The Abolishment of the Death Penalty
As Americans we live in a modern republic under a government constructed to secure the rights of the people. Today’s government and judicial systems were forged by our founding fathers as they fought to establish a government free from tyranny and brutality and thereby forming a constitution based on civil liberties. Our country has grown and matured through the centuries and in effect has made changes and alterations as innovations and advancements have deemed necessary. One area where we seem to have evolved at a slower rate is in the archaic and often inhumane judicial laws of the death penalty. The death penalty, a law which strips the civil liberties and violates the human rights of the accused offender, needs to be abolished. If as a nation we are to uphold our integrity it is imperative that the United States embrace the worldwide movement toward the complete abolition of the inhumane act of capital punishment.
Intense controversy over the legality of the death penalty in the United States has always been multi-faceted and emotionally charged. Constitutional lawyers insist the founding fathers made provision for the death penalty in the 5th amendment which guarantees “due process of law before a person can be deprived of life, liberty or property”, while ignoring the 8th amendment which bars cruel and unusual punishments (Singh, 2003). There is no constitutional amendment that gives state or federal governments the authority to proclaim death as a penalty. This is an assumption based on the methods of punishment used in the era of the first colonies. The archaic “eye for an eye”, “Annie get your gun” justice has regressed into a self-justifying realm of indecision where it is easier continue in conventional tradition. We need to demand the legal system be held accountable to constitutional laws as written not as interpreted based on history. Death by hanging, firing squads, electrocution, the gas chamber and death by lethal injection are all options still available to those on death row. Each one in progression a little more civilized then the one before it, or so society attempts to convince themselves. The courts, as well as society, need to stop accepting and allowing these gruesome acts of purposely killing another human in the name of justice.
In recent centuries the majority of American citizens supported the death penalty believing it served both as a deterrent and as an appropriate response to particularly heinous crimes. Unquestionably, there are heinous acts of crime being committed. Yes, these crimes need to be addressed, victims and their families need validation and offenders needed to be prosecuted, punished and kept from harming others. Yet, in our imperfect legal system and often overzealous prosecution mistakes are inevitable. Seemingly conclusive circumstantial evidence, coerced confessions, emotionally biased witness testimonies, inadequate legal representation and community...