, and would be unnecessary if taking a life was truly disallowed.
Towards the end of the book, when Capote is both narrating Smith's writing of his account of his own life and presenting large chunks of this narrative in what purports to be Smith's own hand, Capote comments that "Smith's pencil sped almost indecipherably as he hurried," signaling the extreme desperation on the part of this author, as well (Capote 339). The taking of a life is something that cannot be condoned, but the psychological anguish Smith goes through is worse than the deaths he inflicted in his crimes. It is certainly arguable that Smith deserves such anguish and worse, but society deserves better than to be responsible for inflicting such torture. When life is held in enough esteem to…
Women and the Death Penalty Analysis
An Analysis of the Historical Effect of Gender and Race on the Application of the Death Penalty in the United States
While the debate over capital punishment continues to rage in the United States, questions of why the death penalty is viewed as ethical by some, while others would view it as unethical become increasingly significant. In addition, there are new controversies concerning the ethical nature of the death penalty in view of new technology such as DNA evidence that has cleared many death row prisoners. The ethical debate over the death penalty has resulted in the practice being abolished in most industrialized nations, and the United States remains the only advanced country in the world with the death penalty (with the exception of Belgium, where the practice is legal but is virtually nonexistent). However, capital punishment remains a viable punishment for capital crimes…
Racial Discrimination and the Death Penalty
The United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that at the end of the year 2000 that there was 1,381,892 total number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of federal or state adult correctional authorities (State pp). During 2000, the prison population rose at the lowest rate since 1972 and had the smallest absolute increase since 1980 (State pp). Relative to the number of U.S. residents the rate of incarceration in prisons was 478 sentenced inmates per 100,000 residents, up from 292 in 1990, or one in every 109 men and one in every 1,695 women (State pp). In 1999, there were 3,527 individuals under the sentence of death and 84 executions (State pp).
Donna Coker reports in the June 22, 2003 issue of Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology that for the past several years the official incarceration data has revealed…
bias against minorities in death penalty sentences. The writer uses a research approach to analyze this hypothesis. One of the things the writer does is critique literature that has already been published about the topic. At that point the writer discusses the literature's impact and validity and draws an independent conclusion. There were seven sources used to complete this paper.
America has waffled on the topic of capital punishment since the nation's infancy. There are some eras in which the nation's people stood firmly behind the death penalty and believed the adage "an eye for an eye," while at other times the voters have stopped the allowance of execution as a punishment. With each change there are those who are advocates and those who are detractors from the principle itself. Whether or not the death penalty is a viable solution for crime diversion is still under debate. In addition to…
S. has a greater crime problem than other nations would, if it were sufficiently bad, also justify torture by the author's criteria. To my mind, the relevant issue is that many countries impose much more barbaric sanctions, such as cutting off limbs, stoning, and other brutal forms of cruel capital punishment. I would regard humane capital punishment as morally preferable, particularly in conjunction with the U.S. constitutional protections.
I would strongly disagree with the author's position that the death penalty is no longer (especially in 1985) routinely imposed in error, as well as with the author's position that the death penalty is no longer imposed in a discriminatory manner. Specifically, since this essay was written, the field of DNA science has demonstrated time and again that there is a definite risk of wrongful imposition and that is, perhaps, the strongest of all possible objections, especially given the profound importance of…
Capital punishment [...] both sides of the controversy and provide some conclusions as to what should be done regarding capital punishment in America today. Capital punishment is a controversial issue in the United States, with both sides making emotional and viable arguments for and against the use of capital punishment in crime. There are other alternatives to capital punishment, but in the end, are they as effective as the death penalty? This is one of the issues facing this important topic today.
The Cons of Capital Punishment
Those who oppose capital punishment do so for a variety of reasons, from religious to moral, from human rights to an aversion to murder of any kind. Whatever their reasoning, opponents of capital punishment actually form a minority in the United States. Studies continually show that most Americans approve of capital punishment, especially for violent crimes such as murder. However, the United States…
It appears that they were not aware of the situation with Williams when it came to the mental illness and the child abuse, but it is also possible that they kept silent about the issue against an attorney that they knew to be incompetent in order to get a conviction. Speculation is all that is available on that issue where the prosecution is concerned since accounts of what happened to Alexander Williams do not indicate whether the prosecution had knowledge of the mental health problems that Williams had and/or the abusive home that he came from.
