Is The Death Penalty Just? Essay, Research Paper
Is The Death Penalty Just?
Is the death penalty just? Politicians, lobbyists, philosophers, and
experts from all walks of life continuously debate this controversial subject.
Has any one of these individuals listened to the rest of us? The answer in many
cases is no.
The United States is a democracy of embodied officials, who represent
the people, their wishes, beliefs and ideals. That means, through elections, we
decide what policies are to be enacted. In the case of capital punishment,
various polls report that seventy percent of Americans are in favor of the death
sentence. That is a clear majority. So called experts are free to petition
grievances and speak freely according to our constitution. But the fact of the
matter is seven out of ten Americans have evaluated the dilemma of capital
punishment according to their own values and beliefs. Their conclusion was
favorable to the death penalty. At this juncture of time, the question of it
being just was answered by the majority – and the majority rules.
Many experts who speak against the death penalty cite it as barbaric.
The definition of murder, according to Webster, is “the unlawful killing of a
human being with malice aforethought.” Therefore an uneducated person would
classify murder as equally barbaric. The mitigating factor of the death penalty
is, or should be, an already established punishment for this crime. The killer
willingly committed the heinous act of taking a life, knowing they would be
subject to this penalty. Therefore, he decided to gamble on not being caught,
or thought that he was above the law. In either case he willingly forfeited his
life with the taking of another. The killer may not agree with “Lex Taliones”,
but the consequence of his action were obvious.
While critics argue that an innocent person may be put to death, most
agree this may unfortunately happen. However, we must protect the people of
this country from killers, and unfortunately, short of calling in the army, we
have tried all other options. Capital statutes usually allow the trial court to
impose death only after a postconviction hearing, during which circumstances of
the crime are reviewed. If the “aggravating” factors prevail, the case is
automatically reviewed by an appellate court. The accused may also appeal the
decision or request a stay of execution as he sees fit. Although the risk of an
accidental death is there, the legal proceedings are in place to prevent an
An argument put forth by many is that the economics involved with
capital punishment is irrelevant. This is true to the individuals and groups
who are financially well off – but not to the remainder of the population. To
sentence a convicted murderer to life in prison is costing the tax payers forty-
two thousand dollars a year in California alone. To the lower and middle class,
who must support that individual for the rest of his life, that is unacceptable.
The money we use to support their life in prison can be spent on preventing our
next generation from doing the same.
We, the people, feel we should be heard. We fully realize how precious
life is and understand it’s wrong to kill, but obviously some just don’t care.
With the death penalty in place, and integrated into our legal system,
individuals who are convicted of murder have willingly accepted their fate and
should be dealt with accordingly.