An Argument Against the Use of Capital Punishment

Capital punishment, or as it is commonly known as the death penalty, is where death is the appropriate punishment given for the crime that was committed, usually for murder(s). This is one of the few controversial policies where the majority of the states in the US. (31 states) have the capital punishment legalized. It costs taxpayers millions of dollars for each execution, much more than putting the felons in prison for life and it is also considered unconstitutional, Innocents have been executed, the convicted die in pain, appeals last far longer than they should, and the death penalty is no longer viewed as a threat The system that everyone seems to think works so perfectly, isn‘t actually fulfilling its purpose.

Death is inevitable, but that doesn‘t mean it has to be a solution to a problem Especially if that mistake involves the life of an innocent being extinguished Potentially, someone could die because they took the place of a convict This is important because there have been numerous cases involving wrongful executions, which makes the death penalty not the perfect answer.

When [Trishi Meili] learned that evidence pointed to [Matias Reyes] as the lone assailant, she says, it ‘left me too stunned to respond… Reyes became real to me in a way the [five teens who were suspects to the crime] had not. I didn’t want to see him in the papers or hear him on the television.” And it is ‘horrible,’ she says, to think that innocent people might have been sent to prison for something he did.

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(Cohen 267) Innocents have gone to prison just by being at the wrong place at the wrong Lime, so there shouldn’t be any reason why this can’t be applied to those in the past, and present, who were executed. Unfortunately, dying can’t always be done with dignity. However, audiences still don’t think about that when a botched execution occurs. Even if it did, most would think he, or she,

would deserve it, Almost as if it were karma’s hand at work, “Wilson’s final words were, ‘I feel my whole body burning.’ Those events raise serious issues, going straight to the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments” (Buffalo News). Sure, the convicted felon may have killed the victim, done unspeakable things to him or her in some cases, but our society shouldn’t disregard our Constitutionjust for vengeance Speaking of things being unconstitutional, the death penalty hasn‘t been uttered a single time during anything related to presidential politics “Michael Dukakis’ unemotional answer question as to whether he’d support the death penalty“, lead to his loss to George H4W4 Bush” (Temkin). During that election, both candidates were at neck and neck trying to win the election, yet Bush won by a landslide after that question was given to Dukakis, Not a single word about the topic has ever been discussed again regarding to those in the White House Capital Punishment is such a delicate matter, that it can either make or break a presidential candidate, even if he or she can’t be disputed by their reasons.

Also, our capital punishment now seems to be an empty threat, no longer giving criminals the thought of them dying when committing a crime. “The system has become such a charade that convicted killers are asking juries to sentence them to death” (Banks), Everything is now a luxury to them; “cells are bigger, the privileges are better, and death row prisoners are more likely to die of natural causes” (Banks) This is in California, where the death penalty has been stalled “since 2006″, which makes prisoners on death row look like a life sentence, only with better food, better treatments, better everything, and even including their deaths, which isn‘t by a needle and chemicals. This marks a giant problem with what our money’s being used on, which could be spent for schools and hospitals instead of a lowly criminal, “How a punishment that is empirically three to five times more expensive than life in prison” (Penrose), Yes, taking care of

the convict for the duration of his life in prison costs much more less than killing him, since no one wants to waste a great deal forjust one man or woman. They’re also more likely to die of natural causes, either from an inmate in prison with them or a sickness and not a single cent is wasted to do so. For others, however, think that the serious crimes committed could be deterred Some say that due to the death penalty being in effect, murders have decreased. “…. In cross-sectional analyses that the ratio of capital [punishment] to total homicides is a constant from state to state such that observed variation in police or public health homicide figures reflects comparable variation in capital murderi”. This would be one of the biggest topics, besides the taking of a human life, of where capital punishment is lowering the chances of a murder being done. Of course, seeing a man be executed in front of a small audience would more than likely have people think twice about taking else‘s life.

