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Ethics and the Death Penalty

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Ethics and the Death penalty

Kerry-Ann Watson

Mind and Machine

Instructor: Pamela Klem

October 4, 2011

Even though the death penalty give some since of closer to some of the victims' families and the offender will never be able to commit such an act on anyone else, I still feel killing to punish killers is a contradiction. Because the death penalty is not a strong deterrent for some to not commit murder, other ways of punishing the people in society that commit these act of murder should be explored, Because taking a life is all the same whether it is in prison, on the streets, or in a hospital.

The justice system is flawed and is stacked against the poor and impoverished according to an article written by Hugo Adam Bedau for rcn.com -"Discrimination against the poor (and in our society racial minorities are disproportionately poor) is also well established. "Approximately ninety percent of those on death row could not afford to hire a lawyer when they were tried."(28) A defendant's poverty, lack of firm social roots in the community, inadequate legal representation at trial or on appeal--all these have been common factors among death-row populations. As Justice William O. Douglas noted in Furman, "One searches our chronicles in vain for the execution of any member of the affluent strata in this society." (408 U.S. 238)" this is part of the many reason why I am against the system is not set up for equality and fairness. Things that can prove your innocents or guilty gets excluded from trial because of technicalities now you tell me how is that fair.

On the other side of the debate the death penalty is a good tool to use in helping to keep order in our society. It should serve as a deterrent for those who are thinking of commit these kinds of acts of violence. According to balancedpolitics.org the top three reason why they are for the death penalty are 1. "The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much. Some family members of crime victims may take years or decades to recover from the shock and loss of a loved one. Some may never recover. One of the things that helps hasten this recovery is to achieve some kind of closure. Life in prison just means the criminal is still around to haunt the victim. A death sentence brings finality to a horrible chapter in the lives of these family members". 2. "It creates another form of crime deterrent. Crime would run rampant as never before if there wasn't some way to deter people from committing the acts. Prison time is an effective deterrent, but with some people, more is needed. Prosecutors should have the option of using a variety of punishments in order to minimize crime". 3. "Justice is better served. The most fundamental principle of justice is that the punishment should fit the crime. When someone plans and brutally murders another person, doesn't it make sense that the punishment for the perpetrator also be death"? In my option most of the people that commit these types of crime welcome the relief that death will bring to them, they are often torched by the memory of what they did and would welcome the opportunity for relief even if the relief is death. Others like serial killers such as Ted Bundy- Killer & rapist of women. Jeffrey Dahmer- killed at least 17 men and young boys, Albert Fish- molester of young boys and murder. All these men were tried and convicted of horrendous crimes but not all were put to death what makes one crime more worthy of death than the other. I state this fact to show the inconstancy in our justice system. The system is not unified what makes it ok for one state to put to a person to death and another state to say it is not ok. Our country is divided and we need to stand together and put an end to this in human practice. More recently Troy Davis was put to death for killing a off duty police officer her is the story as written in the Times U.S- "Georgia executed Troy Davis on Wednesday night for the murder of an off-duty police officer, a crime he denied committing right to the end as supporters around the world mourned and declared that an innocent man was put to death.

Defiant to the end, he told relatives of Mark MacPhail that his 1989 slaying was not his fault. "I did not have a gun," he insisted.

"For those about to take my life," he told prison officials, "may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls."

Davis was declared dead at 11:08. The lethal injection began about 15 minutes earlier, after the Supreme Court rejected an 11th-hour request for a stay.

The court did not comment on its order, which came about four hours after it received the request and more than three hours after the planned execution time.

Though Davis' attorneys said seven of nine key witnesses against him disputed all or parts of their testimony, state and federal judges repeatedly ruled against granting him a new trial. As the court losses piled up Wednesday, his offer to take a polygraph test was rejected and the pardons board refused to give him one more hearing.

Davis' supporters staged vigils in the U.S. and Europe, declaring "I am Troy Davis" on signs, T-shirts and the Internet. Some tried increasingly frenzied measures, urging prison workers to stay home and even posting a judge's phone number online, hoping people will press him to put a stop to the lethal injection. President Barack Obama deflected calls for him to get involved.

"They say death row; we say hell no!" protesters shouted outside the Jackson prison where Davis was to be executed. In Washington, a crowd outside the Supreme Court yelled the same chant.

As many as 700 demonstrators gathered outside the prison as a few dozen riot police stood watch, but the crowd thinned as the night wore on and the outcome became clear. The scene turned eerily quiet as word of the high court's decision spread, with demonstrators hugging, crying, praying, holding candles and gathering around Davis' family.

Laura Moye of Amnesty International said the execution would be "the best argument for abolishing the death penalty."

"The state of Georgia is about to demonstrate why government can't be trusted with the power over life and death," she said.

About 10 counterdemonstrators also were outside

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