for crimes as minor as the fraudulent sale of beer(Flanders 3). Egyptians
could be put to death for disclosing the location of sacred burial
application of the death penalty have
controversy has never been greater.
A prisoner’s death wish cannot grant a right not otherwise possessed.
The death penalty is irrational- a fact that should carry considerable weight
always been a religious punishment and is reconcilable with humanism.” In
customs” from the cruel
raise immediate misgivings for freethinkers.
other people that killing people is wrong? Humanity becomes associated with
murderers when it replicate their deeds. Would society allow rape as the
penalty for rape or the burning of
arsonists’ homes as the penalty for arson?
state this power eliminates the individual’s most effective shield against
tyranny of the majority and is inconsistent with democratic principles.
killings. Quite a few leaders in the abolishment movement became involved
addition to justice- was they
wanted all the publicity to be over. Yet. if it wasn’t for the sensationalism
first place. Murderers would be quietly and safely put away for life with
absolutely no possibility for parole.
cruel and unusual punishment. The grotesque killing of Robert
Harris by the state of California on April 21,1992, and similar
reports of witnesses to hangings and lethal injections should leave
doubt that the dying process can be- and often is -grossly
inhumane, regardless of method(Flanders 16).
The death penalty is often used for political gain.
execution of Rickey Ray Rector, a mentally retarded, indigent black man.
Political Analysts believe that when
the death penalty becomes an issue in a campaign, the candidate favoring
capital punishment almost inevitably will benefit.
Capital punishment discriminates against the poor. Although murderers come
from all classes, those on death row are almost without exception poor and
were living in poverty at the they were arrested. The majority of death-row
inmates were or are represented
by court-appointed public defenders- and the state is not obligated to provide
an attorney at all for appeals beyond the state level.
death-row inmates are black, whereas only 8 percent of the population as a
whole are black(Flanders 25). In cases with white victims, black defendants
defendants who had similar
five to ten times greater in cases with white victims than black
person is worth more than the life of
a black person.
The mentally retarded are victimized by the death penalty.
Since 1989, when the Supreme Court upheld killing of the mentally retarded, at
least four such executions have occurred. According to the Southern Center for
Human Rights, at least 10 percent of death row inmates in the United States
are mentally retarded(Long 79).
Juveniles are subject to the death penalty. Since state execution of
juveniles also became permissible in the decision cited above, at least five
people who were juveniles when their crimes were committed have executed(Long
Innocent people can-and have been- executed. With the death penalty errors
are irreversible. According to a 1987 study, 23 people who were innocent of
the crimes for which they were convicted were executed between 1900 and
reason enough to abolish the death penalty at the hands of the state more
dedicated to vengeance than to truth and justice.
shouldn’t have to “support” condemned people for an entire lifetime in prison-
truth is that the cost of state killing is up to three times the cost of
imprisonment(Long 80). Judges and others are reluctant- as they should be- to
executions of more innocent people.
The death penalty has been imposed most for murders committed during the
course of another felony. Aggravating circumstances for murder are defined in
the applicable death penalty statute. Circumstances considered for murder
-The crime was particularly vile, atrocious, or cruel.
-There were multiple victims.
-The crime occurred during the commission of another felony.
-The offender was previously convicted of a capital offense or violent crime.
-The offender directed an accomplice to commit the murder or committed the
murder at the direction of another person.
In the novel, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, the main characters
to their demise:
-The multiple victims included all four of the Clutter family.
-The event occurred during an attempted robbery.
-Both were former inmates and had previous dealings with the law.
-Dick had chosen Perry for his instinct as a “Natural Born Killer”.
Further,it seems that both Dick and Perry fell almost directly under the
common background of one convicted of death. The death penalty is flawed in
many facets. Juries in rural counties are more
likely to impose the death penalty than those in urban areas. Dick and Perry
were convicted in Garden City, a small to moderate sized town. Both Dick and
Perry were unemployed, poor, white criminals whose actions wrecked havoc not
surrounding areas. This only justifies and reinforces the points stated above
that capital punishment is biased, racist, and is harmful not only to the
offenders themselves, but to the entire community.
theory, but with the method. However, all was lost when four years later, the
decision was once more revised and ruled the death penalty once more legal.
Death row will continue to expand. It is almost certain that the rising level
of executions will be widely condemned. The future of capital punishment may
millions of dollars. The
enormous volume of continuing appeals strain both federal and state court
systems. Unless workable solutions are found to the practical difficulties
involved in the administration of the death penalty. American society
eventually may decide to significantly restrict or
even abandon capital punishment.
Flanders, Stephen A. Capital Punishment. New York, NY: Facts on
Long, Robert Emmet. Criminal Sentencing. New York, NY: H.W.