Why Death Penalties Should Be Legal
Some people who have lost a loved one to murder believe they cannot rest until the murderer has been executed. But this feeling is by no means universal. Coretta Scott King noted, “As someone whose husband and mother-in-law died in murder and murder, I strongly and unequivocally oppose the death penalty for those convicted of capital crimes. A bad deed is not redeemed by an evil act of retaliation. Justice is never promoted when it comes to taking someone`s life. Morality is never maintained by legalized murder. (Address to the National Coalition for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, Washington, D.C., September 26, 1981) Some 2,000 men, women and young people are currently waiting on American “death row.” Their time is getting shorter as federal and state courts increasingly ratify death penalty laws, speeding up executions. Any of these executions are unlikely to make headlines after becoming more or less routine over the past decade. Indeed, recent opinion polls show broad support for the death penalty.
But human rights and civil rights activists continue to condemn the immorality of state-sanctioned killings in the United States, the only Western industrialized country that continues to use the death penalty. Is the death penalty moral? Innocent people are too often sentenced to death. Since 1973, more than 156 people in 26 states have been released from death row for innocence. At the national level, at least one person is exempt for every 10 persons executed. Today, the death penalty is not used for traffic violations, minor drug offenses or even physical assault. The death penalty is now used almost exclusively to punish murderers, and usually quite heinous murderers. Serial killers, child murderers, mass shooters. These are the guys who get the death penalty today.
The death penalty is THE ultimate justice for those who commit the ultimate crime. The death penalty not only wastes lives, but also wastes money. Contrary to popular belief, it is much more expensive to execute a person than to imprison them for life. The finality of the death penalty rightly requires that important procedural provisions be made at all stages of the death penalty in order to minimize the likelihood of error. As a result, conducting a single capital case costs about three times more than a person`s prison sentence for their remaining life expectancy, which is about 40 years. Amnesty`s work to abolish the death penalty is also supported by its incredible activists, who are committed to fighting this abhorrent practice. A majority of States (29) have the death penalty on their books. Similarly, the federal government and the military have the ultimate punishment for the most heinous crimes. In 1972, the Supreme Court stated that under the laws in force at the time, “the imposition and execution of the death penalty . constitutes cruel and unusual punishment that violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Furman v.
Georgia, 408 U.S. 238). The court focused its objections on how the death penalty laws had been enforced, deeming the result so “harsh, crazy and arbitrary” that it was constitutionally unacceptable. To make the national impact of its decision unambiguous, the court overturned death sentences in the many cases pending at the time, which involved a variety of laws, crimes, and state acts. The proportion of first-degree murderers sentenced to death is low, and an even smaller proportion of people are executed by this group. Although the number of death sentences reached about 300 per year in the mid-1990s, this still accounts for only about one percent of all homicides known to police. Of all those convicted of murder, only 3% – about 1 in 33 – are eventually sentenced to death. Between 2001 and 2009, the average number of death sentences per year fell to 137, further reducing this percentage. This tiny fraction of convicted murderers is not “the worst of the worst.” We all make mistakes in life – sometimes the little ones like to forget about homework, sometimes the big ones like murdering someone.
When we kill murderers, they never have the chance to learn from their mistakes or make a positive contribution to the world. Imagine if we killed someone who could have found a cure for cancer? Finally, death penalty advocates argue that justice requires that those convicted of heinous crimes of murder be sentenced to death. Justice is essentially about ensuring that everyone is treated equally. It is unfair for a criminal to intentionally and unjustly inflict greater losses on others than they have to bear. If the losses that society inflicts on criminals are less than those that criminals inflict on their innocent victims, society would favour criminals and allow them to bear fewer costs than their victims have to bear. Justice requires society to impose on criminals losses equivalent to those inflicted on innocent people. By inflicting death on those who intentionally inflict others, the death penalty ensures justice for all. Those who have tackled the difficult task of actually trying to devise ways to channel the discretionary power of the death penalty have confirmed the lesson of history.
Identifying in advance the characteristics of homicides and their perpetrators that require the death penalty and expressing these characteristics in a language that can be properly understood and applied by the sentencing authority seems to be a task beyond current human capabilities. (402 U.S. 183 (1971)) Governments must take into account many different elements when deciding whether or not to sentence a person to death – or even to impose the death penalty in their countries. And one of those things is money. How much does the death penalty cost compared to other forms of punishment, such as prison?www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlycRm9Fh7w The same goes for countries that have retained it and seen the murder rate rise – this could have happened even if they had abolished the death penalty. We have no way of seeing these alternate realities, so we can`t prove that these numbers mean what we think they mean. Since 1900, there have been on average more than four cases a year in which a completely innocent person has been convicted of murder. Dozens of these people were sentenced to death.
In many cases, a pardon or commutation of sentence came only a few hours or even minutes before the scheduled execution. These false convictions have occurred in virtually every jurisdiction across the country. Nor have they decreased in recent years, despite new death penalty laws approved by the Supreme Court. Every day, people are executed and sentenced to death by the state to punish various crimes – sometimes for acts that should not be criminalized. In some countries it may be drug-related offences, in others it is reserved for terrorist acts and murder. If it is illegal to kill, why is it acceptable for the state to do so? Isn`t that the wrong signal? Killing someone is wrong or right, and our society said it was wrong and did it against the law – so why is the government allowed to break that law? In 2011, in California, a broad coalition of organizations called Taxpayers for Justice put the abolition of the death penalty on the 2012 ballot, in part because of the high cost documented by a recent study that found the state had already spent $4 billion on the death penalty. resulting in 13 executions. The group includes more than 100 law enforcement officers, as well as lawyers for victims of crime and exonerated persons. Among them is former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti, whose office prosecuted dozens of landmark cases during his 32 years as prosecutor.
He said: “My frustration has more to do with the fact that the death penalty is useless and very expensive.” Don Heller, a Republican and former prosecutor, wrote: “I am confident that at least one innocent person could have been executed under the current death penalty law. That was not my intention, and I do not think it was the intention of the electorate, which overwhelmingly passed the death penalty law in 1978. We did not consider this terrible possibility. Heller stressed that he is not “lenient on crime,” but that “a life without parole protects public safety better than a death sentence.” In addition, he said money spent on the death penalty could be better spent elsewhere as California cuts funding for police and prosecutors.