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This Essay Was Originally Meant To Promote The Death Penalty.

989 words - 4 pages

"The abolition of the death penalty in Canada in 1976 has not led to increased homicide rates. Statistics Canada reports that the number of homicides in Canada in 2001 (554) was 23% lower than the number of homicides in 1975 (721), the year before the death penalty was abolished. In addition, homicide rates in Canada are generally three times lower than homicide rates in the U.S., which uses the death penalty. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, the homicide rate in the U.S. in 1999 was 5.7 per 100,000 population and the rate in Canada was only 1.8. Canada currently sentences those convicted of murder to life sentences with parole eligibility. (Issues Direct.com, 8/4/02)." This news insert, taken from www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, may give some explanation as to why, in 2002, Maryland, a state which uses the death penalty, had the second highest homicide rate in the United States with 9.4 murders per 100,000 people. The death penalty obviously has no deterring effect on criminals. Many arguments have been made in the past against capital punishment. Many have noted the inaccuracy of capital convictions. People have also used the Eighth Amendment as a weapon against this "cruel and unusual punishment." The only solid argument that has ever been posed on the side of capital punishment is its deterring effect on crime. When the theory that capital punishment deters crime is thrown out the window, one must realize that the need for capital punishment no longer exists. Since there is no need for the death penalty, Maryland should protect its citizens by abolishing the death penalty.The inaccuracy and unfairness of capital case convictions has been the death penalty's biggest adversary. In 1996, the UN Commission on Human Rights issued the reports of a special investigation, documenting the fact that many death sentences in the United States "continue to be handed down after trials which fall short of international guarantees for a fair trial." The probe cited six recent instances where death was the sentence despite doubts about guilt. Twelve others were sentenced to death despite serious mental retardation, a violation of human rights the commission termed "particularly disturbing" (Megivern 451). Since 1930, there have been 4,516 executions in the U.S. Studies have shown that between 1900 and 1985, 350 capital cases put innocent men behind bars. 23 of these men were executed (Cummings and Wise 525). Proponents of the death penalty would argue that these deaths are acceptable compared to the lost innocents if the murderers were to escape prison. However, to justify the killing of innocents by a governing power in times of peace would be more barbaric than the death penalty itself.The only argument that has ever lent any credence to the defense of capital punishment is the theory that it deters crime. However, recent studies show that not only does the death penalty not deter crime, but it may actually increase crime. The...

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