Capital Punishment in Texas
Recently on February 27, 2014, there has been evidence of a possible execution of an innocent man in Texas. Todd Willingham was convicted of setting his home on fire and murdering family members in 1991 and was executed in 2004. Jailhouse informant Johnny Webb, states in his testimony that this case, “was really based on a deal and misrepresentation …the system cannot be regulated... You cannot prevent the execution of an innocent person”. Willingham’s stepmother is “thrilled that all this has come to light… [and is] not asking for compensation” but for “justice” (Schwartz 1). Cases like these have caused mixed controversies when it comes to capital punishment.
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” Deborah believes capital punishment goes against the 8th amendment since death is considered ‘cruel and unusual’ as stated by the 8th amendment.
For centuries, governments have tried different ways to promote personal responsibility to those who commit crime. Major controversy arises when the topic of capital punishment is brought up, especially in the state of Texas. Texas’ system of capital punishment has its inappropriate ways to promote personal responsibility.
A major occurrence with Texas’ capital punishment system is the killing of innocent people who are claimed to have committed crime. It’s difficult to promote personal responsibility on criminals when the state is killing innocent individuals. Killing innocent individuals goes against the 8th amendment since this is a case of “cruel and unusual” punishment. Attorney’s John P. Keirnan, Robert K. Loper and Richard Burr all pleaded during a court case that, “capital punishment schemes that create a 'substantial risk' that innocent people are wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death are constitutionally unacceptable" (Houston Chronicle 1). The attorneys believe this act “violates Eighth Amendment protections.”
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, statistics show that for every nine people executed, one person is exonerated after being sent to death row. As of March 12, 2014, there have been a total of 144 exonerations in the United States. Twelve of those exonerations are in the state of Texas alone. Within those numbers, there are some who were not exonerated and are innocent individuals. According to the attorneys (John P. Keirnan, Robert K. Loper and Richard Burr) they believe, “when the fortuities that lead to the exoneration of every wrongfully convicted and condemned person are taken into account, there is a very strong probability that Texas has executed [twelve] or more innocent people” (Houston Chronicle 1). Utilizing personal responsibility with these numbers in mind is difficult to come across to. Of course, there are benefits for capital punishment being enforced as it controls crime and it serves as an example for other criminals which prevents them from committing further crime, but enforcing this on the innocent acts as cruel and unusual punishment.
While Texas’ system of capital punishment can be inefficient towards promoting personal responsibility, capital punishment does bring its own benefits as mentioned. Texas’ system of capital punishment also has its own ways of demoting social responsibility and providing cautions to Texas citizens.
A way that capital punishment demotes social responsibility is how some citizens go through prolong suffering when they have family members on death row. This is true for children since at their age, most believe killing is morally wrong. Having a family member on death row can desensitize, not only children, but people to killing and violence. In an issue of Judicature, Rachel King is concerned for children and...