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Should The Death Penalty Be Abolished?

1097 words - 4 pages

A Very Short HistoryDeath penalty laws were believed to be established as early as eighteenth century BC in the Code of King Hammaurabi of Babylon. It allowed death for 25 crimes. The fourteenth century BC code of Hittite made all crimes punishable by death. Fifth century BC of Roman Law of Twelve Tablets used crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement as death methods. The first execution in the United States occurred in 1622 was Daniel Frank because of theft.In Britain during the 1700s, punishable by death by crimes became outrageous. 222 crimes were punishable by death, including cutting down a tree. Because of the severity, the crimes were reduced to over 100 in 1823.Current LawInternational law states that capital punishment cannot be used for people, who were under 18 at the time of the crime committed. Yet, eight countries still violate this law, including the US. The other seven countries are Congo, Iran, Yemen, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. The United States have executed 19 people who committed their crime under 18, more than the other seven countries combined. Many countries do not believe in capital punishment at all. A total of 106 nations, including 30 since 1990, have abolished the death penalty. Thirteen states in America do not have the death penalty.A Very Short IntroductionThe death penalty is one of the most heated arguments in the United States. The main question asked is: Should the death penalty be abolished? This author thinks so.Human ErrorThere is always a possibility of error in sentencing death to an innocent person. In the last 30 years, 114 inmates on the death row were found to be innocent and released. A study from Columbia University by Professor James Liebman revealed some shocking results. "An astonishing 82 percent of death row inmates did not deserve to receive the death penalty," he said. "One in twenty death row inmates is later found not guilty."Most of the factors that reserved a sentence were the question of illegitimacy of witnesses; the confession of the real killer; or new evidence was presented that proved innocence. Sometimes, it is pure luck that saves an innocent person from death row. In one case, students from Webster University discovered essential evidence of misconduct by prosecutors. According to their research, the prosecutors convinced a witness into giving false information and withdrew crucial evidence. Because of the work, the state of Louisiana gave death row inmate Richard Clay a new trial.The potential of wrongfully executing an innocent person is horrific. This possibility undermines the American justice system. The exoneration of 114 inmates shows that some reforms need to be seriously considered.Adequacy of Attorney"I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial...People who are well represented at trial do not get the...

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