"Abolishing The Death Penalty" Essay

1472 words - 6 pages

PAGE PAGE 3 Abolishing the Death
Abolishing the Death PenaltyKim AvinaAxia CollegeAbolishing the Death PenaltyEven though the death penalty is viewed by some as a deterrent to committing capital crimes, capital punishment should be abolished because it is not always administered justly and it is very costly to the taxpayers. Judge Jeremy Fogel (Morales vs. Tilton, 2006) of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California stated:Few issues in American society have generated as much impassioned debate as the death penalty. At one end of the spectrum abolitionists condemn the intentional taking of a human life by the state as barbaric and profoundly immoral. At the other end, proponents see death, even a painful death, as the only just punishment for crimes that inflict unimaginable suffering on victims and their surviving loved ones. Even among those with less absolute positions there are vigorous arguments about the social, penological, and economic costs and benefits of capital punishment (p 1).In 1967, the United States entered into a 10-year moratorium in which no death penalty sentences were carried out. In 1972, Furman v. Georgia (408 U.S. 238), the U.S. Supreme Court voided many state death penalty laws, calling them "arbitrary and capricious". Thirty-five states made changes to address the unconstitutionality of unguided jury discretion. Some states removed that discretion by mandating capital punishment for those convicted of capital crimes. However, in Woodson v. North Carolina (428 U.S. 280 (1976)), the Supreme Court held that practice as unlawful. (Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), 2007)In 1976, Georgia, Texas, and Florida provided guidelines for the judge and jury to use when deciding if they should impose death. In Gregg v. Georgia (428 U.S. 153), Jurek v. Texas (428 U.S. 262), and Proffitt v. Florida (428 U.S. 242), referred to as the "Gregg decision", the Supreme Court made a "landmark decision". They said that the "new death penalty statutes; which allowed the introduction of aggravating and mitigating factors in determining sentencing were constitutional; therefore reinstating the death penalty in those states. (DPIC, 2007)Executions began again in 1977. There are 38 states in the United States (US) that have the death penalty as a form of capital punishment. The most widely used form for the death penalty is lethal injection. In the last 30 years there have been over 1000 convicts put to death and there are still over 3,000 on death row waiting to be executed. (Amnesty International, 2007)The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP) says the death penalty is slowly losing its popularity. The number of people sentenced to death has fallen steadily since the mid-1990s. Last year in 2006, over 50 convicts were put to death and there were a little more than 100 death sentences handed down in the courts. "Those numbers are making a profound statement showing the attitudes of the public...

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