THE ATTORNEY'S INVESTIGATION
Perhaps this section should be more appropriately called 'the attorney's lack of investigation,' as that is largely what took place. There were many mitigating circumstances that surrounded Alexander Williams and the murder that he committed, but the incompetent attorney that was assigned to him failed to investigate any of them (Juvenile,…
adults have an episode or two from their youth of which they are not extremely proud. Perhaps it involved sneaking a beer (or several beers) at a social function, or lying about one's plans for the evening to get permission to attend a questionable event. Most kids have learned the hard way on at least a few experiences -- speeding, missing curfew, or cheating on a test. Younger children are taught that taking a pack of gum from the store without paying for it is wrong, and that there are certain words on television that they shouldn't repeat in school. We accept these facts of life fairly easily; minors aren't mentally or socially equipped to know how they should behave all of the time. Children have to be taught about social mores, and teenagers test authority without considering the consequences in a way that most adults would. Lawbreaking -- whether…
Wrongful Executions Are Likely
There have been cases where people are convicted and sentenced to death although they were innocent and committed no crime. "In the United States not only do countless men and women get arrested for murders they did not commit -- they get convicted and often sentenced to death as well. Occasionally they are even executed" (Robert M. Baird, et al., p.141). When such executions are likely and they do occur then death penalty should be abolished. Advocates of death penalty would surely not take the responsibility of any such faulty convictions.
IS the DEATH PENALTY JUST?
When the system is infected with diseases like discrimination then death penalty is definitely not just. Moreover with wrongful executions taking place the whole idea of death sentences should be abolished. There are many aspects to death sentences which should be taken into consideration before one can come to…
1444 South Pinnacle Drive
Head of Political Science
1250 W Wisconsin Avenue
Dear Mr. McAdams,
REF: The Case against the Death Penalty
The death penalty is a form of punishment used to punish offenders for capital crimes or capital offenses such as treason, murder, and armed robbery. This form of punishment is used by states to execute people who are found guilty of various crimes that are commonly known as capital crimes or offenses. However, the use of this form of punishment varies across countries and states depending on the existing regulations that define the type of capital crimes that are punishable by the death sentence or penalty. In the past few years, capital punishment has become increasingly controversial and attracted several debates between proponents (like you) and opponents (like me). Following an analysis of arguments and counter-arguments, I hold the view that the death penalty…
" (Overburg, 2000) Jesus implores his followers to turn the other cheek.
The example of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, also reminds Catholics "in the prophetic tradition Jesus rejected violence, oppression and alienation. His life and teachings invited people into a new style of living: the reign of God. Intimacy and trust, compassion and forgiveness, concern for justice and nonviolence were key aspects of this new life." (Overburg, 2000) in other words, it is easy to forgive small offences. To forgive large offenses in the tradition of Christ is what is difficult. "What should we forgive? The first response to this question is, quite simply, everything we can," as Catholics, suggests Maria Harris. (Harris, 2000)
She provides the humbling examples in other parts of the world where different groups have struggled with the issue of forgiveness of the most horrifying acts. For instance, Australians have proclaimed a day of forgiveness…
This paper will examine the film Dead Man Walking as a means of discussing the greater issue of capital punishment. This paper will make the argument that while capital punishment is largely not beneficial for society, it does have a place in the justice system in certain occasions. These circumstances largely involve remorseless serial killers who are unable to be rehabilitated.
The 1995 film Dead Man Walking directed by Tim Robbins and based on the book by the nun who lived the story, Helen Prejean. The film has the truly difficult task of telling the story of the complexities of capital punishment in America. The film shows us the struggle that a nun has in attempting to comfort and help both a murderer on death row and the families of the victims he killed. The film was critically well-received and is able to strike a strong balance between the various…
Jail Time and Death Penalty: Finding New Ways to Deter Criminal Behavior
Jail Time and Death Penalty: A Deterrent?
For years many law enforcement agencies have relied on the assumption that jail time or the death penalty serve as adequate deterrents to crime or criminal activity. However multiple studies confirm that jail time and the death penalty are not effective methods alone for deterring criminals. Because of this it is important that law enforcement agents, government officials and community members work together to uncover effective tools for deterring crime and discouraging criminals from repeating crimes after release.
Jail time and the death penalty do not deter crime. Early Gallup Polls conducted in the 1980s and 1990s show that while roughly two thirds of Americans and law enforcement agents support the death penalty, there is inadequate evidence supporting its use as an effective deterrent to crime (Akers & Radelet, 1996). Many…
murderers receive death penalties?
