In the United States, since the 1970s there have been more than 1270 executions according to the death penalty information center (Fact Sheet), What’s alarming about that number, is the number of people who were condemned to be executed based on race, income and social status alone, targeting those that could not afford good legal counsel, and were appointed attorneys that were “inexperienced and had below appropriate professional standards” (Hessick 1069), which sealed the fate of those literally fighting for their lives, on the day of sentencing.
Capital punishment is unconstitutional, and violates human rights; a point of view rarely seen when debating the topic. Everyone talks about deterrence, everyone talks about justice for the victim, but no one seems to remember that even though the person responsible for a crime, whatever the nature of this crime is, is still a human being with constitutional, and human rights just like all of us.
This paper will present facts that will help the reader understand the real nature of capital punishment, presenting the case against the death penalty for reasons of unconstitutionality and human rights violations.
The first thing I want to cover is deterrence. Does the death penalty really deter crime? Some people say it does, that they work the same way speed signs work: First you notice the speed sign, then you drive without getting over the speed limit, it obviously works. Or does it? I came across many articles proving that speed signs are not a deterrent for speeding. Karen Sorensen writes on her news site “The Plainfield Police Department reports they issued 93 tickets for speeding and two for speeding in a construction zone despite warning signs being posted all along Route 59 and an electronic billboard set up on Route 59 near 119th Street”. Professor James from the University of Hawaii says that “we speed when we are on the mode of doing something fast”.
When we are in a hurry, or doing something hasty, exciting, or we act in the heat of the moment, we get a jolt of adrenaline. According to the American Civil Liberties Union:
"Most capital crimes are committed in the heat of the moment. Most capital crimes are committed during moments of great emotional stress or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, when logical thinking has been suspended. Many capital crimes are committed by the badly emotionally-damaged or mentally ill. In such cases, violence is inflicted by persons unable to appreciate the consequences to themselves as well as to others. Even when crime is planned, the criminal ordinarily concentrates on escaping detection, arrest, and conviction. The threat of even the severest punishment will not discourage those who expect to escape detection and arrest. It is impossible to imagine how the threat of any punishment could prevent a crime that is not premeditated.”
As we could notice, adrenaline is what makes people speed and do certain things they definitely wouldn’t...