Death Penalty – A Debate Over Law And Morality

2305 words - 10 pages

Based on many history records, death penalty or capital punishment was established for the first time in Hammaurabi Law of Babylon people, under King Hammaurabi (1792 – 1750 B.C), according to the Death Penalty Information Center website (“Part I: History of the Death Penalty"). During more than 3,500 years of judicial history of humankind documented by old writings, we have practicing capital punishment for many crimes. The death penalty has been practiced in America for more than 4 centuries and has been a controversial issue for many years. Over time, many states reserved the death penalty solely for murder; although some states abolished the death penalty, there are 32 states that still ...view middle of the document...

N.'s Declaration on Human Rights in 1998, stating that:
It shall also be the policy and practice of the Government of the United States to promote respect for international human rights, both in our relationships with all other countries and by working with and strengthening the various international mechanisms for the promotion of human rights. (Section 1)
Then again, the Eight Amendment which also says “cruel and unusual punishment” shall not be inflicted. Despite the commitment or the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment, the Court still believes that the death penalty itself is not cruel and unusual, and we have 32 states still practicing death penalty law. Opponents argue that the enforcement of capital punishment violates both the human rights standards and the Eight Amendment. In other words, the Court does not practice what the Constitution rules; the government does not do what they commits, for death penalty denies prisoners their most basic human right: the right to life. Instead, the opponents strongly favor life imprisonment over execution, which is much more humane. Stephen B. Wright, the president and senior counsel for the Southern Center for Human Rights Human Rights and a teacher at Yale Law School, asserts in his essay “Why the United States Will Join the Rest of the World in Abandoning Capital Punishment” that the U.S deteriorates its worldwide standing and moral authority due to the death penalty’s violation of international human rights standards (155). As results, capital punishment may affect the United States’ relations with other countries which already banned death penalty law because those countries no longer consider the United States a leader on human rights.
A study conducted by Gallup Organization and reported by Jeffrey M. Jones, shows that in 1994 a majority (approximately 80 percent) of Americans have favored death penalty for convicted murderers. The death penalty support reached its peak in 1994, but it started dropping to 60% public support in 2013 (Jones). Americans’ loss of their trust in capital punishment is due to wrongful conviction for innocent people. According to a DPIC’s Innocent Report in 2013, over 100 people sentenced to death in the last 30 years have been exonerated and released after new evidence proving their innocence. The most recent exoneration on October 25, 2013 is Reginald Griffin who got a death penalty for his murder of a fellow inmate in 1983; after in a death row for 30 years, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed his conviction. Based on these facts, the abolitionists claim the U.S legal system is not working well; the death penalty, by chance, risks the lives of innocence people, so it need to be removed.
Another argument used to attack the death penalty is that it is so expensive. Given in the current economic situation, this viewpoint should be considered seriously. Kenneth Jost, in his article "Death Penalty Debates" published on CQ Researcher, gives...

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