Death Penalty 4 Essay, Research Paper
Death Penalty Killing a criminal does not constitute serving justice. Today s system of capitalpunishment is made with many inequalities and injustices. The commonly offeredarguments for the death penalty are filled with holes. It was a deterrent. It removedkillers. It was the ultimate punishment. It is biblical. It satisfied the public s need forretribution. It relieved the anguish of the victim s family. Realistically, the deathpenalty is expensive and time consuming. Also, it has yet to be proven as a deterrent. Perhaps the most frequent argument for capital punishment is that of deterrence. The idea of the death penalty was to dissuade other criminals from committing violentacts. Numerous studies have been made attempting to prove this belief, however, all theevidence taken together makes it hard to believe that capital punishment deters more thanlong prison terms do. We could execute all the people on death row, and most peoplewould not feel any safer tomorrow. In addition, with the population growing, the numberof inmates actually put to death is lower than 50 years ago. This decline creates asituation in which the death penalty is not a deterrent when the most criminals begin tothink that one can get away with a crime and go unpunished. Also, the less that the deathsentence is used, the more it becomes unusual, thus coming in conflict with the eighthamendment. The key part of the death penalty is that it involves death. This creates a majorproblem when there continues to be many instances of innocent people being sentencedto death. In our legal system, there a lot of ways in which justice might be poorly servedfor someone with the death sentence. First is in the handling of his own defense. Ifdefendant is without lawyer, one will be provided. Attorney s appointed to representbroke criminals often lack the qualities necessary to provide a good defense. Withlawyers not making much money on these cases, there is not much incentive for a lawyerto spend a great deal of time representing a criminal. When you compare this to the
prosecution, aided by the police, other law enforcement agencies and crime labs, thedefense has no chance. If, in fact, a defendant has a valid case to offer, what chance hashe to offer it and have it properly recognized. Furthermore, why should he be punishedfor a misjustice that was created by the court itself when it appointed the incapablelawyer. Revenge is an unworthy motive for our society to want. In our society, there is a greatexpectation placed on the family of a victim to pursue vengeance to the highest degree,the death penalty. Pat Bane, executive director of the Murder Victims Families forReconciliation (MVFR), stated, One parent told me that people made her feel like shewas betraying her son because she did not want to kill the person who murdered him. This creates a dilemma of morality. If anything, by forcing families to seek the deathpenalty, their own consciences will be burdened by the death of the killer. Furthermore,killing him will not bring back the one you lost. At some point, man must stop theviolence. Most of us would agree that the punishment should fit the crime, but can wereally justify murdering someone else simply on the basis that they deserved it? Many people believe it is cheaper to execute someone than to have them sentencedto life in prison. The death penalty is a long and very expensive process. The averagetime between sentencing and execution for the 31 prisoners put on death row in 1992 was114 months, or nine and a half years. Criminal justice process expenses, trial court costs,appellate and post-conviction costs, and prison costs perhaps including years served ondeath row awaiting execution adds up to a quarter million dollars, and per executionexceeds $2 million. When you compare this to the average costs for a twenty year prisonterm for first degree murder (roughly $330,000), the cost of putting someone away forlife is a deal. Is it really worth the hassle and money to kill a criminal, when we can putthem away for life for less money with a great deal more ease?