Capital Punishment is Murder
Capital punishment is state-sanctioned, premeditated murder. It is morally, ethically, socially wrong.
Murder is the intentional killing of one person by another. Capital punishment takes the life of one person and uses another, "the executioner," to do it. In the state of Indiana, the warden of the state prison acts as "the executioner." The killing takes place before the hour of sunrise on a fixed day. On that day, the warden, "executioner," flips a switch sending approximately 2,800 volts of electrical current into the body of the convicted prisoner, thus ending the prisoner's life. Upon completion of the execution, one person's life is intentionally ended by the act of another. The difference, however, is that this murder is condoned by the state. The state's Supreme Court, Appeals Courts, Superior Courts, and prosecutors all play an important role in condoning the use of capital punishment.
Many precautions are taken to ensure that all due process rights are given to the offender; however, I wonder how many times we have executed innocent people. In June 1992, in the state of Virginia, a man was executed for the brutal rape and murder of his sister-in-law. Throughout his 11 year stay on death row, he claimed he was not guilty of this crime. We may never actually know the truth, yet his life was ended. If his innocence could be proven today, his punishment could not be reversed. Without a doubt, we have executed innocent people in this country. In fact, Hugo Bedau and Michael Radelet reported that 350 wrongly convicted persons have been sent to death row.
The courts of this country are ruled by judges. Judges are human beings and as humans, their judgements are fallible. In spite of this, we continue to allow the courts of this country the right to make a decision to end someone's life.
The use of the death penalty shows us that revenge is honored in our society. Jim Hendricks, a criminal justice professor at Ball State University, has given four primary reasons for the implementation of the death penalty: retribution, deterrence, economics, and protection of society. The death penalty does allow the victim's family and angry members of society to find revenge. It also permanently takes the offender off the streets. The death penalty, however, cannot be proven to deter future crimes, and it is less economical than incarceration. About one case Hendricks commented,
The literature would indicate to most people, if not everybody, that only one reason for the death penalty has any validity. It is retribution. That is that society has the right to extract their revenge, that is, to get their 'just desserts' from the offender. The other reasons just don't hold any water....