Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper
This day in age Murderers’ actions are getting more and more incomprehensive.
They are no longer just committing murder: they are torturing, mutilating and engaging in grossly inappropriate acts against fellow human beings. Behaviors such as this will continue if nothing is done to stop them. The death penalty is a humane way to punish the convicted and deter these gruesome acts. Early as 1930, we can find the first recorded execution. Between the times of 1930 to 1967 there was a recorded number of 3,859 people executed. The following nine years would bring victory for those against capital punishment, there was no executions done in this time frame. Gregg vs. Georgia, Supreme Court of 1976 made a ruling that “the death penalty does not violate the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment.” The death penalty has been accepted by thirty-nine states of America (Newton, 1983). I will be showing how selections of death row are made. The last of subject matters that I will be touching on are the problems with the process of capital punishment and a possible more effective approach. I will also be concluding my findings and ending with a thought of my own.
There are many logical factors that determine a person being sentenced to death. A criminal’s past record and the seriousness of the crime currently committed are two major factors in determining death row sentencing. These factors are what have sent more men to death row than women. Some people believe that the selection of death row is unfair due to the number of men vs. women facing it.
Jurors have many things to consider when convincing the accused. How brutal was it, how many people were killed, was it premeditated, was it torturous? These are all things that the jurors considering when determining the fate of the accused. Of course they also have to decide if the evidence proves, with out a doubt, the person is guilty. In sentencing a person to death row states often look at the person’s background of violence. Other concerns that bring up past convictions of violent act and murders help to lead jurors in their decision-making process. Male murderers with earlier convictions are for times as likely to acquire a judicial disadvantage than a female because of a prior violent felony charge (McCuen, 1997). Women are not as quick to show aggression as men are. This increases the likely hood of a prosecutor to persuaded to go to capital trial and for the jury to sentence the death penalty.
Deterrence is a theory that a threatened punishment must be of a severe enough consequence in order to counteract a criminal’s feel of pleasure to commit a crime. Specific deterrence is the inability of a convict to commit another crime in result to their given punishment. A person not committing a crime because of the severity of the punishment if they carry out with it is known as a general deterrence. Murderers’ that come across as somewhat rational and intelligent, whom have committed a premeditated crime are those that the death penalty as a deterrent work.
An analyzing study of data from the years 1936 to 1977 done by Professor Stephen Layson of the University of North Carolina made a significant conclusion about deterrence. His conclusion was that eighteen murders are deterred in result to an execution. According to Layson’s studies, if correct, somewhere around 125,000 murders have been deterred due to the threat of the death penalty as punishment (McCuen, 1997).
McComb of the Supreme Court of California discovered fourteen examples in the police department of defendants whom, in explaining their refusal to carry a weapon or kill. This pointed to the fear of the death penalty. This is great evidence supporting that people are truly deterred by the presence of the death penalty.
The death penalty is a definite deterrent to crime, however it is not effective enough. The delayed punishment received is not paired closely enough to the crime. Therefore, the consequence of the death penalty doesn’t always seem associated with the criminal act because of the long time before the execution takes place. The only way to condition a criminal to view execution as a punishment to their behavior is by having it happen immediately after conviction and sentencing. This comes from the idea of classical conditioning and negative reinforcements (Meyers, 1998).
The process of convicting a felon and sentencing them to death is very long. With the conviction and sentencing always comes appeal by the convicted. The constant appeals can lead to years in court, which costs millions of dollars. This is where the problem with a convict not seeing the death penalty as a punishment for their actions. The cost keeping a person on death row and the many years, sometimes as many as twenty-five is way too high. With new methods of presenting evidence of D.N.A. the process needs to be sped up to make the death penalty to be a more effective deterrent.
As American citizens we are all born with certain rights. With these rights however, come responsibilities. When a person takes the life and rights of another human being they forfeit their rights. I believe the guilty party is lucky to get one of the humane executions used in America. What ever happened to the idea of an “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”? Executions used in the U.S. are extremely humane, especially when considering the brutality used by the condemned. For a long time our country has focused on finding the most humane way to execute the convicted. We need to turn our heads in a new direction and start figuring out a shorter process for death row. Way too many tax dollars of the American people are used to defend the already convicted.
With our modern techniques for presenting evidence, the accused should need only to be convicted once, followed by immediate execution. To make capital punishment a more effective deterrent the process needs to be faster. There is no reason to spend years determining when and if the convicted will take the walk down the green mile.
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