Should the Death Penalty Be Mandatory for People Who Kill Other People?
"Let the punishment fit the crime" states McCarthy who, like many other American citizens feel, that supports the death penalty.
Gallup's annual October Gallup Poll in Princeton, NJ's Social Series indicated that in October 2007, approximately 69% of Americans support the death penalty
While many Americans feel that offenders who are convicted and are awaiting sentencing are treated unfair because the lack of money that makes a difference in their trials, nearly ae of the U.S. population support death sentences since they feel that it is the only way to ensure the safety of people, ethically many people feel that it is the only way for justice to be served when murders takes another person's life, and people who are religious feel that the death penalty was first established by God because…
The statistics also show that plea bargain decisions are biased against black defendants. The United States for example entered into a plea bargain with forty-eight percent of white defendants, while doing so for only twenty-five percent of black defendants. Bass's statistics also show that there is a huge discrepancy between death penalty charges for whites and blacks: sixteen percent of whites are charged with firearms murder while thirty-two percent of blacks are charged with the same crime. These statistics clearly show that there is a racial bias in the system.
The Supreme Court claims that its reverse of the original decision in Bass's favor is overturned, because of a lack of evidence in the defendant's specific case, and the failure to show both a discriminatory effect and intent. However, this does not appear entirely true. The statistics speak for themselves. The fact that they pertain to country-wide cases is indicative…
The death penalty is back in the media again. Scott Peterson, convicted of murdering his wife and his nearly full-term unborn child, received the death sentence. This sentence had been recommended by the jury who convicted him. Peterson was immediately moved to San Quentin, where he will await execution. What is remarkable about this is that according to Court TV, there are already over 660 other prisoners on "death row" in California.
Also according to Court TV, Peterson has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Recently the Supreme Court rules that those who are mentally retarded and have committed crimes cannot be sentenced to death. The question arises, will they next include mental illness as a reason to block the use of the death penalty? If so, would all mental illnesses be included? Should someone like Scott Peterson be sentenced to life without chance of parole instead of death…
The death penalty should exist as a deterrent but only in a society where the criminal justice system is aligned with social justice—i.e., in a state where there is no deviation from the way the community views justice and from the way the criminal justice system views justice. Criminal justice and social justice must be in accordance, as Bazelon asserts, in order for a system of law to work, to be fair, to be equitable, and to be effective. In a society where social justice is at odds with criminal justice, the death penalty may not be prescribed as a deterrent to murder because the two systems—social justice and criminal justice—are out of alignment. When social justice and criminal justice are in harmony, the death penalty may therefore be appropriately administered as a deterrent for murder. In this harmony, it is acknowledged by society that the criminal justice system, that…
Last Duchess';'Punishment'; 'Capital Punishment'
Three Poems of Decentralization and Marginalization: Browning's "My Last Duchess; Heaney's "Punishment"; and Alexie's "Capital Punishment"
Within the poems "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning; Punishment by Seamus Heaney; and "Capital Punishment" by Sherman Alexie, all three authors deal, although in much different ways, with shifting, and often surprising, relationships between centrality and marginality: of speaker, subject, or both. In Browning's "My Last Duchess, for example the speaker, a duke (the sort of figure one least expects to say or do anything that might cause him to be seen as "marginal," or even unusual, recollects in detail the various jealousy-provoking and ultimately fatal behaviors of his "last duchess." These, at least in the speaker's mind, have given him justifiable cause to kill her. All that remains of her now is her portrait on the wall. In this essay, I will analyze ways that all three poems…
Capital Punishment and Who Gets to Decide the Final Law.
Capital punishment is the act of executing a person found guilty (in a court of law) of committing a particular crime. Capital punishment can only be utilized by governments, so in cases where non-state parties 'execute' an individual and claim it is capital punishment, it is not, and in that case, the parties will have committed murder. Capital punishment is often only utilized as a punishment for very serious crimes, such as rape, adultery, certain types of fraud, and treason. These crimes are referred to as capital crimes. Though many nations have outlawed capital punishment, many countries around the globe still allow it (BBC, n.d.). Statistics revealed in May 2012 by the global human rights group, Amnesty International, reveal that as many as 141 nations have abolished capital punishment either by law or practice (Amnesty International, 2012).
Some of the…