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Problems With The Death Penalty Essay Research

Problems With The Death Penalty Essay, Research Paper Problems with the Death Penalty To begin with, I will be telling you information that shows that the death

Problems With The Death Penalty Essay, Research Paper

Problems with the Death Penalty

To begin with, I will be telling you information that shows that the death

penalty is unfair, cruel, and very wasteful. To start with, I will prove to you how

poor people are not getting the correct representation they deserve. Nextly, I will

tell you about how the innocent have been accused of horrible crimes they didn’t

commit and even in some cases how they were almost killed and how some have been

killed. Finally, I will show you how the death penalty is a waste of money and how

the money could be being used in a more positive manner.

Firstly, when you think of capital punishment attorneys you probably think

about the image of the O.J. Simpson trial with his slick defense team nicknamed

“The Dream Team” or the “L.A. Law Men.” However, yes you can get these

defense lawyers if you are rich. But, For the ninety percent of the people that aren’t

rich and can’t afford their own attorney. They have the right to have an attorney

assigned to them. Thanks to the Sixth Amendament, “In all criminal prosecution,

the accused shall…have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Now three

decades later we have court appointed counsel, the standards for representation

have varied drastically. For instance, often time the state allows the judge to pick

the attorneys. Very often, these attorneys are picked not on the basis of experience

or merit, but because they will cause the least resistance at trial. Often the

defendants counsel will meet the defendant for the first time at the arraignment, at

which the all-important decision to plead guilty or not guilty is made. Many capital

defendants are given attorneys who fail to investigate, who fall asleep during trial or

come into court drunk. Some are barely out of law school, or say nothing when their

clients life is on the line. Also, a survey was done in 1991 and it showed that fourty

percent of countries that have populations exceeding 100,000 people face major

budgetary problems. All of them have been forced to cut resources required for

equal justice to prevail. Even Supreme Court justices say “There probably has

never been a wider gulf between the need for legal services and the provision of

those services. There is a great deal to be concerned about, or even ashamed of,”

stated Justice O’Connor. Others with in adequate counsels have already been

exucuted or remain on death row. Far too often, people mostly poor, are given the

death penalty not because they commited the worst crimes, but because they had the

worst lawyers. In addition, I will now tell you a story that truely shows how poorly

the defense lawyers are.

Lloyd Schlup was accused of murder. His attorney did nothing to prepare

for trial, his attorney assumed that the case would be thrown out beforehand. But

when the case was announced for trial it was too late for him to prepare. Llyod’s

defense attorney was appointed to him by the judge. His attorney put on no defense.

Despite the enormous amount of evidence that would prove him innocent, this

included a video tape and eyewitnesses proving that he was nowhere near the scene

of crime. His attorney never enterviewed any of the twenty eyewitnesses who saw

the murder. Llyod Schlup came within an hour of his exucution. But the attorney

he hired got the charges dropped and he was set free. Schlup’s first attorney visited

him twice for a total of seventy-five minutes before the trial. Unlike the daily visits

by Robert Shapiro to O.J. Simpson. In conclusion, “Those that got the capital don’t

get the punishment.” Abu-Jammal.

To begin, many innocent people have been accused and died, but a few luckly

ones have been saved. In 1995 George Bush signed into a new law called the

“Speedy Death Bill”, which means once you have been convicted of a murder and

have got the death penalty even if you are innocent, your days are numbered you

have eight years until you die. For many people that would have been proven

innocent in the past they would now be dead if that law was in affect. They would

have been wrongly convicted and would have died. On the contrary, a new poll was

taken and fifty eight percent of the voters are in fear that the death penalty might

allow an innocent person to be killed by a lethal injection, litterally fired to death in

an electric chair, or asphyxiated by poisonous gases. It has been documented that

over four houndred cases of innocent people that have been accused of rape, murder,

and other serious offenses subject to a possible death sentence. Since 1970, at least

fifty-nine prisoners have been released from death row based on evidence of their

innocence. “It is an untolerable fact that our judicial system, like human beings who

administer it, is fallible. But, most Republicans and many Democrats are saying,

“Cut the budget- chop thier heads off,” Bradley. However, “Is it better to risk

saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.” says Voltaire. In addition,

I will now tell you a couple of stories about innocent people that would have been put

to death under the “Speedy Death Bill.”

To start with, in 1984, a nine-year-old girl, was brutally raped and murdered.

Two young boys and one adult said they had seen a man that looked like Kirk

Bloodsworth that same day walking around with the girl. Despite this, Kirk was

convicted although there was no physical evidence and he was sentenced to death

because he looked liked the man that killed the girl. When a young child is sexually

assaulted and murdered, our natural instinct is to seek revenge. All to often the

revenge is savaged upon the first person suspected of the crime. But, it does not help

to add another innocent victim. However, he was lucky enough to have a volunteery

lawyer take up his case. He had DNA tests ran over the girls underwear and the

blood wasn’t Kirks. So the charges were dropped and after the nine brutal years he

spent in jail he was finally free. He said one of the worst moments in jail was when

“The judge sentenced me to death and people in the courtroom started to applaud

and stare-at me with feelings of glee,” not knowing that I was completely innocent.

