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The Failure Of Capital Punishment Essay

1943 words - 8 pages

How would you feel a minute before the lethal injection, although you were sure about your innocence? This question relates to one of the oldest punishments in history - the death penalty. Capital punishment existed long before creation of its legal application in the court system. As countries developed, they brought capital punishment into their legal systems. The Bible was used by the English as a reference for executing offenders. Later on, capital punishment was incorporated in the USA legal system from the English Bill of Rights (Department of State's Bureau). Although the death penalty was abolished in 1972 in the USA, "[i]n 1976 Supreme Court authorized its resumption, allowing each state to decide whether or not to have the death penalty" (Ontario Consultants 1). However, it remained in most of the states. Additionally, the death penalty is applied not only for first-degree murder, but also for certain federal offences, such as smuggling; thus lethal injection has become the main method of depriving the offender of life (Death Penalty Information Center 1).In the last century the validity of capital punishment has become a debatable issue. Supporters of the death penalty believe that it should be used as prevention from future crimes. However, opponents of the death penalty suggest that it should be abolished for many reasons. "Should the death penalty stay in effect in the USA?" is the main question to answer. Capital punishment should be abolished in the USA because of the violation of human rights, the possibility of executing the innocent, the failure of deterrence argument, and the indeterminate position of the Constitution.Proponents of the death penalty claim that the public supports the death penalty. This argument could have been considered valid, if it had been used some time earlier, like in 1995, when public support was huge: "four fifths of the public endorsed the death penalty" (Roberts 1). However, the latest public opinion polls show that public support in favor of the death penalty has been declining and this tendency is likely to continue. Firstly,: [i]n October 2003, the percentage of respondents expressing support for the death penalty dropped below the two-thirds mark for the first time since 1981" (Roberts 1). This decline in public support may reflect several factors, including decreased confidence of the public in the deterrent argument of capital punishment. People were asked whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent and only one third of them suggested it does (Roberts 2). The public also seem to agree on such factors as unequal possibilities. In the USA people receive the death penalty because they are poor, not simply because of the crime they committed. The public agrees that "[a] wealthy defendant will not die for the same crime for which a poor defendant will receive a death sentence" (Hanks 110). Not only do citizens not support capital punishment but also various mainline faith groups and essentially...

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