Punishment For A Crime Has The Purpose Of Deterring Future Criminality. Death As A Penalty, Has Been Given To Serious Criminals Without Solid Evidence Of Its Effectiveness To Deter Serious Offenses.

2156 words - 9 pages

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Sang Won LeeDr SiskDeath Penalty: Unconstitutional, but Legalized MurderPunishment for a crime has the purpose of deterring future criminality. Death as a penalty, has been given to serious criminals without solid evidence of its effectiveness to deter serious offenses. Actually, the crime rate is decreasing in Europe where the death penalty is not imposed, in the United States, on the other hand, where the death penalty is imposed, the crime rate is increasing. The death penalty is one of the most controversial practices in the modern world, and raises ethical, religious, social, and political debate. My stance on this controversy is that the death penalty should be abolished.The first reason to oppose the death penalty is that it is absolutely unconstitutional. The death penalty has been used since the origin of history. Sometimes it was in the name of God, sometimes in the name of the king, and nowadays, in the name of justice. The problem is that justice is not an absolute value but a relative value; judgment could be different depending on the time, a region, political interests, and personality of the people who make judgments. Therefore, the death penalty should be based on the constitution like all other penalties. However, the constitution of America does not support the death penalty. In July 2002, United States District Judge Jed Rakoff declared the Federal Death Penalty Act unconstitutional, citing "an undue risk of executing innocent people" (Shapiro 14). His declaration demonstrates that nobody has the legal right to give the death penalty to anybody. It is a contradiction that an unconstitutional death penalty is still executed by the law in America.Here the important question is raised: who decides to give the death penalty? Apparently, judges or jurors seem to have the right to give the death penalty to a criminal. In some states, like Illinois, defendants can choose who will decide whether they are given the death penalty or not, judge or jurors. Jurors are selected arbitrarily. This means that nobody knows if they are qualified to decide somebody's life and death, and nobody knows how they approach their final decision. There are many factors to affect jury deliberation. The problem is that those factors affecting deliberation might not be fair for defendants. Gordon Ansley, who was called a "rogue juror," tells about the behind story of jury deliberations; two people on his jury changed their votes from not-guilty to guilty because they could not smoke during the case ('Rogue Juror' Tells of Pressure to Vote Guilty). Even though their decision was not fair, nobody can blame them because they are not professional investigators or prosecutors.Definitely, judges are better qualified than jurors to make such a ruling, however, nobody guarantee that they are always right. Judges make their ruling based on prosecutors' investigation and attorneys' defense. Nevertheless, there is a strong possibility of convicting...

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