In contrast, Walter McMillan convicted murder that had all his charges dropped

summed up his nine years of hell in prison by saying, “I was wrenched from my

family, from my chilren, from my grandchildren, from my friends, from my work

that I loved, and was placed in an isolated cell the size of a shoebox, with no sunlight,

no companionship, and no work for nearly six years. Every minute of the day I

knew I was innocent…” Luckily these two men were freed. But thirty-five other

men haven’t had such luck they were killed and later found not guilty. “Justice

delayed may be justice denied, but the speedy execution of an innocent can only be

called murder,” Morales. I have just told you very recent examples which illustrates

that mistaken death sentences are not a relic of the past.

To begin with, there is other alternatives to the death penalty. I am now

going to tell you about the main one. First of all, theres life imprisonment without

parole. To start with, when you think of life imprisonment without parole, many

think that, the criminal will be back on the street in about seven years. But that’s

totally wrong. The life imprisonment without parole means that they won’t see a

judge for twenty-five years to be able to be released on parole. Studies show that

criminals are most violent around the age of eighteen, but if put put in prison with

life without parole that means he won’t be on the street until the age of fifty-five to

sixty which means he now posses a substantially lesser threat to society. In addition

to, life without parole also alleviates the burden of appeals in capital cases. Life

without parole is more cost efficent than the death penalty. It costs states roughly

25,000 dollars a year to house a defendant on death row and if he stays there for

twenty-five years it would have cost one million dollars to keep in prison. For

instance, if a prisoner worked forty hours a week, fifty weeks per year, over twenty

five years at three dollars an hour, that would mean 150,000 dollars that could be

put toward paying off his prison stay. However, on a national basis, over nine

million dollars has been spent on the death penalty since 1976. California spends

ninety million dollars on the total death penalty but, seventy-eight million dollars of

that was incurred at the trial level. Each death penalty costs between two and four

million dollars with all the appeals and the execution. In Alabama, a state which has

banned the death penalty. The price of one death penalty case could cover prison

costs for almost seven convicts for forty years. In contrast, many people think that

life without parole leads to overcrowded prisons but nine percent of the people in

prisons are in there on life without parole, not even close to being a major reason for

over crowding. Furthermore, Eugene Wagner, a Michigan attorney says “That

since they banned the death penalty, it has saved Michigan millions of dollars. At

the same time, we’ve been able to devote more of our resources to finding effective

ways to fight and prevent crime instead of lulling the public into false sense of

security with the death penalty.” They use money to fund programs proven to work

fight crime like gun control, drug rehabilitation, employment opportunities, and

early intervention for abused and mentally handicapped children. To sum it up, a

1993 national survey showed that sixty-four percent of the people prefer life without

parole, and thirty percent said they wanted to keep the death penalty and six percent were undecided.

In conclusion, I hope you agree with me on how horrible the death penatly is.

First of all, the poor don’t get the right representation they deserve. Secondly, It has

taken the innocent and accused them of vicious crimes that they didn’t commit and

even made grave mistakes by killing them. Lastly, the death penalty costs so much

money which could be used on preventing crime. However, I hope you agree with

me on banning the death penalty. Now I’m going to leave you with one final

thought. “Can a society that presumes itself to be decent kill even it’s most vicious

criminals?.”

Justen Hards

915

Books:

Title: Racism, Injustice, and The Death Penalty Legallynching

Auther: Rev. Jesse Jackson

Pages: ( 42-58 ) & ( 59-79 ) & ( 127-133 )

Title: The Penalty of Death

Auther: Richard O. Lempert

Pages: ( 61-65 )

Title: The Death Penalty is Morally Unjust

Auther: Helen Prejean

Pages: ( 55-59 )

Internet Site: www.essential.org/dpic/dpic7.html

Direct Quotes:

Name: O’ Connor, Sandra Day

Place of Quote: In “Poor Not Getting Right Representation”

Profession: Supreme Court Justice

Name: Abu-Jamal, Mumia

Place of Quote: In “Poor Not Getting Right Representation”

Profession: Pennsylvania Death Row Inmate

Name: Bradley, Clarence

Place of Quote: In “Murder of an Innocent”

Profession: Death Row Inmate

Name: Voltaire

Place of Quote: In “Murder of an Innocent”

Name: Bloodsworth, Kirk

Place of Quote: In “Murder of an Innocent”

Profession: Wrongly Accused Inmate

Name: McMillan, Walter

Place of Quote: In “Murder of an Innocent”

Profession: Wrongly Accused Inmate

Name: Morales, Dan

Place of Quote: In “Murder of an Innocent”

Profession: Attorney General

Name: Wagner, Eugene

Place of Quote: In “Murder of an Innocent”

Profession: Michigan Attorney

Name: Hards, Justen

Place of Quote: Last Line “Final Thought”

Justen Hards

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