Capital Punishment, Injustice Of Society Essay

1294 words - 5 pages

Looking out for the state of the public's satisfaction in the scheme ofcapital sentencing does not constitute serving justice. Today's system ofcapital punishment is frought with inequalities and injustices. The commonlyoffered arguments for the death penalty are filled with holes. "It was adeterrent. It removed killers. It was the ultimate punishment. It isbiblical. It satisfied the public's need for retribution. It relieved theanguish of the victim's family."(Grisham 120) Realistically, imposing thedeath penalty is expensive and time consuming. Retroactively, it has yet tobe proven as a deterrent. Morally, it is a continuation of the cycle ofviolence and "...degrades all who are involved in its enforcement, as well asits victim."(Stewart 1)Perhaps the most frequent argument for capital punishment is that ofdeterrence. The prevailing thought is that imposition of the death penaltywill act to dissuade other criminals from committing violent acts. Numerousstudies have been created attempting to prove this belief; however, "[a]llthe evidence taken together makes it hard to be confident that capitalpunishment deters more than long prison terms do."(Cavanagh 4) Going everfarther, Bryan Stevenson, the executive director of the Montgomery basedEqual Justice Initiative, has stated that "...people are increasingly realizingthat the more we resort to killing as a legitimate response to ourfrustration and anger with violence, the more violent our society becomes...Wecould execute all three thousand people on death row, and most people wouldnot feel any safer tomorrow."(Frame 51) In addition, with the growinghumanitarianism of modern society, the number of inmates actually put todeath is substantially lower than 50 years ago. This decline creates asituation in which the death penalty ceases to be a deterrent when thepopulace begins to think that one can get away with a crime and gounpunished. Also, the less that the death sentence is used, the more itbecomes unusual, thus coming in conflict with the eighth amendment. This isessentially a paradox, in which the less the death penalty is used, the lesssociety can legally use it. The end result is a punishment that ceases todeter any crime at all.The key part of the death penalty is that it involves death -- somethingwhich is rather permanent for humans, due to the concept of mortality. Thiscreates a major problem when "...there continue to be many instances ofinnocent people being sentenced to death."(Tabak 38) In our legal system,there exist numerous ways in which justice might be poorly served for arecipient of the death sentence. Foremost is in the handling of his owndefense counsel. In the event that a defendant is without counsel, a lawyerwill be provided. "Attorney's appointed to represent indigent capitaldefendants frequently lack the qualities necessary to provide a competentdefense and sometimes have exhibited such poor character that they havesubsequently been disbarred."(Tabak 37). With payment caps...

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