Death Penalty. Paper Supporting Capital Punishment

1914 words - 8 pages

The American Heritage Dictionary defines capital punishment as 'the penalty of death for the commission of crime.' The death sentence has been applied since ancient times as punishment for crimes ranging from petty theft to murder. In 1976, U.S. states began creating a bifurcated trial procedure that would legally allow imposing the sentence of death. The states did so in response to the 1972 (Furman vs. Georgia) Supreme court decision which ruled that death penalty statutes were too vague and ambiguous, thus unconstitutional and illegal. The two tier system reserved for capital punishment cases relies on jurors to decide on innocence or guilt. Another jury decides whether or not to impose the death penalty. The vote must be unanimously recommended for the death sentence to be imposed. Jurors, acting in societies best interest, have sent a clear message. Those who are compelled to commit a heinous premeditated murder must be ready to accept the consequence prescribed by law, death. Nearly 3 of 4 Americans support the death sentence as a form of punishment. The other third has condemned it and their list of claims against it is long. Opponents challenge proponents on issues of deterrence, economics, fallibility, and rehabilitation. Their indifference to capital punishment is founded on constitutional and moral grounds.Moral Issues:The sacredness of life has been taught for centuries. One can find it's teachings throughout western history. This reverence for life is often cited to oppose the death penalty. 'Those who base their opposition to the death penalty on moral grounds argue that life is sacred and killing is always wrong, whether it is done by an individual or by the state.' (Honeyman .3) It is safe to say that most of us would agree that our lives are precious, and even sacred. Most of us also agree that killing is wrong. But not to punish a criminal that takes the life of another with the ultimate punishment, that being death, is to devalue all human life. Miller shows, 'To punish a murderer by incarcerating him as one does a pickpocket cannot but cheapen human life. Murder differs in quality from other crimes and deserves, therefore a punishment that differs in quality from other punishments.' (87) By not giving criminals the proper quality of punishment, we send the wrong message to our society. We ignore the gravity of the crime by a mere slap on the hand and a trip through a revolving door. 'To refuse to punish any crime with death is to suggest that the negative value of a crime can never exceed the positive value of the life of the person who committed it.' (Miller .88) We've all heard the saying that actions speak loader than words. The fore mentioned viewpoint demonstrates a lack of value for the victims life.Biblical Perspective:The Bible has always been a source of moral foundations for western civilization. God set forth his word as a guide by which to live our lives. These commandments have stood the test of time. The above...

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