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Capital Punishment

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Category: Miscellaneous

Autor: anton 31 October 2010

Words: 882 | Pages: 4

Capital punishment is a method of retributive punishment as old as civilization itself. Anti-death penalty supporters argue the death penalty is unconstitutional. Capital punishment is a barbaric remnant of an uncivilized society. It is immoral in principle, and unfair, and discriminatory in practice. It assures the execution of some innocent people. As a remedy for crime, it has no purpose and no effect. The arguments against capital punishment are many and cogent.

Capital punishment is irrevocable, and the errors of justice cannot be rectified. All possibility of reconsideration is taken away. Innocent persons have been hanged, and judge, jury, and the legal machinery involved have thereby been made a privy to the very crime they sought to punish. The only way to destroy a criminal is by reforming the man who is a criminal. To destroy a criminal is by reforming the man who is a criminal. To destroy his bodily life is nothing but a stupid blunder.

The strongest argument against using capital punishment for retributive purposes, is the argument that capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment. The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, condemning cruel and unusual punishment, is used to protest capital punishment. Officials often defend this punishment as not being cruel and unusual, but how can they defend this opinion in the case of John Evans, who was executed by electrocution in 1983? According to witnesses at the scene, Mr. Evans was given three charges of electrocution over a period of fourteen minutes. After the first and second charges, Mr. Evans was still conscious and smoke was coming from all over his body as a result of flesh burning. An official there even tried to stop the

execution on account of it being cruel and unusual punishment, but was unsuccessful. Witnesses later called the whole incident a "barbaric ritual." Studies show that in this century at least four-hundred innocent people have been convicted of capital crimes that they did not commit, and of those four-hundred, twenty-three were executed. The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified. Maybe the punishment would not be as bad if there was absolute surety that the person the jury was putting on death row was guilty, but as most systems in the United States and else where, the capital punishment system has its serious faults.

Capital punishment goes against almost every religion. Although isolated passages of the Bible have been quoted in support of the death penalty, almost all religious groups in the United States regard executions as immoral. Capital punishment is also an ineffective punishment for those who commit crimes seeing the death penalty as the "easy way out." Killing whether carried out by an individual or the state, is immoral and ought not to be condemned. The death penalty is barbaric anachronism and should be abolished. We teach our children that it is not right to kill. Even the sixth commandment of the Bible says, "Thall shalt not kill." Still we take the role in the Judicial system and chose who lives and who dies not only are we being hypocritical to what we say our morals are, but we are also teaching our children that it is okay to kill certain people and it is by this that capital punishment is still practiced today.

On a national basis the additional cost of trying a death penalty case over a normal murder case has totaled over one billion dollars since 1976. A report from the Judicial conference of the United States showed that defense costs in death penalty cases were four times higher than non death penalty cases. Because of the faulty capital punishment systems ignorance to the subject, many people who are pro-capital punishment argue that it would cost less to just go ahead and finish the prisoner

off than to pay for their living habits in jail for the rest of the prisoners life. Due to the turning public

opinion against the death penalty and the many external costs associated with it, the best solution would be to abolish it and replace it with a life without possibility of parole and restitution to the victims family law. This would reduce the excessive costs of trying and executing death row inmates as well as eliminate wrongful executions, give the family of the victims some restitution and strongly punish the criminal.

Finally, critics of capital punishment argue that the true basis of retributive justifications of capital punishment is not at all foundational, but instead rooted in psychological feelings of vengeance. Even if we grant that vengeance is a natural human emotion, critics argue that it is an impulse which should be tempered, just as we do natural feelings of fear, lust, and greed. Laws about punishment, then, should not be grounded in our extreme feelings, but should instead be based on our more tempered ones. When we moderate our natural feelings of vengeance, there should be little inclination to execute criminals.

Works Cited

"Against Capital Punishment." Sunrise April/May 1998.

Kay, Walter. "Capitol Punishment."

Ten Commandments radio program delivered in the early 90's.

Gross, R. and Robert Mauro. Death and Discrimination.

Northeastern University Press, 1989

Bohm, Robert M.. ed. The Death Penalty in America: Current Research.

Anderson Publishing Co., 1991

Radelet, Michael L. ed. Facing the Death Penalty.

Temple University Press, 1989

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