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Is Capital Punishment Justifcation

Essay by   •  June 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,231 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,214 Views

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Dating back to the 1600's, Capital Punishment, also known as the death penalty, was anything but uncommon. In fact, the executions were made public, allowing the whole town to watch the hangings of lawbreakers. As the years went by, people soon started questioning if the death penalty was too harsh of a punishment, making it today's most debated issue in the Criminal Justice System. Supporters advocate safety and security with the idea of eliminating the 'unjustly' people in society and maintaining society's well-being by using capital punishment. However, critics, as well as myself, develop a different sense of security, stating discipline is a deterrent to future crimes and allowing someone to be put to death is morally wrong. After all, how can one justify a punishment as heinous as the crime for which the punishment is issued?

In early 1972, the Furman vs. Georgia case was opened. According to an interview between Joan Cheever and William Henry Furman, Furman recalls that he was burglarizing a home while drunk. He made so much noise that he awoke the homeowner who came down to catch him in the act. Furman claims that in the process of trying to flee, he tripped and his gun went off killing the homeowner (Cheever). With a 5-4 majority decision, the court ruled that the death penalty violated the eighth and fourteenth amendments, ruling the death penalty unconstitutional (Hall).

It wasn't long until Furman vs. Georgia was overturned by the case, Gregg vs. Georgia. With a 7-2 decision, the court reinstated the death penalty to be constitutional by acting as a deterrent. With the new decision of the court, many states renewed their laws concerning the death penalty; however some felt it should remain banned (Hall).

Since the reinstatement, capital punishment has become one of the most heated debates. Critic's state capital punishment should be banned in not just twelve states, but all fifty of them. They believe the death penalty sends a negative message to society. They have the idea that it denies people of their right to live. So, a better punishment would be a life sentence, especially because most prisoners would rather choose a life sentence over a death penalty (Key Issue).

However, supporters feel that once criminals have committed such a serious crime, they should be stripped of their rights. If they cannot obey their rights, then why should they remain to keep them? Also, the victims of crimes most likely don't wish to die, yet they are killed anyways, so criminals should not be able to live simply because they don't want to die either. If they can't man up to their consequences, then they should have never put themselves in the crime scene (Update).

What if the offenders are actually innocent? Critics argue that some prisoners are actually innocent. There could be a chance some prisoners on death row are not guilty and will have to die for a crime that they did not commit. Abolishing the death penalty will eliminate the chances of this happening. It will allow those innocent prisoners on death row to have hope to capturing the real culprit and for one day living their normal life outside the isolated life behind prison walls (Update).

Supporters debate the critics' argument of innocent men on death row. A study by Ward Campbell, a deputy Attorney General of California, show that only sixty eight of those hundred or more prisoners were executed by the failure to be proven guilty by a "reasonable doubt" and not by the virtue of being proven innocent. Campbell believes that those murderers most likely were linked to the crime, making them anything but innocent (Update).

The twelve states without the death penalty open up the window for more murder cases. States without Capital Punishment eliminate the fear of being convicted of murder because they know they have a chance of being freed after serving time, whereas people living in pro death penalty states will be hesitant about killing, knowing they could be

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