Should The U.S. Abolish The Death Penalty?

1163 words - 5 pages

Should the U.S. abolish the death penalty?The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is the legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating criminal law. Methods of execution have included such practices as crucifixion, stoning, drowning, burning at the stake, impaling, and beheading. Today capital punishment is typically done by lethal gas or injection, electrocution, hanging, or shooting. For most of history, it has not been considered controversial. Since ancient times most governments have punished a wide variety of crimes by death and have conducted executions as a routine part of the administration of criminal law. However, in the mid-18th century, social commentators in Europe began to emphasize the worth of the individual and to criticize government practices they considered unjust, including capital punishment. The death penalty should be abolished because of many factors including discrimination, human error, promotion of violence, costliness, and "cruel and unusual" punishment.In practice, the death penalty does not single out the worst offenders. Rather, it selects an arbitrary group based on such irrational factors as the quality of the defense counsel, the county in which the crime was committed, or the race of the defendant or victim. Discrimination is a big factor because as much as the government tries, they could never avoid falling into the situation. Most defendants who are put on death row most likely cannot even afford their own attorney and they are assigned one. The people that are assigned could be lacking experience or simply do not care about their defendants and do not do enough research and so the results would not be as accurate. People who are involved in this situation are more likely to be put on death row. With respect to race as discrimination, statistics show that Blacks who murder Whites are 15 times more likely to be executed than if they murdered other Blacks. AIUSA said 80 percent of the 845 people executed since the United States resumed the practice in 1977 were put to death for killing Whites. Also, it is arbitrary when someone in one county or state receives the death penalty, but someone who commits a comparable crime in another county or state is given a life sentence. This is a bad method because it results in an inconsistent ruling on such a big issue such as the death penalty and should not be taken lightly. (3)Another big issue that people argue for abolishing the death penalty is human error. One of the most important things is the issue of punishing the wrong person. Since 1973, more than 100 people sentenced to death have been exonerated; some with the aid of DNA testing that became more widespread in the 1990s. There is little doubt that many other innocent defendants remain on death row whose wrongful convictions have not yet been discovered; whether innocent defendants have actually been executed is the subject of passionate debate. Studies of the exonerated defendants' cases...

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