Yet these same people would still choose the death penalty over life imprisonment. According to Phoebe Ct Ellsworth, a social psychologist and professor at the University of Michigan, she says that “Proponents would still favor the death penalty if it “does not lower the murder rate” (72%, 73%, and 69% in 1985,1986, and 1991, respectively)…the other major reason for favoring the death penalty is retribution”, The death penalty is viewed mostly as a form of closure for families’ and friends’ of the victims. Emotionally, families have viewed the capital punishment as a way to know that “justice” has been served. Due to the appeals, many death row inmates are still waiting for their appeals to be finished, almost as if they have another few years to live. There are inmates who have died by natural causes just by waiting, making their punishment look like an expensive life sentence. “Today, 14 years after sentencing, Hill isn’t facing execution anytime soon. He has two appeals

pending in federal court in Atlanta” (Marcus), A ridiculous amount of time is used on one inmate, just to prove if they’re innocent or not, which, more than likely, would have the outcome of guilty rather than innocence In addition, lawyers are given to those that can’t defend themselves, yet there are still inmates without anyone to defend them in Florida. “state of Florida does not do enough to provide competent lawyers to Death Row inmates“. state argued it already spends $5 million a year..,.found unacceptable that at least 40 inmates facing death did not have lawyers” (Marcus) Inmates defending themselves and it’s viewed as fair; should that be to anyone? Now, appeals may be long, yet the state can’t cut back time by not appointing them a lawyer, which creates a big waste of time itself, for both the state and the inmate Inmates ask for another appeal, since no lawyer was present for them; so instead of killing two birds with one stone, it’s trying to kill one bird with the same stone twice. Life imprisonment seems to be looking like a great alternative, especially since money and time would no longer be used by the state, but by the convicted and his or her lawyer.

Then there are the lawyers, some of which are incompetent in court, who can’t even do squat defend their clients, “With little money to unearth details about his client’s past, Jackson did not chronicle the mitigating circumstances that could have helped his client’s cause” (Henderson), A simple background check that couldn’t be done on their own client. It is unfair to not give a lawyer, but to give one so unskilled and with such a limited budget, it’s just pitiful. Henderson states that not enough is made to help those who are on the verge of being sentenced to death, especially with the way they‘re defended. Warren King’s lawyer literally turned to Jesus for help, stating the slogan “What Would Jesus Do?”. Of course, the judge told the jury to ignore the comment, making Jackson, King’s lawyer, look ridiculous. Warren King, a man who had a very low IQ, a warped childhood from his never-sober parents, and lived in a rundown cabin as a child, was sentenced to death.

Undoubtedly, there are flaws with the death penalty and it will continue to have more in the near future. Innocents have been affected, whether they‘ve taken the place of a convict or those affected by his or her wrongful execution. Expenses for our capital punishment are at an all-time high and it still isn’t enough for an acceptable execution process. Appeals extend the death row inmate’s execution date, causing a higher chance of money being wasted and their death much more natural, rather than with Chemicals and a needle in front of an audience. As if this wasn’t enough, our capital punishment is being laughed, having criminals begging to be sentenced to death, knowing they‘ll have a better life on death row instead of living out a life sentence. This isn‘t how our capital punishment should work and if it is supposed to, then all the more reason to abolish it,

Works Cited

  1. Cohen, Stanley. “Addendum: The CenLral Park Jogger.” The Wrong Men: America’s Epidemic of Wrongful Death Row Convictions New York: Carroll & Graf, 2003 267, Print. Bailey, William C. and Ruth D, Peterson, “Murder, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence.”
  2. The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies Edi Hugo Adam Bedaut New York: Oxford UP, 1997, 148. Print, Banks, Sandy. “Death Penalty? No It Isn’t.” Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, Cal] 19 July 2014: A2 SIRS
  3. Issues Researcher, Web 24 Aprt 2016i Ellsworth, Phoebe C, “Hardening of the Attitudes: American Views on the Death Penalty.” The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies. Ed. Hugo Adam Bedau. New York: Oxford UP, 1997, 96 Print.
  4. “End Capital Punishment.” Buffalo News [Buffalo, NY] 1 Feb, 2014: A, 6, SIRS Issues Researchert Web. 24 Apr. 2016 Henderson, Stephent “Defense Often Inadequate in 4 Deatl’tPenalty States, Review Finds.” Mcclatchy Newspaper 21 Jan. 2007: n. pag. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 24 Apr, 2016. Marcus, Noreen.
  5. “Slow Speed Ahead for Death Row.” SUNSENTINEL [FL Lauderdale, Fla.] 14 Sept 1997: 1A+. SIRS Issues Researcher.
  6. Web. 24 Apr, 2016. Penrose, Meg, “Has the Death Penalty Become Too Costly to Administer in America?” McClatchy Tribune News Service 16 Oct. 2014: nt pag. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web 24 Apr. 2016.

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An Argument Against the Use of Capital Punishment. (2022, Jul 11). Retrieved from

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