Scrutinizing Capital Punishment: An Arbitrary And Iniquitous System

2842 words - 11 pages

A person with blood coursing through their veins and oxygen filling their lungs lies on a rickety cot; fear swarming their last thoughts as their trembling limbs are pinned down, never to be used again. A sharp needle pierces their protective layer of skin followed by an icy liquid searing through their timorous body. A jagged, last breath is taken as somebody’s child, sibling, parent, and friend is gone. A human life, as alive and precious as you or I, has been forfeited to an arbitrary and iniquitous system: capital punishment. Though it is an incredibly controversial topic, the population is outrageously misinformed about the death penalty. In a recent study performed by Gallup News Service, it was found that approximately 69% of people, almost a 30% increase since the late 1960’s, support this government-instituted punishment. A whopping 62% believe it is imposed fairly and without bias while its also a common misconception that the death penalty acts as a deterrent, gives the victim’s family retribution, and costs less. Though millions believe it is the most logical solution to overpopulation, overall capital punishment is unconstitutional, inconsistent, irrational, and immoral.
One of the biggest arguments regarding the death penalty is its constitutionality. There are many debates contemplating whether it violates the 5th and 8th amendments. Amendment V states, "No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...” Though the whole amendment has been disputed since it was ratified in 1791, the main interpreted statement regarding the death penalty is “without due process of law”. Just the mere five words have created much controversy throughout the country and in law making decisions. Though the short phrase proves capital punishment is lawful, the major discrepancy is whether the way we proceed with our so called “due process” is legitimately constitutional with extended jail time, delays in appeals, and biased juries. Another quarreled violation is with the VIII Amendment, which states, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Many debate whether death, the ultimate punishment, is cruel and unusual if it deprives someone of a fundamental right to life itself. Sensitive issues such as morals and ethics also are a major factor when considering if the defendant themselves have supposedly committed such a heinous crime that results in the utilization of such a barbaric punishment. Does this also apply to mentally incompetent criminals or even juveniles? There are many unanswerable questions the framer’s of the Constitution could’ve never predicted in their day and therefore should result in the outlawing of the use of it in our more modernized civilization. In 2008, The National Coalition Against the Death Penalty stated that, "… concerns have surfaced regarding Pavulon [a drug used in lethal injections], which could paralyze...

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