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Capital Punishment In America Essay

2723 words - 11 pages

The death penalty in America has been a controversial topic for many years. There are many organizations both fighting for and against capital punishment. No matter what type of research or actions are taken toward capital punishment there have always been disagreements. There are many factors that are incorporated in whether or not someone believes the death penalty should be used. These factors for both sides can be the chance of innocence, cruel and unusual punishment, effectiveness of deterrence, and cost.
In nearly every case there is a chance whether it is large or small that the man or woman being sentenced to death could be innocent. According to the Death Penalty Information Center since 1973 there have been sixty-nine people who have been released from prison who were sentenced death and since 1993 there have been twenty-one people who have been released. It also states that seven of the twenty-one people released since 1993 were released from the state of Illinois. The Death Penalty Information Center says that the reason many of these people were released was not due to the appeals process but because of new scientific discoveries. These discoveries were made possible because of journalists and expert attorneys that many people sentenced to death do not have access to. They also state that one of the main reasons for why the chance of an innocent person being executed is increasing because the death penalty is becoming a more prevalent punishment. They say as capital punishment and the chance of innocence increased as the punishment was more broadly given. As more crimes qualified for someone to be executed and more states accepted capital punishment the chance of innocence increased. Another reason that the Death Penalty Information Center states as a risk there could be a mistake made is because over time it has become political. They say that legislators, prosecutors, and judges have promoted the death penalty during their campaigns which helped to create the death penalty become more prevalent and have a shorter appeal process. They also say that some prosecutors with a reputation of getting the death penalty can try for a conviction even if the evidence doesn’t make it easy. The Death Penalty Information Center also states that some judges can be influenced to pay less attention to the chance of innocence and changes that have occurred to the appeals process have made it easier for someone to be executed even if there is a chance that they are not guilty. They also say once a person has been found guilty during a trial, for people to change their minds and decide that a person is not guilty is very difficult. It is stated that the appeals process’s main goal is not to see whether or not the jury made a mistake but to review the proceedings that lead up to the verdict of that person being guilty. Many states have strict time limits that there can be new evidence presented to the court. Federal courts will only review...

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