Death Row Dilemma: How Gender Really Plays Out

1128 words - 5 pages

Capital punishment and whether or not the death sentence should be used in the American legal system remains a highly controversial topic, still widely debated as to whether or not it is an ethical means of penance for convicted criminals. While 1,369 individuals have been executed under this law since the reinstating of the death penalty in 1976, only 14 women are included among these figures. The disproportionate statistic of women executed in the United States compared to their men executed brings to light whether or not the U.S. legal system imposes gender discrimination in making their decision on convicting criminals to the death sentence, favoring and giving more mercy to women over men.
The eighth law that can cause a crime to be viewed as a capital crime is “the person murders an individual under six years of age.” (Pilgrim 06) Prolonged media attention reflecting cases on capital crimes committed by women, causes cases to have extreme bias, and causes the judge or jury to neglect the actual case. This is mirrored by the circumstances of the case involving the 2008 disappearance and murder of Caylee Anthony the suspected killer which was the child’s own mother, Casey Marie Anthony. Casey Anthony, the mother of then three-year old daughter Caylee Anthony, was believed to have murdered her daughter in order to avoid parental responsibilities. Although an overwhelming amount of evidence backing up claims and beliefs that Casey Anthony was in fact the perpetrator of the murder, including forensic data connecting decomposition remains of the child to Anthony’s car during the time of the child’s disappearance, and FBI attained data comprising of Google search terms including methods involved in the murder of Caylee from a computer accessible by Ms. Anthony, she was found not guilty. “After nearly six weeks of testimony, a jury of seven women and five men rejected the prosecution’s contention that Ms. Anthony had murdered Caylee, 2, by dosing her with chloroform, suffocating her with duct tape and dumping her body in a wooded area. They did, however, find her guilty of lesser charges of providing false information to law enforcement officers.” The quote used above reflects the findings by the prosecutors of the case and their negligence of the main charge of Ms. Anthony, and instead lessen the charge to an offense, which does not constitute a need to instill capital punishment on Casey Anthony. The findings done by the judge and jury of the case created a media outrage due to the unnecessary sympathy for Casey Anthony and negligence to pursue fair justice, which correlates statistical findings on the imbalance of men charged fully with capital punishment, as opposed to so many women who, like Casey Anthony, find more leeway in the court system.
Of the 1,369 executions of criminals on death row conducted in the United States since 1976, 14 of these criminals were females. In total death sentences, women make up only about 2.1% of the...

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